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Upgrade Your Fuel Filter

Improve the performance of and access to your onboard fuel-water separator with this easy two-for-one project.

Installing a Moeller fuel filter

Upgrading the fuel filter on my center-console ­allowed for improved fuel-water separation performance and easier monitoring.

The on-board fuel filter on my 20-foot outboard-powered center-console neglected to offer the water-separating qualities (not an uncommon problem) or the access I needed to easily check and change it. Here are the steps I took to upgrade the system and enhance the access to it for easy monitoring and changing of the filter element as needed.

Size difference between filters

Here you can see the size difference ­between the OEM Racor filter (top) and the replacement Moeller filter.

Technical Support

Difficulty: Moderate

Tools and Materials:
  • Screwdriver or drill
  • Marker
  • Jigsaw
  • Rotozip router tool
  • 3M 5200 adhesive
  • 10-inch Bomar locking access plate
  • Moeller 10 micron Clear Site water separating fuel filter kit

Time: 2 hours

Cost: Around $100 for filter and access plate

Tools for installing a Moeller fuel filter

1. The materials required for the upgrade included a 10-inch Bomar locking access plate, which replaces the original 8-inch-diameter pop-off plate, and a Moeller 10 micron Clear Site water-separating fuel filter kit.

Removing original access plate

2. I start by removing the original access plate and its mounting base, as well as the original fuel filter which was attached to an OEM glass-over-marine plywood mounting panel with stainless steel screws. You may want to have some rags handy to absorb any fuel that may drip from the fuel lines once their hose clamps are loosened enough to be removed from the barbs on the old fuel filter assembly.

Using a bucket lid for a template

3. Here I'm using a bucket lid that has the same diameter as the outside of the lip on the replacement access plate mounting base as a pattern to trace around for a cutting guide.

Cut hole with jigsaw

4. Using a jigsaw, I cut around the line I drew to enlarge the hole. I also use a Rotozip router tool to smooth the edges and to help cut a small section I couldn't reach with the jigsaw. A portable vacuum removes any fiberglass dust as I cut.

Attaching new filter mount assembly

5. After removing the old filter and mount assembly, I attach the new filter mount assembly to the mounting base using stainless steel screws, reconnect the fuel lines to the barbs, and secure with the original hose clamps.

Mounting new filter assembly

6. Then I mount the new filter assembly in the same place occupied by the old one.

Spin in new Moeller filter

7. I now spin in the new Moeller filter element with the Clear Site drainable base and hand tighten. Lightly lubricate the gasket on the filter with a bit of oil first to help seal the connection.

Seal edges of access hole

8. Using 3M 5200 adhesive, I seal the edges of the enlarged access hole to keep the seam watertight once the deck plate's mounting base is screwed into place.

Secure deckplate base

9. Now I'm ready to slip the deck plate base into place and secure it. Because they were in good shape, I was able to reuse the stainless steel screws that held the former deck plate.

Final installation

10. The result is increased access to an easy-to-see water-separating and drainable fuel filter system.

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Dan Armitage

Contributing Editor, BoatUS Magazine

A full-time travel and outdoors writer based in Ohio, Dan is in his 20th season hosting the popular syndicated radio show Buckeye Sportsman. He gets around on a pontoon boat and an Aquasport center-console, which he uses for all his DIY editorial projects and fishing features. A USCG Captain (Master 50-ton), he’s a popular speaker at boat and sport shows.