Paper Towels and Racor Filters

[QUOTE=anchorman;167760]Regardless (if it works or not), if something does happen, and lives are lost, and the court asks about maintenance history and OEM recommended parts…and you answer with a roll of Bounty in the fuel system, say bye to your wife and kids. You are going to jail for a very long time, if you are lucky. For fucks sake, think about your family before doing something stupid. Using OEM parts also take liability away as well, beside being more dependable and suited for purpose - for a few bucks?[/QUOTE]

I concur. This may sound stupid, but this particular housing may have been designed with the intent to use paper towels as filters. I do recall them being a larger, non ‘racor’ housing.

After a couple beers, and a couple phone calls to dumbfounded ex-coworkers, the name of the company is gulf coast.

The two boats I worked on, one was a graham crewboat built in the 90s…the other was a graham utility boat built in the 70s. One was owned by a riff raff outfit, the other wasn’t. They kept the practice of using bounty paper towels as fuel filters. Why? well when I worked there the port engineer told me so. This was in the infancy of my workboat career…I wouldn’t be surprised if these boats updated their primary filters since then.
I went to gulf coasts website and it looks like the housing still looks the same…however they do sell an element/filter. If that has always been the case it does make it funny in a scary way about the common practice of using bounty paper towels.

I saw this first on the utility boat about 15 yrs ago. I was on my first issue. I did think it was odd using paper towels as filters…but then again the aft steering station being backwards (turn the rudder to stbd it goes to port) was odd too if you ask me.

When you can’t just drive down to Home Depot you have to use what’s available. I can see using paper towels in a pinch. What I can’t see is doing it because the captain told me to.

If the system was designed originally to use paper towels that’d be one thing, to use paper towels in a system designed for something else is another.

Someone may feel intuitively that using paper towels in a pinch is better then just by-passing a pluged filter but what reason is there to think that someone’s intuition on this is correct? I can imagine how the paper might behave inside a filter but I have no basis to think what I imagine is correct.

I am only going to simply ask if one gets enough flow through paper towels? If it was an emergency, I’d use anything that worked until I could get the genuine article.

I once delivered a utility boat from the GoM to the West Coast and when the fuel got low in the tanks and we were bucking weather coming up on Baja we were going through Racors almost hourly and had to put into Cabo to get more. I wonder if we could have made it to LA on paper towels? Still it was nice to pick up Tequila and Camarones…

The paper towel filters are specifically made to run them they and are made by a company out of Pascagoula MS. I’ve only seen one on a crew boat, a CBI built one many years after they sold it, but it was on the air compressor outlet not the fuel. I remember them switching out the fuel filters for Racor housings because they might have been the paper towel ones. I don’t really remember.

You also have to think these are being used on old Detroit Diesel 71 and 92 engines. Not the most finicky of engines, as long as it didn’t take a big slug of water to knock all the injector tips off or big enough particle to block all the injector’s it’s going to run.

I remember stories about how Graham would send down Bounty and generics. Bounty for the filters generics for the boat use and hell was paid if the port captain came on board and found Bounty paper towels being used instead of the generics. Graham was the king of cheap, but he treated his crews good and had some of the best health insurance back in the late 80’s early 90’s.

Wouldn’t the pressure just collapse the cardboard tube in the centre and then bypass it?
I could imagine it working if you had a solid centre.

Thanks, that about sums up what I thought. I did a google and found that using paper towels and toilet paper rolls is somewhat common in the fishing boat end of the industry, and am not surprised. . . I can say that the housings were Racor, and this individual was surprised, hence his FB post (which has since been wisely removed). He asked me what I thought of it, and all of the concerns I had are confirmed here. I know which company it is, but will not pass that along.

I’ll just concur with everyone who said: 1.) This was not a work-around or emergency fix, but SOP with custom housings; 2.) Big trouble if the port captain found you using the Bounty paper towels in the galley; 3.) Graham hulls.

In my case, it was a 5-screw (Cat 3412s) crew boat. Thought it was odd as hell.

[QUOTE=Jemplayer;167783]

You also have to think these are being used on old Detroit Diesel 71 and 92 engines. Not the most finicky of engines, as long as it didn’t take a big slug of water to knock all the injector tips off or big enough particle to block all the injector’s it’s going to run.[/QUOTE]

That is another good point, about the power package…the crewboat I was on, for example, before it came to so cal from alabama they decided to repower it with the first generation C32 engines…but they kept these old filter housings. This was almost ten years ago and that operator probably changed them out by now.

The Filter housing resembles a raycor, actually the internals are different and the manufacturer lists bounty towels as the correct media. Used them for years and while I have no idea what micron rating you can achieve, I have never had any problems with them. Totally understand how weird this is but its true.

[QUOTE=Druryche;168634]The Filter housing resembles a raycor, actually the internals are different and the manufacturer lists bounty towels as the correct media. Used them for years and while I have no idea what micron rating you can achieve, I have never had any problems with them. Totally understand how weird this is but its true.[/QUOTE]

In this instance, I was told that they were (are) using paper towels in RACOR housings. . .

I just noticed this fantastic thread. LMFAO.

I have done a lot of stupid half-ass stuff over the years to get by in a pinch, but nothing like this.

This is a good example of what a farce safety is at many companies. They want you to wear a hard hat, work vest, steel toe boots, ear muffs, and googles to walk out on deck for fresh air while secure at the dock with no wind or current, because none of that costs the company anything, but to save $5 per day, they will gladly compromise safety by substituting rolls of Bounty in place of proper fuel filters.

A awhile ago I took a vessel through USCG inspection. The very young woman USCG inspector was very particular about hoses. She was having a good time condemning perfectly good fuel and hydraulic hoses when she could not read the USCG or UL or SAE approval numbers stamped on the hoses or could not cross reference the numbers that she could read in her book.

I have to wonder where a USCG inspector would find the approval numbers on a roll of Bounty?

It’s been a long time since I thought about those things.Graham and CBI used to run them on the DD boats. I don’t think they were Racor housings.CBI and Graham were both heavily influenced by the shrimpers from the towns that the companies were located, so the practice probably started that way. I do remember being told that they had to be bounty,though.I remember having to run to the grocery store for a crew boat with 16-149s because the office had started cheaping out on cleaning supplies and went with generics. The captain swore up and down that no other brand would work. Who know?

[QUOTE=cmakin;167685]Not sure if this should go in the Offshore category or this one. I have a FB friend who just got a job (yeah, amazing) on a crewboat. He made a post about how they are using Bounty paper towel rolls as filter elements in their Racor filter system, complete with photos. . . . I mentioned that this probably wasn’t the best practice. . . he stated that it was what the Captain told him to do. . . . I am guessing that this is an oil patch kind of thing, but my mind reels with the problems that it creates. . . . ended up getting into a bit of a heated exchange with one of his buddies regarding the water separating characteristics of a Racor filter system, but that is not the topic here. . . .

Just wondering if this was a common method of operation.[/QUOTE]

Wait, what? You have SeaTow on speed dial right?

Common method of operation?

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[QUOTE=txh2oman;167791]I’ll just concur with everyone who said: 1.) This was not a work-around or emergency fix, but SOP with custom housings; 2.) Big trouble if the port captain found you using the Bounty paper towels in the galley; 3.) Graham hulls.

In my case, it was a 5-screw (Cat 3412s) crew boat. Thought it was odd as hell.[/QUOTE]

Good thing they were Cats.

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Good grief. There’s a whole thread on the trawler forums about TP as filters.

I’ve seen the bounty run as fuel filters alot! As said before, keep up the maintenance and drain the fuel trap every 4-6 hrs and you’ll be alright. Change Paper towels every 3 days (72 hrs). Good rule of thumb we ran by was when you swap gens, change filters… I have personally not seen any problems occur by running that system and I know a bunch if oil path capts swear by them.

Where are you getting this fuel? We run serious hours but change filters after multiple HUNDREDS of hours. We switched fuel vendors a while ago and filter usage is a fraction of what it was.

All over the place. But the problem is we never run with an ass load of fuel… All our jobs are a month or less and we hit the dock every 2 weeks so we take on what we need then after 2 weeks take more fuel. After 4000-5000 gal fuel sloshes around in 5 ft seas you tend to stir shit up. Now when we ran racors in other boats (sister boats) we would change them every 250 hrs. Bounty dosent last long at all.

[QUOTE=catherder;168910]Wait, what? You have SeaTow on speed dial right?

Common method of operation?

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Good thing they were Cats.

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Good grief. There’s a whole thread on the trawler forums about TP as filters.

http://www.trawlerforum.com/forums/s6/micron-rating-ordinary-toilet-paper-5453.html[/QUOTE]

Yeah, my thought exactly. . . Now, my entire sea going career was outside of the oil patch, other than sailing through it. My exposure to the patch operations started when I signed on at ABS here in the Gulf. Quite an eye opener. . . . things have changed some since those Halcyon days in the 70s, 80s and 90s. . . .

When it comes to where you take on Bunkers, you really need to pull samples as I have seen some really bad shit come down the pipeline. Kochi on the N.J. side of the Delaware in PA. gave us some shit fuel several times. e would pull samples right at the start and ust before finishing. Well, after having so many problems with plugged filters (Real Racors) we started pulling samples at different times during fueling. We caught them several times sending what looked like diluted 6 oil down the pipeline.

I remember when they stared dying the Diesel Red, our Racors would plug after 100 hours or less. T bad thing is you never knew when they would plug. This is not fun when going through Hell Gate and have a filter pull and just about stall the Generator. If course someone thought it was a good idea to have a Single F.O.F. instead of a Duplex setup.

I always get samples. We try and ask for 3 but usually only get 2. But it always looks good. It’s when a boat doesn’t have work for about a month you stack it then 3-6 months later pull it out of stack and its always a hassle. I’ve pulled a many of boat out of stack and usually you run through a filter a day for a good while until they start looking better, hence the bounty paper towel filter.