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Old 09-23-2015, 04:53 PM   #1
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That sinking feeling . . .

Went down to the marina yesterday morning to change the oil in the engines. Opened up the hatch on the Gulfstar to access the engines and . . . whoa!! There was a swimming pool down there!

Clearly the bilge pump was not doing its job, or else it was completely overwhelmed. Borrowed a high capacity sump pump from the marina and pumped it out. Ran forever, with water coming out as if from a fire hose. Never knew my boat could hold that much doggoned water. Luckily I am on a river, so no salt water anyway.

Finally got it all out, and looked for leaks. Didn't see any right off the bat, though. But did find that one of the two bilge pumps was not working. Asked the service manager if he could have one of his guys look at the situation, and turned out that the starboard shaft was leaking pretty badly.

So now, need to buy a new bilge pump. The leak has been corrected. I am thinking in terms of a Whale Gulper 320. Any negatives on that? I still have one working bilge pump, by the way. But feel a lot better with two of them.
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Old 09-23-2015, 05:37 PM   #2
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That's a pretty small capacity pump for such a critical area. Discharge head is only 3 ft? There are better pumps for less money.
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Old 09-23-2015, 05:42 PM   #3
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That's a pretty small capacity pump for such a critical area. Discharge head is only 3 ft? There are better pumps for less money.
OK. Any recommendations???
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Old 09-23-2015, 05:45 PM   #4
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For large volumes MANUAL (not computerized auto) Whale's bigger pumps are good, like a 3000 Orca. Match that with a Ultra Pump Switch.
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Old 09-23-2015, 05:51 PM   #5
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For large volumes MANUAL (not computerized auto) Whale's bigger pumps are good, like a 3000 Orca. Match that with a Ultra Pump Switch.
I'm a Rule man generally, but I've used Whale pumps for some nooks and crannies. Nice stuff. Agree 100% on the Ultra PumpSwitch.

To the OP: did you figure out exactly why the pump wasn't working?

Another rec would be to add a high water alarm and high water mounted pump. The Ultra senior enables a high water alarm, BTW
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Old 09-23-2015, 05:58 PM   #6
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OK. Any recommendations???
1000 - 2000 GPH of any brand .
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Old 09-23-2015, 06:05 PM   #7
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I'm a Rule man generally, but I've used Whale pumps for some nooks and crannies. Nice stuff. Agree 100% on the Ultra PumpSwitch.

To the OP: did you figure out exactly why the pump wasn't working?

Another rec would be to add a high water alarm and high water mounted pump. The Ultra senior enables a high water alarm, BTW

I have a Orca in my little 17CC that's a 2000GPH and it has taken all the abuse I've throne at it in stride. Just keeps pumping.

Ditto on the Alarm them babies are loud too!
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Old 09-23-2015, 06:23 PM   #8
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1000 - 2000 GPH of any brand .
+1 wouldn't consider anything smaller than 1000gph
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Old 09-23-2015, 06:25 PM   #9
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2000 g/m is only 2000 if there is zero obstruction and no head. Add 3 or 4 feet head and you'll be lucky to get half of that. Subtract battery voltage (not charger or alternator voltage) and it drops even more. My rec. is to buy at least double what you 'think' you need, maybe more. And don't cheap out on the switch, buy the best and don't get an 'auto' pump (I know that was said but I'm saying it again!).
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Old 09-23-2015, 07:04 PM   #10
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Rule pumps are junk. When they were made in USA, I loved them! The new reality is that they are very unreliable. Parks (Hopcar) can probably recommend a dependable replacement.
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Old 09-23-2015, 07:41 PM   #11
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Old 09-23-2015, 08:00 PM   #12
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I got great reliability out of Rule pumps used in very high frequency applications like shower sumps (I use standard 2000's in the sumps because they were also designed to back up some of the smaller the bilges in high water). Something change in the last year or two?

The issue with using super high capacity pumps as your everyday bilge pump is that they draw more amps and thus will draw down batteries faster. You want the big pump as the high water back up, for when you really need it.
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Old 09-23-2015, 08:30 PM   #13
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Coulda been a lot worse, John. Glad you caught it. I typically carry three 2000's on my boat but your experience reminds me that I'm due to change-out my 8D's. Thanks for sharing the experience.
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Old 09-23-2015, 10:14 PM   #14
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Ok, how bad was this shaft seal leak that the second pump couldn't keep up with it? Was the second pump running when you got down to the boat? The concept behind 2 pumps is that sooner or later the primary will fail and the backup should be able to handle a situation like this. If the primary hadn't failed and the backup had, could the primary have handled this level of flooding? Think you need to reconsider if either of the pumps was of adequate size.

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Old 09-23-2015, 11:04 PM   #15
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It's always a relief returning to see the boat "on its lines" after being away.

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Old 09-23-2015, 11:35 PM   #16
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1000gph pumps are a waste of time for much of anything other than a shower sump maybe.

You should have at least two 2000s in your engine space. (A 2000 and a 3500+ would be better.) And more depending on the size of your boat and how it rides underway.

Plus a independently powered high water alarm.

Since most boats sink at the dock I don't understand way anybody wouldn't have a high water alarm.
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Old 09-23-2015, 11:52 PM   #17
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JW, get the highest capacity pump you can for the existing hose.
If I remember correctly that's going to be about 750 gph for a 3/4" hose, 2000 gph for an 1-1/8" hose and 3500 gph for 1-1/2" hose.

Of course it's not hard to install a bigger hose and thru-hull.

I had the same thing happen recently when I relied on my pumps to stay ahead of a leaky rudder post. I knew the auto switch on my big backup pump was bad but it was a slow leak and both of the small pumps were working fine. A couple of weeks went by before I got back to the boat and both of the small pumps were out and the water was over my starter solenoid. That's what inspired me to pull my engine, clean up the bilge and make the pumps easier to get to.
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Old 09-24-2015, 02:27 PM   #18
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OK, lots of good info there, and I have digested it. Forward bilge pump was "burned up" and not working. The marina replaced it for me, and fixed the leak at the shaft. They said aft pump was working OK, but it did not have an automatic switch. Only works when manually turned on. I did not know that -- I thought both of them were automatic. So learned a couple of things. (a) check those shafts as part of the regular boat check when I go down. They are not that easy to get to, but just have to do it. (b) Do periodic checks that the bilge pumps are working. No telling how long that forward pump was out. I just figured that since the bilge was always dry, then things were rosy. Not so. Just didn't have a leak before.

Always a silver lining, though. Through hulls are fine, hoses are fine.

Now for some messy work in the bilge. High water brings crap up to places where crap didn't used to be.
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Old 09-24-2015, 05:24 PM   #19
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Now for some messy work in the bilge. High water brings crap up to places where crap didn't used to be.
Well now that the pumps are back online you can use a pressure washer tpo clean the beast out.
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Old 09-24-2015, 05:34 PM   #20
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Well now that the pumps are back online you can use a pressure washer to clean the beast out.
Hmm. Had not thought of that, but yeah, I could. Thanks for the suggestion. And I do have a pressure washer, so will not even have to rent one.

Boats are fun when everything is going right. Not so much fun at other times, though. :-)
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