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Posted: Sat May 01, 2010 10:31am

Post Subject: old diesel fuel tank

Hi Tony took my boat in for engine service.Returned to mooring OK.On my next visit, boat started and ran for five minutes, and then stopped.Called the boatyard who did the work and they took it in to examine.I am now told that the tank is very old and is full of sludge.Their estimate to clean the tank,or replace is £1200. Could you please give any advice on what I should do as I feel this estimate is extremely high. The fuel tank cannot be removed easily as the superstructure was fitted after the tank. My boat is a Elysian 27. Many Thanks Steve


Posted: Sat May 01, 2010 5:19pm

Post Subject: old diesel fuel tank

Dear Steve, on a boat that old I would not be surprised to find the tank has an inspection cover on the top. If it has you are in luck. You may have to cut flooring or berth boards to get access to it but if you can get access to remove the cover try the following. Drain as much diesel as you can from any drain plug. If one is not fitted use a hand pump, drill pump that is suitable for oil, or even a clean wet and dry vacuum cleaner to empty the tank down the the sludge. Then reach in and through any baffles so you can stir the sludge up with the remaining diesel so you can vacuum or ladle it out. Do your best to scrape it all from the corners. Once you have as much out as you can get refill the tank with plenty of Marine 16 diesel bug cure and in the future add the same company's diesel fuel conditioner at regular intervals. If you do not have an inspection plate get access to the fuel filler where the hose is fixed to the tank. Remove the hose. Do the same for fuel gauge tank unit (if fitted). This should give you sufficient access to the tank to allow you to insert a curved length of 15mm copper pipe (or similar) attached to some form of pump as described above. Use the curved pipe to work all over the bottom of the tank to suck up as much sludge as you can. Again try to work into the corners. Once you have removed all you can get at use the additives I mention above. What ever method you use change all fuel filters, get spares and be prepared to change them several times over the coming year. If there is an inspection cover you might even be able to get a steam cleaner into the tank to do the final cleaning but you must them mop out all the water. I suspect you have had fuel bug for years and have not regularly drained the water from the tank. There is normally a drain at the lowest point in a cruisers tank. Tony Brooks

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