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Dave_E 11-10-2013 10:36 AM

Bilge Pump Blues
 
Hi All,

I've never owned a boat that had a diaphram pump and one that was not located in the bilge. Traveler has a Jabsco mounted above the waterline and has a 9' suction hose to the bilge. The existing hose was a rubber hose that was deteriated, bulged, holes in it, sticky gooey mess. So I pulled it out, went to my favorite local marine store and bought 9' of "bilge hose"... your everyday lightweight black plastic vacuum hose looking stuff. Installed it (routing was identical) and now I have no bilge output. :( No suction on the inlet what-so-ever. So I'm guessing some sort of priming is in order. Suggestions? Thanks.

Dave

Stumble 11-10-2013 11:46 AM

Re: Bilge Pump Blues
 
Diaphragm pumps are self priming, but corrugated hoses add a huge amount of friction to the line and can drastically reduce pump volume. With 9' of hose this may be your problem by itself. It could also be that the hose clamp isn't making an air tight seal, this type of hose is notorious for collapsing on the pump strangely and leaving leaks.

Dave_E 11-11-2013 10:38 AM

Re: Bilge Pump Blues
 
You know, sometimes "Old Man Coincidence" can be a pain in the rear! The old "PAR" pump was working 2 days ago, it was'nt very healthy. I saw the rotten old pikup hose, so I changed the hose thinking "that's it, it's sucking air" ( with plastic vacuum cleaner looking stuff), that didn't work. Replaced that with straight wall hose, still didn't work. Then found no suction at the pump. Put in a new Jabsco last night... problem solved. What are the odds that when I discover a really bad hose... the pump would finally die the same day I replace the hose? :confused:

I replaced the float switch (which was also shot) and now have a totally new bilge system. I think I will yet install a submersible centrifugal pump and little higher.

This is fun! :cool:

Stumble 11-11-2013 01:44 PM

Re: Bilge Pump Blues
 
Dave,

I actually think the odds are pretty high. In my experience as soon as I start maintaining one part of an old system the rest starts to break down too. My guess on this is that things get to the point of stasis, so that they are just working, but any small change ruins them. Like, oh a diaphragm that is encrusted is currently working, but while installing a new hose you knocked some of the crud off/loose and now it plugs everything up. Or a new pump breaks that old mounting point because it is pulling so much harder...

I consider it one of the joys of boat ownership... Trying to outthink my boats systems. They are still winning, but every now and then I get a victory :D

Dave_E 11-11-2013 05:41 PM

Re: Bilge Pump Blues
 
I hear you Greg!

The one thing about all this is I am a former "marine mechanic for a living" and love boats. Love to fix them, ride them, watch them... boat nut. I have to be carefull though... I get pretty anal about things, and I start looking into something and next thing I'm know, that system is getting a complete refurb. While the wife didn't foresee the financial aspect of it, she is very glad I am doing the work and she knows things are all the better for it.

Your comment reminds me of the "if it ain't broke... don't fix it". Sometimes, I just can't help myself. :)

Dave

radcat 11-12-2013 05:37 AM

Re: Bilge Pump Blues
 
I share your obsession Dave. I was a submarine sailor in a previous life and I tend to overkill maintenance and repairs. I forget that I (hopefully) don't have to take this thing down to test depth. Sometimes my wife will say Rob, is this a submarine problem or a sailboat problem?

outbound 11-12-2013 08:36 AM

Re: Bilge Pump Blues
 
This applies to new boats as well. When I got my boat in May checked out my four bilge pumps. Two are electric on float switches. One low and one a foot higher. Then there are two high capacity manual whale pumps. One set under the sole of quarter berth and the other by the helm. Initially all worked. Just tried to winterized them and neither of the manual pumps worked. Figured with the boat working on various off shore passages junk from initial build process worked down to lower points in bilge and clogged pick up although on delivery I picked up all debris I could see. So took pick up points apart and clean as a whistle. No resistance when pumping and through hulls look fine. So don't think hoses are clogged.

HELP! Why don't the whales work?

Stumble 11-12-2013 11:35 AM

Re: Bilge Pump Blues
 
Outbound,

You can get a rebuild kit for them, but frankly they are junk. Other than for getting rid of very minor condensation no one can use a manual pump long enough to make any difference at all. Time is better spent trying to fix the problem. So they tend to get ignored, because they are a throwback to when there was nothing but manual pumps.

Cruisingdad 11-12-2013 11:51 AM

Re: Bilge Pump Blues
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by outbound (Post 1118062)
This applies to new boats as well. When I got my boat in May checked out my four bilge pumps. Two are electric on float switches. One low and one a foot higher. Then there are two high capacity manual whale pumps. One set under the sole of quarter berth and the other by the helm. Initially all worked. Just tried to winterized them and neither of the manual pumps worked. Figured with the boat working on various off shore passages junk from initial build process worked down to lower points in bilge and clogged pick up although on delivery I picked up all debris I could see. So took pick up points apart and clean as a whistle. No resistance when pumping and through hulls look fine. So don't think hoses are clogged.

HELP! Why don't the whales work?

DUmb question, but are you sure they are clogged? For grins and giggles I tried mine a while back. It took a long time to get water to come out because they hold such a high volume in the hoses.

Brian

Cruisingdad 11-12-2013 11:57 AM

Re: Bilge Pump Blues
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Dave_E (Post 1117622)
You know, sometimes "Old Man Coincidence" can be a pain in the rear! The old "PAR" pump was working 2 days ago, it was'nt very healthy. I saw the rotten old pikup hose, so I changed the hose thinking "that's it, it's sucking air" ( with plastic vacuum cleaner looking stuff), that didn't work. Replaced that with straight wall hose, still didn't work. Then found no suction at the pump. Put in a new Jabsco last night... problem solved. What are the odds that when I discover a really bad hose... the pump would finally die the same day I replace the hose? :confused:

I replaced the float switch (which was also shot) and now have a totally new bilge system. I think I will yet install a submersible centrifugal pump and little higher.

This is fun! :cool:

No.

Install the centrifugal at the same height (bottom of bilge) but put the float switch higher with an alarm.

My primary pump is a diaphram which is great because it has a strainer, is self priming, and can overcome head pressure. I also use a "check valve" at the very bottom of it so that it can really pull the water out. THe negative of diaphrams is they do not move as much water. THat is where my centrifugal comes to play. It also sits in the bottom but with a higher float switch. SO when that one kicks on, I really get a lot of water moving (and I know there is a real problem).

You can purchase the float switch with alarm. I highly recommend getting insurance with it (if you buy it from West Marine). These things are renowned for failure since they changed to the new switches.


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