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Old 08-15-2012, 07:37 PM   #1
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Vacuum Gauge for Racor Filters

Has anyone used the R2D1 (Fuel Fixer's Inc.)T-Handle vacuum gauge for their diesel Racor systems? If so, were you satisified with them? How do they compare with the "Red Dial" vacuum gauges?

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Old 08-15-2012, 07:41 PM   #2
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I just bought two vacuum gauges from McMaster-Carr for $20 each. Same range as the Racor ones, liquid filled, but without the red area on the gauge.

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Old 08-15-2012, 08:13 PM   #3
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When we had the boat's original twin-Fram primary filter sets replaced with single Racor 500s we had the shop install the vacuum gauges in place of the T-handles. These are the Racor-supplied gauges (don't know who actually makes them.

With an FL120 it's something of a pointless excercise because unless the filter element clogs up the gauges never read anything because the engine's fuel flow is so low. I can get the needle off the zero peg if I shut off the fuel flow to the filters for a moment but every time I do an engine room check underway the gauges are always sitting on zero.

I have talked to other FL120 operators with the same gauge setup and they've said that if the filter elements begins to gather gunk the vacuum gauges will begin to show a bit of a reading. But most of the time, theirs too, just sit on zero.
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Old 08-15-2012, 09:25 PM   #4
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Years ago at a boat show I bought a vacuum gauge with a drag pointer which is pulled up by the gauge needle and remains a the the highest, or lowest, indication since the last reset. So when you check it in the evening or next morning you can tell just what point was reached during the day. Then you reset and carry on.
It has been sitting in the boat in my spares bin for a few years, there was already a vacuum gauge on Gumbo when I bought her so I haven't gotten around to installing it. I am thinking of relocating my Racors before my next cruise so may do the gauge swap then. Anyway it seems like a convenient feature. Anybody using one of these now or in the past?
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Old 08-15-2012, 09:40 PM   #5
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It sure would be more convenient/useful if my Racor gauge was in the pilothouse instead of the engine room.



unlike the primary/Racor gauge, my gauge for the fuel polishing system is in the pilothouse.

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Old 08-15-2012, 09:58 PM   #6
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Greetings,
Mr. markpierce. You can mount the Racor vacuum gauge in your PH. I've seen it done in several vessels.
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Old 08-15-2012, 10:08 PM   #7
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Steve...my similar gauge has rested in its box on a shelf for over a year without once moving off "0", still looks new. I've been fighting bigger fires unfortunately.

RTF...please elaborate how to mount the vacuum gauge in the PH? I assume via small dia tubing but want to verify.
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Old 08-15-2012, 10:29 PM   #8
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Greetings,
Good golly Mr.Jude I can't remember exactly BUT to the extent of my memory, the gauge I recall the best was surface mounted and connected by a small nylon tube to somewhere on the filter housing. Now what I can't remember is if the gauge nipple came off the back or the bottom of the gauge fitting and how it was mounted to the bulkhead or how the hose was affixed to the filter housing. Very sorry to be so vague...
Racor lists a T-handle vac' gau' and a vac' gau' kit as well as a couple of others but no pictures so nothing to jog my memory.
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Old 08-15-2012, 10:43 PM   #9
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I have two with a drag needle that stays at the highest point and a red zone. I got them from a guy who calls himself the Designated Engineer. Thus far they have proved accurate, and saved a lot of money in filters. If the bowl is clear with only a little vacuum showing, there is no need to change on a schedule.

Here is a link to his home page.

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Old 08-15-2012, 10:56 PM   #10
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Designated Engineer, that is who I got mine from at a boat show in Stuart FL.
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Old 08-15-2012, 10:56 PM   #11
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You can also T-off the fuel line feeding the engine and run a hose from the T to a vacuum gauge mounted at the helm. Bob Munro, founder of Kenmore Air, put this arrangment in his twin-Cat, steel-hull deFever and it worked great. The vaccum gauges were off-the-shelf automotive types I believe.
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Old 08-15-2012, 11:23 PM   #12
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There are many materials that would work for running the vacuum line to the helm. My personal choice would be 1/4" stainless steel tubing with flare joint connections, but then instrumentation piping is more than just a hobby for me.
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Old 08-16-2012, 01:21 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RT Firefly View Post
Greetings,
Mr. markpierce. You can mount the Racor vacuum gauge in your PH. I've seen it done in several vessels.
I know. It's on my next scheduled costing-less-than-six-BOAT visit to the boatyard whenever-it-comes year.
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Old 08-16-2012, 06:07 AM   #14
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A gauge on the filter is a quick add on , but it only measures what the suction is AT the filter.

No way of knowing what is causing the restriction.

The better way , (Murphygauges ) uses two lines and just shows the restriction across the filter
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Old 08-16-2012, 07:02 AM   #15
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Racor sells a restriction indicator which is not a "gauge" as such, but measures restriction and maintains the highest indication until it's reset.

There are green, yellow, and red indications. Green is fine, yellow is indicating some restriction, red indicates it's time to replace the filter.

Here it is installed:
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Old 08-16-2012, 09:06 AM   #16
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I tee'd into the fuel lines leading to each engine and ran 1/4" fuel line to each gauge. The settee is right above the filters in the ER so I mounted the gauges in the side of the settee next to the genset panel. Not as convenient as on the instrument panel but at least I don't have to move furniture and pick up floor panels to peek into the ER.

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Old 08-16-2012, 10:17 AM   #17
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The restriction indicators that rwidman shows in his pictures are the ones I was referring to. I always see them advertized in Passage Maker and was curious if anyone had used them. I was not aware that they were sold by Racor.

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Old 08-16-2012, 10:39 AM   #18
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Greetings,
Not to Denigrate Mr. rwidman's system (looks funky) the "restriction indicator" is simply another type of vacuum gauge. Easier to see at a distance perhaps. I'd go with the cheapest gauge. I think last evening I recall the dial gauges were in the $50-$60 range.
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Old 08-16-2012, 12:29 PM   #19
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You guys are way overspending and overcomplicating this ... how about buying one of these for half the price of a cheapo vacuum gauge and set it to switch on an LED on the panel when it gets to 5" HG or 10".

If you really splurge and spend almost 2/3 of what Racor wants for a T mount gauge, you can have three of them and a green LED for when the filter is clean, a yellow for when it starts to get dirty, and a red for when it makes you nervous.
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Old 08-16-2012, 12:37 PM   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RT Firefly View Post
Greetings,
Not to Denigrate Mr. rwidman's system (looks funky) the "restriction indicator" is simply another type of vacuum gauge. Easier to see at a distance perhaps. I'd go with the cheapest gauge. I think last evening I recall the dial gauges were in the $50-$60 range.
Of course it's type of vacuum gauge but it holds the highest reading until it is reset. A cheap gauge doesn't do that so unless you're in a position to examine the gauge while operating at WOT, it does the trick just fine. The actual vacuum reading is unimportant, what's important is that you can tell if there's a restriction (typically it's time to replace the filter).

As I recall, it was about $40 and I think I bought it from defender.com
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