Fuel water separator installation question

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salty sam

Feb 23, 2006
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I replaced my current filter with a Racor that has the clear bowl. First time for this so my question is what is the normal procedure to test the filter? After installation per the instructions, I primed the bulb, started the engine and let it idle for a couple of minutes in the slip. No leaks. Checked for leaks at various RPMs while in the slip, up to about 1800, over the next 5 or so minutes. No leaks. Should I have run at higher RPMs, under load, or was idle good enough? Thanks.

I'd run it up to WOT to ensure that you are not getting any fuel starvation or sucking air past the filter gasket.

Then check the clear bowl each time you go out and drain any water. I'd recommend you carry a resealable container you can dump the water into because you will also get a bit of gas along with the water. You can't just toss it all overboard thinking it is only water.

i have extensive experience with these.....it will readily leak if you
didnt seal the nibs with proper goop when you screwed them in or
if the drain isnt fully closed.....if you havent had any leaks by now,
you are set in that regard......several pointers that i have found
(the usual way!)

[1] the head which you spin the filter onto does receive static
electricity through the fuel.....this can cause rapid corrosion of
the head......put a large ring crimp on a #10 green wire and
run it from the filter head to ground.

[2]with some dexterity, one can drain off water-only and let
it go out the scuppers benignly.......this is desirable to learn
to that draining can be done while underway without stopping
or coming off plane......there ARE TWO KEY POINTS to doing
this....first, always remember that the drain plug CLOSES AT
FULL DOWN....there is an intuitive tendency, especially if in
a hurry, to screw it UP (literally and figuratively!)......this liitle
misapprehension can make a big mess....second, always plan
to leave half an inch of water in the bottom of the bowl.....it
will pretty much remain there anyway, but chasing it to complete
ly emptying ALL water will be found to be folly.

[3] while i check the bowl before each trip, as you stated, be
clear that the thing can fill in 20-30 minutes!......mine is in the
cockpit, under the washboard and to the back of the rod storage
area (through-bolted to that partition)....i can see the bowl from
the helm.......the time to keep your eye on the bowl every five or
ten minutes is when it is both ROUGH and the tank is LOW.....
the "free-surface-effect" (known as just plain old "sloshing about"(
will cause dramatic violence in the bottom of the tank, suspending
BOTH WATER AND PARTICULATE MATTER in the fuel......count on
it, you have both in your tank..........it is always good seamanship
to keep tanks full!.....this not only avoids the #1 cause of all tows
and "disabled" vessels, but probably the #2 reason which is the
tank got low, and water and particulates got sucked up and fouled
the engine..........note that many an engine shuts down at the worst
possible time BEFORE the actual tank is empty of fuel for exactly
this reason........IF you are in a half tank or less situation, and you
are either rolling at low speed or pounding on plane, watch that
bowl!.....AND, with a bit of forethought (ie the above tips on how
to drain) you can simply walk back, CAREFULLY TWIST THE DRAIN
screw JUST ENOUGH to get flow, and pull the water down to about
half to 3/4" remaining WHILE RUNNING and get back to the helm....

these are great filters, and once you see how fast it can fill, the whole
concept of a solid metal fuel filter that is changed seasonally becomes
a joke......on "dry doc", i use TWO racors: one is on the engine block,
and can be drained (if your idea of excitement is draining gas in the
bilge!?) but i never do until mid winter.....the primary is in the cockpit
and has a clear bowl for constant viewing and drain-on-the-fly action....
once you come to understand how much gunk you DO have in any tank,
and how fast it can be sucked up under specific circumstances, the idea
of any lesser filter will make the hair on your neck stand up.......these
filters are not just good preventative maintenence, the clear bowl racors,
i submit, are fundamental SAFETY-AT-SEA items not unlike pfd or an
adequate anchor on board.............dan
Thanks for the info. I've run the boat for several hours now and no leaks or problems. Still running down my MTBE tank so that may take a while till I fill up with Ethanol but at least I can now change the filter when needed.


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