Wanderlodge Owners Group  
BuyByeBlueBird.com
Donate

Go Back   Wanderlodge Owners Group > Mechanic's Corner > Vehicle Issues

Vehicle Issues Frequently asked questions about vehicles, parts, maintenance, and troubleshooting

Site Search:
Reply
 
Thread Tools
  #1  
Old 11-03-2008
sfedeli's Avatar
sfedeli sfedeli is offline
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Jan 2008
Location: Hershey
Posts: 3,162
Default The Adventues of "Algae Boy"

Since buying our coach in July, 2004, I've never had Racor filters last more than 5,000 miles or so before needing a change. At our Hershey rally, Paul LaZar saw how black my Racor element was when I changed it and commented that I should try some Bio-Bor treatment http://www.silmid.com/biobor/biocide.htm for the fuel tank. Prior to leaving for RATS, I went to our local HD Truck Parts supplier and picked up Killem http://www.fppf.com/killem.asp
Well, HOLY JEEZUS DOES THAT STUFF WORK!! By the time we had gone down the road about 100 miles from home, our Racor filter was starting to show increased vacuum readings. I had taken the advice of others and pulled 6 new filters off my shelf before leaving, but I was not prepared for what was about to happen. As we continued to travel south on I-81, the filters began plugging with greater volumes of slime and by the time we made it to the birds nest, our Racor unit was full of the greenish jelly. Taking the advice of Dick Warren, who said that I had a "bad case of it", we added two more bottles of the stuff. When I left the nest to head south to the RATS rally, we barely made it off the exit ramp- a mere 25 miles from the time we left Ft Valley. I bought up all but one of the 10 micron Racor elements from Coachworks and got another 4 at Bleakley's in Unadilla, GA. Finally, on the way home, I cleaned off the shelf at the West Marine store in Buford, GA and headed north with no less than 18 filters. At first, we could only go 25 miles or so before the 10 micron filters plugged and were so fouled that the coach would not exceed 50 MPH. By the end of the trip today, we were able to go 200 miles or so with a 2 micron filter. We topped off the fuel tank in GA and again in VA to dilute the mess. Fortunately, the slime has thinned out and we're now seeing yellowish flakes instead of large globs of green on the filter.
We've put 22,000 miles on the coach this year and a total of around 60K miles since buying it. All of our fuel is purchased at the Flying Hook and we're never parked at home with less than 7/8 tank. My guess is that it's always been there- festering and waiting- since I bought the coach. I'm going to see if I can make a "fuel polishing" system for cleaning our fuel when I'm parked this winter. Any ideas or experiences in doing this would be appreciated. Hopefully, by next spring, we'll have a clean tank and I'll be making darn sure that I add biocide at each fill up.
__________________
Shane Fedeli
85PT40
Hershey, PA

"Savor the wine of youth, for it is a drink that can be consumed only once”
shanefedeli@gmail.com
717-645-4912
Reply With Quote
  #2  
Old 11-04-2008
bubblerboy64 bubblerboy64 is offline
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Aug 2008
Location: Shippensburg Pa
Posts: 6,836
Default

I had no idea that algae would grow in diesel fuel. Must be some very hardy stuff. Pretty much proves to me there has got to be life on other worlds if you can get green slime growing in a tank full of diesel. Glad you got home OK and bet you can change one of those filters with your eyes closed and one hand tied behind your back. Hope you have the "life forms" killed and that none of "them" was intelligent. And what's this stuff you killed it with? Some kind of nuclear waste. I can't imagine what you'd put in a tank of diesel fuel that would kill somethin that was livin in there. A real "War of the Worlds" adventure ah?
__________________

John Heckman
Shippensburg Pa
1987 PT 36
The Bella Mia Sold
Reply With Quote
  #3  
Old 11-04-2008
Mike Brody Mike Brody is offline
Junior Member
 
Join Date: Jan 2008
Location: Palm City, Florida
Posts: 12
Default Algae

Shane

Anaerobic bacteria (algae) form on the water line at the bottom of the fuel tank. First I would make sure that the water content in the tank is as low as possible, then keep treating routinely with the biocide.

Worse than slime is the fact that the bacteria produces HCL (hydrochloric acid). Most diesel tanks have a protective coating up to the predicted water-line to protect from HCL attack.

Since you have had this problem for a while, and the prior owner did also, I would check the tank for thinning on the bottom with a magnetic thickness guage and see if there are any leaks about to spurt. W eused to use the guage t MetalWeld, but don't recall the name or provider of it. You could probably Googe ASTM andfind it.

Mike
'97 BMC 40'
__________________
Mike
'97 BMC 40'
'07 & '08 Mercury Mariner Hybrid toad

Mike & Judi Brody
3109 SW Captiva Court
Palm City, Florida 34990
(v) 772-463-1078
(c) 215-582-3848
Reply With Quote
  #4  
Old 11-04-2008
bubblerboy64 bubblerboy64 is offline
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Aug 2008
Location: Shippensburg Pa
Posts: 6,836
Default Algae

Hi Mike, I understand what you have said but perhaps you could expand a little. I would appear that the presence of water then is the fundamental cause ? The anaerobes metabolize the diesel and HCL is a by product of that? Interesting. Water would be at the bottom of the tank of course and I am certain that Shane would have taped off the water. I am thinking that he got a bunch of bad fuel or do you think not? It would seem that the key preventative measure then would be making certain that no water was available for the bugs. How common is this and are there preventative measures which we need to implement other then taping off the water from time to time (how often?) and changing fuel filters and using the additives (what type). John
__________________

John Heckman
Shippensburg Pa
1987 PT 36
The Bella Mia Sold
Reply With Quote
  #5  
Old 11-04-2008
michael3536's Avatar
michael3536 michael3536 is offline
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Mar 2008
Location: Wareham
Posts: 551
Default

i like your idea of a way to clean the fuel while stationary. I came across this nautical link written by a trawler owner. "Capt. Wil" He used rolls of Bounty as a filter medium. I really like his ingenuity, although it would not be worth any risk of harm or fuel contamination---

I'm suspicious of my fuel and would want to check for water and algae. I'd want to be able to mix and filter out the water once adding the biocide to eliminate any settling. It could be done right trough the filler neck.

Is that foolish? or not because our fuel sits around to long! I still have not done the flashlight test. I will try that this afternoon and report back.

Does anyone use the green paste and stick the tank to see if there is water in the tank?

http://www.trawlersandtrawlering.com.../captnwil.html
__________________
Michael C
Wareham Ma
ThunderBird
89 PT40
Reply With Quote
  #6  
Old 11-04-2008
Rob Robinson's Avatar
Rob Robinson Rob Robinson is offline
Forum Moderator
 
Join Date: Dec 2007
Location: Victoria
Posts: 4,384
Default

Shane I've been meaning to stock up on filters and your problem was just the incentive I needed. Ordered a case of Wix 2020TP (10 Micron) from my local DD guy today. $10.00 CDN each. If we caravan across from Quartzite I plan on bringing a spare case for you VBG
__________________
Rob Robinson
Victoria, British Columbia
1999 LXi
Moderator
Reply With Quote
  #7  
Old 11-04-2008
Mike Brody Mike Brody is offline
Junior Member
 
Join Date: Jan 2008
Location: Palm City, Florida
Posts: 12
Default Algae

John

Water is always in diesel fuel. Hopefully in minor proportions. Iy should be tapped off regularly from the tank. A biocide, i.e. DieselPrep, used every few fill-ups will prevent Shane's problem.

Shane's tank suffered fromk long neglect. When the filer starts to clog often, its a sign of needed tank maintenance.

I use DieselPrep once a season and keep my tank filled to prevent moisture from temperature changes.

If you wish to discuss it further -- 215-572-0663.

Mike
__________________
Mike
'97 BMC 40'
'07 & '08 Mercury Mariner Hybrid toad

Mike & Judi Brody
3109 SW Captiva Court
Palm City, Florida 34990
(v) 772-463-1078
(c) 215-582-3848
Reply With Quote
  #8  
Old 11-04-2008
bubblerboy64 bubblerboy64 is offline
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Aug 2008
Location: Shippensburg Pa
Posts: 6,836
Default Algae

I guess my confusion is that if you had a tank which had a bunch of water in it (from sitting and neglect) and you tapped off the water and changed the filters and filled the tanks full with diesel that you would at that point have killed off the algae resulting in an immediate problem. What confuses me is how this has happened to Shane four years after the fact. If there is some one who follows the book or better on maintenance it's our buddy Shane so the only "issue" I have is how did this stuff lay dormant for 4 years and then spring back to life. Or is that exactly what has happened (seems like it). Is there a layer of crud that builds up (like dental plaque and calculus ) that sits there just waiting for another dose of water.
__________________

John Heckman
Shippensburg Pa
1987 PT 36
The Bella Mia Sold
Reply With Quote
  #9  
Old 11-04-2008
Mike Brody Mike Brody is offline
Junior Member
 
Join Date: Jan 2008
Location: Palm City, Florida
Posts: 12
Default Algae

John

The fuel pick-up in a diesel tank is purposefully off the bottom. We should be more concerned with usable number of gallons than tank capacity. The reason for this is to keep the pick-up out of the water. Some tanks have a tap at the bottom to drain off the water.

This is not a dormancy issue. When the fuel is treated, it will absorb and burn off small amounts of water. When the water level gets up to the fuel pick-up, its time to drain it off because you have accumulated too much to chemically treat with items like Drygas.

Killing the bacteria is half the battle, cleaning out the syrupy waste is the other. HCL usually is neutralized with the fuel conditioner.

An additional problem is the water in the exhaust that sits. In the days of high sulfur fuels, this water would turn into sulfuric acid an eat out the exhaust sytem. We now have a lessened problem with the low-sulfur fuels.

I would stick the tank and try to determine the water level. Even siphon off five gallons and see what it looks like. Keep siphoning until you get good, clean fuel. Treat the remainder with fuel conditioner and all should be well.

Mike
__________________
Mike
'97 BMC 40'
'07 & '08 Mercury Mariner Hybrid toad

Mike & Judi Brody
3109 SW Captiva Court
Palm City, Florida 34990
(v) 772-463-1078
(c) 215-582-3848
Reply With Quote
  #10  
Old 11-04-2008
Paul Paul is offline
Grand Curmudgeon
 
Join Date: Jan 2008
Location: St. Augustine
Posts: 446
Default

John,

Mike is both right and wrong on his explanation. Fuel treatment does nothing for algae, but does help a *bit* with water.

Water is something you can't fully eliminate and the tanks are designed with that in mind, but you still should drain a bit, if possible, at least once a year.

Algae, is also a fact of life in the diesel world. If you bought a new coach, with a new tank and used a bio-cide like Bio-Bor with every fill up or so, you'd never have an algae problem.

Using a "shock" treatment as Shane did, kills ALL the algae and it is now free to clog the filters. At some time every one of us will have to do as Shane did.

As I suggested to a few at RATS, doing nothing until you must is also an option, but Shane was only getting about 5,000 miles from his filters which indicated a large algae buildup. I get about 10k miles from mine since I have less algae. If your old filter gets black quickly, you have a problem coming.
__________________
This opinion or advice is worth what you paid for it

Paul LaZar
St. Augustine, FL
Former owner of Ziggy
97 wb43
Reply With Quote
Reply

Bookmarks
Thread Tools

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off

Forum Jump

Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
country coach "veranda" model Randy Dupree Under The Awning 19 10-08-2008 03:08 PM
Wanderlodge Factory "THE 'BIRDS NEST" iamflagman Campgrounds, RV Parks, Other Places to Sleep, or TO STAY AWAY FROM 0 09-04-2008 04:32 AM
"IMPORTANT" NEW Personel at Blue Bird Wanderlodge iamflagman Top News Stories (MODERATED) 5 02-28-2008 11:35 AM
Replies to: "Read this first, before posting a video on this forum" post iamflagman Videos (Moderated) 0 12-29-2007 07:23 AM

Web Search:

All times are GMT -4. The time now is 06:16 PM.


Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.11
Copyright ©2000 - 2019, vBulletin Solutions Inc.