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Diesel This is a new forum dedicated to diesel engines and their applicable accessories.


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Old 01-01-2013
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How much water in the fuel filters is Ok?

I just changed both fuel filters on my Universal 5424 (the first is an aftermarket Fram). I got a couple of ml of water amongst the fuel I drained, you can see it at the bottom of the fuel. This is over about 100 hours of use. I'm thinking this is OK but wanted to check with the experts...
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Old 01-01-2013
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Re: How much water in the fuel filters is Ok?

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Originally Posted by MarkSF View Post
I just changed both fuel filters on my Universal 5424 (the first is an aftermarket Fram). I got a couple of ml of water amongst the fuel I drained, you can see it at the bottom of the fuel. This is over about 100 hours of use. I'm thinking this is OK but wanted to check with the experts...
Do you have a water separation filter, like a Racor, in your system? It should remove water from the fuel BEFORE it gets to the fuel filter. I would suggest that water in the fuel filter is problematic. The Racor will likely have a glass bulb in which you can see water at the bottom. A valve at the bottom permits the water to be drained.

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Re: How much water in the fuel filters is Ok?

I don't have a dedicated separator, just the aftermarket Fram, which is just a filter. Better put a Racor separator on my shopping list, then?

Actually, I'm not sure of the capabilities of the Fram. It does have a drain screw, but the bowl is not transparent. It takes a C1110PL cartridge. Does anyone know if it separates water?
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Re: How much water in the fuel filters is Ok?

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Originally Posted by MarkSF View Post
I don't have a dedicated separator, just the aftermarket Fram, which is just a filter. Better put a Racor separator on my shopping list, then?
Absolutely.
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Old 01-02-2013
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Re: How much water in the fuel filters is Ok?

Quote:
Originally Posted by MarkSF View Post
I don't have a dedicated separator, just the aftermarket Fram, which is just a filter. Better put a Racor separator on my shopping list, then?
...
Mark--You would be wise to install a Racor FG500 filter:



One can observe water, if any, in the bottom of the bowl and drain it, if necessary, without difficulty. (If you are finding much water, however, it would be wise to have your fuel tank(s) "polished".) Another advantage of this filter is that the turbine/spindel seen through the bottom bowl "spins" the fuel such that heavier debris is thrown out and collects in the bowl as well where it can be flushed out through the bottom drain.

FWIW...
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Old 01-02-2013
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Re: How much water in the fuel filters is Ok?

Quote:
Originally Posted by MarkSF View Post
I don't have a dedicated separator, just the aftermarket Fram, which is just a filter. Better put a Racor separator on my shopping list, then?

Actually, I'm not sure of the capabilities of the Fram. It does have a drain screw, but the bowl is not transparent. It takes a C1110PL cartridge. Does anyone know if it separates water?
All filters (installed with the filter bowl 'lower' than the filter 'head') will trap water, including the spin on type. . For 'best' water 'knock out' you should have such mounted in the 'very' lowest portion of the entire fuel delivery system ... so that water that 'drops out' from the fuel will drain towards the 'filter'. A cartridge type filter housing (with 'bowl down') with NO filter element installed will trap water.

For non-transparent bowls with drain plugs, either routinely drain them or put a '**** valve' in place of the drain, .... or (against boat and CG regs.) put a small length of fuel compatible clear hose ('translucent teflon-type' is best) between the drain port and terminate the 'tubing' to a **** valve.

If you need to trap air, simply install the filter with the bowl higher than the filter 'head' and put this in the highest portion of the entire fuel delivery line.

FWIW ... if you notice that there is water in a bowl, it means that
1. your fuel is totally 'saturated' with water vapor (usually 'old' fuel, or from a fuel tank that is continually 'topped off');
2. your fuel source is delivering 'old' fuel + water;
3. your deck fill is leaking.
The importance of guarding against free water in the fuel delivery system (besides the fact that water doesnt 'burn' very well) is that water hitting the hot injector tips can shatter them.
4. If you do see 'water' in your filter bowl be aware that the typical filter 'cellulosic' material, even that it is 'resinated' with epoxy compounds, will 'soften' and become weakened ... and you should consider to 'change out' that filter cartridge between 6-12 months and regardless if there is 'dirt' captured on it or not.

How to prevent water in fuel.
1. dont always top-off the tank, especially with a 'large' tank.
2. keep the MINIMUM amount of fuel in the tank to cover your immediate needs, plus some reserve.
3. Drain/empty the tank completely for loooooong layup/storage.
4. Buy your fuel only from a high-turnover source - a fuel source that caters to 'watermen' or a large fishing fleet .... or jug it in from a 'truck stop' --- "Fresh" fuel !!!!!
5. Routinely change the O-ring in your deck fill cap.
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Re: How much water in the fuel filters is Ok?

I do tend to keep the tank pretty fuel, topping it off about once a month. At this point it will normally take about 5 gallons, which leaves about 15 gallons in the tank.

I will try to keep it at a lower average level - say half full? That would be more than adequate for my needs.

I buy all the fuel in a 5 gallon container from the gas station I fill my (diesel) car at.

Good point about the O ring...it's probably as old as the boat!
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Old 01-02-2013
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Re: How much water in the fuel filters is Ok?

Great thread!

Quote:
Originally Posted by RichH View Post
How to prevent water in fuel.
1. dont always top-off the tank, especially with a 'large' tank.
Hmmm, I have always understood that you want the tanks full which reduces in-tank condensation. This is interesting.
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Re: How much water in the fuel filters is Ok?

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Originally Posted by kellysails View Post
Great thread!



Hmmm, I have always understood that you want the tanks full which reduces in-tank condensation. This is interesting.
Think about this .... do empty tanks magically fill with water from condensation? of course not.

Its the large thermal mass of fuel that leads and lags the 'thermal swing' hence accelerating the 'condensation' ... but this is on a minimal scale. Fuels are made at high temperatures thus are delivered in a 'dehydrated' state ... the water enters (equilibrates) from the atmosphere (through tank vents, etc.) and the 'drive' that causes fuels to eventually saturate with water is simple chemical/physical 'equilibrium' ... the larger amount of fuel mass the greater the 'drive' towards 'equilibrium'.
Once a fuel starts to 'drop out' water, or radically begins to 'condense' on the tank wall surfaces above the liquid ..... its already near to or is fully saturated with water from the atmosphere. If you want less water, simply have less stored fuel.

Tank vent desiccant traps (often changed or often 'regenerated') is the simplest way to keep water out of a boat tank with 'fresh' fuel; after of course, preventing leaks at the 'deck fill'.

BTW 'boat fuel tanks', cannot withstand the 'vacuum' generated if you happen to think that putting a valve on the vent line will stop water vapor uptake ... because you risk IMPLODING such a tank when the temp. goes way down.
NO valves on boat tank vent lines !!!!!!!
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Re: How much water in the fuel filters is Ok?

OK, very different from what I have been told but your opinion is backed with with great data. Great stuff Rich, thanks!
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