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Old 10 September 2004, 14:57   #1
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Country: USA
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Boat name: Sunrider
Make: Zodiac
Length: 7.3
Engine: MerCruiser (bio)diesel 180hp I/O
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Any ideas for cleaning fuel tanks?

I have a boat with twin 75 gallon diesel tanks. One tank sat near empty for months and is now thick with algae. There are no large access plates which would allow me to manually scrub the tank, and it would be difficult to remove from the boat for proper cleaning, so my plan has been to fill it and circulate the fuel through disposable filters until it's clear.

If anyone knows any good tricks or methods to clean the tank other than what I'm currently planning I would very much appreciate hearing them. Also, can anyone tell me if Soltron would help in this process? thanks in advance for your help.
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Old 10 September 2004, 15:16   #2
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Some companys over here offer a tank cleaning service, not sure how they do it, would be worth asking around though. If it was me I would cut a access hatch in the top and steam clean it?
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Old 10 September 2004, 17:48   #3
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Sunrider hi, not sure if you can access just an area of the tank top, but Vetus do a 6" blanking plate that would fit over a hole. they are secured with bolts like a port hole. Had to fit one after I dropped a torch into a fuel tank and it rolled behind the tank baffle. Took box of drills and an angle grinder to cut a 6" hole but meant that I could always take the plate out and check the tank.

Pete
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Old 10 September 2004, 18:03   #4
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Country: UK - Channel Islands
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sunrider
One tank sat near empty for months and is now thick with algae. Also, can anyone tell me if Soltron would help in this process? thanks in advance for your help.

Can you give me more info on the algae, it says on your info that you have been running bio diesel. If you can tell me colour and consistancy the algae is I can help you more also how deep it is in your tank.

Soltron will get through it but the process in which we treat this situation is not straight forward or not at least until I can get more info from you.

Soltron will break it down and make sure it passes thru your filter. Alan P went round the world and didnt change his main filter once despite taking on crap fuel. This is due to the enzamatic properties of Soltron.

If you want to talk about this in more detail send me a pm and I will call you.

Dom
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Old 10 September 2004, 18:36   #5
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A stab in the dark, but the steam cleaning attachment brewers use for cleaning the inside of aluminium casks might do the job.
M
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Old 11 September 2004, 09:18   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MadMat
A stab in the dark, but the steam cleaning attachment brewers use for cleaning the inside of aluminium casks might do the job.
M
Yes steam cleaning is used a lot on tanks to remove dangerous vapours etc.

Petrol could be another solution - it's a great solvent and won't harm if there is some left in the diesel.
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Old 11 September 2004, 09:57   #7
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thanks for the good ideas and comments. In this case the tanks are located in such a way that I would need to remove the center console to access them, then either remove them or cut holes for inspection/cleaning. All of the steam cleaning solutions to the problem require one or more access plates to get the wand inside the tank and turn it in all directions. So, I would need to remove the console to use steam.

If it were simply a question of unbolting the console and lifting or tilting it, I would do that. But that would require several layers of mechanical and electronic work (cables and wiring) which I would like to avoid if possible, but it could be done if necessary. I'm just trying to avoic doing that if there is a less complex solution.

Dom (DepSol), your reply about Soltrom sounds very interesting and I would like to learn more. This boat is not the one I used for the circumnavigation using biodiesel. This is a 30' Novamarine I got from military surplus a while ago, which has been using petroleum diesel - so everything just looks very black. The boat is in Hawaii, and I won't be returning there for another month and can't remember clearly enough to describe the consistency of the fuel - but it was very black. I searched the forum for comments on Soltrom and the reports were so good that it made me wonder if it could be used for such extreme circumstances. I'm eager to learn more. If I were going to give it a try, what would be the process - fill the tank to dilute the algae and treat with Soltron? Is it available in the US? I look forward to hearing your comments. Thanks.
Bryan
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Old 11 September 2004, 17:49   #8
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Soltron in Maerica is different to the stuff you buy here. It has two properties in it which I will remain quite about for the time being which are known to be combustion enhancers but not good for the engine overall.

Also its enzyme content is very very very low. You need to use uk stuff but cant fly with it to Hawaii. Only way is getting it couriered there which is very expensive. Alternatively fill tank with 10 gallons of fuel and add huge amounts of bisocide. Then pump out contents of tank dry after 3 days. After this things should be ok but need some kind of bug prevention that wont clog filters.

Unless you can think of another way of getting it to hawaii, may be in a G&T bottle hidden as duty free then this is prob the next best thing you can do.

Dom
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Old 11 September 2004, 19:15   #9
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Dom, is it possible to get the UK stuff in the mainland US, where I am now? Or is it the same problem as getting it to Hawaii...shipping from the UK? If I had the product here I'm sure I could find a way to get it to Hawaii.
Bryan
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Old 12 September 2004, 06:47   #10
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Sorry its not. Only way to do it is to ship it out of the uk which is very expensive.

Dom
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