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Old 03-28-2015, 04:34 PM   #1
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Funky Fuel filters....>>

On my "new to me" boat, I'm in the process of re-plumbing my fuel system and adding a light duty polisher. The Previous to the previous owner installed a 27 micron Fleetgaurd water separator ahead of the Existing Racor (10 micron filter) about 4 years and 300 hours ago. Not seeing any replacement of these in the logs, my re-plumb job presented a perfect opportunity to put in new filters. They were pretty funky as you can see. The new system will pull through a Fleetgaurd ($13) then a 10 micron Sierra cannister ($7) for the polishing, then on to a 10 micron Racor and the on engine cannister filter on my volvo when running. 4 filters....Overkill you may say? Maybe, Maybe not. Better safe than sorry I say. The caveat is, the engine was running just fine when I tackled this project. The Fleetgaurd should capture the majority of the crap as it has from these pics. The rest are icing on the cake.
I'll be changing filters on a more regular basis from now on!
There's a moral to this story somewhere!

Racor and Fleetgaurd:






Walbro Pump (FRA-4) and a single "Y" valve to activate the polishing system..All the re-plumbing installed today. Simple and inexpensive.

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Old 03-28-2015, 05:54 PM   #2
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Fiber on filters will pick up asphaltenes, commonly found in older oxidized fuel. They are typically soft and not necessarily harmful to your fuel pumps or injectors.

Black filters like that are typically indicative of old fuel.
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Old 03-28-2015, 06:00 PM   #3
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Fiber on filters will pick up asphaltenes, commonly found in older oxidized fuel. They are typically soft and not necessarily harmful to your fuel pumps or injectors.

Black filters like that are typically indicative of old fuel.
Yeah, I would assume that's the case...Only 50 hours accumulated in the past year, and sat for quite some time before that.....(2 60 gallon tanks). I'll be exercising it quite a bit more this season..
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Old 03-28-2015, 06:43 PM   #4
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The moral of the story is, a low fuel flow engine can run along just fine until it's filter elements are completely blocked off.
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Old 03-29-2015, 10:08 AM   #5
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Filter Autopsy at 300 hours....NOT pretty!

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Old 03-29-2015, 11:36 AM   #6
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If you run or polish on low fuel you will get rid of the junk faster that if you fill the tank.
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Old 03-29-2015, 11:56 AM   #7
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Do you have any access plates on the tank?

Fuel that dirty needs real agitation or access to the interior of the tanks to get clean. As Bruce mentions keep the tank levels low if you try to filter it clean. But it needs to be stirred up very well as you filter it. You'll need to use a pump capable of high flow rates and some decent pressure to have any hope of moving the fuel around in the tank. Even then it's hard to get the fuel agitated in all the baffled areas without access.
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Old 03-29-2015, 12:38 PM   #8
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Quote:
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Filter Autopsy at 300 hours....NOT pretty!


' DAMN!!
Dude! Where's my fuel polisher?

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Old 03-29-2015, 01:44 PM   #9
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I think the new ultra low sulfur diesel is more subject to developing asphaltenes than the previous formula. A lot of people mistake the asphaltenes in their fuel for algae and start dosing their tanks with algicides. I have been using Stanadyne additive in my fuel because it claims to reduce asphaltenes. Anyone found a better preventative for asphaltenes other than a fuel polishing system?
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Old 03-29-2015, 02:03 PM   #10
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If you run or polish on low fuel you will get rid of the junk faster that if you fill the tank.
I'm at about 30 gallons per tank now so I should be able to run a few polishing cycles fairly quickly and clean it up.

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Do you have any access plates on the tank?
No, Not accessible...But I will provide some agitation as I start the Cleaning process.

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I think the new ultra low sulfur diesel is more subject to developing asphaltenes than the previous formula. A lot of people mistake the asphaltenes in their fuel for algae and start dosing their tanks with algicides. I have been using Stanadyne additive in my fuel because it claims to reduce asphaltenes. Anyone found a better preventative for asphaltenes other than a fuel polishing system?
Good point. I use Stanadadyne in my Diesel VW . There are apparently some specific additives to deal with these (common) asphaltenes...See my new post down a few.

At 300 hours on that filter, it can obviously deal with quite a lot of crap and still run perfectly. A regular filter change schedule is now on the maintenance list..
I think it was an out of sight, out of mind thing for the previous owner as the boat continued to run perfectly.. All other systems were upgraded and maintained well..
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Old 03-29-2015, 03:06 PM   #11
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I'm missing something but perhaps because I don't recognize all the items you mention correctly. However, all I saw was filters, not any centrifuge or actual polishing equipment. Am I wrong?
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Old 03-29-2015, 03:22 PM   #12
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I'm missing something but perhaps because I don't recognize all the items you mention correctly. However, all I saw was filters, not any centrifuge or actual polishing equipment. Am I wrong?
I am re-doing the Fuel system on my boat. It is only filtered now (Fleetguard, Raor, and Volvo canister). A light duty polisher is being installed.

BTW, I've researched the Asphaltene problem and apparently it is quite common with the new low sulphur fuels as mentioned. This is exactly what is seen here on these filters.
Read more about it here: Asphaltenes and Fuel Filter Plugging

More than a few of us likely have this condition. There are specific conditioners available to minimize the issue. Apparently you need to disperse the asphaltenes, not just circulate. I'll be adding these to the fuel regimen:

Like: Fleet-Tech Asphaltene Conditioner, Quart CC2597

Or: Amazon.com: Penray 105032, Total Diesel Fuel System Cleaner - 32 fl. oz: Automotive
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Old 03-29-2015, 03:37 PM   #13
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I am re-doing the Fuel system on my boat. It is only filtered now (Fleetguard, Raor, and Volvo canister). A light duty polisher is being installed.
What polisher are you installing?

Yes, reduced to layman's terms, filters remove particulates while polishers remove water, sediment, non combustible particulates and microbial contamination. Polishing also in doing so restores fuel to specifications. Actually filtering by itself can pull the fuel out of specification by removing combustibles.

And you're very right about fuel downgrading much quicker than it once did. I've seen quotes that the "shelf life" of today's diesel fuel is between 6 months and 12 months.

I only understand the very basics and the theory but the science of how polishers work is a bit beyond me. I just know they do work.
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Old 03-29-2015, 03:49 PM   #14
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Filter Autopsy at 300 hours....NOT pretty!

The picture of that filter and your statement that the engine was running just fine at the time you removed the filter just reinforces what I've seen to be true with low fuel use engines.
That your money is best spent first buying large capacity filters with large surface area element before buying a fuel polishing system.

Low GPH engines flow so little fuel that with even badly clogged large capacity filters they will still run fine. Plus any time you are running your engine you are "polishing" your fuel.

It also reinforces my skepticism of the valve of vacuum gauges for low flow engines.
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Old 03-29-2015, 04:00 PM   #15
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The picture of that filter and your statement that the engine was running just fine at the time you removed the filter just reinforces what I've seen to be true with low fuel use engines.
That your money is best spent first buying large capacity filters with large surface area element before buying a fuel polishing system.

Low GPH engines flow so little fuel that with even badly clogged large capacity filters they will still run fine. Plus any time you are running your engine you are "polishing" your fuel.

It also reinforces my skepticism of the valve of vacuum gauges for low flow engines.
I think you're right on the money. That big fleetguard pretty much proved that. My burn rate is typically 2-3 GPH. As to my "Polisher", I should probably call it a supplemental recirculator. Just a Walbro pump and a "Y" valve pulling fuel through 2 filter/separators of Decreasing Micron ratings and able to run while stationary for a little extra cleansing. Cheap ($200) and simple enough to do and will allow fuel transfers from tank to tank, and filter priming as a side benefit..

In the future, some Asphaltene conditioner and regular replacement of 2 inexpensive spin on water separator filters once a year should do the trick..

Keep in mind, that filter shows a 5 year and 300 hr build-up..
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Old 03-29-2015, 05:51 PM   #16
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300 hours over 5 years? Now that you say that are you sure your tanks are really that dirty?
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Old 03-29-2015, 06:03 PM   #17
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300 hours over 5 years? Now that you say that are you sure your tanks are really that dirty?
I don't believe they are at all...From logs of previous owners the boat has NEVER had a fuel related problem and likely won't in the future unless I take on a load of bad fuel. I think this is more of an age issue.

Once I put in new filters, condition the Asphaltenes and start really using the boat and running some fuel though it they'll likely be clean as a whistle. I've only had the opportunity to put 12 hours on it since the December purchase.
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Old 03-29-2015, 07:03 PM   #18
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I get the picture now. Sounds like a good plan you have.
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Old 03-29-2015, 11:19 PM   #19
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Pulling fuel thru four filters " over kill you say". Maybe but it's not the best thing for the longevity of your fuel pump. Better to stick with a standard primary and secondary fuel filter set up. Let the Walbro recirculate the fuel thru a filter/water separator on the fuel tanks which can be done underway or at the dock to polish the fuel.
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Old 03-30-2015, 10:53 AM   #20
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Pulling fuel thru four filters " over kill you say". Maybe but it's not the best thing for the longevity of your fuel pump. Better to stick with a standard primary and secondary fuel filter set up. Let the Walbro recirculate the fuel thru a filter/water separator on the fuel tanks which can be done underway or at the dock to polish the fuel.
I've been pretty impressed with the effectiveness of my 3 filter system given how that fleetguard looks! Had that not been in the system the previous owner would have gone broke replacing those little Racor filters had the asphaltene issue not been addressed. The secondary 10 micron polishing filter will be by-passable with a valve while running leaving me with the exact 3 filter configuration that I (successfully) had. I have a vacuum gauge on the system as well. The Walbro is inline so can be left off (flow through design) or pump to the engine or to the polishing circuit with a "Y" valve. All in all it will be pretty simple and versatile in both run and polish configurations. All are water separators. No worries!
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