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Old 03-25-2019, 02:14 PM   #1
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Racor 1000 filter change interval?

Lots of discussion about the fuel filter system, but I don't find any discussions about the filter change frequency. I have a vacuum gauge on my Racor 1000 with the "telltale", and since my last filter change 13 months and 422 hours ago, it has never gone above 2 in. Hg. But when I changed it just now, the filter was BLACK!

I had intended to wait until the vaccuum gauge started reaching at least 5 inches when running, but 13 months seemed long enough, and I'm glad I changed it - the look of that filter scares me.

How many hours of engine time (or calendar time?) do you use as your fuel filter change interval?

FYI, I always polish new fuel through a 2 micron Racor 1000 into my "day tank", and the 10 micron filter I just changed pulls from the day tank and provides fuel to the on-engine filter.

(I'd prefer to stay away from a discussion of my choice of filters, please.)
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Old 03-25-2019, 02:25 PM   #2
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If the vacuum gauge was showing no restrictions, that filter is doing it’s job. Using the gauge is a good way to decide.

That is a lot of crud. Unless the tanks have a lowest-level drain which you haven’t been regularly draining, it is time to have your tanks professionally cleaned.
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Old 03-25-2019, 02:31 PM   #3
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A few questions and comments:

How many gallons of fuel have you burned through that filter?
How old is the fuel in the boat's tanks?
Where did you fuel up the last few times?
What micron rating?

Looks like the filter is doing what it is supposed to. I've seen a lot worse after about 1/2 your hours.
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Old 03-25-2019, 04:01 PM   #4
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Change interval: When the engine stops due to a choked filter.....Just say'n!!

OK I just had too. I would agree with others. I change mine on an annual basis. I also remove the valve at the bottom and flush the housing out and take a small brush to remove all the crap.
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Old 03-25-2019, 04:38 PM   #5
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The vacuum gauge reading will vary by boat depending on the number of engines and their type drawing thru the primary filter. Engines with high volume pumps can show 2 or more inches on a new filter.
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Old 03-25-2019, 05:57 PM   #6
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Filtration efficiency increases as the filter loads up, since fewer larger particles will pass through. I think the answers that if the vacuum is still within acceptable limits, then the filter is ok is correct.

However, if that were my filter after that many hours, I would be a bit concerned about the accumulation of crud in the tank. I polish my bulk tanks before transferring to a staging tank, which in turn is filtered before transferring to the day tank. Because the bulk tank is being polished, the equivalent engine hours would be in the thousands, I presume. But I never see that much crud, in fact, they are usually only slightly discolored. I change the filters annually just for drill. If you've got the pump to transfer fuel to a day tank, could you not also rig that up to polish the bulk tanks?
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Old 03-25-2019, 06:08 PM   #7
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In the total cost of boating, racor filters are incredibly expensive. I can see where many would wait till the engine becomes RPM limited due to lack of fuel flow. As for myself, I find there are a list of items that make me very happy to change once a year, before it's necessary. All fuel filters for both engines and generators are on that list. Considering how bad the consequences of a plug filter could be, the cost of changing out perfectly good ones annually seems insignificant.

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Old 03-26-2019, 12:46 AM   #8
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Hi,

I have asked this Parker / Racor

"Type in your question here: Hey, I live here in Finland and diesel is very clean and I am now driven more than 600 hours 3 years Racor 75/900 10mic filter and the filter is still visually clean and vacuum gauge needle moves only just a little bit so I have not changed the filter and it all works very same fleet guard 2mic last filter for my Cummins QSB. Do you see a technical problem / risk of using your filter for several years if the filter remains clean? Regards Ari
Sent on: 2 November, 2018
Thank you!"

And answers

"No, there is no problem. I have a diesel pick up and I have been running the same filter for 3 years now. I am going to change this year just because.



Best regards,


Racor Products Technical Service"



NBs
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Old 03-26-2019, 01:29 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by O C Diver View Post
In the total cost of boating, racor filters are incredibly expensive. I can see where many would wait till the engine becomes RPM limited due to lack of fuel flow. As for myself, I find there are a list of items that make me very happy to change once a year, before it's necessary. All fuel filters for both engines and generators are on that list. Considering how bad the consequences of a plug filter could be, the cost of changing out perfectly good ones annually seems insignificant.

Ted
Do you mean incredibly inexpensive? I agree that changing them annually is insignificant. Heck, my oil filters are about $50 and I change them annually with the oil change.
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Old 03-26-2019, 05:57 AM   #10
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The recommendation, as I understand it, is to change when vacuum becomes unacceptable, or once a year, whichever comes first. It's much like oil changes, and many, many other things on any machine where there is both an operation time (hours/miles/km) trigger, and a calendar days trigger for replacement.


On the Racor filters, I understand that the water repellent coating on the filters degrades over time, and that running for longer reduces the water separation performance.


I agree with O C Diver that annual changes are really cheap peace of mind, and the path to trouble free boating
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Old 03-26-2019, 06:49 AM   #11
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The black deposits do not look like the fuel was bad , just getting old.

As diesel ages it clumps , going back to its crude state.

The black chunks are called asphaltene and filter out easily.
Asphaltene - Wikipedia

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Asphaltene
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Old 03-26-2019, 06:55 AM   #12
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Do you mean incredibly inexpensive? I agree that changing them annually is insignificant. Heck, my oil filters are about $50 and I change them annually with the oil change.
Yes, I was being sarcastic when I said they were expensive.

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Old 03-26-2019, 07:31 AM   #13
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Yes, I was being sarcastic when I said they were expensive.

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There is no place for sarcasm on this forum Ted
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Old 03-26-2019, 07:38 AM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by O C Diver View Post
In the total cost of boating, racor filters are incredibly expensive. I can see where many would wait till the engine becomes RPM limited due to lack of fuel flow. As for myself, I find there are a list of items that make me very happy to change once a year, before it's necessary. All fuel filters for both engines and generators are on that list. Considering how bad the consequences of a plug filter could be, the cost of changing out perfectly good ones annually seems insignificant.

Ted
Thought you had a single... or are you referring to the genny, too?
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Old 03-26-2019, 09:30 AM   #15
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Mine typically look like this after a season (80- 100 hours).
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Old 03-26-2019, 10:59 AM   #16
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Why waste your time changing that filter. It’s still new. Filters are cheap but changing them too soon is just a pointless, messy waste of time. Just think of all the other fun stuff you could be doing?

Why waste the money/effort/etc if you have a vacuum gauge? What is the point of the gauge if you change filters annually? If the gauge doesn’t register any restriction, why do you change out a good filter?

“Weird strange customs that boatowners believe.”
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Old 03-26-2019, 11:27 AM   #17
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Black slime = microbial growth (not ashphaltene)

Quote:
Originally Posted by BrianSmith View Post
Lots of discussion about the fuel filter system, but I don't find any discussions about the filter change frequency. I have a vacuum gauge on my Racor 1000 with the "telltale", and since my last filter change 13 months and 422 hours ago, it has never gone above 2 in. Hg. But when I changed it just now, the filter was BLACK!

I had intended to wait until the vaccuum gauge started reaching at least 5 inches when running, but 13 months seemed long enough, and I'm glad I changed it - the look of that filter scares me.

How many hours of engine time (or calendar time?) do you use as your fuel filter change interval?

FYI, I always polish new fuel through a 2 micron Racor 1000 into my "day tank", and the 10 micron filter I just changed pulls from the day tank and provides fuel to the on-engine filter.

A few thoughts.

1) You can't use either engine hours or calendar time to tell you when the filter needs changing. What you need to know is how many gallons went through the filter and how much 'junk' was in those gallons. Depending on how you run, 422 engine hours over 13 months might be 844 gallons or it might be 8,440 gallons (at 2GPH and 20GPH respectively). Likewise, if your filter is still visually clean after 12 months, no reason to change it.

2) I think you are probably wasting time and effort by running new fuel through the 2 micron 'polishing' before adding to your tanks. Most of what you are seeing is microbial biofouling, and this is growing inside your tanks, not as a result of contaminated fuel. This is a common problem that is particularly prevalent in high-humidity climates and where tanks are not normally kept full. Humidity in the air condenses on the inside surfaces of the tanks and the condensate water feeds the growth of the microbes. There is a good white paper on this at http://www.hpcdfuel.com/pdf/DOWfuel_training.pdf

3) You might already know this, but the vacuum gauge reading is meaningless unless the engine is under a significant load. When the engine is not sucking hard enough to create vacuum (like when it's idling...even at a very fast idle), the engine is simply not pulling enough fuel to 'test' the filter, and so the vacuum guage can't show you how plugged the filter is.

The first thing I would recommend is be sure you are adding a good anti-microbial biocide to your fuel, and replenish it periodically.

I would not be too alarmed about the 'black' appearance of your filter, especially as it's been 13 months since it was changed. Check it again after you've run about 50 gallons through it. If you are seeing a lot of slime after 50 gallons, then you probably have a lot of microbial growth in your fuel, and you'll want to polish the fuel in the tanks.


Does this picture look familiar?
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Old 03-26-2019, 11:47 AM   #18
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Mine typically look like this after a season (80- 100 hours).
Yeah but you cheat with a 3 stage filter setup
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Old 03-26-2019, 02:18 PM   #19
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Why waste your time changing that filter. Its still new. Filters are cheap but changing them too soon is just a pointless, messy waste of time. Just think of all the other fun stuff you could be doing?

W
Because I can. LOL
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Old 03-26-2019, 07:18 PM   #20
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3) You might already know this, but the vacuum gauge reading is meaningless unless the engine is under a significant load. When the engine is not sucking hard enough to create vacuum (like when it's idling...even at a very fast idle), the engine is simply not pulling enough fuel to 'test' the filter, and so the vacuum guage can't show you how plugged the filter is.
Well, no. While it is true that with a clean filter the vacuum only goes up when you suck a lot of fuel, it also goes up when the filter is clogged. That's the whole point of those gauges.
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