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Fuel filters


mbird

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A few weeks ago, we had a very hairy experience in a rough sea resulting from engine failure caused by blocked primary fuel filters, resulting in us being rescued by the RNLI and towed for 3.5 hours back to Lowestoft.

 

The filters had only been changed a few weeks before, so this all points to crud in the tanks. Having now inspected the tanks, the amount of sediment etc really isn't that bad, so I am thinking of installing some fuel purifiers from MLS that we saw demonstrated at the Southampton Boat Show; here is their website link. http://www.mlsystem.co.uk/fuel/index.html

 

Has anyone come across these or had any experience with them?

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it looks to do the same as a racor filter, and im guessing its only effective on the water side if you remember to drain it!  sounds like your filter did its job as it worked and became blocked. 

 

I think 2 filters might be your answer.

 

Racor do a very expensive unit with two filters and a changeover valve. you could do the same with 3 ball valves and clever plumbing or a 'T' port valve enabling you to draw through either or both filters, if you set it up to run on one, and the engine starts to labour then open the other and shut off the first.  If you carry spare filters you can change the blocked one and bleed it whist your still out on the water.

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Mark's solution seems to be a good idea. Don't forget that crud in the tank may well be suspended anyway, so a quick check of the fuel might not return an awful lot of dirt. 

 

It's also cumilative, and the filter will block over time. But if you say they're new filters, I would worry that you haven't seen the last of the crud yet.

 

We're working on a petrol tank right now that's been contaminated with water. It's been very difficult to remove the water so far as we can't use normal fuel pumps to get it out of the tank because of the danger of ignition of the vapours. Have been hand syphoning it through the fuel sender hole! Probably got it all now, but about to deploy an AquaSock to get anything that's remaining.

 

Back to your problem; I'd go with Mark's solution as I suspect you haven't seen the last of this.

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Yes, I know it is an additive and they are nothing like a mechanical means to clean fuel but have a look at this

 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=COspRW542dQ

 

I thought the direct comparisons with well known additives was impressive and it is unique in what it does to the bug/water int he fuel.

 

I am sure I had a link to a UK supplier but thats on another computer. 

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Thanks for the reply guys. I've now ditched the idea of the MLS units, as have heard they too become blocked with sludge, but as you cannot take them apart, the sludge just builds up inside the unit (it sticks to the sides so wont drain out of the bottom unless it is in water).

 

I'm now into cutting holes in the tops of the tanks to "hoover" the sludge out and then I'm going to fit new filters with BSS compliant clear bowls so I can keep a close eye on it. The duplex filters are a great idea but horribly expensive....!

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Thanks Trevor. I'll certainly bear that one in mind. I was hoping to use a pump with a reasonable flow rate in order to decant the fuel and also suck up the sludge in the tank at the same time into a container. I'm not sure a submersible would be able to do that, so was thinking of using my little drill pump for that in the first instance. Luckily I've only got about 100 litres in each tank at the moment, so shouldn't take too long to empty.

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Thanks Trevor. I'll certainly bear that one in mind. I was hoping to use a pump with a reasonable flow rate in order to decant the fuel and also suck up the sludge in the tank at the same time into a container. I'm not sure a submersible would be able to do that, so was thinking of using my little drill pump for that in the first instance. Luckily I've only got about 100 litres in each tank at the moment, so shouldn't take too long to empty.

I would get a cheap and cheerful budget manual bilge pump a small tube shaped submersible, if its a bare open pipe that's going in to the tank, tape a stick on the pipe with the stick about 3-4" lower than the end of the pipe, this will stop you sucking from the bottom. once your at that level re-tape to about half inch, this will stop the pipe getting stuck to the bottom of the tank and fill into a separate container.  Aquavac (wet vacuum) the rest.

Hose round and pump out water dry where you can with a rag, then a heat gun and do not refill until your sure its 100% dry and clean.

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