Spin-On Filters

Racor Series 100/200

Racor Series 400/600

UL rated filters: S32xxTUL, RxxxTUL


Spin-On filter issues:

The 100 series units are generally used on Generator Sets, sometimes 200 series units.

The Racor system uses a plastic, sometimes a metal bowl. Unless the bowl can be removed from the bottom of the canister you won't be able to change the filter canister, even where you can remove the canister itself. This implies several things.

You have to have a way to unscrew the bowl. There is a special Racor tool for this. You also need a filter wrench or filter pliers (16" channel lock) to unscrew the metal canister. The typical auto supply store wrench only fits up to 3 3/4" which is not large enough for the Racor canisters; you need 4 1/2".  Be sure you get the right size. The universal rubber ones won't remove a tightly screwed on canister, they slip. You want a metal band type wrench.

If you can get the bowl off, but the canister is stuck there are several lines of attack. Wrap sand paper around the filter and try using two people to grasp the canister. If you have a hose clamp that will go around the filter try using it to get leverage. If you have a pants belt you might try using it. In the worst case, take a screw driver and punch it into the filter and use it to pry it off. Keep in mind that if the bowl gets damaged or leaks, you may be in trouble, since you most likely won't have a spare.

Spin On Filter Bowls and kludge replacements

What you need:

1. Bowl removal tool

2. Canister filter wrench 4 1/4". You may be able to use this to remove the bowl from the canister as well.

Don't leave the dock without this. If you can't remove the bowl and then the canister, having a spare filter won't be of any use.

Summary: I don't like spin-on filters for all of these reasons. They are "toy" filtering systems and if you can't afford to replace the spin-on with a real Racor turbine filter unit, I think you would be better of with one of the cheap "Chinese knockoffs". There, I've said it!

Luberfiner Installing Spin-On Filter

Checklist for Getting Underway

Be sure that you can twist off the bowl and the canister. Don't remove them, but be sure you have the tools or can untwist them by hand before departing.

Have spare filter canisters on hand.

A proper system should have vacuum gauges or indicators(RK32036,7). These should be checked to determine the state of filter plugging. After all, you can't open the canister up like a turbine unit and examine the filter element. If gauges are not installed, then temporary units should be attached and checked. There is no point in going to sea, if the filter is already half plugged and about to starve the engine(s) out.

I have never had both engine canisters plug up at the same time. But, I have had trouble with one out of two about 30% of the trips where they have been the filters in use.

These WIX numbers can be cross referenced to duplicate items from Fram, Fleetguard, NAPA, Donaldson and many others. Note: these WIX and Baldwin numbers are for canisters without separate plastic bowls(but some have built-in drains), as the bowl type replacements are VERY hard to find(in stock). These substitutes are generally used on trucks and are more likely to be stocked.  These substitutes are almost the same diameter, use the same 1 inch 14 thread pipe(18x1.5mm - 120 series), but may not be the same length which impacts ultimate fuel flow and may differ in respect to micron filter specs. Warning: these substitute suggestions and information are not recommended for routine use. Be sure to verify that these substitutes will work in practice as I have not verified them and there may be errors.

Amazon appears to carry all of these substitutes in their stock and can be gotten in 1-2 days. Most of the rest except the 504 have drains to remove water collected from the bottom. Wix, Fram, Fleetguard and Baldwin are considered the better brands.

Real Racors are rated for fuel flow of about 15 gallons per inch of length of filter, subtract 2 inches first then use the resulting length. A 3 inch long filter is capable of about 15 gallons per hour. A spot inspection of the filters above indicates they most likely will flow up to 90 gallons an hour, regardless of length. Amazon shows real Racors in their web site, but these are third party sellers and I could find none that offered overnight, just ground shipping.

Save the gasket from the canister filter element. There are more filters that have the 1"-14 thread and outer diameter, but have a gasket that is too small. You may be able to substitute one of them and use the old gasket to get by.

Things to do to improve a Spin-On filter installation.

Have a kit containing not only the spare filter, but the wrench to remove it and another wrench to remove the plastic bowl and a spare bowl. If the bowl gets damaged or cracked you are in big trouble without a spare. Bag these items in plastic and place them near the filter to be replaced, and if you use these tools for some other purpose be sure to put them back. They are your "first aid kit" and if you need them you will want them in a hurry. If the priming pump on the filter housing is stiff, it may not be usable, see the 200 series replacement pump.  You will then need some diesel fuel, about a quart to fill the filter when you replace the old with new.

It won't hurt to have marked the bleed screw(s) on the engine with red finger nail polish. And, to tie a box/open end wrench of the right size to loosen/tighten the bleed screw(s) on the engine near the bleed screw(s). On sailboats like the Beneteau's the filter is under the aft bunk and there is a small nearly square board to be removed to get at the filter. Replace the board with a transparent plastic one cut to fit so you can see the vacuum gauge that you should fit on the filter. Or, put in a round plastic access plate that can be unscrewed or popped out for quick inspections.

Spin-On filters for the primary filter on single screw boats like sailboats are toy filter systems. Do what you can to improve their safety by some of the steps outlined above.


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