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Old 05-28-2019, 05:49 PM   #1
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Spare fuel filters for trip up the coast

Hi all, weather permitting, I am going to leave in a few weeks for our trip up the coast to Anacortes.

The captain I hired said I should buy some spare fuel filters in case we hit rough weather that stirs up any sediment that could be in the fuel tanks.

On the Volvo D4-300I-F, seems like there is a fuel filter on the engine itself, plus one mounted externally. See photo.

Should I be thinking about spares for each of these filters? Or just one? I assume the one mounted externally is a pre-filter that not only filters, but separates any water that could be in the fuel?

Any help is much appreciated.

Any other tips before I leave?

Thanks!
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Old 05-28-2019, 06:02 PM   #2
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Greetings,
Mr. 1969. IF you have the room, you can never have too many filters IMO. They do not go bad in storage. Spares for ALL filters. MY $.02.
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Old 05-28-2019, 06:10 PM   #3
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Were heading south along the west coast in a month or so, and Ive stocked up on “all” filters. You can never have too many. Especially the fuel filters, 8 of the fuel filters on the main, and 10 each for the dual racors. And we will be installing new filters on the racors prior to departure.
If in doubt, more is better.
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Old 05-28-2019, 06:58 PM   #4
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Greetings,
Mr. 1969. IF you have the room, you can never have too many filters IMO. They do not go bad in storage. Spares for ALL filters. MY $.02.
+1
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Old 05-28-2019, 07:04 PM   #5
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RT is once again correct. I have about 3/4 spares for each engine and about a dozen Racors foreach engine. They don’t go bad so stock up locally at a good price.

Cheers.
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Old 05-28-2019, 07:22 PM   #6
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We delivered a previous boat we bought down the west coast back in 2002. I stocked up on many Racor filters because I was sure the fuel tank was dirty. Never used even 1. 3 years ago we delivered our current boat from Virginia to Michigan and again we stocked up on many filters, and never used 1. Now I am not recommending not carrying spares because if I didnít carry spares I would have needed lots.
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Old 05-28-2019, 08:15 PM   #7
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Without question, change the on engine VP filters before the trip and the racor's.


If you need to change the VP's during the trip, the port engine will be a PITA and very hot. Stbd engine would be ok.
Priming the VP's - Read the manual and get a 3' section of clear plastic hose to prime the VP's
Carry a gallon or so of clean diesel to refill the racor's after changing. (and a safe way to fill the racor after inserting a new filter)


I have changed my filters and can do the racors in about 20 mins and the VP's take about 30 mins for both.


Also - I added a petcock to the bottom of the racors to check and see if any junk is floating around.


Also + - The VP's have a water in fuel sensor. Get a spare ($80.00???) The WIF sensor can break VERY easily if you over tighten.


And as with the other posts - get some spares for the VP's and racor.



Also ++ Carry a few spare engine and genset impellers


Good luck
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Old 05-28-2019, 09:31 PM   #8
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I always change the fuel filters before I do a coastal delivery. I also carry at least 4 spares per engine per filter type. I either use none (in most cases) or I use them all (only happened once). Murphy’s Law.
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Old 05-28-2019, 10:36 PM   #9
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I agree with all of the above. However, if you have fuel issues, most of the time, changing the first fuel filter is all that's necessary. While the first filter is usually courser and the second on the engine is finer, the first filter will pick up a great deal of what the second is designed to trap, through a process called "caking". The point I'm getting to is that while I would have one or two changes of on engine fuel filters for each engine, I might double or triple the quantity for the first filters.

Just because your tanks are clean, doesn't mean you can't get a load of crap at the fuel dock. I'm the voice of experience.

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Old 05-28-2019, 11:44 PM   #10
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First, if you have space, time and budget, make the Racor a double. Then you can just switch filters underway and not miss a beat.

Second, absolutely carry spares of every filter, at least two of the engine mounted filters and six of the Racors. More if you have room. As many have said, they wonít go bad and youíll need them sooner or later anyway.

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Old 05-29-2019, 07:10 AM   #11
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AS It might be months or a few years before filters are needed using a vacuum bag will keep them longer.

Engine Oil filters are probably the worst , as the thin unprotected sheet metal can begin to rust rapidly in a damp environment.
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Old 05-29-2019, 07:33 AM   #12
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Originally Posted by Comodave View Post
We delivered a previous boat we bought down the west coast back in 2002. I stocked up on many Racor filters because I was sure the fuel tank was dirty. Never used even 1. 3 years ago we delivered our current boat from Virginia to Michigan and again we stocked up on many filters, and never used 1. Now I am not recommending not carrying spares because if I didnít carry spares I would have needed lots.

That's the best possible outcome. You have plenty of filters, and don't need to change them while underway.
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Old 05-29-2019, 08:47 AM   #13
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As the others have said, stock up on the filters and don't leave the dock without them. The advice you were given is spot-on. Unlike comodave's experience, we were bringing our first boat home... had only owned it two full days... got caught in some bumpy seas that stirred up previously unknown sludge in the starboard fuel tank... and clogged both the primary and secondary filters. Had to change them twice on the way into port. It can happen. 'tis best to be prepared.

Let us know how it goes.
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Old 05-29-2019, 09:58 AM   #14
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I carry one on-engine secondary and a few Racor primaries. Usually start a trip with both fresh. In a 2000nm trip over a month, I might change the Racor once. But I have had the secondary get cloggy without the Racor clogging, I think the media got swollen from dissolved water, who knows. No liquid water visible in fuel but replacing the sec solved the issue.

And carrying spares is good, but I do think the filters age out. I don't like using filters that are years old. Keep a few on the boat and cycle them through.

Going to Alaska I might not worry about the filters aging out, I would not want to run out!!
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Old 05-29-2019, 10:19 AM   #15
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I carry one on-engine secondary and a few Racor primaries. Usually start a trip with both fresh. In a 2000nm trip over a month, I might change the Racor once. But I have had the secondary get cloggy without the Racor clogging, I think the media got swollen from dissolved water, who knows. No liquid water visible in fuel but replacing the sec solved the issue.

And carrying spares is good, but I do think the filters age out. I don't like using filters that are years old. Keep a few on the boat and cycle them through.

Going to Alaska I might not worry about the filters aging out, I would not want to run out!!
Ski, I am getting the impression that one need not carry a lot of fuel filters on the east coast as it is easy to pick up more should you go through several in one day. Here on the West Coast we are typically going around the clock and wonít see an opportunity to pick up more fuel filters for days.

I think on the west coast we are more likely to run into issues as all crossing are at sea and often with a bar crossing. Might be why the WC people are more paranoid.

I certainly donít disagree with ski on aged filters. However in the scope of things filters are cheap, iíd Rather throw away extras than come up short one.

That said, on my last trip we brought a brokerage boat from LA to Seattle and never needed to change a filter. Fortunately I was able to return the 10 spare filters.

How is that for free advice?
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Old 05-29-2019, 11:43 AM   #16
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Cruising is all about beautiful sunsets, great friends and the smell of diesel.

All great advice above. Open ocean cruising means one must be more self sufficient than usual.
If you run out, in an emergency, I have reused filters after draining and rinsing out with fuel. Oh, how I love the smell of diesel in the morning.

But, since you, like me are stuck here waiting for those ferocious NW winds to abate (my guess at this point is it's at least two weeks away, since the high is being very stubborn), I'd have half a dozen engine filters and a dozen racors.
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Old 05-29-2019, 11:46 AM   #17
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Richard, you heading north soon? Weather permitting, of course.
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Old 05-29-2019, 02:23 PM   #18
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Greetings,
Mr. 1969. IF you have the room, you can never have too many filters IMO. They do not go bad in storage. Spares for ALL filters. MY $.02.
What RT said. Beginning a passage with fresh filters is common sense, but discovering the need to change a filter (or filters) seems to happen at the least convenient moment. Often I have made offshore trips with boats that had spent months stationary, or cruising in protected waters. When the need to change fuel filters presented itself, it was in a sweltering engine compartment with the boat tossing uncomfortably and fuel running down my arms. Having ample spares aboard is one less source of stress.
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Old 05-29-2019, 05:24 PM   #19
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Ski and all

A number of years ago the Hatteras (871) clogged the Racors, I found a box of filters and replaced two. Solved the problem but soon found out those filter were put in the bilge about twenty years before (they did have a little rust) but still worked fine. Not sure what can happen to paper that’s kept dry over years. Maybe I just got lucky.
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Old 05-29-2019, 05:46 PM   #20
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Straight swap spare raw water pump is worthwhile IMHO.

We had the bearing in ours start to noticeably fail about 4 hours out from our proposed anchorage a while back.
Next day when moving to a better spot it went terminal.
Thankfully we were in an area where I could, with a long dinghy ride, fast ferry, courier, get it to a place for rebuild at considerable expense.
After that I bought a straight swap replacement as a spare for less than the cost of the jabsco rebuild.

Lucky I did as a few weeks back we had exhaust alarms go off and no water from exhaust forcing us to shut down and assess thankfully in a reasonable spot.
Turns out the repairers had overtightened the 1/2 inch long screws on the impeller plate and they had decided to let go causing loss of suction.

Spare pump in and on our way again.
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