Hidden Impacts of Metal and Fuels Chemical Stew

After years of testing fuel products and systems, PS began to suspect that mixed metals in the system could be causing harm.

Are Copper, Zinc, and Brass Mucking Up Our Fuel?

Something we have long noticed at PS is that gasoline and diesel control samples in our aging and corrosion studies never really age much. Only when the samples include metal samples do they generate gum and discolor. One explanation is refinery stability treatments, but the primary difference is that copper and zinc ions are powerful catalysts for polymerization. Shore-side fuel storage systems do not experience this type of break down because copper tubing, brass fittings and galvanized pipe are forbidden by code . The following requirements are quoted from standards groups and OEMs.

Flexible Tanks Require Special Protections

What about fuel bladders? Fuel bladders must meet a higher standard than water bladders, but many of the findings from our water bladder test apply to fuel as well (see Practical Sailor Drops, Drags, and Dissects Three Flexible Portable Water Tanks, PS October 2007).

Reviving Gelcoat & More

One of the most common questions we get from new owners of old boats is how to bring back new gelcoat shine. Weve undertaken countless product tests to find the best boat wax and polishes, the most effective waxing-and-polishing tools, and the products that can be used for a speedy touchup. If waxing is on your to-do list, be sure to check out the following articles.

Clean Potty Overkill?

Its not sailing, but weve got to talk about it because its not fun when it goes wrong. The head. Weve reported on the best hoses, joker valves, toilet paper, and holding tank treatments. Recently readers have asked about cleaners that are safe, and sure enough, over the years weve run into evidence that improper cleaning can do real harm.

Making Sense of Solvents

Practical Sailor wades into the world of thinners and clean-up chemicals.

Can Diesel Damage Fuel Lines?

Given the tiny amount of fuel it takes to clear the jetty and hoist sail, our 50-gallon fuel supply can last, quite literally, for years. It certainly lasts through the winter, and all the while, we worry that sludge is growing.

Online Help for Autumn

Its getting to be that time of year, when many skippers haul out or head south. Fall also heralds the beginning of boat show season. Here are some PS articles from the online archives that will help you weather the changing of the seasons.

Cannister Dissection Yields Surprises but Few Defects

Different filter manufacturers can chose different rating systems that rely on different statistical values for filtration. The higher the percentage at a given rating, the more effective. Interestingly, the effective rating changes over time, as particles clog up the media, making the holes smaller.

Four Solvents for Nearly Every Boat Job

As with cleaners (see One Bucket Cleaning Kit, May 2017) its easy to be over-specific with solvents. Pretty soon, we end up with a zillion cans in the paint locker. While we would probably pay extra for the magic vendor-specific blend for a topside paint job, wed not be so selective for every single small varnish, fiberglass, or similar job that comes up. For these everyday jobs, a few generics can do the trick.

Too Many Layers of Bottom Paint?

So, a couple of years back, you acquired a good old boat at a pretty good price-thanks to the market-but now youre wondering how many coats of bottom paint it has. And what kind? Youve put on a few coats of ablative antifouling since youve owned the boat. It has adhered well and has done its job. But each year, the bottom looks rougher and rougher-with big recesses where paint has flaked off. You sweated out some extra prep-work this season, and thought you had a nice, durable subsurface for painting, but each pass of the roller pulls up more paint. Whats going on here?