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Discussion Starter #1
My car broke down a couple of weeks ago, I'd never heard of it before but there is such a thing called 'diesel algae'
A mold grows in your tank and clogs up your filters, you just put an additive in your tank when you fill it to prevent it. Apparently it's quite common, I'd just never heard of it and it cost me $300 :(
 

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I'd suggest you buy your fuel from a different supplier/servo.

I spent a decade refurbishing diesel tanks on ships. That meant draining the tanks, getting in and bead blasting then using an pneumatic needle gun to go over every nook and cranny inside the tanks to get the surfaces back to bright shiny steel then coating them completely with tank sealant - was a nasty job.

Yes, there's always lots of foul, contaminated, mucky , rusty water down the bottom of old diesel tanks but it takes a while to build up.

If your 2 or 3 year old car has developed that much grunge to cause a breakdown I reckon your fuel supplier needs their tanks cleaned out, you are copping loads of dirty fuel.
 

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I'd suggest you buy your fuel from a different supplier/servo.
Good post but mostly not applicable to the problem reported.

Unless the fuel supplier puts the anti-algae additive in, it's pretty much something you have to do for yourself.

A little time spent in research should tell you what conditions makes the algae growth more likely.
 

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A diesel vehicle should never be left with a low tank of fuel. If you short run keep the tank topped up to stop condensation etc. Maybe change fuel filters more often and use genuine.
 

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Good post but mostly not applicable to the problem reported.

Unless the fuel supplier puts the anti-algae additive in, it's pretty much something you have to do for yourself.

A little time spent in research should tell you what conditions makes the algae growth more likely.
Just did a search and read a few sites about all this stuff.

The older I get the more cynical I have become about advice from the "experts ", especially when there's some nudging/scaring toward the need for folk to be buying additives for their threatened tanks.

My seat of the pants experience tells me that no matter how horrendous the sludge under the fuel is, the diesel fuel floating on top has always been clear and unaffected - I'd happily run it in my Accent. But then again I have my car serviced every 7,500 kms and have the filter changed as per the book.

Sheesh, two weeks ago I was asked to take a look at a 30 year old BobCat which wasn't running right. Apart from a couple of oil and fuel filter changes done by the owner the motor had not been touched. I ended up taking out the fuel tank and replacing the rotted fuel lines. There was several gallons of 'orrible rank cruddy sludge inside the tank, plus a large corrugated piece of plastic from a funnel, and the corroded remains of the fuel gauge float. The fuel filter was blocked solid and the glass sediment bowl was full of watery gloop. Once I'd cleaned out the tank, put in a new filter and replaced the lines the fuel which was decanted off the sludge went straight back in, that BobCat has been back in action ever since.

I reckon ttc had got a load ( or several) of contaminated fuel enough to block her filter. She lives in a warm area. yes, more chance of algal growth, but I doubt her breakdown was due to sinister devils growing in the fuel itself.
 

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Having just yesterday taken the fuel sender out of my i30 and draining all the fuel after the dealer added something to the fuel at service time that the engine didn't like, I can say that the i30 fuel pickup literally 'hoovers' the very last drop of fuel from the bottom of the tank. The suction screen lays across the bottom of the tank and anything at the bottom will end up blocking the 'sock like' screen. There have been other threads from owners in South East Queensland regarding engine / fuel issues attributed to 'algal' growths in the fuel. My guess is that any water in the tank with it's higher surface tension effectively 'blocks' the screen. These engines use a 'swirl pot' type of fuel pick up, the engine supply line is not connected directly to the input screen, rather the return fuel from the engine passes over a venturi at the head of the 'sock', this draws fuel from the tank through the sock (like a spray paint gun) into the 'swirl pot', the engine pickup is in the swirl pot. The amount of suction developed by the venturi would be very low, therefore any water would get stuck to the surface of the screen, letting the 'swirl pot' run out of fuel. If i ever get any problems I will just remove the input screen and toss it away, the engine filter can handle it.

I agree with Roadtrash, Do Not add anything to your fuel tank that doesn't say 'Diesel' on the label. My dealer added 'generic' injector cleaner to mine at service, within 24 hours I was having 'hard start' issues with the engine taking longer and longer to fire up. I drained the fuel flushed the lines, and all is good again, fires up on the first turn of the key.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
I only just saw your guys comments, the additive is specifically for diesel engines to prevent the algae, it's actually called diesel power. My partner took pics of the fuel they drained out of the tank and it was horrible. I've heard from a few people now that it is a common thing in Qld, and I stopped using that servo I used to fill up at (it was a woollies one). I used to fill up when the fuel light come on, telling me 100km to go.
Car also started to make a funny noise when i turned it off, a *cooo* from the back of it. Over it, traded it in on a i30.
 

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Not just the U.S. In Australia diesel fuel is more expensive than Standard Unleaded. We are told it's because of you blokes in the U.S. using more heating oil during winter months, heating oil being very close to diesel. As for demand yes diesel powers every freight train and probably 95%+ of heavy road freight. So while cars become more fuel efficient using less fuel, diesel usage steadily climbs.
 

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You would think the price of diesel would drop in the summer with less demand for heating oil. It doesn't around here!
 

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Algae in fuel has always been an issue in warmer climates, it just doesn't happen in colder areas as the intank conditions aren't right for the bug to grow. First you need a warm climate with high humidity so that every time you use diesel from your tank moist air is drawn in via the breather, you then need coolish nights so the moisture condenses. The algae doesn't grow in the diesel fuel itself, it actually grows on the surface of the water droplets at the interface between the fuel and the water and 'eats' the diesel oil. Older diesel engines used to have 'Primary' and 'Secondary' fuel filters, with the tank suction line unfiltered so any crud in the tank would get sucked into and held by the 'Primary' filter where it could be easily changed out at service. General Motors diesels also had individual sintered filters on each unit injector. Modern automotive style systems have replaced the primary filter with a hard to get at filter screen in the tank on the suction line.

Not all progress is good.

To reduce the incidence of algae always refill the fuel tank after use, less air space means less humid air can be drawn into the tank.
 
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