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Old 02-12-2012, 02:59 PM   #1
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Bilge Pump Advice

The past two times we arrived at the boat for the weekend, we've found the bilge pump running. I pretty much know where the water is coming from and will fix it, but I think the pump, but more specifically I think it's time to replace the pump.This will be my primary pump and, if memory serves, the exit hose it 1.5 inches.

The current pump is a Rule 2000. I was looking to replace it with something bigger. I was looking at a Rule 3000 but now I am confused about gph ratings. I searched the Whale pumps because I have heard good things about them and that they can get nearly all the water out. However, the biggest one is rated at something like 400 gph while the Rules are rated in the thousands.

What gives here? What do I need to know to make an educated decision?



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Old 02-12-2012, 08:44 PM   #2
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RE: Bilge Pump Advice

Tom, you have to look at the flow chart to see what the Rule pump will actually pump, and even that will be under ideal conditions. *The Whales are diaphram pumps, or at least the ones I am familiar with are, and have the advantage that they will pump crud that will stop a Rule. *I put in both for this reason - one that I figure isn't going to stop (Whale) and one that pumps whatever it pumps which will be less than what's presented as the specification.

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Old 02-12-2012, 09:28 PM   #3
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RE: Bilge Pump Advice

The Rule 2000 uses an 1-1/8" ID discharge hose. To get a higher capacity pump than the Rule 2000 you are going to have to increase the hose size to 1-1/2 which means installing a new thru-hull as well. I believe the largest Whale bilge pump is rated at about 1100 GPH and it uses an 1-1/8" hose. You won't actually get the rated capacity of any of these pumps as they are rated at zero head but it does serve as a good comparison.
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Old 02-12-2012, 09:30 PM   #4
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RE: Bilge Pump Advice

Practical Sailor magazine is like the CU, but for boat equipment. Look them up as they have done bilge pump tests, many times over the years.

*All of the bilge pumps that you normally see are rated at zero head and 12.8V if i remember right. It's been a while since i really bothered to look since mine are in good shape but I think those ratings are in the mfgr. details. They certainly are explained in the Practical Sailor.

*Also most of them need to have output hoses that have no sharp 90o ftgs or the like and smooth walled ID hoses. Internal corrugations seriously impede water flow.

Add some lift to get the water out of the boat, and that is a given, or reduce the voltage as the batteries run down and the pump output will be seriously reduced.

*Do not take the brochures as gospel. Buy the biggest you feel is necessary with the realization that in your actual boat under less than ideal conditions the output may be lessened by 25 - 50%.

Typical electric Bilge pumps will not keep your boat from sinking if you have a broken seacock or a hole or some other disaster. They can give you time to figure out how to plug a hole or lessen the leakage and deal with the breach and get out a call for help. If you want serious dewatering capacity you will need another independent pump, likely engine driven.

*Make sure the wiring is heavy for the current drawn and the connections are well done and sealed well and out of the water.

If you want to nearly dry the bilge a centrifugal pmp, such as the ones discussed will not do that, unless the pump sits in a well/sump that is deep enough to allow the pump to run to the point the only water is in the well. Most of our boats have a fairly flat bilge which will require a different pump for that last bit down to a few cupsful or so.

Rule*seems to make the largest of the centrifugal type but there are others.

The Whale you mention is I believe a diaphram type.*They will pass junk that will stall a*centrifugal.* The centrifugals should actually have a screen around them to keep large junk at bay.

*I have a Whale, manual, double diaphram type for emergency use if the electrics fail.** The electrics [3]*will give me time to set it up.* I have enough hoses with camlock fittings in place *to reach any bilge area and attach to an exhaust port in the hull side. I hope I never need it.

David Pascoe offers a good article to read also and goes into some detail:****
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Old 02-13-2012, 03:07 AM   #5
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RE: Bilge Pump Advice

For a manual pump the Edison 1.5 or 2 inch mounted on a board cant be beat.

Pump the dink , pump your boat , or fill a visitors dink , at a gallon a stroke!
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Old 02-13-2012, 12:44 PM   #6
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RE: Bilge Pump Advice

You might want to consider leaving your original pump and installing a higher capacity secondary bulge pump with it's switch a few inches higher.

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Old 02-13-2012, 12:59 PM   #7
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RE: Bilge Pump Advice

I installed a second rule 2000 bilge pump with their own float switch to double the capacity, as a back up with alarms.*I would added a second pump instead of going with one bigger pump.
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Old 02-13-2012, 02:22 PM   #8
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RE: Bilge Pump Advice

wingspar wrote:
You might want to consider leaving your original pump and installing a higher capacity secondary bulge pump with it's switch a few inches higher.

*That is the way Mainship built mine.* One on the bilge it self and one of larger size on a shelf about 6" up.
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Old 02-13-2012, 04:32 PM   #9
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RE: Bilge Pump Advice

My Mainship(390) has two in the keel, one at the low spot and another slightly higher.

I added a suction pump that removes the water the bilge pump can't.

I also added a Rule 4000 gph for when the worst happens. I often do all night crossings and am concerned of hitting something holing the hull. Probably the 4000 won't keep up but it makes me feel better having it there.
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Old 02-13-2012, 06:07 PM   #10
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RE: Bilge Pump Advice

My setup is similar to Millenium's:

1. A Jabsco sump-pump controlled by an Ultra Pumpswitch.

2. Two Rule 2000 centrifugals mounted just above the lip of the sump.
Conventional float switches at different heights so the pumps start (if required) sequentially.

3. A Whale manual pump with the lever accessible while steering from the lower helm.

The Jabsco and Whale pumps have separate strainers; the centrifugals have strainers built into the pump-body.

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Old 02-14-2012, 03:36 AM   #11
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RE: Bilge Pump Advice

IF a good sized thru hull goes , no common electric bilge pump or pair of pumps will keep the boat afloat.

An alarm (we prefer a bell) hooked to the second pump will annoy enough folks that someone will come take a look.

Remember a lock only keeps an honest man out , so lock the boat with an easily replaced lock setup.

Your friends will feel better sniping a brass lock , rather than bursting a finely made door.

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