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Old 06-21-2013, 10:59 AM   #1
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10 micron versus 2 micron fuel filters

10 micron versus 2 micron fuel filters. It seems a no brainer to me. The PO left of box of 7 ea 10 micron and 2 micron fuel filters for my Racor 500.

Why would I ever use the 10 micron???
What am I not understanding?

I also added a Racor 900 fuel polisher using 2 micron filter. Since I ended my trip, I've been running that whenever I'm on the boat. I'm up to about 5 psi vacuum now, so will also change that today.
Will change engine filters today also (2 micron Purolator F50149).

Engine oil filter is Napa 1806. THat will be replaced with ??? Fram 2821A

Comments, thoughts, suggestions.

I've been dragging my heels on this for 2 weeks now, so I've reached apoint that some action is better than nothing.

Richard
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Old 06-21-2013, 11:12 AM   #2
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Richard, IMO, if you have 2 fuel filters in series as most do, the 10 micron filter should be first to catch the water and larger particles and the finer 2-3-5 micron filter second to finish the job.
My understanding is that most pleated paper engine oil filters are 7 microns regardless of mfg..
Vacuum is usually measured in inches (of mercury or water) not psi, so I'm not sure what you are asking there.
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Old 06-21-2013, 11:16 AM   #3
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Richard, IMO, if you have 2 fuel filters in series as most do, the 10 micron filter should be first to catch the water and larger particles and the finer 2-3-5 micron filter second to finish the job.
My understanding is that most pleated paper engine oil filters are 7 microns regardless of mfg..
Vacuum is usually measured in inches (of mercury or water) not psi, so I'm not sure what you are asking there.
Sorry, I meant 5 inches of Hg.

The two Racors (select one or both) feed the two engine mounted filters.
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Old 06-21-2013, 11:33 AM   #4
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I have only run 2 micron in my last two boats with thousands of hours on them and many thousands more on the commercial boats I run.

Only once did I have a filter clog that forced me to shut down and change filters underway.

If I had allowed any fuel to sit or go bad for any reason...maybe I would have had more occurrences.

That said...keeping a few 30 or 10 micron aboard in case you ever got bad fuel or developed a fuel problem may not be a bad idea.
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Old 06-21-2013, 11:42 AM   #5
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I have only run 2 micron in my last two boats with thousands of hours on them and many thousands more on the commercial boats I run.

Only once did I have a filter clog that forced me to shut down and change filters underway.

If I had allowed any fuel to sit or go bad for any reason...maybe I would have had more occurrences.

That said...keeping a few 30 or 10 micron aboard in case you ever got bad fuel or developed a fuel problem may not be a bad idea.
SOrt of my thinking too.
I was also thinking of putting one in each. Then run off the 2 micron and if it starts clogging just switch to the 10.
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Old 06-21-2013, 12:28 PM   #6
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Is your Racor polisher the same filter as your in-line engine filter, or are these separate elements? If the latter, I would use the 10 micron in the polisher and use the 2 micron as the in-line filter that precedes the engine -mounted filter. If not separate, I would use the 2 micron for both filters. We typically get 65 hours or more on a Cummins 5.9BT with a Racor 900 2 micron.
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Old 06-21-2013, 12:46 PM   #7
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I did a little research on this subject a couple of years ago because it appeared the PO of Boomarang had been using 2-Micron filters in an FG500 Racor primary filter. Being a single-engined boat, I wanted the best info on the subject. I ran across this whitepaper that you might find enlightening. I have Yanmar power so I checked with the factory reps and received the same recommendations. I changed to a 10-Micron primary filter and everything just purrs.

2-Micron Primary Filters – what the experts say
June 28th, 2006

Editors Note: This very illuminating “White Paper” started as an e-mail thread. An owner of a boat with Cummins diesel engines remarked Cummins Factory mechanic had made a notation in the log book advising the previous owner to “only run 10-micron filters in the Racor primary filters.” He was very explicit – 2-micron filters should NOT be used. There is an active urban myth about using 2-micron filters, despite the fact that most diesel manufacturers specifically advise against using 2-micron filters, advising it may cancel warranty obligations for certain types of fuel-delivery engine failures.

The following is from Bob Senter, currently with Alaska Diesel and previously with John Deere marine propulsion. He has over 25 years working with diesel engines and their manufacture.

“Regarding the previous Cummins mechanic’s note to use 10-micron primary filters, the owner should have listened attentively. He was given good information.

“The miserable urban lore of 2-micron primary filters is showing signs no of going away. I talked with Steve D'Antonio at TrawlerFest Poulsbo about this, wondering how the subject managed to get turned inside out. Much to my surprise, it seems we're both on the same page. He thinks there has been quite a lot of misinterpretation, too.

“First, and most importantly in this discussion: To my knowledge, no diesel engine manufacturer supports the concept of using 2 micron primary filtration. My inclination is to go with these company's well researched engineering based recommendations - if only to avoid warranty claims and unhappy customers. The engineers I've met are neither backward nor uninformed about boats and marine engines. Conversely, the primary requirement of boat ownership is not an engineering degree, but a checkbook.

“Placing a 2-micron element upstream of the engine predictably results in a dramatically accelerated rate of restriction and filter plugging, LONG before the normal service interval. This is often misinterpreted as resulting from a contaminated fuel tank that needs cleaning and polishing. Or, perhaps it is perceived as a need to install an on-board fuel polishing system. I'm sure local marine businesses appreciate these self-induced "service opportunities", so there's at least some benefit. (Just a tech note here: Many modern high pressure common rail diesels and even old Detroit Diesel 2-cycle engines pump over 100 gallons per hour of fuel per hour, per engine, so they do a very respectable job of polishing the fuel by themselves.)

“These days, fuel filter media is usually composed of plastic impregnated paper with millions of tiny electrostatically punched holes in it. Microscopically speaking, it functions as a colander, as in “cooking pasta”. Dirt in the fuel, viewed microscopically, is variously sized gravel. The filters' micron rating is nominal, not exact. In reality, many of the holes are partially plugged by debris in a very short time, leaving a matrix of MUCH smaller holes to filter the debris. In other words, your 10 or 30 micron primary filter turns into a much finer filter almost immediately. The job of the secondary filter is to remove most of the particles of a size that could damage the fuel injection components. Most Tier II emissions high pressure fuel system engines use a 2-micron filter in the secondary filter.

“At this point, we need to challenge the Holy Grail logic of a "single point of failure". Fuel filters are routine service items, not failure items; they don't break - most on-engine secondary fuel filters can be changed and the air bled out in less than 5 minutes. The average boat owner can't change a Racor element that fast, start to finish. If you're really serious about this argument, then you would never buy a boat with engines that have difficult fuel filter service issues. Same comment applies to primary filter physical locations.

“Engineers typically size the primary and secondary filters so that they will load up at approximately the same rate. The unspoken truth of the “single point of failure”, e.g. 2-micron primary filter concept, is that owners begin to believe that the primary does all the work and the secondary just goes along for the ride. If only this were true. Since the elements are paper, eventually, they will soften when ignored and exposed to (ever present) water, ultimately resulting in the trapped dirt and water being released downstream, contaminating the expensive fuel system components. Changing the Racor element is only half the job - you still must change the secondary filter(s) on schedule. This is not optional or subject to interpretation.

“Now, on to the myth of vacuum gauges. OK, the gauges may work properly, but the users seldom do. The only time the gauge is meaningful is at full load rated speed - this is when the problems manifest and precisely when you don't want to have problems. How many operators know the difference between inches HG (of mercury) and PSI (pounds per square inch) or what the operating characteristics of their engine are at a specific point? Long before you hit the red zone on Racor’s vacuum gauge, the fuel injection pump will experience problems resulting from restricted fuel flow. These problems could be excessive fuel temperatures in the pumps, air bubbles or hydraulic timing advance erratic operation - sometimes all three. A diaphragm type fuel transfer pump may fail prematurely when badly restricted. All of these are much more expensive, onerous problems than simply changing the secondary on-engine filter. By the way, Racor’s website has a very illuminating graph showing fuel flow vs. restriction – it goes nearly vertical at about the time the gauge needle gets into the yellow zone.

“Then there's the idea of "pressurizing the system". Placing a low pressure transfer or priming pump ahead of a 2-micron primary filter accomplishes an unexpected result: the operator goes from receiving some warning symptoms of impending filter plugging to receiving absolutely no warning at all - the engine just stops when you need it most. Personal experience speaking. I have verified this in my own boat….in front of a ferry.

“Finally, empirical testing, the basis of science, means proving your theory. When I crossed the Atlantic with the Nordhavn Atlantic Rally boats in June 2004, I counseled all 18 boat owners with exactly the same advice on fuel filters and service you've seen written here. In every case, the owners who followed the recommendations to use 10 or 30 micron Racor primary filters and change them on schedule experienced NO fuel related issues, even when they received bad fuel in Ft. Lauderdale. I also suggested they save the 2-micron elements for their fuel polishing systems. A few owners disagreed with this advice and enjoyed the experience of changing Racors in deeply rolling, diesel sloshed, and blistering hot 135 degree engine rooms. Somewhere, I read a quote I still love: "Wisdom comes with experience; and, experience comes from bad judgment".

Larry
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Old 06-21-2013, 12:59 PM   #8
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I drive a diesel truck and my IP (injection pump) would wear out quite frequently and I had expensive rebuilds as a result. I did a lot of research and found Stanadyne who makes the IP's said particles larger than 5 microns will wear out the plates in the pump and cause failure.

I installed two Racors and tossed the OEM filters. I placed a 1o micron first and a 2 micron second. Since that time I have quadrupled my time to replace my IP. I'm sure the injectors are benefiting as well.

It appears to me any manufacturer that says 2 microns are not needed are looking at their bottom line more than the customers wallet. Just my 2 cents.

By the way, I have 2 microns on my boat and have since finding out about wear from larger than 5 micron particles. I haven't had any problems clogging either. I'm going to always use 2 microns.
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Old 06-21-2013, 01:09 PM   #9
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!.LHGJGSomewhere, I read a quote I still love: "Wisdom comes with experience; and, experience comes from bad judgment".
COULD NOT AGREE MORE!
As much as I love this forum, there are questionable posts On here that are misinformed. This subject is really a good example. Good post!
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Old 06-21-2013, 01:18 PM   #10
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The current bible for marine engine (say less than 600HP) filtering can be found on boatdiesel.com articles and writings. As several have done on this forum and recommendation from boatdiesel - use a 3 stage setup which is 30u, 10u and on engine. According to boatdiesel, a properly setup 3 stage system will catch most water and green slime at the oversized spin on primary, which is the whole objective.

On my vessel with 10 year old tanks I use a 30u primary Racor followed by on engine with no vacuum buildup whatsoever on the primary. For low fuel flows most of us have, using 2u as primaries seems to work fine for many but as mentioned 10 works fine too. In another 5 years I'll likely go to a 3 stage - 30u Fleetguard spin on, 10u secondary and on engine - setup as tanks age.

Fuel polishing is another (black magic) subject, recently discussed on TF thread "fuel pumps." As an aside, on freshly minted diesel most/all is filtered at 30u as it feeds refinery storage tanks. My favorite fuel stops in the PNW all use 30u filters at the pump. Be careful filling from a shore truck unless you know the hauler and shipper and even at that, have a first class onboard filtering setup.
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Old 06-21-2013, 01:27 PM   #11
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On my vessel with 10 year old tanks I use a 30u primary Racor followed by on engine with no vacuum buildup whatsoever on the primary. For low fuel flows most of us have, using 2u as primaries seems to work fine for many but as mentioned 10 works fine too. In another 5 years I'll likely go to a 3 stage - 30u Fleetguard spin on, 10u secondary and on engine - setup as tanks age.
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Old 06-21-2013, 01:37 PM   #12
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Thanks All.

So with this information, I am thinking 2 micron in polisher (this is NOT inline with fuel filters)

Then 10 micron in the Racor 500s (primary and spare), switchable to one or the another or both (I now have 2 microns in these and I had to switch to "both" to get engine to run)

Lastly the recommended engine fuel filters (Napa 3166).

I'll keep you posted.
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Old 06-21-2013, 01:40 PM   #13
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I have a floscan and prior to the filters on the engine which is 2 micron I use a 30.

Smaller than that causes bubbles in the fuel flow which screws up the flow scan.
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Old 06-21-2013, 01:57 PM   #14
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Cat fuel filtering...primary 10 micron...secondary 4 micron..

"
Next, the Secondary Fuel Filter removes more than 98% of the remaining
particles down to four microns in size. Testing has shown
that the filter remains highly efficient with particles below four
microns in size as well."


Good enough for Cat...good enough for me...

http://parts.cat.com/cda/files/30229...0269Filter.pdf

If I had a high power, fast boat...I might worry about restriction...acceleration from 2 knots to 6.3 doesn't really pin my ears back.

To quote them all...a diesel needs good clean fuel and air. If a 2 micron doesn't clog in hundreds of hours of use and doesn't restrict flow..then using one at the same price as the 10/30 microns...then BFD.
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Old 06-21-2013, 02:02 PM   #15
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I have a floscan and prior to the filters on the engine which is 2 micron I use a 30.

Smaller than that causes bubbles in the fuel flow which screws up the flow scan.
Thanks Skipperdude...never heard that but I'll add it to my inventory of diesel issues that are hard to figure out...

Did you discover it or is it a well known warning that floscan provides?
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Old 06-21-2013, 02:08 PM   #16
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Flow scan has it in there literature same as not using teflon tape on any of the connections. Just pipe dope.

The teflon tape get into the fuel flow in the form of small threads that break off from the connections.

It is supposed to really screw a Flow Scan up.

sd
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Old 06-21-2013, 02:36 PM   #17
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Thanks Skipperdude...never heard that but I'll add it to my inventory of diesel issues that are hard to figure out...

Diesel absorbs air quite easily. When you take on fuel it splashes at the nozzle and in the tank and quite a bit goes into solution. When the fuel is under a low pressure as on the suction side of a pump, the air (and vapor) will come out of solution and create a bubble. If you put a clear piece of tubing at the lift pump inlet you will probably see a bubble form after a couple minutes running. This is mostly vapor and will never get any bigger and the discharge side will show nothing since the air and vapor went back into solution.

In something like a flowscan that air/vapor bubble can really screw up the flowmeter reading since the little turbine needs solid liquid to turn proportionally to flow. Since there are two sensors on a diesel system, the return flow which has no bubbles compounds the metering error.
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Old 06-21-2013, 03:11 PM   #18
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Thanks Rick-

I certainly can understand if the low pressure becomes great enough...never heard of any complaints from the guys I know with floscans...curious what it takes in real world numbers to become an issue...
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Old 06-21-2013, 06:22 PM   #19
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Thanks All.

So with this information, I am thinking 2 micron in polisher (this is NOT inline with fuel filters)

Then 10 micron in the Racor 500s (primary and spare), switchable to one or the another or both (I now have 2 microns in these and I had to switch to "both" to get engine to run)

Lastly the recommended engine fuel filters (Napa 3166).

I'll keep you posted.
Richard: Why did the filter get clogged? Was this after you cleaned the tanks?
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Old 06-21-2013, 08:29 PM   #20
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Perkins calls for 10 and final filter. I do a 30-10 two-stage and "polish" at 2 (although please read up on what the micron rating really are all about... it's not what you think). It seems like it would make more sense to follow the factory specs here. No sense making the pump have to work so hard to suck thru a 2 when it only needs a 10. But that's just me.
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