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R A C O R   F I L T E R   C L E A N I N G... the Right way!
I f   you’ve   followed   any   of   the   various   articles   I’ve   written,   you   know   that   much   of   my   business   with   Marsh   Marine is   cleaning   diesel   fuel   and   tanks   (fuel   polishing) .     Along   with   this   service   we   typically   clean   and   replace   fuel   filters. Fuel   filters   are   the   main   line   of   defense   in   protecting   your   engine   from   dirty   or   water   contaminated   fuel.      As   any veteran   boater   will   confirm,   fuel   filters   can   save   you   from   a   very   expensive   tow   bill.      Since   the   most   frequently   used fuel   filters   are   made   by   Racor,   this   article   will   provide   you   some   inside   tricks   and   information   about   how   these specific   filters   work   and   how   best   to   maintain   them.     Whether   you   do   your   own   maintenance   or   use   the   services   of   a professional,   you   should   be   familiar   with   these   procedures   for   two   major   reasons;   first   there   may   come   a   time   when you   might   have   to   do   the   work   yourself   just   to   make   it   safely   back   to   port,   and   secondly,   so   you’ll   understand   if your service technician is doing the job correctly. R acor   filters   are   loosely   divided   into   two   types,   those   that   have   spin-on   cartridges   and   those   using   drop-in   cartridge elements.     The   last   are   easily   recognizable   by   the   “T”   handle   top   and   heavy,   clear   plastic   bowl   at   their   bottom   within which   can   be   seen   an   inverted   cone   shaped   device   called   a   turbine.      Hence   their   name,   turbine   filters .      The   spin-ons are   generally   used   for   smaller   gas   engines.      Their   filter   elements   are   replaced   by   twisting   off   the   old   filter   and replacing   with   a   new.      In   this   article   I   am   going   to   deal   only   with   the   more   complicated   turbine   units.     These   include basically   three   marine   rated   models:     The   500   MA,   the   900   MA,   and   the   1000   MA.      Sometimes   these   will   be   duel   or even   triple   units   hooked   together,   but   for   the   most   part   all   are   about   the   same   other   than   their   size   and   capacity.      If you   have   a   diesel   engine   of   40   HP   or   larger,   you   most   likely   have   one   or   more   of these filters aboard your boat. T ake   a   look   at   Photo   1.      This   is   a   Racor   model   1000   MA.      It   will   serve   as   the demo for our discussion.  Here is how these filters work: F uel   is   drawn   into   the   filter   unit   by   a   vacuum   created   by   the   engine’s   fuel pump.      As   the   fuel   enters,   it   is   directed   into   the   turbine   where   it   is   made   to swirl.      This   swirling   action   causes   heavier   solids   and   bulk   water   to   separate from   the   fuel   and   sink   to   the   bottom   of   the   plastic   bowl.     The   fuel,   being   lighter, rises   and   is   then   sucked   through   the   outer   sides   of   the   filter   element   located above   the   turbine.      As   the   fuel   flows   through   the   filter   media,   fine   particulate matter   is   screened   out   so   only   clean   fuel   reaches   the   inside   of   the   filter   element.     From   there   it   is   drawn   onward   to   the   engine.   The   filter   element   is   coated   with   a special    resin    compound    called   Aquabloc ©     which    prevents    even    microscopic water   droplets   from   passing   through   the   filter.      Racor   offers   three   filter   elements for   each   of   these   three   models.      The   difference   is   the   minimum   size   of   particles, measured   in   microns,   which   the   filter   will   screen   out.      The   micron   size   is labeled   on   the   end   cap   of   the   element   and   the   sizes   are   also   color   coded;   the   2 micron is brown topped, the 10 micron is blue, and 30 micron red.  
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Photo 1
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