Re: [Amel Yacht Owners] Engine-Autoprop problem

Anne and John Hollamby <hollamby@...>

Message text written by
Thanks Eric for the bad news that there is an inaccessible filter built in
to the bottom of the fuel tank. The engine problem is similar to the one I
had years ago on my Oyster 435. This I tracked down to "secret" filter in
the bottom of the fuel tank which started life as a sandwich about 6"x 3" x
2" thick. The tank was GRP and the fuel lines were connected through the
top of it. The 2" sides were made of fine brass mesh and as my fuel had
suffered from a bacterial infection which I may have made worse by using a
bactericide thus putting a lot of corpses into the tank. I limped into
harbour by blowing down the fuel line for the heater which gave very
temporary relief with full power. When I opened the inspection hatch I was
able to pull the filter above the fuel level to find that the filter was
now only about one inch thick as the vacuum from the fuel pump had
collapsed the filter which was clogged with black sludge. I removed the
filter and threw it away, bending the two pipes (one was for an oil fired
heater not installed) back so that the fuel line did not reach the bottom
and the spare pipe down to the bottom so that I could suck out condensation
water from the bottom of the tank from time to time.
I am sorry to see that Amel put an inaccessible filter in the bottom of the
tank as well as mounting the Racor filter so low down that it is hard to
service. I now plan to run my tank nearly dry so that I can empty it and
throw away that internal filter.
When I was in Fiji I had the injector pump serviced (after about 12,000
hours) and the Bosch agent there suggested that he should "polish the
fuel". What this involved, and may solve the present problem without
draining the tank, was that he came along with a trolley fitted with two
very large Racor filters and an electric pump. The pump inlet was a long
tube on the end of a hose so that he could move the suction around the
bottom of the tank. The polished fuel was of course returned to the tank
making a nice swirling movement to stir up all the detritus of deceased
bacteria etc.. The process took several hours. If this solution is taken
then the only other precaution neccessary would be to blow air or fuel back
down into the tank to purge that silly internal filter whilst the polishing
is being done.
It will be interesting to hear the outcome in due course !

Best wishes from Croatia, John, Bali Hai, SM319

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