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Generators & Electric Motors General Discussion

Setting up Diesel Fuel Tank?


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  #1  
Old 10-08-2008, 03:05:28 PM
Isaac-1 Isaac-1 is offline
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Default Setting up Diesel Fuel Tank?

I recently bought a surplus Onan 125 KW (125.0DYD15R) generator to provide standby power for our wholesale food business and are in the process of getting it all set up. As of now I have most (soon to be all) of the mechanical/electrical issues sorted out, and will be waiting for an electrician to be available to do the building wiring (they are all busy doing hurricane recovery work now). This generator has no fuel tank now (I have been test running it hooked up to a 5 gal gas can), so I have been looking for a reasonable size tank . Driving to work yesterday I found a deal and bought a used 550 gal. above ground skid mounted fuel tank for sale on the side of the road less than a mile away, even arranged free delivery. I am not sure of the history of this tank, I think it was used as a job site tank by a contractor, it appears to be in fair/good condition, typical welded steel construction and has been repainted at least once. It is equipped with a lockable hinged fill port, also has aprox 2.5 inch fittings on the top (one plugged, the other with a home made looking PVC adapter on it( looks to be where a fuel pump was connected), there is also another 2.5 inch plug on the lower part of the end and a smaller 1/2 - 3/4 inch drain plugon the bottom at one end. Now for the questions, this tank has some fuel residue, and perhaps a small amount of light rust inside, how should I prep this before putting it into use? The next question is how is the best way to connect this tank to our generator (flexible hose, iron pipe, what size, how do plumb in the return line, etc?). Should the fuel pickup have a strainer, if so, what kind, do I need a booster pump the fuel tank will be located about 20-30 feet from the generator about 2-3 feet lower elevation(the generator has a 24 volt fuel pump mounted low on the side of the engine).

thanks Ike
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Old 10-08-2008, 08:30:30 PM
Beanscoot Beanscoot is offline
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Default Setting up Diesel Fuel Tank

The way it should be plumbed depends on if the tank is against a building with the line going in, if it's in the open etc.

I think dual 3/8" copper tube lines would be best, but if these are out in public I wouldn't use them if you have a lot of drug addicts or scrounging thieves about. It would be pretty disastrous if they cut the lines and drained your tank.
Place a valve at the bottom end of the tank where the plug is, for the feed line. You can buy valves at Furnace supply places that have a 3/8" flare end to connect to the tubing. Use a brass bushing if necessary to adapt it to the tank. Also if you can get a tap to clean up the tank threads that is good.
A return line should go in through the top and end a few inches from the bottom of the tank. In an emerency when the feed line gets plugged, you can switch around the lines at the engine and get fuel through the return line.

The lines should be one piece, no connections. Install a good water separator filter before the 24V pump.

To clean the tank, take out plug, drain old fuel into open five gallon pails and let settle for a couple days. Then the clean oil can be carefully decanted off the sediment. Maybe you could get a pressure washer wand in the tank holes to blast out the loose dirt.

There should be a vent pipe about six feet tall on the tank or according to local regulations, and any extraneous fittings and PVC junk on the top of the tank should be discarded and holes plugged with simple plugs. I would put never seize on the these as they won't ever have to seal in fuel and it's good to be able to get them out later.

You could also have both lines go in through the top of the tank, but then any water will remain at the bottom and rust the steel. It will also be harder for the 24V pump to prime the system. Having the line at the bottom allows any water to flow into the water separator for discarding, saving the tank.

The lines should be shallow buried and all joints very carefully made so as to be unlikely to leak. The electric pump should be alright in lifting two or three feet. Once both lines are filled up it is just circulating, not really lifting anymore, as the oil flowing downhill in the return line balances out the oil moving uphill in the feed line (except for the amount used by engine).

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Old 10-08-2008, 08:39:13 PM
Wayne 440 Wayne 440 is offline
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Default Re: Setting up Diesel Fuel Tank?

A brief search turned up these.

http://www.smokstak.com/forum/showthread.php?t=39414

and

http://www.smokstak.com/forum/showthread.php?t=39786

offer plenty of reading to get you started.
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Old 10-08-2008, 09:25:42 PM
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Talking Re: Setting up Diesel Fuel Tank?

You should check with your local Building Inspector, because up here in Alaska it is REQUIRED that ANY Fuel Storage Tank be Double Walled, or in a Dike that will hold the total contents of the Tank. This is a Federal EPA requirement. I have a very nice Diesel Fuel System for my small Powerhouse that I run during the winter. It is based on a 550USG Dike Tank, with a 55USG Emergency Tank that is plumbed into the Return Line from my Gensets. This gives me a way to operate for 36 hours, while I let the Main Tank settle, all the water and grit out, after a delivery. I use a Raycor 2020 Main Filter, at the output of the Main Tank, as well as the standard Raycor Primary and Secondary Fuel Filters on each Genset. If you would like a diagram fr planning purposes, just PM me, and I'll send you a copy in PDF Format.
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Old 10-08-2008, 09:42:01 PM
Isaac-1 Isaac-1 is offline
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Default Re: Setting up Diesel Fuel Tank?

thanks for all the help so far. From what I have found so far,it appears there are no state regulations for above ground fuel tanks under 600 gal. Of course knowing this state, there are probably really regulations that are impossible to comply with (we ran into this with the building code a few years back, one part for handicapped access requires flat floors in restrooms, and health dept. requires slopped drains). We already have one 1,500 above ground (on road) diesel tank without a containment wall, likely grandfathered in, this tank we plan to install about 30 feet away.
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Old 10-09-2008, 05:02:26 AM
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Default Re: Setting up Diesel Fuel Tank?

Would strongly recommend against the use of galvanized or copper pipe in any diesel fuel system. Can go on with a long list of reasons but if you take a look in the installation manuals, every one of them advises the use of black iron or if you can afford it, stainless.
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Old 10-09-2008, 09:39:05 AM
K D Redd K D Redd is offline
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Default Re: Setting up Diesel Fuel Tank?

On the subject of fuel supply lines, why could not one use standard hydraulic, JIC, steel lines and hydraulic hose where flex fittings are need. The JIC standard will withstand 2000 psi in hydraulic service. Most hydraulics use an oil base fluid. Diesel comes from the same place only is a shorter carbon chain. The steel hydraulic tubing can be flared like copper. The angle is slightly different at 37 degrees instead of 45. I have used a 45 degrees flaring tool when I have had to repair the hydraulic on my combind with no problems when I used the fitting to reform the flare to the 37 degrees that JIC uses.

Kent
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Old 10-09-2008, 05:08:37 PM
Isaac-1 Isaac-1 is offline
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Default Re: Setting up Diesel Fuel Tank?

Let me ask a few more specific questions now, we will likely go with black iron pipe, I assume 1/2 inch would be acceptable for both supply, and return. Does anyone know of an online supplier or national distributor of the assorted fittings that may be needed to plumb this tank, siphon pipe for top draw, pick up strainer, non standard plumbing plug adapters for the return line (ideally an adapter that would allow inlet siphon and return to be ran from 1 of the 2 inch ports, as I might want to add a manual pump to the second port later to fuel diesel heaters and other off road applications), as we do not have home heating oil in my part of the country, and therefore no home heating oil equipment suppliers, etc.. In my online research I found one reference warning that supply tanks should be lower than the diesel injectors or else it may siphon fuel into the engine, how big of a concern is this?. I ask because it may effect placement of the tank, leveling etc (likely placed 1-2 feet down hill from the generator), if both the generator and the tank were sitting side by side the top of the tank would be about level with the valve cover on the engine.

thanks Ike

p.s. I am leaving to go on vacation in a couple of days and may not have internet access while I am gone.
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Old 10-09-2008, 07:22:32 PM
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Default Re: Setting up Diesel Fuel Tank?

Tank Level isn't really a concern, IF you make sure your fuel system plumbing is secure from vibration effects, and are not likely to crack any of the Fuel lines. In my system, the bottom of the Dike Tank is level with the Input to the Lift Pump on the engines, so it is VERY easy to Bleed the Primary Fuel Filter, which is between the Main Tank Filter, and the Lift Pump, via gravity pressure. My Lift Pump has a Manual Lever, which then allows the Secondary Filter to be bled when we do a Fuel Filter change, every 600 Hours. The Emergency Tank is set, right above the Main Dike Tank, so I get Gravity Feed to the system when it is OnLine. As I stated before, the Emergency Tank is plumbed into the Return Line, and then overflows, back into the Main Dike Tank, so it is ALWAYS Full, of Polished Fuel, as the Fuel going into it, has been thru all three of the Fuel Filters, the Injection Pump, and the Injectors. This gives me 36 Hours of operation, should there be anything funny with the Main Tank, and allows me to let the Main Tank, settle for 24 hours, after a Fillup, and I can drain off any water, or grit thru the Water Tap on the Main Tank.
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Old 10-10-2008, 01:45:37 AM
Beanscoot Beanscoot is offline
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Default Fuel line material

Here there are lots of oil furnaces, and every one of them uses copper fuel lines. My two books on Oil Burners specify copper tubing for supply and return lines. I've seen no evidence of corrosion or the like with it.

I don't understand the rationale for not using copper tubing. It's an awful lot easier than building something up from iron pipe. Every connection is a potential leak point, and iron rusts if it's outside.

By the way, furnaces (oil burners) and diesel engines use the same fuel, i.e. No. 2 Fuel oil.
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Old 10-10-2008, 02:07:12 AM
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Talking Re: Setting up Diesel Fuel Tank?

The problem with Copper Fuel Lines is, vibration will work harden the Copper and make it brittle, and subject to fracture. If you put flexable links in a Copper Fuel Line, to decouple the engine vibrations, and support the Copper Fuel Lines so that they do NOT move, then you will not have a problem, and copper will work just "Spiffy".
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Old 10-14-2008, 09:32:51 PM
Andrew Mackey Andrew Mackey is offline
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Exclamation Re: Setting up Diesel Fuel Tank?

The new oil burner piping is copper with a plastic jacket. The jacket dampens vibration, protects against corrosion, and assists against pipe crush when burried. The copper is 1/2" OD, and is connected with double fold flare connections to brass adapters. Final connection to the engine componants is by re-enforced neoprene stainless jacketed hoses. Bullet proof!
Andrew
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Old 10-18-2008, 03:57:41 PM
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Default Re: Setting up Diesel Fuel Tank?

What about a "day-tank"?
Later,
Sbw
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