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post #1 of 12 Old 03-11-2020 Thread Starter
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Impeller chunks

I have a fairly small chunk of my impeller missing. If is doesn't pass through the engine (a Westerbeke 27), is the heat exchanger the most likely place to find it? If it isn't in the heat exchanger, is there anything else I can do?

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post #2 of 12 Old 03-11-2020
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Re: Impeller chunks

Yes! Most likely in the Heat Exchanger. Remove the end cap on the intake side 1st. Most likely you'll find the pieces there. If they are not readily visible, look into the tube ends, a piece might be wedged there. You might want to have a pair of replacement gaskets handy. If not, you could probably get away with reusing the old one if it is intact. Order new gaskets to have on hand though.

On the other end, sometimes you'll find pieces of Zinc. I clean up those bits too,
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Re: Impeller chunks

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Originally Posted by Barquito View Post
I have a fairly small chunk of my impeller missing. If is doesn't pass through the engine (a Westerbeke 27), is the heat exchanger the most likely place to find it? If it isn't in the heat exchanger, is there anything else I can do?
Yes....get your tweezers out.
It is the reason I replace my impeller every year as part of spring commissioning.
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post #4 of 12 Old 03-12-2020
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Re: Impeller chunks

BTDT. At least, if you have a very identifiable chunk missing, you'll know when you find it. I've had entire impellers let go and you're never sure you found it all. My most catastrophic failure occurred, after I'm certain the boat yard failed to open the intake thru-hull when testing filter changes. Work fine, when I started up, but completely let go 5 minutes off the dock.

If you remain uncomfortable, it can be an excuse to descale, by setting up a circulating pump to push acid backwards through the system. Sort of a dual purpose backflush. I put a submersible pump, with an intake screen, in a 5 gallon bucket and connected it's out flow hose to the back of the heat exchanger and then a return hose on the other end of the circuit (prior to it reaching back to the water pump). I used a couple of gallon of RydLyme descaler and ran it for about an hour. I found a bunch of little debris in the bottom of the bucket, some of which was undissolved scale.


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post #5 of 12 Old 03-12-2020
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Re: Impeller chunks

Is it not standard practice or not feasable to put a filter in line right after the impeller?
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post #6 of 12 Old 03-13-2020 Thread Starter
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Re: Impeller chunks

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Is it not standard practice or not feasable to put a filter in line right after the impeller?
I'm guessing regularly changing the impeller would cut down the chances of bits breaking off. In my case, I forgot to open the cooling water intake valve, and ran it dry.

I may consider backwashing the whole engine. However, I think the heat exchanger is pretty limed-up, so, I'm probably just going to pull it out and descale.

If I do backwash, what sort of pump would I use?

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Re: Impeller chunks

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Is it not standard practice or not feasable to put a filter in line right after the impeller?
I don't think it is standard practice but I have thought about doing that.

Is there any negatives to that, other than slightly higher complexity of the system and slightly reduced flow?

(I don't think cost is a problem, this could be home-brewed pretty easily)
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post #8 of 12 Old 03-13-2020
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Re: Impeller chunks

some sort of coarse filter or screen after the impeller seems like a good idea, I've never heard of it before. I chewed up an impeller last year for the first time ever (I change the impeller each season but last season we did about 3 seasons worth of motoring)


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I may consider backwashing the whole engine. However, I think the heat exchanger is pretty limed-up, so, I'm probably just going to pull it out and descale.

If I do backwash, what sort of pump would I use?
I considered putting together a backwash system last year and in the end decided to buy the rydlyme kit. I'm real happy with it: https://www.amazon.com/RYDLYME-Marin.../dp/B07CPGJKGZ

the pump in the kit is a centrifugal pump with a coarse foam screen on the intake, nothing special. I ran it for about 4 hrs and it pulled out a lot nasty crap


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post #9 of 12 Old 03-13-2020
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Re: Impeller chunks

I bought a 110v submersible pump at Home Depot and connected hoses that were chosen to adapt to my engine’s hose barbs. Unless the changer is so corroded that acid won’t flow through, I don’t see the advantage of removing it. I only see the standard risk of breaking something while doing so, needing a gasket you don’t have, etc. you also need to drain the coolant to remove it. Some are easier/harder to access than others too.

A $50 endoscope from Amazon is a great tool to send through the barb and inspect the exchanger. One of the most useful tools aboard. This was mine after de scaling the year before.

Impeller chunks-10b4da24-af51-46da-a9fb-2717a6496ff7.jpeg


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post #10 of 12 Old 03-13-2020 Thread Starter
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Re: Impeller chunks

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I considered putting together a backwash system last year and in the end decided to buy the rydlyme kit. I'm real happy with it: https://www.amazon.com/RYDLYME-Marin.../dp/B07CPGJKGZ
That looks like the way to go.

Do you think one gallon of the solution will be OK?

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Last edited by Barquito; 03-13-2020 at 01:47 PM.
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