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Old 08-24-2019, 02:21 PM   #61
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All the talk about damaging the "T " handle gauges. I will repeat an earlier post.

I've had the 2 "T" handle gauges on my Racors for 19 years and never had any issues.

Had them on my previous boat for 15 years without damage.


Racor has sold thousands of the "T" handle gauges in the last 30 years and have improved it at least 3 times during the same period. The improvements were; adding a drag needle, pressure relief valve, and adding an actual "T" to the gauge mount. If there was an issue with the gauges being damaged easily, Racor would have beefed up the gauge.

I worked for a boat charter/time share company in the 90's that had around 180 boats in the fleet. All the boats were required to have fuel vacuum gauges on the fuel system. About 90% of the boats had the "T" handle gauges. I don't recall a single gauge damaged out of the hundreds of incidents reported by lessees.

I've sold/installed close to 75 "T" handle gauges in the last 20 years to clients. I'm in contact with most of my clients and I have not had any complaints about the fragility of the gauges. I did have complaints about the second generation gauges which when they got warm in the engine compartment, the dampening oil oozed out of the relief valve at the top of the gauge. Racor promptly replaced the gauges on warranty after switching to a different source.

If these gauges are so easily damaged, why is Racor selling so many and why are owners of the older "T" gauges upgrading to the new version with handles at a cost of $60.

There are threads discussing the "T" handle gauges but none regarding actual accidental damage.

As psneeld likes to remind us, stop disseminating unsubstantiated false claims.
"If these gauges are so easily damaged, why is Racor selling so many and why are owners of the older "T" gauges upgrading to the new version with handles at a cost of $60"

Very good marketing.
Have you found any data on how accurate their gages are?
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Old 08-24-2019, 02:35 PM   #62
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Very good marketing.
Have you found any data on how accurate their gages are?
I've never seen a Racor vacuum gauge ad in any magazines. Was not aware of the latest version with actual handles until a client inquired about it. And they already introduced a newer version of that recently that I was not aware of.

On the previous boat, I had a helm mounted gauge in addition to the "T" handle gauge.

They were within 1 in Hg of each other.
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Old 08-24-2019, 02:54 PM   #63
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Relative to the fire resistance of the Racor plastic bowl there is something that always puzzled me. That bowl is pretty damed thick. In the event of a fire intense enough and concentrated enough to eventually melt through the bowl, wouldn't that engine room fire already be so intense and developed and fully involved such that the boat is surely doomed?
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Old 08-24-2019, 03:25 PM   #64
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I've never seen a Racor vacuum gauge ad in any magazines. Was not aware of the latest version with actual handles until a client inquired about it. And they already introduced a newer version of that recently that I was not aware of.

On the previous boat, I had a helm mounted gauge in addition to the "T" handle gauge.

They were within 1 in Hg of each other.
"I've never seen a Racor vacuum gauge ad in any magazines."
- every boat supply catalog
- just about every boat supply store display
- every online boat supply line
- boat shows that have Racor in attendance

Thanks for the comparison of the Racor gage to a dash gage. Just wanted to know if anyone found the actual data on the Racor gages. They always have a sheet for features and specs as well as installation - but nothing I could ever find on the actual accuracy of the gage they sell.
Interesting in what they have as 'specs' and 'features".
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Old 08-24-2019, 03:26 PM   #65
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Relative to the fire resistance of the Racor plastic bowl there is something that always puzzled me. That bowl is pretty damed thick. In the event of a fire intense enough and concentrated enough to eventually melt through the bowl, wouldn't that engine room fire already be so intense and developed and fully involved such that the boat is surely doomed?
Yes - I believe you are absolutely correct.
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Old 08-24-2019, 04:38 PM   #66
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thanks first of all, my question is how far down does the fuel pick up tube go into my port tank for a cabrio 330? my genset is cutting off at a 1/4 tank on my fuel gauge, I know gauge could be off but genset stops at that level.I ...
Sometimes the generator dip tube is set up this way intentionally to keep the generator from using all of the fuel and leaving you stranded.
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Old 08-24-2019, 06:09 PM   #67
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Relative to the fire resistance of the Racor plastic bowl there is something that always puzzled me. That bowl is pretty damed thick. In the event of a fire intense enough and concentrated enough to eventually melt through the bowl, wouldn't that engine room fire already be so intense and developed and fully involved such that the boat is surely doomed?
Not necessarily. Depends on where the filter assembly is mounted. I never bothered to put the shields on, and various surveys and CG and CGAUX inspections said boo about it. Requirement is for USCG commercial "inspected vessels".
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Old 08-25-2019, 07:16 AM   #68
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For many years I worried about fuel contamination causing an engine shutdown in my single diesel trawler. I changed the filters religiously every year to assure that I was mitigating the dreaded shutdown.

I am now driving a twin diesel boat and have added duel Racors to give me "get home filters" should the shutdown occur. Since I added said Racors, I check the gage often to see the position of the drag needle. After a year of use, it has hardly moved! So, my next experiment is to not change the filters so often but rather wait until the needle says it's time!
Just to be on the safe side, you might try testing the gauge by slowly turning off the fuel supply while the engine is idling, using the Racor selection lever (pointer up is all off). I do this routinely, I've encountered a handful of non-functioning gauges.
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Old 08-25-2019, 07:41 AM   #69
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Originally Posted by syjos View Post
All the talk about damaging the "T " handle gauges. I will repeat an earlier post.

I've had the 2 "T" handle gauges on my Racors for 19 years and never had any issues.

Had them on my previous boat for 15 years without damage.


Racor has sold thousands of the "T" handle gauges in the last 30 years and have improved it at least 3 times during the same period. The improvements were; adding a drag needle, pressure relief valve, and adding an actual "T" to the gauge mount. If there was an issue with the gauges being damaged easily, Racor would have beefed up the gauge.

I worked for a boat charter/time share company in the 90's that had around 180 boats in the fleet. All the boats were required to have fuel vacuum gauges on the fuel system. About 90% of the boats had the "T" handle gauges. I don't recall a single gauge damaged out of the hundreds of incidents reported by lessees.

I've sold/installed close to 75 "T" handle gauges in the last 20 years to clients. I'm in contact with most of my clients and I have not had any complaints about the fragility of the gauges. I did have complaints about the second generation gauges which when they got warm in the engine compartment, the dampening oil oozed out of the relief valve at the top of the gauge. Racor promptly replaced the gauges on warranty after switching to a different source.

If these gauges are so easily damaged, why is Racor selling so many and why are owners of the older "T" gauges upgrading to the new version with handles at a cost of $60.

There are threads discussing the "T" handle gauges but none regarding actual accidental damage.

As psneeld likes to remind us, stop disseminating unsubstantiated false claims.
I would counter by saying stop making unsubstantiated claims about making unsubstantiated claims;-). Seriously, i if I hadn't seen damaged gauges, in one case I witnessed a mechanic impact a gauge with a tool box, damaging it, on a sea trial, necessitating shutting down the engine because the filter was sucking air, I would not have developed this first-hand opinion. Unlike others who have experience with their own boat, or a handful of personally owned boats, virtually all of my technical observations are the result of first hand experience, garnered from observations made on thousands of vessels over a 30+ year career. I would never say I've seen it all, or that I know everything, far from it, I learn something new every day in this business, but I rarely make a suggestion or claim without solid first-hand experience.

The argument that if Racor knew the gauges were damage prone they would not sell them is specious at best, they sold gauges without drag needles while other suppliers offered those for years. They also made T handle replacement kits knowing they were doing away with the very valuable T handle for years as well. They only made these improvements after others began offering them. Don't get me wrong, I have huge respect for Racor/Parker, but it's not up to them to make sure the gauge isn't damaged, that's a user/installer issue.

It's difficult to deny that a permanently installed gauge adjacent to a filter housing is less exposed and less damage prone than a gauge installed on top of a filter housing. But, those are more costly to install, and not a do it yourself project, and Racor understandably is in the business of staying in business, and selling a product that is likely to be more popular for those reasons.

Saying a manufacturer "would not knowingly do..." this or that is somewhat dangerous, recall Morton Thiokol, manufacturer of the space shuttle solid rocket boosters. More could not have been on the line and yet they knew that the boosters should not have been used in sub-freezing temperatures. The rest, as they say, is (tragic) history, and manufacturing is replete with such examples.
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Old 08-25-2019, 07:46 AM   #70
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But that hard plastic isn't fuel or fire-safe, is it ? We have the same setup but our line is copper, just like most of the fuel lines.

Brings up another question: Will the line leading up to a helm mounted gauge be full of air or fuel ? If it is fuel, where did the air go (I assume it had air in it when installed) ?


-Sven
The hard plastic lacks flame resistance, and thus is not ABYC H-33 compliant. I've looked into translucent tubes connecting Racors to vacuum gauges and typically see a fuel line, a level to which fuel has risen, when the engine starts that line drops back to the filter. I suspect some air, very little, does get drawn into the filter initially, but it is finite.

Racor calls for hard plumbing if the distance between the filter and gauge is more than 10 feet. If the distance is less, it could be Type A fuel line. More than that and it should be metallic tubing.
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Old 08-25-2019, 07:57 AM   #71
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Not necessarily. Depends on where the filter assembly is mounted. I never bothered to put the shields on, and various surveys and CG and CGAUX inspections said boo about it. Requirement is for USCG commercial "inspected vessels".
It's true they are not required, virtually nothing is "required" on recreational, diesel powered vessels under 65 feet, other than nav lights, fire extinguishers, PFDs etc. There are virtually no mandatory boat building standards for small diesel craft in the US. I encounter the occasional new vessel on a regular basis that use the FH series filter, which does not include the bowl or metallic drain valve, and it continues to puzzle me, the cost difference is minimal.

Most insurers require compliance with ABYC fuel system standards. I've encountered several insurance surveys that identified this is a deficiency, forcing the owner to install the shields and metallic drain valves. More importantly, why wouldn't you do this, for the cost it's pretty cheap insurance?

By the way, for commercial and inspected vessels, it is disallowed to retrofit the bowl and metallic drain valve to a Racor FG/FH (industrial) filter to bring it into compliance, a new, MA series filter must be installed. Racor turbine series filter housings include serial numbers. In the event of a loss, investigators must be able to determine from this serial number if the vessel's filter was properly fire resistant.
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Old 08-25-2019, 10:09 AM   #72
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Just to be on the safe side, you might try testing the gauge by slowly turning off the fuel supply while the engine is idling, using the Racor selection lever (pointer up is all off).
Thanks, Steve! I will do this in the future.
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Old 08-25-2019, 10:26 AM   #73
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Originally Posted by Steve DAntonio View Post

Most insurers require compliance with ABYC fuel system standards. I've encountered several insurance surveys that identified this is a deficiency, forcing the owner to install the shields and metallic drain valves. More importantly, why wouldn't you do this, for the cost it's pretty cheap insurance?

My boat came with the metal shields and metal plugs in the bottom of the bowl. I changed the simple metal screwed plug to a metal stopcock to make draining the filters easier.

However, I wish I had removed the metal heat shields at the same time. While they may provide some additional protection in the event of an ER fire. They also make it MUCH more difficult to inspect the clear bowl for debri or water.

If anyone has any good suggestions on how to visually inspect the bowl with the shield in place Id like to hear them.
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Old 08-25-2019, 11:45 AM   #74
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if I hadn't seen damaged gauges, in one case I witnessed a mechanic impact a gauge with a tool box, damaging it, on a sea trial, necessitating shutting down the engine because the filter was sucking air, I would not have developed this first-hand opinion. Unlike others who have experience with their own boat, or a handful of personally owned boats, virtually all of my technical observations are the result of first hand experience, garnered from observations made on thousands of vessels over a 30+ year career. I would never say I've seen it all, or that I know everything, far from it, I learn something new every day in this business, but I rarely make a suggestion or claim without solid first-hand experience.

I also observed thousands of trips by lessees on time share and charter boats equipped with the "T" handle gauges and not one was ever damaged. People that lease or charter tend to be low on experience, careless and are capable of breaking unbelievable things during a charter.

Lessees inadvertently broke fuel pumps, fuel valves, steering piping, seacocks, water pumps, wiring etc. in the engine compartment but no Racor gauge. Most damage was done when the lessee was crawling around the engine compartment and inadvertently stepped on equipment.

We had a mechanic that accidently bent the injection pipes on a time share boat with his tool box. Anything can be broken by a toolbox.

There are so many things in the engine room that can be accidently broken by a clumsy person that singling out the "T" gauge is ludicrous. The Racors with their plastic bowels would be damaged if a mechanic hit the bowl with a tool box.

It's up to the boat owner to insure equipment in the engine room is mounted in a secure spot and protected from accidental damage.

As tall as a Racor is, with the gauge mounted on top, the gauge in my boat is located fairly high in the engine room out of harm's way.
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Old 08-25-2019, 12:45 PM   #75
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Thanks Steve; all points well taken. It's great of you to contribute your time to this forum.
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Old 08-25-2019, 02:10 PM   #76
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Some vacuum readings with 2 micron primary filter that may be of interest. I use a day tank with a bottom exit. The twin Racor 900s tops are about 10" above the tank bottom so as long as there's 50 gallons in the tank, the filters fill when the valve is opened. From the Racors fuel goes to a mainifold that has my vacuum gauge and valves & lines to each engine, boiler and stove. May mains are Detroit Diesels that pump about 70 gallons an hour at cruising speed and return 60+ to the tank. A new 2 micron filter reads vacuum as close to zero as I can make out. After 500 hours it reads about 7" of hg. By that time, with one filter on line, about 35,000 gallons of fuel has been filtered or refiltered by a single filter without problems. Racor 900s are rated at 90 gph. Having a slightly bigger filter allows the fuel to move slower thru the housing, trapping more debris and separating water easier.
I've been running Detroits for about 60 years. They have a mechanical injector with more internal parts than an engine with an injector pump. Their internal plunger operated by a rocker arm creates the high pressure needed. Running really clean fuel makes the injector last much longer and the fuel pump, lines, etc., last longer, too. Most yachts I've been aboard have a primary barely rated for the fuel flow. Some of you with water problems would probably do better with a bigger filter housing. You get more filter media, smaller particle capture. and better water separation because the fuel travels more slowly. It would be especially helpful on engines that don't return much fuel to the tank. I've seen apparently Chinese copies of Racor 500 & 900 housings on eBay for under $65. They look about the same as mine.









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Old 08-25-2019, 02:26 PM   #77
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Having a slightly bigger filter allows the fuel to move slower thru the housing, trapping more debris and separating water easier.

Some of you with water problems would probably do better with a bigger filter housing. You get more filter media, smaller particle capture. and better water separation because the fuel travels more slowly.

The plastic centrifuge device at the bottom of the Racor, visible at the top of the bowl, needs some velocity of the fuel to spin out debris. Slower moving fuel hinders that ability.

And if there is that much water or frequent water intrusion, water needs to be removed by other means than depending on the filter.
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Old 08-25-2019, 02:46 PM   #78
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The plastic centrifuge device at the bottom of the Racor, visible at the top of the bowl, needs some velocity of the fuel to spin out debris. Slower moving fuel hinders that ability.

And if there is that much water or frequent water intrusion, water needs to be removed by other means than depending on the filter.
And that is precisely why I think Racors are nothing special when used to supply Perkins and Lehman diesels. No volume, no centrifuge action, psssive filtering same as any spin-on filter. In fact I use Davco truck filter housings, no need for vacuum gauges to know when to change the filter.
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Old 08-26-2019, 09:05 AM   #79
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There are so many things in the engine room that can be accidently broken by a clumsy person that singling out the "T" gauge is ludicrous. The Racors with their plastic bowels would be damaged if a mechanic hit the bowl with a tool box.

It's up to the boat owner to insure equipment in the engine room is mounted in a secure spot and protected from accidental damage.

As tall as a Racor is, with the gauge mounted on top, the gauge in my boat is located fairly high in the engine room out of harm's way.
I actually doubt the Racor bowl would break even if you hit it with a tool box (pretty unlikely unless it is sliding across the deck, which I guess is possible), they are quite strong. It's the exposure (particularity on low mounted filters, located in thoroughfares) and fragile nature of the gauge that makes it vulnerable. Professionals can agree to disagree based on our experience. Seeing a couple of broken gauges, and one being broken, has left a lasting impression with me, again it's not armchair mechanic pontification, but real-world stuff.

And, to the poster who said the shield impedes viewing the bowl, I don't understand this, you are looking down at the bowl. See attached. In any event, locating a white sheet of paper behind the rear hemisphere of the bowl makes viewing easier.
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Old 08-26-2019, 09:42 AM   #80
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And, to the poster who said the shield impedes viewing the bowl, I don't understand this, you are looking down at the bowl. See attached. In any event, locating a white sheet of paper behind the rear hemisphere of the bowl makes viewing easier.

Yeah, than was me.

I would have no trouble seeing that much water or debri in the bowl. I just have been very fortunate with my fuel. Im looking for trace amounts of water or debri that would be at the very bottom of the bowl. The shield makes that hard to see.

I will try your white paper idea. Perhaps a strip of oil diaper would work.
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