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Old 10-06-2016, 10:01 AM   #1
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Relocating Racor filters

I've been obsessing about the forward end of our ER:

The two engine Racors are on the forward bulkhead but outboard of the forward ends of the engines. Fuel lines and distribution and control valves are also on the forward bulkhead. There is no Racor for the genset. That bulkhead has attracted other installations including the much-discussed macerator pump, the battery charger, and my newly-installed raw water pump and strainer for the toilet. There is roughly 1'-8" between the engines and the bulkhead and that space is crossed, at the bottom, by hoses and through-hulls; wire bundles, battery cables, engine throttle and shift cables, hang everywhere. This is a lousy place for anybody - even the young and flexible - to get into to service the front of the engines!

Since I cannot service the engine's Racors due to my size and physical condition, I've been plotting where to relocate them. Since I've been instructed that 500s are marginally small, I should replace 'em with 900s and use one of the 500s for the genset.

I had been thinking that all that fuel-related stuff might well be located on the forward bulkhead (which is what prompted the thread I started about the macerator pump; it would have to be moved). The Racors would take up about 6" of the available 20" of access space to the front of the engines, and they as well as all the other junk would not be all that comfortable to lean against. That location seems like a lousy idea!

So, looking around the ER, it seems possible that I could mount Racors on the fuel tank enclosures, above the transmissions of the engines. It would mean that I would extend hoses/tubing from the distribution setup on the bulkhead up and aft to the Racors and then forward to the bulkhead and down to the lines leading to the engines and genset. This would mean removing roughly 4' of existing hose/tubing to the existing Racors and adding roughly 10' of tubing/hoses to the new Racors.

Mounting the Racors on the fuel tank enclosures would be easiest and most accessible for service if they ended up in front of the tank cleanout covers. Seems to me that, after I get the tanks cleaned (presumably for the first time in 32 years), no one will be in there again for quite a while and the Racors could readily be dismounted.

Thoughts? Additional length of fuel hose/tubing. Engine front access. Location.
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Old 10-06-2016, 11:22 AM   #2
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Do you have intend 2 x Racor 900 to enable you to switch over underway, or for some other reason (eg 2 engines x 1 filter each)? We found the duplex set-up useful in allowing the switch over underway.
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Old 10-06-2016, 11:33 AM   #3
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I was thinking one Racor per engine. 2-900s for the two Perkins; 1-500 for the genset.
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Old 10-06-2016, 11:46 AM   #4
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Unless your approach is to have 2 totally independent fuel systems-- ie tank 1 only feeds engine 1 via filter 1 - for fuel security reasons, I think you are better combining tank flows (one at a time) through a duplex pair of Racor 900s (purchased as a unit).
Before considering this approach however, you need to determine whether fuel flow will be adequate for both engines. Considering that you are replacing a Racor 500 it likely is not going to be a problem.
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Old 10-06-2016, 01:04 PM   #5
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I am a fan of multi-stage filtration. If it were me, I'd use one 900 series at 30 micron for each engine, followed by one 500 series at 10 micron for each engine.
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Old 10-07-2016, 12:04 AM   #6
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I am a fan of multi-stage filtration. If it were me, I'd use one 900 series at 30 micron for each engine, followed by one 500 series at 10 micron for each engine.
If you use racor "spin on" type as the last filter before the engine there is a version with a built in priming pump which I have found very useful.
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Old 10-07-2016, 06:17 AM   #7
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I use the old fashioned Racors with the replaceable elements inside.
I also installed a electric fuel pump that can be used for priming or fuel transfer, or to run the engine.
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Old 10-07-2016, 07:29 AM   #8
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. . . . I've been instructed that 500's are marginally small, I should replace 'em with 900's . . .
I suggest you verify this advice before purchase - Perkins and Racor data sheets would do the trick. 900's are significantly more expensive and take up more real estate than 500's.
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Old 10-07-2016, 07:41 AM   #9
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Regarding Racor 500 vs 900 sizing, an important consideration is total engine fuel flow including fuel that is recirculated back to the tank. Some engines circulate (filter) several times the volume of fuel consumed. Filter porosity (microns) is a major consideration. Typically 10 micron filters work for the primary filter with another 10 micron filter at the engine. This minimizes frequency of changing the engine-mounted filter, reducing need for changes underway and possible air bleeding.
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Old 10-07-2016, 07:49 AM   #10
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I suggest you verify this advice before purchase - Perkins and Racor data sheets would do the trick. 900's are significantly more expensive and take up more real estate than 500's.
It's not about flow rate, it's about the surface area of the element.

The more the better IMO.
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Old 10-07-2016, 08:00 AM   #11
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It's not about flow rate, it's about the surface area of the element.

The more the better IMO.
I agree with this!
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Old 10-07-2016, 08:31 AM   #12
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Sorry Guys, flow rate is a function of surface area (filter size) and pore size (microns).
Your engine does care about filter size. It only cares about flow rate!!!
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Old 10-07-2016, 09:26 AM   #13
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Seems to me that a 'too big' filter cannot hurt (except at initial purchase and maybe the elements are more expensive, too). Flow rate would be more than adequate. Time required to fill the filter element would be increased. Those Racor 500FG filters have been in the boat for 20 years and probably have a high enough capacity for the demand of the 6.354s. The R. manual says you should get 100 hours out of the elements and there is the vacuum guage to verify performance. The recommendation I got to move up to R. 900s was based upon the fellows' assessment that my fuel was quite filthy. We had an hour or so of wind-on-the-beam rolling, several days earlier, which no doubt had stirred the tanks. Cleaning the tanks and polishing the fuel should put me in a far better position and the choice to go with larger filters is a question of location, space, and mere money.
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Old 10-07-2016, 09:40 AM   #14
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I would not be really happy with a single 500. That is what I had on my 56hp Yanmar on my sailboat, but that is a much smaller engine.

Your engines have done fine with the Racor 500 but I would still suggest you put it on your genset and use a larger filter and/or use two in parallel. You will need to check on the amount of fuel flow your engines need and make sure that your filters don't provide too much resistance.

Finally, adding more filtration can be a great thing, but that is not the same as adding finer filtration. In other words, if your engines call for 30micron primary and 10 micron secondary, use that. If you want to put a courser filter ahead of that fine, but don't make your primary filter too small.
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Old 10-07-2016, 10:10 AM   #15
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I wouldn't waste the money. Keep the 500s and use that extra money to get your tanks cleaned properly. The 500s are fine for a sipper like that Perkins and have been for many, many years. When you work out moving the filters to a new location, I would plumb out a manifold rig and split off an unfiltered line to your genset and use a simple, small spin-on filter for it. No need for a huge 500 for a simple genset.

Here was what I did for my 6.354 on the old boat: The Fuel System Upgrade Project

There are people with more and better experience than me here, so my word is by any means the gospel. I can say that bigger isn't always better. Yea, there may be advantages to a huge 900 filter, but are the 500s letting you down? Are you boating so much that you need all that extra surface area (and real estate in your engine room) because you can't get below and swap out a filter element? If so, then yea, get the 900s.

Get your tanks cleaned first. THEN decide. If you are being told you need huge filters because the smaller ones are getting mucked up too quickly, you have another problem that needs fixing FIRST.
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Old 10-07-2016, 10:16 AM   #16
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I wouldn't waste the money. Keep the 500s and use that extra money to get your tanks cleaned properly. The 500s are fine for a sipper like that Perkins and have been for many, many years. When you work out moving the filters to a new location, I would plumb out a manifold rig and split off an unfiltered line to your genset and use a simple, small spin-on filter for it. No need for a huge 500 for a simple genset....

Get your tanks cleaned first. THEN decide. If you are being told you need huge filters because the smaller ones are getting mucked up too quickly, you have another problem that needs fixing FIRST.

Tom's advice is counter to what I have suggested, but it really does make a lot of sense. If you didn't also have the issue of needing to move the filters anyway, I think Tom's suggestion would be the best. Since you need to move filters anyway maybe you could move them to a position where you would have room to swap to a bigger filter if chose later on?
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Old 10-07-2016, 10:38 AM   #17
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Tom's advice is counter to what I have suggested, but it really does make a lot of sense. If you didn't also have the issue of needing to move the filters anyway, I think Tom's suggestion would be the best. Since you need to move filters anyway maybe you could move them to a position where you would have room to swap to a bigger filter if chose later on?
It's a good suggestion till you have a contaminated fuel issue.

Then he might wish he hade the much, much larger surface area of the 900s.
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Old 10-07-2016, 01:05 PM   #18
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It's a good suggestion till you have a contaminated fuel issue.
Show of hands how many people that have had this happen? Other than Bill I am not saying it doesn't, but if you fill up with fuel so contaminated that is clogs a fuel filter, I would say that the difference in a 500 and 900 won't really matter.

Hey, I am not saying you shouldn't change out to 900s, but the OP already knows he has dirty tanks (or at least whoever reco'd the swap suspects it). The $700 he saves on 2 new 900s would pay for a tank cleaning and insure clogged filter won't happen again any time soon, but replacing those 500s for no good reason other than "they are bigger so they are better" doesn't solve the problem. It's like spraying Lysol on a pile of poop. The stink is still there, just covered up for a little while
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Old 10-07-2016, 01:31 PM   #19
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Good point, Tom!
When I first got my trawler one of the big concerns was fuel quality. So before cruising I fitted a large Gulf Coast prefilter, and rejigged the filter system to include duplex Racors for the main, and back-up filtration for the wing engine and generator. The tanks were previously "cleaned" following purchase, though since I was not there I really have no idea what was actually done!!
But, my point is we never had a fuel problem, in 8 years of cruising even when fuel was left sitting in partially filled tanks (with additives) for two years during the period we were "selling" the boat. We usually purchased fuel from a truck or a fuel barge, several hundred gallons at a time, and only in the US.
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Old 10-07-2016, 01:59 PM   #20
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Show of hands how many people that have had this happen? Other than Bill I am not saying it doesn't, but if you fill up with fuel so contaminated that is clogs a fuel filter, I would say that the difference in a 500 and 900 won't really matter.

Hey, I am not saying you shouldn't change out to 900s, but the OP already knows he has dirty tanks (or at least whoever reco'd the swap suspects it). The $700 he saves on 2 new 900s would pay for a tank cleaning and insure clogged filter won't happen again any time soon, but replacing those 500s for no good reason other than "they are bigger so they are better" doesn't solve the problem. It's like spraying Lysol on a pile of poop. The stink is still there, just covered up for a little while

True.

But it isn't just getting contaminated fuel. Many times the fuel in a tank will seem and look clean, until the day the boat is in rough sea and the crap on the walls and bottom of the tanks gets put into suspension.

That day, you might be happy to have the increased surface area a 900 gives you over the little 500.

But as always, YMMV.
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