Boat Fuel System Maintenance – What you Need to Know

Depending on where you live, there are prime times of the year when you look forward to getting out on your boat again. Boating can be a lot of fun. However, it is always best to be a safe boater while enjoying time out on the water. You should take the time necessary to maintain and inspect your boat before using it to ensure that all of the components are working properly and safely.

For boat owners that have gas-powered motors, it is recommended that your fuel system gets inspected on a seasonal or regular basis. This is necessary because gasoline that is not blended properly can have a negative effect on the components of your boat’s fuel system. Some of the parts that will need to be inspected include hoses, fittings, and filters. Look for any leaks or seeping fuel and make repairs immediately or before you take your boat out on the water.

Don’t Forget to Inspect the Plastic Bowls on the Filters

You should not forget to pay attention to the small, plastic and clear collection bowls that are located on your gasoline filters. In order to stay compatible with the changes to gas formulation over the last 30 years, the materials needed to make the plastic bowls for the filters had to change as well. One of the most known changes in recent years was the addition of E10 or 10 percent ethanol. If you have gas in your fuel system that is more than 10 percent ethanol, it can cause an adverse reaction to the plastic bowl. There could be crazing, loss of clarity and shrinkage. Each of these possible changes could result in the bowl becoming separated from the fuel filter. Other things may result in this as well such as high temperatures, bowl age, fuel additives and ultraviolet lights.

It is very important to regularly inspect your fuel’s plastic filter bowl for water, discoloration, haze and any other deformations. While most bowls will last many years, it is important to replace them right away if any signs of damage are spotted. If you have not inspected your plastic bowl in many years and find that yours is marked with a “Z” or a “PUR” on it, it will need to be replaced right away with another bowl. Typically, these bowls would be replaced with a bowl that has number RK 30475 on it.

Daily Inspections of your Fuel Filters

Each day you want to use your boat, it is important to inspect and then drain your contamination collection bowl of any water. It should be noted that if water is able to fill your clear bowl before it gets drained, it can make it difficult to distinguish from your gasoline. With metal bowls, start by draining a small amount of at least a few ounces. Look for large, clear drops at the bottom. This will be an indication of water present and you may want to drain more afterward if this is the case.

Check Filter Element and Bring Extras

In general, all fuel filters should be replaced as soon as you notice a loss of power or every six months. If you notice signs of rust or sediment in the contaminant bowl, it is best to replace the filter element as soon as possible. It only takes one tank of bad gasoline to clog a new filter. It is always best to have a spare on hand. To help you remember, mark your filter with the replacement date.

Final Things to Consider

Check the Racor bowl to ensure it is fitted tight to the filter’s element. Only tighten by hand by about one-third or one-half turn beyond contact of a gasket. This should be done for the filter element meeting the head as well. Never use any strap wrenches for tightening.

Tips To Remember: Parker Racor brand fuel filters that have metal bowls can be used within engine spaces. Make sure they have enough ventilation around them and be sure to operate your engine blower for at least five minutes before you start a gas-powered inboard boat vessel. Racor fuel filters are made using clear bowls for outboard applications. This is where the filters are open to the air around them.

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