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Old 11-30-2019, 04:10 PM   #1
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Aft cockpit Bilge Pump issues.

Aft bilge pump on my 2004 Mainship 400 not working. Itís in a remote spot behind the generator. Any suggestions on how to test the pump and or the sensor? It did not work the other night after a rain storm washed water into aft bilge. It also wonít work manually. Itís in such a tight spot that I find difficult as I am 6í3Ē and donít bend that easily. Could use some tips before calling the yard mechanics. Click image for larger version

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Old 11-30-2019, 04:38 PM   #2
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Does it run? Have you checked the breaker and wiring to the pump? Can you reach the float switch and lift it to see if the pump comes on? If the pump runs but does not pump it could be debris in the pump. You said it doesnít work on manual then the pump could be burned out. Lots of possibilities. Use the KISS principle and check the simple stuff first, is it getting power, is it plugged up?
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Old 11-30-2019, 04:40 PM   #3
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BTW, you should cover the positive terminal on the battery. I see the red boot on the cable but the exposed terminal next to the boot will also have voltage on it and could short out of you drop a tool on it.
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Old 11-30-2019, 06:18 PM   #4
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Thanks for the battery terminal tip to cover.
I cannot reach behind the generator. I am too big.
I am wondering if I should remove the strainer for the generator and the generator battery. That might make it a lot easier to access the pump and float switch. Here is another pic of the generator batter and what I assume to be the generator strainer.

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Old 11-30-2019, 06:53 PM   #5
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Hi, I've got the same tight access in my aft pump. Before trying to crawl into the lazarette you might start at the switch for this pump, do you have power there?

If you have power at the switch then you have to access the pump or at least the wiring connections near the pump. You'll probably have to remove that battery at least to get to the pump and wiring. I'd first check the connections which will be (or should be) well above the pump and float switch themselves. Again, is there power reaching the wiring connected directly to the pump? Check to see if there are any inline fuses that need attention. Good news is that your bilge looks really clean.

I hate to say this but my experience with modern bilge pumps is that they only seem to last a few years. Float switches also seem to be problematic.
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Old 11-30-2019, 07:57 PM   #6
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Yes, it would be best to be a small person to work on boats. I am big too and it makes it tough sometimes.
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Old 11-30-2019, 07:59 PM   #7
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You can get some liquid neoprene to paint on the terminal. Give it several coats to seal it up.
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Old 11-30-2019, 08:57 PM   #8
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BTW, you should cover the positive terminal on the battery. I see the red boot on the cable but the exposed terminal next to the boot will also have voltage on it and could short out of you drop a tool on it.
On my last survey, as there were no changes from past surveys, he wanted the positive connection to the starter covered. The insurance Co naturally made that a requirement of getting re-insured.
One would need to try really hard to accidentally touch that terminal to ground.
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Old 11-30-2019, 09:08 PM   #9
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But even if it would be difficult to short a terminal to ground, think of the consequences if you did and it makes sense to go ahead and cover them. I had a guy in one of the classes I taught that shorted a battery and it exploded and blew acid all over his face. Since then I have been really careful about uncovered terminals.
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Old 11-30-2019, 09:41 PM   #10
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A different thought. If you get to the wiring upstream and cut it, then connect a new bilge pump and put it where you can easily get at it - assuming it is low enough to remove water that needs removing.
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Old 11-30-2019, 11:24 PM   #11
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You could mount a new bilge pump on an aluminum bracket and then mount the bracket so that you could get the pump down in the bilge but you are able to unscrew the bracket and get the pump out.
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Old 12-01-2019, 07:21 AM   #12
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I had the same problem on my 2004 Mainship 400.

I called a local mechanic to fix it as there was no way this 69 yr old body was getting back there without doing damage to myself.

What he did is he loosened the attachments holding the genset in place, slightly rotated it and changed the pump. It's not that difficult to slide the genset by the aft pump is near impossible to change without some room.

Good luck with the project.
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Old 12-01-2019, 08:12 AM   #13
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Bay Retriever,

Perhaps consider hiring the yard techs to fabricate a pair of brackets, one each for pump and float switch. They will have an "down leg" that attaches to the bulkhead / transom in your pic and a "base" that holds the pump / switch. Unfortunately it will require using the light weight flexible ribbed bilge pump hose that reduces the efficiency of the pump. Then next time you need to work on or replace either you remove the screws holding the down leg and lift the assembly out. No more yard techs needed to do simple bilge pump / switch maintenance and replacement. More expense now, less expense and frustration later.


Comodave,
I agree on covering terminals. I clumsily dropped a large screwdriver across the terminals of a fully charged automotive starting battery. It was exciting, luckily I wasn't injured, the battery and wiring survived. I can't say the same for the screw driver. I'd hate to think what could happen with an 8D.
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Old 12-01-2019, 09:41 AM   #14
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Those switches are the usual suspects.
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Old 12-01-2019, 10:20 AM   #15
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When faced with jobs in tight spaces, ones that might be made "easier" by removing things in the way... I find it's sometimes best to hire a skinny guy instead. Way too many risks of something else breaking along the way. Next thing you know something that could have been quickly solved with a checkbook starts taking considerably more time and money.

As for bilge pumps and switches, I'm a fan of using decent waterproof connectors and routing the wiring to where I can bypass things. Makes it easier to test in the future to be able to uncouple a line and short the lines back tot the pump to test if a float switch has failed. Or to do a continuity test on a float switch to see if it's the motor in the pump instead.
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Old 12-01-2019, 12:23 PM   #16
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It really sounds electrical to me. I think the others hit all the options, I just wanted to comment on your nice clean bilge and clear pictures. Good job!

Usually when I have an issue with an out of reach problem pictures wouldn't be any help because as often as not the problem is not only out of reach but also out of sight. Tough to repair/remove/replace a part by "Braile" .

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Old 12-01-2019, 01:27 PM   #17
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The strainer for our genset, interestingly enough, is in a different spot from your boat, it's mounted on the port side stringer next to the through hull, just aft of the genset. It's a little less in the way there. On my boat if I remove the genset battery, I can lay on my side and access the pump and/or the back side of the genset. My buddy and I were able to squeeze in there (not at the same time, lol) and change the exhaust hose on the fwd end of port muffler. So a smaller guy can for sure get to it without moving the generator.



I also pulled off the sound shield on my genset for reasons just like this.
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Old 12-01-2019, 02:20 PM   #18
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Usually when I have an issue with an out of reach problem pictures wouldn't be any help because as often as not the problem is not only out of reach but also out of sight. Tough to repair/remove/replace a part by "Braile" .
Cell phone cameras are great for getting pix of what you can't see. Even better as some newer ones have a voice-activated shutter feature. Just say "Cheese" or "Smile" and it snaps a pic. I've used mine to eye up various areas in the bilges.

For harder to see areas I've been pleased with WiFi inspection cameras (aka borescope/endoscope). The kind that have their own battery pack and WiFI nework. I put the phone in a GorillaPod/clamp setup in a place where I can see it and then fish around with the inspection camera. Works MUCH better to NOT have the camera pluggged straight into the phone.
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Old 12-05-2019, 08:15 PM   #19
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Aft cockpit Bilge Pump issues.

Ahoy Mainshipers!

Quick update on my quest to inspect/repair/replace the Aft Rule 1500 bilge pump and sensor. One suggestion seems very plausible. However, I could use some guidance on how to loosen and slide the Generator to the left on my 2004 MS 400.

Yesterday I removed two of the generatorís front access panels and located three screws/bolts towards the front which appear to secure the generator to itís fixed platform. There must be more screws or bolts holding the generator in place?? Just how many screws or bolts does the generator have? And is there an easy way to do this job? (This is the original Kohler generator that came with the boat).

Thanks

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Old 12-05-2019, 08:48 PM   #20
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Do you have a manual on the genset? If so it may show the mounting bolt locations.
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