How often to change impeller? - SailNet Community
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post #1 of 25 Old 05-09-2014 Thread Starter
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How often to change impeller?

I have a Yanmar 4JH2E. I had been under the impression that changing the raw pump impeller was just part of normal annual maintenance. I was told by a mechanic that the impeller is rated for 1,500 hours and does not need to be replaced annually. Could the 1,500 hour interval be correct or did I misunderstand him?
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post #2 of 25 Old 05-09-2014
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Re: How often to change impeller?

You'd be amazed at how many 1 year old impellers are missing vanes or have cracked blade roots... For the short money, vs. an overheat, I simply swap it out yearly... There is a LOT that plays into the life of an impeller, including things like jelly fish, weeds or muscles in the intake etc.....
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post #3 of 25 Old 05-09-2014
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Re: How often to change impeller?

My feeling is that it comes down to use, abuse and age. If the engine is run fairly often year-round with adequate water flow they can last a good long time. If they are run dry, hot or sit unused (installed) for a long time they break down, vanes retain a bend, crack at the base and break off. Regular inspections to confirm they're okay is important...with the pump faceplate off you can crank the engine a split second to turn the pump a little so you can check for deformed vanes.

To do a better inspection though you need to take the bloody things out to check the base of each vane for cracking, so as mainsail said, it's pretty short money to pop a new one in while you've got the pump opened up, and it gives you a little more peace of mind. I have half a dozen used ones that look fine sitting in the onboard parts box, because I can't bring myself to toss the darn things
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post #4 of 25 Old 05-09-2014
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Re: How often to change impeller?

I change mine every year, if not more often. The pink antifreeze is not kind to impellers. Have lost 2 blades already and have disconnected the hoses and cleaned out the heat exchanger tube twice now in search of debris. I always carry a spare onboard, along with some Hondabond to seal the pump face plate.
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post #5 of 25 Old 05-09-2014
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Re: How often to change impeller?

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Originally Posted by sugarbird View Post
My feeling is that it comes down to use, abuse and age. If the engine is run fairly often year-round with adequate water flow they can last a good long time. If they are run dry, hot or sit unused (installed) for a long time they break down, vanes retain a bend, crack at the base and break off. Regular inspections to confirm they're okay is important...with the pump faceplate off you can crank the engine a split second to turn the pump a little so you can check for deformed vanes.

To do a better inspection though you need to take the bloody things out to check the base of each vane for cracking, so as mainsail said, it's pretty short money to pop a new one in while you've got the pump opened up, and it gives you a little more peace of mind. I have half a dozen used ones that look fine sitting in the onboard parts box, because I can't bring myself to toss the darn things
If the cover plate comes of my, or any customers pump, a new impeller goes in. Never had a single customer resist a new impeller when they asked me to "check" the old one... Not worth the time or the $18.00 +/- to not throw a new one in if you have the plate off...

Other thing such as winterizing and the AF chosen can also impact impeller life... It costs a customer far more for me to go chasing impeller vanes into a heat exchanger than it does to simply pop in a new impeller. Some Yanmar's are a PITA as are some Westerbeke engines but it is still not a bad job on most boats...

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post #6 of 25 Old 05-09-2014
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Re: How often to change impeller?

At $20 per impeller I would be much happier at my yearly impeller change than I am now. The Yanmar 3gm30f impeller goes for more like $40. I have always thought there must be a good quality equivalent for around $20.

Does anyone know a source for a good $20 impeller available?

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post #7 of 25 Old 05-09-2014
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Re: How often to change impeller?

11 + years as a full time liveaboard and I have never changed an impeller.

Pulled them both after 6 years prior to a transatlantic but both were fine so popped them back.

I do carry spares.
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post #8 of 25 Old 05-09-2014
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Re: How often to change impeller?

Hey,

I have owned my O'day since 2006. I have changed the impeller twice and the water pump once. I inspect the impeller in the spring as part of commissioning and as long as there are no cracks in the vanes I just leave it alone.

FYI, the first time I changed the impeller I removed a perfectly good looking black impeller and installed one of the Globe 'run dry' blue impellers. Well the Globe impeller lasted less than one year before the vanes cracked at the base. After that experience I don't use Globe impellers anymore and I haven't had any problems since.

It is VERY easy to reach the impeller on my boat and I carry a spare so I can easily change one underway if I have to.

Barry

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Mt. Sinai, NY

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post #9 of 25 Old 05-09-2014
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Re: How often to change impeller?

Just had an discussion with a friend who changes impeller every 5 years. (about 500 hours) says never had a problem...
I change every year and will continue to do so, even though I
have to remove water pump to change.
Very bad feeling to have an impeller go and motor overheat, happened a few years ago while coming into harbor alone, between 2 large jetties, with no wind, light opposing current and large ferry bearing down fast. (Port. Jefferson, Long Island)
Oh forgot about the nasty, widespread thunderstorms expected within the hour.
Actually was a new impeller that the vanes parted from the core,
but figure odds are in my favor changing every year.
I always keep a spare aboard.
Not to leave you hanging, if any interest, on how I made out that
afternoon. Would love to tell you about my intrepid seamanship
but the truth is...
As I was attempting to turn boat away from oncoming ferry, thinking as I readied the anchor, would my anchor and short scope keep me off the jetty when the wake of the ferry past within 20-25 ft ... I looked over my shoulder, within hailing distance was a SeaTow captain coming in for the day.(First and only time I have used my membership, but worth it) Like always to be independent, but also like to use all resources available. Within a minute was under tow and was anchored before the weather came, thinking
all in all, that day I had no complaints.
Change your impeller early and often as one never knows.
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post #10 of 25 Old 05-09-2014
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Re: How often to change impeller?

Hugo, I know your pain. I had an impeller go on me @ PJ as well. It was the 1st year I owned this boat. Flow and temp was always good. There was a spare left on board by the PO so I felt Ok.

Motored up the East River, had unusually good winds for the western sound that summer day, so I sailed all the way to PJ. Got to the PJ mark and go to start the engine, no flow, Temp rising fast. Try to sail into harbor, 2 kn. current against and wind right out of the channel, ferries coming and going.
Not the best place to be short tacking.

Finally got in. When I took the cover off the pump..the impeller had maybe 2 blades on it and the spare impeller I thought I had was the wrong one.

Next day... No impeller in town. No car.
Ended up finding 2 in stock , by phone 50 miles away, made the purchase with a credit card over the phone and had a taxi company bring them to me .. most expensive impeller ever.

Spent the next day fishing the old blades out of the heat exchanger, and installing the new impeller. The good news is that I got to spend time in Port Jeff and had a great time, and I got intimately acquainted with my engine's cooling system.

Since then, I change it out every year. It's cheap insurance to me. I also replaced the cover plate when I got home which over the years had a little groove worn in it.

Tempest
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Morgan, NJ
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