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Old 29-09-2020, 12:23   #1
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Racor vs Separ

We have a Carena 40 with Ford Lehman 2712e from 1980. The boat has been fitted with a Separ fuel filter / water separator. It has worked ok so long as we have had Make My Day. I generally change the filter twice a year and clean the entire unit.

Our fuel tank is in the keel with zero access for cleaning. So Iím planning on adding a day tank and a 2nd filter after the day tank. Iím also thinking about configuring it so I can polish the fuel in the main tank.

My question is does anyone have experience with both Racor and Separ? What are your opinions on the two makes? Is one better than the other? If so, how?
I would like for both filters to be the same make to limit the diversity of spares.

Any input is appreciated.

Thanks
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Old 29-09-2020, 13:15   #2
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Re: Racor vs Separ

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Originally Posted by Make_My_Day View Post
We have a Carena 40 with Ford Lehman 2712e from 1980. The boat has been fitted with a Separ fuel filter / water separator. It has worked ok so long as we have had Make My Day. I generally change the filter twice a year and clean the entire unit.

Our fuel tank is in the keel with zero access for cleaning. So I’m planning on adding a day tank and a 2nd filter after the day tank. I’m also thinking about configuring it so I can polish the fuel in the main tank.

My question is does anyone have experience with both Racor and Separ? What are your opinions on the two makes? Is one better than the other? If so, how?
I would like for both filters to be the same make to limit the diversity of spares.

Any input is appreciated.

Thanks
They look very similar in their build and especially the separ filters w/the clear bowl. While we don't get much water in our filters, the clear bowl does help you see if there is too much water in your fuel.
The Racor appears to have more internal fins inside which may help drop out more water and crud before it goes up into the filter.
Overall it doesn't appear that there is too much difference between the 2 brands to warrant purchasing 2 Racor filters when you would only need 1 more Separ filter to keep them the same.

The day tank idea sounds good (w/a clean out). Would set up a filter and pump from the main tank/before the day tank to make certain that tank stays fairly clean.
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Old 29-09-2020, 15:00   #3
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Re: Racor vs Separ

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Originally Posted by Bill O View Post
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..................................................

1 --- Overall it doesn't appear that there is too much difference between the 2 brands to warrant purchasing 2 Racor filters when you would only need 1 more Separ filter to keep them the same.

2 --- The day tank idea sounds good (w/a clean out). Would set up a filter and pump from the main tank/before the day tank to make certain that tank stays fairly clean.

1 --- Bill's right. Only consideration is the availability of the filters where ever you may be or where you plan to go. Additionally, you should be aware of this:


Fuel Starvation and The Obscure Check Ball Valve


2 --- Also consider how you plan to manage the transfer from the keel tank to the day rank. Manual or automatic? Transfer pump would be in order, rather than using the existing lift pump for transfer by valving. Your boat, your choice. Assure you don;t run out of fuel from the, what will most likely be, the smaller day tank.



Good luck.
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Old 30-09-2020, 01:49   #4
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Re: Racor vs Separ

Thanks for the feedback. These were my major considerations. Especially the availability of spares when in more remote locations.
My plan has always been to use an electric fuel pump that is manually activated to transfer fuel from the main tank to the day tank. Also to install one of the filter / water separator unit with a 30 micron filter in between. The 2nd unit would be a 10 micron between the day tank and the fine filters on the motor. Or maybe use 10 micron filters on both to once again reduce the diversity of spares.
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Old 30-09-2020, 05:48   #5
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Re: Racor vs Separ

Quote:
Originally Posted by Stu Jackson View Post
1 --- Bill's right. Only consideration is the availability of the filters where ever you may be or where you plan to go. Additionally, you should be aware of this:


Fuel Starvation and The Obscure Check Ball Valve


2 --- Also consider how you plan to manage the transfer from the keel tank to the day rank. Manual or automatic? Transfer pump would be in order, rather than using the existing lift pump for transfer by valving. Your boat, your choice. Assure you don;t run out of fuel from the, what will most likely be, the smaller day tank.



Stu,
Thanks to the link highlighting the issue that you found w/the ball/check valve. Guess this means one should do a more thorough cleaning of the filters every once in a while which includes the ball check valve.

Had a similar issue on an old 200 series Racor where the check valve would hang up/cut off fuel on a different boat. It wasn't dirt, but just a design issue. I don't believe they sell that model any more and so far haven't had that issue w/the 500 series.
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Old 30-09-2020, 06:16   #6
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Re: Racor vs Separ

Quote:
Originally Posted by Make_My_Day View Post
Thanks for the feedback. These were my major considerations. Especially the availability of spares when in more remote locations.
My plan has always been to use an electric fuel pump that is manually activated to transfer fuel from the main tank to the day tank. Also to install one of the filter / water separator unit with a 30 micron filter in between. The 2nd unit would be a 10 micron between the day tank and the fine filters on the motor. Or maybe use 10 micron filters on both to once again reduce the diversity of spares.

Sounds like a good plan to use an electric transfer pump to go to the day tank.

After you purchase your second filter and pump for the day tank application, you may want to pump out and filter the fuel from your main tank. While there may be some criticism from some that say the flow isn't enough to get everything, it works fairly well. We pumped our tanks out into 55 gal. drums (then back again) through the fill hole on the tank and haven't suffered a fuel filter clog in rough conditions since. Once you get everything cleaned up you could probably run 10 micron filters in both. Just buy a bunch of those to keep on hand.

We like to pre-filter the fuel before going in the main tanks. This will help stop excess water and crud, especially if you are getting fuel from unknown sources.
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Old 30-09-2020, 07:39   #7
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Re: Racor vs Separ

We have a diesel day tank on our current yacht and it is an excellent addition. The day tank has a large sump with a pick up well above the bottom of the tank (this is only practical on a day tank). The fuel is filtered via a 2 micron filter before entering the day tank ensuring very clean fuel, but with no risk of starving the main engine.

The day tank gravity feeds the engine, so the engine will usually operate with a defective fuel pump, removing another failure point in the fuel system. The day tank can also be filled directly from a jerry can so in the event of severe fuel problems in the main tank enough fuel can be added to manoeuvre in port.

The fuel transfer into the day tank is generally done at anchor when the tank is not agitated. This ensures only the cleanest possible fuel (even ignoring the fine filtration) with minimal water enters the tank.

We also have a fuel polishing system. In may ways this is the opposite of the day tank. It picks up fuel from the very bottom of the main tank, returning it back to same tank. This is generally on for several hours a day, but is run at times when the main tank is most agitated, ideally when sailing.

Day tanks are very common on trawler fuel systems where the diesel supply is obviously vital. No fuel = no propulsion. Fuel systems for a sailing yacht are less mission critical, but a day tank is an easy and cheap addition that often could be retrofitted. If you have the space and are contemplating a fuel system overhaul it is an option worth considering.

All our filters are Racor 900 series. These have a large surface area and are easy to change. The Separ filter systems look very similar, but in the areas I have sailed the elements are less available. Given that many spares are ordered online, this is not a deal breaker, but if you do develop a case of diesel bug then multiple elements may be needed and local availability is a bonus.
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