particulate residue in Racor bowl - SailNet Community

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Go Back   SailNet Community > On Board > Gear & Maintenance > Engines > Diesel
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Old 12-02-2013
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particulate residue in Racor bowl

Hello, mostly new here...anyone willing to chime in on fouled Racor water separator bowl. Winterized yesterday and as is normal routine, I replace both primary and secondary fuel filters (and fuel lift filter as needed), I took off the primary filter, bowl connected, and notice excessive amount of freely floating tannish particulate matter in the bowl and a coating of residue on the clear part of the bowl. It is not black, or sludge like in appearance. And the boat shows no symptoms of fuel issues while underway. Small amount of white smoke upon start up after a week or so of non use, but clears up quickly. I regularly use biocides, fuel cleaner and water dissolver.
I'd be interested in hearing from someone and I apologize up front if this topic as been discussed to death.
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Old 12-03-2013
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Re: particulate residue in Racor bowl

ANYONE? ANYONE?......{crickets}
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Old 12-03-2013
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Re: particulate residue in Racor bowl

Sounds like you get to clean your tank and fuel lines. crickets......
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Old 12-03-2013
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Re: particulate residue in Racor bowl

fairly normal for most boats....especially if not used regularly...that is the best thing - use the engine under load and run some fuel through the engine.

the bowl is doing what it is supposed to do, collect the settled out stuff .....I clean mine out quarterly and look for water weekly.

best of luck
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Old 12-03-2013
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Re: particulate residue in Racor bowl

Quote:
Originally Posted by grandcapri View Post
Hello, mostly new here...anyone willing to chime in on fouled Racor water separator bowl. Winterized yesterday and as is normal routine, I replace both primary and secondary fuel filters (and fuel lift filter as needed), I took off the primary filter, bowl connected, and notice excessive amount of freely floating tannish particulate matter in the bowl and a coating of residue on the clear part of the bowl. It is not black, or sludge like in appearance. And the boat shows no symptoms of fuel issues while underway. Small amount of white smoke upon start up after a week or so of non use, but clears up quickly. I regularly use biocides, fuel cleaner and water dissolver.
I'd be interested in hearing from someone and I apologize up front if this topic as been discussed to death.
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Regardless of how diligent one might be with one's fuel maintenance and management, sediment will invariably collect in ones fuel tank and more so as the yacht ages unless the tank is cleaned periodically. Such sediment commonly includes dirt, algae, rust and heaven knows whatever else.

Unfortunately, on many boats, fuel tanks are not fitted with a means for clean-out. An alternative for some in such circumstances is the temporary removal of the fuel level sender (assuming it can be reached) and the suctioning of the fuel out of the tank with a tube passed through the opening, to be "Polished" (i.e. being passed through a number of filters). The fuel is then pumped back into the tank through the on deck fill pipe, often by feeding a small diameter return tube through the fill pipe so that the returning fuel tends to agitate the tank contents which improves the cleaning effort. An in-line "sight glass" in the fuel circuit allows one to see when the fuel has reached an acceptable level of clarity.

Absent the foregoing, all one can do is closely monitor one's fuel filter and change elements as necessary. While I rarely see it done, users also need to thoroughly clean the bowl on the bottom of the filter assembly (here referring to Racor type filters). That can be done by completely removing the drain spout (by which one would normally drain any water accumulated in the bottom of the bowl) and then, patiently, threading the thin plastic tube from a pressurized container of WD-40 between the blades of the filter turbine and "blasting" the gunk in the glass loose with periodic rinsing with a little diesel. After a long run, the amount of gunk that can accumulate in the filter bowl can be quite surprising.

Beyond the foregoing, one must be diligent about what goes in ones tank to begin with. While it frustrates some fuel attendants, we always use a Baja type fuel filter when taking on fuel and the stuff we've removed from that afterward is evidence that doing so was wise. Some hold that buying from a vendor that routinely moves a large volume of fuel can minimize the incidence of debris and water contamination of the fuel but I haven't seen evidence of that myself.

I suppose the foregoing may not answer your question but it is some things to think about, eh?
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Last edited by svHyLyte; 12-03-2013 at 10:34 AM. Reason: Correct typo
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Old 12-03-2013
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Re: particulate residue in Racor bowl

Sounds fairly normal.

a. Use an additive that controls corrosion. If the tank is steel, some of this is probably rust.

b. Consider changing biocide periodically. The bacteria can be come aclimated to one product.

Valve Tech Bioguard did well for both in recent PS testing (Aug 2013) and might be good to try as a change. Alternativly, Startron can be used with Biobor, controling corrosion and adding broader spectrum bug control.
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Re: particulate residue in Racor bowl

Thank you for the ideas and response, I believe preventative care is best, and since no immediate/ obvious damage is occurring, ill have some time to treat/ polish the fuel.
Gracias!
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Re: particulate residue in Racor bowl

May also wish to install a filter on your diesel return
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Old 12-06-2013
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Re: particulate residue in Racor bowl

FYI.. I had yachting center inspect racor primary filter and water separator bowl and they believe it was due to "over treatment" of fuel with Additives.. Even recommended to "undertreat" vs. " over treat". I replaced the secondary fuel treatment incidentally, and the fuel emptied from this filter further down the line was in great shape with no obvious contamination. Ran engine after bleeding fuel line and experienced no problem. Thank everyone for your input.
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Old 12-06-2013
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Re: particulate residue in Racor bowl

Yes, over treatment is bad. Marinas that sell ValvTect brand fuel, already have biocide added. Some may double up, if they are unaware.
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