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Old 01-29-2015, 10:13 AM   #81
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OK, I've read the entire thread (whew!) and although the question was asked once, it wasn't really answered, so I'll ask it again: how often should the on-engine fuel filter be changed?

Background: new-to-us boat, 1974 Gulfstar trawler with dual Perkins normally aspirated 6.354's. Single Racor for each engine, and one for the genset. Changed the Racor filters yesterday for the first time, and the fuel we drained out of the bowls was pretty cruddy (way dirtier than I would have thought from the visual inspection, BTW), as were the filter elements (black with crud). Not knowing when the on-engine filter cartridges were last changed, we changed one of those, too. (Ran out of time for the second one.) In spite of the crud in the Racors, the fuel in the on-engine filter looked crystal clear, and the paper in the element was still nice and white. Our PO was very meticulous about maintenance, and gave us his schedule of changes - but it doesn't even mention changing the on-engine filter, not even in the "Every 2 - 3 years" category.

BTW, the Racor elements are 2 micron. It seems like they do such a great job, that nothing has gotten past them to the on-engine filter, making me think the latter doesn't need to be changed very often at all. As in, every couple hundred hours, but not at all based on number of months. (Currently, we don't put more than 100 hours a year on the engines.) Am I oversimplifying? Do I have a false sense of security, based on just one clean on-engine filter?

What micron is the on-engine filter? With 2 micron Racors, the fuel is about as clean as it can be going through the on-engine filters. Usually the micron size of the Racors are larger than that of the on-engine filter so there is some additional benefit provided by them.
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Old 01-29-2015, 10:20 AM   #82
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From the adivce I got on TF, I use 2 micron Racors and change my engine mounted filters when the mood strikes. Usually during leap years.
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Old 01-29-2015, 11:30 AM   #83
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BTW, the Racor elements are 2 micron. It seems like they do such a great job, that nothing has gotten past them to the on-engine filter, making me think the latter doesn't need to be changed very often at all. As in, every couple hundred hours, but not at all based on number of months. (Currently, we don't put more than 100 hours a year on the engines.) Am I oversimplifying? Do I have a false sense of security, based on just one clean on-engine filter?
Yes, I think so. Regardless of how many hours you don't run the engine the filter is still a paper product submerged in a liquid. I would change it as often as recommended, regardless of the Racor before it, and how good a job it is doing.
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Old 01-29-2015, 11:48 AM   #84
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From the adivce I got on TF, I use 2 micron Racors and change my engine mounted filters when the mood strikes. Usually during leap years.
From the advice I have steadfastly ignored on TF I run 30 microns on the Racors and change the on engine every 1000 gallons or so. 2 microns on the primary is overkill and just leads to premature plug ups at that point. Most non electronic engine on engine filters are around 5 microns, so a smaller filter size in front of it is questionable.
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Old 01-29-2015, 12:19 PM   #85
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The appropriate micron to use on the filters I understand is, at least in part, dependent on the pressure of the fuel injectors. Older designs with lower injector pressure can tolerate larger debris than newer high pressure injector engine designs.
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Old 01-29-2015, 01:11 PM   #86
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This is why I use a vaccum gauge. There is nothing wrong with a 2 micron filter in the racor if you're showing no vaccum. A restriction to the lift pump would show in the form of a vaccum on the gauge. As soon as I start to see vaccum on the gauge, it's time to flip the lever and replace the element. BTW, the final filter on my JD is 2 micron. Regarding the final filter on the engine, I plan to follow mfg recommendations or once a year. Filters are cheap; everything else isn't.

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Old 01-29-2015, 01:25 PM   #87
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O C Diver - agreed, but I change the Racors when the vacuum gauge gets to 4 lb/pressure as per their manual.
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Old 01-29-2015, 02:04 PM   #88
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What micron is the on-engine filter? With 2 micron Racors, the fuel is about as clean as it can be going through the on-engine filters. Usually the micron size of the Racors are larger than that of the on-engine filter so there is some additional benefit provided by them.
Well.... just looked it up (NAPA 3166) and it appears to be 10 microns. So, with 2 micron Racors... doesn't make a lot of sense, does it?

What size do y'all run in your Racors?

BTW, the Racor for the Westerbeke 8kw genset was 10 micron, and the PO had one of them in the spares box, so that's what I put back in. I assumed he had a reason for that - maybe Westerbeke specifies it? I'll look into that separately - unless someone happens to know?
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Old 01-29-2015, 03:03 PM   #89
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Well.... just looked it up (NAPA 3166) and it appears to be 10 microns. So, with 2 micron Racors... doesn't make a lot of sense, does it?



What size do y'all run in your Racors?



BTW, the Racor for the Westerbeke 8kw genset was 10 micron, and the PO had one of them in the spares box, so that's what I put back in. I assumed he had a reason for that - maybe Westerbeke specifies it? I'll look into that separately - unless someone happens to know?

I have 30 micron Racors, then an on-engine 10 micron, followed by the final on-engine 2 micron. Both final on-engine filters are also water separators for the JD4045's. This is what JD recommends for this engine.
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Old 01-29-2015, 03:58 PM   #90
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O C Diver - agreed, but I change the Racors when the vacuum gauge gets to 4 lb/pressure as per their manual.
Unless you have yours plumbed differently, you're measuring inches of vaccum. While it's important to take into consideration the limitation of the racor element, you need to make sure you are also within the limitation of the engine lift pump. Cummins C series has a very low tolerance for lift pump vaccum.

Racor lists the 900 & 1000 series filters as capable of 10" of differential vaccum. I'll switch after 2".

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Old 01-29-2015, 04:26 PM   #91
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I have 30 micron Racors, then an on-engine 10 micron, followed by the final on-engine 2 micron. Both final on-engine filters are also water separators for the JD4045's. This is what JD recommends for this engine.
Sounds like a perfect setup. Sequential filtering at its best.
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Old 01-29-2015, 04:38 PM   #92
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For much less money and space you can get spin ons with dual filters, valves and vacuum gauges. And your filter changes will be ever so much quicker. Look up Seaboard's units for comparison.

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Really, I don't think so. I have stated I rely upon a Racor in line but don't like it because it is messy and time consuming to change.

I have hinted but will now say racor plastic bowls have cult status as an inline filter. Good for PH, who by the way will quite happily sell you spin ons for the same application touting their easy no mess design. In fact PH will sell you a fuel filter that has a priming pump built in to the head, now that is slick!

Remember too, I have stated I like Racors for fuel polishing provided big volumes are flowing.

When you're saying "spin on" in this context, are you referring to the on-engine secondary filters?

Or do you mean off-engine primary filter/fuel-water separators that happen to be of spin-on design? IOW, unlike the RACOR 900s and so forth, but used for the same function? "Seaboard" refers to sbmar's SMX system?

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Old 01-29-2015, 04:58 PM   #93
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When you're saying "spin on" in this context, are you referring to the on-engine secondary filters?

Or do you mean off-engine primary filter/fuel-water separators that happen to be of spin-on design? IOW, unlike the RACOR 900s and so forth, but used for the same function? "Seaboard" refers to sbmar's SMX system?

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Old 01-29-2015, 06:03 PM   #94
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Old 01-29-2015, 11:00 PM   #95
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Just to be clear the dual filters that we have are the paper element racor primary filters with see through plastic bowls.

We change these primary filters every 200 hours (3 times per year on average) see foot note a. This equates to roughly 3600 gallons of fuel through the filters with 1/3 of it being burned. Same volume numbers for for our polishing filter which is the same size.

We change our on engine secondaries every four hundred hours (see foot note b).

Foot note a: every 200 hours or annually whichever comes first or when water or contamination is discovered in the bowl and engine fails to reach max rpm during daily tests.

Foot note b: every 400 hours, or whenever water is discovered in the primary filter or the engine fails to reach maximum rpm during daily tests.

With the dual primary set up this means throwing the lever to the #2 filter after 200 hours and changing all filters after 400 hours unless something abnormal happens. It's a boat after all.


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Old 01-29-2015, 11:57 PM   #96
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For some real filter porn, you guys need to check out the Fleetguard Diesel Pro line of filters.

I agree with sunchaser. Racors are the has-beens of fuel filtration. Never seen one off of a recreational boat. I think that Parker Hannifin is a bit skimpy with the filter specifications for a reason.

PS: I has an ancient Racor, pre-PH even.
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Old 01-30-2015, 08:17 AM   #97
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There is nothing magic about Fleetguards. I've had them on boats I've run. No easier to change elements than Racors and the element size are not greater either. Good filters that have been around for decades but nothing magical about them.

This is a pretty silly discussion, dare I say boarding on stupid. No one has shown that Racors don't filter fuel just like they are designed to and filter it as well as spin filters do. While in most cases giving you a window to see what they are filtering out as well. And do it with easy to change, inexpensive elements. Sure it may take 60 sec or so longer to change out the element than some spin ons but that hardly is a reason to run out and pull out your perfectly good Racors, throw them in the trash and install a new set of spin ons. Well at least for most people I would guess.
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Old 01-30-2015, 08:23 AM   #98
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For some real filter porn, you guys need to check out the Fleetguard Diesel Pro line of filters.

I agree with sunchaser. Racors are the has-beens of fuel filtration. Never seen one off of a recreational boat. I think that Parker Hannifin is a bit skimpy with the filter specifications for a reason.

PS: I has an ancient Racor, pre-PH even.
I would grant you that you don't see them much on non recreational boats over 50'. That probably do to engine size and other factors. They're very common with the sub 50' sport fishing charter boats, potters, long liners, Chesapeake Bay waterman, and many other work boats....all of which are non recreational. I know every dive charter boat out of MD (both of us) uses racors.

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Old 01-30-2015, 08:56 AM   #99
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There is nothing magic about Fleetguards. I've had them on boats I've run. No easier to change elements than Racors and the element size are not greater either. Good filters that have been around for decades but nothing magical about them.

Sure it may take 60 sec or so longer to change out the element than some spin ons but that hardly is a reason to run out and pull out your perfectly good Racors, throw them in the trash and install a new set of spin ons. Well at least for most people I would guess.

And...I'll bet I can change a Racor element faster than a spin on. Because with a Racor I don't need to pre-fill or prime after the element change.
So the faster theory is out the window as far as I'm concerned.
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Old 01-30-2015, 09:00 AM   #100
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Sigh. No one actually looked at the Fleetguard Diesel Pro, did they?

Hint: It is not a spin on...
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