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Old 09-16-2012, 12:00 PM   #81
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I have old tanks and replace the dirty Racors every 6 months and they come out black.....similar to the OP. My Racor collects 0 drops of water and i have never experienced a clogged 2 micron filter. So the dirt I am seeing is what?
My guess would be crud from the tanks. I don't know if you use a biocide in your fuel but if you don't some of the crud could be the bacteria that can grow in the fuel- water interface in the tank. I know you said you don't get water in your Racor bowls but depending on the height of the fuel pickup off the bottom there could be some in there.

Or the crud could be precipitates from the fuel that have collected over time.

If your tanks have inspection ports it might be a good idea when the tanks are empty or nearly so to take a look or have someone experienced in this field take a look. If the tanks have crud buildups the can usually be cleaned using the same inspection ports.

You could polish the fuel and that would probably help reduce the amount of crud that ends up in your filter element but I think the real cure will be to clean the tanks themselves.
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Old 09-16-2012, 12:47 PM   #82
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The ideal fuel tank would not only have a "sump", it would have a drain in the bottom of the sump so water couls be drained off.

Of course, either of these would be pretty difficult to install in a boat and when we bu a boat, we get whatever the manufacturer chose to install in that boat. It would be far from simple to change a fuel tank and it's doubtfull that it would be cost effective compared to replacing filter elements
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Old 09-16-2012, 01:09 PM   #83
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On the other hand if a boat's original tanks start to fail it can be a relatively simple matter to design the replacement tanks to incorporate a drainable sump. This was the case with our boat. The previous owner replaced the original three iron tanks with five new tanks-- four saddle tanks and a center day tank. The four saddle tanks feed the day tank (or the engines directly) via gravity from their lowest points. The day tank also feeds from its lowest point. There are no pickup tubes in the system.
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Old 09-16-2012, 03:32 PM   #84
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On the other hand if a boat's original tanks start to fail it can be a relatively simple matter to design the replacement tanks to incorporate a drainable sump. This was the case with our boat. The previous owner replaced the original three iron tanks with five new tanks-- four saddle tanks and a center day tank. The four saddle tanks feed the day tank (or the engines directly) via gravity from their lowest points. The day tank also feeds from its lowest point. There are no pickup tubes in the system.
I think you stated before you haven't had any problems....if true I think it's because tanks that draw from the bottom never truly let much settle as with top draw tanks that never really draw from below pickup tubes...so bottom feed tanks allow the filters to get most of the stuff out on a regular basis out.

Most of the bottom feed tanks I've dealt with seem to have the cleanest fuel.
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Old 09-16-2012, 05:05 PM   #85
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Along the same line of thought Marin seems to take his boat out fairly frequently too. That coupled with bottom feeds on his newer tanks plays a big role as well. Keeping large supplies of fuel aboard without refreshing seems to be a downside of large tank capacities on some folks boats with fuel quality issues.
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Old 09-16-2012, 05:16 PM   #86
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Our tanks consist of four 85 gallon saddle tank "cubes" and one 60 gallon day tank. Total capacity is 400 gallons. In practice we have one opposing pair of saddle tanks empty unless we are going to embark on a longer cruise. When the pair of tanks with fuel gets down to 1/4 full or less we fill the other pair, finish using the first pair, and then leave them empty until the second pair is nearly empty at which point we fill the first pair again. So we alternate using saddle tank pairs.

The day tank is used to feed the engines and generator so the fuel in it doesn't stay there all that long.
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Old 09-16-2012, 05:53 PM   #87
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So a guy comes to this forum because his fuel filters are dirty and 85 posts later, the consensus is that he needs to rip out his fuel tanks and replace them with special custom made ones!

My advice to the OP - Take everything you read with a grain of salt. Possibly even the whole shaker.
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Old 09-16-2012, 06:15 PM   #88
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So a guy comes to this forum because his fuel filters are dirty and 85 posts later, the consensus is that he needs to rip out his fuel tanks and replace them with special custom made ones!

My advice to the OP - Take everything you read with a grain of salt. Possibly even the whole shaker.
I guess that's what you get out of all this...there's a lot of good info if you can sort it out...
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Old 09-16-2012, 06:55 PM   #89
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How about dumping the crud and have it analyzed by one of the oil analysis labs. probably 15-20 buck you'll know just what the crud is.
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Old 09-16-2012, 07:28 PM   #90
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How about dumping the crud and have it analyzed by one of the oil analysis labs. probably 15-20 buck you'll know just what the crud is.
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Yep...as i posted back in post #46

"a lot of guessing going on......maybe send a fuel sample out for analysis to see if the fuel is even the problem????

or like I said from the vey beginning...if your fuel is clear and bright and the filter element of the used filter is bright pink...I wouldn't worry and just wipe clean the standby filter clean if it bothers you. "
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Old 09-16-2012, 07:40 PM   #91
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I have old tanks and replace the dirty Racors every 6 months and they come out black.....similar to the OP. My Racor collects 0 drops of water and i have never experienced a clogged 2 micron filter. So the dirt I am seeing is what?
The crud picked up by the filter has nothing to do with water. Like you, I have never picked up a drop of water in the Racor, nor drained any from the sump after thousands of gallons have passed through. The dirt is precipitate or particulate contamination from the fuel, or biologic contaminants that either are filtered out in line when supplying the engine with fuel, or polished out by cycling the fuel through filters. The notion that you can have clean tanks if the tanks have a sump is bogus since all diesel contains particles smaller than 30 microns (refinery spec), as well as asphaltene particles that precipitate out, and those particles cannot be completely removed through a 1/4" tap at the bottom of the tank.
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Old 09-16-2012, 08:27 PM   #92
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I guess that's what you get out of all this...there's a lot of good info if you can sort it out...
I agree. I don't think anyone suggested to the OP or the other posters who reported dirty filter problems that they replace their tanks. If you DO have to replace a tank or tanks there are some design features that would be good to employ in the new ones if possible. But the consensus seemed to be a potential buildup of contaminants in the tanks for which several cures were suggested.
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Old 09-17-2012, 06:50 AM   #93
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"The notion that you can have clean tanks if the tanks have a sump is bogus since all diesel contains particles smaller than 30 microns (refinery spec), as well as asphaltene particles that precipitate out, and those particles cannot be completely removed through a 1/4" tap at the bottom of the tank."

The 1/4 tap is your idea , not how its done.

The problem is not small particles in pipeline fuel , its a 5 gal pail of gropsh that is a source of filter failure.

Ashphaltine is seldom a hassle as the clumps filter out very easily , and are large enough to be stuck on the outside of the filter media , and fuel goes thru them.

With the setup of a proper filter fill pipe with a cup on the bottom (in the archives) gross contaminates (sand and dirt) are caught in the fill pipe screen. and water or particles fall into the cup , to be dumped.

Hand power and with patience (time) even really poor fuel can at least have the water removed , so bugs will not grow.

Many of the older TT have iron tanks , poorly installed , or subject to deck leaks that will eventually require replacement or bladders.

Plastic replacements would be ideal, except a sump is not yet part of the options that can be spun in.

Most will go for iron again as Monel is expensive.

So why not have an idea what a proper fuel tank is , rather than accepting just a box of fuel?
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Old 09-17-2012, 10:33 AM   #94
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The problem is not small particles in pipeline fuel , its a 5 gal pail of gropsh that is a source of filter failure.
I'm not sure I understand the mechanical process whereby 5 gallons of gropsh remains in the tank to cause filter failure after the fuel is filtered to 10 microns with 30 passes through a polishing system in a seaway. But if you say so....
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Old 09-17-2012, 10:58 AM   #95
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Jay Leonard continues to state that a good 3 stage filter setup beats a fuel polishing setup.
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Old 09-17-2012, 11:12 AM   #96
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Jay Leonard continues to state that a good 3 stage filter setup beats a fuel polishing setup.
Arguable, but what shouldn't be arguable is that delivering polished fuel to a 3 stage filter is better than delivering unpolished fuel. With multiple tanks, you have to have someway to move fuel from point A to point B. If so, then adding a couple of Racors just lets you clean out whatever crud there is by polishing the fuel when the tank is low and you're sloshing around underway. The 3 stage setup ensures that the engine gets clean fuel. The polishing filters ensure that the tanks stay clean. Two separate endeavors.

The arguments offered against such an arrangement baffle me.
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Old 09-17-2012, 11:27 AM   #97
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Arguable, but what shouldn't be arguable is that delivering polished fuel to a 3 stage filter is better than delivering unpolished fuel. With multiple tanks, you have to have someway to move fuel from point A to point B. If so, then adding a couple of Racors just lets you clean out whatever crud there is by polishing the fuel when the tank is low and you're sloshing around underway. The 3 stage setup ensures that the engine gets clean fuel. The polishing filters ensure that the tanks stay clean. Two separate endeavors.

The arguments offered against such an arrangement baffle me.
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Old 09-17-2012, 11:42 AM   #98
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In a 3 stage setup the first filter is oversized ("mud" filter as referred to by many) and is considered a polishing filter by us neophytes.

BTW - 100,000 s of diesel "mud" filter arrangements sold per year work quite well on all sorts of industrial engines. As with all diesels, and noted by many on this Forum, the bypassed fuel around the engine gets continually filtered or polished. That is all DIY polishing with its myriad of hoses, fittings and pumps is - just filtering. If you are worried about a bunch of crud in your tanks, two big spin on filters side by side work wonders. It certainly does for Cat where up to 200 gph can be consumed by an engine.
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Old 09-17-2012, 12:02 PM   #99
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In a 3 stage setup the first filter is oversized ("mud" filter as referred to by many) and is considered a polishing filter by us neophytes.

BTW - 100,000 s of diesel "mud" filter arrangements sold per year work quite well on all sorts of industrial engines. As with all diesels, and noted by many on this Forum, the bypassed fuel around the engine gets continually filtered or polished. That is all DIY polishing with its myriad of hoses, fittings and pumps is - just filtering. If you are worried about a bunch of crud in your tanks, two big spin on filters side by side work wonders. It certainly does for Cat where up to 200 gph can be consumed by an engine.
With respect, and of course you are no neophyte Tom, trawlers are different than land machines because trawlers will typically have multiple tanks and weeks or months worth of fuel on hand. I don't worry about polishing my 100 gal day tank because it is being polished by the return flow, and because it has already been polished before it ever gets to the day tank. If all I had was a whopper day tank like a V CAT D8R, bypass filtration would work just fine. That's not my setup, nor the setup of most vessels I am familiar with. My setup is hardly unique - just a 30 micron filter attached to a continuous duty pump that transfers fuel from one tank to another or from one tank back to itself for polishing, and a 10 micron filter attached to another continuous duty pump that fills the day tank and stands as backup for the primary pump. From the day tank, a 2 micron dual Racor and then the OEM filter. Since the fuel is clean before it ever hits the day tank, changing the 2 micron filters and the OEM is done for drill only because they never have any contamination in them. How could they, given the pre-filtration?
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Old 09-17-2012, 12:26 PM   #100
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Delfin

WIth equal respect, your daytank setup puts a very different and much better arrangement into play for insuring clean fuel.

Nordhavn's 55s, 60s and 63s have interesting fuel delivery systems. After the fuel tanks a transfer manifold with a sump for water collection feeds the 30 gallon of so day tank. All engines recirculate to the day tank. Prior to the day tank no polishing or filtering is done unless the Walbro primary main (4) tanks transfer pump with a Racor 900 is used.

My gripe with the fuel polishing practice is towards those without day tanks that utilize small top mounted pickup tubes (1/2" or less) from their main tanks without ever touching the crud that may reside on the tank wall or bottom.
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