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Avoiding engine problems caused by diesel fuel bacteria
Microbes are present everywhere, but without food and water, they cannot multiply. Unlikely though this may seem, diesel is an organic substance that contains all the elements these microorganisms require. It has carbon for food, oxygen for respiration plus dissolved water and other trace substances to sustain their growth and propagation. All that is required are warm conditions which serve to accelerate their growth, and you will then be afflicted by a contamination of what is commonly referred to as the 'Diesel Bug.Non-bio diesel fuel is subject to 147 species of fungi, bacteria and yeast of which as many as twenty-seven are responsible for the majority of problems with diesel engines and their performance. The introduction of modern biodiesel has only served to make the problem worse as it is especially hygroscopic and can be infected by almost ten times the number of species that contaminate non-bio diesel. So if you haven't encountered this problem in the past, you are more likely to do so now.The Diesel Bug can be introduced from the air or moisture, or during tank filling and/or expansion and contraction of storage tanks. The bacteria can lie dormant in the minute crevices of the metal, rubber and polyurethane coatings of the fuel tanks and fuel systems. Then, when a droplet of water becomes available and the environment hits the right temperature range, the reproduction process commences. The microbes then start to break down the hydrocarbons in the diesel using oxygen from the water and excrete a black sludge.Estimates show that a microbial colony can consume up to 1% of your fuel whilst fouling the remainder and damaging the tanks and plugging up the filters in the process. Fuel eventually degrades to the point that it can form a slimy sludge that is unusable as fuel. It is broadly agreed by fuel manufacturers that, if left untreated in a warm environment, fuel will only remain reliable for just 6-12 months after which fuel contamination, such as the Diesel Bug, begins to appear. The tank, piping and fuel system are not the only casualties of a microbial colony as they also damage the engine. An infection also produces acidic byproducts that create corrosion and the buildup of deposits. These lead to the frequent cleaning or replacement of the fuel injector, and wears the rings and cylinder liners of the engine.
Have a jammed on oil filter and no oil filter wrench?
Tightened oil filters can be difficult if not impossible to remove without a hand-driven oil filter wrench.
How to stop fuel tank overfilling
We want to get the most out of our tanks but it is very easy to overfill them. Once this happens the result is a diesel splash-back and a mess that is virtually impossible to clear up.
Keeping fuel clean and preventing blowback when filing the fuel tank
Tanks typically cannot vent displaced air as fast as modern pumps can fill fuel. The result is an excess of air builds up and releases back up the filler pipe through the infilling diesel. This typically causes diesel blowback splashing it about the boat.
Removing a stud that has sheared off flush
Bolts and screws like most every fastening, have a tendency to seize up on boats due to the challenging seagoing environment. Then when it comes to releasing them it is ever so easy to overdo it. We all know that horrible feeling of the tension suddenly becoming soft or rubbery, when you know you have either stripping the threads or broken the bolt. Worse still, when a bolt sheers off it tends to do so close to or just beneath the surface of what it is fastened into so that there is nothing left to get hold of.
Keeping the rig intact when sailing to out-of-the way locations
The stainless steel standing rigging that extends from the mast-head to the larboard and starboard sides of the vessel, stem to stern, supporting the mast is perfect... until it breaks. A well-maintained, well-built rig used under normal conditions is highly robust but it needs some care. Unfortunately, it does degrade and independent and sometimes trivial components could fail and cause the whole rig to come down.
Emergency cutless bearing fix
You discover you have a cutless bearing that has become badly worn causing the prop shaft to vibrate a lot. Your holidays are about to be ruined because you have to haul out the boat to fix that, right?