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Old 08-29-2012
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Bilge Pumps Won't Suck

I had a bilge pump that wouldn't seem to "prime" and start sucking unless I waggled it about.

I replaced it with a new bigger one and seem to have the same problem. Even when there are a few inches, well above the impeller, it won't prime and suck.

The height to the hull outlet seems ok. Any ideas?
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Old 08-29-2012
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Re: Bilge Pumps Won't Suck

Sorry to ask such a basic question, but are you sure that you did not wire it up backwards?

Try some systematic troubleshooting. So you have power, the impeller spins...check. Try it with the bilge pipe disconnected, of with a small length to check you are blowing not sucking - see if the water flows easily...basically test the pump/wiring. Perhaps put the pump in a bucket of water to test it.
If all the above shows a functioning pump, perhaps your bilge pipe is blocked. Try blowing down it!

Good luck...
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Old 08-30-2012
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Re: Bilge Pumps Won't Suck

This is a long shot, but is it possible that there is an obstruction in the discharge line (air lock) preventing bilge water from reaching the impeller? A sag in that line holding water is what I have in mind.
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Re: Bilge Pumps Won't Suck

Did you try the pump without the hose attached? Also, I hope you aren't using a check valve. They tend to clog and cause exactly this kind of problem.
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Old 08-30-2012
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Re: Bilge Pumps Won't Suck

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Originally Posted by vtsailguy View Post
I had a bilge pump that wouldn't seem to "prime" and start sucking unless I waggled it about.

I replaced it with a new bigger one and seem to have the same problem. Even when there are a few inches, well above the impeller, it won't prime and suck.

The height to the hull outlet seems ok. Any ideas?
Get rid of the in-line check valve, which will cause exactly what you are seeing....
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Old 08-30-2012
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Re: Bilge Pumps Won't Suck

I recently had a similar problem, it would prime but took forever for the level to go down. Turns out the bilge hose was composed of about 4 small pieces and at each joint it leaked like crazy. Replaced it with one continuous hose and now no problem. Amazing what PO's have done to their boats.
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Old 08-30-2012
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Re: Bilge Pumps Won't Suck

Good suggestions, I'll definitely check without the hose on.

Once it primes (wiggling it seems to do this), it pumps fine and will quickly empty the bilge.

This is the pump I have, it sits directly in the water
RULE INDUSTRIES Rule-Mate Fully Automatic Bilge Pumps at West Marine
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Re: Bilge Pumps Won't Suck

I believe this principle works with bilge pumps as well.
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Re: Bilge Pumps Won't Suck

lol
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Re: Bilge Pumps Won't Suck

Hahaha excellent
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