Racor Relocation

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  • February 16, 2012 9:31 AM
    Message # 827065
    I have my engine compartment pretty well stripped, and with both Racors removed and rebuilt. I was about to remount them with all new hoses and decided I'd prefer to relocate them for better access.

    They were previously mounted on the engine room bulkhead below the galley and nav station cabinets (standard location, I believe). Now that the mess of wiring has been moved out of the engine room, I have much better access than previously. But I'm thinking about mounting them just inside the engine room, as entered from the main cabin... behind the top step and in front of the foot well and engine instruments. This mockup photo taken from the cabin, looking into the engine room indicates the proposed positions. (Though it's difficult to tell from the mockup, they would be mounted on the side walls of the Nav and Galley cabinets, not on the footwell.)

    I should think this would give good quick access if problems arose in a seaway. Does anyone have a better suggestion, or reasons why this might not be a good solution?

    Thanks for any feedback.

    Jack Webb
    Last modified: February 16, 2012 9:37 AM | Anonymous member
  • February 16, 2012 10:40 AM
    Reply # 827152 on 827065

    What does the rest of your fuel system setup look like?  Duel tanks or just a single tank?  What type of valves do you have in place, etc?  I'd like to have a clear picture before offering suggestions. 

  • February 16, 2012 12:58 PM
    Reply # 827292 on 827065
    Two aluminum tanks, one Port, one Stbd. Each feeds a Racor, each with an inline shutoff valve. Each Racor feeds a single Y-valve. Y-valve feeds the engine fuel pump. It's somewhat moot what the current setup is, as I will modify it as need be.

     At present, there was a mix of 1/4" Hose Barb to 1/4" Pipe fittings and 5/16" Hose Barb to 1/4" Pipe fittings. I guess the previous owner couldn't decide which he wanted to use, so he mixed them. New hose is all 5/16" and all fittings will be changed to match.

  • February 16, 2012 1:29 PM
    Reply # 827307 on 827065
    Here is how we tackled the problem: 

    I checked before installing our setup that I could lean into the engine room over the motor far enough to throw the filter selector and y-valves without a problem.  It isn't too far a reach like that.  I suppose from a maintenance standpoint having the filters close up are good but honestly, how often are you spinning fuel filters?

    I'm not sure I'd want all the extra plumbing up into the engine room entrance with the racors installed there like you have it mocked up.  

    If one of those filters should leak, where will it drip?  Make sure it isn't falling on the engine.  I know the standard now is to actually have a metal bowl under the filter too.   

    Other notes.  If you install the filters where you have them mocked up you'll need to be sure to plumb the fuel lines to the filters as high as possible through the engine room.  (don't let them drop down and then run back up to the filters).  If you do, the extra head height will be put on the lift pump.  Most of the time that isn't an issue but it depends on your motor and its pump.  Our Beta Marine 38 manual recommends a max fuel lift of like 3 ft before you should install an electric lift pump. 

    Wish I had more to contribute.  Good luck and let us know what you come up with.  I've been enjoying your other projects. 
  • February 16, 2012 3:44 PM
    Reply # 827404 on 827065
    Thanks, Tate.

    I notice that you have both tanks (independently) going through both filters. I thought about doing this as well. But, since the 4.108 was originally designed with only the engine-mounted filter, I thought that might be overkill... especially if one religiously uses a Baja filter on fill-up. I can't state that as a fact... it was just my impression.

    I had also thought about mounting where you mounted yours, and have certainly not eliminated that possibility. You certainly have a clean installation. I have so many things to refit before going cruising, that I opted to rebuild my existing system, rather than buy a whole new system. I hope that turns out to be an acceptable solution.

    Alternately, I thought about having each tank run through its own Racor (as it does now), but add the ability to redirect either tank through the other tank's Racor instead. This would give one the ability to instantly handle any situation in which a filter should clog under way. It would also give you the ability to change the dirty filter when sailing conditions are more conducive to the task.

    With your indulgence, I have an idea that might improve your own system. I'm not sure that I'd trust a plastic wire tie to hold such an important system in place (and white ties which are less durable than the black ones). I made a quick mockup of something that might work better for this.

    The thought was to take a second piece of plywood, mounted behind the main mounting board. Notch it on a table saw with grooves that correspond to the threaded rods holding the tank in place. On the back side of this piece, insert four T-nuts, two on each side. The could correspond to the same bolts that hold the offset mounting base (as illustrated at the top), or they could be above and below this base (as illustrated at the bottom), whichever works better. Using 1/4" bolts (and T-nuts), should give you a much more reliable mount. Just a thought.

    Thanks for your input on my own dilemma. 

    Last modified: February 16, 2012 4:09 PM | Anonymous member
  • February 16, 2012 3:54 PM
    Reply # 827405 on 827065
    Thanks for the feedback Jack, we're def going to further secure that mounting board before leaving on any real cruising.  I just didn't have the parts I needed right then and there.

    I def suggest the ability to pass either fuel tank through either filter.  The thinking is not what the engine was designed for but more about what can happen.  Even religiously filtered and clean fuel can eventually have biological growth in it.  And even if you don't, years can build up sediment.  In any event, the thinking is that while underway if we have one filter start to clog, I throw the handle and its passing through the other filter while I change the first.  Its also helpful to have a vacuum gauge as you see on our install.  It gives you an idea of the state of your filter.  

    You can probably replicate our setup with your two filters by the purchase of a manifold, vacuum gauge and some fittings.  Mount it all to a single board and you'd have a makeshift filter switcher in one spot.  Then all you'd have to worry about is selector and return valves.  I've seen this done in the past when someone didn't want to buy the whole pre made assembly.  

    Its nice to be able to switch filters without switching tanks!  
  • February 16, 2012 4:12 PM
    Reply # 827434 on 827065

    I didn't realize from your photos that you had the ability to use either of the two filters by itself... only that you could use both together. My misunderstanding. Very slick installation.

    By the way... I just added the alternate scenario to the image in the previous post.

  • February 17, 2012 7:48 AM
    Reply # 827959 on 827065
    Don't know if anyone else has mentioned it, but the filters appear to be higher than the tanks and the engine. When changing the filters the fuel is going to run back to the tank leaving a lot of line empty... don't know if this will cause a problem. Also, if the boat has been sitting for a while will the fuel in the line from the filter to the tank slowly run back into the tank?
  • February 17, 2012 12:15 PM
    Reply # 828241 on 827065
    Excellent point, Gary... thank you!

    I think maybe I'll remount them where they were, but add valves that will allow me to reverse the filters from one tank to the other. This should allow me to remedy a clogged filter, regardless of the tank being used. Does that make sense? 

    Previously, the hose from the Port tank run under the engine, through the engine pan (and water and oil, etc). I did not like this arrangement. Hopefully I can route the lines better and move the valves within easy reach. Also, the current configuration only used the Stbd tank as a return. That seemed strange.

    Thanks for your astute observation. It's enough of a pain redoing it once... I don't care to redo it twice!

    Last modified: February 17, 2012 12:17 PM | Anonymous member
  • February 18, 2012 8:14 AM
    Reply # 828775 on 827065
    Deleted user

    Jack - the location should work fine.  A couple of small points that may not have been considered:  The Racor filters have check valves in them that (when working) keep the fuel from flowing back to the tank (like putting your finger over the end of a straw).  If all your hoses are in good shape and the fittings are tight, you shouldn't have any problems with that.  A small electric fuel pump will assist if needed to bleed the system.  I doubt that the head for the lift pump would exceed 3' vertically.  The marine version of the Racor 500 is the 500MA which includes a steel bowl to catch fuel drips.  You can add the bowl to a 500 that does not have one.  If you end up with a real leak, the bowl will not do much for you anyway.  On our W42 we ended up installing a KTI FilterBoss which includes a pump, valving and dual Racors.  It will allow us to switch fuel filters on the fly and / or change while running.  We happened on a good price for the unit, otherwise a bit pricey.  You can do the same yourself just putting all the components together.  Another possible location for your fuel set up is under the galley sink.  I know some folks have done that before with good results.  Mike


    Last modified: February 18, 2012 8:18 AM | Deleted user
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