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Old 01-14-2017, 10:21 AM   #41
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Originally Posted by smitty477 View Post
IMHO...


- staged filtration is the way to go with courser filtering first then finer.
- 10 mics more than adequate for that engine as final filter
- Vacuum gages a must for all filters (at $20-30 each)
- spin on buck filters preferable to Racors although I have had both


Vac gages will not only save money on wasted filter changes but will also allow you to plan changes that do not affect trips and help diagnose potential engine issues.


I have had plenty of Racor 500'sw and 900's but find they have a few issues - hard to replace, prone to air leaks, lower filtration areas, costly housings, awkward available vac gages, and relatively costly filter cartridges.

Some folks believe that a 10 micron filter stops all particles above 10 micron and acts like a gridded 'screen'. Filters actually pass a range of sizes called out in their beta ratings and are best used in their designated 'ranges' with courser filters working on the fuel first. You will achieve a better filtration on the fuel and a filter life of 3-5 times the fuel volume when properly staged filtration is used with vac gages.


If the goal was only to filter down to the smallest particle size why would we stop at 2 mics and not go to sub micron filtration?


Here is the link again to pics and examples of how to do it for the long haul and for potentially poor fuel and higher use.....


Fuel Systems & Filtration - Seaboard Marine
Vacuum gauge is really something I would like to add. Even if my replacement cartridge is cheap I just do not want to change it if not needed.

Thank you!
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Old 01-14-2017, 10:47 AM   #42
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"Having a bigger capacity fine filter that does all the work and a second filter acting only as a fail safe"


Hello Lou,

Perhaps before deciding you may want to do some reading and research in a few places:
- post on boatdiesel
- post on Tony Athens site
- read the Athens tech articles
- the Racor site
- any major diesel engine install guide or service guide
- any major diesel producers best filtering practices


Good luck with your modifications
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Old 01-14-2017, 11:17 AM   #43
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"I have had plenty of Racor 500'sw and 900's but find they have a few issues - hard to replace, prone to air leaks, lower filtration areas, costly housings, awkward available vac gages, and relatively costly filter cartridges"

Other than the fact that they are not cheap to buy initially, the rest of that is balony.

You'd be hard pressed to find a filer with easier/faster to change elements than Racors.

They are not prone to air leaks other than those caused by operator error perhaps.

The filter area is more than sufficient if you size them correctly.

Between local and remote mount vacuum gauges you have plenty of options to make viewing the gauges convenient. (Personally I think vacuum gauges are almost useless at least on low fuel flow engines anyway.)

And the elements can hardly be considered expensive for Ravors. Especially when you consider how rarely most boaters are going to be changing them out.

Are there other good fuel filters out there? Sure. But Racor elements are readily available all over the place and their filter units are pretty hard to beat over all.

Which makes them a solid choice for the vast majority of boats I'd say.
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Old 01-14-2017, 02:55 PM   #44
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On my Lehman, I removed the dual filters that were engine mounted as they were a pain to change the filters, were difficult to drain without a mess and you had no idea what condition they were in. I installed a 500 Racor and mounted it on the engine room wall. This became the secondary filter with a 2 micron (I think, it was a while ago) and it was much easier to maintain. I remote mounted it as it's not clear if the Racor was robust enough to resist the vibration of an angry Lehman.
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Old 01-14-2017, 04:26 PM   #45
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“You'd be hard pressed to find a filer with easier/faster to changeelements than Racors.”

Bulk spin on filers can be installed with a dozen or so turns of thefilter just like an oil filter. They can also be easily prefilled on deck andtaken to the engine room in a bucket for a quick swap – maybe 3 minutes to dotwo of them with a simple oil filter band wrench.

“They are not prone to air leaks other than those caused by operator errorperhaps.”

My Racors had gaskets between the bowl and top, between the “T”handle and base and along the edge of the top cover. In addition the filteritself must make seals between itself and the fill tubes. A bulk spin on filterhas one base gasket pre attached to the filter base and easy to install

“The filter area is more than sufficient if you size them correctly.”

Yes – you can buy increasing sized Racors (500,900,1000) withincreasing costs of the filter housings and filters. Or you can buy one spin onbase at maybe 1/10th the cost and spin on any number of associated filtersdependent upon what you may need. Overall size for size the spin on’s will havemuch more filtering area available.

“Between local and remote mount vacuum gauges you have plenty of options to makeviewing the gauges convenient. (Personally I think vacuum gauges are almostuseless at least on low fuel flow engines anyway.)”

How do you know when to change filers if not with a vacuum gage?What happens when you have an engine symptom and you suspect a filter? Do youguess or maybe check the vac gage to see if there is really a potentialobstruction? You want to make a longer leg of a trip and maybe the weather isless than perfect how do you decide whether to replace filters before the tripor not? I just check the vac readings to know how ‘much’ filtering I have leftand or to plan the next filter changes.

“And the elements can hardly be considered expensive for Racors , Especiallywhen you consider how rarely most boaters are going to be changing them out.”

When would you change them if you do not use vac gages? Based upontime, based upon fuel burned?

I have had many Racors over the years and have found them to be OK.I have run with and without vac gages and found them to be much more valuablethan their $30 /per price to install.

Which types of bulk filters have you run which hasled you to want to choose the Racors above them?
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Old 01-14-2017, 07:38 PM   #46
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"Which types of bulk filters have you run which hasled you to want to choose the Racors above them?"

I've never had a hassle with spin on filters.

I just find Racors at least every bit as reliable. As do thousands of other boaters I'd say. And way more commonly found on board than after market spin on ones.

As far as Racors having more gaskets than spin one, sure they do. But so what? It's not like they are prone to failure or anything.

As I said I'm not a big fan a vacuum gauges on low volume fuel use engines. While they certainly do no harm, on a number of accessions I've seen severely clogged filter elements on filters with vacuum gauges and the gauges registered little or no significant vacuum. And when you consider that most cruisers run their engines at lower rpms to save fuel, the likelihood of seeing a rise in vacuum on an engine that is sipping fuel much before the filter element gets really clogged up is slim in my experience.

As to when I change my Racor elements out, it's pretty simple, in the majority of cases once a year, unless I have reason to believe I need to do it more often. Like if I start seeing significant residue in the clear bowl. Or I'm going on a trip and want the peace of mind that I've get fresh elements in. Elements are cheap after all.

Spin on filters are fine. (Although many don't have a drain and few, if any, have built in clear bowls.) So stick with them and recommend them if it makes you happy.

I just don't see the need to run down Racors with exaggerated nonsense like some how spin on elements are faster and easier to change out. They both can be pretty easy and fast to change out.

And you rarely need to refill a Racor after you've changed out the element. And if you do there is no need to go up on deck, fill them with fuel and carry them around in a bucket that you could trip with and spew diesel fuel all over the teak deck or saloon.
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Old 01-15-2017, 07:30 AM   #47
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I'm old fashioned and tend to like the tried and tested stuff I am familliar with. I like a Racor on the bulkead as the primary filter - easy to change elements and drain water, but most of all I can see what's going on in the clear bowl. A pair of these per engine with a change-over valve is as good as it gets IMHO. Use the manufacturer's spec filter on the engine.
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Old 01-15-2017, 10:23 AM   #48
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HelloCapt.Bill11

"I justdon't see the need to run down Racors with exaggerated nonsense like some howspin on elements are faster and easier to change out"

What I saidwas that Racor 500 series was OK,. I also posted these observations about thatseries of filter....

I have hadplenty of Racor 500'sw and 900's but find they have a few issues - hard toreplace, prone to air leaks, lower filtration areas, costly housings, awkwardavailable vac gages, and relatively costly filter cartridges.

“Asfar as Racors having more gaskets than spin one, sure they do. But so what?It's not like they are prone to failure or anything.”

Theyhave 5 times the number of places to leak and they have a plastic bowl. I havehelped others fix leaks in all of those gaskets over time which cause engineissues due to air in the system – lower drain, water sensor, Bowl gasket, capseal and “T” handle. Carry all spare parts for the Racor and/or an extra filterin case it’s needed.

“As I said I'm not a big fan a vacuum gauges on low volume fuel use engines.While they certainly do no harm, on a number of accessions I've seen severelyclogged filter elements on filters with vacuum gauges and the gauges registeredlittle or no significant vacuum. And when you consider that most cruisers runtheir engines at lower rpms to save fuel, the likelihood of seeing a rise invacuum on an engine that is sipping fuel much before the filter element getsreally clogged up is slim in my experience.”

Dieselpumps do run higher volume even with low fuel use by the engine they return therest and that flow is designed for many good reasons. I had a vac gage on my12.5 genset that read quite well for replacement intervals and that enginetypically ran burning less than 1.5 gph. The vacuum readings provide real timeinformation of the exact condition of your fuel filter. You can tell exactlyhow plugged the filter is by the reading.

“As to when I change my Racor elements out, it's pretty simple, in the majorityof cases once a year, unless I have reason to believe I need to do it moreoften. Like if I start seeing significant residue in the clear bowl. Or I'mgoing on a trip and want the peace of mind that I've get fresh elements in.Elements are cheap after all.”

Thesereplacements are then based upon a time or ‘feeling’ , they have no bearing onthe actual condition of the filter being changed. Since running vac gages thesepast 25+ years I have learned there is little or no correlation as to how‘black’ or ‘full’ the bowl appears to be to the vac reading. I have learned toignore the look of the filter bowl and that the vac reading tells me when tochange or when to not attempt a trip until they are changed.

“I just don't see the need to run down Racors with exaggerated nonsense likesome how spin on elements are faster and easier to change out. They both can bepretty easy and fast to change out.”

Icannot speak for other folks ability or time to change out filters but I canrelate my own experiences with each:

Bulk spin on’s

Ihave a small bucket with a wood “X” section inside that I made back in the90’s. That bucket will hold one filter in each section if the “X” along with asimple spin on filter on wrench on top – that is the entire collection of‘stuff’ needed to do a filter change.
  • Prefill two spin on filters with the hole up and filters inopposite sides of the “X” while on deck on in any easy spot
  • Carry bucket down to engine room, remove one filter usually justby hand but the wrench is there just in case
  • Old filter into open spot in bucket and new filter in the filterhead, tighten by hand
  • Repeat for other side and bring bucket back topsides

Totaltime can be less than a couple of minutes with no diesel mess left anywhere.Additionally this works well when you are on a rolling and moving boat whetheron a mooring or underway.

Racor500 series

Istill use a bucket to carry the new filters but I also need to bring below asmall diesel container to prefill as well as a collection of other stuffincluding but not limited to…

Gaskets,rags, large slip joint pliers, open end wrench, dental tool with hook, etc.
  • Remove bottom drain for diesel from bottom of filter to getsome ‘space’ on the filter top to avoid spillage as well as to remove crud inthe bowl
  • At this point of the change I have used up more time then theentire spin on filter change
  • Now remove the “T” handle preferably without a gage up there
  • Remove the filter cap, use the dental tool to remove the imbeddedgasket
  • Use the dental tool to remove the old gasket from the “T” handlebase
  • Use dental tool to pry up the two plastic ‘handles’ for removal,some crud drops back into bowl, some diesel drips off of filter headed tobucket
  • I usually try and clean some of the crud from inside the upperhousing but mostly it does not work well
  • New filter goes back into housing with those plastic ‘lips’ makingthe seals top and bottom
  • Place new “O” ring in filter cap and lube lightly with fuel
  • Place new “O” ring over “T” handle threads to base and lube withfuel
  • Use pliers and wrench to replace drain fitting
  • Use some method (turkey baster, cup with pouring lip, etc) toslowly refill filter housing with fuel to top
  • Replace cap , replace “T” handle in cap and tighten.

Totaltime maybe 10X or more that of the spin on but if in any rolling seas or just abit less than perfect you do have a mess left to clean up.

“Andyou rarely need to refill a Racor after you've changed out the element.”

Ifyou prefer to not prefill the filters that would eliminate the need for eitherand add a pump, priming, or whatever you choose in its place on either choice.
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Old 01-15-2017, 10:43 AM   #49
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I like the Racor 500/900/1000 series. I don't find them to be leak prone. And if they do leak (rare) they are easy to reseal.

What I do like is a visual bowl. One glance tells you if you have a water issue. Red bowl, good to go. A little water, drain it out.

Easy and usually not too messy to change elements. Easy to top off without using two hands.

If you have ever had a full spin-on element slip out your hands while dipping rails offshore, you know what kind of mess you will have. Been there, done that. Also not easy to fill before screwing on, and there will always be a good bit of air in the filter head no matter how full the element is.

Are Racors the perfect primary filter? No. But for me they are a better option for most boats.

The little racors with spin on elements truly suck. Way too many of these have leaky little plastic fittings in the filter heads that end up leaking. Plastic bowls get stuck and take two wrenches to get apart. Some elements have different threads but look the same so screw up part numbers and you are dead in the water. I will not install these. Even the smallest engine gets a 500 even if overkill.

Racor vac gauges also suck. I have MANY times had the gauge in my hand reading like 10" Hg of vac. In my HAND. Others if you close the supply valve, gauge still reads zero as engine starts to stumble. Just not reliable. Have replaced many with industrial fluid filled gauges. More money, but good quality.

I don't have a vac gauge on my personal boat. I have a filter restriction sensor that weighs 2000lb right in the middle of the boat. Filter gets cloggy, rpms start to waver. Change filter, wavering gone. No need to crawl in ER to look at some gauge.
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Old 01-15-2017, 12:37 PM   #50
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Sometimes reading these TF posts I wonder if I am living an an alternate universe. Been working in and running boatyards for 50 years. My technicians and I have changed thousands of fuel filters. The difficulties some are having with changing the Racors baffles me. Granted, most cruisers only put 100 hours on every year and only change the filter once a year or two. I have had customers cross oceans and circumnavigate the globe. Racor has always been the filter of choice. Neither my technicians nor the owners have complained about difficulties changing the filters. That's not to say that there have not been issues or air leaks. There might have been leaks from time to time, but it becomes very apparent when you test run the engine post filter change. It has never been raised to a level of concern and the Racor is the filter recommendation of choice for all the technicians I know.

Gauges- in October I installed 4 vacuum gauges in a GB 42 twin engine with twin independent parallel filters. Each engine had two parallel Racor 900s I put a Racor recording T bolt vacuum gauge on each filter. One was "bad out of the box." I certainly cannot say that I remember every vacuum gauge installation over the years, but right now, that is the only one I remember as being bad. There probably have been other problems but none that rose to the level of concern and the level of difficulty being reported here.

When I install a vacuum gauge, i recommend the recording gauge. With a recording gauge you do not have to check the gauge with the engine running, it records the max vacuum it sees and you can observe it even if the engine is not running. If you want an industrial oil filled gauge, they are available from many sources, including racor. These gauges have seemed to provide reliable information even on small diesels and generators. I may be missing something, but it seems to me that regardless of flow rate, vacuum is vacuum. It seems to me that whether your fuel pump is moving 50 GPH or only 5 gph, as the filter gets clogged there will be resistance: vacuum. I am not sure why flow rate would change the vacuum. Perhaps someone here can explain it to me.
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Old 01-15-2017, 01:27 PM   #51
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Hello Ski


"Racor vac gauges also suck."
I found the location if the Racor gages to be part of the problem - taking them off and laying them around while changing filters helps mess them up - plus they cost more than the options.


"Have replaced many with industrial fluid filled gauges. More money, but good quality."
I believe you can find good quality gages which can be filled with glycerin fairly cheaply even in 2" SS cases. I was getting mine at "thegagestore(dot)com"


"I don't have a vac gauge on my personal boat. I have a filter restriction sensor that weighs 2000lb right in the middle of the boat. Filter gets cloggy, rpms start to waver. Change filter, wavering gone"
Some folks , including myself, might prefer to know before we head out on a trip or into heavier sea states.


"No need to crawl in ER to look at some gauge."
Alternately you can install them remotely and/or use a remote camera to view them in real time so as to see if the tell tale is working or if you have variable readings going on.


Hello Tadhana,


"The difficulties some are having with changing the Racors baffles me."
I do not recall relaying that there were difficulties changing these filters. Just that they had less filtering volume per size, less quick to change more gaskets and potential leak points.


"I may be missing something, but it seems to me that regardless of flow rate, vacuum is vacuum"
Agreed 100%.


"When I install a vacuum gauge, i recommend the recording gauge"
Alternately you can install them remotely and/or use a remote camera to view them in real time so as to see if the tell tale is working or if you have variable readings going on.
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Old 01-15-2017, 03:45 PM   #52
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If I have a clogged filter I just flip the handle and number two can take over. Hasn't happened yet.
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Old 01-16-2017, 01:00 AM   #53
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I have read Tony Athens articles on fuel filtration, and sincerely appreciate his willingness to share his wealth of knowledge with the public.
To show my appreciation, I purchased his recommended Fleetgard product from his shop with the squeeze bulb primer, and never looked back. Works like a charm, little to no chance of screwing it up, always aware of the condition of filters with a remote vacuum gauge on the dash.
I also take a small sample from the bulk water seperator every couple of trips, to look for water, and usually find a little, so that works well too.
For you guys that are saying "if its worked for 20 years, don't mess with it", you need to read up on what they are doing to diesel fuel nowdays.
What comes out of the pump is not the same thing it was even a few years ago.
I'm too lazy to look it up, but Professional Boatbuilder has published some interesting articles re the new diesel fuel, the gist of it being that the stuff is able to carry a lot more water through an inadequate filtration system.
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Old 01-16-2017, 01:35 AM   #54
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"I may be missing something, but it seems to me that regardless of flow rate, vacuum is vacuum. It seems to me that whether your fuel pump is moving 50 GPH or only 5 gph, as the filter gets clogged there will be resistance: vacuum. I am not sure why flow rate would change the vacuum. Perhaps someone here can explain it to me."

You you might be right. Perhaps I probably didn't word it correctly.

So maybe it's the fact that on some engines the fuel pump doesn't seem to pull a strong vacuum or something.

All I know is I've seen clogged elements where the gauges seemed to be OK but it didn't read significant vacuum even though the element was clogged enough to cause the engine to stumble.
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Old 01-16-2017, 01:42 AM   #55
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For you guys that are saying "if its worked for 20 years, don't mess with it", you need to read up on what they are doing to diesel fuel nowdays.
What comes out of the pump is not the same thing it was even a few years ago.
I'm too lazy to look it up, but Professional Boatbuilder has published some interesting articles re the new diesel fuel, the gist of it being that the stuff is able to carry a lot more water through an inadequate filtration system.
I'm fairly confident that Racor has kept up with what may be going on with the quality of diesel fuel these days. And adjusts their filter technology if needed.
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Old 01-16-2017, 02:05 AM   #56
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"Totaltime maybe 10X or more that of the spin on but if in any rolling seas or just abit less than perfect you do have a mess left to clean up."

While changing the elements in a Racor can be done faster and easier than you discribe. Plus your are leaving out a couple of steps with changing out the spin ons. Like were are you getting the fuel to fill them, disposal of the fuel in the old spin on filter, cleaning the bucket, etc.

But it really doesn't matter, since fuel element changing is not a competitive event that I'm aware of.

So enjoy your spin ons and take satisfaction in the fact that you might get to open your first post element change beer 5 minutes before the guy with Racors does.
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Old 01-16-2017, 07:27 AM   #57
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After reading this thread it would seem that for low fuel use applications almost any filter type or configuration does and will work. So Lou, are you ready to state your final solution and why?
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Old 01-16-2017, 10:52 AM   #58
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"So maybe it's the fact that on some engines the fuel pumpdoesn't seem to pull a strong vacuum or something."

The fuel pump does not generate the vacuum rather it comes fromthe total of all the resistances generated in the fuel path between thetank and the pump. Some of those contributors would be these: height of tank vspump, type of fuel fllter(s), element chosen for filter, size of fuel line,number and type of fuel connectors and the condition of the filter element overtime.
All engines will need to be ab le to pull a decent vacuum in orderto work with the typical fuel tank restrictions and typical filterrestrictions. The limits on the various fuel pumps are available from the manufacturerssite in most cases if that information was needed.
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Old 01-16-2017, 11:00 AM   #59
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"So enjoy your spin ons and take satisfaction in the fact that you might get to open your first post element change beer 5 minutes before the guy with Racors does. "


I wish that were true on my last boat where I did not place bulk spin on's prior to the Racors or just replace them. As a result of not doing either of those options it was necessary to replace the filters at least 4 times as much as opposed to making the change. Turned out to be not so much of a big deal as we were not cruising too much during those years - and did not get a poor load of fuel as we were mostly close to home and could control that aspect. But had we followed through with our original plans to cruise extensively away from home it would have been a choice that I regretted if I did not follow through on it. At least I had added the vac gages which led me to change filters when required - sometimes at the 2 season interval.
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Old 01-16-2017, 12:21 PM   #60
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After reading this thread it would seem that for low fuel use applications almost any filter type or configuration does and will work. So Lou, are you ready to state your final solution and why?
Lou quietly (and wisely) stepped aside as the mob started throwing fuel filters at each other!!!
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