Thread: fungus in tank?
View Single Post
Old 01-03-2005, 02:41 AM
dannyF dannyF is offline
Dan Fernandez
Join Date: Jan 2005
Location: Monterey CA
Posts: 188
fungus in tank?


I am new to this forum and I am a pretty new owner of a Mercedes 1984 SD 300 diesel. I have not had much experience working on cars, but am considering taking something on once I get more information. Here's my story:

I bought my car in September '04. It showed about 198 K, but I am sure that is not correct, since an old pink slip showed 255 K. Knowing this, I bought it anyway.

About a month later I noticed I was losing power, particularly at one point on the freeway near my house where there is an uphill grade. I hoped it was just a passing thing.... A couple weeks later the car lost complete power (I couldn't even start it) and I had it towed to the shop. They told me that all three fuel filters were clogged with algae (which from this forum I learned was really fungus). They replaced them, told me to keep more fuel in the tank (at that point I went to biodiesel, which they said should be no problem), and I went on my merry way after about $300. A week later they also replaced the steering ball joints, whose casings were cracked and I was told could go any time. Anyway, that was another almost $700. So, I already put over $1000 into the car (plus $200 for the new tires). This is my investment beyond what I paid for the car so far, which I include for perspective....

Anyway, a couple weeks ago I started noticing this loss of power AGAIN.... (I have driven it less than 1000 miles since the last time). This time it is manifested a little bit differently. It seems to be really bad when I first start the car for about 15 minutes or so (the automatic transmission doesn't seem to want to go into a higher gear) and then the car runs OK unless I am going uphill on the freeway, when I notice a power loss.

I called the shop and they said that, given that all 3 filters were replaced, it must be algae (aka fungus) in the tank and that it would have to be removed and sent out to be cleaned to the tune of $550, all told. I am reluctant to spend this kind of money on it now, so they put some Biobor JF into it for me (2 capfuls), I filled up the tank, and hoped for the best. They said I could come by anytime and they would put Biobor in it, if I like. An hour or so later it lost power again on the freeway and I actually had to pull to the side, but was able to make it to my exit after which it made it home no problem.

I haven't driven it since, but I will soon to see how it is, though I am concerned about driving my kids, etc. based on its reliability.

So, is this a problem that can go away with BioBor alone (and a full tank)?

Or, should I try to clean and replace the tank? I was told that it may be possible to take it off on my own and get it cleaned at a radiator shop for a lot less than the $550, but is it more than I should bite off? Now that I have a full tank of diesel I'd have to siphon the fuel out, or drive it down (if I can even drive it....).

Also, might it be something besides fungus in the tank (like maybe an injector pump) and is there a good test for this?

I did order one of Chilton's books that will offer some suggestions, I am sure, but I am open to input...

Thanks and Happy New Year.
Reply With Quote