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klparker

Algae in fuel tank

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2001, Itasca Horizon, diesel pusher.  I am loosing power and transmission gears down.  I changed both filters, fuel/water and fuel.  I filled my tank and added product Sta-Bil for algae.  However, when I check the fuel/water filter I still see black algae.  Do I need to drain all fuel, change two filters  and then add an  algae elimination product or is there a product that will kill and dissolve algae so it would be removed when all fuel is consumed.  Can I add another type of algae killer to the Sta-Bil that is currently in my fuel tank, since March 2019.  Do you think I need professional help or is this a problem I can take care of?

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Sta-bil is a good product if you use it from the very beginning.  Once water is allowed to sit in the tank for a length of time, algae will grow.  I would seek professional help to thoroughly clean the tank and get rid of the algae.  Then, start fresh, and try to keep the tank full and treated when not in use.

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To my knowledge there is no way to run algae-contaminated fuel through the engine. It must be removed prior to the injector pump = fuel filters. Once you have killed algae in the fuel tank it still must be removed. There are 2 options for that, one is fuel polishing, but at today's low  diesel prices IMO it will be cheaper to#2 option- have the tank drained and cleaned.

I would become adept at changing fuel filters, and carry 2 of each for spares when traveling, until you have captured all remaining black stuff.

To greatly reduce the chance of this re-occurring, keep  your fuel tank full when in storage, and only buy fuel at high-volume/turnover  stations. Normal air temperature changes cause condensation in a partially filled fuel tank, which then settles to the bottom, where "algae" may grow between the water and fuel. A full tank has very little  vacant space for condensation to form.

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Use Biobor, and change filters a lot...time consuming, but a lot cheaper than option 1 or 2.  Joe L. wrote an excellent story on this, 2 years ago, his own experience! 

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There is @70 gallons fuel in tank, should I attempt to remove fuel before adding Biobor?  After adding Biobor any idea how long I should wait until driving, and how often should I change filters to ensure algae is gone.  Currently, I can see algae in fuel/water filter but no water.  Should I drive to mix up fuel with Biobor or should I start RV and let it idle for a period of time.

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7 minutes ago, klparker said:

There is @70 gallons fuel in tank, should I attempt to remove fuel before adding Biobor?  After adding Biobor any idea how long I should wait until driving, and how often should I change filters to ensure algae is gone.  Currently, I can see algae in fuel/water filter but no water.  Should I drive to mix up fuel with Biobor or should I start RV and let it idle for a period of time.

I added algaecide to ours, topped it off with fresh fuel and ran it to 1/4 a tank, topped it off with fresh fuel and added more algaecide. I did this for several months and many fill ups. It took me a while to get it all out. My primary filter was in need of changing the first time around 900 miles, and it went up from there. That all happened back in 2016, to this day I still use a fuel conditioner at each fill up. Cheap insurance and the coach does perform better with it. 

I looked into fuel polishing, it was just north of $1000 and I had to drive it to them. I didn't spend nearly that much doing the way I mentioned but I guess it will depend on how bad yours is. If I still had a fuel tank repair shop close by I would have pulled the tank and had them cut it open, clean it and weld it back together. I have had that done in the past for Ambulances and Fire trucks, that works best and insures cleanliness. 

Make certain you carry extra filters, proper tooling and a way to prime those filters with you at all times. I still carry 5 primary filters and 2 secondary filters. Tools are in a tote, rubber gloves next to the tote and I have a jug to store excess fuel until I can properly dispose of it when I get home. 

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5 hours ago, manholt said:

Use Biobor, and change filters a lot...time consuming, but a lot cheaper than option 1 or 2.  Joe L. wrote an excellent story on this, 2 years ago, his own experience! 

Since  1oz treats 80G  diesel fuel, and klparker has 70G in his tank, and it might take 3 filter changes to get through that 70G; @ $3/gal for diesel, it may be a wash, empty tank or buy Biobor @ $14.26 + at least 3 changes of filters, then clean the tank of slime remaining on surfaces exposed. At today's diesel prices, $3/G  roughly, disposing of 70G will cost about $250. He can always find a farmer who wants free diesel fuel to burn brush piles.

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Ray, we burn pretty big brush piles once a year and use 4 bags of Frito's or Potato chips!  I'm still battling Cedar, got all the Mesquite.  Never use diesel, it's too hard to control.  

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Having spent many days clearing and burning brush we have found that the best and most economical fire starter, in dry or wet weather, is a Presto Log.  At a cost of around $16 for a case of 6 at Home Depot, once started these logs burn for 2-3 hours and will ignite any bush, wet or dry, that you lay on top of them. Way cheaper than using oil, diesel, bags of chips. We always carry one in the MH. Great for starting a camp fire too!

 

enviro-log-firewood-1000562-64_400_compressed.jpg

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1 hour ago, manholt said:

Never use diesel

Funny, one of the first tests to determine if diesel fuel is contaminated with gasoline is to see if it lights with an open flame, if it does its contaminated, if it doesn't there is NO gas in it. 

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Joe, oil will burn, tar, diesel, kerosene, gasoline...same thing.  Some have more volatility than others.  I guess I don't understand your statement.

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9 hours ago, manholt said:

Joe, oil will burn, tar, diesel, kerosene, gasoline...same thing.  Some have more volatility than others.  I guess I don't understand your statement.

Diesel will burn if misted over a flame, you can pour it on the ground and put a torch to it, it will just smoke, only after a while, not burn. 

Scroll down to #2

https://www.anl.gov/article/7-things-you-might-not-know-about-diesel

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I used diesel to start brush fires for years when I had my ranch. I would use a paper feed sack to start it. The crews clearing land for highway R-O-W's used diesel to for years to start the fires; I don't know what the use today. Maybe we have a more volatile diesel here in Texas, Joe. :blink:

Just to not stray from the topic, I don't recommend burning the diesel while its in your tank to destroy the algae.:ph34r:

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On 9/11/2019 at 12:34 PM, klparker said:

There is @70 gallons fuel in tank, should I attempt to remove fuel before adding Biobor?  After adding Biobor any idea how long I should wait until driving, and how often should I change filters to ensure algae is gone.  Currently, I can see algae in fuel/water filter but no water.  Should I drive to mix up fuel with Biobor or should I start RV and let it idle for a period of time.

How did you make out with this? 

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3 hours ago, jleamont said:

How did you make out with this? 

Just got the Biobor, will put enough for 90 gallons - 60 already in tank and adding  30 to top off and then take it down the road.  I have extra fuel/water and fuel filters.  After driving several miles I will check the fuel/water filter for algae and change as needed.  I appreciate all your help and if you have any further ideas please let me know. 

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Hopefully you can clear it out on your own. The Algaecide for me broke it down so it would get into the filters. At first it was so bad it was clogging up the fuel line at the water separator. I thought for sure it was going to be expensive.

I got ours from a truck stop that must have had a load dropped that sat around too long in the summer. I had these little buggers also;

https://www.aa.co.nz/cars/motoring-blog/what-is-the-diesel-bug-and-how-can-i-prevent-it/

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On 9/13/2019 at 2:41 PM, klparker said:

Just got the Biobor, will put enough for 90 gallons - 60 already in tank and adding  30 to top off and then take it down the road.  I have extra fuel/water and fuel filters.  After driving several miles I will check the fuel/water filter for algae and change as needed.  I appreciate all your help and if you have any further ideas please let me know. 

Why would you add clean diesel fuel to a tank containing contaminated fuel? The "algae" forms only at the water/fuel line, it does not grow in clean fuel. IMO that exacerbated the problem.

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As a former trucker, I am still confused  about the problems had by RV diesel coaches. So far none with our Phaeton. Joe Leamont's is especially confusing to me. I wish that I had kept a log of my fuel buys while trucking. Never a problem. Sometimes 650 to 700 gallons a week and all from big sources including Loves. Big dealers selling to America's largest trucking fuel stops would not dare have bad fuel dropped into their tanks. Then it would be pumped into major trucking companies road equipment. Imagine the blow back when a lot of freight was not delivered on time. Trucks would breakdown, waiting on roadside assistance..Questions would be asked by major carriers.  If there was a pattern,  who is paying for this. Why did this happen?

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Byron, the algae will form in the water that accumulates when the fuel tank is low on fuel. Its worse in areas like Texas where the temperature may fluctuate from 70's to 40's daily. This fluctuation will cause moisture to form in the tank from condensation. By burning 600+ gallons of fuel a week  you will never have the problems we are discussing. 

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22 minutes ago, Elkhartjim said:

Byron, the algae will form in the water that accumulates when the fuel tank is low on fuel. Its worse in areas like Texas where the temperature may fluctuate from 70's to 40's daily. This fluctuation will cause moisture to form in the tank from condensation. By burning 600+ gallons of fuel a week  you will never have the problems we are discussing. 

Correct. Algae grows at the water/diesel interface.

An issue for pleasure boats and RV's because of condensation.  OTR trucks rarely/never have their tanks below the dew point so little/no condensation.

That is why I STRONGLY recommend two things if you store diesel fuel:

Tank full to reduce condensation.

If storing diesel over 2 months in summer or 3 in winter, add a biocide.  A popular one is https://www.biobor.com/products/biobor-jf-diesel/

Yup, you will find it at most marine stores, very few truck stops.  Makes sense.

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Obedb, let me explain what our fuel rep told me at work from memory. I might get some of this incorrect, working from memory. Mike K could probably shed some light on this.

Two years ago there was an abundance of diesel fuel produced, it was being stored and caused condensation issues, that was passed along to the stations when their tanks were filled. He told tanker trailers were parked for weeks waiting for pickup to deliver to stations. Couple this with Bio blended fuel (we didn't have much of when you were running your truck) and the microorganisms were loving it, getting fat and growing at a rapid rate.

With the new ultra low sulpher fuels during the manufacturing process creates salt, when its pumped through pipes out of the refinery the salt particles are supposed drop out, turns out not enough was and it was ending up in engine filters. We have actually had to vacuum salt from our primary fuel filters at our shops, it looked just like Brown sugar accumulated in the Davco filters. 

I just had a friend over the summer fill up at a Flying J out west in Colorado, get 30 miles away and lost engine power all caused by bad diesel. He had to have the coach tank pumped out on the side of the road and both filters replaced. 

People look at me funny when I add fuel to a mason jar before dispensing it into my tank and measure out additives before topping off but I don't want to go through that again. 

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I find it hard to believe we had an abundance of diesel 2 years ago, Joe. We export so much diesel that its difficult for the refiners to keep up with the demand. If tanker trucks were lined up for weeks to deliver, the question is why? The demand certainly has done nothing but increase in the last ten years and with essentially no new refineries added.

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1 hour ago, Elkhartjim said:

I find it hard to believe we had an abundance of diesel 2 years ago, Joe. We export so much diesel that its difficult for the refiners to keep up with the demand. If tanker trucks were lined up for weeks to deliver, the question is why? The demand certainly has done nothing but increase in the last ten years and with essentially no new refineries added.

I have no idea why. We got stung at work which lead to a meeting I can only pass along what I was told. 

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