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Case Study: 


110' Island Class Cutter

22 Mar 1989

From; Commanding Officer, USCGC KEY LARGO (WPB-1324)
To; CDR Carl Perkins USCG

SUBJ; Use and testing of HAMMERDOWN fuel oil additive from LV PETRO INC. aboard USCGC KEY LARGO

Ref; Phone call between CWO TOMLINSON & CDR PERKINS, CG Headquarters 15 Jan 89.

1. On 23 Jan 1989 this unit purchased a product from LV PETRO called Hammerdown. Hammerdown is a fuel oil additive designed to increase fuel oil cetane level and clean fuel systems.This product also aids in removing moisture and suspended particles from fuel.

The main reason this unit started using Hammerdown was because of a severe smoking problem we were having with the main diesel engines. Paxman diesels require a 54 cetane fuel oil for best performance.The best cetane rating this unit has been able to purchase locally is 43 cetane.The smoking problem has been so bad at times that during mooring stations personnel could not see mooring lines, also the engine room could not be manned because of the smoke.This unit personnel had tried numerous tests to solve the smoking problem, which by the way hospitalized one person because of carbon monoxide poisoning.

2. On 26 Jan 1989 I received our order of Hammerdown and treated the fuel system as per manufacturers instructions. Shortly after treatment we ran a four day patrol at which time we made several noticeable observations. We had been noticing an increasing knock, which sounded like a valve or fuel knock. Our first day of the patrol after treating the knocking sound went away. On the third day of the patrol, while operating on the port engine only, we attempted to start the starboard main engine. Upon light-off the engine started blowing excessive white smoke and running very rough, investigation showed both primary and secondary filters clogged with suspended carbon and water. Unit engineers changed all filters at that time and upon light-off found that the engine had quit smoking and that the engine seemed to be idling better than ever before. We checked our individual cylinder pyrometers and found that sure enough, the engine was running much better at idle.We changed all main engine and s/s generator filters at that time and have not had to change filters since that time.

On 26 Feb 1989 MKC Tom Renkin reported on board as my relief. At this time we got underway for a five day patrol and for relief familiarity. MKC Renkin had a chance to see how well all machinery ran. After that patrol this unit topped off on fuel oil from our usual source but intentionally did not treat as before because we wanted to observe the operation of the mains.

3. I strongly recommend that the other WPBS of this class be authorized to try this product for tests, because on 15 Mar 1989 this unit got underway to move the vessel to downtown Savannah, at which time the smoking returned to its original severity.   Because of this situation this unit has decided to continue treating the fuel with Hammerdown.

CWO David E. Tomlinson

* Copy of the original letter, available on request.
** The USCG Does not recognize any other benefits of additives or conditioners beyond their ability to control and prevent microbiological growth. These are the professional observations of the Chief Engineer, not an e
ndorsement by the United States Coast Guard.

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