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Water in the fuel tank??
11-01-2017, 08:23 PM (This post was last modified: 11-01-2017 08:24 PM by KalahariFerrari.)
Post: #1
Water in the fuel tank??
Hi, All of a sudden my 89 syncro started spluttering and died, fortunately just around the corner from home. The engine is a 2L 8v Golf mk3 ADY. Original fuel pump, looks like black plastic tank? How on earth does water and white muck get in the tank and what is the best method to clean it out. I did notice it happened on a steep incline. So far i have cycled pertol into a container via the return to tank connection on the fuel rail.
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11-02-2017, 12:06 PM
Post: #2
RE: Water in the fuel tank??
Water can get into your tank through contaminated fuel from your filling station, a leaky fuel filler, condensation drawn in through your tank breathers when your van cools overnight, or it can settle out of biofuels. A bit of water is not uncommon, which is why your fuel filter has a drain at the bottom, but a lot suggests a larger or persistent issue.

The white stuff sounds like microbes - these are normally seen as diesel bug in diesel and bio-diesel fuel blends, but I believe that they can also form in petrol blended with biofuel. The microbes grow at the interface between the water and fuel in your tank and will form a slimey sludge which can really clog up fuel pumps and injectors.

The nuclear option would be to drop your fuel tank and properly clean it out with a proper fungicide/biocide, replace your fuel lines, and get your fuel injection system cleaned out and checked. You might also consider taking a look inside your cylinders to see if you've got any corrosion issues and/or do a compression test. If this is a fairly recent problem then you may be able to get away with just cleaning out the tank, but I would recommend you try to get hold of a proper fuel biocide additive like Marine 16. Once you've cleaned out your tank you can add this to the new fuel at a 'kill' dosage, and then continue using until you're happy that you're in the clear.

FYI we had to replace the JX engine in our van last year due to a quite a lot of water getting into our fuel tank. We had serious corrosion in the cylinder linings, and massive quantities of diesel bug in the fuel which destroyed the entire injection system. We now have a new engine fitted with a marine grade fuel filter and use Marine 16 additive.
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11-02-2017, 08:30 PM
Post: #3
RE: Water in the fuel tank??
(11-02-2017 12:06 PM)clift_d Wrote:  Water can get into your tank through contaminated fuel from your filling station, a leaky fuel filler, condensation drawn in through your tank breathers when your van cools overnight, or it can settle out of biofuels. A bit of water is not uncommon, which is why your fuel filter has a drain at the bottom, but a lot suggests a larger or persistent issue.

The white stuff sounds like microbes - these are normally seen as diesel bug in diesel and bio-diesel fuel blends, but I believe that they can also form in petrol blended with biofuel. The microbes grow at the interface between the water and fuel in your tank and will form a slimey sludge which can really clog up fuel pumps and injectors.

The nuclear option would be to drop your fuel tank and properly clean it out with a proper fungicide/biocide, replace your fuel lines, and get your fuel injection system cleaned out and checked. You might also consider taking a look inside your cylinders to see if you've got any corrosion issues and/or do a compression test. If this is a fairly recent problem then you may be able to get away with just cleaning out the tank, but I would recommend you try to get hold of a proper fuel biocide additive like Marine 16. Once you've cleaned out your tank you can add this to the new fuel at a 'kill' dosage, and then continue using until you're happy that you're in the clear.

FYI we had to replace the JX engine in our van last year due to a quite a lot of water getting into our fuel tank. We had serious corrosion in the cylinder linings, and massive quantities of diesel bug in the fuel which destroyed the entire injection system. We now have a new engine fitted with a marine grade fuel filter and use Marine 16 additive.

Hi, Thanks for such a welcome and comprehensive post. In my case it is probably a combination of the mentioned causes. I always used to refill the tank as it got to the quarter mark, until last week.
I parked the bus on the steepest gradient i could find to get as close to the lowest outlet and drained most of the fuel keeping approx 5 lit. After recycling fresh fuel many times i am happy to report the machine is running as per normal. The contaminated fuel was less than a liter. I will keep a beady eye on any suspect developments.
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11-04-2017, 11:56 PM
Post: #4
RE: Water in the fuel tank??
(11-02-2017 08:30 PM)KalahariFerrari Wrote:  
(11-02-2017 12:06 PM)clift_d Wrote:  Water can get into your tank through contaminated fuel from your filling station, a leaky fuel filler, condensation drawn in through your tank breathers when your van cools overnight, or it can settle out of biofuels. A bit of water is not uncommon, which is why your fuel filter has a drain at the bottom, but a lot suggests a larger or persistent issue.

The white stuff sounds like microbes - these are normally seen as diesel bug in diesel and bio-diesel fuel blends, but I believe that they can also form in petrol blended with biofuel. The microbes grow at the interface between the water and fuel in your tank and will form a slimey sludge which can really clog up fuel pumps and injectors.

The nuclear option would be to drop your fuel tank and properly clean it out with a proper fungicide/biocide, replace your fuel lines, and get your fuel injection system cleaned out and checked. You might also consider taking a look inside your cylinders to see if you've got any corrosion issues and/or do a compression test. If this is a fairly recent problem then you may be able to get away with just cleaning out the tank, but I would recommend you try to get hold of a proper fuel biocide additive like Marine 16. Once you've cleaned out your tank you can add this to the new fuel at a 'kill' dosage, and then continue using until you're happy that you're in the clear.

FYI we had to replace the JX engine in our van last year due to a quite a lot of water getting into our fuel tank. We had serious corrosion in the cylinder linings, and massive quantities of diesel bug in the fuel which destroyed the entire injection system. We now have a new engine fitted with a marine grade fuel filter and use Marine 16 additive.

Hi, Thanks for such a welcome and comprehensive post. In my case it is probably a combination of the mentioned causes. I always used to refill the tank as it got to the quarter mark, until last week.
I parked the bus on the steepest gradient i could find to get as close to the lowest outlet and drained most of the fuel keeping approx 5 lit. After recycling fresh fuel many times i am happy to report the machine is running as per normal. The contaminated fuel was less than a liter. I will keep a beady eye on any suspect developments.

I had to replace my fuel tank because it rusted through from the inside. Over a period of about five years I found pinhole leaks four times and patched three with Pratleys Steel putty before giving up and buying a new tank. The occasional use (couple of times a year) of a water-removing additive is good practice.
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