Fuel Polishing


Mike Johnson
 

Hi Everyone,

 

Has anyone installed a ‘fuel polishing’ system on the SM 2K.  If so we would appreciate comments :

 

  1. Where the ‘fuel polisher’ input was taken from.
  2. Where the returned polished fuel was feed back into the tank.
  3. If the installation was a permanent:
    1. Where the power source was taken from (12v or 24v).
    2. Where the ‘fuel polisher’ was located.

 

We are considering installing the Racor ‘fuel polisher’ and wish to avoid voyage of discovery during installation.

 

Appreciate the help.

 

Mike & Peta

 

SOLITUDE

SM2K 461


Bill Kinney
 

Mike,

Many people have installed, such a system, and I'll let them tell you the how's and why's.  

Our boat did two circumnavigations and accumulated over 8000 engine hours with NO primary fuel filter at all, just a water separator.  Despite the obvious success of that arrangement, I did replace the Amel installed water separator with a standard Racor primary filter because it made me feel better.  

I have had sailboats with diesel engines for over 30 years and have never had a fuel issue that a "fuel polishing" system would have fixed.  To be clear, I have also never had a common rail engine that might require a higher level of fuel filtration.

No matter if you have a fuel polishing system, or not, always be careful where you buy fuel.  If the source is even the least bit dicey, use a good quality filter funnel when filling your tank.  Keep the filter funnel clean and dry, and you're very unlikely to have a problem.

Bill Kinney
SM160, Harmonie
Annapolis, MD, USA


Germain Jean-Pierre
 

Hello Mike,

I have experience with fuel filtration systems and fuel polishing systems. The main issue with fuel in this day and age is the quality of the fuel itself; It ain’t what it used to be!!! The problem also extends to the aviation industry and whilst flying airliners, we never had a problem; the reason is simple, airliners flew 400 hours per month and used a lot of fuel. However, when I started flying corporate jets the situation was different. Typically these aircraft fly less than 500 hours per year and are parked for long periods with near empty tanks … sometimes in moist areas. The bacteria that causes diesel fuel bug is always present in the atmosphere and cannot be avoided. 

Fuel polishing is one means of minimising the possibility of diesel bug contamination and the other is to install a high quality fuel filtration system. Personally I favour basic precautions, a diesel fuel biocide of some sort, full fuel tanks and dual Racor 7550 filters. The diesel fuel pumps on the Genset and the main engine typically feed double the volume needed for operation of the engine. Meaning that 50% of the fuel drawn from the tank is returned to the tank. This is sufficient movement  to ensure that the fuel in your tank is clean. 

The standard precautions are as follows:
-   Keep your tanks full. Always filter the fuel with a good funnel if you have any doubts about its quality. 
-   Add a biocide as directed by the manufacturer. (Biobor or Grotamar are two of them)
-   Relax probably nothing will happen from then on. Of course change the filters when required and verify the sight bowls to guarantee no deposit. 

Installation of a fuel polishing system involves quite a bit of work and sizable quantities of cash. A friend of mine, now stuck in France due to international travel restrictions, asked me to oversee the installation of a fuel polishing system on his boat this year. The installation is successful however his case was different; he had a COVID 19 sized diesel fuel bug problem in his tanks. His boat has large capacity fuel exceeding 1500 L and had been on the hard in Tahiti for an extended period of time due to an unfortunate incident at sea. .. with tanks having a remaining quantity of about 300 liters each. These are perfect conditions for the development of diesel fuel bug. 

System description: consists of Racor fuel polishing pump, a separate Racor 7550 Fuel filter as the pump does not have a sight bowl (although depicted as having a sight bowl on the Racor website, this is not the case ) and you will never be certain of your fuel unless you can visually check from time to time. It also required the design and installation of a cross feeding manifold and distribution valves. This allowed for fuel transfer; a situation which was impossible with the original design. 

On my SM, I opted for the dual Racor filters and I feed through only one of the filters at a time and switch over after each filter change. There is a lot more faffing with the fuel polishing system than with a good fuel filtration system. 

Good luck with your decision and if you require, I’d be glad to talk to you over the Internet. 

Kind regards


Jean-Pierre Germain, Eleuthera , SM007, Opua NZ


On 1 Sep 2021, at 15:54, Bill Kinney <cruisingconsulting@...> wrote:

Mike,

Many people have installed, such a system, and I'll let them tell you the how's and why's.  

Our boat did two circumnavigations and accumulated over 8000 engine hours with NO primary fuel filter at all, just a water separator.  Despite the obvious success of that arrangement, I did replace the Amel installed water separator with a standard Racor primary filter because it made me feel better.  

I have had sailboats with diesel engines for over 30 years and have never had a fuel issue that a "fuel polishing" system would have fixed.  To be clear, I have also never had a common rail engine that might require a higher level of fuel filtration.

No matter if you have a fuel polishing system, or not, always be careful where you buy fuel.  If the source is even the least bit dicey, use a good quality filter funnel when filling your tank.  Keep the filter funnel clean and dry, and you're very unlikely to have a problem.

Bill Kinney
SM160, Harmonie
Annapolis, MD, USA


Mike Johnson
 

Hi Bill,

Thank you for the comments and advice.  We also have never had a problem but in recent years have been collecting increasing amounts of debri in the filters especially following bad weather passages.

Our thoughts were to install a polishing system to ensure the fuel was clean especially when agitated and the accumulated detritus at the bottom of the tank mixes with the fuel.

Very best wishes

Mike & Peta

Solitude
SM2K 461

On 1 Sep 2021, at 04:54, Bill Kinney <cruisingconsulting@...> wrote:

Mike,

Many people have installed, such a system, and I'll let them tell you the how's and why's.  

Our boat did two circumnavigations and accumulated over 8000 engine hours with NO primary fuel filter at all, just a water separator.  Despite the obvious success of that arrangement, I did replace the Amel installed water separator with a standard Racor primary filter because it made me feel better.  

I have had sailboats with diesel engines for over 30 years and have never had a fuel issue that a "fuel polishing" system would have fixed.  To be clear, I have also never had a common rail engine that might require a higher level of fuel filtration.

No matter if you have a fuel polishing system, or not, always be careful where you buy fuel.  If the source is even the least bit dicey, use a good quality filter funnel when filling your tank.  Keep the filter funnel clean and dry, and you're very unlikely to have a problem.

Bill Kinney
SM160, Harmonie
Annapolis, MD, USA


Danny and Yvonne SIMMS
 

Hi JP, I agree with you on the fuel polishing. But I have something to share as to the amount of fuel being pumped and returning to the fuel tank. Some years ago I was trouble shooting a fuel problem. To eliminate all the fuel delivery I got a 5 litre can filled with fuel and put a short suction pipe into it. I was startled at how quickly it emptied, in minutes. I know the question will come, how many minutes. I don't remember but perhaps 10, certainly not as many as 20.

There is a massive fuel circulation going on constantly. Good installed filtration is very important, I have double racors. However filth still accumulates in the fuel and tank.  I got a dock side trailer mounted fuel polishing service to do mine. I was utterly startled at how much filth he got out of the fuel. He had three grades of filter, he said if he began with the fine one it would have clogged in minutes. So the process was coarse, medium, fine and there was buckets of filth brought out by each grade. Looking into the tank there was visible muck around the bottom but the fuel as a whole looked clear. I had no accumulation of sediment in the racor sight bowls and there were no engine issues.

I think periodic fuel cleaning with a dockside system makes sense, but having said that, in the absence of any fuel issues I have only done it once about five years ago.

Kind Regards

Danny

SM 299 Ocean Pearl

On 01 September 2021 at 17:09 Germain Jean-Pierre <jp.germain45@...> wrote:

Hello Mike,

I have experience with fuel filtration systems and fuel polishing systems. The main issue with fuel in this day and age is the quality of the fuel itself; It ain’t what it used to be!!! The problem also extends to the aviation industry and whilst flying airliners, we never had a problem; the reason is simple, airliners flew 400 hours per month and used a lot of fuel. However, when I started flying corporate jets the situation was different. Typically these aircraft fly less than 500 hours per year and are parked for long periods with near empty tanks … sometimes in moist areas. The bacteria that causes diesel fuel bug is always present in the atmosphere and cannot be avoided. 

Fuel polishing is one means of minimising the possibility of diesel bug contamination and the other is to install a high quality fuel filtration system. Personally I favour basic precautions, a diesel fuel biocide of some sort, full fuel tanks and dual Racor 7550 filters. The diesel fuel pumps on the Genset and the main engine typically feed double the volume needed for operation of the engine. Meaning that 50% of the fuel drawn from the tank is returned to the tank. This is sufficient movement  to ensure that the fuel in your tank is clean. 

The standard precautions are as follows:
-   Keep your tanks full. Always filter the fuel with a good funnel if you have any doubts about its quality. 
-   Add a biocide as directed by the manufacturer. (Biobor or Grotamar are two of them)
-   Relax probably nothing will happen from then on. Of course change the filters when required and verify the sight bowls to guarantee no deposit. 

Installation of a fuel polishing system involves quite a bit of work and sizable quantities of cash. A friend of mine, now stuck in France due to international travel restrictions, asked me to oversee the installation of a fuel polishing system on his boat this year. The installation is successful however his case was different; he had a COVID 19 sized diesel fuel bug problem in his tanks. His boat has large capacity fuel exceeding 1500 L and had been on the hard in Tahiti for an extended period of time due to an unfortunate incident at sea. .. with tanks having a remaining quantity of about 300 liters each. These are perfect conditions for the development of diesel fuel bug. 

System description: consists of Racor fuel polishing pump, a separate Racor 7550 Fuel filter as the pump does not have a sight bowl (although depicted as having a sight bowl on the Racor website, this is not the case ) and you will never be certain of your fuel unless you can visually check from time to time. It also required the design and installation of a cross feeding manifold and distribution valves. This allowed for fuel transfer; a situation which was impossible with the original design. 

On my SM, I opted for the dual Racor filters and I feed through only one of the filters at a time and switch over after each filter change. There is a lot more faffing with the fuel polishing system than with a good fuel filtration system. 

Good luck with your decision and if you require, I’d be glad to talk to you over the Internet. 

Kind regards


Jean-Pierre Germain, Eleuthera , SM007, Opua NZ

 

On 1 Sep 2021, at 15:54, Bill Kinney <cruisingconsulting@...> wrote:

Mike,

Many people have installed, such a system, and I'll let them tell you the how's and why's.  

Our boat did two circumnavigations and accumulated over 8000 engine hours with NO primary fuel filter at all, just a water separator.  Despite the obvious success of that arrangement, I did replace the Amel installed water separator with a standard Racor primary filter because it made me feel better.  

I have had sailboats with diesel engines for over 30 years and have never had a fuel issue that a "fuel polishing" system would have fixed.  To be clear, I have also never had a common rail engine that might require a higher level of fuel filtration.

No matter if you have a fuel polishing system, or not, always be careful where you buy fuel.  If the source is even the least bit dicey, use a good quality filter funnel when filling your tank.  Keep the filter funnel clean and dry, and you're very unlikely to have a problem.

Bill Kinney
SM160,  Harmonie
Annapolis, MD, USA


 


 


Germain Jean-Pierre
 

Hi Danny,

Agree with you as well. Before setting off on my RTW, I had the residual fuel polished. Absolutely no CARP in my fuel 7 years later. I also use biocide religiously and keep my fuel tank topped up.  

It is surprising the total amount of fuel the diesel motors pump out of your tank and The percentage returned to the tank. Most people don’t realise it!!

Cheers, we should be out of lockdown at midnight tonight

Jean-Pierre Germain, Eleuthera, FM007, OPUA New Zealand


On 2 Sep 2021, at 07:35, Danny and Yvonne SIMMS <simms@...> wrote:



Hi JP, I agree with you on the fuel polishing. But I have something to share as to the amount of fuel being pumped and returning to the fuel tank. Some years ago I was trouble shooting a fuel problem. To eliminate all the fuel delivery I got a 5 litre can filled with fuel and put a short suction pipe into it. I was startled at how quickly it emptied, in minutes. I know the question will come, how many minutes. I don't remember but perhaps 10, certainly not as many as 20.

There is a massive fuel circulation going on constantly. Good installed filtration is very important, I have double racors. However filth still accumulates in the fuel and tank.  I got a dock side trailer mounted fuel polishing service to do mine. I was utterly startled at how much filth he got out of the fuel. He had three grades of filter, he said if he began with the fine one it would have clogged in minutes. So the process was coarse, medium, fine and there was buckets of filth brought out by each grade. Looking into the tank there was visible muck around the bottom but the fuel as a whole looked clear. I had no accumulation of sediment in the racor sight bowls and there were no engine issues.

I think periodic fuel cleaning with a dockside system makes sense, but having said that, in the absence of any fuel issues I have only done it once about five years ago.

Kind Regards

Danny

SM 299 Ocean Pearl

On 01 September 2021 at 17:09 Germain Jean-Pierre <jp.germain45@...> wrote:

Hello Mike,

I have experience with fuel filtration systems and fuel polishing systems. The main issue with fuel in this day and age is the quality of the fuel itself; It ain’t what it used to be!!! The problem also extends to the aviation industry and whilst flying airliners, we never had a problem; the reason is simple, airliners flew 400 hours per month and used a lot of fuel. However, when I started flying corporate jets the situation was different. Typically these aircraft fly less than 500 hours per year and are parked for long periods with near empty tanks … sometimes in moist areas. The bacteria that causes diesel fuel bug is always present in the atmosphere and cannot be avoided. 

Fuel polishing is one means of minimising the possibility of diesel bug contamination and the other is to install a high quality fuel filtration system. Personally I favour basic precautions, a diesel fuel biocide of some sort, full fuel tanks and dual Racor 7550 filters. The diesel fuel pumps on the Genset and the main engine typically feed double the volume needed for operation of the engine. Meaning that 50% of the fuel drawn from the tank is returned to the tank. This is sufficient movement  to ensure that the fuel in your tank is clean. 

The standard precautions are as follows:
-   Keep your tanks full. Always filter the fuel with a good funnel if you have any doubts about its quality. 
-   Add a biocide as directed by the manufacturer. (Biobor or Grotamar are two of them)
-   Relax probably nothing will happen from then on. Of course change the filters when required and verify the sight bowls to guarantee no deposit. 

Installation of a fuel polishing system involves quite a bit of work and sizable quantities of cash. A friend of mine, now stuck in France due to international travel restrictions, asked me to oversee the installation of a fuel polishing system on his boat this year. The installation is successful however his case was different; he had a COVID 19 sized diesel fuel bug problem in his tanks. His boat has large capacity fuel exceeding 1500 L and had been on the hard in Tahiti for an extended period of time due to an unfortunate incident at sea. .. with tanks having a remaining quantity of about 300 liters each. These are perfect conditions for the development of diesel fuel bug. 

System description: consists of Racor fuel polishing pump, a separate Racor 7550 Fuel filter as the pump does not have a sight bowl (although depicted as having a sight bowl on the Racor website, this is not the case ) and you will never be certain of your fuel unless you can visually check from time to time. It also required the design and installation of a cross feeding manifold and distribution valves. This allowed for fuel transfer; a situation which was impossible with the original design. 

On my SM, I opted for the dual Racor filters and I feed through only one of the filters at a time and switch over after each filter change. There is a lot more faffing with the fuel polishing system than with a good fuel filtration system. 

Good luck with your decision and if you require, I’d be glad to talk to you over the Internet. 

Kind regards


Jean-Pierre Germain, Eleuthera , SM007, Opua NZ

 

On 1 Sep 2021, at 15:54, Bill Kinney <cruisingconsulting@...> wrote:

Mike,

Many people have installed, such a system, and I'll let them tell you the how's and why's.  

Our boat did two circumnavigations and accumulated over 8000 engine hours with NO primary fuel filter at all, just a water separator.  Despite the obvious success of that arrangement, I did replace the Amel installed water separator with a standard Racor primary filter because it made me feel better.  

I have had sailboats with diesel engines for over 30 years and have never had a fuel issue that a "fuel polishing" system would have fixed.  To be clear, I have also never had a common rail engine that might require a higher level of fuel filtration.

No matter if you have a fuel polishing system, or not, always be careful where you buy fuel.  If the source is even the least bit dicey, use a good quality filter funnel when filling your tank.  Keep the filter funnel clean and dry, and you're very unlikely to have a problem.

Bill Kinney
SM160,  Harmonie
Annapolis, MD, USA


 


 


Billy Newport
 

I had my boats tank cleaned last October. There was quite a bit of black stuff on the bottom of the tank. A dock side service just pumped out the fuel, filtered it and then pumped diesel back to the tank, swirled it and shopvaced it out through a racor. Eventually the tank was spotless and the cleaned fuel pumped back in.

I had a clogged filter prior to this, bad enough that the engine wouldn't go over 2k rpms.

Billy


Mike Johnson
 

Hi Billy,

Thanks for the info. Treating our fuel with biocide means all those dead diesel bugs end up at the bottom of the tank:-)

Our rough passage resulted in the debri being lifted into the fuel which was picked up by the pre engine filters.

Regards

Mike & PETA

Solitude
SM2k 461



On 2 Sep 2021, at 12:20, Billy Newport <billy@...> wrote:

I had my boats tank cleaned last October. There was quite a bit of black stuff on the bottom of the tank. A dock side service just pumped out the fuel, filtered it and then pumped diesel back to the tank, swirled it and shopvaced it out through a racor. Eventually the tank was spotless and the cleaned fuel pumped back in.

I had a clogged filter prior to this, bad enough that the engine wouldn't go over 2k rpms.

Billy


Colin - ex SV Island Pearl
 

Mike

We had similar advice about not needing a fuel polisher but still went ahead anyway and installed a "Reverso FPS 80" (from the USA) into our SM2K in 2016 ahead of our circumnavigation. This was in addition to a double Racor filter fuel filter with a quick flick-over switch. Certainly, I would agree with others here that, of the two items, the double Racor filter is more important, but in the end, we were so pleased to also have a good fuel polisher which we used quite frequently, particularly when cruising some countries like Indonesia where fuel was so dirty that we first funneled it all through our Westmarine external filter, then sucked it into our tanks through the fuel polisher.

If you still choose to install a polisher, then, fortunately, on the SM2K, it is not hard to install since there are two nice large stainless inspection ports bolted on the top fwd and aft of your fuel tank. We removed these and employed a skillful stainless welder guy to carefully weld the precise length and angle of stainless pipe/tube to/through each inspection port cap so that the bottom of the fwd pipe sat at the correct low fuel uptake height in the tank, and the aft return flow one sat a little higher (you need to get the specs from the fuel polisher supplier). Your angles here are important too to ensure that it remains easy to still unbolt and remove the inspection hatches with the long pipes attached.

Note that a polisher pickup and return point must be completely separate from your engine pickup/return ports. You should certainly never use the normal engine fuel intake port on the tank. 

In our case, we placed the actual "Reverso FPS 80" wall mount unit on the rear engine bay above the fuel filters where there is sufficient room and from where the plumbing is easy to run to your intake and return ports on top of the fuel tank.

Best of luck with the project.

Colin Streeter
ex Amel SM2K - SV Island Pearl II
Brisbane, Australia



On Thu, Sep 2, 2021 at 9:20 PM Billy Newport <billy@...> wrote:
I had my boats tank cleaned last October. There was quite a bit of black stuff on the bottom of the tank. A dock side service just pumped out the fuel, filtered it and then pumped diesel back to the tank, swirled it and shopvaced it out through a racor. Eventually the tank was spotless and the cleaned fuel pumped back in.

I had a clogged filter prior to this, bad enough that the engine wouldn't go over 2k rpms.

Billy



--
Colin Streeter
0411 016 445


karkauai
 

We just have the dual Racor filter system.  When ever the boat sits for more than a few weeks, I pump a gallon of fuel from the bottom of the tank through a 5ft piece of 1/2” PVC pipe from both the inspection port and the fill pipe into clear containers.  There has never been any debris or water in the fuel to date.

Once I didn't change the filters for 2-3 years, and they deteriorated enough to cause problems. Now I change them every year.

Only once when I bought fuel in the Caribbean, from a questionable source who delivered it to the boat in barrels, I checked the fuel before putting it in the tank, and didn't find any debris or water.  I strained it anyway and it was clean.

I always use Biobor Jr biocide.

Kent & Iris
SM 243
Kristy
In Maine starting back to Chesapeake

--
Kent & Iris
KRISTY
SM243


 

Kent,

I agree on fuel filters, Racor and otherwise. It is not just the hours of engine & Generator time, it is the calendar as well. One year is a good time frame.


CW Bill Rouse Amel Owners Yacht School
Address: 720 Winnie, Galveston Island, Texas 77550 
View My Training Calendar

On Thu, Sep 2, 2021 at 10:40 AM karkauai via groups.io <karkauai=yahoo.com@groups.io> wrote:
We just have the dual Racor filter system.  When ever the boat sits for more than a few weeks, I pump a gallon of fuel from the bottom of the tank through a 5ft piece of 1/2” PVC pipe from both the inspection port and the fill pipe into clear containers.  There has never been any debris or water in the fuel to date.

Once I didn't change the filters for 2-3 years, and they deteriorated enough to cause problems. Now I change them every year.

Only once when I bought fuel in the Caribbean, from a questionable source who delivered it to the boat in barrels, I checked the fuel before putting it in the tank, and didn't find any debris or water.  I strained it anyway and it was clean.

I always use Biobor Jr biocide.

Kent & Iris
SM 243
Kristy
In Maine starting back to Chesapeake

--
Kent & Iris
KRISTY
SM243


Mike Johnson
 

Hi Kent & Iris,

Thanks for the useful information. Perhaps I am being over cautious.

Regards 

Mike & Peta 

Solitude
SM2K 461


On 2 Sep 2021, at 16:40, karkauai via groups.io <karkauai@...> wrote:


We just have the dual Racor filter system.  When ever the boat sits for more than a few weeks, I pump a gallon of fuel from the bottom of the tank through a 5ft piece of 1/2” PVC pipe from both the inspection port and the fill pipe into clear containers.  There has never been any debris or water in the fuel to date.

Once I didn't change the filters for 2-3 years, and they deteriorated enough to cause problems. Now I change them every year.

Only once when I bought fuel in the Caribbean, from a questionable source who delivered it to the boat in barrels, I checked the fuel before putting it in the tank, and didn't find any debris or water.  I strained it anyway and it was clean.

I always use Biobor Jr biocide.

Kent & Iris
SM 243
Kristy
In Maine starting back to Chesapeake

--
Kent & Iris
KRISTY
SM243