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Old 09-28-2020, 12:03 PM   #1
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First Fuel Filter Change

Just took possession of my new-to-me 1985 Albin 43 with twin Ford-Lehman 135s and wanted to change fluids/filters/etc. As I look at the existing filtration set up, I have a few questions/concerns. There is a Racor 500FG as primary and then two on-engine filters (secondary/final). My question is micron-rating for the filters.

The Racor says to replace with 2010SM which is 2 micron (although I haven't opened the Racor to see what is actually installed). Then the on-engine filters are both Delphi HDF-296/7111-296 which I believe is 5 micron.

It seems to me that having a 2-5-5 setup is somewhat pointless as all of the filtering is really done by the Racor (2 micron). Similarly, having both on-engine filters with 5 micron filters is similarly redundant. Granted, with this configuration, I shouldn't expect the Delphi's to need changing as often, but I'm wondering what makes more sense.

I know there have been many discussions regarding this issue, but wanted to see if there is some rhyme or reason as to why mine is in this configuration.

Thanks
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Old 09-28-2020, 12:09 PM   #2
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The on engine filters are final straw in that they hopefully will catch an upstream filter failure. Your setup should be fine. I change my on engine every 4 years or so, the Racor yearly. I periodically drain the Racor bowl ? monthly, but it stays pretty clean. So far so good, 8k hrs.
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Old 09-28-2020, 12:28 PM   #3
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Some will say use a larger micron rating in the Racor. I use a 10 micron in the Racors and have had no issues. The Racor is way easier to change than the secondaries. It is also much easier to fill than the secondaries. So yes, I would continue with either 2 or 10 micron filters. Either one will be fine.
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Old 09-28-2020, 12:42 PM   #4
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On my FL135, I use a Racor 10 micron as a primary and the dual engine filters as the secondaries. I’ve only change the secondaries as part of scheduled maintenance. I’ve change the primaries for clogging or increased vacuum.
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Old 09-28-2020, 12:49 PM   #5
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Raycor 500 uses 2010 filters. They come in 2, 10, 30 micron. -Sm for 2 -PM for 30 and I think -TM for 10.

What filter is actually in use? Pop the top, check the micron rating on the filter already in there and replace accordingly.
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Old 09-28-2020, 12:55 PM   #6
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Even if there is a 30 micron in the filter now, I would go with either a 2 or 10 micron.
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Old 09-28-2020, 02:09 PM   #7
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As far as I know, having read a lot of material from Tony Athens (and other marine diesel experts) the optimum filtration system is one of progressive filtration. So, for example, if you had 3 filters in the system, the first one could be 30 microns, the next 10, followed by either a 5 or a 2 micron (depending on engine specs). In that way, each filter removes progressively finer particles. However, a lot of engines do not require that fine of filtration (2 micron), and that is usually indicated in owner's manuals, and by the level of filtration offered by the OEM last on engine filter (in your case 5 micron). It does no damage to filter to a finer level, it just is not really necessary and may lead to a higher vacuum level than is optimum, especially if your first filter is doing way more than it's share of the filtering. If you use a 2 micron in your primary filter, your 3rd filter is really made totally redundant as by then all particles should be filtered out, and you will be replacing the primary (2 micron) more often and possibly plugging it causing fuel stoppages more often than might occur with a 10 or 30 micron filter.

Based on the recommendations of people like Tony Athens (as I tried to describe above), I would suggest using a 10 micron primary (Racor) and staying with your OEM on engine 2nd and 3rd filters. Even with those filtration levels, your 3rd filter should see very little contamination delivering clean fuel to your engine(s) with a minimal vacuum level (when filters are clean) longer. I recommend the 10 micron over the 30, as in this way, the easily changed primary is doing more of the work allowing a longer life for the harder to change on engine filter(s). I also recommend a vacuum gauge to let you know before clogging, when it is time to change the primary filter. Of course, if your fuel system is clean and dry, therefore keeping contaminates out of the system, everything will work more efficiently.
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Old 09-28-2020, 02:17 PM   #8
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Your Lehman’s only use about 2 gph each on cruise so 2 micron Racors will go a long time. The 2-5-5 will be ok. The good news is your engines will get excellent particle protection. If it turns out they clog too fast then you can change the Racors to 10 or 30’s for more primary life and less secondary life . I use 10’s in my Racors and have yet to see anything on the vacuum gauge changing filters at about 500 hours.
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Old 09-28-2020, 02:18 PM   #9
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Both your engines and the racor filters were installed in 1985. Fuel then available was full of various kinds of crap, so filtration was much more important and prone to failure than it is since the EPA rules have moved us up to tier III engines and Ultra low Sulfur fuel.
In 1985 you would likely need to change out your Racor elements more than annually, and your on engine filters annually. I know I did.
Since the cleaner fuel arrived, the contaminants are already filtered out in the process of removing the Sulfur, so your filters are simply polishing the fuel.
Stick with whatever micron rating and frequency of changes works for you.
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Old 09-28-2020, 02:43 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by firehoser75 View Post
As far as I know, having read a lot of material from Tony Athens (and other marine diesel experts) the optimum filtration system is one of progressive filtration. So, for example, if you had 3 filters in the system, the first one could be 30 microns, the next 10, followed by either a 5 or a 2 micron (depending on engine specs). In that way, each filter removes progressively finer particles. However, a lot of engines do not require that fine of filtration (2 micron), and that is usually indicated in owner's manuals, and by the level of filtration offered by the OEM last on engine filter (in your case 5 micron). It does no damage to filter to a finer level, it just is not really necessary and may lead to a higher vacuum level than is optimum, especially if your first filter is doing way more than it's share of the filtering. If you use a 2 micron in your primary filter, your 3rd filter is really made totally redundant as by then all particles should be filtered out, and you will be replacing the primary (2 micron) more often and possibly plugging it causing fuel stoppages more often than might occur with a 10 or 30 micron filter.

Based on the recommendations of people like Tony Athens (as I tried to describe above), I would suggest using a 10 micron primary (Racor) and staying with your OEM on engine 2nd and 3rd filters. Even with those filtration levels, your 3rd filter should see very little contamination delivering clean fuel to your engine(s) with a minimal vacuum level (when filters are clean) longer. I recommend the 10 micron over the 30, as in this way, the easily changed primary is doing more of the work allowing a longer life for the harder to change on engine filter(s). I also recommend a vacuum gauge to let you know before clogging, when it is time to change the primary filter. Of course, if your fuel system is clean and dry, therefore keeping contaminates out of the system, everything will work more efficiently.
Yes exactly - a 30 or maybe a 10 if that is real important to the owner.
The guidelines are the same if you read most engine manufacturers, or the Racor applications guidelines, or Nigel Calder , or Steve D'antonio, or Tony Athens, etc.
I believe it is one of the few topics they all agree on.
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Old 09-29-2020, 06:16 AM   #11
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That would be great if the on engine filters were easier to change. Spin on filters and an electric fuel pump would make the progressively finer filters more practical on a Lehman. I like my Racor to do all the work because it's easier to change and fill. And at 2 gph it stays pretty clean.
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Old 09-29-2020, 06:29 AM   #12
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Haven't changed the on engine filters in the 4 years we have had ours.
Changed the primaries once after a year because I had no idea how old they were and the fuel in the tanks was old and discoloured.
They were spotless.
Our engine pumps 300 litres an hour through the filters, burn 15, never see any hint of pressure on the gauge.

Funnily enough, the primary racor are 10mic and the secondary on engine are a 20 mic.
Obviously the secondary on engines will always be immaculate.
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Old 09-29-2020, 08:21 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TomAnderson20619 View Post
Just took possession of my new-to-me 1985 Albin 43 with twin Ford-Lehman 135s and wanted to change fluids/filters/etc. As I look at the existing filtration set up, I have a few questions/concerns. There is a Racor 500FG as primary and then two on-engine filters (secondary/final). My question is micron-rating for the filters.

The Racor says to replace with 2010SM which is 2 micron (although I haven't opened the Racor to see what is actually installed). Then the on-engine filters are both Delphi HDF-296/7111-296 which I believe is 5 micron.

It seems to me that having a 2-5-5 setup is somewhat pointless as all of the filtering is really done by the Racor (2 micron). Similarly, having both on-engine filters with 5 micron filters is similarly redundant. Granted, with this configuration, I shouldn't expect the Delphi's to need changing as often, but I'm wondering what makes more sense.

I know there have been many discussions regarding this issue, but wanted to see if there is some rhyme or reason as to why mine is in this configuration.

Thanks

I prefer the progressive filtering approach. Having a 2 micron as the first filter really just means it will get clogged more quickly and the other 2 filters will not be doing much. When I bought my boat it also came with 2 micron filters in the Racors. Since I had 25 year old tanks that had hardly been cleaned, one Racor clogged on my first rough passage. I changed to 10s in the Racors so the whole system can participate. (and cleaned the tanks)



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Old 09-29-2020, 10:08 AM   #14
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Filters don't capture every thing larger than the stated size. There is a distributing of particle sizes centered around the stated size. IMO 10 micron is more than sufficient in your case.
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Old 09-29-2020, 10:33 AM   #15
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I have a Racor 500 with a 2 micron element upstream of the two on engine filters on a single FL 120. The on engine filters have been converted to spin on and have two 5 micron Baldwin filters.

The Racors have vacuume gauges and I replace the elements when the needle approaches the yellow area which is usually around 500 - 600 engine hours.

The on engine filters were replaced for the first time after 20 years and approximately 3,500 hours this last fall. I cut the Baldwin filters in half and inspected them. There was no deterioration of the filter material.
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Old 09-29-2020, 11:07 AM   #16
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syjos,
If that worked for 20 years, then good and stick with it (I guess). But, it sounds like you are really using one filter to do all of the work, and have 2 others that do (next to) nothing (except if somehow the first one failed).
Personally, I trust the engine manufacturers, experts like Tony Athens, Steve D., etc. who all say progressive filtration is the way to go.
I don't own a Leman, and my Cummins circulates 60 GPH of fuel sending about 58 gallons of it back to the tank, effectively "polishing" the fuel as I run the engine. Each season a lot of fuel is run through the 2 filters (If I wanted the "optimum" filtration, I would install a 3rd filter as a "prefilter" or "mud" filter) and I change the primary annually and the on engine every 2 years (barring any problems). They could probably go longer, but for the time it takes and the small effort, it makes sense to me and works well. I too have cut my filter(s) in half to check their condition.
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Old 09-29-2020, 11:40 AM   #17
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A 30 micron particle is about 5 times smaller than an injector tip spray hole.
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Old 10-01-2020, 03:14 PM   #18
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Firehoser75 mentioned that his Cummins circulates 60GPH sending 58G back to the tank. Is there a way to find the circulation for my Lehman SP135 (without installing FlowScan equipment)? Trying to get a feel for how much polishing might be going on.
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Old 10-01-2020, 04:32 PM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TomAnderson20619 View Post
Firehoser75 mentioned that his Cummins circulates 60GPH sending 58G back to the tank. Is there a way to find the circulation for my Lehman SP135 (without installing FlowScan equipment)? Trying to get a feel for how much polishing might be going on.
I understand that itís a very small amount and in my experience it doesnít seem like thereís much circulating, but I donít have numbers.

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Old 10-01-2020, 04:35 PM   #20
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Originally Posted by TomAnderson20619 View Post
Firehoser75 mentioned that his Cummins circulates 60GPH sending 58G back to the tank. Is there a way to find the circulation for my Lehman SP135 (without installing FlowScan equipment)? Trying to get a feel for how much polishing might be going on.
Almost none. I took Bob Smithís last Lehman seminar in Oct 2016. He said there is almost no fuel returned. He said you could probably go all day and use a quart bottle to catch the return fuel in. He may have been exaggerating a bit but was very clear that it returns almost none compared to other diesels. You could disconnect the return line and put it in a bottle and run it for a while and see how much is returned. It would be interesting to know exactly.
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