Article reposted with permission from News From The Bow.
The time for spring commissioning is upon us. You may be thinking about rigging checks, engine tune-ups, water system inspections, and checking heads…but what about your fuel? Just because you put fuel stabilizer in your tank(s) in the fall doesn’t mean you can safely start up your engine(s), and motor away in the spring.
Maintaining Fresh Diesel Fuel
If you store diesel fuel on your sailboat, where a lot of it isn’t consumed during the course of a season, then a “biocide” should be routinely added to the tank. Biocide should be an integral part of fall commissioning, and be included with each added tank of fuel during the season. Examples of biocide products include Killed (made by FPPF) and Biobor J F (made by Hammonds). These products prevent fungus and other microbial life from growing in diesel fuel.
It is also not a bad idea to add:
- A “cetane booster” and
- A lubricity additive
each spring to rejuvenate fuel. FPPF products offer a full line of additives that can be used for these purposes. Starbrite Company offers another useful fuel additive for diesel, called Starton, that disperses water, maintains the cetane level (but doesn’t replenish it) and cleans the fuel system during use.
For power boaters with diesel engines a product like MDR’s Water Zorb is a good idea after winter storage. Its job is to disperse water in the tank. During the season two other products that help maintain fuel include:
- FPPF’s “Fuel Maintenance” that combines a Cetane booster and lubricity addictive, and
- Startron Additive that disperses water, helps maintain the cetane level, and cleans the fuel system as it burns through
Ethanol Gas Concerns
Many people think skulls and crossbones when they hear the word “ethanol”. The truth is that ethanol gas was originally introduced as a cleaner, more environmentally friendly alternative to fossil fuel. Unfortunately, the nature of ethanol is that it attracts moisture. As a result of this, when you buy ethanol gas right from the pump you also receive 4 teaspoons of water in every gallon of gas.
It is the nature of marine fuel applications that create problems with ethanol containing gas. We on the water are really the only one’s affected in a negative way by ethanol. This is because our gas tanks must be vented, our environment is generally high humidity, and our season usually lasts no more than 6 months. As a result of these factors gas sits in our tanks, especially over the winter, is exposed to a moist environment, and accumulates water.