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Diesel bug

DIESEL engine, transmission and generator repair and maintenance discussion forum.
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Topic author Great Britain
PossiblyPaul
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1988 Carver 2827 Voyager,Volvo Penta TAMD31 engines.
Ardglass Marina, County Down
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Diesel bug

Postby PossiblyPaul » June 7th, 2021, 9:26 pm

Astonishingly, I find nothing on a search for 'diesel bug' here. My (or, correctly, my Son's) boat has an infestation. Carver's failure to install any sort of inspection hatch in the tanks now prevents me from scouring the tanks of this vile nastiness, and I have to resort to 'treatments', lengthy waits and many diesel/water filters before I can expect relief.

Doubtless, this is isn't an issue which worries too many of the Petrol users, or those who use their boats continuously throughout the year, but we tend to be fair-weather bods who grab a sunny and wave-free day once in a while, and so the fuel festers with whatever condensation drips in the tanks. It's a bugger.

Complaint: No bloody inspection hatches; I can't clean out the tanks without removing the damn things from the boat, or extensive, fiddly messing about with pressure hoses and driers.
Result: Use of feeble anti-bug 'treatments' and many, many expensive changes of filters for the foreseeable future.

Signed; Hacked Off of Northern Ireland.

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km1125
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Re: Diesel bug

Postby km1125 » June 7th, 2021, 11:03 pm

I don't think anybody puts inspection hatches in the tanks on pleasure boats. Do you have places over there that "polish" fuel for things like diesel gensets for commercial locations? Perhaps they could make a visit to the boat. That may not entirely clean everything up, but at least reduce it to a manageable level. You can also put a couple filters in parallel with a selection switch so you can quickly switch to a fresh filter and continue your journey until you are back in harbor and can change the clogged up one. Are you actually seeing water in the filter or just diesel algae?
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Netherlands
Phrancus
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Vessel Info: Carver 26 Command Bridge / 280 sedan 1992.
Twin Volvo Penta AD31B DuoProp stern drives
And a lot of work due to bring her back into shape.
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Re: Diesel bug

Postby Phrancus » June 8th, 2021, 1:26 am

Without thorough cleaning (as in by hand, not just pumping around) you are indeed in potential trouble and worry for a long time.

On mine hatches were made at some time in the past. This is perfectly doable. Just do it properly: seal it with something that you can remove and re-use. Not flexible rubber/gasket or crap like that. They did that on my boat.

On mine the wooden floor is made over the tank, the dinette is also half over the tank so it's a big job to have it removed to clean the bilge underneath (diesel was spilled I think, smelly) and to re-work the hatches. They made one by positioning the circular saw half under the steps. Understandable as that is the lowest point and you want to reach that. But they forgot that you need to make holes, thread and put screws in for which you need a bit of space above.... Work gently, do not bend the aluminium as you want a flat surface for the covers.

When you make these openings, do not forget the vertical anti-slosh panels inside. I can just not reach one chamber due to the location of the holes. Which made cleaning even more of a hassle. I have a 1991 26 command bridge / 28 sedan with a 105 gallon tank / 400 liters. I have some pictures somewhere, even in my topic I think. On the other hand, you can do it with only two: one at either end of the tank. This will take a lot of flushing with a powerful pump but less hatches is less work on closing/sealing them later on.

My suggestions after my experience with this are:
- make a man hole (20cm or so) at the lowest point, take into your design the closing. Cork gasket or something diesel-proof (don't know what that would be) and stainless screws all around. Preferably more than on hole. depending on where you can reach the tank.
- clean out the tank: pump it out and then rinse, mop, and so on. Messy and smelly but do it right once and you're ok for a long time. and you can keep track of the condition of the tank by opening a hatch rather than just by examining the filters after problems.
- clean the filter housings and remove the filters of course. flush the hoses
- replace the filter at the engine too of course, depending on the state of the separator/filter before that one you could postpone this a bit to make sure it runs for a while on new diesel through the hoses. Then replace and from now on monitor the tank and the filters.

Of course: check every possibility that water got into the tank in the first place. Mine had none that I could find but did have years old diesel in the tank.

Fill and add anti-diesel bacteria poison in the right amount. Consider switching or adding synthetic diesel (GTL / HVO or whatever names they give it). Less smoke, less smell and no bacteria.


While you are at it, you might want to do a bit of plumbing and create a bypass so you can switch to a bypass tank (jerrycan) in case of trouble (just remember to insert the return too).
and perhaps a way to switch filters (double filter install) en route quickly. Didn't get round to do that on mine due to limited time and material at hand.

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Re: Diesel bug

Postby Viper » June 8th, 2021, 7:28 am

PossiblyPaul wrote:Source of the post ....Carver's failure to install any sort of inspection hatch in the tanks..... Complaint: No bloody inspection hatches.....
I'm curious, was the diesel install original from factory or was this a repower by a previous owner from an original gasoline build? There were two TAMD31 models in production prior to your production year but I was surprised to see them installed in your particular model.
While I've come across many diesel applications with tank cleanout ports, I've also seen just as many without them in just about every brand. It may be preferable for some but there's a few reasons why most opt not to install them.

Unfortunately the toxic soup is a downside to using diesel but only if you don't follow some basic measures of prevention to begin with. Certainly being a dock queen and barely ever going out increases your chances of having older fuel which doesn't help. Treatments have their place and help as a proactive measure but they can't perform miracles with conditions that have been left unchecked for years.
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Netherlands
Phrancus
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Posts: 132
Joined: October 1st, 2020, 10:03 am
Vessel Info: Carver 26 Command Bridge / 280 sedan 1992.
Twin Volvo Penta AD31B DuoProp stern drives
And a lot of work due to bring her back into shape.
Location: Netherlands, Europe
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Contact:

Re: Diesel bug

Postby Phrancus » June 8th, 2021, 10:12 am

for the record: I have AD31B Volvo Penta units with duo prop sterndrives. 1991. The tank is the original (with green sticker on it) and the hatches were sawn in later. The Racor separators have American text on them.

How would I recognise a change from petrol to diesel engines? I find the fuel line installation messy but that may have been caused for other reasons during its lifetime.
I think it's been converted because it has (had) the ventilators in de engine room, hanging about and ducting loose. Perhaps these were installed early, before a choice for fuel was made.

The water tank is positioned on a small wooden platform over the valves for the head's hoses, can't imagine that being original. How was the watertank mounted (location is the same as on a plan I found) originally?
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Re: Diesel bug

Postby bud37 » June 8th, 2021, 12:04 pm

PossiblyPaul wrote:Source of the post Astonishingly, I find nothing on a search for 'diesel bug' here. My (or, correctly, my Son's) boat has an infestation. Carver's failure to install any sort of inspection hatch in the tanks now prevents me from scouring the tanks of this vile nastiness, and I have to resort to 'treatments', lengthy waits and many diesel/water filters before I can expect relief.

Doubtless, this is isn't an issue which worries too many of the Petrol users, or those who use their boats continuously throughout the year, but we tend to be fair-weather bods who grab a sunny and wave-free day once in a while, and so the fuel festers with whatever condensation drips in the tanks. It's a bugger.

Complaint: No bloody inspection hatches; I can't clean out the tanks without removing the damn things from the boat, or extensive, fiddly messing about with pressure hoses and driers.
Result: Use of feeble anti-bug 'treatments' and many, many expensive changes of filters for the foreseeable future.

Signed; Hacked Off of Northern Ireland.


That used to be the scourge of all the sailors at the club. They spent the entire year bragging about never using the engine and, "I only used 2 litres of fuel the whole season." Then they spent the off season trying to get the tank and system cleaned of algae.......
All above is my opinion, nothing more.

Short cuts do not always take you to your destination faster.

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Re: Diesel bug

Postby Viper » June 8th, 2021, 9:02 pm

Ya nasty stuff if you let it get out of control.

PossiblyPaul, my curious mind wants to know....

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