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Old 26-11-2014, 06:27   #1
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Newbie Engine Question on Water Separation

I've got Yanmar 3YM30 engines. I have a primary fuel filter and secondary fuel filter. As part of the regular maintenance the manual recommends checking the secondary filter for water. I've seen some fuel filters that have a transparent reservoir so that I can easily see if there is water in the fuel.

Here is the rookie question: Is something like that an additional component that I would need to install inline or is it something that can be incorporated into the primary filter somehow?

Thanks and sorry for the newbie questions.

Zoid
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Old 26-11-2014, 07:56   #2
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Re: Newbie Engine Question on Water Separation

You would need a secondary filter in line with your primary filter. Racor filters are a popular brand, although there are others, that act as a water separator/filter in one unit. A dual racor filter system with switch over valves is also very popular. Although quite expensive they can save your butt if the filter online ever plugs up on you while you are underway. And that is the time it will plug up on you. Dual filters and clean tanks will give you much peace of mind. The Racor 500 turbine series is one to look at. I don't remember the names of other brands but google marine fuel filtration and you should find some. I'm personally not keen on the ones that use paper towels.
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Old 26-11-2014, 08:28   #3
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Re: Newbie Engine Question on Water Separation

+1 for a dual Racor primary filter system. The Racor 500s are popular. We use 10 micron filters in our primaries. The secondary filter is normally an oem unit on the engine. These are usually 2 micron. Same applies to the generator.

We only ever add diesel which we filter during filling to exclude water, dirt and rocks. This eliminates most water. Because we polish fuel regularly we rarely see any water in our Racors. (These have the clear bowls so visual inspection is easy).

We also have a day tank which gravity feeds our generator, main engine and diesel heater. This has visual ports as well and sits between our primary and secondary filters.

With a clean fuel regime like this we don't need to regularly drain the secondary filter for water.

We change all filters, primary and secondary, every 100 hours. Filters are cheap. When in doubt switch them out.

I inspect all filters on changes. The Racors are easy to inspect. Our Perkins oem secondaries I cut open with a hacksaw.

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Old 26-11-2014, 09:04   #4
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Re: Newbie Engine Question on Water Separation

[QUOTE=leftbrainstuff;1686616

I inspect all filters on changes. The Racors are easy to inspect. Our Perkins oem secondaries I cut open with a hacksaw.[/QUOTE]

That is so messy, there are other ways that are not as bad.
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Old 26-11-2014, 10:26   #5
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Re: Newbie Engine Question on Water Separation

Quote:
Originally Posted by Zoid View Post
I've got Yanmar 3YM30 engines. I have a primary fuel filter and secondary fuel filter. As part of the regular maintenance the manual recommends checking the secondary filter for water. I've seen some fuel filters that have a transparent reservoir so that I can easily see if there is water in the fuel.

Usually the primary filter (off engine, first in line from the fuel tank, often with a transparent site glass) is a fuel-water separator. As others have mentioned, Racors are a common brand. Regular maintenance would include inspection through the glass, and periodic "draining" of any water or sediment build-up (if any) through the plug at the bottom. More occasional maintenance would include replacing the filter element, too.

The secondary (on engine) filter is usually simply replaced at periodic intervals.

You and your engine -- and your fuel retailer ( a quality issue) -- get to decide what your periodic intervals might be

-Chris
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Old 26-11-2014, 17:34   #6
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Re: Newbie Engine Question on Water Separation

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That is so messy, there are other ways that are not as bad.
My background is F1 and Indy cars. Even when we had full time chemists and portable oil and fuel analysis workshops I always sectioned filters.

The insides of fuel and oil filters provide a wealth of information.

Best of all I don't need any fancy kit. I'm also obsessively clean so there's no mess.

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Old 26-11-2014, 17:59   #7
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Re: Newbie Engine Question on Water Separation

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Originally Posted by leftbrainstuff View Post
My background is F1 and Indy cars. Even when we had full time chemists and portable oil and fuel analysis workshops I always sectioned filters.

The insides of fuel and oil filters provide a wealth of information.

Best of all I don't need any fancy kit. I'm also obsessively clean so there's no mess.

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How can you use a hacksaw on a filter housing and be neat? If that's how F-1 and Indy operate, I would be ashamed to admit it. What you are saying is just about the stupidist thing I have ever heard. An old hunting knife and a hammer are about 100 times better than a hacksaw.
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Old 03-05-2015, 05:23   #8
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Re: Newbie Engine Question on Water Separation

Remember how I said it was a newbie question? Well it turns out that the manual says to check the secondary filter because that is the only filter shipped by Yanmar who wrote the manual. The primary filter is just a CAM filter and wasn't part of the engine as ordered from yanmar. Sooooo, that means based on what they shipped with the engine the only place to check for water separation is in the secondary filter. But because I have the primary I should just be checking there. So I'm sticking with the CAM filter and am now checking that for water through the drain plug at the bottom of the casing. Sorry for the newbie-ness.
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Old 03-05-2015, 10:39   #9
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Re: Newbie Engine Question on Water Separation

Quote:
Originally Posted by Zoid View Post
Remember how I said it was a newbie question? Well it turns out that the manual says to check the secondary filter because that is the only filter shipped by Yanmar who wrote the manual. The primary filter is just a CAM filter and wasn't part of the engine as ordered from yanmar. Sooooo, that means based on what they shipped with the engine the only place to check for water separation is in the secondary filter. But because I have the primary I should just be checking there. So I'm sticking with the CAM filter and am now checking that for water through the drain plug at the bottom of the casing. Sorry for the newbie-ness.

Don't beat yourself up; at least you had sense enough to both read the manual and ask a question. It's not like everyone should be expected to be born knowing everything about diesel engine.

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Old 03-05-2015, 14:08   #10
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Re: Newbie Engine Question on Water Separation

You don't need to change to a see-thru filter housing. Periodically drain a tiny bit from the filter and examine it.
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Old 03-05-2015, 22:35   #11
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Re: Newbie Engine Question on Water Separation

My boat came with dual weird looking primary filters. Looked like truck stuff. I could never get them to reseal when I replaced them. Caused an air leak that made my 2gm20 stall every 2 minutes. I eventually replaced the primary filters with one racor 500 series. Never had a problem since. The new generation 500 has a water float switch. It water goes over the level that filled the bowl, a float stops any fuel getting to your engine which stalls it. When you troubleshoot you then find the water container full. You empty it and then the engine starts. No water ever gets to the engine and hence no damage.

The small filter on the engine (the so called secondary filter) is another problem. Bleeding that thing takes forever. Some suggest filling the filter with diesel first but you better make sure that diesel is super clean and filtered or else a lot of crap now goes into your injectors which makes the whole filter issue moot.

Yammar has recently changed their filters. My dealer says the secondary filter is now 8 micron. I use a 30 micron for the racor but I'm considering using a 10 micron in the racor and then not changing the secondary every year. Not sure that's wise maybe others can comment. Yanmar also knows how to confuse people by having two screws on the housing and only one is the bleed screw. But which one?? Welcome to the yanmar club..


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Old 03-05-2015, 22:57   #12
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Re: Newbie Engine Question on Water Separation

Not familiar with CAM filter CAV are sold in aussie they can be converted to take a glass bowl.
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Old 03-05-2015, 23:13   #13
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Re: Newbie Engine Question on Water Separation

Filter Inspectors,

For those of you that desire to inspect the insides of your fuel / oil filters, there is a filter cutter tool, similar to a pipe cutter, that has been used in aviation forever. Try Googling "Aircraft Spruce" and search for filter cutters. Since it uses a round cutter head like a can opener, it might be prudent to order an extra cutter head so that you can lose it before you need it. Cheers, George
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Old 03-06-2015, 15:52   #14
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Re: Newbie Engine Question on Water Separation

Follow-on rookie question... I have the Volvo Penta filter shown in the attachment as my primary (Jeanneau 379). Does anyone have experience with this filter? Should I be able to shut off the fuel line valve and drain the water off just by cracking the bottom nut? What do the top nuts do? Thanks.
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Old 09-06-2015, 08:29   #15
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Re: Newbie Engine Question on Water Separation

I have the very same setup, it's easy. The Volvo Penta is just the brand of the filter, which is the part between the top and bottom. First step is to close your seacock to the fuel tank. Put something below all of it to catch the draining fuel. Remove the bolt on the bottom which will drain all of the fuel out of filter. You can use the off-center bolt on the top which is the bleed screw to let air in the top while draining or checking for water separation. The center bolt on the top is connected to a long shaft that goes through the filter to the bottom. It holds it all together. Once drained you can undo this to remove the bottom and filter. Replace filter and put everything back together. To bleed the system at this point I tighten everything back up on that filter. IMPORTANT: REOPEN the fuel seacock to the tank! I then loosen the bleed screw on the top of my secondary (fine) filter and use the manual fuel pump on the engine to pump until I have fuel coming through the bleed screw on the secondary filter. I think I've captured all the steps. Once you get going it's pretty self explanatory. Let me know if you run into any problems.
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