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Author Topic: Diesel algae  (Read 439 times)

Rfg4retir

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Diesel algae
« on: October 29, 2017, 04:32:42 PM »
Can anyone educate me on this topic, is it a major concern for motor coaches?

Tom

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Re: Diesel algae
« Reply #1 on: October 29, 2017, 04:45:49 PM »
Algae will grow in diesel fuel stored for an extended time, and can clog your filter(s). If you're using the coach regularly, there's no reason to worry about it. If you intend to store for a long time, add biocide to the fuel tank. It's available under different brand names, including from marine stores - see here. I've used it on diesel boats for a number of years, but haven't worried about it on our coach which sits for several months a year.
« Last Edit: October 29, 2017, 04:48:30 PM by Tom »
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Rfg4retir

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Re: Diesel algae
« Reply #2 on: October 29, 2017, 04:49:41 PM »
Thanks, I'm interested in a used unit that is now 3 yrs old and wandering if I should even be concerned

Boonieman

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Re: Diesel algae
« Reply #3 on: October 29, 2017, 05:06:30 PM »
Iíve had 4 diesel pickups, and two of my tractors are diesel and I never had a problem with it until this year. And that was on one of my tractors, my newest one. I consider it a fluke, and if you use your coach regularly, I totally agree with Tom, I totally wouldnít worry about it. I have never used a biocide.
2016 Chevrolet Dually/Duramax
2011 Fuzion 322
2016 Harley Trike
3 cherished dogs, Moo, Molly, Mia the one eyed pup 😊
Originally from South Dakota, reside in Kentucky

Rfg4retir

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Re: Diesel algae
« Reply #4 on: October 29, 2017, 05:09:40 PM »
Cool thx, I guess if it was infected I would know right away

Tom

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Re: Diesel algae
« Reply #5 on: October 29, 2017, 05:25:41 PM »
Small amounts of algae will be trapped by the primary fuel filter. If there's a lot of algae, the filter will clog and starve the engine of fuel. I always carry spare filters on the boat.

Storage in hot, humid climates increases the likelihood of algae growth.

If the engine won't start on a coach that has sat idle for a long time, a clogged fuel filter would be a suspect. Some shops offer a service to "polish" the fuel, where they'll pump your old fuel out and cycle it multiple times through a filter, changing their filter as necessary.
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Boonieman

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Re: Diesel algae
« Reply #6 on: October 29, 2017, 05:40:35 PM »
Actually, on the issue with my tractor was the algae actually formed in the fuel tank itself, clogging the outlet of the fuel tank before the fuel stream ever got to any filtration. But my machines can sit outside for a couple months without running (under cover) undergoing big temperature swings, and resulting condensation, inside the fuel tanks. I donít know, but since it was episode #1 of algae in many many years of running diesels I think I will wait for a pattern to form to be concerned about it.
2016 Chevrolet Dually/Duramax
2011 Fuzion 322
2016 Harley Trike
3 cherished dogs, Moo, Molly, Mia the one eyed pup 😊
Originally from South Dakota, reside in Kentucky

Rfg4retir

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Re: Diesel algae
« Reply #7 on: October 29, 2017, 05:49:07 PM »
Thx again, yeah my guess is that it has sat for a yr now

Tom

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Re: Diesel algae
« Reply #8 on: October 29, 2017, 06:06:56 PM »
Quote from: Boonieman
... on the issue with my tractor was the algae actually formed in the fuel tank itself...

Aye, it grows in the tank, but ...

Quote
... clogging the outlet of the fuel tank before the fuel stream ever got to any filtration.

Hadn't heard of that happening. Thanks for sharing.
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Tom

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Re: Diesel algae
« Reply #9 on: October 29, 2017, 06:17:01 PM »
Quote from: Rfg4retir
Thx again, yeah my guess is that it has sat for a yr now

Depending on where it was stored, there may not be an issue. But, if you buy it and drive away, I'd have a couple of spare filters on hand. Depending on the coach/layout, it might be easy to get to the primary fuel filter. Usually, it's a Racor filter which also removes water from the fuel (there'll be a drain on the bottom of the filter to drain out the trapped water).

Adding biocide to a fuel tank that already has algae growth doesn't hurt. Similar to chlorine added to a swimming pool, you "shock" it with a higher dose (read the instructions on the container). It will kill the existing algae, but you could still experience a clogged filter from the dead stuff being trapped in the filter.

For clarification, the issue with algae getting past the filters is that it can clog the injectors ($$). But the 2-step filtration (primary and secondary filters) will usually prevent that.
« Last Edit: October 29, 2017, 06:33:16 PM by Tom »
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Rfg4retir

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Re: Diesel algae
« Reply #10 on: October 29, 2017, 06:19:53 PM »
Ok starting to feel better now   :))

Tom

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Re: Diesel algae
« Reply #11 on: October 29, 2017, 06:22:23 PM »
Quote
starting to feel better now

If the engine starts (diesels usually start immediately, on the first or second revolution), I wouldn't worry about it, but I'd still carry a couple of spare filters.
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Rfg4retir

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Re: Diesel algae
« Reply #12 on: October 29, 2017, 06:23:34 PM »
Copy that !

Tom

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Re: Diesel algae
« Reply #13 on: October 29, 2017, 06:26:52 PM »
I'd be a little concerned (not paranoid) about moisture in the fuel if it's been stored with a partially-full fuel tank. But, the "water separator" feature of the Racor filter will remove moisture/water. Just learn how to drain it from the bottom of the filter (you'll need a container to catch the water & fuel as you drain it).

Storing with a full fuel tank minimizes the possibility of moisture in the tank.
« Last Edit: October 29, 2017, 06:28:46 PM by Tom »
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Rfg4retir

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Re: Diesel algae
« Reply #14 on: October 29, 2017, 06:29:02 PM »
Agree,but I doubt it's full

Gary RV_Wizard

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Re: Diesel algae
« Reply #15 on: October 29, 2017, 06:30:44 PM »
Good advice from others. Here in Florida, with its warm & humid climate, algae is more of a problem than, say, in the southwest desert or higher & drier mountain areas.

Whether you have reason to suspect algae or not, always carry spare primary filters. Changing the fuel filter is the first thing to do for any diesel performance issue, including a no-start.
Gary
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Gary Brinck
Summers: Black Mountain, NC
Home: Ocala National Forest, FL

Boonieman

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Re: Diesel algae
« Reply #16 on: October 29, 2017, 06:59:01 PM »
If you test run it, make sure you do it under load. My tractor would start fine but the fuel line was partially restricted and the issue showed up when the engine tried to pull more fuel than the partially plugged line would allow. It was a particularly frustration troubleshooting problem. Just didnít want you to fire it up and let it idle and call it good. 😄
2016 Chevrolet Dually/Duramax
2011 Fuzion 322
2016 Harley Trike
3 cherished dogs, Moo, Molly, Mia the one eyed pup 😊
Originally from South Dakota, reside in Kentucky

Tom

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Re: Diesel algae
« Reply #17 on: October 29, 2017, 07:00:22 PM »
Good advice Boonieman; I can understand how that could happen.
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Rfg4retir

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Re: Diesel algae
« Reply #18 on: October 29, 2017, 07:03:55 PM »
Ok thx Boonieman

Jim Johnson

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Re: Diesel algae
« Reply #19 on: October 29, 2017, 08:36:54 PM »
I had an algae problem on my summer/fall trip.  Coach was stored in Alabama for several months.  By the time I was on the NY Turnpike it started showing up.  In southern NH had the primary filter changed and have driven 2000 miles since then with no further problem.  I will change filers before I leave again.  I have heard of it taking 3-4 filter changes to get all the crud out but I have been lucky.  Mechanics I talked to said it is a greater problem with the bio-diesel fuel. 
Jim

Jim & Tarry Johnson

Rfg4retir

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Re: Diesel algae
« Reply #20 on: October 29, 2017, 08:46:17 PM »
Ah ha ok , no French fry fuel for me!

Gary RV_Wizard

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Re: Diesel algae
« Reply #21 on: October 30, 2017, 08:28:08 AM »
Quote
Mechanics I talked to said it is a greater problem with the bio-diesel fuel. 

They love to say that, but it is mostly a myth.   :)   Commercially available biodiesel at the pump, i.e. the B10 or B20 that comes from a major refinery, is clean and reliable. They don't use old french fry oil or lard at the refinery!  Sure, there is an increased algae risk if you just filtered old vegetable oils and ran B80 or B100, but for practical purposes the commercially refined stuff is no more likley to get algae than pure petroleum.

Algae grows more easily as the moisture content of the fuel increases. That can happen in your tank, or in the tank at the fuel station. The primary factor in algae growth is moisture content, not the presence of biologics in the fuel blend.
Gary
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Gary Brinck
Summers: Black Mountain, NC
Home: Ocala National Forest, FL

OBX

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Re: Diesel algae
« Reply #22 on: October 30, 2017, 01:11:38 PM »
Would the same issue occur with home heating oil if it was stored for a long time?

Rfg4retir

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Re: Diesel algae
« Reply #23 on: October 30, 2017, 01:49:59 PM »
Good question I guess it depends on weather its stored inside or outside and if it is less than full or not

OBX

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Re: Diesel algae
« Reply #24 on: October 30, 2017, 02:07:01 PM »
I've thought about adding a second tank for back up.  It wouldn't be used for months at a minimum because the first tank lasts about a month or more in the winter.  Diesel and heating oil are pretty much the same I believe except for a coloring agent.

Rfg4retir

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Re: Diesel algae
« Reply #25 on: October 30, 2017, 04:47:03 PM »
I would consult your oil provider if I were you

 

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