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Old 09-18-2021, 03:27 AM   #1
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Upgrading the Racor 500

Currently I have a single Racor 500 that works well. However the one time the boat lost power was due to air getting in the single Racor. Losing power on a single engine Trawler is obviously no fun and since that time I have been plotting to add some redundancy and improvements. I had plans to make a dual Racor system made from 2 Chinese Racor 500G copies. But ultimately decided against it and to not skimp AT ALL. I recently got a decent deal on a Dual Racor 75900FX. What a nice unit! One valve, single line in and single line out. Its a beast. In case anyone is interested in some of the differences between the 500 and 900 I made a video. Hopefully not rambling to much. The fact that the filter automatically pops out of the 900 half an inch when removing the lid makes it worth the price alone
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Old 09-18-2021, 02:21 PM   #2
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I too upgraded to dual mounted Racor’s which have alteady saved the day once this season!
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Old 09-18-2021, 03:57 PM   #3
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Thats what I like to hear! Or wait...maybe not...lol.

I have a higher confidence in the single Perkins than I do in the single Racor 500 to deal with fuel issues. Nothing wrong with a single Racor of course but two big ones is a step in the right direction IMO. It was a pricey upgrade but one that I have no buyers remorse for.
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Old 09-19-2021, 07:29 AM   #4
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Racor? Why Racor? It is not the only good system out there. Some would argue, I among them, that Racors are over-priced and not all that. Take a look at Tony Athens' sbmar.com website and read his treatises on fuel filtration. You may change your mind about a new Racor system.
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Old 09-19-2021, 01:02 PM   #5
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Thanks for the link. Lots of good details on there.
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Old 09-19-2021, 04:08 PM   #6
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Racor? Why Racor? It is not the only good system out there. Some would argue, I among them, that Racors are over-priced and not all that. Take a look at Tony Athens' sbmar.com website and read his treatises on fuel filtration. You may change your mind about a new Racor system.
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Love Tony Athens. Think he has the right perspective on Diesel engines, especially in Trawler service. BUT, the dual filter arrangement does not appear to offer the capability to isolate one filter at a time so you could run on one and switch to the other as vacuum increased. Am I missing something?
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Old 09-19-2021, 05:17 PM   #7
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Oh, I read more of Tony’s intel. This is a two stage filter system first stage is a “mud” filter and second stage is “polishing” filter. The problem I have with this is if the mud filter loads up, no backup. The only time my Perkins has failed me wasn’t it’s fault. In a rough beam sea, the junk in the fuel tank became dislodged and loaded up my fuel filter. So strongly believe, need to have a clean filter to switch to to get home.
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Old 09-19-2021, 05:43 PM   #8
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With regard to the junk in the fuel tank, can’t say enough good about Startron. After an incident offshore in a rough beam sea caused junk in the fuel tank to dislodge and load up both of my redundant fuel filters I added a third filter. I also, on recommendation from several fellow cruisers started using Startron fuel additive. Don’t own stock in the company or have a special interest in Startron. Since I started using Startron have been in numerous rough beam sea conditions and have yet to load up a fuel filter. By the way, attempted professional fuel polishing - didn’t work because of baffles in tank.
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Old 09-19-2021, 08:02 PM   #9
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Oh, I read more of Tony’s intel. This is a two stage filter system first stage is a “mud” filter and second stage is “polishing” filter. The problem I have with this is if the mud filter loads up, no backup. The only time my Perkins has failed me wasn’t it’s fault. In a rough beam sea, the junk in the fuel tank became dislodged and loaded up my fuel filter. So strongly believe, need to have a clean filter to switch to to get home.
That's what the vacuum gauge is for. Carry spare filters and change when the needle begins to approach the red zone. A plugged filter should not happen if the captain is paying attention.
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Old 09-19-2021, 08:35 PM   #10
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That's what the vacuum gauge is for. Carry spare filters and change when the needle begins to approach the red zone. A plugged filter should not happen if the captain is paying attention.

But don't you have to shut down the engine to change the filter? That's the point of a duplex system - you switch to the second filter, change the plugged one, all without shutting down. I think that's really important for a single engine boat.
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Old 09-20-2021, 12:07 AM   #11
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But don't you have to shut down the engine to change the filter? That's the point of a duplex system - you switch to the second filter, change the plugged one, all without shutting down. I think that's really important for a single engine boat.

Thats my thoughts as well and the main reason for switching set ups.
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Old 09-20-2021, 07:16 AM   #12
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Thats my thoughts as well and the main reason for switching set ups.
IF you can get to the filters to change the handle before the engine quits.
That is a challenge.
In MY experience, I never could get there in time.
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Old 09-20-2021, 08:34 AM   #13
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IF you can get to the filters to change the handle before the engine quits.
That is a challenge.
In MY experience, I never could get there in time.
Note: this comment is in reference to a single filter, not dual Racors.


But even if you get to the filter before the engine quits, you need to shut off the fuel to change the filter, which necessitates or causes the engine to shut down. So it's shutting down no matter what. Or am I missing something here?
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Old 09-20-2021, 08:39 AM   #14
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IF you can get to the filters to change the handle before the engine quits.
That is a challenge.
In MY experience, I never could get there in time.

Oh, I see you were referring to switching between Racor filters with the duplex setup. Have your engines just flat out quit? The one time I had a fuel problem the engine stumbled a bit, but didn't quit, so there was an indication of a problem. But I suppose it depends on how bad the contamination is.
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Old 09-20-2021, 10:30 AM   #15
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Oh, I see you were referring to switching between Racor filters with the duplex setup. Have your engines just flat out quit? The one time I had a fuel problem the engine stumbled a bit, but didn't quit, so there was an indication of a problem. But I suppose it depends on how bad the contamination is.
When I went with multi stage filtration I never had another issue.
But yes, when I had my Ford Lehman, I never had time to even get to the engine room. The engine would just blip once or twice, then die.

When I had the Cummins 6BTA, the engine would give me notice, but backing off 200 rpm would give me a several hour window to find an anchorage and change the element.

When I had my Mainship with the Perkins, the 2 times I had a fuel issue it just died. It wasn't the element that was clogged it was the fuel lines. So no number of filters would have helped there.

Just pointing out that the dual filter unit is not an end all to fuel starvation problems. It solves only one issue of many.

Based on MY experience.
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Old 09-20-2021, 12:36 PM   #16
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IF you can get to the filters to change the handle before the engine quits.
That is a challenge.
In MY experience, I never could get there in time.
Yes...this is also something I have given quite a bit of thought about. Mainly because my filter set up is right in front of the engine and the engine has an additional two very large belts for the hydraulic stern thruster out front. I will need to fab up a cage for the belts. I consider this a must. I have all the materials on hand to do it. This scenario, engine shutting down and having to race to the Racor to swap it is just the type of situation where accidents happen.

In the case of my own engine shut down this dual Racor would have worked. But as you say this does not solve every scenario. Not even close. But if we think in terms of probabilities...this does take a nice chunk out of the equation.
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Old 09-20-2021, 01:00 PM   #17
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I have had similar rough day fuel filter clogs. Single filter is a biotch to switch over in choppy seas, fading light etc.
I installed the dual Raycors with pressure gauge… first sputter I shut down, lift the hood and switch from A to B and deal with the clogged filter under better circumstances.

I agree that sometimes the pressure spikes rapidly.

I also installed the primer bulb system from Tony’s website. I love it to rapidly prime the filter without having to deal with filling the filter with fuel from a can.
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Old 09-20-2021, 01:16 PM   #18
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Following.

I must say, for the price I was impressed with my Chinesium Racor 500 copies. I would have bought the paralleled units but I couldn't find these at reasonable prices. Has anyone found them on Alibaba or similar?
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Old 09-20-2021, 03:59 PM   #19
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I would have liked to have installed one of those pricey dual Racor rigs with the integrated vac gauge and single big switch lever, but the size of that thing was too big to stuff into my 30-footer's engine compartment. The price seems ridiculously high, especially when I was able to have the same functionality with a second 500 size Racor, a bit of hose, and a couple of valves. My setup at the aft end of the engine allows me to change a filter element underway, but I would likely just swap filtration from one to the other and change the clogged filter in port or at anchor. This is the second boat I have run a vac hose from a tee in the fuel hose between the Racors and the final filter on the engine to a vac gauge at the helm allowing me to monitor any insipient element clogging rather than waiting for a stumbling engine to warn me.
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Old 09-20-2021, 04:58 PM   #20
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This is the second boat I have run a vac hose from a tee in the fuel hose between the Racors and the final filter on the engine to a vac gauge at the helm allowing me to monitor any insipient element clogging rather than waiting for a stumbling engine to warn me.
Thanks for this comment. It's a great I deal that I will steal. 😁
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