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San Diego Ship Repair Expert Advice: How to Prevent Fuel Contamination

San Diego Ship Repair Expert Advice: How to Prevent Fuel Contamination

Just like humans, marine diesel engines become very susceptible to various issues at later ages. The most common issues the clients at our San Diego ship repair facility complain about come from using bad fuel. This is especially true for first-time boat owners who are unfamiliar with fuel contamination issues like the diesel bug and how they can impact the marine diesel engines.

You have to know that you have to pay attention to the fuel system maintenance throughout the year, not just during the sailing season. The same goes for when your boat is stored during the winter. There are many additives on the market claiming they can maintain the stability in both diesel fuel and gasoline during the period your boat is stored away unused. However, you also have to be careful where you buy the fuel. Fuel docks usually have pre-filters that prevent dangerous contaminants from wreaking havoc in your engine. But don’t rely too heavily on them.

PCE is a San Diego ship repair company with over 40 years of experience in servicing marine diesel engines and problems occurring as a result of fuel contamination. Here are some of the most practical fuel system maintenance tips we’ve learned from years of experience servicing marine diesel engines.

Mind Where You Buy the Fuel

When buying diesel fuel, always buy it at the busiest dock near you. These docks often serve commercial ships. They are guaranteed to have a fresh supply of fuel at all times. With all the clients they serve, there’s a slim chance the fuel has been stored improperly and for a long time, which increases the chance of fuel contamination.

Keep Water Out of the Tank

Water is the most common cause of fuel contamination, which is why you have to make sure to keep it out of the tank. Inspect the opening at least once a year and replace the O-rings when necessary. You can also lubricate the O-ring to seal it better and prevent contamination. Install a high loop in the hose to prevent water from splashing in or entering the tank during waves. 

Keep the Tank Filled

This is particularly important for gasoline tanks but should be not neglected by diesel users either. The more free space there is in the tank, the more the tank will breathe. So if your tank is 90% full, the tank can’t absorb that much water when breathing. However, most boat owners are lead to believe their tank should be left with a minimum amount of fuel during the winter to keep it fresh. However, this increases the oxygen exposure and humidity in the tank, leading to fuel contamination, one of the most common issues that develops in the winter

Filtration is Your Friend

With both gasoline and diesel engines, filtration is your number one method of preventing fuel contamination. High-quality separators and high-capacity filters provide invaluable protection in case you get a bad batch of fuel or face bad weather conditions that lead to fuel contamination.

Run the Engine

A lot of boat owners don’t take their boats far away from the marina, only enough to boast having them. But neglecting your boat and only taking it for periodical short trips is not enough to warm the engine up and only a little fuel is used to power the boat for each of these trips. The rest of the fuel stays in the tank for long periods of time. Neither diesel nor gasoline is made to stay that long in the tank. In most cases, marine diesel engines die from not being used rather than being worn out.

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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 
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Everett, WA 98201-1300
Phone: (425) 257-9065
Fax: (425) 259-6851