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.
Prop and Shaft Check
A vessels drive train is typically defined as the components between the engine transmission coupling and the bitter end of the propeller shaft. For traditional drive trains, this includes the propeller, shaft, cutless bearing and packing gland, although the list could also be expanded to encompass ancillary items such as the rudder, engine mounts, and engine bedworks. Heres a look at two major drive train components you should know and what to look for when inspecting each. Next month well look at the components inside the boat-stuffing box, shaft, and coupler.
Anti-Seize Coatings for Spars
If youve ever been humbled by a single impossibly stuck fastener, or plan on adding hardware to your spar, running gear, or deck, this report on anti-seize protectants is right up your alley.
Folding vs. Feathering Props
For the past 40 years weve sailed an average of 10,000 miles annually between Australia, Alaska, Antarctica and Spitsbergen motoring or motorsailing between 400 and 600 hours, depending on the area - more hours in high latitudes of Antarctica and the Arctic, fewer in the tropical trade winds.
Jerry Can Storage Tips
Jerry cans are a fact of life when cruising on small to mid-size cruisers. When fitting out our 37-foot cruiser for an extended trip from Lake Ontario to the Bahamas we supplemented our diesel tankage with four jerry cans for diesel and three gas cans to power the dinghy and run the water maker/generator.
Dealing with Bad Diesel
About this time of year, many of our readers will experience a gradual loss of engine power, maybe even a complete shut down. Theyll pull the filters and find them so clogged youd think the last fill-up was a spinach smoothie.
Playing it Safe with LPG Heat
Unlike many sailors, Practical Sailor contributor Drew Fryes version of sailing occurs in any weather where the water isn't frozen. So when his family purchased a used PDQ 32 catamaran six years ago, one of the first items on the To-Buy list was a cabin heater.
Additives vs. Gum, Sludge
If we used our boats like the family car, back and forth to work each day, fuel would never sit for more than a few weeks and it would never age. Instead, boats sit for weeks at a time in-season, and for months during the off-season. Water, oxygen, bacteria, metal ions, and even instabilities in the molecules themselves combine to turn fresh fuel into a soup that will clog filters, corrode fuel systems, and leave us stranded. Fuel refineries have long known this, and all products are dosed with inhibitors at the refinery; however, these dosages are calculated for the normal distribution and storage times, not half-full tanks that will sit for months or even years.
Testing Boat Fuel Stability in Diesel and Gasoline
We followed standard test methods for storage stability. Diesel was tested using ASTM method D 4625, Standard Test Method for Middle Distillate Fuel Storage Stability at 43C. Samples were exposed to air for up to two years at 113 degrees (45 degrees Celsius); each day simulated about four days of real-world storage, according to industry experience. We settled on 8 months of exposure, the equivalent of about three years. At the end of each period, samples were filtered, and the insoluble solids weighed.
Reduce Gasoline Evaporation in Boats with These Tips
Sometimes it is not what has been added to your fuel that matters, but what is missing. The most obvious difference between gasoline and diesel during our vented, fuel-aging tests was that gasoline samples evaporated and required replenishment at the mid-way point; diesel samples did not. Studies by BoatUS and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) have shown that anywhere between 5 and 20 percent of the contents of a portable or installed polyethylene gas tank can vanish in one year through evaporation and permeation. The remaining fuel is lower in octane, contains fewer of the volatiles that are so essential for easy starting, and has reduced solvency for gum and varnish. It often looks perfectly good-most of our samples did-but it is perfectly rotten and potentially harmful as fuel.