Cleaning Fuel Tanks

Submitted: Thursday, Jan 05, 2012 at 16:28
ThreadID: 91025 Views:1494 Replies:5 FollowUps:1
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Hey all,

My diesel Navara has had one too many dodgy fill ups and the tank has become contaminated with just too much water and algae that my last fuel filter lasted a whole 8000 km’s before literally starving the pump of fuel under acceleration.

I’ve done some research on the forum here and other places on the internet and have identified the mould Hormoconis Resinae as the culprit causing a massive power loss the engine. The fuel lines are more like a 100-year-old smokers arteries and the fuel just can’t get through.

So health care has so far been replace the lines and drain the tank.

What I’m wondering is what’s the best way to clean the tank? I’m gonna take the tank out of the car but what’s the best way to clean it out? I’m guessing it’s in pretty bad nick internally.

Also, a final contentious question... should I start using additives to prevent this in the future?


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Reply By: Member - Vince M (NSW) - Thursday, Jan 05, 2012 at 16:48

Thursday, Jan 05, 2012 at 16:48
If your got the algae, its hard to remove it properly & when it dries out it is near impossible to remove from the walls but the chemical to use is Trichloroethylene its a solvent used in the marine/mining/aircraft industry as a parts cleaner etc its a bad chemical health wise so take care but it will remove it all & yes use an additive but the additive may cause you problems as algae is normally in old stored fuel (boats get it all the time) due to no movement etc & the additive starts to break it down & it blocks everything
good luck
AnswerID: 474124

Reply By: Gobumpy - Thursday, Jan 05, 2012 at 19:20

Thursday, Jan 05, 2012 at 19:20
Hey Matt

Once tank is remover strip all fittings and sender unit than give it a good blast with a pressure cleaner through sender hole and filler neck hole even some degreaser wont hurt once your happy with how clean it is poor 4 or so litres or ACETONE in and give it a good shake around acetone seems to get rid of the water left over from pressure washer. This process is the exact way I clean diesel and hydraulic tanks on trucks cranes and earth moving gear. Oh tip out water and acetone after each step. Let dry and recheck.


AnswerID: 474147

Follow Up By: Inflataduck - Thursday, Jan 05, 2012 at 22:21

Thursday, Jan 05, 2012 at 22:21
Scott the tric is non flammable & will evaporates the water twice as quick & normally does not affect rubber fittings like acetone & cleans twice as good, we use to use acetone, but the tric dissolves the algae with no residues
FollowupID: 749101

Reply By: napalm_999 - Friday, Jan 06, 2012 at 11:54

Friday, Jan 06, 2012 at 11:54
Tric sounds like the way to go. Any suggestions as to where you get sucha chemical?
AnswerID: 474206

Reply By: Allan B (Member, SunCoast) - Friday, Jan 06, 2012 at 14:46

Friday, Jan 06, 2012 at 14:46
Hi Matt,

I have no expertise in cleaning mould from diesel tanks but I would issue caution about using either acetone or trichloroethylene.

Acetone is highly flammable and its vapour will go off like a bomb if ignited. Take great care to use it in limited quantity, in the open, and well away from ignition sources.

Trichloroethylene is rather nasty stuff. Toxic, carcinogenic and inhaling its vapour can cause extreme reactions and even death. See here for a Material Safety Data Sheet or Google it. Disposal is a further problem.

Frankly, I would be looking for another more friendly solution.


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AnswerID: 474216

Reply By: Brian 1 - Friday, Jan 06, 2012 at 16:36

Friday, Jan 06, 2012 at 16:36
Pull the fuel tank out and take it to a radiator repair shop to have it inspected and cleaned.
AnswerID: 474225

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