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Old 01-09-2014, 11:46   #1
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Fuel Polishing System Installation

I've had several requests to describe our fuel polishing system and filtration system I installed over the summer. It's totally overkill for a sailboat, which burns only 1-2 gallons of diesel per hour and has a 225 gallon (950 liter) fuel tank... I realize this, but it sure is nice to know the fuel being fed to the 100hp Yanmar turbo is as clean as a whistle.

The heart of the system is the Reverso fuel polishing module along with a Separ SWK 2000/10 fuel filter/separator which polishes our 225 gallon (950 liter) diesel tank at a rate of 150 gallons per hour. The fabricated custom fuel pickup is placed at the bottom of the fuel tank, and the return is run to the opposite side of the tank where it returns the fuel very low in the tank in order to prevent splash. The system is run anytime we're underway under power, and often when we're just running the generator in order to increase the load. The system polishes fuel approximately 12-15 hours per week.

Coming from the fuel tank, the diesel is then fed into a Racor 75/500 FGX Dual fuel filter system, which is basically two Racor filters with a factory bypass switchover lever between them, which allows for switching over to the opposite filter should either of them become clogged without having to stop and re-prime the engine fuel lines. Both the engine and the generator run off the same dual filter. Both filtration systems have vacuum gauges to alert us when it's time to replace the filter. An electric pickup also sounds an alarm if too much water is in the clear plastic bowl.

The Separ filter is quite different than a Racor, in that the filter inside is situated horizontal. The design allows for particles to fall to the bottom of the bowl when it's unpressurized, then when the system is first turned on, the sticky particles spin and congeal into a ball. This allows for a longer filter life.


To date, everything has been running just fine. The filters are located where the old Racors used to be in the workshop, right next to the engine room so that they're easy to get at. Getting dirty or contaminated fuel at the fuel dock is no longer a worry.
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Old 01-09-2014, 12:56   #2
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Re: Fuel Polishing System Installation

Thanks for posting this write up! We're planning on doing something similar on our boat. It may be overkill but I'd rather not have to worry about bad fuel when we are in remote locations.
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Old 01-09-2014, 19:04   #3
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Re: Fuel Polishing System Installation

Having been in the situation of a plugged fuel line in a seaway I don't think a fuel polishing system is overkill at all.
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Old 01-09-2014, 19:54   #4
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Re: Fuel Polishing System Installation

Something that kills me about a lot of fuel filtering systems is that you can not bypass a filter when underway. Time to shut down to change a filter.

I have had to get 55 gallon drums of fuel before in a remote place. We “polished” for 5 hours before we attempted to start up and get under way. It would have taken twice as long if I did not have a by passable filter system. I would have never trusted my filter system with out them to get under way.

I use 2 baldein 200-MMV. The first set has 9 micron filters with lights to know when to empty the water separators. Th second set I use 4 micron filters.
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Old 02-09-2014, 03:20   #5
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Re: Fuel Polishing System Installation

That looks nice. I have one too, but I did it a bit differently. Mine is portable. A Racor 500 with a facet fuel pump. Rubber hose and a power lead with crocodile clips to the battery.

My thinking was that a portable set up like this gives me a few advantages. I can move it to an individual tank of my 3 to just clean that one if I have a problem with it. A leak from the filler cap put water in once. The pump is back up parts for the engine lift pump as is the filter is for the main engine filter. Having flexible hoses makes it easy to position the hose to vacuum up spots of sediment stuck to the wall and bottom of the tank. Can also be run continuously to clean cloudy fuel.
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Old 06-09-2014, 04:22   #6
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Re: Fuel Polishing System Installation

Here's some background on why we decided to go with this system and how I arrived at the build choices.

First, 18 months ago it was discovered while diagnosing our burned up turbo charger, that we had a very dirty fuel tank which probably had never been cleaned. I had 125 gallons of fuel in the tank at the time, which had to be sold to a power boat who had a polishing system. The total cost for this was to offer a 66% discount on the fuel that in effect cost me over $700 USD since diesel costs around $10 per gallon in the Med., plus around $400 to hire someone to scrub the tank and remove the fuel. I'm sure he also put a few additional unauthorized euros in his pocket at the time. So it was decided, that we never wanted this to happen again, so a proactive approach was needed.

I noticed that several folks on CF had installed various versions of fuel polishing systems, so I went with the Reverso Fuel polishing module when it went on sale from the factory. The unit then sat around for over a year while I decided how to do the install. Meanwhile, cruising around the Med, nearly everywhere we are confronted with shorelines which amount to shear rocky cliffs meeting the water with steep underwater drop offs, so anchoring in an emergency, with the wind blowing us towards the coast during a fuel blockage was a real concern which needed to be addressed. So just prior to leaving in May for Spain, I purchased the Racor dual filter changeover system, in order to allow changing a fouled filter during an emergency without disrupting the engine.

I did the Racor installation myself with some fanfare here on CF when I discovered small bubbles in the bowl, which I now know are normal and do not cause any problems with the engine. It took me four days of fooling with the installation in order to figure it out on another thread, "Racor help please." While in Mallorca, I met a very nice and honest marine engineer "Michael" who designed, fabricated and installed the Reverso polishing system. The Reverso system is completely hidden from view except for the filter in the shop, and silent. It can be used via the timer on the face or as I use it via a switch on the ships breaker panel.

My wife never vetoes safety items and considers fuel polishing a safety concern.

Ken
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Old 07-09-2014, 16:01   #7
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Re: Fuel Polishing System Installation

my comments on fuel polishing filters used in the letters discussing the various systems...racor has fuel filters at 4, 10, and 30 microns. i`ve used Gulfcoast filters for fuel and oil, for abt 20 years. both use a bounty 6" paper towel, which filters down to 1 to 1.5 microns...go to gcf.com, oil/fuel filters, and check them out. they also sell their own filter replacements, 6 to a box, not sure the price...they make their own because a few people had a difficult time understanding the directions, ie, i guess the phrase 'bounty paper towel' was confusing! have been using the 'Frantz' oil filters since the early 60`s...now they make them for oil, and fuel. the website for frantz is 'we filter it.com'. i have a frantz oil filter on my 92 dodge/cummins, use scott 1000 terlit paper, and change the terlit paper at about 2500 +/- miles, the 1st time i sent a sample in every filter change, to set a precedence for future reference. changed oil/and all filters @ 18,000 miles, oil was as new! everytime i change the roll of paper, i add about 2 quarts of oil, to replace what the paper filter soaked up. normal screw on oil filters are 28/30 microns! i`ll stop now, to much, to fast...any questions, drop me a line...clyde
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Old 07-09-2014, 22:37   #8
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Re: Fuel Polishing System Installation

I installed a fuel polishing system just by adding an electric fuel pump to the fuel system on my perkins 4-108. I originally installed the pump to make it easier to bleed the system. Works great for that.

But I also discovered that if I ran the pump without running the engine it acted as a fuel polisher. Diesel is pumped out of the tank, through the racor filter, to the injector pump, and back to the tank by way of the overflow line. Seems to be about one half to one gallon a minute, so my 50 gallon tank can be polished in a few hours.
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Old 08-09-2014, 01:16   #9
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Re: Fuel Polishing System Installation

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Originally Posted by onestepcsy37 View Post
But I also discovered that if I ran the pump without running the engine it acted as a fuel polisher. Diesel is pumped out of the tank, through the racor filter, to the injector pump, and back to the tank by way of the overflow line.

I wondered about doing this. Is there no risk to the injector pump / injector system - with the pressure this creates ?


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Old 08-09-2014, 03:20   #10
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Re: Fuel Polishing System Installation

For a diesel polishing system any reasonable nitrile impeller pump will suffice , mine is a Jabsco plumbed to a spare racor , I've used Separ in the past, there little between the two.

I don't believe the fuel polishing system should share any components with the. Engine filtration. It's all utterly overkill for a sailboat anyway. , you will still get crud in the bottom of the tank

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Old 08-09-2014, 03:37   #11
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Re: Fuel Polishing System Installation

I am a huge fan of fuel polishing. If you have the room to configure a system.....go for it. I would recommend a bypass configuration to make element changes a little easier though.
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Old 08-09-2014, 04:00   #12
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Re: Fuel Polishing System Installation

This is mine. The only thing I can't do is operate the fuel polisher at the same time the engine is running. But I can change a filter whilst underway and swap them.
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Old 08-09-2014, 04:20   #13
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Re: Fuel Polishing System Installation

Thanks for sharing the picture of your system. It's very nice to know you're sending clean fuel to the engine.
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Old 08-09-2014, 06:56   #14
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Re: Fuel Polishing System Installation

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Thanks for sharing the picture of your system. It's very nice to know you're sending clean fuel to the engine.


I'm having "A Big Bang Theory" moment. Is this sarcasm, hyperbole or some other kind of literary device?
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Old 08-09-2014, 07:22   #15
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Re: Fuel Polishing System Installation

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I'm having "A Big Bang Theory" moment. Is this sarcasm, hyperbole or some other kind of literary device?
No sarcasm intended. I was simply thanking you for contributing to the thread and stating it's nice to know when one is sending clean fuel to one's own fuel system.

I have no idea what a big bang theory moment means... I dont watch TV.
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