This is a service being offered by Tony Little (Elemiah) who writes below:
Let me ask you the following questions (my answers are in italics).
- Do you check the quality of fuel you buy before putting it in your tank? No
- Do you buy fuel from ‘just anywhere’/when you need it? Yes
- Do you conscientiously add Diesel Bug preventer? Yes
- Do you know exactly which type of ‘Red diesel’ you buy? No
- Do you winterise you fuel tank properly? Depends
- Have you found ‘slime’ in your fuel filters? Yes
- Does your Bubble/Lockgate stove burn yellow? Yes(ish)
- Does your Eberspacher/Webasto give trouble? N/A
- Have you had your tank/fuel cleaned? Yes
As you can see, I am no saint when it comes to the fuel that I have poured into my tank over the years, although I’ve not had any issues with my engine – to date.
Five years ago, I offered my boat for a demonstration of ‘TankBusters’ cleaning services at my, then, boat club at Longwood. The results of the initial fuel samples were very disappointing – my fuel was horrible, a muddy brown colour, and I was grateful I had offered my tank and fuel to be cleaned! After the cleaning process the subsequent sample of fuel was ‘red’, clear of water and bug free.
What has this got to do with you, I hear you ask? Well, if your answers were similar to mine then there is a very real possibility that your fuel tank contains some or all of the following:
- rust from your fuel tank
- bacteria/fungus (diesel bug)
- water in the tank
- excess water in suspension within the fuel
- debris from re-fuelling sources
For most of the time, cruising the inland waterways, the undesirable contents of your tank will have no effect and will sit, festering away, in the bottom of your tank out of reach of the fuel inlet pipe. Venture out on to the Tidal Severn, Ribble Link or, in the case of some of us next month, the Wash and the vertical movement of the water will mix all that water and crud into the fuel, potentially a recipe for disaster. In fact, the Rivers Severn, Thames and, for sure, the Trent can be just as rough.
To cross the Wash, the pilot requires that we have ‘clean fuel’, as you will appreciate from the above, your fuel might be clean ‘apparently’ but what you really need to know is just what is lurking in the bottom of your tank. As I have mentioned on both the CCCC FB page and through the e-mail system I have a ‘TANKBUSTER’ Trojan unit but, perhaps more importantly, I have the associated sampling equipment.
Using the sampling equipment, I would remove about 200 ml each from 3 different parts of your fuel tank and you would then see the state of your fuel. Having, very recently, sampled the fuel on a 30+ year old boat that isn’t exactly ‘looked after’ I was surprised to find the fuel perfect (certainly as clear as my ‘polished’ sample) and such a small amount of crud as to be insignificant. If your fuel sample is like that then I will supply you with a sealed, bottled sample of your fuel for the benefit of the pilot.
Here is the crunch:
The cost of sampling your fuel will be £10 which will include the sealed sample bottle of your fuel.
In the event that your fuel/fuel tank is full of contaminants then I will have the facilities to remove water, clean debris from your tank and remove diesel bug and water from your fuel. (You do not lose any fuel during this process as the clean fuel returns to your tank). Please be aware I have limited storage capacity and may have only sufficient filter to clean one boat. (I can obtain extra filters within 24-48 hours subject to finding someone in Boston who will receive the parcel). My limited storage also means that I will not have spare containers to collect water removed from your tank nor will I be able to dispose of that water or ‘your’ filters used during the cleaning process.
The polishing package will cost £175 to CCCC Members, sounds a lot I know, but I am offering this at a very significant discount. The package will include the initial sampling, the cost of 3 filters and my time for the 3+ hours it takes to complete an average cleansing. In the event of additional filters being required they will cost £25 each. At the end of the process I will re-sample your fuel and give you the result in a sealed bottle to show the pilot. I will also have a receipt for you to show that the cleaning has been completed to the TankBuster standards.
If you wish to know more about fuel contamination, the associated problems and more about TankBusters, there is a promotional article on pg 69 of the May issue of Towpath Talk. I thought there was also an editorial about the problem in the same issue but have failed to find it.
Like all TankBuster systems, the Trojan unit filters to 1 micron and removes water to 100 ppm