Words of Wisdom from the Diesel Doctor

Written by Capt. Jeff Werner

“It is therefore of vital importance to be absolutely fanatical about keeping the fuel clean. Yet so many boat owners treat their fuel system with indifference..The result is that 90% of diesel engine problems result from contaminated fuel.”

That quote is by Nigel Calder, the dean of do-it-yourself boat maintenance, from his Boat owner’s Mechanical and Electrical Manual. And he is right. Most boat owners are meticulous about changing the oil, oil filters and fuel filters on their diesel engines and generators. However, they give little thought to the diesel fuel, the lifeblood of those engines and generators.

Just about every boater, whether under power or sail, has a sea story to tell of a diesel engine conking out at the most inopportune time. Tales abound of changing clogged Racor filters in heavy seas in a cramped engine room redolent with diesel fumes. However, there is a better way. Start preventive maintenance for your diesel fuel before your boat ever leaves the dock for a fishing trip or a cruise.

Water, bacteria, sludge and dirt contaminate diesel, every step of the way from the time it leaves the refinery to the time it sits in your boat’s fuel tank. To avoid problems while underway, install an inline fuel conditioner, use a full spectrum fuel additive each time you top off and polish your fuel regularly.

An inline fuel conditioner is easily plumbed between your fuel tank and primary filter. It breaks up large hydrocarbon clusters of wax and asphalt into smaller particles, before they can clog your filters. A full spectrum fuel additive, dissolves the filter-clogging residue caused by bacteria, adds lubricity and stabilizes the fuel. Regularly scheduled fuel polishing removes water, dirt and sludge from your tank and restores the fuel to optimal quality.

Capt. Jeff Werner, a Licensed USCG Master, has sailed professionally throughout the world.  He is also the Diesel Doctor, helping to keep your boat’s fuel clean and bright.

If you have additional questions for Capt. Jeff Werner, please email him [email protected].