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Old 12-11-2019, 14:27   #1
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Hot swap fuel pre-filters

Looking for some advice from someone who has looked into or set this up before...

Currently I have a Parker/Racor120 diesel fuel filter unit inline between the tank and the line that feeds the engine mounted fuel filter, I call this added filter a “pre-filter”. I would like to install a “hot swap” system so there are two pre-filters arranged so that if one becomes clogged I can switch to the other and replace the clogged element without interrupting the fuel flow. It would be nice to also have a gauge that indicates if there is high negative pressure in the fuel line after the filters which would indicate if there is a clogged filter. The setup of this seems simple if a bit parts heavy: two filter units, four shut off valves, a gauge (suggestions?), tubing, elbows, Ts, etc. Here are my questions:

Is there a single integrated unit that will do all of this that is available so I can avoid putting together a system from parts that would have over a dozen connections? I did find an integrated unit but it is designed for high volume fuel flows and is tres expensive. It is rated for 180-360 GPH (1000 MA Series Dual Manifold Marine Diesel Filter--$1500) whereas my engine burns about one liter per hour!

The other question regards what kind of filter to use for this setup. Currently I have a 2 micron engine mounted filter and a 20 micron filter in the Parker/Racor pre-filter. It would be nice to have both 30 and 20 micron pre-filters, but that gets to fussy and has double the parts! Stick with 20 micron in the prefilters and 2 on the engine mounted?

If this has all been discussed before (I searched but did not find an appropriate thread), please feel free to just point me there. Thanks!
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Old 12-11-2019, 14:49   #2
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Re: Hot swap fuel pre-filters

We have a similar set-up with a single Racor fuel filter and are planning to upgrade it to a duel-filter setup this winter.

Racor Duel Filter 500 - about $900

In our case, we already have one perfectly good Racor 500, so we are just going to get a second filter plus the vacuum gauge and pipe it together with a T valve. That'll save us about $500.

Racor Single Filter 500

Fuel Vacuum Gauge

We like to use Defender, but I'm sure you could find other vendors.
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Old 12-11-2019, 15:54   #3
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Re: Hot swap fuel pre-filters

I have the Racor dual filter, and do not think you can open one and change filters while running on the other one.
You could roll your own to do so without too much difficulty, but will still have to figure out how to bleed it.

In truth, I don’t see the need. I’ve yet to need my dual set up, and it wasn’t cheap. I doubt that I would do it again.
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Old 12-11-2019, 16:44   #4
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Re: Hot swap fuel pre-filters

See attached.... 2 way changeover valve on my boat. There's a 3rd filter off to the left out of shot. The boat is 1000 miles from me at the moment and I don't know who makes the valve..... but one exists and it works well.
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Old 12-11-2019, 17:01   #5
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Re: Hot swap fuel pre-filters

Ooh.... just found it online.


https://www.svb24.com/en/dual-valve-...el-filter.html
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Old 12-11-2019, 17:15   #6
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Re: Hot swap fuel pre-filters

Quote:
Originally Posted by Andy Todd View Post
At that price I thought you'd get an ss mounting plate!
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Old 12-11-2019, 17:37   #7
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Re: Hot swap fuel pre-filters

Quote:
Originally Posted by NWSail View Post
L
The other question regards what kind of filter to use for this setup. Currently I have a 2 micron engine mounted filter and a 20 micron filter in the Parker/Racor pre-filter. It would be nice to have both 30 and 20 micron pre-filters, but that gets to fussy and has double the parts! Stick with 20 micron in the prefilters and 2 on the engine mounted?

If this has all been discussed before (I searched but did not find an appropriate thread), please feel free to just point me there. Thanks!
I don't see a problem with 20 micron followed by 2 micron. If your engine is non common rail 10 micron final filter is generally regarded as sufficient by engine manufacturers. Just means you'll change filters more often having a finer filter. We use a 5 micron on our old mechanically injected Yanmar which is AFAIK originally 10 micron final filter. It's easy to get a vaccuum gauge for a fuel setup just look online.
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Old 12-11-2019, 18:11   #8
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Re: Hot swap fuel pre-filters

Quote:
Originally Posted by NWSail View Post
Looking for some advice from someone who has looked into or set this up before...

Currently I have a Parker/Racor120 diesel fuel filter unit inline between the tank and the line that feeds the engine mounted fuel filter, I call this added filter a “pre-filter”. I would like to install a “hot swap” system so there are two pre-filters arranged so that if one becomes clogged I can switch to the other and replace the clogged element without interrupting the fuel flow. It would be nice to also have a gauge that indicates if there is high negative pressure in the fuel line after the filters which would indicate if there is a clogged filter. The setup of this seems simple if a bit parts heavy: two filter units, four shut off valves, a gauge (suggestions?), tubing, elbows, Ts, etc. Here are my questions:

Is there a single integrated unit that will do all of this that is available so I can avoid putting together a system from parts that would have over a dozen connections? I did find an integrated unit but it is designed for high volume fuel flows and is tres expensive. It is rated for 180-360 GPH (1000 MA Series Dual Manifold Marine Diesel Filter--$1500) whereas my engine burns about one liter per hour!

The other question regards what kind of filter to use for this setup. Currently I have a 2 micron engine mounted filter and a 20 micron filter in the Parker/Racor pre-filter. It would be nice to have both 30 and 20 micron pre-filters, but that gets to fussy and has double the parts! Stick with 20 micron in the prefilters and 2 on the engine mounted?

If this has all been discussed before (I searched but did not find an appropriate thread), please feel free to just point me there. Thanks!
I agree with a number of the previous posters.

I also have the Dual Racor 500. But its not cheap, and not really worth it IMO. Next time I will roll my own.

The comment from A64 re 'hot swappable' means being able to hot bleed.

The Dual Racor only has one valve so it you might get away with it but I doubt it. The high end (ie expensive) commercial multiple element Racor assemblies have seperate in and out valves for each element.

The 2nd thing you 'need' is a way of filling your empty Racor. Actually more accurately pushing the air out. Racors are normally operated as suction filters.

This is where system complexity can get more than the average. So as was also mentioned is it needed?

So most people do this with a pressure pump.

This could be a good time to mention an installed on board Polishing and priming circuit.

Racors are rated to 15psi pressure so can also be used in a pressure configuration.

So with an aditional- pump, filter, valves for seperate filter in and out etc.

But now you can- swap which filter is used,
pressurise your system with the pump, and
Prime the newly replaced element by having its outlet closed so the engine doesnt suck air. Then open slowly its inlet valve while the filter bowl is opened a bit at the top to let the fuel coming in under pressure to push the air out. Then close filter bowl top. Then it should be ready to supply the engine again, when needed. But this assumes it was properly bled etc.

All doable.

Good luck.

If you want my diagrams pm me.
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Old 12-11-2019, 22:20   #9
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Re: Hot swap fuel pre-filters

You don't swap out the element. Usually you are running on one housing and with a need to change you switch to the other housing. The bad element gets changed later.
My Racors have 2 micron elements. I keep my tanks clean, buy clean fuel, and have never had to change fliters early. My Racors serve 2 Detroits and 2 generators. I change at 500 hours. Just the Detroits move 35,000 gallons in 500 hours.
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Old 12-11-2019, 23:13   #10
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Re: Hot swap fuel pre-filters

Quote:
Originally Posted by Lepke View Post
You don't swap out the element. Usually you are running on one housing and with a need to change you switch to the other housing. The bad element gets changed later.
My Racors have 2 micron elements. I keep my tanks clean, buy clean fuel, and have never had to change fliters early. My Racors serve 2 Detroits and 2 generators. I change at 500 hours. Just the Detroits move 35,000 gallons in 500 hours.
Thanks for posting Lepke,
Interested in the dimensions of your filters so i can relate them to ours. Our fuel consumption is way different at less than maybe a 1/4 of a US gallon per hr but if you give me a dimension I can work out a probable lifetime.
Yanmar says to replace their drastically overpriced final filter at 100 hr intervals
So far our 5 micron filter has done over 300 hrs but it is a much larger spin on for 1/2 the cost of a Yanmar filter. I modified the fuel system to my liking & to cut Yanmar out of the equation. Seems to be fine so far but happy to learn more.
We spend a lot more time sailing than motoring but often we anchor 1/2 hr from dive spots so its not worth sailing that is why engine tips are good.
thanks if you can help
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Old 13-11-2019, 12:36   #11
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Re: Hot swap fuel pre-filters

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Originally Posted by Compass790 View Post
At that price I thought you'd get an ss mounting plate!
I just traced this back to the manufacturer in Germany. They are mainly used in heating installations for domestic and office use, so SS is not really required in the basement
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Old 13-11-2019, 12:47   #12
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Re: Hot swap fuel pre-filters

I have had dual 500's on Carina for almost 40 years. I rigged them with 4 shut-off valves, and an outboard squeeze bulb before them to use for priming. This allows operation with one filter while the other is first isolated to replace the element and then the input valve (only) opened to allow priming with the bulb. With the new engine I am moving and re-plumbing the filters, which includes buying proper miniature ball valves for the shut-offs instead of the more common design. Why pay so much for the single integrated valves when they don't solve the priming problem?

Greg
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Old 13-11-2019, 12:56   #13
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Re: Hot swap fuel pre-filters

I have this exact Racor Dual 1000.

https://www.westmarine.com/buy/racor...E&gclsrc=aw.ds

The MAX Turbine assemblies feature two filters with a valve to direct fuel flow. Users can divert fuel from the clogged filter to the fresh one in seconds. Once the fuel is flowing through the clean filter, the clogged filter can be removed and replaced while the engine is running.

I run 2 micron in Racor AND the onboard filter. The volume of flow on the 1000 at 2 micron is far greater than is necessary for my single engine Yanmar, so is never an issue. I change filters every season (roughly 6 months and somewhere around 75-100 hrs which is probably still a high estimate).
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Old 13-11-2019, 13:43   #14
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Re: Hot swap fuel pre-filters

Yes no reason why you cant remove and replace a filter while the engine is running.

So you are also saying that you can also prime/ get all the air out and run the newly replaced filter?

If you say you can Im not doubting, just asking, but can you explain exactly how you do this please?

If you look at the link below for a high end commercial Racor triple filter assembly it has 2 valves per filter, ie an In and an Out, instead of only an 'Out' selector valve. (Dont ask the price.) This is done so you can hot swap the elements.

https://images.app.goo.gl/XaiSsBSqniPHkeiNA
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Old 13-11-2019, 13:45   #15
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Hot swap fuel pre-filters

You can change it, but you can’t bleed it.
Now if you don’t drain the bowl etc, then maybe your engine will “eat” what air there is, I think my old 4-JHE would as it’s a self bleeding engine, many are, not all are.
So as long as there is enough fuel to keep it running it will pass the air onto the return fuel line.

But I’ve yet to need to switch filters when running, what are the odds that you need to switch filters and change out the old one without shutting down?
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