Fuel filters are often overlooked but they are incredibly important. Every time you take your boat out you should check (it or) them but if you don’t use your boat regularly you should check them between outings as well. The consequences? You will have a boat full of people on a sunny day and your motor won’t start because your fuel filter is stuffed.
A can of baked beans has thicker steel (generally) than a fuel filter canister. It has flimsy cardboard “blotting paper” as a filter. There is no point in thinking that you can buy a higher quality one because they are ALL like that. Why? Because they are a disposable product and they do a great job as is. When they are REPLACED regularly, that is.
If you have a trailer boat under cover in a backyard and use;
• Frequently. Replace filter every 3-6 months.
• Infrequently. Replace filter every year. Try to keep fuel tanks empty when not in use.
Always have a spare filter on hand. If you notice water (in the fuel separator bowl if fitted) find where the water is coming from. It will rust your filter. Replace filter and clean bowl.
If you have a boat on a mooring or in a pen you will probably end up with some water in your fuel. You should DEFINITELY have a water-separating filter assembly.
• Frequently. Check your filter every time for water. Frequent use should purge water out of system. Replace filter/s every 3-6 months
• Infrequently. Check filter even when you are not taking your boat out. Run motor/s. A crook filter will not show up if you just let the motor/s only idle. Give motors a rev once warmed up. The increased fuel flow will sometimes show up a dodgy filter. Check separator bowl for water. It may be dirty and look like fuel so try to observe a water/fuel boundary.
Bacteria will grow in petrol AND diesel. It will clog a filter easily. You may have to purge the fuel system if contamination is really bad. A nightmare. If you use the boat infrequently, leave from last outing with fuel tanks as empty as possible. Only fill up with fresh fuel on the day or a day or so before you go out. Use a biocide/fuel treatment product. They are fairly expensive but worth it.
IF YOU HAVE THE WRONG ATTITUDE A FUEL FILTER CAN BE YOUR WORST ENEMY. IF YOU TAKE THE VIEW THAT FUEL FILTERS KEEP YOUR MOTOR/S HAPPY YOU WILL END UP WITH MANY HOURS OF TROUBLE-FREE BOATING.