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 My coach (2009 Dynasty, ISM engine) is at Cummins for a no start condition. Cummins addressed a hard starting condition in February 2020 and found the fuel filter was plugged up. They cut the filter apart and found it was black. Replaced filter and engine started. I have since used a fuel biocide to prevent algae buildup. If they find that the filters are again plugged, what are my options? Can a shock treatment of the biocide get rid of the algae? At what point does the fuel have to be drained and the tank cleaned?

Cummins has found the chassis batteries and the starter are bad and are being replaced. Hopefully, those actions will resolve the no start problem.

Thank you,

Ray Murley

2009 Dynasty

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I have had the problem in the past and rigged up a pump and a house water filter to cycle the fuel through in order to clean the tank and fuel. I got the pump from harbor freight and the filter from home depot.  I just used some old garden hose and clamps to hook it all together.  The filters came in a 6 pack and by the time I got to the 6th one the fuel was pretty clean.  It can be a messy process especially when changing out the filters, but it worked.  I replace the fuel filters often and use a fuel additive in every tank.  I'll add some more if it sits for a month.  I also carry extra fuel filters whenever I travel.  Biodiesel is awful for an application like an RV that is not driven everyday.  Jim

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Ray,

the biocide prevents growth, but you will need an enzyme to remove any existing dead algae. 

Biobor JF is the algecide I use at every fill up to prevent algae. There are many good ones  

About twice a year, I put a bottle of Star Brite from Startron in my tank. It contains enzymes that purportedly digest the dead algae and “polishes” the fuel. 

Star Tron Enzyme Diesel Fuel Treatment - Super Concentrated Formula https://www.amazon.com/dp/B001HWUZBO/ref=cm_sw_r_cp_api_glc_fabc_Ux1bGbGZB1Q8Q?_encoding=UTF8&psc=1

It might be worth a try... it’s a lot easier than cleaning the tank! At a minimum it stabilizes the fuel. 

 

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How did they start it once the filter was opened if it needs a starter?  Is the starter intermittent?

Two faults for one symptom is not common.

Unless one fried the starter trying to start it with bad fuel...

If your filter is that clogged, then the fuel in the tank is likely toast.  I wouldn't mess around.  Drain, clean, new filter (another) and run.

 

 

Edited by DavidL
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DavidL, Cummins has not been able to start the engine yet. The coach was towed into their shop with a no start condition. They checked the batteries under load and found the voltage dropped to 7 volts during cranking. They put new batteries in and found the engine turned over too slow to start. They surmised the starter was bad and have ordered a new starter. Hopefully, a new starter will resolve the issue.

Thank you David

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Ray, sounds like you got the Cummins B-Team. The battery voltage may drop during starting with a bad starter but your batteries may be fine. Voltage is probably the wrong thing to monitor to diagnose this problem. The bad starter has sucked up a lot of current from the batteries and you naturally see a low voltage condition. Based on your history replacing batteries I would guess the starter has been bad or the fuel problem has resulted in hard starting that damaged the starter previously.

Like Jim said, biodiesel can be a problem. If you have a dirty tank to start with, biodiesel will do a great job dissolving the existing solids and they will deposit throughout your filters and maybe pump and injectors. If Cummins can't polish the fuel you might look into a service that can. This is pretty common around diesel boats. Also, some good ideas after getting this straight is, keep your tank full while parked for a period of time, use a biocide "regularly", burn biodiesel only when you will burn through the tank, carry additional filters and replace them on a frequent basis until problem resolves, AND never let the engine turn over for long periods of time without engine start. This last thing will kill another starter by overheating it.

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15 hours ago, Scotty Hutto said:

Ray,

the biocide prevents growth, but you will need an enzyme to remove any existing dead algae. 

Biobor JF is the algecide I use at every fill up to prevent algae. There are many good ones  

About twice a year, I put a bottle of Star Brite from Startron in my tank. It contains enzymes that purportedly digest the dead algae and “polishes” the fuel. 

Star Tron Enzyme Diesel Fuel Treatment - Super Concentrated Formula https://www.amazon.com/dp/B001HWUZBO/ref=cm_sw_r_cp_api_glc_fabc_Ux1bGbGZB1Q8Q?_encoding=UTF8&psc=1

It might be worth a try... it’s a lot easier than cleaning the tank! At a minimum it stabilizes the fuel. 

 

I read a article in a boating magazine that also recommended this approach. 
Cheers

Walter

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When I first bought my rig I took it to Cummins for a complete service and inspection.  It passed with flying colors. Then went on a trip to AK and when I returned I did another service on it as I clocked 15K miles.  When I pulled the fuel filter I found it was almost clogged with a black slime.  The dreaded Algae.

I know at work, when mothballing equipment they recommended using a biocide and the maintenance department used Biobor.  So that's what I started using.  Problem with just using the Biobor is that it kills the dead algae but it accumulates in the tank.  More research lead me to start using Startron, an enzyme that breaks down the dead algae.  I haven't had a problem since, that's been 11 years.   I would make sure to use both in a full fuel when I know I won't be using the coach for a while.

Back in 2017 we started building our new house and knew there was no way I'd be able to use the coach since I was the general contractor on the house and was going to be doing as much of the work myself.  So I  made sure the fuel was full and treated with both Biobor and Startron.  I only drove the coach a couple times to get propane and move it to the new house location where I actually stayed in it for ~1 year, again only moving it periodically.  Fast forward to early 2000, (yup didn't use the coach during this time), and due to the virus knew I wasn't going to use the coach so I started pulling fuel from the tank to use in my tractor.  I was able to pull 85 gallons over a ~6 month period, always watching the condition of the fuel and found no signs of algae or contamination.  Finally took the coach for a long run and filled the coach back up with no adverse affects, yes I went back with doses of Biobor and Startron.

You should probably do some research on how to change the fuel filters.  Getting stuck on the side of the road ain't fun.  I carry a couple sets of filters and can change myself just in case.

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On 1/19/2021 at 5:03 PM, Scotty Hutto said:

Ray,

the biocide prevents growth, but you will need an enzyme to remove any existing dead algae. 

Biobor JF is the algecide I use at every fill up to prevent algae. There are many good ones  

About twice a year, I put a bottle of Star Brite from Startron in my tank. It contains enzymes that purportedly digest the dead algae and “polishes” the fuel. 

Star Tron Enzyme Diesel Fuel Treatment - Super Concentrated Formula https://www.amazon.com/dp/B001HWUZBO/ref=cm_sw_r_cp_api_glc_fabc_Ux1bGbGZB1Q8Q?_encoding=UTF8&psc=1

It might be worth a try... it’s a lot easier than cleaning the tank! At a minimum it stabilizes the fuel. 

 

The Biobor JF bottle shows a "maintenance" dose with the shock dosage being double.  I've been using it at the "maintenance level" every other fill up (maybe I should step that up)... But when you use the Startron do you skip the Biobor or do both as the same time?

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The shock dose should always be used unless you are using biocide in every drop of fuel. The maintenance dose is for all fuel all the time, not the periodic treatment of fuel. Unfortunately, Startron does not digest the bugs or the biomass. It contains a small amount of dispersant which helps but will not digest anything. It is a basic fuel enhancement additive. It will not clean the fuel. Biobor offers Biobor MD. It is a little more expensive but does more than Star Tron. Because of its proprietary blend, it reduces soot up to 94% for cleaner combustion, increases cetane by 6 points for increased efficiency, disperses and breaks down sludge, lowers pour point for better flow, inhibits corrosion, adds lubricity and controls water. I attached a spec sheet. Give it a try. We have a number of very large fleets using it in all of their fuel and they have seen reduced maintenance costs across the board - enough to pay for the additive itself. Check out www.biobor.com and look at the other products as well. No matter what enhancement additive you choose to use, Biobor JF biocide is compatible and recommended by all of the equipment manufacturers. In the most critical applications, aviation fuel, Biobor JF is the only approved fuel biocide available. Hope this helps.

SPEC-BioborMD.pdf

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I ran boats in the oilfield for years, we never used any sort of biocides or additives to the fuel.  We often got fuel that had been pumped to us from God knows where - BUT:  We used some pretty thorough filtration.  The best is a centrifuge, but next to that I would recommend a FASS system. The FASS system includes a pair of filters, a primary with water sep and a secondary (fine) filter.  Here's what is so good about it.... It pumps roughly 90 gallons per hour and returns to the fuel tank what the engine doesn't use.   Our engines use roughly 7 gallons per hour under load, they return to the tank maybe 2 or 3 gallons per hour.  What this does is basically polish the fuel onboard constantly.  If you took a 5 hour drive, your FASS pump would have filtered nearly 500 gallons of fuel,  since we hold between 100-150 gallons, our fuel would be filtered 4 or 5 times.   As the tank gets lower on fuel, it gets polished more and more.

I'm not knocking the fuel treatments, as they are very effective at killing algae and keeping your fuel in good shape.  I just think I would rather spend my money on having it super clean from the start.   

I did buy a boat that had 500 gallons of very old diesel aboard, I shocked the snot out of it with biocide and thought that I resolved that issue.  Well I was half right.  The first time I got it in rough seas I found myself changing filters every hour.  Seems the biocide killed all the growth and the seas stirred it up.   The upside to this particular boat was that it had a detroit 871 series engine in it.   Anyone that is familiar with the old 2 stroke detroits will tell you that they return 90% of the fuel that they pump.  Essentially, the engine polishes the fuel for you, but when the fuel is nasty, you gotta have filters on hand!

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1 hour ago, rpasetto said:

The Biobor JF bottle shows a "maintenance" dose with the shock dosage being double.  I've been using it at the "maintenance level" every other fill up (maybe I should step that up)... But when you use the Startron do you skip the Biobor or do both as the same time?

I use Biobor JF maintenance dose every time I fill the tank. I only did the Startron about twice a year, and did it on top of the Biobor JF. It seems everywhere I fill up uses Biodiesel, so I always do the maintenance Dose at every fill-up. 
 

After reading all of the info provided by Mr. Eakins, it sounds like maybe the Startron was just pouring money in my tank (😁) since I treat every time I introduce new fuel to the tank. 

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I drove my 09 Camelot 42PDQ 96,00 miles, two times to Alaska an back and i but never something's other than always the cheapest Diesel in my tank. Had never a problem and carried always both Fuel filter with me.  

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1 hour ago, peakins said:

It will not clean the fuel. Biobor offers Biobor MD. It is a little more expensive but does more than Star Tron. Because of its proprietary blend, it reduces soot up to 94% for cleaner combustion, increases cetane by 6 points for increased efficiency, disperses and breaks down sludge, lowers pour point for better flow, inhibits corrosion, adds lubricity and controls water. I attached a spec sheet. Give it a try.

Sooo...  Should you use Biobor MD and JF?  I currently dose every fill up with JF (maintenance dose).  I also use another fuel additive for lubricity.

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I already have Star Tron Enzyme Fuel Treatment Super Concentrated Diesel Formula and Hammonds Biobor MD Marine and Over the Road Diesel Additive on my "to order list"....

However it seems so far that the Biobor product may be the better alternative to the Startron, if a few bucks more.  I'll wait a week or so; by then everyone will have "weighed in" on the subject.    I don't mind spending the bucks to provide protection against the "unknown".  The Biobor MD 32oz bottle should treat a tankfull plus.   I've been away from the coach for more time than I planned this winter so I know I'd better do something when I get back to it.  Thanks everyone for all the info.

 

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One thing that no one has mentioned so far is that some tank, lines, filters, etc. combinations simply lend themselves to accumulating more water in the tank than others. So, IMO if you haven't had a problem and don't use some preventative like Biobor you are either very lucky or your number has not yet come up. Cheers.

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Scotty Hutto, you can use Biobor MD and JF together. Also there is no need for any additional lubricity additives. MD contains a lubricity additive and JF by its very Boron based chemistry is a lubricity additive as well as a biocide. Biobor JF was originally invented in the early 1960's to reduce knock in gasoline engines. SOHIO (Standard Oil of Ohio) used it in all of their premium gasoline. Eventually they created the Boron branded gasoline stations. It was later found that Biobor JF sterilized the fuel systems in the premium tanks including the fuel terminals and fuel delivery systems. The problems with corrosion caused by microbial contamination was an industry disaster. The premium tanks treated with Biobor never had any of those issues. That is where the aviation industry became interested and the rest is history. Now Biobor JF is the premiere fuel biocide in the world and the only one approved and currently available for commercial aviation. Hammonds dedicates enormous resources to make certain that all of the products it manufacturers do what they claim to do and are the best in the industry. 

Biobor Catalog - Industrial.pdf

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What am I missing, I read both the Biobor MD & MJ and both discuss preventing/killing algae but do not say they breakdown the dead algae. 

Startron specifically says

"Star Tron breaks down excess water and sludge to sub-micron size, allowing it to be safely burned away during normal engine operation."

Wish we had a StarTron representative as a member to provide some comments. 

I use a combination of the Biobor MJ and Startron.  I don't use every tank if I am running it on long trips but will make sure to use it about every 3rd tank full and definitely when I am going to park my rig for a period of time.   I also use Diesel Kleen for lubricity.

Circumstances had my rig parked for +4 years (yes I said +4 years) with a full tank of fuel treated with both Biobor and Startron.  I was getting it ready to travel early last year so I started to siphon fuel out for my tractor.  Never did get to go anywhere but siphoned 85 gallons off and never did see any signs of algae or water.   Took it on a long hard run and filled it back up adding both Startron and Biobor.

So I think I'll continue to do what I do unless someone can convince me otherwise. 

 

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A couple of things. First, there is no algae, they are living microorganisms. Both MD and JF work to breakdown sludge and particulates which does include microbial contaminants. On the Biobor MD spec sheet located at https://www.biobor.com/Biobor-Resources/spec-sheets/SPEC-BioborMD.pdf it specifically states,

"Sludge dispersants break up and dissolve fuel sediment sludge into small enough particles that will pass harmlessly through filters and injectors, enabling your fuel system to operate at peak efficiency with properly atomized fuel spray. BioborMD® cleans fuel systems to allows the engine to produce its designed optimum horsepower and torque, further increasing economy."

Biobor JF, while not a sludge dispersant, it does breakdown microbial biomass or biosludge. Biomass is made up of microorganisms and their acidic byproducts. When Biobor JF kills the microbes, the biomass breaks apart, some of which is dissolved, some of which is captured by your filter if the biomass is in large quantity. 

As far as lubricity, if you use Biobor JF, there is no reason to use another lubricity additive. Biobor JF adds lubricity, exceeding the ASTM standard for engine efficiency, adding protection to your engine. See the Biobor JF spec sheet at https://www.biobor.com/Biobor-Resources/spec-sheets/SPEC-BioborJF-NEW.pdf . Hope this helps. Thanks for the comments and questions.

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On 1/28/2021 at 4:07 PM, rpasetto said:

I already have Star Tron Enzyme Fuel Treatment Super Concentrated Diesel Formula and Hammonds Biobor MD Marine and Over the Road Diesel Additive on my "to order list"....

However it seems so far that the Biobor product may be the better alternative to the Startron, if a few bucks more.  I'll wait a week or so; by then everyone will have "weighed in" on the subject.    I don't mind spending the bucks to provide protection against the "unknown".  The Biobor MD 32oz bottle should treat a tankfull plus.   I've been away from the coach for more time than I planned this winter so I know I'd better do something when I get back to it.  Thanks everyone for all the info.

 

Company reps generally refrain from putting down a competitor's product.

I have been using a product called 'Hum out', from a company called Petrolabs, but can no longer find it anywhere in town.

So, Amazon Canada sells Biobor jr and Star Tron for about the same price of $39CAD per bottle. Biobor has a $20 shipping fee to Canada, Star Tron, Free with Amazon Prime.

Guess which one I'm ordering 😉!

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