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Old 24-04-2020, 07:24   #1
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Choosing Racor Diesel Filter for Westerbeke W30

I am looking to replace the Racor primary fuel filter on my 1978 Westerbeke W30 (4 cylinder). The technical manual and parts list I have dont give specifications for the primary. I see some filters rated by fuel flow (eg GPH) and some also with filter specs (eg 2 micron, 10 micron, etc). What information do I need to replace it as the current filter, which has worked well the last 4 yrs, is pretty scraped up and difficult to read (see pic - sorry for sideways orientation) other than model 500 FE? Searching the internet for this model gets me; 500FG, 500mA, 500Ma2, 500MB, 500FG2? I need your help, thanks.
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Old 24-04-2020, 07:42   #2
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Re: Choosing Racor Diesel Filter for Westerbeke W30

You can get replacement cover etc., from Racor ! Bracket just needs to be cleaned and painted ! If inside is clean I would just give it some elbow grease, and reuse it ! I did it to ours about 4 yrs ago !
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Old 24-04-2020, 07:43   #3
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Re: Choosing Racor Diesel Filter for Westerbeke W30

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Originally Posted by Hoodsail View Post
I am looking to replace the Racor primary fuel filter on my 1978 Westerbeke W30 (4 cylinder). The technical manual and parts list I have dont give specifications for the primary. I see some filters rated by fuel flow (eg GPH) and some also with filter specs (eg 2 micron, 10 micron, etc). What information do I need to replace it as the current filter, which has worked well the last 4 yrs, is pretty scraped up and difficult to read (see pic - sorry for sideways orientation) other than model 500 FE? Searching the internet for this model gets me; 500FG, 500mA, 500Ma2, 500MB, 500FG2? I need your help, thanks.
Iíve always used 2 micron , filter changed every 200 hr

I clean my tanks every second year

If your tanks are dirty you should go with 10 micron on the racor
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Old 24-04-2020, 07:48   #4
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Re: Choosing Racor Diesel Filter for Westerbeke W30

Hard to beat a 500FG.
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Old 24-04-2020, 07:52   #5
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Re: Choosing Racor Diesel Filter for Westerbeke W30

Thanks, Mike. I may take it apart this wkend and see what the inside looks like...no problems with fuel, just doing some preventive maintenance.

SLUG, I have never cleaned my 32 gallon tank in 4 yrs, so will see if i can inspect the inside of the tank. Will be interesting to see what the fuel & filter in the Racor look like as they have performed flawlessly so far. thnks
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Old 24-04-2020, 07:55   #6
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Re: Choosing Racor Diesel Filter for Westerbeke W30

So CAPT, if i replace my current racor (500 FE), i just need to keep consistent with the "500" model number and not worry about the following letter description? thnks
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Old 24-04-2020, 07:57   #7
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Re: Choosing Racor Diesel Filter for Westerbeke W30

It looks like you have a 500 series and those were rated at ~60 gal/hr which is much higher than most small engines will use (that's good).
The filter micron size is up to you but usually most run 10-30 micron filters in them to get most of the junk out before it hits the secondary on the motor (~2 micron). Love the way those filters are designed incorporating both a centrifugal drop out for heavy particle and a majority of water that collects in the bottom of the bowl and then the water repelling filter for the second hit to clean the fuel.

A while back the filters were color coded for micron size, but now they are just written on them what size they are. Do you know what you've been running? How long to they last?
If it's functioning fine, you could just take the filter out and repaint the body to spruce up the outside appearance. They also make rebuild kits for the innards and there are many vids out there to show you how to do the rebuild.
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Old 24-04-2020, 08:10   #8
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Re: Choosing Racor Diesel Filter for Westerbeke W30

Bill O, thanks for the information, much appreciated. I have owned the boat for 4 yrs now....never took the Racor apart to either inspect or replace internal filter. I have replaced the secondary filter annually. Engine starts easily and runs strong. thnks
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Old 24-04-2020, 08:35   #9
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Re: Choosing Racor Diesel Filter for Westerbeke W30

One of the Racor 500 series units would be an excellent choice as a primary filter for your engine (although if you have plenty of room the 900 series has a much greater filter surface area and resistance to clog, for only slightly more cost). Your pictured 500 unit looks in bad shape, but all the spare parts are available so it may be possible to refurbish the unit.

If buying new these filters come with the option of a clear plastic bowl, a plastic bowl with metal shield, and a metal bowl. There is no best option, the plastic bowl enables water and debris to be easily seen, which is useful, but the plastic is less durable, more easily broken and sometimes cracks with age or servicing. There is a risk of the plastic melting in the event of fire. Diesel does not explode (unless compressed), but it burns surprisingly easily.

Much depends on the installation. My current boat has the all metal version (of the larger Racor 900 series) and this has been chosen as the best option for my requirements, but the most popular version is the combination of a plastic bowl with a metal heat shield. The metal shield provides a short term protection before the plastic bowl melts and releases diesel. Some classification societies prevent the fitting of some of the options (because of the fire risk) so check this legislation before ordering.

Finally there are the dual filter options. Two identical primary filters enable the instant switchover if one filter clogs. The other option is two primary filters in series with progressively finer filter elements. Both these features are very valuable, especially the former, but Racor charges an exorbitant price for the dual filters and most people that desire these advantages install two filters and rig up their own plumbing.

The Racor 500 series are available with the option of 30, 10, and 2 micron elements. The filter housings are all the same so you can buy a 500 filter housing that is initially supplied with a 30 micron element and buy 10 micron disposable elements reasonably inexpensively as a more suitable alternative. Most new housings are sold with 30 micron elements for some strange reason. There are arguments for using each of the options, but a 10 micron element is the most popular as a primary filter. My three 900 housings have a combination of 10 and 2 micron elements.
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Old 24-04-2020, 09:15   #10
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Re: Choosing Racor Diesel Filter for Westerbeke W30

one of the best additions you can add to your fuel system is a vacuum gauge on the suction side. Racor makes one that replaces the T handle. It is a simple operation to simply drill a small hole thru the existing T handle and install your own vacuum gauge or put one on the suction line.

A vacuum gauge tells you when to change your filter. Racor gauges are color coded white yellow and red. No need to change a filter that is not dirty, and if your tank does need cleaning you will see that your filters need changing more often. A vacuum gauge will pay for itself in filter changes.

M
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Old 24-04-2020, 09:27   #11
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Re: Choosing Racor Diesel Filter for Westerbeke W30

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No need to change a filter that is not dirty
Sure, but is this a good practice? I've always changed mine either annually or at the engine manufacturer's rated hour interval for the secondary, whichever comes first. Am I wasting money or being prudent?
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Old 24-04-2020, 09:41   #12
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Re: Choosing Racor Diesel Filter for Westerbeke W30

I have Yanmar 30hp engines with the Racor 500FG filter housing. Currently only have a single primary filter using 30micron cartridges, secondary on engine is 2micron. I intend to change the setup to have dual filters with a changeover in the future.
The colour of the writing on the top of the filter cartridges indicates the micron level. 30-Red, 10-Blue, 2-Brown.
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Old 24-04-2020, 10:10   #13
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Re: Choosing Racor Diesel Filter for Westerbeke W30

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Sure, but is this a good practice? I've always changed mine either annually or at the engine manufacturer's rated hour interval for the secondary, whichever comes first. Am I wasting money or being prudent?
The filter and the engine, do not know how long the filter has been in there. The filter does not deteriorate with age. The filter simply removes particulate matter from the fuel. If there is little to no particulate matter in the fuel the filter remains clean. That is why Racor sells this add on to their filter housing.

The reason the engine manufacture gives a time to change the filter is that there is no indicator that the filter is getting dirty, so it is changed as a precaution. Unlike an oil filter which removes the contamination that the engine continually generates, contamination in fuel comes from the supplier and or growth in the tank.

One not only benefits from longer life on the fuel filter but also indicates if there is a problem in the fuel tank or with the fuel supplier if the filter starts to clog early.
Be aware one still needs to monitor the bowl for water.

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Old 24-04-2020, 10:26   #14
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Re: Choosing Racor Diesel Filter for Westerbeke W30

I have a dual 500 racor. It was getting long in the tooth and ugly.

I took it completely apart and cleaned it up and used POR-15 about 5 years ago and put it back together with a new bowl gasket and they look great and work great again.

A LOT cheaper thank new. And with the 500 series filters being about the cheapest to keep on hand, it was an easy decision.

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Old 24-04-2020, 11:13   #15
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Re: Choosing Racor Diesel Filter for Westerbeke W30

Quote:
Originally Posted by captmikem View Post
one of the best additions you can add to your fuel system is a vacuum gauge on the suction side. Racor makes one that replaces the T handle. It is a simple operation to simply drill a small hole thru the existing T handle and install your own vacuum gauge or put one on the suction line.

A vacuum gauge tells you when to change your filter. Racor gauges are color coded white yellow and red. No need to change a filter that is not dirty, and if your tank does need cleaning you will see that your filters need changing more often. A vacuum gauge will pay for itself in filter changes.

M

Agree w/the use of a vac. gauge, but having it tucked away in the engine room isn't the best. Unless you pop open the access to the engine most people don't see that expensive Racor gauge. IMO the better set up is using a a less expensive automotive vac. gauge (on the suction side) and put the gauge where it is easily seen. Previous boat mounted it in the engine panel so at a quick glance could see all the vitals. In our current boat, put it near the companionway ladder and can see it going in/out with instructions to crew to view it often.
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