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Ignoring Trolls in 2009
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Due to some recent difficulties (Thank God for Tow Boat US), with our fuel system, I am thinking about upgrading our primary fuel filter from the current Racor 120 series spin on to a Racor 500 series. The problem I am facing is that the current location for the fuel filter doesn't allow for the 12-plus inches required for the 500. Would there be a problem with mounting the 500 with it's inlets approximately 8-10 inches above the top of my fuel tank, roughly parallel with my injectors? The engine is a Yanmar 2gm20f. My main concern is whether the pump would have a problem pulling fuel up against gravity before it gets to the high pressure side.

Michael
 

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Tx -

Why do you want to go bigger? The 500 is overkill for that engine, although there are definitely bragging rights involved.

I am thinking you got screwed by a clogged filter by your post?
 

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Fit a pump to pressurise your system?

I fitted one of the Walbro 2403-1 pumps.

It's a 5 psi pump, and should work for you. Thereafter, downstream of the pump, air never can leak in again. Fuel can leak out, but then you see the leak and you can see it and fix it.
.
 

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Those little on-engine fuel pumps can exert a LOT of suction. The bottom of my fuel tank is several feet below the pump and it never had problems sucking the tank dry :)

That said the suggestion for an electrical pump between the tank and the filters has a lot of merit. It also makes bleeding the filters after changing the element very easy.
 

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It is my understanding that the racor 500 is to be used under suction and not made to be pressurized. So put the pump between the racor and the engine.
 

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Not filter size problem

Hi Michael,
I sympathize with your problem but agree with Jason that it is not a filter size problem. I have a Gulf 32 with a 70 gallon diesel tank and use a Racor 15S 2 micron. It is rated for something like 15 gallons an hour when my 4 cylinder Universal 5432 uses less than 1 gallon an hour at full throttle. I just happened to change my primary filter and after 150 hours it was nearly like brand new. I change mine once a year just to be extra careful. Your smaller motor uses even less fuel and so filter size is definitely not your issue.

Long story short, your problem lies elsewhere. What I love about diesels is that they are so darn easy to diagnose, especially when compared with the modern gas engine.

I also have a Walbro pump as my electric pump, and it lies between the filter and the engine. Although my Racor has a primer pump on it to fill the system at filter changes, I have used the electric pump to do my own fuel polishing, which you may want to do as well.

Anyway, just my two cents that I wouldn't think your problem is at all related to the size of your Racor. Good luck, and keep us posted. :)
 

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What ever filter you go with. it sounds like you have crud in the tank and you should fix that first. If not a large tank you could drain, flush and fill with new. If a larger tank you may have to have some one polish the fuel. What they do is pump it out and filter it and replace the cleaned fuel.
 

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I use the Racor 120 also with my 2gm20f on my Jeanneau. I personally can not see using a bigger filter! As others have said, I think there is another issue, ie junk in the tank, bad fuel that last fill up etc. Those are the usual reasons for clogging fuel filters with diesels, be it in my pickup, dumptruck, trackhoe, bobcat or sailboat!

marty
 

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The Racor filter will have a pressure rating somewhere, both burst and collapse. I looked for it but could not find it. Racor should know.

I reckon that 5 psi burst loading is not a lot for a filter housing to take, surely?

I still reckon that the pump should be upstream of the filter. Your filter is less likely to clog, as it is pressure driven. Your lift pump will not have to do work at all. In my own set-up, I can switch off the electrical charge pump and the motor still runs. The pump manufacturer very kindly has built a wee by-pass port into the pump. They are not expensive, at close to $80.

This electrical charge pump set-up is not for everyone. There is an added fire risk if you spring a leak, but fuel leaks out and not air in, and you will see it. When you stop the motor, you can leave the pump on and listen for the wee "rat-tat-tat" as the pump maintains pressure. It is a good leak test. Older motors tend to get a wee bit leaky on the fuel lines sometimes.

It certainly keeps air out of there, and the motor really cannot draw air without you seeing the fuel filter level dropping. In the past, I could draw air downstream of the filter and not see it. and not see it. I had that happen a few times in the past, and it's a heart-stopper as the motor slows, and coming into a harbour it is bloody awful. It does not happen now.

Bleeding your fuel system is much easier too with an electrical lift pump.
.
 

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The fuel pump on the engine will handle this height. Install the filter where you can, but make sure you bleed the system. After all the hoses and the filter is full with fuel you will not have a problem.
 

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I was waiting for Tx to confirm a clogged filter (he didn't explictly state this happened).

My setup on my 2GM20F is a Racor 120 with a 15 micron filter + a WIKA drag pressure guage to indicate overall vacumn pressure on the suction side.

This might not have helped avoid a tow if TX stirred up a bunch of crud in the tank, but it might have given some warning.
 

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After digging through a not very well designed Racor Web site, I found a spec for the 500 filter of 15PSI pressure. Since electric fuel pumps are pretty low pressure (I seem to remember 5PSI) There should be no problem putting it in front of the filter.

That said these are called "Turbine" filters and there might be some efficiency problems. There was another statement on the web site that they were designed for use under suction.
 

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Canada Shipping Act – TP1332E 7.7.1 and the US Code of Federal Regulations Title 33 183.590 requires every fuel filter or strainer shall meet the fire resistance requirements for fuel systems set forth in ABYC Standards for Small Craft H-24.5.7 unless the filter or strainer is inside the fuel tank. The Racor 500FG does not meet this standard. I know of no glass or plastic bowl filter without a heat shield that meets these standards.
 

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Ignoring Trolls in 2009
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Discussion Starter #14 (Edited)
Thanks all for the replies.

Short version of the last several months of events related to my fuel system/engine.

18 gallon tank, original to the boat as far as I know (~20 years). Purchased the boat in April had not gotten to change fuel filter at the dock first time so you don't have to do it "out there." :eek: But hey, why change the filter today, I could be sailing.

Ran fine all summer (~30 hours), basically no water in separator. In November filled up with diesel at my marina, took the boat out toward the bay. In the middle of a very narrow channel, engine lost power and died. Couldn't restart. Got the sails up, headed back toward marina with Admiral at the helm. I went below to change fuel filter. Wasn't going to happen, prior owner and the phrase hand tighten weren't on the same page (should have known that from the oil filter change after I bought the boat). Got the boat back to the marina entrance and had 20 knts on the nose. After several attempts, realized I have unlimited towing insurance. Dropped the anchor, popped a cold adult beverage and waited to be rescued.

Back at the marina, lots of water in the small separator (where did that come from) :confused:. Ended up having to drive a screwdriver through the filter to get it off. That is a little nerve-racking, yeah I know diesel not gas, but I still don't like the idea. Replaced the filters and started operating the lift handle to bleed the system. After 2 beers (I mean 30 mins) without any sign of bleeding going on, went to the chandlery for advice. Bought a small primer bulb that I placed inline between tank and primary filter. Two squeezes on bulb and entire system was primed. Ran engine at dock at varying RPM's for about an hour, congratulated myself on a job well done and called it a day.

Next sail, checked the separator (emptied a small amt of water, probably more than all summer) motored out of the channel to the bay (30 mins), had a great night sail, coming back in started engine. The engine started fine, ran for 10 mins and then lost power and died, was able to restart briefly but not keep it running. Checked the water seperator, lots of water and crud. Squeezed the bulb, was pushing fuel all the way through the system, so not a completely blocked fuel filter. Night-time, unlimited towing, narrow channel, easy call. Tow Boat US to the rescue again.

Now thinking I got a bad batch of fuel from the marina with just enough water to bloom 20 years of "algae" wishing I had an algae-x magnet :D. This combination of crud and water was quickly overwhelming the limited space in the separator on a 120 series and making it down line. Went and bought Star Tron Enzyme treatment. Changed the fuel filters again ($20 + $8) and primed system. Ran engine at dock for 1 hour, congratulated myself and called it a day.

Next sail, 30 mins to the bay, ran fine. Great sail while you AFOC's where in Chicago, restarted for the channel, had loss of power but was able to get restarted and ran fine the rest of the way in.

My thoughts:
I think (knock on wood) that the problem was/is moisture in the tank (found out yesterday the marina had a diesel tank leak the week before I filled up), blooming bacteria in my 20 year old tanks.
The Star Tron seems to be helping, but I expect to need to change several more filters in the next few months to catch all the crud.
The 500 is the smallest capacity filter that doesn't use spin-ons that I can find (I agree it is overkill), but I like the increased water seperator space (mine holds about two tsp) for the next time this happens.The much cheaper replacement elements $10 vs $20. I feel it is easier (for that matter possible) to visually check the status of the filter. Although I will probably buy a vacuum gauge for it.

The good news is now I am slightly more comptent at one more component of owning a sailboat, only 3684 more topics to go.

Okay, let me have it. I'm open to all ideas/opinions. :D

Michael
 

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You still need to clean the tank.
 

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Sounds like the issue I had with my boat. Got some bad fuel, went thru a few filters, but the stock one was a PITA, so I installed the 120R, and that was bigger than what WAS in my boat! At least this one is a spin on, vs a bolt thru the lower pan, and some sort of paper/metal thing. I ended up with that one having to remove the 'WHOLE" filter from the fuel lines so I did not end up with diesel all over the place!

If it were me, I'd keep adding the algaecide, and clean the tank, keep current Racor filter. Like all things great and small, that is me! not you.

Marty
 

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What I did when I had the same was to put a cheap electric universal fuel pump in the line after the filter. them added a 10 foot {as needed} fuel line to the fuel pump. Then pumped all the fuel out into 4- 5 gal fuel jugs. when all the fuel was out I put back about a gallion in the tank then put the extended fuel line into the tank fill and let it run, Wiggled the line to flush all the tank. replaced the filters and when it ran clean I refilled with new.
 

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ABYC standards unavailable online

I have read tha Canada Shipping Act regs as they apply to diesel and gas engine installations. They say that the filter must meet ABYC standard H24.5.7. ( by the way this seems to be an old standard as there are 2 or 3 supplements since 1975). But when I try to search for the ABYC standard, I find I can buy the appropriate section for $50 US. I am sure that not everybody installing a filter is following a reg that they have to pay $50 just to see! The filter in question is included in the West Marine catalog along with many others that apparently are not approved for use. If they want (demand) that you meet a standard they better make it available.:mad:
 

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Metal Bowl? Come on...

It is true that ABYC, even for diesels, expects a metal bowl on fuel filters. It is also true that it is outrageous that they want to charge you so much to see their regs. You can find the reference in Calder and Casey and other reference guides.

Now whether anyone does that, or agrees that it is necessary, is another thing. I've yet to discuss this with any of my sailing buddies and find one who follows that recommendation. My view is that my fuel filter is 2 feet away from my engine and right next to my fuel tank and fuel lines. If there is fire raging near enough and long enough to melt the bowl on my filter and ignite the diesel, then I'm already either dead or far away from my boat. Gasoline is one thing, my 80% biodiesel is quite another. If I'm dead, fine. If I'm far away, then fine, because there is enough wood and rubber and other combustibles on any boat to ensure total disintegration if a fire is burning in the engine compartment.

If someone gave me a metal bowl Racor would I use it? Sure. But for my time and money, I'm way better off replacing all the old crappy wiring, installing fuses and eliminating other fire hazards than replacing my Racor.

This argument is sort of like an argument over whether it is safe to walk down the street. Depends on the person. I realize ABYC feels they must take the high road, and I'm glad they do, as I follow them religiously on electrical and other things. But this one issue has always struck me as ridiculous. :rolleyes:
 
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