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Old 01-20-2015, 01:05 PM   #21
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Originally Posted by Ski in NC View Post
Cardude- Have you run the boat enough to get an idea whether you have a dirty tank? Best way is to look inside the tank if possible, or take boat out in some chop and bounce it with tank less than full. Stir up tank and then come back and change racor. Look at it and see how much gunk it built up.

If tank is clean, can't see much need to install a dual. I run a single on mine and it has never clogged. I change it once a year or so.

If tank is dirty, the duals can be a godsend.

No rough water yet. I'll see if I can look in the tank but not sure it's possible. Tanks is about 1/2 full now. Boat was a repo and set up for awhile so fuel might be pretty old.

After I get it in some rough water I guess I'll change out the Racor and take a look. Thanks.
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Old 01-20-2015, 01:16 PM   #22
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Don't be surprised if you clog filters often at first till you get the old fuel out. Also be on the lookout for water at the bottom of the Racor bowl. If you see it just drain it out the bottom. Easy.
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Old 01-20-2015, 01:19 PM   #23
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Particles measured in microns can clog fuel injectors and cause engine problems while underway. The dual setup is more than being able to change to a good filter while underway, its about helping to avoid engine problems or shutdowns while underway.

Without a fuel polisher you have no way of maintaining the fuel in prime condition. All that will fall to your Racor filter realistically. Likely, the time to have a fuel issue will be in rough weather when all contaminants in your tank are getting really stirred up. .
You are assuming problems that not all of us have. My single Racors has not yet shown any vacuum, and boy have I stirred up the tanks. On newer vessels many problems arise from builders debris and bad tank design. An ESI polisher as installed by Selene is not nearly as good as a day tank setup of polished fuel ala Nordhavn IMHO.

Fuel polishers are no panacea. I've first hand knowledge of a Nordhavn being shutdown by tank growth and a Selene being towed in due to construction debris in the tank bottoms. So right you are, close monitoring is essential.

I have four tanks on my vessel. One tank, good for about 150 miles if full, is polished with a dedicated pump and filter by drawing from the bottom tank sump arrangement thus no crap or debris should reside in it. Never yet has it been needed - it is dedicated to my diesel heater as well.

My favorite system if I were to modify, would be like Jay's shown above. Simple and cheap.
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Old 01-20-2015, 01:29 PM   #24
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Here is an excerpt from some friends of mine who are cruising the coat in a Nordhaven 47. This might influence your decision on multiple selectable filtering:

"With weather forecasted to turn in our favor, rounding the peninsula to La Paz would take 23.5 hours. During the first leg (10 hours) seas were on our nose with 4-6 foot waves. The hobby horse ride did a good job of stirring up our 4 fuel tanks. During our trip south we typically transfer what fuel will be needed and then some (say 30% more) out of our storage tanks to a tank used as our primary operating fuel tank. The transfer of fuel to the operating tank allows for additional filtration of the fuel before it is pulled through a primary and secondary filter prior to use. For no good reason on this trip, we deviated from the norm and chose to take fuel from one of the storage tanks increasing our risk of failure. As fate would have it the primary fuel filter plugged. At 9 pm without warning the main motor, a John Deere/Lugger died. We were 2.5 miles off shore in pitching seas, 20+ knots of wind and an opposing current. Without hesitation the “wing engine” was started and used to hold our bow into the seas. At 2,500 rpm’s the little 30 horse power Yanmar, 3 cylinder motor with its folding prop pushed us along at 1.8 knots. We were safe so long as the wing motor continued running. Suspecting the problem was fuel related the thought of losing our wing motor was a real possibility. After switching over to the backup for the primary filter and bleeding the system of air the main motor was back up and purring. At 1475 rpms, given the sea conditions, the big Lugger was providing a 6.3 knot cruising speed. It would take several hours however, for our adrenaline to calm and one of us to get the required rest before a shift change at midnight

The prior month in Santa Barbara we took on 400 gallons of contaminated fuel. We were a bit peeved to find that we took on contaminated fuel in the US as we purposely took on the extra fuel so that we would not have to take fuel on in Mexico thinking that we would be avoiding the fuel contamination issue. Anyway, to kill the algae now growing in our fuel all of the fuel was treated with a biocide additive. The dead algae particles then settled to the bottom of our fuel storage tanks. That and any other contamination missed when we had theses tanks cleaned in British Columbia was now suspended throughout the fuel. So we took multiple days in La Paz opening up all the fuel tanks, scrubbing them out with a mop and polishing the fuel down to 2 microns into the clean tanks as we worked our way around cleaning all 4 fuel tanks.
We have unexpectedly come to rely on the little Yanmar “wing” engine twice during the last year. And, if ever asked “yes” we are sold on having an alternative propulsion system or wing/get home system as they are often referred to."
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Old 01-20-2015, 01:52 PM   #25
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Holy $@&#. That would seriously suck. I have no wing.

Can one test for algae? My boat was built in 2008 so not super old.
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Old 01-20-2015, 02:03 PM   #26
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Holy $@&#. That would seriously suck. I have no wing.

Can one test for algae? My boat was built in 2008 so not super old.
Make up a dip tube out of copper tubing that is long enough to go to the bottom of your tank, the you'll know what if anything is lurking down there. This assumes you have access through the tank fill in a straight shot.
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Old 01-20-2015, 02:07 PM   #27
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Cardude,
The Seaboard Marine system is the best that I have used including several Racor systems.
I agree. It is top notch.
I would have gone that way but I had a free Racor 900 series unit in my boat supply cabinet, so my cost was only fittings and hose.
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Old 01-20-2015, 02:13 PM   #28
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That's why I'm an advocate of the dual filter setup with a vacuum gauge and routine monitoring. It may be a problem many of us don't have, till we do. I have been in similar circumstances and seen the vacuum gauge steadily build pressure. Nice to throw the valve to the new filter and change clogged element with the engine not skipping a beat.

My understanding is that algae grow on the interface between diesel and water in a tank. Maintaining tanks full, especially when the boat will be idle for a longer period, keeps the available space for condensation to a minimum and helps prevent growth. Chemical additives are also both readily available and helpful in those circumstances.

I don't know about a test, but you can see it, just google algae in diesel and check out images.
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Old 01-20-2015, 03:12 PM   #29
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^^ If you can drain the water out of your tank, the bugs will not grow.
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Old 01-20-2015, 03:31 PM   #30
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Dual Racors are nice to have; it makes for a quick changeover on the go. But I've never had a blocked fuel filter stop the engine. In my experience, I've always had some warning with revs intermittently dropping off, making it fairly obvious that a filter change is overdue.
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Old 01-20-2015, 03:43 PM   #31
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Dual Racors are nice to have; it makes for a quick changeover on the go. But I've never had a blocked fuel filter stop the engine. In my experience, I've always had some warning with revs intermittently dropping off, making it fairly obvious that a filter change is overdue.
I wonder if there's a correlation between injector pressure and sensitivity to contaminants.
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Old 01-20-2015, 06:21 PM   #32
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When I purchased my boat last year it came with dual Racor 1000s. Serviced all filters before leaving Stuart, FL where I bought the boat. The Racors had some amount of black sludge in the filters and bowl. Talked with my Cummins dealer back home who told me that the C series motors can only tolerate a limited amount of vaccum before something goes in the lift pump. The Racors are setup with 15' of vacuum hose and the vaccum Guage at the helm. My time in Florida was uneventful and headed up the AICW in April. When crossing Chesapeake Bay (25 miles) I got bounced around pretty good in 7' seas. Torward the end of the crossing I noticed that the vaccum gauge needle was starting to move where it had always been resting on the pin. By the end of the crossing it looked like several inches of vaccum. Throttled back, checked the autopilot, and went to the engine room to flip the lever. From leaving the helm to returning was less than 30 seconds. I will mostly cruise solo and only have one engine. I'm a believer in dual Racors! Nothing, absolutely nothing, beats being able to swap out the first separator filter with the flip of a lever!

If you are going to use a vaccum gauge on a Racor, make sure you know what the maximum vaccum allowed for your lift pump is. I will always switch when the needle comes off the post. My new JD can tolerate a lot more vacuum than the Cummins could, but you need to know the limit for your engine.

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Old 01-20-2015, 06:28 PM   #33
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Dual Racors

Ok. Thanks. I will try to find out the max vacuum my Yanmar lift pump will take.
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Old 01-20-2015, 10:23 PM   #34
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One of the things you have to keep in mind with Racor filter size is fuel system velocity. You need sufficient fuel velocity for the centrifugal separation of particles and water. Sometimes smaller is better.
No, you really don't. Larger filter surface spent size is more important.
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Old 01-20-2015, 10:38 PM   #35
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Agreed. Even if flow is low, gravity will separate the water, and the filter will catch the crud.
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Old 01-20-2015, 11:28 PM   #36
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I don't know what vacuum Yanmar would rate their lift pumps for, but I did see over 20" on mine when the fuel pick ups clogged at the end of a 21 hour gulf crossing. It was getting pretty tense trying to make the Destin inlet during a squall wondering if the engines would keep running. They did. Probably ran 15 hours at over 10" before we located the problem.(repeated filter changes did not help)

I think we have almost the same engines, I really have been impressed with ours.

I strongly agree with the remote vacuum gauge idea. We have them at the lower helm and without those gauges, diagnosis of issue would have been MUCH more difficult and costly.

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Old 01-20-2015, 11:45 PM   #37
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I don't know what vacuum Yanmar would rate their lift pumps for, but I did see over 20" on mine when the fuel pick ups clogged at the end of a 21 hour gulf crossing. It was getting pretty tense trying to make the Destin inlet during a squall wondering if the engines would keep running. They did. Probably ran 15 hours at over 10" before we located the problem.(repeated filter changes did not help)



I think we have almost the same engines, I really have been impressed with ours.



I strongly agree with the remote vacuum gauge idea. We have them at the lower helm and without those gauges, diagnosis of issue would have been MUCH more difficult and costly.



Rafe

Rafe,

What's up? You doing the loop yet?

So did you not have dual filters when you got all clogged up?
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Old 01-21-2015, 05:46 AM   #38
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Particles measured in microns can clog fuel injectors and cause engine problems while underway. The dual setup is more than being able to change to a good filter while underway, its about helping to avoid engine problems or shutdowns while underway.

Without a fuel polisher you have no way of maintaining the fuel in prime condition. All that will fall to your Racor filter realistically. Likely, the time to have a fuel issue will be in rough weather when all contaminants in your tank are getting really stirred up. In those conditions, being able to flip a valve and have a pristine filter that could restore your engine has some advantages. Of course, with routine monitoring you'll switch to the clean filter before it comes to that

Also keep in mind that you have no ay of monitoring the status of the engine mounted filter.

There's no ultimate right or wrong, it boils down to complexity vs. redundancy and your comfort level. Personally I like my dual racors for my main and genest. If I didn't have them I would be installing them.


As described above, having the duals allows me to switch, keep running AND change the dirty filter all at the same time.

Not critical, until it is.

On 26 days on the ocean, I hardly looked at the filters, but then in one 24 hour period, I had to change them 4 times. In hindsight, I should probably have changed them double that.
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Old 01-21-2015, 05:55 AM   #39
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Don't be surprised if you clog filters often at first till you get the old fuel out. Also be on the lookout for water at the bottom of the Racor bowl. If you see it just drain it out the bottom. Easy.
When we first got the boat, the first thing done was to install a Racor Fuel polisher, as it also gave me the ability to transfer fuel from one tank to another.

On the trip north, the FP proceeded to pull about 1 gallon of black sludge, which I now know was dead biomass.
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Old 01-21-2015, 08:54 AM   #40
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I'd start by opening up the tanks, cleaning them and have the fuel polished professionally. All the filtration and multiple filters will help but if you have clean tanks and good fuel to start with, I wouldn't worry about adding more filters at this time. The 2 you have should work fine.

Look at Dauntless's last two posts. The fuel polishing and duel Racors helped but he still had issues. If the fuel was good to start with and no water in the tanks, I bet he would not have had to change his filters. Plus are you going to cross the Atlantic?
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