Industrial Engineering

What are the Common Telltale Symptoms of Fuel Contamination in Silvan Tanks?

Much like any other containment system for high-value liquids, silvan tanks, without proper care and maintenance, are prone to fuel contamination, too. Liquid fuel contamination — we define this as a presence of foreign matter that should not be there. 

This issue accounts for a wide array of the fuel-related concerns we have today. If this occurs, fuel quality is likely to degrade soon enough and produce inappropriate things, for example asphaltenes. Under pretty normal conditions, they are not supposed to be there but are now contaminating your liquid fuel.  

With the burgeoning of wrong information hounding this issue on contamination of liquid fuel, we figured that it might be a good idea to come up with a “down and dirty” compilation of the most common symptoms that can pave the way for it.

In resolving any kind of fuel-related problem, the first two critical steps would be to recognize what the problem really is and to correctly identify its underlying causes. After this, the drafting of a proper solution can be carried out and eventually implemented.  

While these “symptoms” may well indicate the presence of something inappropriate in your high-value liquid, when it is about knowing exactly the underlying reasons behind a particular symptom, there may be possible multiple root causes.  

White, Black or Blue Smoke 

Smoke is usually comprised of petroleum particles that have remained uncombusted. Smoke is not likely to become a byproduct of a properly-functioning engine that can efficiently and completely burn liquid fuel. 

Take smoke as a good indicator. Its presence may well indicate that your fuel may contain something that is not supposed to be there, provided of course that your engine is in proper working order. 

To identify exactly what that is may necessitate you to do more than just a little detective work. But the usual culprits are the heavier petroleum compounds. They may be fuel heavy ends, asphaltenes, sludge or even lube oil — normally they don’t burn easily and cleanly the way fresh fuel will.  

Off-Color Appearance or “Smelly” Fuel in your Silvan Tanks

You know that you have fresh gasoline or diesel by their sheer appearance, clear and bright. Another thing is that they also have this characteristic “solvent” smell in them. If the fuel is harboring entrained water, it is likely going to give it a cloudy appearance. 

The darkened appearance of your liquid fuel indicates that it is likely unstable already. Take it as a clue that it might be in the process of producing heavy ends and asphaltenes. Or if your liquid fuel is giving off an odd smell, it is an indication of microbes in the liquid fuel. This usually occurs when the tank does have in it significant amounts of water. 

fuel tanks contaminant

Engine Shuts Down or Runs Rough 

If your engine would eventually shut down on its own, without any apparent reason behind it, or would run rough like it never did before, take it as an indication that there might be some kind of foreign matter in your tank. 

Since we are dealing here with contaminants, we are going to preclude an issue such as the diesel fuel’s inadequate cetane rating. But in terms of contaminants, you would not want to take water or heavy end substances out of the equation, most especially in a marine or gas engine. 

It is also a good practice to keep an eye on your filter because there is a good chance that contaminants have found their way in there and is restricting the flow of your filter. If that happens, your engine’s performance will get compromised because it will not run properly.