icon-phone 619.235.0961    icon-email Email

When Downtime Is Not An Option.



Look out for Diesel Bug When You Take Your Boat out of Storage

Look out for Diesel Bug When You Take Your Boat out of Storage

Diesel bug has become a huge problem for boat owners in the last couple of years. Any engine using biodiesel is prone to this issue, and with biodiesel becoming a marine standard, that means a lot of them. Diesel bug occurs when algae, bacteria, and mold develop in the fuel tank. When these microorganisms begin breeding, a film forms on the surface of the fuel. 

These microorganisms usually develop when there’s water in the tank. While these microbes use the fuel as food, water is necessary for them to grow and live. The waste these microbes create can wreak havoc in your engine. Your boat is especially at risk during the winter while it’s stored and inactive. If you left the fuel in the tank during the winter, you should check for signs of a diesel bug contamination before you take it out to the sea.

The extent of the damage ranges from clogs in the filters to causing complete engine failure. It is also known to damage the injectors, leading to a lot of extensive and expensive repairs that should be performed by a licensed fuel injector service.

How does it Develop?

As previously mentioned, microbial bacteria are responsible for the fuel bug. If they enter the fuel tank they can feed on the hydrocarbons and other nutrients in the biodiesel and reproduce in the water. Apart from that, temperature also plays a major role in the development of the diesel bug. The ideal temperature for them to live in is between 41 and 158 °F, but they thrive at a temperature of 86°F. Some of these microbes are even airborne. 

How to Recognize the Diesel Bug?

You will know you might have a diesel problem as soon as your engine stops. The diesel bug can block any component of the engine, including the fuel line, causing the engine to stop due to lack of fuel. The fuel bug can also damage some types of metal used in diesel engines. 

There are several signs that something might be wrong with your engine that precede a complete breakdown. You might see increased levels of smoke, troubles starting or hear the engine missing a few beats. In some cases, detecting the bug early can help save you a lot of trouble.

How to Fight It?

For some engines, it’s much cheaper to dispose of the contaminated fuel than risk the diesel bug causing extensive damage. This is especially true during the spring. If the diesel bug developed during the winter when your boat was stored, it is better to replace the fuel during the spring and get a fresh start. For larger vessels, the fuel can be sent to a lab for an analysis to determine whether the problem can be treated. 

Best way to deal with diesel bug is to prevent it. The biodiesel has an expiry date, which is why you should try to keep the temperature in the storage around 41 and 50°F. If you suspect the fuel might have gotten contaminated, sometimes the best solution is to get rid of it.

Looking for a Licensed Fuel Injector Service?

If you suspect a diesel bug might have caused some damage to your fuel injectors during the winter, contact PCE San Diego, one of the leading ship repair companies in San Diego. Our experts will inspect the fuel in your engine and evaluate how much damage it might have caused. 

  1. Make Contact
Please enter a name.
Please enter a valid email address.
Please enter a valid phone number.
Invalid Input
Invalid Input
I Would Like More Information About:

Invalid Input
Send me your newsletter:

Invalid Input

Our Guarantee

At PCE, we pledge to provide you with the highest level of integrity and expertise; to recommend only what’s good for you and your situation; to use all resources possible to minimize downtime; to give the best value for your dollar; and to stand by our work and our word.

Contact Us

Corporate Headquarters
1620 Rigel Street
San Diego, CA 92113
Phone: (619) 235-0961
Fax: (619) 233-5096 
Diesel & Motor Division
3376 Main Street
San Diego, CA 92113
Phone: (619) 235-0961
Fax: (619) 687-0038 
99-1221 Halawa Valley Street
Aiea, HI 96701-3281
Phone: (808) 486-6600
Fax: (808) 845-1652 
920 West Marine View Drive
Everett, WA 98201-1300
Phone: (425) 257-9065
Fax: (425) 259-6851