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  #1  
Old 02-06-2011
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Question Bilge Ideas?

I continue with the refit of my O'day 35.The next area that I am planning to tackle is the bilge.



I have a couple of things here that I would like to address, and would like input from the experts.

First, the bilge pump hose looks like CRAP and, it is preventing me from cleaning the bilge. I want to rip it out, clean the bilge, and replace the hose. I understand that the flow rate through the hose will dramatically improve with smooth walled hose. My thought is that I could use flexible (1¼") PVC for the entire run, instead of the marine bilge pump hose.

It is cheaper (~$1.62/ft, versus marine grade 1-1/8" vinyl @ ~$2.50/ft.), and my guess is that it is at least as durable.

The first problem is that the barb on the bilge pump is 1-1/8". Why not 1", 1¼" or 1½"? I guess that this is a "marine" feature... Do I need to swap the pump, or should I just tighten down on the hose clamp?

The second issue, assuming that 1¼" PVC will work, is that the 1½" marine bilge hose allows a 2" minimum turn radius, while the flexible PVC has a 5" minimum radius. In those spots where I need a tight turn, I believe that I could simply use a schedule 40 sweep.

Thoughts on this?


Third issue: there are several cables that run through the bilge; Co-ax for the VHF Antenna, Nav lights on the mast, the white cables that you see in the pic are two lengths of 14 gauge that run to the Vacuflush suction pump, and macerator.

I would like to re-route these through schedule 40 conduit. My thought is to run conduit through the upper area of the bilge. There area already at least two 1" holes in two of the stringers. There is one in the aft stringer, hidden in the upper picture by the raised sole, and another in the stringer under the forward edge of the table. My thought here is that I could widen the existing holes to 1¼" and to cut new holes through the stringers without holes. I would first assure that each of the holes lined up so that the conduit would run clearly fore and aft. Then, I would coat the edges of the holes with thickened epoxy, and then run sections of 1¼ conduit through the holes before the epoxy sets.

I do not believe that this would appreciably decrease the strength of the stringers (there are already holes in them), but it would neaten up the bilge, and secure the wires that have been flopping unsecured to date. Plus, I think that there might be enough room so that and future electrical modifications could run through this conduit too.

Thoughts?
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Old 02-06-2011
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I can't comment on the bilge hose, but would suggest you need to get those cables out of the bilge wherever possible, since PVC cable sheaths are not absolutely hydrocarbon resistant and the cables will corrode and fail eventually if left in the oily environment that is most boat's bilges.

Certainly run them in conduit, if you can, but to my mind, the best place for them to run is more likely the bottom of the settees than in the upper bilge. Can you do this??
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Old 02-07-2011
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For my bilge pump I used a marine hose that is ribbed outside and smooth inside. Very flexible but very tough. Not that expensive as I recall.

I agree with Hartley. Ideally get the wires you can out of the bilge. If you use a conduit drill multiple drain holes in it to drain the water that will probably get into it over time.
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Regarding the bilge, not sure about your set-up but looks to me you have a long run from the pump to out. My solution was to find an industrial hose supplier that had a hose in the size I needed (inch and a quarter) but I also used two hoses, one half inch hose hooked up to a small bilge pump (500gpm)to minimize the back flow when the pump stops and the large bilge pump with the large diameter hose. I also had a real good look at alternative routes for the bilge hose to shorten the run as much as possible. Definitely keep the wires out of the bilge if possible. Without getting into too much fluid dynamics sharp bends-esp. 90 degrees are not a good idea, to be avoided as much as possible.
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Old 02-07-2011
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Quote:
Originally Posted by eherlihy View Post
I continue with the refit of my O'day 35.The next area that I am planning to tackle is the bilge.



I have a couple of things here that I would like to address, and would like input from the experts.

First, the bilge pump hose looks like CRAP and, it is preventing me from cleaning the bilge. I want to rip it out, clean the bilge, and replace the hose. I understand that the flow rate through the hose will dramatically improve with smooth walled hose. My thought is that I could use flexible (1¼") PVC for the entire run, instead of the marine bilge pump hose.

It is cheaper (~$1.62/ft, versus marine grade 1-1/8" vinyl @ ~$2.50/ft.), and my guess is that it is at least as durable.

The first problem is that the barb on the bilge pump is 1-1/8". Why not 1", 1¼" or 1½"? I guess that this is a "marine" feature... Do I need to swap the pump, or should I just tighten down on the hose clamp?
Just because the outside is ribbed, doesn't mean that interior is ribbed. Many vacuum resistant hoses will have a wire reinforcement that is visible on the exterior but be smooth-walled inside. How collapse resistant is that flexible PVC. Of course, it also depends on what type of pump and where the pump is located.

You would need to get an adapter to change the diameter using a short pigtail. However, be aware that such adapters generally restrict the inner diameter of the hose a bit and can become a source of clogs. Just clamping down on the hose isn't going to work very well and the setup will generally leak.

Quote:
The second issue, assuming that 1¼" PVC will work, is that the 1½" marine bilge hose allows a 2" minimum turn radius, while the flexible PVC has a 5" minimum radius. In those spots where I need a tight turn, I believe that I could simply use a schedule 40 sweep.

Thoughts on this?
I'd stick with all hose and run it continuously if you can. Additional joins and piece all become another place for leaks and failure.


Quote:
Third issue: there are several cables that run through the bilge; Co-ax for the VHF Antenna, Nav lights on the mast, the white cables that you see in the pic are two lengths of 14 gauge that run to the Vacuflush suction pump, and macerator.

I would like to re-route these through schedule 40 conduit. My thought is to run conduit through the upper area of the bilge. There area already at least two 1" holes in two of the stringers. There is one in the aft stringer, hidden in the upper picture by the raised sole, and another in the stringer under the forward edge of the table. My thought here is that I could widen the existing holes to 1¼" and to cut new holes through the stringers without holes. I would first assure that each of the holes lined up so that the conduit would run clearly fore and aft. Then, I would coat the edges of the holes with thickened epoxy, and then run sections of 1¼ conduit through the holes before the epoxy sets.

I do not believe that this would appreciably decrease the strength of the stringers (there are already holes in them), but it would neaten up the bilge, and secure the wires that have been flopping unsecured to date. Plus, I think that there might be enough room so that and future electrical modifications could run through this conduit too.

Thoughts?
Get it out of the bilge if at all possible. You should never run wiring in the bilge if it can be avoided. Also, drilling holes through stringers and floors is best to be avoided when ever possible.
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Old 02-07-2011
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sailingdog View Post
How collapse resistant is that flexible PVC. Of course, it also depends on what type of pump and where the pump is located.
This is the flexible schedule 40 PVC. It's is vacuum rated for 28" of Hg (381", or, 31.8 feet of water), and has a working PSI of 65, with a burst pressure of 200 @ 68ºF. This should be more than adequate for the manual pump, which is in the cockpit. The smaller of the two ribbed hoses that you see in my pictures above is for the electric pump, and the larger is for the manual pump.

The electric bilge pump is in the bilge (surprise!).

- Shown here before I bought the boat, and before the keel bolts were replaced.


Quote:
Originally Posted by sailingdog View Post
You would need to get an adapter to change the diameter using a short pigtail. However, be aware that such adapters generally restrict the inner diameter of the hose a bit and can become a source of clogs. Just clamping down on the hose isn't going to work very well and the setup will generally leak.
I am actually considering using a smaller diameter hose for intake of the manual pump.I would step it up to 1½" hose just before the pump. Assuming that I don't change the manual pump, decreasing the diameter of the hose would increase the velocity of the water flowing through the hose, and increase the amount of room that I would have to work in the bilge.

If I increase the diameter of the hose from the electric bilge pump, from 1-1/8 to 1½, I would expect that I would also decrease the likely hood of obstruction. I guess that I will also need to change the size of the through hull.

Quote:
Originally Posted by sailingdog View Post
I'd stick with all hose and run it continuously if you can. Additional joins and piece all become another place for leaks and failure.
Again, this is schedule 40 PVC. I have never had an issue with joints breaking, assuming that they are primed and cemented properly.

However, I think that I could change the routing of the hose, and not need them. Both hoses run down the center of the bilge, until they reach the engine bulkhead. There they turn 90º to starboard for about a foot, then they turn 90º and run aft toward the transom under the rear quarter berth. The electric bilge pump's hose runs directly out the transom, and the manual pump's hose rises to the cockpit, where it connects to the pump.

Regarding the cable runs:
Agreed... I don't like cables in the bilge at all, but there are some cables that must run into the bilge; like the (keel stepped) mast wiring (VHF & nav. lights) and the bilge pump wiring. Bangor Punta put the current holes in the stringers 24 years ago.

Why were the other wires snaked through the bilge, you ask? Because, I believe that the PO paid a yard to install a vacuflush head. The yard ran the wire the easiest and fastest way that they could (cheap, shoddy workmanship - by "professionals").

Last edited by eherlihy; 02-07-2011 at 11:21 AM.
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Old 02-09-2011
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I would not use joints if you can help it (elbows and diameter adapters), if you do it will mean that you have another point of failure. If it works why change it? I would get the wires mounted as high as possible for now, and consider moving them out of the bilge later.
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Old 02-09-2011
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Quote:
Originally Posted by engele View Post
If it works why change it?
Because;
  • it looks like crap
  • I have the time
  • I want it to be reliable
  • I want it to be serviceable

Here is an example of how this affects reliability. Shortly after I brought the boat to her new home, SD and I were working on the mast wiring. I remembered that when motoring her the steaming light went out. I discovered that the spade connector had vibrated loose, thus extinguishing the light. I figured that spade connectors, even with the nylon covers, lying in the bilge was the wrong way to make the connection, so I cut 6" from the end of the wire off and stripped it to put a watertight connector on. The wire here was badly corroded. So I stripped another 6" back. Still corroded. Then I stripped a foot back from the end (running out of slack in the wire now) and it was still corroded.

By now I was out of slack and I decided that the entire cable needed to be replaced.
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Old 02-09-2011
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And he did, with adhesive-lined heat shrink single-crimp terminals and proper marine-grade wiring.

Quote:
Originally Posted by eherlihy View Post
Because;
  • it looks like crap
  • I have the time
  • I want it to be reliable
  • I want it to be serviceable

Here is an example of how this affects reliability. Shortly after I brought the boat to her new home, SD and I were working on the mast wiring. I remembered that when motoring her the steaming light went out. I discovered that the spade connector had vibrated loose, thus extinguishing the light. I figured that spade connectors, even with the nylon covers, lying in the bilge was the wrong way to make the connection, so I cut 6" from the end of the wire off and stripped it to put a watertight connector on. The wire here was badly corroded. So I stripped another 6" back. Still corroded. Then I stripped a foot back from the end (running out of slack in the wire now) and it was still corroded.

By now I was out of slack and I decided that the entire cable needed to be replaced.
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her going when she oughta fall down, tells you she's hurting 'fore she keens. Makes her a home.

—Cpt. Mal Reynolds, Serenity (edited)

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Old 03-11-2011
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Update:

The hose that you see in the pix above has been re-deployed to the marina's dumpster. I was on the fence about replacing this until the electric bilge pump hose (smaller of the two) cracked about where it passes under the manual pump's hose as I was moving it to better access the wires.

I replaced the 1-1/8" hose with 1" Flexible PVC hose that you see above - although I bought it at Lowes for $2.60/foot. I used a butane torch
- my new favorite tool
  • works great on heat shrink tubing
  • can be used to increase the flexibility of Flexible PVC hose
  • aids in the removal of chain plates bedded in 4200
  • and browns the top of cremè brûléé beautifully
- to heat the PVC and allow me to stretch it over the fittings at the pump, and the vacuum break. The new 1½" hose was also purchased at Lowes, for $3.44/foot. (I'll gladly pay $2 for a $1 item that I need when I need it.)

I AM using the PVC joints that I illustrated above. I discovered that there is already a coupling at the manual bilge pump which reduces the useful inner diameter at the coupling to less than 1½" than the hose. If there is going to be a restriction, it is going to be at this coupling, or in the pump. Because this coupling has been there for 20+ years, and preformed acceptably, I will run the risk of adding two more components, neither of which will decrease the inner diameter to less than 1½".

Most of the wiring is now out of the bilge, and runs through the stringers (as they should have been in the first place). The 16 gauge wiring to the mast base has been replaced with marine grade 14/5 conductor (I now have a spare to run a strobe if I ever want to), and the connections have all been properly made with adhesive -lined heat shrink. The 16 gauge wiring to the bilge pump has been replaced with marine grade 14/3. I have installed a Auto/Manual Bilge Pump switch, with an indicator light and 10A fuse, after the 15A breaker.

The exception is the cable between the depth transducer, and the knot log. I can't remove these cables without opening up the binnacle, and I'm not in the mood to try that right now. I would like to keep this a managable project.

While everything is open, I plan to replace the co-ax, however, because it too looks like crap, the sheathing has become brittle, and I suspect that there is some corrosion in there.

Finally, I scrubbed the bilge with bilge cleaner and a brush, but still had nasty looking stains... Finally, figuring that I had nothing to loose, I tried some Acetone and water on a rag. What a difference! While the paint doesn't look new, it looks a LOT better than what you see above.

Progress!!
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