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post #1 of 25 Old 08-22-2015 Thread Starter
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Cooling system water not flowing

Ok Sailnet Gurus - another question for you.

Last time I had my 1981 Tartan 33 out, just as I was backing into the slip and tying up, I noticed no water was coming out the exhaust. Engine temp was still OK so something must have just happened. I took the water pump off and the old impeller had lost a blade and wasn't turning, so I replaced the impeller and re-installed the pump. Did a check of other hoses, connections etc. Started it up, and no flow...

Here's what I've checked:

The through-hull with valve seems to be working. When I remove the hose and open the valve, sea water flows in freely.

The hose is clear - no obstructions (there is a loop, as in the pic, but it has worked fine about 40 hours of motoring since I got the boat - figure the loop was to avoid any sharp angles in the hose given how it is routed to the pump). Also, the hose doesn't appear to have any leaks (even for air, I blew into one end blocking the other and didn't seem to leak). check).

The impeller spins - I briefly started the engine with the cover off the pump (hoses weren't attached of course) and it was turning fine.

Priming? Didn't know if this would make a difference, so I filled the intake hose (through hull to pump) as much as I could from the water pump side.

Since everything seems to be in working order, but still no water is being pulled into the impeller (it remains dry) wondering if there's something I'm not thinking about? Again, it was in perfect working order, and I replaced the impeller (and gaskets of course).

Looking forward to your insight!

Last edited by Silverton10; 08-22-2015 at 07:35 PM.
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post #2 of 25 Old 08-22-2015
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Re: Cooling system water not flowing

The old impeller lost a blade. Did you find it? The broken off blades can move through the system and cause blockages, usually at an elbow or other connection.
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post #3 of 25 Old 08-22-2015
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Re: Cooling system water not flowing

look downstream for the blade. Do you have a heat exchanger? If so, pull the cover off and look inside. you may want to have a spare gasket handy.

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post #4 of 25 Old 08-23-2015
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Re: Cooling system water not flowing

Clogged exhaust elbow?
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post #5 of 25 Old 08-23-2015 Thread Starter
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Re: Cooling system water not flowing

Thanks Tempest and JimsCAL for the ideas, I'll check. The broken blade was still in the pump. And, when I remove the output line from the pump and run the motor for a bit, nothing comes out, so it seems like the pump is not pulling, rather than a block further down the line, but I will definitely check it out. I admit this has me stumped.....
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Re: Cooling system water not flowing

I had a similar issue when I first put my boat in the water. Everything seemed to be working, but no water would flow.

I traced the hoses and found that it went up into my sink cabinet and did a vertical U-bend with a pressure relief valve at the apex. I opened it, got a hiss of air, and everything started working.

It seems there was a vapor lock, and it couldnt get water past the U-bend until it got primed.

Maybe you have something similar?

I had hooked up a garden hose to the output of my impeller to make sure I had no blockage downstream, from the pump. Quick easy way to verify no blockages with out taking it apart.
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post #7 of 25 Old 08-23-2015
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Re: Cooling system water not flowing

If you eliminate a mechanical blockage, I would go back to your original idea of poor priming. That could also be why your impeller failed, if it had to run dry for a time. Be sure there is water from the thru hull, to a full strainer and in the hose to the pump. Load the impeller with glycerin. The stupid little packet that come with the impeller is ridiculously inadequate. Go to a health food store and buy a bottle of glycerin, it will last a lifetime. In a pinch, you can load the impeller with dish soap. Also be sure that the interior of your pump and faceplate are clean and not worn out. Scrub them with a scotch brite pad, but they do wear out eventually. The faceplate can easily be replaced, if it's scored. In some pumps, that little cam inside the housing can be replaced, if it's worn. If the housing itself is scored, you just need a new pump. They aren't worth fully rebuilding, imo.


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post #8 of 25 Old 08-23-2015 Thread Starter
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Re: Cooling system water not flowing

Sinister - good idea for checking downstream blockages, I'll give it a try.

Minnewaska - interesting idea to load the impeller. Not sure how I would do that since the face plate is vertical, and having it off to load the impeller would just let the liquid drain out....

All of the surfaces looked smooth and got a thorough cleaning.

With the talk of priming, I'm starting to conjecture about what may have happened curious what y'all think. My last outing had me motoring back through a channel into the ICW in about 5 ft swells, fairly close together, with noticeable hobby horse effect. I'm starting to wonder if the intake may have actually been out of water at some point, drawing in a pocket of air, causing the failure that Sinister mentioned.

Thanks for the ideas.
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post #9 of 25 Old 08-23-2015
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Re: Cooling system water not flowing

Are you sure you pulled out the entire blade? no small bits left? Is it possible that a small bit got trapped in the exit port from the pump? Check that.

If the pump is clear. Do you have a strainer before the pump? With a hose going from the strainer to the pump? Squirt some dawn dish detergent in there chase it with water and re-connect.

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post #10 of 25 Old 08-23-2015
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Re: Cooling system water not flowing

Fill the discharge hose of the pump, and if you can get a garden hose to the motor force feed the pump at the strainer with the engine running.
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