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Old 12-30-2014, 08:11 PM   #1
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Replumbing fuel system...critique my design

So my first experience with purchasing my 79' Mainship 34 was it had a decent amount of list to one side. Turns out after further inspection that Mainship only returns fuel to one tank only. That means eventually under normal operation one tank will begin filling the other. Yes...this is pure genious. On a ship that burns maybe 2 gallons an hour under normal cruise, the Perkins 6.354 probably will transfer 50% that consumed volume to the other tank.

I plumbed an additional valve and return into my other tank so that I can change returns. This was a solution to the list issue and a short term fix to "making fuel" while cruising.

I also would like to stir and clean my tanks since it is not a commercial vessel or out cruising all the time. A polisher would probably be a must but hard to justify the cost of an off the shelf system.

So after much thought process and wanting to plumb a system that would serve many functions along with keeping costs and complexity down...I think this is the one I want to use. Please offer up any tips, tricks, constructive criticism.

I think I am going with the Fleetguard 1000 filter as they are simple spin ons, cost $11, heads are $25, easy/clean to change, still trap water, and are 2 micron. Not as sexy as the Racor 500 that is on it by I honestly believe Racor is more about bragging rights than performance. Certainly not worth the cost and have leaked on me brand new. They have not won me over after multiple purchases and installs. I am very pleased with my Stanadyne FM100 system in my truck. They are twice the price for the head and filter compared to the Fleetguard though. I am also considering eliminating the Perkins manual lift pump or bypassing it since it is original, could fill my crank with diesel if it fails, may require hunting down spares. Normally I like the manual lift pumps but with dual electric Walbros I wouldn't sweat it.


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Old 12-30-2014, 09:02 PM   #2
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Timely as related to me as I just completed a similar effort on my Willard.

I have one electric fuel pump and select what tank I'm drawing from and what tank my returning fuel is going to. So I never have any unexpected fuel tank levels. My fuel tank levels are measured with a wood dowell.

I replaced all my hose and clamps on the supply side and applied two clamps per fitting. Found some clamps that tighten much more round than the usual hose clamps. I eliminated several fittings that were no longer used to minimize the number of places where leaking could occur. I may have been able to reduce them considerably more by using a multi port directional valve but I decided to just modify my original. I'm pleased about how it turned out but I still need to raise the salon floor hatch or hatches to acess the four valves. I've done that underway by just lifting the smaller aft hatch, laying on the floor and reaching as far as I can to turn the valves. Deciding what valve I'm turning by feel of course. Got them crossed up once causing an engine failure front and center in the Harbour of Prince Rupert BC.


Those things to the sides of the white cylinders that look like filters or pumps are pumps?
The center white cylinder is a filter down stream from the others I think. Good. And the two pumps provide redundancy? Looks like you have to start one pump and turn the other off to change tanks. Looks like you've got the mechanical lift pump still in the system and therefor still running the risk of injesting lots of fuel into the crankcase. I don't understand the line that goes up and around the (presumably) stbd fuel tank. Sorry but I'm not clear w your diagram.

I started out some years ago w 2 micron filters and switched to 10 micron partly because I only have one filter and partly because I feel there's no need for 2 micron filtration. Just my opinion.

I have had considerable problems w low fuel supply that caused an engine failure and several slow downs. A mechanic put way too much sealer (both goop and T tape) so quite a bit of stringy residue was found in the old plumbing. I think the stringy stuff that came off of the Teflon tape made things very difficult for the electric fuel pump. I was very careful w the sealers and think I've got my problem solved. Time will tell.

Never seen a 79' Mainship.
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Old 12-30-2014, 09:25 PM   #3
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Looks pretty good to me. The only though I have to offer is around the return line form the engine and the two valved paths to each tank. You might consider replacing the Tee and the two valves with a single Y valve that will select which tank the return leads to. That way the return will always be open to one of the tanks and can't inadvertently be left close. A closed return can do a lot of damage to the engine's injection pump. I guess the down side is that you wouldn't be able to return to both tanks at the same time. So it's a trade-off between flexibility and guarding against operator error.
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Old 12-30-2014, 10:24 PM   #4
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Greetings,
Mr. S. Would it not be simpler to instal a large crossover pipe between the 2 tanks, have the tanks professionally cleaned and keep a good stock of filters on board?
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Old 12-30-2014, 10:41 PM   #5
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Looks like a lot of work. I'm with RT on this one. Good luck.
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Old 12-30-2014, 10:46 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Skinny View Post
So my first experience with purchasing my 79' Mainship 34 was it had a decent amount of list to one side. Turns out after further inspection that Mainship only returns fuel to one tank only. That means eventually under normal operation one tank will begin filling the other. Yes...this is pure genious. On a ship that burns maybe 2 gallons an hour under normal cruise, the Perkins 6.354 probably will transfer 50% that consumed volume to the other tank.

I plumbed an additional valve and return into my other tank so that I can change returns. This was a solution to the list issue and a short term fix to "making fuel" while cruising.

I also would like to stir and clean my tanks since it is not a commercial vessel or out cruising all the time. A polisher would probably be a must but hard to justify the cost of an off the shelf system.

So after much thought process and wanting to plumb a system that would serve many functions along with keeping costs and complexity down...I think this is the one I want to use. Please offer up any tips, tricks, constructive criticism.

I think I am going with the Fleetguard 1000 filter as they are simple spin ons, cost $11, heads are $25, easy/clean to change, still trap water, and are 2 micron. Not as sexy as the Racor 500 that is on it by I honestly believe Racor is more about bragging rights than performance. Certainly not worth the cost and have leaked on me brand new. They have not won me over after multiple purchases and installs. I am very pleased with my Stanadyne FM100 system in my truck. They are twice the price for the head and filter compared to the Fleetguard though. I am also considering eliminating the Perkins manual lift pump or bypassing it since it is original, could fill my crank with diesel if it fails, may require hunting down spares. Normally I like the manual lift pumps but with dual electric Walbros I wouldn't sweat it.
You might check and see if the Fleetguards should be on the upstream or downstream side of the fuel pumps. If they are like Racors, they are on the wrong side. Also, the Walbro pumps should move at least 2 gpm for them to be effective for polishing. I used 1/3 hp ac carbonator pumps to get 3 gpm.

Fuel Polishing - delfin.talkspot.com
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Old 12-30-2014, 11:12 PM   #7
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Do yourself a favor KEEP IT AS SIMPLE AS YOU DARE! More valves, more connections, more parts? More points of failure. That said, I has lots of help here and had the same expectations as you, but RickB and many others helped me cut it down to the essentials. I STILL ended up with a bit too many complexities, But I was happy with the results.

Take a look at the process and journey I took here. The first thread is about worthless because I had a re-engineering pass by a member here and was inspired to further simplify the rig. I could scrub, transfer, and manage filtration. If I had to do it again, however, I would plumb in a bypass primary filter in case the mains became clogged, but I had clean tanks (after the fact) so that would never be a problem at 1.75 gps of my old "Dr, Perky"

Initial thread:
The Fuel System Upgrade Project

New thread:
The Fuel System Upgrade Project: Episode II

Good luck!
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Old 12-31-2014, 11:12 AM   #8
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Thank you guys for your input. After reading everyone's post and looking at the first design, I went back to the drawing board. Again, my main goals are low cost, function, and simplicity. I do think the first design has lots of valves which are many points of leakage/failure/operator confusion and even though it has a lot of capability...it can be improved.


I read your threads Tom.B (which you are pretty close by to Wilmington!). I think the Fleetguard filters have many options as far as capacity, micron, and system position so vacuum or pressure side shouldn't be an issue. The filter head can be put on either side.


I priced out components and even with beefier ball 3 way valves, this setup could be done for under $500, can still polish while underway, can transfer fuel, and has a filter bypass in case of pluggage under way. That alone is cheap insurance for $100 worth of parts to swap filters over especially with a single engine system.


Since I'm not relying on the Walbro to be the main system pump, I can get one that bumps up the pressure and volume. This will speed up polish time, effectiveness, and transfer rates. The downside is that I wouldn't be able to use it as a system backup. Worst case I'd have to run the engine off of my emergency 5 gallon jug and just manually transfer into that. Not the end of the world but atleast I have options at that point if it ever did happen. As far as I know, gravity will always work and if it doesn't I have bigger problems than fuel delivery!


I do want to keep the polisher part of the equation. It gives me a lot of flexibility if the boat stays in the slip for extended periods of time, contaminated fuel is introduced on a cruise, or sludge dislodges while underway. Plus its an easy fuel transfer in case I want to pull diesel out of the boat and run it in my truck.


My intention is to plumb most of this with brass pipe on a board to elimate as much rubber and clamps as possible. I will use a paste and not teflon. Teflon works in a pinch but is really not fuel stable and CANNOT be used downstream of any secondary filtration as the next stop is the injection pump.


Let me know if this system looks better


BTW, the Dr. Perky will retain the OEM on engine CAV filter and its 3,284 return lines from the injection pump. I left the stock lift pump and CAV out of the diagram for simplicity. I also inserted where I want to sample fuel pressure/vacuum. I would like to use electric senders with aviation gauges just because they look cool. Maybe add an altimeter which should always indicate 0 ft. MSL



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Old 12-31-2014, 01:45 PM   #9
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Might look neater if you made up fuel manifolds with valves. I like Racors because you can see if any water accumulates in the bowls and you can easily install water probes/alarms in them. But then I've never had nor heard of the kind of failure issues you claim to have had with them. So YMHV.

I would keep the manual pump on the engine and just use one electric pump.

Delfin said: "Also, the Walbro pumps should move at least 2 gpm for them to be effective for polishing."

Why? Some engines don't move anywhere near that rate per minute and they filter fuel just fine.
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Old 12-31-2014, 01:59 PM   #10
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I think the Racors or any other filter that uses centrical force to seperate out debris probably likes higher flow rates...that's a guess on my end.


I believe that Fleetguard has a 1000 series filter with a built in water sensor.
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Old 12-31-2014, 02:14 PM   #11
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A suggestion on the new design. Swap the Tees and the Y valves both on the return side and on the pickup side. The the Y valves select where the polisher returns, and where the engine returns, and each can be controlled independently. You can return each to the same of different tanks.

Ditto for the pickup. One valve will then select which tank the polisher draws from, and the other valve will select which tank the engine draws from. Once again, they can draw from different or the same tank as desired.
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Old 12-31-2014, 05:10 PM   #12
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Quote:
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I think the Racors or any other filter that uses centrical force to seperate out debris probably likes higher flow rates...that's a guess on my end.


I believe that Fleetguard has a 1000 series filter with a built in water sensor.
Most of the separation in a Racor comes from the filter element. It takes a very high flow rate to create any real centrifugal action in a Racor. I'm not sure even 3GPM would be enough. In the end they work just fine with the low flow rates seen with the type of engines found in most "trawlers".

If some one feels the need for real centrifugal filter action they should look at something like an Afla Laval.

Yeah they do make a water sensor for the Fleetguards. But it takes the place of the drain plug I believe. I like the Racor clear bowl and probe location better. But to each his own.
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Old 12-31-2014, 06:00 PM   #13
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Most of the separation in a Racor comes from the filter element. It takes a very high flow rate to create any real centrifugal action in a Racor. I'm not sure even 3GPM would be enough. In the end they work just fine with the low flow rates seen with the type of engines found in most "trawlers".

If some one feels the need for real centrifugal filter action they should look at something like an Afla Laval.

Yeah they do make a water sensor for the Fleetguards. But it takes the place of the drain plug I believe. I like the Racor clear bowl and probe location better. But to each his own.
Since 3 gpm is the maximum flow rate of a Racor 1000 presumably it would be sufficient if the 'turbo' action were ever to be effective.
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Old 12-31-2014, 07:20 PM   #14
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One should have the ability to return fuel to any fuel tank.
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Old 12-31-2014, 07:50 PM   #15
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Since 3 gpm is the maximum flow rate of a Racor 1000 presumably it would be sufficient if the 'turbo' action were ever to be effective.
You know, you're right. Seeing it stated in GPM it just didn't seem like enough flow. Duh to me.
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Old 12-31-2014, 08:22 PM   #16
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Skinny

Other than a simple re piping job that would allow you to return to either tank, why do any more valve, pipe etc work? As suggested by RT a good tank cleaning should suffice and may be needed in any event on a 40 year old vessel. Seems like a lot of effort for a non stated problem.

Now, if you are filling up with crappy fuel on a routine basis I.d change my tune. But clean tanks with fresh fuel should serve you very well.
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Old 01-01-2015, 02:01 AM   #17
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Do NOT use the Walbros or any pump to push fuel through the filters, even in polishing mode. A pump, if there is water in the fuel, may emulsify the fuel and water and then the water can pass through the filter. Set the pumps up in suck through mode or you may defeat one of your goals with potentially disastrous results.

Many Fleetguards are available with a clear or see through bowl, you just have to specify and look at the catalogue.

Generally it is not a good idea to plumb the generator into the same feed line as the main engine. An air leak in the generator sections could shut the main down. Keep them totally separate.

If you can I would separate the polish setup totally from the engine setup. The more "items and connections" the more trouble you will have with troubleshooting if a problem develops and the greater the possibility of the main shutdown from an air leak.

Don't forget ultimate reliability of the main engine AND keep the chance of errors down.

Of course I am hoping you have more than one potential feed and return per tank but take a look at separation. Other folk have had "extra" lines off the mains cause a shutdown.
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Old 01-01-2015, 06:30 AM   #18
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After recently doing mine.....

I would go online and find manifolds rather than piecing together tees and nipples if that was your original plan.

I thought it would save money.....but by the time you put it all together....brass fittings aren't that inexpensive and I did have to chase a couple weeps for awhile.

Manifolds aren't expensive from some places, some kind folks here posted links to where they got theirs.
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Old 01-01-2015, 06:39 AM   #19
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HOME-FLEX 1/2 in. x 1/2 in. x 1/2 in. Stainless Steel CSST FIPT Manifold, 11-050504 at The Home Depot - Mobile
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Old 01-01-2015, 08:57 AM   #20
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Do NOT use the Walbros or any pump to push fuel through the filters, even in polishing mode. A pump, if there is water in the fuel, may emulsify the fuel and water and then the water can pass through the filter. Set the pumps up in suck through mode or you may defeat one of your goals with potentially disastrous results.
You should never 'blow' through filters for exactly this reason (unless specifically recommended by the manufacturer and I have never seen that)
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