Posted by Darrell Nicholson at 02:21PM - Comments: (3)
This new fuel polishing system from Parker, parent company of the well-known Racor brand fuel filters, is definitely worth looking into if you plan on doing some long-term cruising.
One of the first skills the new owner of an old auxiliary-powered sailboat masters is changing the diesel fuel filters and bleeding the fuel lines. The next step is to address the source of the gunk that clogged the filter, but even meticulous fueling practices and a well designed fuel tank won’t guarantee that dirty diesel fuel will never haunt you again.
Our former boat, a 60-year-old ketch, had black iron tanks that proved to be one of the world’s most efficient microbe farms. Rather than replace the diesel fuel tanks (which was beyond our budget at the time), we had the tanks professionally cleaned, changed the fuel-feed setup, and installed a 7-gallon day tank with a home-made fuel polishing system (using an oil-transfer pump and an old Dahl 101 filter). We never had fuel problems again, but I wouldn’t recommend this arrangement for a number of reasons, including the fact that the Dahl filters were a pain to change. Although more expensive, an integrated and purpose-designed pump module and filter like this is much easier to install and maintain.
Practical Sailor has looked at diesel fuel topic from many different angles and anyone dealing with fuel issues on an old boat would benefit from three articles in our archives. The first is our in-depth look at fuel tanks, focusing primarily on installation and material selection. (Aluminum is a cost effective choice, but good installation is key.)
The second article is our recent look at diesel fuel additives. This controlled test examined what worked best against bacteria and fungus in a diesel fuel. As we found from that study, trying to cure a contaminated diesel fuel tank with additives alone is not nearly as effective as a regimen that includes polishing.
Finally, you may also be interested in our short preview of a very similar unit, Filter Boss, which is installed on one of our test boats. Our particular unit is working perfectly, but one PS reader did report to us that he had fuel leaks on his unit. If you have any questions or comments on dealing with diesel fuel contamination, fuel tanks, or fuel systems, I’d like to hear your views.