Saturday, 25 January 2014

Sludge!

One of Big Al's early recommendations, was to dispose of the contents of the diesel tank. He said you can never be sure of the state of the fuel and it's probably something you don't want to precipitate a breakdown when you least need it.

This job looked like a pain in the ass for little gain (if the fuel was OK).


I should mention at this point that the "fuel gauge" was a rudimentary piece of wood that you needed to insert through the deck filler. If you look closely at the photo below, you can see the "calibration" marks.





I did not fancy using this in a heaving seaway; a more modern sender and gauge were required. This necessitated the removal of the tank from the wet locker behind the heads. Pain in the ass it was, as I tried with great difficulty to get my 6'3" frame through the locker door to unscrew the endless jubilee clamps on the filler & breather pipes (one handed!).


Eventually I got the tank out and as I emptied the fuel it quickly turned from clear to a murky mix as I got near the end. Poking a flash-light down the filler hose showed this sludge, visible in the photo:

Sludge in fuel tank

Big Al was right (again). 30 years of sludge in the bottom of the tank. Apparantly bacteria and certain types of fungi thrive in the marine/diesel environment (I can't imagine why) and the sludge visible is the result. Fortunately the filler hole is 2" in diameter which enables me to get a brush on the end of a stick, into the tank to clean it out. 

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