Spin-On Filters

Spin-On filter issues:

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.

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. 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.

Priming Access Problem with Racor 400 series

The regular access ports can be blocked such that you may not have access to the outlet of the fuel filter; only access to the inlet, which means fuel that is unfiltered. See this picture. Note how the outlet is blocked by the incoming fuel line. In this case the only access to filtered fuel is thru the vent port. In the picture the vacuum indicator is using that port and would have to be removed. Then a 3/8"-24 fitting inserted. But, the standard fitting has a small hole that needs opening up. Such a fitting would have to be drilled out and prepared in advance.

Cross reference lists for Racor spin-on canister filters(200, 400, 600 series)

Microns in parenthesis: (14). (??) = questionable gasket diameter. ( Wix and Baldwin in ascending length)

Note about Baldwin numbers: "-SP" stands for Sensor Probe. Many of the Baldwin numbers can be gotten with the SP, or -O, even those not listed below. "-O" stands for a separate "Bowl" version.

The 120/140 series R12/R13 may be able to use the Baldwin(no Wix) BF1380, BF1381, BF1379

The (200 series) R24, R26, R15, R20, R25 may be able to use a WIX 33414(14),

33426(6), 33992(9), 33805(12), 33698(4), 33806(9), 33504(no drain)(10) , or

33640(3). Baldwin BF1204, BF1205, BF1205-SP, BF7806, BF1253, BF7529, BF7753.

The (400,600 series) R45, R60, R90, R120 may be substituted with WIX 33417(14), 33617(12), 33970(9), WF10015(?),  33411(14), (??)33611(14), (??)33184(14)

33838(9), 33935(10), WF10021(25), 33892(3), 33780(13), or 33847(30). Baldwin B233, BF1222-SP, BF1223, BF1370, BF1360,  BF1339-SP, BF1348, BF1265, BF1281, BF1375.

UL rated filters: S32xxTUL, RxxxTUL

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.

Notes: 504 has no drain, may not catch water, but is the cheapest and all of the R24 replacements would most likely fit and hold vacuum on the R45 types. The 847 is the cheapest in the larger size group. They seem to all be capable of 90 gals an hour(approx.), but the R24 replacements have fewer holes to allow fuel into the filter than the R45 types. 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. Here are some suggested filter numbers for 200 series filters: 33109 See Also UL filter substitutes.

Note: the 200 series spin-on now have an upgrade kit for the priming pump. It has a black knob and a longer stroke and pumps faster. The older units have a white knob.


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