Clogged fuel filter woes - advice - SailNet Community
 2Likes
Reply
 
LinkBack Thread Tools
post #1 of 11 Old 08-11-2014 Thread Starter
Senior Member
 
Dave_E's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2013
Location: Everett, WA
Posts: 702
Thanks: 42
Thanked 24 Times in 24 Posts
Rep Power: 3
 
Clogged fuel filter woes - advice

Hi All,

One month after changing 2 fuel filters (1 spin on at the motor and 1 Racor), filling the tank up, going on an 8 day cruise + one outing since then...

Yesterday we were going out and 5 minutes out of the slip the engine died. Put out the foresail and limped back to a guest dock, where I did some quick looking. I did not run out of fuel, turned on the key (electric pump operates) and had fuel at all the bleeders. Clogged filters? So I went and bought a couple, installed, bled... engine runs like a top.

I have a 30+ year old 40 gal aluminum tank, the boat sat for 2 years and I have been using it for 1 year. With so many mixed opinions about fuel polishing, tank cleaning etc. I think I could accomplish the same thing by changing fuel filters. It's easy, I got the hang of the bleeding thing. But I don't like the surprises like yesterday.

What kind of indicators (electrical or manual) for fuel restrictions are there for marine 24hp engines? What are some of your thoughts on the subject?

Thanks - Dave

Allmand Sail 31 #15 "Traveler"
GOD, Family, career

Last edited by Dave_E; 08-11-2014 at 11:03 AM. Reason: spelling
Dave_E is offline  
Quote Quick Reply Share with Facebook
Sponsored Links
Advertisement
 
post #2 of 11 Old 08-11-2014
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Oct 2007
Location: Brazil
Posts: 1,030
Thanks: 3
Thanked 24 Times in 23 Posts
Rep Power: 9
 
Re: Clogged fuel filter woes - advice

Dave, thankfully there is a simple solution for this- clean your tank and fill it with fresh diesel. If there's an inspection port on the tank (and there should be) it's a simple matter of opening it up and removing the old diesel. Then wipe it out with rags soaked in kerosene, taking care not to leave any bits of rag in the tank. Fill it up with new diesel and you're ready to go! You might consider adding a biocide after the cleaning to prevent further fouling of the tank.

Vind÷ 50
copacabana is offline  
Quote Quick Reply Share with Facebook
post #3 of 11 Old 08-11-2014
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Dec 2010
Posts: 776
Thanks: 158
Thanked 67 Times in 63 Posts
Rep Power: 6
 
Re: Clogged fuel filter woes - advice

What copacabana said. A 30YO tank is going to be lined with goo clinging to the walls, if my 20YO tanks were any indication. I had to cut ports into mine to get to it, but it was worth all the effort. BTW, based on what I found, I don't have any faith in "fuel polishing." I can't imagine this crap coming off without manual effort.

The crap in there is fairly stable until you get into some rough water, and then a little gets stirred off the sides and bottom, clogs the filters probably when you need the engines to run. But not all of it comes off, so it never ends. Just take the medicine and clean the tanks.

Last edited by Multihullgirl; 08-11-2014 at 01:08 PM.
Multihullgirl is offline  
Quote Quick Reply Share with Facebook
post #4 of 11 Old 08-11-2014
Banned
 
Join Date: Jul 2007
Location: Truckee, CA
Posts: 8,867
Thanks: 2
Thanked 116 Times in 114 Posts
Rep Power: 0
 
Re: Clogged fuel filter woes - advice

I have seen pictures of fuel pumps that have a fine screen built in, may be worth checking?

Paul T
dabnis is offline  
Quote Quick Reply Share with Facebook
post #5 of 11 Old 08-11-2014
Senior Member
 
T37Chef's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2006
Location: Maryland USA
Posts: 4,715
Thanks: 89
Thanked 62 Times in 44 Posts
Rep Power: 10
 
Re: Clogged fuel filter woes - advice

I never had fuel problems but I did have my tanks cleaned by a professional after the boat sat for two years, and before running the newly installed engine...very glad I did as the algae growth was significant. I don't have an inspection port so they went through the fuel pick up tube, screen wasn't horrible but did need cleaning. They shocked the tanks then came back two later, removed most of the fuel (yes that hurt, 50 gallons, but it was time), cleaned it with a high pressure wand then removed the remaining fuel and any deposit on the bottom.

I installed a fuel polisher by Racor that is also a back up filter when I set the valves (total of three). Remember your engine returns some fuel to the tank when its running so that in itself is a "polisher" so to speak.

That said, your injection pump of injector could be clogged? or malfunctioning. If changing the filters this many times hasn't solved the running of the engine, I doubt continuing to do so will fix it.

What micron primary do you have, maybe that getting clogged, perhaps a different size would help...

Hard to say, going to be somewhat trial and error I think...but I'm no mechanic just a over the shoulder wanna be

Cheers


To view links or images in signatures your post count must be 10 or greater. You currently have 0 posts.
T37Chef is offline  
Quote Quick Reply Share with Facebook
post #6 of 11 Old 08-11-2014
Senior Member
 
Group9's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2010
Posts: 1,833
Thanks: 24
Thanked 78 Times in 76 Posts
Rep Power: 6
 
Re: Clogged fuel filter woes - advice

The other option is just keep changing filters. When I bought my boat, it had been sitting up for about a year without being sailed. Once I got going on my cruise in it, and shaking things up, I was changing out fuel filters every week or so. It was annoying but, after a few weeks and lots of fill ups, I guess I got the gunk out and fuel filter changes resumed to more normal schedule.

On the northern Gulf of Mexico.


"Best thing to do is get her out on the ocean. If anything's gonna happen, it's gonna happen out there." Captain Ron Rico
Group9 is offline  
Quote Quick Reply Share with Facebook
post #7 of 11 Old 08-11-2014
Senior Member
 
RichH's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2000
Location: Pennsylvania
Posts: 3,807
Thanks: 27
Thanked 195 Times in 184 Posts
Rep Power: 17
   
Re: Clogged fuel filter woes - advice

There are several 'indicators' used for a well designed and maintained boat fuel system:

1. Calendar --- scrub out the insides of the tank about every two years regardless of fuel quality.

2. Vacuum gages on all fuel filters. Here's how to set up for YOUR system:
a. Clean the tank, put in NEW fuel and NEW filters
b. Run the engine at near/below wide open throttle - WOT, read and record what you see on the gages ---- this is the 'benchmark' pressure/vacuum for a new/clean system, you'll probably see 'nil' vacuum on the gages.
c. Have an assistant standby on the tank valve, engine running below WOT; at your signal the assistant slowly closes the tank valve while you monitor the 10ÁM filter's vacuum.
d. RECORD that vacuum value where the engine starts to 'stumble' due to fuel restriction - This is your fuel system MAXIMUM vacuum value read at 'any' filter.
e. Multiply that max. value by 0.80 --- this is your new 'its time to change the damn filters value'. When a filter has consumed 80%+ of its 'dirt capacity', the time to full shutdown is exponentially quick ...... meaning with respect to gallons or time remaining, you probably only have 5-10% reserve capacity remaining in the filter before clogging.
d. option - usually the 10ÁM filter is the one to clog first, even if preceded by a 30ÁM which is installed to extend the in-service life of the 10ÁM. Get a fuel oil compatible 12vdc operated vacuum/pressure switch with adjustable 'set point', wired to an alarm. Adjust the 'set point' on the press/vac. switch so that the switch closes and turns on your alarm at the 80% value of where your engine begins to 'stumble' at near WOT.

tank --> 30ÁM --> 10ÁM --> 15-17ÁM small engine 'guard' filter ---> engine.

Note: if youre plugging filters and you cant get inside and clean the tank ... ADD a 30ÁM filter to extend the service life of the 10ÁM. If that's not enough in-service time increase, then add another 30ÁM in parallel to the first 30ÁM and run them BOTH at the same time. Nutherwords, if your system is always plugging, increase the SURFACE AREA of your filters and your prefilters.
If youre plugging even occasionally, ultimately you will have to get inside and clean the tank.
kd3pc likes this.
RichH is offline  
Quote Quick Reply Share with Facebook
post #8 of 11 Old 08-11-2014
the pointy end is the bow
 
erps's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2006
Location: La Conner, Washington
Posts: 6,261
Thanks: 2
Thanked 27 Times in 26 Posts
Rep Power: 11
   
Re: Clogged fuel filter woes - advice

I learned the lesson about keeping your tanks full during the winter the hard way this spring. Nikko carries 100 gallons of diesel in two tanks. We ran one tank down to where we believed it had about 10 gallons left inside then switched over to the other tank for the rest of the winter. In May, we got to a point where the tank we had been running on was getting close to empty by our reckoning, so on our way home from an outing, we switched to the other tank that had been mostly empty all winter. Then the motor died. Pulled the cover to the Racor, saw it was full of water and drained it and then ran a hand pump to prime it and just got more water. We eventually made it home.

Later, I pumped out both tanks. I eventually got five gallons of water out of that lower tank after all the five gallon buckets settled out at home in the garage. I was pretty impressed at how much water had accumulated. Working through the 1.5" fitting for the fuel hose, I was able to swish some hot soapy water around the bottom of the tanks with a long stick then used a small diameter shop vac hose to suck it back out. Tanks aren't absolutely clean, but they're good enough to last another thirty years.

Ray
S.V. Nikko
1983 Fraser 41
La Conner, WA


To view links or images in signatures your post count must be 10 or greater. You currently have 0 posts.


Boating for over 25 years, some of them successfully.
erps is offline  
Quote Quick Reply Share with Facebook
post #9 of 11 Old 08-11-2014
20yrs ago
 
deniseO30's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2006
Location: Bristol pa
Posts: 7,064
Thanks: 55
Thanked 131 Times in 120 Posts
Rep Power: 11
   
Re: Clogged fuel filter woes - advice

if at all possible replace the tank.. even with a smaller one that is easy to remove. Used a 19 gallon plastic moeller to replace the 26 gal tank I had in my old boat. warning, (seepage) pin holes are highly likely to magically appear after cleaning!
Also don't forget to clean the pick up tube that draws the fuel from the tank.. How do I know?

"Next best thing to not having a boat? The knowledge from having one!" Denise, Bristol PA, On Tidal Delaware River, Anchor Yacht Club.
To view links or images in signatures your post count must be 10 or greater. You currently have 0 posts.


To view links or images in signatures your post count must be 10 or greater. You currently have 0 posts.

My last project!
To view links or images in signatures your post count must be 10 or greater. You currently have 0 posts.
deniseO30 is offline  
Quote Quick Reply Share with Facebook
post #10 of 11 Old 08-12-2014
Senior Member
 
Group9's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2010
Posts: 1,833
Thanks: 24
Thanked 78 Times in 76 Posts
Rep Power: 6
 
Re: Clogged fuel filter woes - advice

Quote:
Originally Posted by deniseO30 View Post
Also don't forget to clean the pick up tube that draws the fuel from the tank.. How do I know?
I had a stoppage coming into Nassau Harbor, and had to sail in. When I finally took everything apart, I had what looked like a piece of seaweed (about an inch long) that had got caught in a 90 degree elbow in the fuel line between the tank and the Racor filter. Amazing what can grow in diesel.

On the northern Gulf of Mexico.


"Best thing to do is get her out on the ocean. If anything's gonna happen, it's gonna happen out there." Captain Ron Rico
Group9 is offline  
Quote Quick Reply Share with Facebook
Reply

Quick Reply
Message:
Options

By choosing to post the reply above you agree to the rules you agreed to when joining Sailnet.
Click Here to view those rules.

Register Now



In order to be able to post messages on the SailNet Community forums, you must first register.
Please enter your desired user name, your email address and other required details in the form below.
Please note: After entering 3 characters a list of Usernames already in use will appear and the list will disappear once a valid Username is entered.


User Name:
Password
Please enter a password for your user account. Note that passwords are case-sensitive.

Password:


Confirm Password:
Email Address
Please enter a valid email address for yourself.

Email Address:
OR

Log-in









Human Verification

In order to verify that you are a human and not a spam bot, please enter the answer into the following box below based on the instructions contained in the graphic.




Currently Active Users Viewing This Thread: 1 (0 members and 1 guests)
 
Thread Tools
Show Printable Version Show Printable Version
Email this Page Email this Page



Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
Advice on Fuel Filter Assembly Replacement Outrageous Engines 0 07-03-2014 03:45 PM
Clogged fuel filter? Alex W Diesel 17 04-23-2013 06:24 PM
Clogged Primary fuel filter. L124C Diesel 12 12-19-2010 12:42 PM
Racor fuel filter filter guage Grumpymx Gear & Maintenance 5 08-26-2008 08:10 PM
Fuel line clogged? davidpm Gear & Maintenance 3 05-15-2008 12:04 AM

Posting Rules  
You may post new threads
You may post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is On
Trackbacks are On
Pingbacks are On
Refbacks are On

 
For the best viewing experience please update your browser to Google Chrome