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Bowl or no bowl on fuel/water separator?

Old 11-20-2020, 03:09 PM
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Default Bowl or no bowl on fuel/water separator?

I'm replacing my entire housing/filter which is feeding a 225 motor. Any recommendations? My Marpac composite housing corroded super quickly. Is stainless the way to go?

How do you guys feel about the clear bowl on the bottom of the filter element?

I have 5/16 fuel line going to my motor, and I believe it will be 3/8 coming off the tank. Can I stretch the 5/16 black fuel hose over a 3/8 barb on the separator if that's what it comes with?
Old 11-20-2020, 03:29 PM
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Seems everyone here uses Racor fuel filters. So...that's what I put on my boat because I don't know any better. The filter without the clear bowl must be used for "inboard applications". That said, I'm not sure if it's ok to use the plastic bowl for an outboard motor but filter installation below deck or not. I like the bowl because I can easily check to see if there's water or not.

For a 200HP, you should have all 3/8" fuel lines. You should also use the correct size hose barb; they're only a couple of bucks. The Racor should be 1/4" NPT fittings. I used brass. I also used brass plugs instead of the plugs included with the kit for the unused ports.

Last edited by Fingers_Crossed; 11-20-2020 at 03:35 PM.
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Old 11-20-2020, 03:57 PM
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Originally Posted by Fingers_Crossed View Post
Seems everyone here uses Racor fuel filters. So...that's what I put on my boat because I don't know any better. The filter without the clear bowl must be used for "inboard applications". That said, I'm not sure if it's ok to use the plastic bowl for an outboard motor but filter installation below deck or not. I like the bowl because I can easily check to see if there's water or not.

For a 200HP, you should have all 3/8" fuel lines. You should also use the correct size hose barb; they're only a couple of bucks. The Racor should be 1/4" NPT fittings. I used brass. I also used brass plugs instead of the plugs included with the kit for the unused ports.
I had the clear bowl but I'm debating getting rid of it. I'm doing a complete repower.

I called Mercury and they said the engine side was 5/16 so that's what I went with. Don't want issues with the hose being too big for the barb and not sealing properly. I'll have to see if I can maybe re-use the plugs off my Marpac housing. Those still looked pretty good. Not sure what they're made of.
Old 11-20-2020, 04:01 PM
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Coast Guard does not approve plastic bowls on fuel filters if mounted inside.
Old 11-20-2020, 04:07 PM
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Iím a huge fan of the clear bowl with the drain at the bottom but Iíve had issues I guess with the plastic getting warped from the ethanol chasing down air leaks in my current boat so I switch to the large oil filter looking like kind and it works well also. Thereís no draining the water out when your boat stops running though
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Old 11-20-2020, 04:10 PM
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Originally Posted by Bamaskeetshooter View Post
Coast Guard does not approve plastic bowls on fuel filters if mounted inside.
That applies to an engine compartment. Like an inboard.
Old 11-20-2020, 04:21 PM
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AS one who has had the filter without the clear bowl, I much prefer having the clear bowl to be able to observe the condition of my fuel and not wonder if I should change the filter out prematurely.
Old 11-20-2020, 04:24 PM
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My fuel separator is mounted in the bilge at the starboard stern. It's raised from the lower part of the bilge, well above the waterline, but there's only a couple inches of clearance below the bowl. Although it's possible to get under it to sump some fuel, it's a pain in the ass. I wish the previous owner, or Sea Fox, whoever did it, would've mounted it higher since there is room. I don't want to drill anymore holes in my boat than necessary.
Old 11-20-2020, 06:55 PM
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Originally Posted by Bamaskeetshooter View Post
Coast Guard does not approve plastic bowls on fuel filters if mounted inside.
Not exactly.

If a clear bowl can pass the fire test it can be mounted inside with an inboard powered boat. None on the market today apparently can. Thus the caution not to be used inside with an inboard powered boat.

Outboards are excluded. Plastic bowl can be used wherever anyone wants to mount it.
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Old 11-20-2020, 09:19 PM
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Clear bowl with drain. I like seeing the fuel without water droplets or debris in the bowl. Can’t get that day to day visibility with just the filter.
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Old 11-20-2020, 09:47 PM
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Originally Posted by alloyboy View Post
Not exactly.

If a clear bowl can pass the fire test it can be mounted inside with an inboard powered boat. None on the market today apparently can. Thus the caution not to be used inside with an inboard powered boat.

Outboards are excluded. Plastic bowl can be used wherever anyone wants to mount it.
racor sells clear bowl for diesel, inside engine room. maybe not gas?
Old 11-21-2020, 05:58 AM
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I have two 70 fuel tanks and they condensate at lot. I drain an ounce of water every so often.
after setting June til October I got about ten ounces from each tank, even the racor will over load and pass water
Old 11-21-2020, 06:07 AM
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Originally Posted by alloyboy View Post
Not exactly.

If a clear bowl can pass the fire test it can be mounted inside with an inboard powered boat. None on the market today apparently can. Thus the caution not to be used inside with an inboard powered boat.

Outboards are excluded. Plastic bowl can be used wherever anyone wants to mount it.
that is why Racor 900ís have a metal bowl on the bottom. Every one thinks itís to catch fuel . Itís not. itís to meet fire regulations
Old 11-21-2020, 06:47 AM
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Originally Posted by mystery View Post
racor sells clear bowl for diesel, inside engine room. maybe not gas?
Racor sells a filter assembly with a clear bowl for gasoline. For above deck use with an inboard powered boat or for below deck use with an outboard motor. Of course if one wants it above deck when using an outboard motor then they are free to do so.
Old 11-21-2020, 06:48 AM
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Originally Posted by fireisland1 View Post
that is why Racor 900ís have a metal bowl on the bottom. Every one thinks itís to catch fuel . Itís not. itís to meet fire regulations
Yes. To meet fire regulations. For inboard gasoline powered boats.

Does not apply to boats powered by outboard motors.
Old 11-21-2020, 11:18 AM
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I used the Racor with the clear bowl for several years. I use ethanol free marina gas and I never had water in the bowl. Then I had the plastic bowl fall off while underway and it would not reattach. It killed my motor in a crowd of other boats in windy conditions, almost had someone crash into me. Plastic bowl had warped and would not go back on. I had a spare filter but not a spare bowl. OP, if this had happened with a filter mounted in the bilge it would have been a fire hazard.

Racor fans will tell you this was only caused by ethanol but itís a lie, my boat never had ethanol fuel in it. Racor was less than a year old. Since then I have gone back to Sierra metal bowl cheap filters. In 25 years of boating I have never had an issue with them. I change them annually and there is never enough water to worry about. Theyíre one piece so no place to leak, 10 micron filtration just like the Racor, and itís cheap to carry spares.

Regardless of the filter you choose, pay up for a stainless mounting head. The standard ones corrode as the metal they use is crap.

Last edited by 71Outrage; 11-21-2020 at 11:24 AM.
Old 11-21-2020, 12:04 PM
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Yikes! FWIW I don't think the newer clear bowles have this problem anymore.
Old 11-21-2020, 12:17 PM
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Originally Posted by fireisland1 View Post
that is why Racor 900ís have a metal bowl on the bottom. Every one thinks itís to catch fuel . Itís not. itís to meet fire regulations
correct. thats their clear bowl for diesel with the metal bowl. i dont know if they have a clear bowl for gasoline.
Old 11-21-2020, 12:39 PM
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I tried one of these with the metal bowl; if it wasnít such a pain to change the bowl Iíd keep using them but they could make it easier to change. Most years Iíve used the easily available Sierra filters and only had a problem once (threads not cut right so it wouldnít thread on). Iíve also used Evinrude filters for my OMC filter mount.
Old 11-21-2020, 02:22 PM
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Originally Posted by mystery View Post
correct. thats their clear bowl for diesel with the metal bowl. i dont know if they have a clear bowl for gasoline.

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