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Old 10-03-2016, 15:05   #1
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Diesel Fuel Polishing Unit

Has anyone come across a reasonably priced on board 12V diesel fuel polishing system for smaller boats? Our tank is 260 liters and I am plagued with bad/dirty fuel issues. I have seen a small home made unit in Turkey on a 36 ft sloop Thanks Graham). Great unit.

Any suggestions? Has anyone made their own?
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Old 10-03-2016, 23:10   #2
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Re: Diesel Fuel Polishing Unit

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Originally Posted by No Fixed Addres View Post
Any suggestions? Has anyone made their own?
I made one out of a spaghetti storage jar, brass fittings, some scrap 5mm aluminium sheet and SS rod and used a felt bag inside it to filter out the gunk from fuel bug contamination. It takes out all the bigger stuff but for the low number micron stuff I just change the regular fuel filters more often.

My fuel tank is in the keel so I have electric lift pumps installed and can just turn on the ignition and open the bleed valve on the engine to pump the fuel through the filters after I scrub all the bigger gunk out with the spaghetti/bag filter.

All that being said I am installing a second lift pump/filter system and since I carry the components as spares have decided I might as well have it installed and ready to go with the turn of a valve.

The spag/felt bag system is supplied using a 12V gear pump with a Finsbury hand pump in parallel. I turn on the gear pump and it gets primed by pumping the Finsbury. I also use the pumps to drain my engine oil for oil changes. The system works fairly well and I would have to carry the gear anyway being a long term cruiser/live aboard.
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Old 11-03-2016, 00:56   #3
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Re: Diesel Fuel Polishing Unit

About to start building one. Pump is a 250 litres/hr diaphragm used to pump oil out of sumps. Google Aliexpress and search for diesel pump. I'm using a filter water separator for the polishing. It will have an open, pleated filter element Take off from the tank outlet and return through injector return line. I have taps on either side of filter/pump assembly to avoid back pressure. I won't run when the engine is running to avoid back pressure to the injectors. Alternatively, put a standpipe and return into the tank and filter whenever you like. Filter for a couple of hours then take the filter out and wash under a hose. Tap dry and return. Any water in the filter will be collected the next time you polish. Do as often as necessary. Use a biocide. I also have a primary and secondary filter to the motor.
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Old 11-03-2016, 06:48   #4
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Re: Diesel Fuel Polishing Unit

you will need two racor filter units and a pump. price it out., i havent seen any premade units. i HAVE seen plenty of home created units that work well.
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Old 11-03-2016, 07:20   #5
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Re: Diesel Fuel Polishing Unit

Just go to the Reverso website and buy one, instead of trying to save just a few dollars.
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Old 11-03-2016, 07:23   #6
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Re: Diesel Fuel Polishing Unit

Why not just buy an electric fuel pump that you could also use for priming your fuel lines or engine if you get air in them and use a Y valve to Tee off a short section of fuel line from your racor outlet directly to your return line. When the engine is not running, you could select the fuel just downstream from your Racor go back to the tank instead of to the engine and turn on the electric pump and then just let it go, occasionally checking on the gunk/water buildup in your Racor. After several hours, when complete, shut off pump and change your Racor filter and turn pump back on to get any air out of the fuel line before returning Y valve to normal position and starting engine. My boat has a MUCH more complicated system with its own dedicated Racor and the ability to pump out of one tank and return to the other even while the engine/genset is running, but I don't see why the much simpler and less expensive system I described above wouldn't work just as well.
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Old 11-03-2016, 07:49   #7
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Re: Diesel Fuel Polishing Unit

Setting up a proper fuel polishing system is more complex than just running fuel through a filter. The fuel pick up and return need to be placed properly. Plus, why go cheap when a quality unit will cost less than $1000 or maybe even less than $500 for his needs?

Here's a picture of a new Racor fuel polishing system including the pump for less than $600.
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Old 11-03-2016, 08:11   #8
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Re: Diesel Fuel Polishing Unit

I rolled my own. I'll post pics if u want. I don't like racors, I use fleetguard filters, but since they got by cummins there may be a better solution now. Don't want to start a war with the racor lovers, but there are better filters for less out there if u look.

My parts list includes 6 3-way valves, the pump, and a 2 filter housing. I have control of input and output tanks, I can transfer, polish, bleed the engine, or just run it. If money is no object, I would recommend seperate filters (my 2 filter housing is used to run and polish) and have a manifold made with an extra couple of hoses for transfering to/from a gerry can. If you search the forum I think jedi posted his setup like that.
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Old 11-03-2016, 08:21   #9
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Re: Diesel Fuel Polishing Unit

Get a good 12 volt pump and order two racor knockoffs from Amazon for half the cost of the original but take the same filters which can be ordered from Fishermen's Supply for around $8.00 ea. I built mine for < $300.00.


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Old 11-03-2016, 08:30   #10
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Re: Diesel Fuel Polishing Unit

I may well install a fuel polisher in my boat - not decided yet. Since I will be starting off with completely clean tanks and hope to make sure the bugs don't get a foothold I wonder where and when the problems will start. If one uses a biocide from the git go, thus killing off the litter buggers before they can cause any mischief, how does the problem get so bad?

OTOH, I see many references to the problem so maybe I am deluding myself. I come from a place (Great Lakes regions of the US) where it just isn't much of a problem, so I can't lay claim to being any type of expert, except as a fool.

I found this site some time ago. It sells complete kits for 100 to 1000+ gallon set ups. They used to post the prices - the smallest mounted kit was listed for about $1,500 USD.

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Old 11-03-2016, 08:47   #11
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Re: Diesel Fuel Polishing Unit

Go to this site you can custom make cheaper than buy I have this unit it is flawless!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Captn Wil's Fuel Polishing System: Trawlers & Trawlering How To

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Old 11-03-2016, 08:47   #12
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Re: Diesel Fuel Polishing Unit

I second a Reverso system. Very reasonable, automatic timer, and easy to maintain. I have mine set to run three hours per day and have a lever to switch tanks which I do every weekend. 650 gallons (two tanks at 325 each), and although I went through a few filters at first, I am now running clean in both tanks and a filter change is not often needed these days.
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Old 11-03-2016, 08:51   #13
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Re: Diesel Fuel Polishing Unit

PS Gulf Filters makes a smaller unit than the GF-1 using toilet paper membrane vs the Bounty paper towels. I have 110 hp engine your fuel flow may not demand my size of GF-1 Filter Also filters ( ie the TP is cheap, so I am never reluctant to change them vs Racors at $20 a pop)
PPS wayyy cheaper than $1,000 when I did it back in 2001. Russ
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Old 11-03-2016, 09:05   #14
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Re: Diesel Fuel Polishing Unit

When I needed some fuel polished, I just built a unit to use toilet paper. You can get it anywhere and it is much cheaper. one thing to be sure of is that the pump you get is rated continuous duty, because you have to run it for hours at a time. I actually went to Home Depot and used some plumbing pipe to build a container for the toilet paper, worked great for me and a few others on my dock.
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Old 11-03-2016, 09:08   #15
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Re: Diesel Fuel Polishing Unit

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Originally Posted by Kenomac View Post
Setting up a proper fuel polishing system is more complex than just running fuel through a filter. The fuel pick up and return need to be placed properly. Plus, why go cheap when a quality unit will cost less than $1000 or maybe even less than $500 for his needs?

Here's a picture of a new Racor fuel polishing system including the pump for less than $600.
The same fuel pickup and return that the engine uses is just fine.

I like the setup that you posted and the price seems very reasonable too, but the OP seemed to be interested in doing it as inexpensively as possible and on a smallish boat, there is limited space to mount an additional filter setup like that, so my suggestion was how to make the smallest and simplest setup as possible that would do the job. I have no doubt that the bigger filter in the unit you posted would do the job faster than using the Racor he already has on his boat, but it wouldn't result in any cleaner fuel than using his pre-existing Racor and it also introduces yet another filter that he must keep spares for onboard. I don't know about you but I have so many spare filters I can barely keep track of them all and the last thing I need is another type to make sure I always have onboard. Also, by integrating the electric fuel pump that he will use to pump the fuel through the Racor while polishing it, into his normal fuel system, he gains a very handy way to prime his engine when he inevitably gets air in the lines and is in a hurry to get it restarted. Sometimes that little butterfly pump on the engine works frustratingly slow so it's nice to be able to get the air out without hanging over a hot engine and pumping away for what seems way too long. One advantage to having a separate system like the one you posted is that you can use it while underway, with the fuel sloshing around and stirring up the sediment in the bottom of the tank, which I highly recommend doing. The system I suggested also allows for that but only while under sail power.

I think both solutions will work but it's up to the OP and his preferences which sort of setup works best for him, his boat, and his budget.
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