Reply
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread Display Modes
 
Old 06-07-2021, 12:19 AM   #1
Veteran Member
 
RedRascal's Avatar
 
City: Bellevue
Vessel Name: Rascal
Vessel Model: Homemade
Join Date: Dec 2019
Posts: 78
"Sludge" in Racor

Doing some detective work on my buddy's CHB 34. The primary Racor filter has some visible "sludge" in an internal part of the housing inside the bowl. The bottom of the bowl is apparently clean. This looks like trouble brewing to me and I wonder if this is indicative of a particular issue with the fuel. We don't know the age of the fuel in the tanks or what additives may or may not have been added along the way. We do know the boat was probably lightly used over the past 5-10 years and probably only ran in calm lake water. Since my buddy took ownership it's only seen one freighter wake bow on and got rolling from a wake pretty good once at anchor. So it hasn't been operating in conditions that would really stir up the tanks. Motor is a single Lehman 120.

Question, is this a common sight to a particular fuel issue?
Attached Thumbnails
Racor.jpg  
__________________
Advertisement

RedRascal is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-07-2021, 12:29 AM   #2
Guru
 
Soo-Valley's Avatar
 
City: Gulf Islands, BC Canada
Vessel Name: Soo Valley
Vessel Model: Grand Banks 36
Join Date: Jul 2019
Posts: 2,542
Is that a fuel line rated rubber hose?
Have you removed the sludge what does it appear to be?
I just changed racor filters and wondered why as everything was clean. I do not think that is normal.
__________________

__________________
SteveK AKA Soo Valley
You only need one working engine. That is why I have two.
Soo-Valley is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 06-07-2021, 12:43 AM   #3
Guru
 
Simi 60's Avatar
 
City: Queensland
Vessel Model: Milkraft 60 converted timber prawn trawler
Join Date: Jul 2016
Posts: 3,432
Looks like it's doing its job to me.
I have something similar though not as bad
Paper filters are spotless
3 monthly samples from the crud sump show no contaminant
__________________
Everything on a boat is broken, you just don't know it yet
Full time cruising is repairing boats in exotic locations
Simi 60 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-07-2021, 12:44 AM   #4
Veteran Member
 
RedRascal's Avatar
 
City: Bellevue
Vessel Name: Rascal
Vessel Model: Homemade
Join Date: Dec 2019
Posts: 78
Not sure about the hose but it's getting replaced soon with a new dual Racor setup. Have not opened up the filter to inspect said "sludge". I am not sure why it's hanging/resting up on that particular part of the filter and not dropping to the bottom of the bowl.
RedRascal is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-07-2021, 12:47 AM   #5
Veteran Member
 
RedRascal's Avatar
 
City: Bellevue
Vessel Name: Rascal
Vessel Model: Homemade
Join Date: Dec 2019
Posts: 78
Simi, good to hear you have seen something similar but still have clean filters.
RedRascal is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-07-2021, 01:04 AM   #6
Guru
 
Soo-Valley's Avatar
 
City: Gulf Islands, BC Canada
Vessel Name: Soo Valley
Vessel Model: Grand Banks 36
Join Date: Jul 2019
Posts: 2,542
I use Biobar JF additive to keep sludge at bay

Quote:
Hum-bugs live in the water phase of a fuel tank and feed off of the fuel developing dark, slimy gel-like mats.

As these colonies of bacteria and fungi grow (potentially at a rate of doubling every 20 minutes), they can quickly clog fuel filters, plug injectors and lead to excessive sludge accumulation.
__________________
SteveK AKA Soo Valley
You only need one working engine. That is why I have two.
Soo-Valley is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 06-07-2021, 07:38 AM   #7
Guru
 
Pete Meisinger's Avatar
 
City: Oconto, WI
Vessel Name: Best Alternative
Vessel Model: 36 Albin Aft Cabin
Join Date: Oct 2012
Posts: 2,084
Could be from the tank, could be from the hose, either way it has to come out. I have found that Racors do not backflush very well. You will need to remove the canister and clean it out. It's not a bad job.

What is that screw and locking washer at the bottom. The Racor did not come from the factory with that.
pete
Pete Meisinger is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-07-2021, 08:07 AM   #8
Guru
 
psneeld's Avatar
 
City: Ft Pierce
Vessel Name: Freedom
Vessel Model: Albin 40
Join Date: Oct 2011
Posts: 23,677
I am guessing the bolt used to hold the metal heat shield.

Hard to tell what the sludge is, it usually falls to the bottom. If sludge but engine runs well...filter system is working and catching what has formed in the tank over the years. On a Lehman 120, the fuel flow is so slow the sludge doesn't get as swirled as Racors like.

Completely normal for the filter, not so much for what could be in your tanks.

Bio or helps but not sure how much it helps with asphaltines versus biologics.
psneeld is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 06-07-2021, 08:40 AM   #9
Guru
 
City: Clearwater, Florida USA
Vessel Name: Seas the Bay
Vessel Model: 1981 42' Hardin Europa
Join Date: Aug 2016
Posts: 1,464
I've had that in the past. Just shut off the fuel flow, loosened the top, drained the fuel out the bottom, dropped the bottom half by removing the screws midway, removed the filter from the top, disassembled and cleaned everything, reassembled, put a new filter in refilled, refilled, put the top back on and tightened down, and turned the valve back on. I didn't need to replace the middle gasket, just those that came with the filter.

Took less than an hour.

It didn't seem to be causing a problem in my case, either, but figured why wait for one?
gkesden is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 06-07-2021, 09:45 AM   #10
Guru
 
AKDoug's Avatar
 
City: Kenai, Alaska
Vessel Name: Melanie Rose
Vessel Model: 1999 Willard PH
Join Date: Feb 2013
Posts: 1,012
I had similar sludge when I got my boat, the original fuel was still in the tank after sitting for almost ten years. I pumped out the fuel into drums, and put new fuel in. The agitation of running in seas broke everything loose and it went into the fuel filter as sludge. It has never happened again, so my guess is it formed on the sides of the tank and was broken loose by agitation.

The good news is that the current sludge in the bowl isn't in the tanks anymore, the question is how much more sludge is there in the tanks? I would run the boat in seas to agitate it, and see what else breaks loose, with maybe a half a tank of fuel so there is room for it to slosh around. Take extra fuel filters just in case you restrict the flow too much.
AKDoug is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-07-2021, 09:49 AM   #11
Guru
 
MurrayM's Avatar
 
City: Kitimat, North Coast BC
Vessel Name: Badger
Vessel Model: 30' Sundowner Tug
Join Date: Jul 2012
Posts: 7,566
Our boat sat for a few years as well before we bought it. Think I emptied our Racor four times before things started running clear and the first two times had a lot of crap in there.
__________________
"The most interesting path between two points is not a straight line" MurrayM
MurrayM is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-07-2021, 10:30 AM   #12
TF Site Team
 
Comodave's Avatar
 
City: Au Gres, MI
Vessel Name: Never Say Never
Vessel Model: President 41 DC
Join Date: Jul 2015
Posts: 11,830
The metal heat shield is held on by the drain bolt on the bottom. Never seen a screw like that in a Racor before. They come with a plugged hole for a WIF sensor but the plugs look nothing like this screw. I think I would get a new bowl and replace that bowl.
__________________
Boat Nut:
If you are one there is no explanation necessary.
If you aren’t one, there is no explanation possible.
Comodave is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 06-07-2021, 10:56 AM   #13
Senior Member
 
jungpeter's Avatar
 
City: Everett
Vessel Name: LIBERTY
Vessel Model: TOLLY 48
Join Date: Mar 2013
Posts: 353
Quote:
Originally Posted by RedRascal View Post
Not sure about the hose but it's getting replaced soon with a new dual Racor setup. Have not opened up the filter to inspect said "sludge". I am not sure why it's hanging/resting up on that particular part of the filter and not dropping to the bottom of the bowl.
Hi RedRascal. The "sludge" is likely asphaltenes, common in almost everyone's diesel fuel tanks, to some degree or another. That the asphaltene remains trapped in the rotor portion of the Racor could mean either poor maintenance of the Racor, high asphaltene content of the fuel, a filter oversized for fuel flow on a Lehman 120, or ???.

Easy fix is to simply rebuild the Racor. Can be done in place (and yes, it's a bit of a mess), or the filter assembly reefed out of the boat, and the rebuild done on the workbench. Racor sells all the parts needed, for a reasonable cost. And then periodic inspection and maintenance as required, of course.

And while the dual Racor unit is a nice upgrade, it is (IMHO) overkill (and expensive) for many of us. A vacuum gauge upgrade to the existing assembly, as part of the rebuild, would be my suggestion. And yes, making sure ALL fuel lines are USCG-approved is a REALLY good idea.

Regards,

Pete
jungpeter is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-07-2021, 12:19 PM   #14
Guru
 
Lepke's Avatar
 
City: Between Oregon and Alaska
Vessel Name: Charlie Harper
Vessel Model: Wheeler Shipyard 83'
Join Date: Jun 2016
Posts: 2,334
Don't buy Racors with too high a fuel flow rating. The turbine effect doesn't work with low flows in a high flow housing. The blades are there to spin the fuel that aid in separating water and debris from the fuel. At low flow rates, it's just a gravity filter and that's why the sludge settled on the blades.
The right fuel additive will dissolve sludge over time, kill organisms, and allow the filter to catch the in solution debris. A good additive will also help separate out water. Water, and the organisms in it cause sludge (along with buying dirty fuel).
Lepke is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-07-2021, 01:02 PM   #15
TF Site Team
 
koliver's Avatar
 
City: Saltspring Island
Vessel Name: Retreat
Vessel Model: C&L 44
Join Date: Nov 2007
Posts: 4,212
Quote:
Originally Posted by Pete Meisinger View Post
What is that screw and locking washer at the bottom. The Racor did not come from the factory with that.
pete
Yes, it comes with a drain, so water can be let out. Some, as this one, have an aluminum drain, some have black plastic.

The sludge is to let you know it is doing its job and it may be time to change the filter element and clean the bowl. Quite common, nothing alarming.
__________________
Keith
koliver is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 06-08-2021, 12:08 AM   #16
Veteran Member
 
RedRascal's Avatar
 
City: Bellevue
Vessel Name: Rascal
Vessel Model: Homemade
Join Date: Dec 2019
Posts: 78
Great info, thanks. My concern is getting out on a trip with my buddy in choppy seas and clogging the filter. It seems like a few of you have been in a similar situation of not knowing the condition of the tanks and making it without clogging a filter. We're going on an outing in a couple weeks so we'll see how goes. If it's calm I know well be fine but if it's choppy we may be doing an unplanned filter change. I believe he's swapping in the dual racor and hoses the first part of July so the days are numbered for the current setup. I will pass on the feedback of the filter GPH being matched to the engine for the racor to perform optimally.
RedRascal is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-08-2021, 12:22 AM   #17
TF Site Team
 
Comodave's Avatar
 
City: Au Gres, MI
Vessel Name: Never Say Never
Vessel Model: President 41 DC
Join Date: Jul 2015
Posts: 11,830
I doubt that any engine in a CHB will flow enough fuel to make the turbine effect work well. But Racors still seem to work just fine with low flow anyway. If he has a Detroit engine then it may flow enough, but Lehmans or Perkins don’t return much fuel so the flow is generally much less. I have Lehmans and my Racors work just fine.
__________________
Boat Nut:
If you are one there is no explanation necessary.
If you aren’t one, there is no explanation possible.
Comodave is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 06-08-2021, 06:38 AM   #18
Guru
 
High Wire's Avatar
 
City: Cape May, NJ and Englewood, FL
Vessel Name: Irish Lady
Vessel Model: Monk 36
Join Date: Dec 2007
Posts: 3,913
Now is a good time to do a racor filter change and fuel system air bleed. It's something every diesel trawler owner needs to do. The sooner the better since the filter condition is still unknown.
High Wire is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 06-11-2021, 01:02 PM   #19
Veteran Member
 
City: south kingstown
Vessel Name: Albatross
Vessel Model: 1973 Grand Banks 36
Join Date: May 2019
Posts: 71
Quote:
Originally Posted by RedRascal View Post
Doing some detective work on my buddy's CHB 34. The primary Racor filter has some visible "sludge" in an internal part of the housing inside the bowl. The bottom of the bowl is apparently clean. This looks like trouble brewing to me and I wonder if this is indicative of a particular issue with the fuel. We don't know the age of the fuel in the tanks or what additives may or may not have been added along the way. We do know the boat was probably lightly used over the past 5-10 years and probably only ran in calm lake water. Since my buddy took ownership it's only seen one freighter wake bow on and got rolling from a wake pretty good once at anchor. So it hasn't been operating in conditions that would really stir up the tanks. Motor is a single Lehman 120.

Question, is this a common sight to a particular fuel issue?
Diesel fuel has minute parts of heavy distillate ends (basically asphalt) in it. Over extended periods of time it can accumulate. I have seen it twice in my life. Once I had to remove the Racor housing and disassemble it on a bench to remove the filter cartridge.
ronobrien is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-11-2021, 02:27 PM   #20
Guru
 
OldDan1943's Avatar
 
City: Aventura FL
Vessel Name: Kinja
Vessel Model: American Tug 34 #116
Join Date: Oct 2017
Posts: 7,604
Change all the filters. You cannot see inside them. Remove and clean out the bowls too.
Also I suggest installing a fuel polishing system on board the boat.
10+ years ago, no one objected (in the condos) if the bladders were unrolled, used during dock side fuel polishers. These days, I'm not sure if walking and sneezing is permitted outside the boat. I suspect the current condos don't fully understand the need to run the main engines and generator every now and then. I have heard complaints that ran from diesel smell to "your boat is block my view of the water." I bought my 75ft slip in a particular place so I didn't block any condo views. Now I have both a 75ft slip and a 55 ft slip. I still dont block any views from the condos.
Someone needs to 'splain to the condo owners, this is a marina and marinas have boat and sometimes boats to smell when first started.
__________________

__________________
The meek will inherit the earth but, the brave will inherit the seas.
OldDan1943 is online now   Reply With Quote
Reply

Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off



» Trawler Port Captains
Port Captains are TF volunteers who can serve as local guides or assist with local arrangements and information. Search below to locate Port Captains near your destination. To learn more about this program read here: TF Port Captain Program





All times are GMT -5. The time now is 08:58 PM.


Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.8 Beta 4
Copyright ©2000 - 2021, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.
Search Engine Optimization by vBSEO 3.6.0
Copyright 2006 - 2012
×