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Old 05-25-2022, 05:40 PM   #1
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Engine Room Safety

Some good points.

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Old 05-25-2022, 08:02 PM   #2
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Definitely some good stuff in there. The only one I disagree with is the suggestion not to keep oil in there. As long as the containers are adequately secured and not too close to a heat source, it's fine. If it gets hot enough down there for engine oil to be a danger, you're probably on fire.
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Old 05-25-2022, 10:09 PM   #3
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Definitely some good stuff in there. The only one I disagree with is the suggestion not to keep oil in there. As long as the containers are adequately secured and not too close to a heat source, it's fine. If it gets hot enough down there for engine oil to be a danger, you're probably on fire.
It is interesting that Racor has fancy heat reflectors available to cover the fairly thick plastic bowls for fire protection (ABYC requirement on new construction?), yet the engine room can have 20 quarts of oil in very thin plastic jugs. My oil jugs are only "protected" by plastic milk crates secured in the engine room. Does the ABYC have any guidance on this?
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Old 05-26-2022, 07:21 AM   #4
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It is interesting that Racor has fancy heat reflectors available to cover the fairly thick plastic bowls for fire protection (ABYC requirement on new construction?), yet the engine room can have 20 quarts of oil in very thin plastic jugs. My oil jugs are only "protected" by plastic milk crates secured in the engine room. Does the ABYC have any guidance on this?
The Racor filters are often mounted pretty close to an engine. Plus, diesel fuel is easier to ignite than engine oil. And the Racor is connected to a much larger source of liquid (fuel tank) that could potentially continue to flow if the bowl is ruptured (unless your tanks have anti siphon valves like a gas boat).

I wouldn't store oil right next to an engine, but given adequate space, getting it a bit further away in the engine room is a low risk in my mind. By the time you torch a bottle of oil enough to ignite it with it a few feet from an engine, you're likely in an uncontrollable fire anyway.
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Old 05-26-2022, 10:31 AM   #5
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The Racor filters are often mounted pretty close to an engine. Plus, diesel fuel is easier to ignite than engine oil. And the Racor is connected to a much larger source of liquid (fuel tank) that could potentially continue to flow if the bowl is ruptured (unless your tanks have anti siphon valves like a gas boat).
As a matter of actual experience:
My dual Racors are mounted, together, on the aft bulkhead, about 24" from the transmissions of each engine, Mine are the 500s, without the metal heat shield. In 2000, I had a hydraulic hose fail on the Port trans, which led to a fire at that location, due to the hydraulic fluid having spewed onto the trans housing, which got hot enough running without fluid, to ignite the fluid.
The air filter housing, located above the fire, was consumed. The unprotected Racors showed no effect whatsoever.
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Old 05-26-2022, 10:34 AM   #6
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Originally Posted by Marco Flamingo View Post
It is interesting that Racor has fancy heat reflectors available to cover the fairly thick plastic bowls for fire protection (ABYC requirement on new construction?), yet the engine room can have 20 quarts of oil in very thin plastic jugs. My oil jugs are only "protected" by plastic milk crates secured in the engine room. Does the ABYC have any guidance on this?
On past surveys, I was written up for NOT having the SS bowls at the bottom of the filters. So they are "recommended" by ABYC on old and new construction.
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Old 05-26-2022, 11:51 AM   #7
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Definitely some good stuff in there. The only one I disagree with is the suggestion not to keep oil in there. As long as the containers are adequately secured and not too close to a heat source, it's fine. If it gets hot enough down there for engine oil to be a danger, you're probably on fire.
My concern with oil in the engine room is not that the containers are going to catch fire because of heat, but will the containers chafe and develop a leak, which then causes a problem.

I keep a jug of oil in the back of my pickup in a milk crate. The plastic has been fine both from UV and chafe, so I don't think there is likely to have a leak, but a leak in the pickup bed is a mess, while a leak in the engine room could have far more serious consequences.

If the stored oil will not leak, or if it does, it is contained, I don't see what the big deal would be with oil in the ER.

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Old 05-26-2022, 12:35 PM   #8
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My oil jugs are in a milk crate too, but probably a heavy duty plastic tub would be a better idea. The smooth bottom wouldn't chafe as much as the grate-like crate and any spill would be contained. Guess I have to go to Home Depot again.
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Old 05-26-2022, 12:36 PM   #9
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My concern with oil in the engine room is not that the containers are going to catch fire because of heat, but will the containers chafe and develop a leak, which then causes a problem.

I keep a jug of oil in the back of my pickup in a milk crate. The plastic has been fine both from UV and chafe, so I don't think there is likely to have a leak, but a leak in the pickup bed is a mess, while a leak in the engine room could have far more serious consequences.

If the stored oil will not leak, or if it does, it is contained, I don't see what the big deal would be with oil in the ER.

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My last boat had a built-in oil storage tank in the ER, probably around 20-30 gallons.
But it was built when oil came in thin metal or even cardboard containers so that
may have been a factor.
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Old 06-07-2022, 12:40 PM   #10
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Originally Posted by rslifkin View Post
Definitely some good stuff in there. The only one I disagree with is the suggestion not to keep oil in there. As long as the containers are adequately secured and not too close to a heat source, it's fine. If it gets hot enough down there for engine oil to be a danger, you're probably on fire.
Agree. While leaking oil isnít good, it is combustible not flammable, and at its normal operating temp of about 220F, it is not flammable. I suspect the author does not know the difference. ďA smidge of oil is problematicĒ, really? Oil and fuel are not the primary causes of fires, electrical is.

Lubricating oil, hydraulic oil and coolant (and diesel for that matter) are combustible, but not flammable (unlike gasoline for instance), so the fire would need to raise these to their flash point, which is well above engine room temp. The flash point of motor oil is about 420F. Coolant about 200F, similar to diesel. There are many, many vessels that store these liquids in the ER, I think you have a hard time making the case that they all need to move it to another location.
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Old 06-07-2022, 01:06 PM   #11
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Don’t like to store very heavy things near through hulls. Particularly marelon. Had experience when crewing of a near sinking with a milk crate full of chain striking a thru hull. Have no issue storing stuff in the engine room but not unsecured heavy things.
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Old 06-07-2022, 01:11 PM   #12
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I confess to being a neat freak. I have nothing stored in my ER and the batteries are in a separate compartment. In my opinion though storage is okay as long as it is stowed and secured properly.
One thing not noted in that article was the need for proper ventilation. Whether active or passive, remember to remove any plugs installed over the winter.
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Old 06-07-2022, 01:12 PM   #13
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Donít like to store very heavy things near through hulls. Particularly marelon. Had experience when crewing of a near sinking with a milk crate full of chain striking a thru hull. Have no issue storing stuff in the engine room but not unsecured heavy things.

Seconded. Anything stored should be secured. I've got 2 storage crates in my engine room. One is screwed down, the other isn't on a surface I can screw into, so it's held down with 4 large bungee cords that keep it wedged in place.
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Old 06-08-2022, 08:11 AM   #14
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As a matter of actual experience:
My dual Racors are mounted, together, on the aft bulkhead, about 24" from the transmissions of each engine, Mine are the 500s, without the metal heat shield. In 2000, I had a hydraulic hose fail on the Port trans, which led to a fire at that location, due to the hydraulic fluid having spewed onto the trans housing, which got hot enough running without fluid, to ignite the fluid.
The air filter housing, located above the fire, was consumed. The unprotected Racors showed no effect whatsoever.
I'm very interested to hear how you dealt with the fire. I once came very close to a similar fire. The gasket on the gen set lube oil filter developed an pin hole leak. It was spraying a fine mist of lube oil onto the main engine turbo. Fortunately there was an insulation blanket on the turbo which had not yet gotten saturated to the point the oil reached the turbo. The odor of hot oil got me to take a look and deal with the problem before ignition.
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Old 06-08-2022, 09:59 AM   #15
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I'm very interested to hear how you dealt with the fire. I once came very close to a similar fire. The gasket on the gen set lube oil filter developed an pin hole leak. It was spraying a fine mist of lube oil onto the main engine turbo. Fortunately there was an insulation blanket on the turbo which had not yet gotten saturated to the point the oil reached the turbo. The odor of hot oil got me to take a look and deal with the problem before ignition.
I had a friend along on a crossing of Georgia Strait. One of those guys who asks annoying questions, lots of them. At about the geographic centre of Georgia Strait, on the route from Vancouver to Nanaimo, he lifted the floor hatch above the Port engine, aft end, and we both saw flames. That hatch was immediately closed, both engines stopped and the fire extinguisher grabbed from its nearby handy location. The hatch again raised, the fire was put out in seconds. Frequent checking confirmed that it was out., then we could start shaking. We carried on to Nanaimo and when the wives arrived in the morning, told his nothing about the fire and mine only enough so she knew not to mention it to his. The insurance adjuster did a thorough investigation and told me where the fire had started and how. Disassembly of the trans confirmed the lack of fluid and the heat of friction.

My replacement FE is twice the size of the original and for several years I also carried a trash pump with a fire hose.
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Old 06-08-2022, 11:06 AM   #16
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I had a friend along on a crossing of Georgia Strait. One of those guys who asks annoying questions, lots of them. At about the geographic centre of Georgia Strait, on the route from Vancouver to Nanaimo, he lifted the floor hatch above the Port engine, aft end, and we both saw flames. That hatch was immediately closed, both engines stopped and the fire extinguisher grabbed from its nearby handy location. The hatch again raised, the fire was put out in seconds. Frequent checking confirmed that it was out., then we could start shaking. We carried on to Nanaimo and when the wives arrived in the morning, told his nothing about the fire and mine only enough so she knew not to mention it to his. The insurance adjuster did a thorough investigation and told me where the fire had started and how. Disassembly of the trans confirmed the lack of fluid and the heat of friction.



My replacement FE is twice the size of the original and for several years I also carried a trash pump with a fire hose.
Thank you for the full story! Good thing your friend was the curious type.
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Old 06-09-2022, 07:18 AM   #17
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The heat shields (and metallic drains) on the Racors are primarily intended to deflect a heat source that is under the filters.
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