Opinions on adding a primer bulb to fuel line - SailNet Community

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


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Old 06-10-2010
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Opinions on adding a primer bulb to fuel line

I pulled the head off my Yanmar 1GM 10, for some badly needed work, and before I button everything back up again, I figured I'd improve a couple of other systems while they are more easily accessible. The Racor filter is installed on the starboard side, aft of the engine, and was apparently installed by somebody who had arms about 4" longer than mine. I can empty the bottom cup and change the filter element only by crawling into the quarter birth and snaking behind the engine. I plan to relocate it beside the engine, allowing me to reach without crawling under the cockpit. While I am doing that, i figured i might as well add a primer bulb to make bleeding the lines easier. Has anyone else done this? If so, did you install the bulb between the tank and the filter, or between the filter and the engine?

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Old 06-10-2010
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Yes; I have one on my engine. I don't have an electric fuel pump so I prime the fuel rail with the bulb. I have it located between the tank and the Racor; makes filling the Racor when changing the fuel filter a snap also. The unit made by Moeller is safe for Diesel and Bio-Diesel (it won't degrade).
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Old 06-10-2010
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I have used them also, they work great. I would recomend changing them every 4-5 years.

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Old 06-10-2010
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There are no known "primer bulbs" rated for below deck use. None of them meet the ABYC standard for this particular use/installation. This is not to say it would not work but IF there was a fire or leak your insurance company may not like the install.

Racor makes an approved primer attachment for the 500 series filters. A simple electric fuel pump may be a better choice. They can be bought at NAPA for relatively little money. Facet makes them...

Of course the other option is to refill the housing with fuel when you're done changing filters. This only works if it has a filter removed from the top like the 500 series does..

I looked into this a few years ago and decided against it after doing the research.
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Old 06-10-2010
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While I don't discount your comment; I'll say that if a fuel bulb is rated for diesel, by definition it is not designed strictly for above deck use. How many diesel outboards are there? Now ABYC might not approve of it; but there is a long, long list of things on my 1979 boat that are not ABYC anyway. The fuel bulb is located next to the Racor; it's not touching anything that could cause it to chafe, and IF there were a raging fire in close proximity it would have either cracked the glass filter bowl or burned through a hose as easily as it would have melted the squeeze bulb.

An inline electric pump is more failure prone; and not necessarily bio-diesel compatible (which I do use). I can fill the bowl on the Racor without trying to pour in any diesel; just a couple of light squeezes and it's full. Makes changing the filter a snap and no worries of spilling especially in the event that I need to change the filter while underway.
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Old 06-10-2010
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There is an odd benefit to the bulb also. If the engine starts stalling out and a quick look at the bulb shows it collapsed you have a fuel pickup problem in the tank. So it works like a vacuum gauge unfortunately only on the inlet to the filter.

My new boat came with an electric pump and a dual Racor filter setup which I think is really the ultimate solution.

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Old 06-10-2010
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I had a bulb between tank and filter for a time.. but suspected it as a source of persistent air leaks (on some bulbs the "clamps" are a bit suspect.) In the end we've gone with a Racor with a built-in pump and have been problem free since.
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Old 06-12-2010
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I put a primer bulb in as a temporary measure during a new engine install, to make sure that fuel was not an issue. It made it easy to prime, and the engine started immediately. I removed the bulb after a couple of days due to the fire hazard concerns. However, it is simple to hook back up, and I would not hesitate to use it again if I was having some fuel issues.
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Old 11-10-2010
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I also installed the pump buld (moeller) between the tank and racor filter. I also installed a fuel line that connects the engine fuel supply line to the engine fuel tank return line. This line has a shut off valve. once I change the racor I use the hand buld to pump fuel through the filter and back to the tank. Once done the fuel system is bled up to the engine. To bleed the engine shut the bypass valve and open the yanmar fuel filter bleed screw and use the mechanical engine pump to bleed. I think you could also use the bulb to pump fuel right to the yanmar filter with the bleed screw open.
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Old 11-10-2010
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My boat had a bulb installed when I bought it. Has worked fine and does make priming the system easy.
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