Marine Diesel Fuel Is Your Marine Engine’s Lifeblood … Good Fuel (Blood) = Healthy Engine

  • Always keep an eye on the condition and color of your fuel.
  • Fuel tanks must be clean and full.
  • Always have one (preferably twin) primary fuel filter / water trap and an engine filter / water trap.
  • Primary fuel filters should be changed regularly—same time as oil change, every 100 hours.
  • Secondary filters may not require changing as frequently.
  • Some engine filters can be replaced with an after market fuel filter / water trap unit.
  • Keep at least two spare fuel filters in a plastic bag and stored in a clean dry place.
  • Use only high quality fuel lines. They must be clean, internally and externally, and easily removable. They must have quality twin hose clamps at each join.
  • Water traps / filters must be easily visible and serviceable. Check glass regularly for water, drain off any water from base of bowl by loosening the drain plug whilst holding cup underneath.
  • Bleeding may not be necessary after this process.
  • The primary fuel / water trap should preferably be located below the level of the fuel tank to allow gravity bleeding after primary filter change, eliminating the need to pump bleed.
  • Always use fuel conditioner / biocide, to prevent algal growth in fuel. Add at each refuelling.
  • Old fuel tanks: Many are contaminated and should be replaced or chemically cleaned.
  • Poor fuel and water will cause expensive damage to your fuel pump and injectors.
  • Fuel tanks should have correctly sized fillers and breathers. The fuel pick-up should have a shutoff valve and, ideally, the tank will have a drain fitted lower than the pick-up. This drain can be used to fit a balance line with central drain. Ideally they should have inspection hatches for cleaning.
  • A balance line between multiple tanks helps balance the ship’s load.
  • Tanks should have baffles and be adequately secured.

This is an excerpt from Laurence Burgin’s acclaimed e-book Marine Diesel Engine Basics. This e-book is highly recommended for all marine diesel engine owners. Now available for immediate download from Amazon.


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