Tuesday, March 7, 2017

Drip, drip

All last summer whenever we ran our generator, the smell of diesel wafted up from under the floorboards.  I looked in vain for a leak on the generator, and had even begun to suspect that there was a high-pressure leak downstream from the injection pump - that would produce a fine mist that might not accumulate and reveal itself.

But when I pulled up the floorboards recently, after not having run the generator for months I found some diesel down there on the floor.

The hunt began anew.

What I finally found was that Racor filter #1 was very slowly leaking diesel... and that it was dripping onto the exhaust hose from the generator.  This explained why the smell seemed to be associated with running the generator.

Examination of the Racor filter bowl showed diesel wetting the lower portion of the bowl.

Racor #1 (filter bowl nearly empty)
There are two penetrations of the bowl - one for the drain (black), and one for a water detection probe or a plug if the probe is not installed (we don't have the probe, so: the white plug):

Bowl penetrations
What to do?  Well, the very first step was to valve Racor #1 out of the fuel line and Racor #2 in instead.  Then I had to get the diesel out of the bowl.  Thankfully, there is enough room under the bowl drain to fit an empty oil bottle.  Draining filled nearly three of these, pausing to go outside and dump them back into the tank, before the bowl was empty.

Diesel drainage tool
I then  removed the bowl.  I removed the drain fitting and the plug and inspected the o-rings that seal each...  Couldn't see anything wrong.  But I cleaned everything up and reinstalled the fittings and then the bowl.

I've refilled the Racor and am waiting to see if the leak re-appears.

While I am waiting (this is a slooow leak), I spent some time online looking to see if I could purchase those o-rings.  No dice.  I could probably take the o-rings to somewhere like Tri-county Diesel and try to get some replacements (both of these o-rings are viton, not neoprene, which makes it a little harder).

But then I found that I could buy an entire new filter bowl, complete with the drain and plug fittings and o-rings for less than $10, so I ordered one (how could I not?).  If my re-making of the o-ring connections fails to stop the leak, I'll just install the new bowl and keep the old one as a spare (I'll replace the o-rings on the old bowl with equivalent neoprene ones).



LittleCunningPlan.com said...

If there is ever a boat part for less than 10$, buy it.

Robert Salnick said...

I know, right?

Drew Frye said...

Something I have always found interesting is testing the pH (test tapes) of Raycor water. Condensation and leakage should be near neutral. If there is infection, I have seen vinegar-like pH, as low as 3.4. At that point, corrosion can really take off. The infection could have been up-stream and have been cured, but the pH is still low.

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