DIY Fuel Polishing System

Mar 20, 2011
600
Hunter 31_83-87 New Orleans
Has anyone built their own portable fuel polishing system? What’s involved and things to consider? I want to be able to polish my fuel and am considering this Racor system. Also not sure what filtration level to polish to 10, 5, or 2?


Any/ all suggestions welcome. Thanks
 
Feb 26, 2009
604
Oday 30 Anchor Yacht Club, Bristol PA
I would suggest, you save your money or use it to make access into your fuel tank, get spotlessly clean. Clean, the pick up tube and your fuel polishing problems will be over.

Racor filters are very expensive if you really feel you must build the system, use two and three in line oil tank fuel filters like what are used on residential fuel oil tanks (cartridge style even) they are allot cheaper.
 
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dmax

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Jul 29, 2018
534
O'Day 35 Buzzards Bay
That's an expensive system, you can build one yourself for much less. This thread has lots of good information on whether it's worth having one: Fuel Polishing
 
Jan 4, 2006
3,989
Hunter 310 West Vancouver, B.C.
A cheaper approach might be to have the tank professionally polished (check the cost of pressure washing) and then chemically take care of it.

Mine is 22 Y.O. and nary a speck of dirt that I can see through the inspection hole.
 

capta

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Jun 4, 2009
4,320
Pearson 530 Admiralty Bay, Bequia SVG
There is little advantage to a polishing system if your tank(s) are not spotlessly clean. You already have (or should have) at least 2 filters in your fuel line and the vast majority of the diesel pumped to the engine returns to the tank cleaned.
Our tank (170 gal) with several baffles is rather dirty and we use a Racor as our primary filter. This is changed frequently. The secondary is rarely all that dirty when we change it, after about 6 Racor filter changes.
 
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Oct 22, 2014
16,428
CAL 35 Cruiser moored EVERETT WA
I want to be able to polish my fuel and am considering this Racor system.
When I have a flash of an idea, especially in the evening after a glass or two of wine, I try to put the credit card away and let the idea rest till after my morning coffee.

@dmax shared a good link. I liked the observations shared by MaineSail. Fuel Polishing

Capta makes a great observation. With the small fuel tanks on most sailboats it is cheaper to throw the grunge fuel away (even at $5 per liter) than to build a polishing system and try to filter 20 gallons.

Finding two 85gal tanks installed in my boat with about 145 gallons of diesel and no way of knowing how old it was, the subject of fuel polishing was explored. I found that I could treat the fuel with chemicals, and carry enough Racor filters (at $10 a piece) on board just switching the filters out when they became clogged. The cost was way more favorable than buying a polishing system.

In about 3 years I ran through all the old fuel and a few filters. I got pretty fast at filter changes.

I would not put a lot stress on the issue.
 

senang

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Oct 21, 2009
220
hunter 38 Monaco
Fuel polishing system is a circulating pump, a particle filter, a water separator (often combined) and a timer. I made my own after creating an access hatch and cleaning the tank. Still going strong, no water, no gunk in the polishing filters/separators.
 
Mar 20, 2011
600
Hunter 31_83-87 New Orleans
When I have a flash of an idea, especially in the evening after a glass or two of wine, I try to put the credit card away and let the idea rest till after my morning coffee.
great advice. That’s why I reached out to the forum for input. Thanks for all the responses. With my small tankage I’ll go the disposal and refresh route with addl filters.
 
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Jan 27, 2008
3,010
ODay 35 Beaufort, NC
I made a system and it is more for polishing the fuel going in the tank to make sure it is clean than to clean old fuel. I made an L shaped plywood board with a Racor S12 or something filter, a cube type 12V pump and a switch. A few hoses and some fittings and it was probably around a hundred bucks. You can get low cost filters at tractor supply for diesel fuel, doesn;t have to be "marine". The same pump is useful to pump out the tank for cleaning and inspection into five gallon jugs. My tank is 23 gallons so four jugs will empty an almost full tank. 500+ dollars is ridiculous unless you plan to go into business. I buy my fuel in five gallon jugs, run it through the filter system into a known clean jug then put it in the boat. To get rid of old fuel offer it up to a fishing boat with diesel motors. Those guys use a lot of fuel and love it for free.
 
Oct 22, 2014
16,428
CAL 35 Cruiser moored EVERETT WA
There was a filter container from the 70's, that let you put a roll of toilet paper in the container as a filter medium. Wonder how that might work in this project. Looked pretty simple in design and inexpensive for a filter medium.
 
Jan 7, 2011
3,043
Oday 322 East Chicago, IN
There was a filter container from the 70's, that let you put a roll of toilet paper in the container as a filter medium. Wonder how that might work in this project. Looked pretty simple in design and inexpensive for a filter medium.
Only if it wasn’t single-ply :poop:

And during the start of the pandemic, you could not buy your “filters”.


Greg
 
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senang

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Oct 21, 2009
220
hunter 38 Monaco
There was a filter container from the 70's, that let you put a roll of toilet paper in the container as a filter medium. Wonder how that might work in this project. Looked pretty simple in design and inexpensive for a filter medium.
You can still buy these filters, but they are intended for use in engine oil filtration. At least that is the only toilet paper filtration installation that I have found when looking for fuel filtration.
 
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PaulK

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Dec 1, 2009
861
Sabre 402 Southport, CT
Fuel polishing system is a circulating pump, a particle filter, a water separator (often combined) and a timer. I made my own after creating an access hatch and cleaning the tank. Still going strong, no water, no gunk in the polishing filters/separators.
Does this result - no water, no gunk in the polishing filters/separators - indicate, as Capta suggests, that polishing is unnecessary for most of us? If you are heading to Africa or sketchy parts or S.America it might be more useful to polish your fuel. Keeping tanks clean seems like a more reasonable approach for most American cruisers.
 
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senang

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Oct 21, 2009
220
hunter 38 Monaco
I am sailing in the med. You can always get the bottom of the storage tank unknowing to you and only find out the problem created when the weather gets rough stirring up the tank contents. Polishing is my solution to this problem. Some will tell to use a funnel with filter but this is not a practical solution in the med in summer when you are lining up with many other boats for a fill up.
 
Dec 25, 2000
5,104
Hunter Passage 42 Shelter Bay, WA
Hi Jerry, never had a need to polish our fuel; always clean as mentioned in a previous post, since most of the filtered fuel is returned to the tank for further use. I replace our filters after a couple hundred hours or every other season. even then not that dirty and a smidgeon of water. Both our filters (Racor primary, NAPA secondary) are ten micron, which is more than adequate to protect your engine. You can go less, but...
 
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Dec 28, 2015
1,393
Laser, Hunter H30 Cherubini Tacoma
May 24, 2004
6,841
CC 30 South Florida
Has anyone built their own portable fuel polishing system? What’s involved and things to consider? I want to be able to polish my fuel and am considering this Racor system. Also not sure what filtration level to polish to 10, 5, or 2?


Any/ all suggestions welcome. Thanks
10 will be fine and the filter will last a lot longer. A small fuel polishing system is no better than the primary fuel filtration system in your boat. The small marine auxiliary diesels can tolerate contaminated fuel without skipping a bit so just polishing the fuel yields no noticeable results. The usual problems come from dirty fuel tanks where sediments get stirred and clog the filters. A professional fuel polishing service can significantly help with removing sediments from the bottom of the tank. A professional will have a system with a strong pump, a series of large filters, water separators and high volume hoses. That system will pump fuel with pressure to stir sediments and bacterial globs, suck them out of the tank, filtrate them out of the fuel, and return the fuel to make additional passes in a time efficient manner. A fuel polisher is not something that will be used frequently so it is better to hire it out when needed.
 
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Jun 9, 2008
1,648
- -- -Bayfield
I own one of those Racor systems you found on Amazon. It was easy to use and worked quite well. It is spendy as are the filters.