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Old 30-08-2015, 09:34   #16
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Re: Diesel Primer Bulb In Line?

Since the question you asked was about a squeeze bulb and not an lift pump, the answers is yes. Just make sure you get the correct kind, cheap crap ones will fail by cracking or leaking air at the crimp fittings. My Kabota has a manual pump for priming but I always use the bulb.No leaks for two years. Inspect often.
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Old 30-08-2015, 09:40   #17
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Re: Diesel Primer Bulb In Line?

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Originally Posted by Delancey View Post
Yes, of course nothing electric ever failed on a boat including lift pumps.
Most of these continue working quite well for, oh, usually over 10 years or more. At anywhere from $50 to $160, it's not that much of a burden. Makes bleeding a lot easier, too.
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Old 30-08-2015, 09:50   #18
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Re: Diesel Primer Bulb In Line?

I have been putting outboard squeeze bulbs on my diesel engines for year's and have never had a any air leak problems.
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Old 30-08-2015, 10:19   #19
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Re: Diesel Primer Bulb In Line?

I have a squeeze bulb between my supply manifold and my racor, it works great.

It is not meant as a substitute for the manual fuel pump, it is simply there to move fuel into the racor.

If there is water or gunk in the bottom of the racor, a water bottle under the drain and a few pumps of the bulb push the water/gunk out into the plastic bottle, easy and clean.

After changing filters, I leave the top off and pump the bulb, when it is full I put the filter top on, ready to go.

Should you run a tank dry, simply loosen the top and pump the bulb, pretty soon the system is full of fuel up to the racor, then slack the line after the final and pump some more, easy to bleed then.

It is a great help, again not a substitute for the manual fuel pump, but it could be used in an emergency.

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Old 30-08-2015, 10:41   #20
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Re: Diesel Primer Bulb In Line?

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Originally Posted by transmitterdan View Post
Fail-safe means that if the electric pump fails it does not stop the normal flow created by the engine lift pump. In that sense it is similar to the bulb pump.

You can use the primer bulb if you want but the electric pump is better, easier and less likely to leak fuel out or air in. A flick of the switch will also create an emergency backup to the engine lift pump when it inevitably fails. As someone else pointed out the electric pump will put diesel into the crankcase of some engines if the engine lift pump diaphragm fails. This is easy to see by the rising oil level on the dip stick. Bypassing the failed engine lift pump with some hose and fittings will get the engine running again with the electric pump.
I agree, an inline 12V pump is definitely the way to go, one never knows when the assistance of a continuous duty pump might be called for...

I got my start in the delivery game running the first generation of Taiwanese trawlers, coming fresh of the ships as deck cargo at Port Newark... Long before Racor-style filtration was commonplace, and those boats all featured copper fuel lines cobbled together with flare fittings, so getting air into the system was virtually guaranteed, and usually sooner rather than later... ;-)

No way did any of us ever jump on one of those things, without a trusty Stewart Warner fuel pump with a pair of alligator clips and hoses, ready to be plumbed into the system... Hell, I've run Marine Traders half way to Florida relying on one of those emergency hook-ups... If I hadn't been singlehanding, I suppose someone could have sat all day down in the engine compartment squeezing a priming bulb, but that probably would have gotten a bit old... ;-)

Just my opinion, but I would not own a boat without such a pump in place, and wired with a 3-way Momentary and Continuous duty switch...
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Old 30-08-2015, 11:46   #21
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Re: Diesel Primer Bulb In Line?

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Originally Posted by zeehag View Post
i chose to add a low pressure electric assist pump after the racors to prime engine. there is way too much potential in real time living for the bulb to leak air into the fuel line. ask me how i know and learned these lil things...
The Walbro FRA 1-1 is appropriate for this "lift assist".
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Old 30-08-2015, 11:46   #22
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Re: Diesel Primer Bulb In Line?

I've use a 'primer squeeze bulb' on my 46' ketch with Perkins 4-236 diesel engine (mechanical lift pump) fitted with switchable dual Racor 500s for abt 20 years now. Bulb hangs a bit below the 500s on the intake line. I installed the bulb to easily refill the open 500 shell right to the brim after replacing an element. Beats trying to pour from/ storing a gal jug of diesel in not always ideal sea conditions. Also, if you have good hearing, it's a good test if you have any air getting into the supply side of the fuel line. With nothing else running on the boat... no engines, fans, fuel pumps, radios, TV, and calm outside conditions... slowly/ firmly squeeze the bulb several cycles... there shouldn't be any gurgling. If you hear gurgling/ air bubbles swishing through... air is getting into the supply line somewhere and better find the cause before an engine shutdown occur at an inopportune time!

I have the sane arrangement on the separate generator line/ single Racor 500 filter.

Same arrangement on a smaller diesel sail aux at home dock.


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Old 30-08-2015, 11:47   #23
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Re: Diesel Primer Bulb In Line?

"Have one on mine, and enough length of hose to bypass it if fails..."

Have had the same setup for 16 years and 2500 hours. It works great.

the only time the bulb failed was at 5 AM on a dark and stormy morning. Severe thunderstorms in the Central Sea of Cortez from 7 PM till 4 AM. Very confused seas and the wind died suddenly. Tried to start diesel - discovered the squeeze bulb had split.

You have no idea the joy of sitting at the bottom of the companionway in 90 degree heat while the boat is rolling and pitching 25 degrees in all directions, simultaneously (so it seemed), while replacing that bulb with the spare tubing. It only took 10 miserable minutes.

But, the squeeze bulb makes it so easy to change filters and refill the filter bowls.
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Old 30-08-2015, 13:34   #24
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Re: Diesel Primer Bulb In Line?

I have worked on diesels for many years, but two of my three boats had outboards. I have always wondered why there seemed to be more problems with marine diesels than those on land. I have seen diesel engines that have pumped water in rice fields in the Third World for years without stopping. I have concluded that there are only a few potential problems. The biggest is air in the lines. Another is contaminated fuel. Finally, there is wear in the injection system. This thread addresses all three. The contamination problem is alleviated by the use of a Racor or similar fuel/water separation filter. However, it adds one more place for air to enter, as there are more fittings. The environment on a sailboat causes the engine to bounce around much more than in a truck, a tractor, a stationary engine, or a car. Thus, there are more opportunities for cracks, breaks, lines pulled loose, etc. Finally, there is the issue of wear of the injection system (primarily the injection pump). Nothing with very close tolerances can last forever. The proliferation of the Ultra Low Sulfur Diesel (15 PPM) has aggravated this problem, as this fuel does not provide as much lubrication to the fuel system. Additives are probably needed, especially for older diesel engines which were designed to run on fuel with a minimum of 500 PPM of sulfur, providing better lubrication. Most cars and trucks are driven and refueled daily, or nearly so. Recreational boats - maybe not so much. Fuel contamination can include water from condensation, algae, and deposits from the tank or lines. Fuel system wear can reduce the "lift" in lift pumps. I have used small in-line pumps on both cars and trucks when the diagnosis is a "tired" lift pump. They have improved reliability and performance. I would recommend installation "after" the Racor where it is pulling from the Racor, not pushing through. The brand I commonly use is about $50 to $75 most places. I agree that having an extra onboard is a great idea.
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Old 30-08-2015, 18:04   #25
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Re: Diesel Primer Bulb In Line?

Like Captain Bill, our boat came with two squeeze bulbs installed in-line 17 years ago and look and work like new to this day. No leaks, no cracks, no air intrusion. They are mounted in the engine room and don't see much extreme environment.

Come to think of it, the squeeze bulb in our dinghy gas line is also 17yrs old and has spent its entire life exposed outdoors - 5 years in northern clime where it sat in the snow during the winter and 12 years in the tropics where it sees intense sunlight and heat. No problem with it either.

On the other hand, our previous boat had an electric lift pump installed. We went through 3 of those in 11 years. I installed a fuel bulb in-line with it so I had a backup for when the pump quit. We also have an electric lift pump installed in our generator. That has failed once.

Jon's point above about an electric pump helping when there is a primary pump failure is a good one - although the specific example he gave for its use is only relevant to self-bleeding engines. But I would also put a bulb in-line.

Belts and suspenders.

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Old 30-08-2015, 21:46   #26
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Re: Diesel Primer Bulb In Line?

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Originally Posted by zeehag View Post
the lift pump on Ka Lunk is MANUAL. not electric.
the electric assist low pressure pump is just exactly that... electric assist. and spares in bin.. rodlmffao. you dont think that with the problems i have experienced with this engine in this boat that i woud rely on either or, not have both???
oops.
forgive me for not having given the exam after my ka lunk experience so you could learn that.....
and now i have not just one but 2 RACORS 500 series, so i can rule the world. i wanted 300s, as those are perfect for the flow rate for my engine, but they are not available,,, even at marine swapmeets out in cruiseland, so i had to make do with the larger 500s.
rodl.
more leak potential but worth it, as i refuse to allow water into this yes it is new engine. all parts are new except only 4. makes it new. fewer than 50 hours on it, makes it new.
however each racor 500 holdls around an extra pint to liter of fuel, so one adds it first to filter then pumps thru to prime.
i have watched so many allegedly intelligent males try to prime empty liter sized filters by hand.
hay guys, that dont work. electric assist does. is easier to fill a pint sized filteration cannister using a bottle of fuel then electrically pump the air out . there are many feet of fuel line to clear--why not use a method that is simple, and easy to replace when fail happens. in 3000 miles of use with this boat, i have had to change out the electric pump i bought at napa and or autozone one time. i buy spares so fail is irrelevant. if boat battery is that low as to make or cause fail of elect assist pump, you are going no where anyway, so is moot.
and even if the assist pumps fails there is always the manuel lever on the engine lift pump. its just a little more effort at that time...OK on some engines a lot of effort. primer balls fail too often.
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Old 30-08-2015, 22:04   #27
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Re: Diesel Primer Bulb In Line?

I have a primer bulb in exactly the situation you're considering. My Racors are above the level of the fuel tank, and the only way to fill them after a filter change is with the primer bulb I installed. That was 6 years ago, and I've been full time cruising with no problems since then.
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Old 30-08-2015, 22:59   #28
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Re: Diesel Primer Bulb In Line?

ABYC says no to bulbs, as does coast guard. It is considered a fire hazard due to short burn through time. UNLESS the bulb's on an isolated leg with valves before and after to isolated the bulb from flow except when needed.

Burn through time is why you have special cg approved rubber fuel hose, and why the marine racor has the metal bowl.
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Old 31-08-2015, 00:48   #29
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Re: Diesel Primer Bulb In Line?

I too have used a bulb to fill the Racors, for many years without a problem. I also used a Walbro pump, for feeding the diesel heater, and replaced it a couple of times. The bulb worked better... The bulb was between the tank selector valve and the valved inlets to the Racors, with the bulb at the highest spot in the system (and located outside of and above the engine compartment). I can see the fire issue, but I also used the standard (non-marine) Racors as well, so it was not a perfect installation. Oh well...

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Old 31-08-2015, 06:13   #30
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Re: Diesel Primer Bulb In Line?

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ABYC says no to bulbs, as does coast guard. It is considered a fire hazard due to short burn through time. UNLESS the bulb's on an isolated leg with valves before and after to isolated the bulb from flow except when needed.

Burn through time is why you have special cg approved rubber fuel hose, and why the marine racor has the metal bowl.
Coast Guard only matters if being used commercially. ABYC is full of half-baked, and even questionable, suggestions. While it is good to view them in relation to safety, it is also good to view them in relation to context and applicability.

For example, while our fuel bulb may not conform to their suggestions (although it does have a shutoff valve before it), our engine installation does.

Our engines are installed under our berths with a 3/8" plywood board under a 6" foam mattress. Wood frames support this. In case of a fire in the engine compartment, it seems silly to worry about the primer bulb.

Likewise, very many boats have their engines installed such that in the case of a fire, a primer bulb would be the last thing to exasperate the problem.

I still haven't seen anyone present experience of a primer bulb failing, while many people here have described very old bulbs still working fine. And several have described failed electric pumps.

But this is CF, after all - where inexperienced theory trumps practical experience every day!

Mark
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