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Go Back   SailNet Community > On Board > Gear & Maintenance > Engines > Diesel
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Diesel This is a forum dedicated to diesel engines and their applicable accessories.


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  #1  
Old 08-22-2014
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Modifying Fuel Water Separator...

My boat came with an old Fram fuel filter that has a cartridge inside but it does not have a viewing window to see the water/fuel that has been separated. So I modified the drain fitting on the bottom with clear tubing and a valve. This way I can see when the water has been drained out of the filter and it is only diesel remaining...



What do you guys think? Will the vinyl tubing hold up to diesel fuel? Or should I use the cloudier Polyethylene tubing?

I just don't want to spend the $$$ on a Racor unit just yet until I fix some other things. I do like the idea of being able to see the liquid being drained though.

Zac
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Old 08-23-2014
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Re: Modifying Fuel Water Separator...

Another alternative would be to put a valve on the bottom of the filter. Hold a container under it, & open the valve. Any water will be seen in the bottom of the container. You may have to bleed the filter afterwards? The Racor that I had had a clear bowl.

Paul T
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Old 08-23-2014
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Re: Modifying Fuel Water Separator...

It looks suitable to me. I have this same Tygon tubing used for my pneumatic bilge pump that has had an exposure to diesel fuel at a time without any sign of deterioration. If you check the Tygon tubing commercial site you will see that they have a tubing with a yellow color, but still translucent, that is suggested for fuel.
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Old 08-23-2014
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Re: Modifying Fuel Water Separator...

you can get a fuel bowl at a tractor supply I think.. pretty cheap too.. just put it in line.
around 12 bucks
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Old 08-23-2014
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Re: Modifying Fuel Water Separator...

Vinyl is incompatible with diesel fuel ... Long term soak will promote 'softening'. Suggest you change the sight tube to Tygon polyethylene or a 'teflonic'.
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Old 08-23-2014
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Re: Modifying Fuel Water Separator...

Additionally, I doubt the water will make it down the tube; the opening is too small at the top without flow. Second, the needle valve will clog with dirt or even emulsion; a ball valve is needed. However, it is unsafe to use a ball valve as the sole restraint on a drain; it is far to easy to bump the valve open and slowly drain the whole tank into the bilge.

And, as Rich described, I have seen PVC fail with diesel many times.

Put it back the way it was. Better, just drain a few drops every time.
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Old 08-24-2014
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Re: Modifying Fuel Water Separator...

Or? this could be an odd thought... maybe clean the tank and don't let water in?
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Old 08-24-2014
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Re: Modifying Fuel Water Separator...

Quote:
Originally Posted by deniseO30 View Post
Or? this could be an odd thought... maybe clean the tank and don't let water in?
This sounds good, but there's still the concern with future bad fuel or condensation.
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Old 08-25-2014
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Re: Modifying Fuel Water Separator...

pdq is quite correct.

YOU have modified your fuel delivery system. If you have a leak due to YOUR DESIGN which is not totally compliant to TODAYS current ABYC/USCG specs. and recommendations, your insurance carrier will probably not pay for any enviro-damage if this design causes an oil spill (just a sheen on the water!!!!). Sorry but in today's over-regulated, authoritarian and lawyer controlled world you really dont want to make yourself vulnerable by not strictly following 'the rules'.
At the least, Id recommend that you change out that filter to one of the USCG compliant, commercially available (Racor, etc.) filter sets with a 'see through' bottom sump with a direct-close drain valve. Your Fram set up is 'automotive' and is probably not currently USCG approved - Id recommend that you replace it.

Most important solution is find the reason for the water intrusion into the tank:
1. bad deck fill .... broken or worn O-ring.
2. Always topping off the tank tank, etc.
Best practice is to keep the MINIMUM amount of fuel needed plus some 'reserve'; ...... only buy your fuel from a 'high turnover' source such as a depot that caters to commercial fishermen/watermen/mega-yachts or jug it in from a busy 'truck stop' that caters to 18 wheelers - to keep the fuel 'fresh' and to have the least amount of water uptake from the atmosphere through the vent; ...... plus drain and empty the tank when not using the boat for long periods of time such as winter haul-outs, etc.

Here's an example of a Racor filter with a see-through sump and a 'water shedding' filter media (sorry for the listing of competitor but I didnt see one in the Sailnet 'store'):
http://www.westmarine.com/buy/racor-...06_180_003_550
http://www.westmarine.com/buy/racor-...06_180_003_507
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Last edited by RichH; 08-25-2014 at 02:06 AM.
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Old 08-25-2014
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Re: Modifying Fuel Water Separator...

Quote:
Originally Posted by deniseO30 View Post
Or? this could be an odd thought... maybe clean the tank and don't let water in?
Great idea. Are you going to come over and help rip up the floors, cut access holes in all 4 baffled compartments, clean the tank and then rebuild everything?
Taking fuel in the third world, one gets a bit of dirt and water, now and then, so would you please explain how I can be sure I "don't let water in", without spending HOURS and HOURS at the fuel dock, checking each liter of fuel for water?
A good filter system is the best one can do in many cases, and suggesting ridiculously expensive or impossible things is not very productive.
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Last edited by capta; 08-25-2014 at 01:33 AM.
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