By Tom Burden, Last updated: 08/31/2016
Recently we learned a disturbing lesson from a very experienced local marine surveyor. It seems that an obscure reference in the ABYC (American Boat and Yacht Council) Standards mandates that all fuel filters used on diesel engines withstand a heat requirement if they are mounted in the engine compartment. We started to become more concerned when one of our technical writers, who lives aboard his Catalina 30 sailboat, got a package from his insurance company. It contained a survey for him to fill out, asking among other things, about Dahl and Racor filters with plastic bowls. The insurance company included a disposable camera, and requested photos of the filter. After researching this situation with the folks at the ABYC and at Racor we discovered the following:
ABYC standards for inboard fuel filter installations for gasoline or diesel engines require that filters installed within the engine space must be able to pass a two and one-half minute heat test as defined by ANSI/UL 1105. Gasoline and diesel filters that meet this requirement are generally equipped with a metal bowl. Filters with plastic sight bowls must be equipped with a metal heat shield to pass the test. Boaters with diesel engines who prefer a filter with a see-thru bowl should select one of the Turbine Series by Racor, which includes the heat shield. Racor spin-on filters (with metal bowls) for diesel installations are available by calling 1-800-BOATING.