Fuel Polisher & Electric Fuel Pump

  • November 24, 2012 12:49 PM
    Message # 1144992
    Deleted user

    I'm trying to put together a decent design for a fuel polisher and the topic "Racor Relocation" further down this Iron Genny page leads me to ask for help.  Better to make mistakes on paper than in hardware.  There are polishing circuits all over the internet but am hoping one or more Westsailors had done this and can share what they did, what was right and what they'd do differently.  Most of my problems sailing have had to do with the engine reliability so this sytem is important to my peace of mind.  Here are some parameters:

    1. Dual Racors with either one in service at a time while element in the other is being changed
    2. Is there any reason to use different micron ratings on the two Racors or to use two in series with different ratings?
    3. Ability to change while under way
    4. Any reason not to polish constantly when engine is running (apart from overkill which maybe wears out the fuel pump faster)?
    5. Anything special I need to know to use the fuel pump as a fuel system priming device?
    6. Can anybody recommend a fuel pump with enough capacity and pressure rise to polish 30 gallons in say 2 or 3 hours?  I figure you need to turn the tank contents over 2.5 to 3 time to ensure a good polish and that would need a 30 gal x (2.5 to 3)  turns / 3 hours = 25 to 30 gal/hr pump?  Half a gpm seems like a high flow.
    7. And for the final question: where the heck can a board with 2 filters, pump, and associated valving be mounted in the engine compartment so it can be reached and so spills/leaks do not fall on the engine?  How about the cabinet above the galley sink?  The back of the engine "room" is out of reach even for an orangutan and both sides of the engine compartment door area are already occupied by hoses, bateries and the fuel tank on the port side.

    Ralph Weiland

  • November 24, 2012 7:54 PM
    Reply # 1145170 on 1144992
    Deleted user
    A few notes and an idea for you to mull over.  Most people day sail.  If that fits your profile then plumb your fuel system to include a pick-up and return line to "plop" into a small portable day tank.  A Polyethylene yellow tank of 3-5 gallons is easy to fit somewhere with a flexible strap out of the way.  Why?  You can bring fresh fuel from a good source routinely.  You can easily clean the portable tank too.  Have it plumbed to the proximal side of the engine.  That way if you are motoring along with your on board tankage of stored fuel and the racor filter clogs you have a portable day tank to save the day.  Easy, effective, redundant, and SPACE SAVING.  Add a squeeze bulb primer and you have also circumvented another potential problem or two---a bad pump or prime.  You can raise the "day tank" to gravity feed the motor should the fuel pump fail and prime with the squeeze bulb.

    Caveman but it works, will save you a ton of money, space, and hassle.  If you are cruising the constant use of the fuel will prevent most fuel issues anyways because diesel goes bad when it sits and if you are using suspect fuel the racor and a baja filter will cure most problems.  Lastly fuel is polished more effectively at low flow rates.

  • November 25, 2012 9:09 AM
    Reply # 1145467 on 1144992
    Deleted user
    I put together a portable fuel pump/filter "polishing system" using parts from NAPA for about $150. It's a heavy duty truck filter #3123 with water separator and 32 gal/hr pump #BK6103100,  a toggle switch wired to plug into a cig lighter.

    I used it to transfer the fuel out of an old leaking tank before removing the tank. I figure it will be useful in the future for transferring fuel from portable jugs, or from tank to tank, in fact I was considering not replacing the old tank and using portable jugs in it's place. That way I can get fuel when dockside facilities aren't available and not have to store them on deck. Since I'm already plumbed for the 2nd tank I like Ed's idea of rigging a fuel draw off of one of the portable jugs with a squeeze bulb primer.
  • November 25, 2012 10:19 AM
    Reply # 1145503 on 1144992
    I have a drawing available for a simple fuel polishing system.  Send me an email request and I will send it to you.
  • November 25, 2012 12:05 PM
    Reply # 1145540 on 1144992
    Deleted user
    We are in the process of redoing our fuel system. On a short cruise up the Calif. coast our motor would not run at idle. It turned out the old Racor would not seal at the lid. We procrastinated for two weeks deciding on a single or dual Racor.  We decided on the single, partly on the installation room but mostly on the $600.00 difference in cost. The decision was based on the fact that in almost twenty years we have never had a filter plug. We added an electric fuel pump in a by-pass to facilitate engine bleeding and act as a backup.  Make sure the fuel pump pressure doesn't exceed the engine manufactures recommendation. 

     We use a two micron on the primary filter to protect the two micron secondary filter on the motor, which is expensive and difficult to change. We change the primary filter @ every six months. Constant fuel polishing should be unnecessary especially if you motor has a fuel return line, which cleans the returned fuel. We built a portable fuel polisher but found it didn't get the sludge off the bottom of the tank. Twelve years ago we removed the tanks when replacing the motor, finding sludge in the bottom of the tanks even after polishing. Two years ago when pulling the motor to replace the starboard tank we found both tanks spotles.

    I think the key is to start with clean tanks and fuel.  The biggest problem is when the boats sit for long periods without use.

    Last modified: November 25, 2012 12:08 PM | Deleted user
  • November 25, 2012 5:15 PM
    Reply # 1145699 on 1144992
    Deleted user

    I've put together a clean fuel pumping, rather than constant polishing on Namaste (W28).

    The prerequisite was to clean the tank, the ongoing recommendation is to keep the tank as full as practically possible.

    The system consists of an old racor filter with a 2 micron element, an electric fuel pump, a switch and few hoses.

    The rule is: any and all fuel goes through this system. It does take around 15 minutes to transfer 5 gal from a jerry can but I can do it while underway, heeling and bouncing as the hose from the pump is connected directly to the side of fuel inlet under the deck hence no need to unscrew fuel cap. See bits of it here.

    I haven't had to flick the switch on my dual primary filter for over three years now since the system was installed.

    Last modified: November 25, 2012 5:17 PM | Deleted user
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