How To Clean Racor Filter Bowl

The Racor filter bowl is one of the most important parts of your marine engine, and for good reason. It’s what keeps you from having to replace your fuel filters over and over again with every new tank of gas. The good news is that cleaning the Racor filter bowl doesn’t have to be difficult. You can clean this part in about 20 minutes or so with some basic tools, a little bit of patience, and a few key tips.

What Does the Racor Filter Bowl Do?

Before we talk about how to clean a Racor filter bowl, let’s first discuss what this part does. As the name implies, the Racor filter bowl acts as a filter for your fuel. It is installed in the fuel line between your fuel tank and your engine. The filter bowl has multiple layers that help to sift out larger particles that could clog your fuel lines. This keeps those smaller particles from getting through to the fuel filter, extending its lifespan and keeping unwanted particles out of your engine. The Racor filter bowl also acts as a bowl to collect any water that may be in the fuel. Again, it’s important to keep water out of your engine because it is highly corrosive and could cause serious damage over time.

How to Check for Racor Bowl Damages

  • Remove Racor bowl from fuel line.
  • Take a close look at the inside of the bowl.
  • Examine fuel line from the bowl to the fuel filter.
  • Check for signs of gas leaks.
  • Run the engine for a few minutes.
  • Shut off the engine and check for more signs of leaks.
  • If you find any damage to the bowl you may need to replace the entire bowl.

How to Clean a Racor Filter Bowl

Cleaning the Racor filter bowl is often a necessary step when you are servicing the unit. When cleaning your filter bowl, you’ll want to use a solvent like acetone or alcohol. This will help to dissolve any solids that may be clinging to the bowl. Also, make sure to unplug the fuel line. This will prevent any solvent from traveling back to the fuel filter. Now you’re ready to get cleaning. You’ll want to start by using a stiff bristled brush to scrub away any stubborn particles. You can also use a piece of sandpaper and a little elbow grease to really clean off the bowl. With the bowl clean, your next step will be to flush it out with a solvent. Make sure you flush the bowl with the right solvent. For example, acetone will dissolve any varnish build-up on the bowl, but it’s also flammable. Ether, on the other hand, is non-flammable but won’t dissolve varnish.

Why is My Racor Bowl Dirty?

If you find that you are cleaning your Racor bowl more than once a year, there may be an underlying problem. The first thing to check is the condition of your fuel. If your fuel tank is full of water, your Racor bowl will be dirty. Make sure your fuel tank is drained and that you are using a low-sulfur content diesel. You may be getting water in your tank through a bad fuel pickup. If this is the case, you can install a fuel filter on the line between your Racor bowl and the fuel tank to filter out any water.

Tips for Cleaning Your Racor Bowl

  • Always wear safety goggles when cleaning your Racor bowl.
  • Be careful when cleaning the inside of the bowl. It’s possible to damage the screen.
  • If you are cleaning a used bowl, make sure the screen inside the bowl is not bent.
  • Always use a solvent approved for cleaning Racor bowls.
  • Never use a wire brush or steel wool to scrub the bowl.


The Racor filter bowl is an important part of your engine. It keeps unwanted particles out of your fuel line and extends the life of your fuel filter. The good news is that this part only needs to be cleaned once every couple of years. Before you know it, you’ll be enjoying clean, safe fuel and fewer trips to the boatyard.

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