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Old 10-03-2011, 22:57   #1
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Racor Fuel Polisher

Racor are selling a fuel polishing module,Parker FPM-050.
Has anyone installed one?
It looks like it is just a fuel pump,about 2gal an hour.Cheapest installation is between your existing prefilter/water separator and your engine.You plumb it between your prefilter and your existing fuel pump and also plumb it to the return line.You run it anytime you are not using the engine and it circulates the contents of the fuel tank through the prefilter.
West marine price about $650 ?
It seems to me you could install a fuel pump and appropriate valves for a lot less.
What do you think?
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Old 11-03-2011, 18:38   #2
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Re: Racor Fuel Polisher

We clean tanks and support any filtration that can be obtained. However "Fuel Polishers" are what they say, they only polish the fuel and as everyone has experienced the crud resting in the darkest corners on the bottom of your fuel tanks do not come out and play until you are off shore in a chop or entering a new harbor at night.

What we specialize in is cleaning of the fuel tanks and the by-product is you have clean fuel. Our systems circulate between 600 & 800 gallons per hour, we tanks with a 30 micron filter and we polish fuel with a 5 micron (up on request).

Recently I was told that polishing the fuel "is like putting the baby back in a dirty diaper".
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Old 11-03-2011, 19:38   #3
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Re: Racor Fuel Polisher

As Absolute indicates, cleaning tanks requires high flow rates (not delivered by the Racor FPM), or significant agitation to stir up the settled crud (also not delivered by the Racor FPM). I suppose the FPM might reduce precipitated asphaltine, but not by much. I'm not sure what it would actually do for you.

A better solution is to hire a professional who can really hose your tanks clean with high flow rates, or install a system that can polish while underway so you're dealing with agitated fuel. My favorite time to "polish" is in a a storm with tanks near empty. This ensures that I am getting whatever crud can be stirred up is removed, which is kind of the whole point.
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Old 11-03-2011, 19:45   #4
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Re: Racor Fuel Polisher

I own a FPM-050, so I'm probably a little biased.

I installed mine in the generator fuel line after the primary filter, no extra ports on my tank for dedicated fuel line for polishing/cleaning. I also installed the timer close to the genset control hoping I don't run both at the same time.

A couple of features that sold me. The FPM-050 draws ~1w of power. Since it can install in a working fuel line, it simplifies the project.

A slight negative - it does buzz, you can hear it in the stateroom on the other side of the bulkhead it's mounted on.

It would be hard to replicate the features of the FPM-050 with an ordinary fuel lift pump. The FPM-050's ability to be transparent when turned off is a feature I found worthy.

I'll leave the argument of high flow volume cleaning vs. low flow volume cleaning to the marketeers.
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Old 11-03-2011, 20:19   #5
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Re: Racor Fuel Polisher

A proper installation would be separate from your engine/generator fuel delivery system and provide enough circulation from/to the bottom of the tank to stir things up. Its true that the tank should be cleaned periodically and cleaning it at the same time you are adding a fuel polishing system would be ideal. Algae-X, Reverso and ESI are a few systems that can meet the demands of fuel polishing.
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Old 11-03-2011, 20:26   #6
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Re: Racor Fuel Polisher

I have to admit its really wonderfull how the proffesionals know all about your tanks baffles and how to get around them.
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Old 11-03-2011, 20:46   #7
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Re: Racor Fuel Polisher

Guys, Racor (A division of Parker Hannifan - no technology slouches) is trying a different approach. I think it's a pretty interesting development.

The FPM-050 will not clean crud out of a dirty tank (nor do they suggest it will). As an aside, the only reliable way I know to clean a badly fouled tank is to open it up and scrub.

Here's what Racor says the thing does:

As diesel fuel warms through engine use or the daily heat of the sun, its natural capacity to absorb water increases, dissolving and dispersing a percentage of any water in the tank. When the fuel cools, this dissolved water desorbs into a bacteria-harboring emulsified suspension. By flowing the fuel gently over many hours, the FPM-050 maximizes your filter’s ability to separate this difficult-to-remove emulsion and filter out particulate.


It is specifically designed to be installed in a dedicated polishing loop or to share an engine pickup at DotDun has done (assuming the engine line is 3/8" or less).

It would seem to me that this might be a way to keep a clean tank permanently clean and avoid the need for periodic cleaning/polishing.

Does it work? I don't know. Hopefully DotDun, or some other user, will report after some time of use.

Carl
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Old 11-03-2011, 20:50   #8
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Re: Racor Fuel Polisher

Quote:
Originally Posted by nonam View Post
I have to admit its really wonderfull how the proffesionals know all about your tanks baffles and how to get around them.
And considering I have cut them open before only weeks after a polishing company cleaned one I can assure you that the black crud is still firmly glued to the walls of the tank and there is still sludge in the corners behind baffles they can't get to. While better than nothing if your fuel is really dirty they do not "clean" the tanks.

The Racor system works well for separating water and slooooow long term fuel polishing. It is not a polishing system in the trraditional sense but not bad for water removal. The price however is utterly offensive. I spoke with Parker techs about their new system, quite at length, when designing our new system. Is still decided against "low flow"..

IMHO a properly designed on-board polishing system should ideally be designed into the tank when it is built, and they do not need to be expensive. Parker would ideally like to see a dedicated loop too. In order to use a polishing system with good flow you would be best to start with a fully scrubbed and known clean tank. Manual cleaning is the only way to achieve this. Each chamber should be manually hand scrubbed clean. Once that is done keeping it clean is far easier.

Ours uses a Racor 900 and a 72 GPH pump that turns the tank twice per hour. The polishing circuit picks up 1/8" off the absolute low spot in the tank and returns below fuel level in a separate chamber with a dip tube angled to create a flow/circulation inside the tank and to prevent foaming of the return fuel. To field install a high turnover polishing system into an existing tank you really want the returned fuel to go back into the tank below fuel level to prevent foaming. This is not always an option with an existing tank.

It is set up to run whenever the engine is running or can be run without or turned on/off as warranted. I designed the system and had the extra tappings installed when the tank was built. Best $350.00 extra I ever spent on a project and small change in the scheme of the project.. Simple to install, effective & cheap. ANY industrial filter would work I just happened to get an exceptional deal on the 900MA. Pumps can be had from Carter, Walbro and others..

Simple on-board fuel polishing system.
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Old 11-03-2011, 20:53   #9
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Re: Racor Fuel Polisher



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Old 11-03-2011, 23:12   #10
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Re: Racor Fuel Polisher

Geez MainSail. Couldn't you just once post a picture of a not so nice installation? It's just depressing.

I'm not talking about something really bad. Maybe turn a hose clamp around so you can't get it with a screwdriver or have a mystery wire with a piece of masking tape that says just says "A".

Sorry for the vent. Beautiful polisher.

Carl
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Old 12-03-2011, 01:16   #11
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Re: Racor Fuel Polisher

To get rid of any excess water I built a portable one with a CAV filter and 12v pump off e bay for about $50. Flow rate is about 90 lph so I just leave it running for a couple of hours. Draws about 1AH.

Our tank is fairly clean but anything that can be done to keep it that way is worth doing.

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Old 12-03-2011, 05:01   #12
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Re: Racor Fuel Polisher

Quote:
Originally Posted by CarlF View Post
Does it work? I don't know. Hopefully DotDun, or some other user, will report after some time of use.
I've had the FPM-050 in operation for ~2 years. I haven't had any fuel problems since, but then I didn't before either.

As others have postulated, if I had the tank ports available, I may have looked at different options. The fact I could install this in an existing fuel circuit behind an existing filter made it a lot easier than buying/installing manifolds, valves, and all that stuff.

Yeah, I bought into the theory of keeping the water out of the fuel will keep the crud out of the tank.
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Old 12-03-2011, 07:24   #13
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Re: Racor Fuel Polisher

Quote:
Originally Posted by DotDun View Post
The fact I could install this in an existing fuel circuit behind an existing filter made it a lot easier than buying/installing manifolds, valves, and all that stuff.
That is the big benefit of the Racor pump. A high flow system is difficult to install without having foaming issues. That system, while expensive, can be installed into an existing set up, a good feature! Another option is a small low flow Facet pump. These can work too and at less than $60.00, and low flow, they won't cause foaming issues.
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Old 12-03-2011, 09:06   #14
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Re: Racor Fuel Polisher

just install an over sized filter and maintain it :shrug:
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Old 12-03-2011, 09:42   #15
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Re: Racor Fuel Polisher

We made our own... We have two Racor 500s. One supplies the engine, and the other polishes the fuel. All you need is the two filters, a fuel transfer pump, and a number of brass ball valves as a manifold.

We can select tank "port" or "starboard", and then select to "Run" or "polish". We can even transfer the fuel from one tank to the other. I don't remember the cost, but it was WAY less than $600 all together.

Between getting fuel in jugs, and transferring it to the tanks with a Baja filter, using a "cetane booster/biocide", and polishing fuel that has sat around for months, we have never had a fuel related problem in 15 years... Unless you count stupidly running out!

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