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Diesel Bug


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Hi All

Over the recent weeks, we have had more and more trouble starting our old 1.5 BMC. She used to take a few heats to get going, but then started only firing on a couple of cylinders when turning her over. Taking advice from Darren at DRL marine, today I whipped out the glow plugs and reamed the holes out, and hey presto - instant starting!

However, whilst in the engine bay, we also noted the fuel in the separator bowl (yes it is glass, yes I know i will need to replace it for the next BSSC, and yes it did pass last time!) has got very dark. We knew we had a bit of a diesel bug infection a while ago but have not done anything about it to date, other than keeping the tank topped up. I think, though, the time may have come to start using an additive. Norfolk Marine only stock "Starbrite" additive, but ASAP stock "Soltron" which I have heard elsewhere is supposed to be quite good.

Does anyone have any experience using these additives, and if so which are the best?

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Hi David

Maybe there are different types of Starbrite, as the stuff in Norfolk Marine was also an enzyme treatment, not the biocide I have seen advertised on various websites. This makes me think it would be no better than the Soltron. Would you have any links etc to the tests you were referring to by any chance? (piccy of the stuff I've seen in Norfok Marine below for info, and I think this is the only additive they stock).

post-264-136713452179_thumb.jpg

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I'm sure most of these products do have some sort of value in use but I suspect they are a bit like all those multi coloured packets of bait you see in a tackle shop! They are there to "catch" the angler rather than the fish. All the promises made on some of the bottles would mean they are wonder fluids. Having said all that, I fell for it too..... I've been using a product called "Fuelset" for a number of years now and never had a fuel problem. Who is to say I would have had a problem if I didn't use it? I don't know........

Trevor

www.normanboats.co.uk

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Very good point Trevor! Has anyone on here ever had fuel bug??? Bit of a pole i'm starting now! The reason being when I mentioned topping my tank up to the Harrison brothers at Hippersons they laughed and said they hadn't had a problem with this in the past??

Is fuelbug one of those things that used to be a problem years ago when diesel was moor crude but has now all but died out??

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You may be right Guys, and it's just a band wagon the manufacturers have jumped on. Having said that, there do seem to be a lot of people who know a lot about it, but it could just be one of those urban legends like osmosis killing GRP boats I suppose. What I do know though, is that the fuel I can see in my glass seperator bowl does look very dark indeed, so I might try some of this stuff see if it makes any difference at all!

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No guys diesel bug is no urban myth it is well documented, should you want to have a look on the MBM site you will find a number of threads. The various potions designed to combat it are effective to varying degrees and that’s why I pointed to the controlled tests done by MBM a while ago. Now I can see the picture I see I am guilty of misreading / misunderstanding, I thought we were talking about Soltron –v- Starbrite products. I believe the picture is in fact Soltron in one of it’s other guises of which it has two or three. Just a little on the theory on enzyme treatment. It is designed to break down the bug and allow it to pass through filters unlike biocide which simply kills it, leaving the bodies to clog up your filters until they are all gone. I guess it’s one of those areas where you take the risk or pay a few quid as “insurance†against something that may never happen, your own choice.

My own recommendation would be to test for bug regularly with one of these and treat aggressively if and when it appearshttp://www.force4.co.uk/5097/Force-4-Marine-16-Diesel-Bug-Test-Kit.html

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Spot on Jill. That's exactly what it looks - and feels - like. In the good old days before BSS, "Swift" used to have a glass thingy (water separator?) in the fuel line and I could see at a glance the state of her fuel. Now, of course, I have to find a spanner with which to undo the lower half of my new fuel filter to see what lurks in the fuel. In the past I have discovered said "frog's spawn" and, to my shame, have done absolutely nothing about it - I confess to being lazy by nature.

I'm no great fan of wonder potions and I suppose my question is, by doing nothing, am I doing irreparable damage to the great lump of ballast in the bottom of the boat that masquerades as an engine. It's a Lister Freedom FRM4 and, in twenty years, it has never once let me down. (I lie. It stopped once in the middle of Hickling Broad. NO FUEL!!) I did a top end overhaul about ten years ago and found only one piston and liner in reasonably good shape. One piston had a quarter inch hole in the top! That dear old Lister was still running like a sewing machine. They don't make 'em like they used to you know.

I feel sure there must be a knowledgeable engine person here who can tell me that I'm slowly killing the heart of my boat. Be gentle with me please!

David

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Hi David, bug will not harm your engine, in fact with the correct micron of filter it won’t even reach that far, the worst that can happen it that it will stop it by blocking the filters with the dead bodies of the critters at an inopportune (or even dangerous) moment, that's why seagoing skippers tend to take it seriously. Running low on fuel or shaking up the tank in bad weather can exacerbate the problem of course. One of the reasons I prefer enzyme treatments for already contaminated fuel is that it is designed to break down the bodies rather than just kill em. You could always fit a Racor primary filter with an approved glass bowl then you can keep an eye on it.

Don't know what you're worried about though, a Lister will run on coal dust if it has to :naughty: :-D

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Exactly right Rod, they live in the water and then nip over to the interface and eat the bloody diesel you’ve just paid a quid a litre for. Kill ‘em that’s what I say, no mercy. Poison them or send the enzymes in to eat them, biocide as a prophylactic, enzymes as a cure And always, always, carry a couple of spare primary and engine filters.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Hi,

Filling up the car at the garage today the pump was working quite slowly. When I went to pay the lady was about to shut down the pump and remarked she hoped that the tank filter was not clogged with the Diesel Bug, as other garages were starting to have problems. She also said that the Bio Diesel mixes were more prone to the problem. There are some EU regulations about increasing the levels of Bio Diesel in fuels so the problem might increase.

Ian

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Mark

Why not pop into or call Euro Diesel / Norwich Engine Centre in Vulcan Road South Norwich.

I know they are engine rebuilders and diesel specilists so may be able to help.

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Hi,

Filling up the car at the garage today the pump was working quite slowly. When I went to pay the lady was about to shut down the pump and remarked she hoped that the tank filter was not clogged with the Diesel Bug, as other garages were starting to have problems. She also said that the Bio Diesel mixes were more prone to the problem. There are some EU regulations about increasing the levels of Bio Diesel in fuels so the problem might increase.

Ian

Bio content does increase the possibility of bug Ian, it does so by increasing the spectrum of organisms that can thrive in the tanks, diesel bug is not a is comonly held just one critter but a number of different ones and the more "friendly" you make the soup the more types will come to the table :o:cry

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  • 3 months later...

Gosh what a horrible mess it leaves cannot believe many boats have that condition as bad as that.My boat is 30 years old you would have thought that it would have had it at some point.Would not like that condition whilst at sea you need all the resources you can. :Stinky

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