Jump to content
Strawberry Orange Banana Lime Leaf Slate Sky Blueberry Grape Watermelon Chocolate Marble
Strawberry Orange Banana Lime Leaf Slate Sky Blueberry Grape Watermelon Chocolate Marble

Canal World is currently fundraising. Please click here to find out more.

Sharibeau

Leave empty or not ?

Featured Posts

This is the first time i have lived on a canal boat ( or even been on one ! ). I purchase her in the summer and now the winter is here the advice i have been given is ' you must have a full fuel tank in the winter to avoid condensation'

i have dipped my tank and it is practically empty - my logic is - ' that's fine , i'll just drain out if any condensation in the spring and re- fill her with new diesel as i'm not using the engine all winter'

some of the folk on my marina have said that they wouldn't advise this but couldn't explain why

Can someone please clarify if i can leave the fuel tank empty - drain out any water in the spring and fill tank or do i need to fill the tank now ? 

Thanks

 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The trouble is, water in the fuel can lead to fungal growths that block your filters. 

Richard

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Richard

I'm just trying to ascertain the cost of filling tank verses potential problems. I have to get the gears on my boat fixed to move her to a re fueling station so altogether about £600 which i'd rather not spend just before Christmas !

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Just giving you information. The risk is getting diesel bug and then having to pay to have your tank, lines and filters cleaned

Whats wrong with your 'gears'?

Richard

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Accepted wisdom is to keep the tank full. But, the bio part of the diesel (about 7%) has a limited life so after the winter will be partly decomposed. Nobody appears to mention this or worry about it. I suppose ideally you should fill the tank with "Fame Free" diesel if you can get it.

I reckon your idea is not too bad but do remember that water sits on the bottom of the tank where it will might cause some rusting. Stick some marine16 anti fungal stuff in to prevent the growth of diesel bug.

..........Dave

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Locally there is only one place to refuel on our canal and if you happen to be on the moorings that are around 30 miles from there you don't tend to make the 2 day trip just for fuel. 

Most folks here have some plastic containers they fetch diesel to the boat with and a jiggle syphon to transfer it to the tank cleanly 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Richard , the gear lever is very stiff and doesn't go into reverse. I'v had the gears checked and the cable replaced so i've been advised to change the gear lever

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
13 minutes ago, dmr said:

Accepted wisdom is to keep the tank full. But, the bio part of the diesel (about 7%) has a limited life so after the winter will be partly decomposed. Nobody appears to mention this or worry about it. I suppose ideally you should fill the tank with "Fame Free" diesel if you can get it.

I reckon your idea is not too bad but do remember that water sits on the bottom of the tank where it will might cause some rusting. Stick some marine16 anti fungal stuff in to prevent the growth of diesel bug.

..........Dave

Hi Sharibeau, welcome to the forum. As Dave says add some diesel bug additive, make sure you dose correctly to the quantity of fuel you have in the tank. When you want to cruise in the spring syphon some fuel out of the bottom of the tank, any water will come with it as it sits below the diesel as mentioned. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The issue is twofold as I see it. The original problems and newer ones.

1) The larger the air volume, the more condensation and hence water, which is particularly noticeable in a steel tank in a damp location. Water can then be removed in spring if you have a suitable drain.

2) Water in with the diesel can cause diesel bugz which appears more of an issue with modern deisal due to the bio component. Treatment can be costly, and it appears new strains are developing which are more resistant to treatment.

3) The bio component in modern diesel also have a shorter shelf life in general, even if stored dry.

One option I would seriously considering on a new boat is a plastic tank with a steel bulkhead but that's hard to do retrospectively.

Sorry not to have an answer formlated, we are coal fired, but perhaps it helps understand the reasons.

Personally if it's really nearly empty i think you could do worse than leave it and make sure you drain first thing.

 

Daniel

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

There is very little in most single lever control that can stiffen up, most nowadays seem to use plastic "self lubricating"  bushes on the spindles as are most twin lever controls.

If you are interested in pursuing this then we need to know how still it was with the cables disconnected. If it freed up then its unlikely to be the control and more likely to be the/a cable(s) or gearbox. If it did not free up then I would take the control out and try to lubricate it. Depending upon type I may try repacking the gear part with grease.

If you force a control cable through too tight a bend even a brand new cable will stiffen up.

Next we need to know how much of the lever movement is stiff. If its the first bit and then it frees off its a gear cable or gearbox. If its the second, go faster bit then its the throttle cable.

If the cables are maladjusted then that can make them stiffen up when the gear "cog" in the control does not fully clear the mechanism when its in gear.

Now your question.

Ideally I would start winter with a full tank of fuel but many do not and you are, in my view, unlikely to get problems unless the microbes are already breeding. When you talk about draining the water please remember that on the majority of narrowboats the design makes it impossible to drain the last bit unless you suck it out via the filler.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
3 minutes ago, Meanderingviking said:

Hi Sharibeau, welcome to the forum. As Dave says add some diesel bug additive, make sure you dose correctly to the quantity of fuel you have in the tank. When you want to cruise in the spring syphon some fuel out of the bottom of the tank, any water will come with it as it sits below the diesel as mentioned. 

In fact its a good idea to suck a bit of fuel from the very bottom of the tank once or twice every year, stick it in a bottle, let it settle, then have a good look at it. Did mine yesterday :D

(ive got a little electric pump and a suitable length of copper pipe.....have had too many syphon/sucking accidents in the past that has left a bad taste in my mouth!)

..............Dave

  • Greenie 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Diesel bug requires water , or at the very least is promoted by the presence of water.

If you have  a drain valve for your  tank you can presumably drain of a sample occasionally which will remove any water.  I would suggest in your case waiting until you need the fuel before refuelling and consider a fuel additive at the same time to guard against any diesel bug issues.

Keeping the tank full is thought to limit the surface area of tank that is available for condensation to occur. Whether this is a real or imaginary risk is perhaps debateable. My tanks are not quite full as I did use the boat after the last refuelling and have also used the diesel heater. I am not losing any sleep over it.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

going off at a tangent here - if I unscrew the air vent thingy and replace it with a screw cap producing a sealed tank, would the resultant pressure changes cause problems? I would of course have to remember to change it back before cruising.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
3 hours ago, Sharibeau said:

Richard

I'm just trying to ascertain the cost of filling tank verses potential problems. I have to get the gears on my boat fixed to move her to a re fueling station so altogether about £600 which i'd rather not spend just before Christmas !

Not sure where you are. If you are above the flight of locks in Bath then you are in luck if you want to refuel. The Boatyard Fuel boat makes a journey this coming weekend to Bath top lock. Turns and buzzes off back to base. It you are not to be at the boat they will take an order over the phone and put the fuel in for you. Pay by card or transfer.

They also have a superbly stocked Chandlery for any parts you may need once you ascertain the problem with your gears/lever. Might be worth asking them to drop off some additive of your choice if you go down this route. They are very knowledgable and helpful I have found in the last month or so.

Hope this helps a little.

Their diesel is reasonably priced at .65p a litre domestic. Self declaration.

Edited by Nightwatch
To add diesel price.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

On the subject of diesel bug treatment. Can folks recommend good additives.

Also do I need to use a marine specific one or can I also use automotive treatments

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The motor yacht people in my Spanish marina seem to rate Marine 16.

When we had our attack of diesel bug, I was advised by Marine 16 in South Wales to use the standard Marine 16 to kill the bug.


We just used a strong dose.
Interestingly, at the time I did a little test.
I took one of those large fresh water containers that you get from the supermarket and filled it with some of the sludge from our bug infested tank.
There was about a gallon of thick bug infested diesel in the water bottle.
Shook it up with a strong mix of Marine 16 and left it.
Overnight most of the growth had gone - after 72 hours all the bug had gone.
So, you see, I have a lot of time for this kind of biocide treatment like Marine 16.
Kill it DEAD - is what I say.
I'm not keen on fuel set - probably works as a preventative measure - but if you have the bug IMO it is useless.

During our treatment after the bug, Marine 16 suggested using their complete.
As you say, it is much the same price but you need a lot more to treat the same amount of fuel.
Anyway, we chose to treat a fresh load of 4000 litres with Marine 16 Complete.
They say that the Complete provides a more efficient burn and you will get more distance our of a fuel load with Complete than a fuel load without.
I do have some evidence that this was in fact the case but my main reason was to provide some treatment for my injectors and fuel pumps after they had been attacked by the bug.
I haven't added any Complete since that time but I do, religiously, treat every load of fuel that we take.
Believe me we DO use fuel.
Currently, our engine management system indicates that we have burned over 100,000 litres of fuel.
Since the bug, our fuel is crystal clear every time I test it.
So, I keep Marine 16 on board all the time and I recommend that everyone else (yachties and stinkies) should do the same.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
54 minutes ago, 13-10 said:

On the subject of diesel bug treatment. Can folks recommend good additives.

Also do I need to use a marine specific one or can I also use automotive treatments

 

In general marine and automotive additives should be the same. There are lots and lots of automotive products so its hard to know which ones really work.

For killing or preventing diesel bug then Marine16 is the most popular and has a good reputation.

For a general additive (lubricity, fuel stabilisation, detergent etc etc) then Stanadyne Performance consistently gets good reports but its quite costly and not that easy to get hold of in the uk (but is on eBay). This does not kill diesel bug so you would still need some Marine16. Morris oils do a diesel additive (Morendo?) but I suspect its not quite as good as the Stanadyne.

Marine16 complete is a general additive and bug killer and is available at some chandlers. As Marine16 appears to work then its a fair guess that Marine16 complete is also decent stuff.

Fuel Set is very popular and available at most Chandlers. I (and others) have two concerns. It emulsifies and water so it still goes through the injection pump and injectors, and its a general purpose petrol and diesel additive so cant do the "diesel specific" stuff like cetane raising.

.............Dave

21 minutes ago, JamesFrance said:

As you say, it is much the same price but you need a lot more to treat the same amount of fuel.

Then its a lot more expensive :D

Two pence pieces are the same as pound coins but you need a lot more of them to buy a pint of beer.

................Dave

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I have used Marine 16 Diesel Fuel Complete. This separates out the water. Also claimed to help keep the fuel system clean.

Alternatively Fuel set which absorbs the water within the fuel.

There are others of course.

I try to be sure there is some treatment in the tank over winter. Sometimes don’t use an additive in the summer if I know the fuel is going to be burned within a week or two.

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, MartynG said:

I have used Marine 16 Diesel Fuel Complete. This separates out the water. Also claimed to help keep the fuel system clean.

Alternatively Fuel set which absorbs the water within the fuel.

There are others of course.

Indeed there are but I have recently discovered that many of them are simply Fuelset or Marine16 in a different bottle.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I use Exocet, a diesel biocide available from country store outlets and cheaper than Marine 16. Farmers use it in their diese storagel tanks for the farm machinery. Recently had the engine serviced and the engineer commented on how clean the diesel was. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, Meanderingviking said:

I use Exocet, a diesel biocide available from country store outlets and cheaper than Marine 16. Farmers use it in their diese storagel tanks for the farm machinery. Recently had the engine serviced and the engineer commented on how clean the diesel was. 

I think Exocet are the people who supply fuel additives to some fuel suppliers. They make lots of different additives so I assume you are using the diesel additive. Is this a biocide or just the normal lubricity/detergent additive?  I've just looked at their website and if you are getting it in the 50mL bottles then its substantially more expensive than the Stanadyne stuff.

..............Dave

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
47 minutes ago, dmr said:

I think Exocet are the people who supply fuel additives to some fuel suppliers. They make lots of different additives so I assume you are using the diesel additive. Is this a biocide or just the normal lubricity/detergent additive?  I've just looked at their website and if you are getting it in the 50mL bottles then its substantially more expensive than the Stanadyne stuff.

..............Dave

Now you'e asking, it's the diesel biocide in a biggish bottle, per 10ml it worked out cheaper than Marine 16. I would double check but it' in the engine bay - it's dark out there, the wind is getting up and the owls are hooting ........... ;)

  • Greenie 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I am not totally convinced about the 'condensation in the tank' theory and if you put hundreds of £'s of fuel in there is a chance that it could be contaminated, personally I'd rather take a few gallons of bad fuel out in the spring and change the filters a couple of times.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
24 minutes ago, Meanderingviking said:

Now you'e asking, it's the diesel biocide in a biggish bottle, per 10ml it worked out cheaper than Marine 16. I would double check but it' in the engine bay - it's dark out there, the wind is getting up and the owls are hooting ........... ;)

We are on the River Weaver right now and its lovely and spectacular, have cormorants and even a few grebes, but I am missing the K&A owls.

............Dave

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 minute ago, dmr said:

We are on the River Weaver right now and its lovely and spectacular, have cormorants and even a few grebes, but I am missing the K&A owls.

............Dave

Sounds wonderful, the owls have quietened down now, as the weather is worsening.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now


  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.

×