Filter Management

Maintenance Q & A — April 2001
By Capt. Ken Kreisler

Filter Management

How to change a diesel filter element, solve a hot-epoxy problem, and more.

 More of this Feature
• Part 1: Filter Management
• Part 2: Clogged relief port, and more
 Related Resources
• Maintenance Q & A Index
• Maintenance Editorial
 Elsewhere on the Web
• Detroit Diesel

I’m new to diesels, and the preowned boat I just bought has a single Detroit Diesel equipped with a Sea Pro fuel filter. I’ve ordered an owner’s manual (there was none aboard) and would like some information on how to change the element. Can you help? L.B., via e-mail

This is a pretty straightforward procedure, and you can use the accompanying exploded diagram for reference. With the engine cool, close the fuel inlet and outlet port valves on the fuel processor. Next, loosen the vent plug on top of the element and remove the plug from the bottom drain valve on the processor. Place a suitable container of at least a quart’s capacity underneath it, open the valve, and drain the element of fuel. Once it’s empty, close the valve and tighten the drain valve plug.

Use a suitable strap-type filter wrench to loosen the filter element, then remove it by rotating it counterclockwise by hand. There may be fuel left in the filter, but it will be caught by the deep well in which the element sits and will drain back into the processor.

Remove the black plastic splash seal from the element, and retain it for reuse. Dispose of the used element properly (consult your marina manager), and check the new element to make sure the O-ring seal just inside the center opening and the element seal at the base are installed. If either of these is missing, return the element for a replacement.

Wipe the element seal contact surface on top of the processor with a clean cloth, and lubricate the O-ring and element seals with clean engine oil. Install the filter element onto the processor center stud by pressing down on the element and rotating clockwise to engage the threads. Hand-tighten only. Do not use a strap wrench or other tool to tighten the element, as over-tightening may result in damage to the element or processor. Then push the filter splash seal down over the fuel processor until it is firmly seated.

Remove the vent cap at the top of the element and fill the element with clean fuel. Replace the cap and hand-tighten. Open the fuel inlet and outlet port valves on the fuel processor, start your engine, and check for leaks.

If you need any further assistance, contact Detroit Diesel (313) 592-5000 or visit the company’s Web site at

I mixed up some epoxy, and it became very hot and cured too quickly. What did I do wrong? D.S., via e-mail

You either mixed up too large a batch or the temperature you were working in was too warm for the hardener. The recommended working range is usually between 60 and 72°F, although you may want to check with the product manufacturer. To help avoid this problem, mix smaller batches and transfer the mixture to a container with more surface area immediately after mixing. In addition, many epoxy manufacturers make slow hardeners or those blended especially for warm climates.

Next page > Clogged relief port, and more > Page 1, 2

This article originally appeared in the May 2003 issue of Power & Motoryacht magazine.

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