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Racor Filter Cleaning...Continued: T he   Racor   is   called   the   primary   filter.      Usually,   diesel   engines   have   a   smaller,   secondary   filter(s)   mounted   on   the engine   itself.      This   secondary   filter   is   finer   (smaller   micron   size)   than   the   Racor.      Unless   your   particular   engine calls   for   a   fine,   2   micron   filter,   I   would   not   use   this   as   a   primary   since   it   will   clog   up   too   quickly.      This   can   cause fuel   starvation   which   will   create   excessive   smoking,   loss   of   power,   and   eventually   stop   the   engine.      Most   diesel engines   can   pass   particles   as   large   as   30   microns   without   harm   to   their   fuel   pump   or   injectors,   so   usually   where there   is   both   a   primary   and   a   secondary   filter,   the   primary   (the   Racor),   will   be   a   30   micron   (or   sometimes   10 micron).  I prefer the 30’s since they will provide far longer filtering time between changes. A s   fuel   is   filtered,   the   filter   media   will   accumulate   debris   and   clog   eventually   require   changing.      Typically,   the element    will    become    black    with    accumulated    Asphaltenes .        This    greasy,    gooey-like    substance    is    what    is commonly   called   algae.      It   is   not   algae.      It   is   actually   diesel   fuel   breaking   down   over   time.      Deciding   when   it   is time   to   change   the   filter   is   somewhat   arbitrary.      Most   owners   change   filters   based   upon   engine   hours   or   visual inspection   of   the   filter’s   appearance.      A   more   accurate   method   is   to   install   vacuum   gauges   atop   the   Racor   which will   indicate   when   the   filter   has   clogged   to   point   where   changing   is   due.     These   gauges   are   color   coded   so   one   can easily   see   the   filter’s   current   condition   at   a   glance.      Racor   offers   these   gauges   as   options.      I   believe   they   are   a   very worthwhile   addition   and   urge   everyone   who   has   a   Racor   to   add   them.      They   provide   great   piece   of   mind   and   the most accurate means of checking the filters. C hanging   these   filters   is   a   bit   complicated   and   there   are   many   wrong   ways   to   do   it.      Every   technician   has   his   own method,   but   since   this   is   my   article,   I   am   going   to   give   you   the   one   I   feel   is   best.      First,   use   only   genuine   Racor replacement   elements.      I   know   you   are   thinking   he’s   just   selling   the   high   end   approach,   but   hear   me   out.     With   the Racor   filters,   you   can   be   sure   they   will   fit   correctly   and   that   the   filter   media   is   made   with   the   Aquabloc ©    resin. Many   of   the   generics   are   not!      Your   engine   is   too   expensive   to   cheap   out   on   inferior   filters.      Second,   turn   off   any fuel   shut   off   valves   in   the   fuel   lines   on   either   side   of   the   Racor   filter.      This   will   prevent   fuel   siphoning   from   the tank or the engine. A lright,   we   are   ready   to   change   the   filter   cartridge.      Depending   on   the   Racor’s   location   and   accessibility,   it   may   be difficult   to   remove   the   filter   without   spilling   fuel.      Have   fuel   absorbent   towels,   shop   rags   or   paper   towels   ready.     To   prevent   a   fuel   spill   into   the   bilge,   put   a   bucket   or   shallow   pan   beneath   the   filter   assembly.      I   find   a   plastic gallon   oil   jug   works   good.      Cut   a   hole   in   its   side   and   slide   it   beneath   the   bowl   drain.      If   there   isn’t   room   for   this, here’s   a   tip.      I   place   a   heavy    plastic   bag   containing   several   fuel   absorbent   towels   under   the   filter   unit.      I   like   trash compactor   bags.      They   are   rugged   and   will   not   leak   easily.      Be   sure   the   bag   has   no   holes!      If   you   don’t   have   a heavy   bag,   then   double   bag.     With   the   container   or   plastic   bag   spread   beneath   the   filter,   wrap   a   fuel   rag   around   the filter   case   just   below   the   lid.      This   will   prevent   fuel   from   running   down   the   outsides.      Next,   twist   off   the   “T” handle   and   remove   the   lid.      If   you   are   lucky,   fuel   will   not   overflow   the   canister.      With   the   lid   removed,   locate   the two   plastic   handle   tabs   usually   tucked   around   the   sides   of   the   filter’s   plastic   top.      Gently    pull   upward   on   these   to ease   out   the   old   element.      Do   this   slowly   to   allow   fuel   absorbed   in   the   filter   to   drain   back   into   the   unit.      Once   the element is above the fuel level, let it drip awhile, then place it quickly into the plastic bag below.
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