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Old 09-07-2012, 12:55 PM   #1
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Racor Filters

This is my first boat with dual filters, but I understand and appreciate the concept of being able to instantly switch to a new filter if one becomes blocked while underway.

The problem I have is that I'm getting growth in the bowl of the standby filter and no way to remove it without sending it to the engine. Not wanting to do that, I've disassembled the dirty bowl and removed the growth, but this is not practical to do regularly. The other alternative seems to be to periodically alternate filters to keep fresh fuel running through both sides, but this seems to defeat the idea of having a clean standby filter waiting to be used.

How have you all dealt with this?

I have a fuel polishing system on board that is keeping the fuel in the tanks clean but this system is plumbed separately from the fuel delivery system.

Thank you for any suggestions or advice you can offer.

Regards,
Bob
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Old 09-07-2012, 01:16 PM   #2
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Is there a drain? Most Racor filters you just twist the plastic fitting on the bottom to drain...you should do it enough that nothing builds up...and if stuff is building very fast...is it also in your tanks ? (you should be able to see it on the used filters)
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Old 09-07-2012, 01:28 PM   #3
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Never had this problem with our regular or standby Racors (2 micron). It would seem like you must have some sort of "infection" in your tank(s) that is not being addressed adequately by the fuel polisher. If possible, try transferring all fuel to one tank via the polisher, and drain tank completely. Polish the full tank several times, then transfer all fuel back to the empty tank via the polisher after fitting a clean polishing filter. Then drain the empty tank completely before refilling. Even better if it is possible to "wash" the inside of the empty tank(s) with a stream of fuel. Last thought (for what it's worth) -- sometimes bugs grow because there is light (eg in water lines exposed to sunlight) . If your Racor is exposed to light muc of the time, you might try covering it with tin foil to see of this helps.
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Old 09-07-2012, 01:38 PM   #4
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Never had this problem with our regular or standby Racors (2 micron). It would seem like you must have some sort of "infection" in your tank(s) that is not being addressed adequately by the fuel polisher. If possible, try transferring all fuel to one tank via the polisher, and drain tank completely. Polish the full tank several times, then transfer all fuel back to the empty tank via the polisher after fitting a clean polishing filter. Then drain the empty tank completely before refilling. Even better if it is possible to "wash" the inside of the empty tank(s) with a stream of fuel. Last thought (for what it's worth) -- sometimes bugs grow because there is light (eg in water lines exposed to sunlight) . If your Racor is exposed to light muc of the time, you might try covering it with tin foil to see of this helps.
I don't think bugs/algae grow because of light...because that happens in metal tanks all the time...they grow there because there is enough water to support them if the water separating filter is doing it's job.

Before I did all that you suggest...why not see what the filter element in filter being used looks like...if it's clean then it's probably just a filter bowl issue that can be drained or popped off with 4 screws and wiped clean???
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Old 09-07-2012, 08:59 PM   #5
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Needed to switch to the second Racor a couple of weeks ago because insufficient fuel was reaching the engine at the higher RPM. Replaced the dirty filter today:



It's definitely handy having two filters with the ability to easily switch from one to the other.

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Old 09-07-2012, 11:12 PM   #6
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Mark what was the vacuum gauge reading befor you switched filers?

Just Bob: what does the growth in the filter bowl look like?
Thanks
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Old 09-07-2012, 11:30 PM   #7
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Mark what was the vacuum gauge reading before you switched filers?
Don't know, Steve. Just lowered throttle to "comfortable/efficient" cruising speed when underway as I wasn't far from home port. Didn't switch filters until the next trip. Possible upgrade to the Coot is to have the gauge in the pilothouse instead of the engine compartment.

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Old 09-08-2012, 02:31 AM   #8
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Mark---I'm really curious.... You've got a new boat but your used filter element looks like something out of a farm tractor that hasn't had its filter changed in five years. How is that possible? Is the fuel sold in SFO bay that dirty? We change our Racor 500 2- micron elements every oil change, so every 100-150 hours, and the old elements coming out look just like the new ones going in only the old ones are now dyed red instead of being white.

Do you think the tank manufacturer got a bunch of dirt or something in your tanks as they were being made?
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Old 09-08-2012, 08:20 AM   #9
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The growth is black mold like, it is only on the top of the white centrifugal disk in the bowl.

Yes there is a drain but the growth doesn't come out with the fuel when I drain it.

The fuel in the tanks has been polished several times and is clean.

The fuel going the the filters being used is clean and there is no growth in these. The growth only started to accumulate in the standby filters when I changed and switched sides being used.

I have dual filters on both engines and both gensets and the growth is in all 4 standby filters.

I use 30 micron filters in the Racors and have two filters on the engines, a 10 and than 2 micron.

From seeing what is happening, my suspicion is that if I clean and switch sides the growth will begin again on the "new" standby side.

I am not keeping a biocide in the fuel during the summer because we are using the boat and circulating fuel but maybe I should be.

Thank you all for the feedback!
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Old 09-08-2012, 08:24 AM   #10
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How is that possible?
The boat was built in China.

We took management of a largish (for a Chinese build) yacht last year and we are still finding defects and outlandish examples of workmanship that should never have been allowed to leave the yard. And this boat was built to class.

Unless the owner has a competent representative at the yard, every day, observing each activity, quality control is effectively non-existent.

The lawyers are still building the case so I can't say much but as soon as it is filed the details will make interesting reading for anyone thinking about buying one of this builder's boats.
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Old 09-08-2012, 09:52 AM   #11
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First to establish perspective, I fly the the stars and strips proudly off the stern of this vessel.

The previous reply is helpful to no one! It is a gross generalization that offers no objective information to help solve a problem.

The inference is that all boats built in China without the watchful eye of a personal QC rep are of questionable quality. Many owners of new Nordhavns, Krogens, Selenes, Flemings or Ocean Alexanders would question this assumption. Besides even if it was true where else can someone find a list of manufacturers comparable to this building anywhere else, I wish there was!

A boat built by a quality yard in China is no more problematic than one built anywhere else. Your story of build problems are of "that boat's" build problems and could be told of many boats built in many yards, from Canada, the UK, Turkey, or the US!
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Old 09-08-2012, 10:31 AM   #12
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You indicate that the "growth" does not come out when you drain. When I replace my Racors I rinse out the bowl several times with the drained diesel. Just repeatedly pour it in the top and drain out the bottom. Sooner or later you get most of the crud that you may not be able to reach with a paper towel. It is not clear from your posting whether you have experienced this "growth" problem more than once or twice?? Like Marin said it is hard to understand why there would be so much crud in your tanks and my experience is that if your using your boat, growth should not be a problem inside the Racor itself. The other comment about water in fuel is relevant. Are you getting any water separation in the Racors??
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Old 09-08-2012, 10:53 AM   #13
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Your practice of flushing the bowl sounds very good and is not something I've ever thought of doing. Thank you for the idea.

Our previous boat had single Racors and small fuel tanks so new fuel was being added regularly. This is a new boat and we are still getting used to doing things a little differently.

I've only changed these Racors once, so I don't have a lot of history to use as comparison.

There has never been any water in the separators.

Thank you again for the ideas and thoughtful questions.
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Old 09-08-2012, 11:24 AM   #14
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Greetings,
As well as the technique described by Mr. Chrisjs, I have, on occasion taken a long cable tie, slid it past the cyclone section and agitated the remaining fuel in the bottom of the Racor to the extent that any crud is "knocked" off or mechanically scoured off the walls of the reservoir enabling me to drain the residual fuel AND the crud. I usually rinse with clean diesel 2X or 3X. As to a biocide, it should not be a detriment to add both summer and winter (just to keep the concentrations up).
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Old 09-08-2012, 12:31 PM   #15
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Mark---I'm really curious.... You've got a new boat but your used filter element looks like something out of a farm tractor that hasn't had its filter changed in five years. How is that possible? ...
I'm clueless. Some of the fuel was from China. The filter lasted about 1.5 years of use.
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Old 09-08-2012, 03:23 PM   #16
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Greetings,
As well as the technique described by Mr. Chrisjs, I have, on occasion taken a long cable tie, slid it past the cyclone section and agitated the remaining fuel in the bottom of the Racor to the extent that any crud is "knocked" off or mechanically scoured off the walls of the reservoir enabling me to drain the residual fuel AND the crud. I usually rinse with clean diesel 2X or 3X. As to a biocide, it should not be a detriment to add both summer and winter (just to keep the concentrations up).
This is EXACTLY the procedure I use. Funny that you use a long cable tie too
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Old 09-08-2012, 04:06 PM   #17
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The filter lasted about 1.5 years of use.
Seriously?

I thought the filters had to be changed every so many engine hours (varies per mfg I suspect). Have you not been running your boat?
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Old 09-08-2012, 04:16 PM   #18
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Seriously?

I thought the filters had to be changed every so many engine hours (varies per mfg I suspect). Have you not been running your boat?
They don't have to be...especially with a vacuum gauge to show you the extent of blockage...and you still have a secondary on the engine.
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Old 09-08-2012, 05:02 PM   #19
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...and you still have a secondary on the engine.
My JD has two secondaries on the engine - the last level of protection.

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Old 09-08-2012, 05:10 PM   #20
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My JD has two secondaries on the engine - the last level of protection.
Looks like the one say "final water separator" on it????? Pretty rare in my experience...we had several JD's in our assistance fleet and never had one of those...
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