Cleaning the Bilge and Pumps

Last week I came home to a rather full bilge.  When I say full bilge there was about 2 feet of water in there, more than I have ever seen in the boat.  It was high enough that it was touching the bottom of the oil pan on the primary diesel engine.  This was not a comfortable feeling.  After doing some digging, I found that the bilge pumps were all turned off.  I suspect what caused this is one of the kiddos's (Likely the 2 year old because she doesn't know better) played with the switch which is mounted low near the navigation station and near her toy box.

I flipped on the bilge pump and it was just trickling out the side of the boat, not the stream I expected.  I turned on the secondary pump and it emptied out rather quickly but the point was made during that little episode that I needed to do something about cleaning out the intake screens on the primary bilge pump (and while in there, clean up the rest as well)

The process is not difficult, it is just a bit time consuming.  It started with removing the floor panels and climbing down the step ladder I keep in the engine compartment.  Once there it was a matter of using a few small scrapers and a trashcan lined with a bag to scrape the years or debris, dirt, hair, and who the heck knows what else from the base of the bilge and put it into the bag.  some of this stuff was hard enough that I had to use a rigid scraper as well.  Once the primary base of the bilge was free from the heavy stuff, it was a matter of moving the pumps and scraping under each of them as well.

I started with the primary pump and removed it from the deepest part of the bilge.  I cleaned the pump off on the outer housing and then removed the grate from the base of the pump.  I also removed the small screen that sits right over the intake for the impeller as well and cleaned that with an old toothbrush and hot water.   I also had to reach into the remaining 6 inches of water and just remove out any debris that washed into the lowest portion of the bilge. This is where I found quite a bit of "stuff" that had to be removed.

Everything takes on a black muddy color when sitting in here over time, likely from the bit of oil that is also in there from years of sloppy oil changes or small bits of rubber from a bad belt on the motor, but heck some of even felt like grass to me.

From here it was a matter of re-assembling the pump.  If you do job like this, be sure to just visually inspect the impellers as well for any damage or hair wrapped around the impeller motor shaft.  On small pumps this can cause a problem pretty easily so it is best to clean the impeller off.  On pumps this large, hair tends to not stop them as much but can still certainly do damage and cause excess drag on the motor which will shorten the life of the pump or worse yet stop the impeller (and therefore any pumping action)

Check out this weeks video at the link below.

If you are receiving this blog via email or on a device that won't play the embedded video, click this link for the video directly on Youtube.  The link is https://youtu.be/8Io6RJDY30E
  

     
          

4 comments:

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