Boatload of bad fuel
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Boatload of bad fuel

  1. #1
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    Default Boatload of bad fuel

    They recently mandated alcohol enhanced fuel here in the lovely state of Washington. There were warnings of issues with older tanks. I have a dual filtering system upstream of a fuel/h2o seperator and didn't give it much thought.

    Well... I filled up last week with about 80 gallons. I'd burned roughly 6 gallons and my motor died. No sweat, I switched to the other filter on the fly. Another 6 gallons same thing. I made it back to our anchorage by running slow and switching from one filter to the other. While the girls were cooking dinner I was swapping out filters. We left late at night so I ran back home slow and didn't have any issues. Back at the dock I swapped out inline filters again, swapped out the seperator and found crud in it and pulled the screens at the carb inlet and found crud.

    So what to do? I figured it's the equivilent of having dumped 8 gallons of alcohol into the tank. I've 75 gallons left and the next fuel is going to be the same. I have aluminum tanks, swapping them out is out of the question without major surgery.

    A buddy gave me a big diesel filter setup. What is the difference between diesel and gas filters?

    The big filters would be a pain to mount cleanly. I have been thinking about getting an electric fuelpump and pumping the gas out and through a filter setup a few times before putting it back into the tanks. But pumping 80 gallons of gas into barrells or what ever starts to bring up a whole new can of worms.

    I boat out in the Salt water and sometimes with currents etc. it is moderately dangerous to lose power at a critical moment. Anybody have any good suggestions?

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    I'm baaaaack... hkunz's Avatar
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    If you are geting debris, dirt, etc, in the filter, then the alcohol is most likely cleaning it out of the tanks. Just change filters a lot. However, if the debris is bits of your rubber hoses, that's not good. The other problem you could have is the alcohol can absorb (or is it adsorb, I never can remember) water, but the water won't burn, which can lead to problems.

    I remember an article in Boat US saying basically NEVER NEVER put alcohol in your boat. If your state mandates alcohol fuel on shore based outlets, get your fuel from a marina only. I know this doesn't help now.

    I'd get several fuel filters, and just keep changing them until the problem stops or you run out of fuel. I would NOT take it in the open ocean until the problem is solved.
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    I have run 15% ethanol in Lowrider for 3 decades now.

    I have had ZERO PROBLEMS running 15% ethanol in Lowrider's Aluminum tank for 3 decades now.

    I replaced the fuel lines 5 years ago, because they were getting old, dry, and hard. The filler line started leaking, even double clamped.

    Keep changing filters till you gety all the crap out of your tanks (the dirt and crud, not the gasoline).
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    Senior Member Jim W's Avatar
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    Would a Toyota Prius engine swap be out of the question????

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    Thanks for the input guys. Sadly marinas have the same fuel as land stations. The only thing I'm real paranoid about is I have a flowmeter transducer that works optically (I think) downstream of the first set of filters.

    Anybody know what the difference between a diesel filter and a gas filter?
    Also how does a h2o seperator work? Does it also filter fuel? My buddy gave me a new big double cannister set up that I'd like to put upstream of the transducer.

  8. #6
    cfm
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    Water seperators work off of simple fact that fuel is lighter than water.

    This is why they are all a canister type filter. Same as oil filter. The mounts they attach too have a nipple that only extends down an inch or so into the filter/seperator. This nipple is the 'out' line to engine. Therefore, the water contained will only be as much as it takes for it to reach the level of the threaded nipple. So, the larger the element, the more water it can hold.

    Since the spin on seperators have filter elements in them also, you can get them with different micron ratings. Microns are the size of the 'solids' that the filter will not let pass thru. This is where a local NAPA can help since they carry spin on fuel filter/seperators for many different applications - diesel, industrial, marine, etc,etc,etc.

    For normal clean fuel we like 30+Micron so that it blocks the larger particles from getting thru but also lets max amt of fuel volume thru too. Some companies say 60Micron or so is fine.

    However, with all your crud, you may want to use smaller micron filters for a little bit and make sure to change them faster. I believe you should be able to find some around 3-5 microns.

    Again, you should be able to get this info from your local NAPA store plus, of course, making sure the thread and o-ring size is the same as what goes on your fuel system. Bring in an old seperator will help determine sizes right off the bat.

    Permacool makes a water seperator/filter with a drain at bottom. This may be good temporarily as you can drain water and some sediments the filter has blocked. I say temporarily because I found this year that their seperator/filter elements rust internally pretty quick. Doh ! Atleast this showed they did a good job of collecting/containing the water.

    They also make a dual oil filter unit that you may be able to use as a dual sperator unit ??? You'll just have to make sure that you use/install seperator/filters instead of oil filters.

    ================================================== ==

    I dunno how to really repair your issue. All above is just pointing out different things. If I was in this situation I'm really not sure how I'd attack the problem.
    My first thought off hand is that my truck has a 32 gallon tank and so do a few other friends trucks. I guess I would try to get these near empty and pump fuel out of the boat with electric pump- thru a new filter/seperator (maybe one per truck ??? just in case ???) - and then pump each truck's fuel back into the boat just using one (if the other filter/seperators collected a bunch of stuff) filter/seperator ????

    It just depends on how much crud and/or water was being collected by each seperator. If the seperator/filters stopped showing crud/water then I'd stop changing filter/seperators at that time.

    Damn I hope i don't run into this ! Good luck !

  9. #7
    cfm
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    Quote Originally Posted by TollyWally View Post
    There were warnings of issues with older tanks. I have a dual filtering system upstream of a fuel/h2o seperator and didn't give it much thought.

    Back at the dock I swapped out inline filters again, swapped out the seperator and found crud in it and pulled the screens at the carb inlet and found crud.
    Dual filtering system ? Are they cannister type like your h20 seperator ? If so they should collect water also.

    With all those filters, you either have to large a micron rating to filter the crud or you have a fuel system component breaking down after these but before your carb screens.

    Carb screens are usually pretty coarse (high micron) unless they are the old paper type used in some quadrajets. Therefore, the particles trapped here are pretty big !

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    My tanks are old and a few years back I went out in some fairly rough conditions and really shook them up. So I set up a double system. My dual filter setup is just a diverter valve with of those glass tube filters on each side. They are upstream of the flowmeter transducer. I can switch from side to side on the fly so I always have a fresh filter for the transducer. After the transducer it reverts to the stock setup. They aren't really very hardcore filters, just the ones from the autoparts store.

    The way it goes now is:

    inline filter
    transducer
    stock cannister fuel/h20 seperator
    carbscreen



    My buddy gave me a big new diesel twin cannister set up that I want to place upstream of everything till I get this mess sorted out.

    I've been asking around and the concencuss is this is built up varnish and will go away after a while. Supposedly the guys with fiberglass tanks are having real problems. I know one guy who ended up swapping out his tanks.

    I've thought about pumping the tanks dry out through a filter setup but the hassles of handling 75 or more gallons of gas out through some kind of hillbilly electric fuelpump set up make me wonder about static electricity etc. etc. etc. Then finding barrells or garbage cans or 15 gas cans or what ever to hold the fuel....

    I appreciate the input and the explanations about seperators etc. This place is great for getting good answers to technical questions. I was bummed when Hotboats crapped out. It was great finding the new hangout!

  11. #9
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    The guys with fiberglass tanks are the ones having really big issues with this stuff. It's caused more than one REALLY high end offshore boat to delamminate.

    If you're using an aluminum tank that shouldn't be a problem it's most likely just varnish and what not... If it were me I'd pump the fuel out (through a REALLY good filter seperator) and run it in my street vehicles (and lawn equipment). Get the tank bone dry, and steam clean it out and flush it. Then start over with fresh fuel. If you can actually remove the tank (without tearing the whole boat apart) take it to your local radiator shop and have them boil it out. Then you might have to replace some fuel lines too, but you'll be good as new.

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