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rjbergen

Replacing Bilge Pump Questions

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My 2006 Signature 330 has what I believe is the original engine compartment bilge pump, an Attwood V1250. Has anyone replaced one of these with a different model since they’re no longer made? Has anyone done a bilge pump replacement while the boat is in the water? I’m nervous about drilling new screw pilot holes for the new mount.

Has anyone fashioned an aluminum mounting plate and used 5200 to glue it to a stringer? What would you do with the holes from the previous mounting plate, just fill them with 5200?

While inspecting the engine compartment last weekend, I noticed the bilge pump didn’t activate when I tested the float switch, so I started troubleshooting. I tried the dash switch and it didn’t activate. I checked the circuit breaker on the main battery switch panel and found it tripped. I then tried the dash switch again and the pump hummed and tripped the dash circuit breaker. I reset that and tried the float switch and the pump hummed. It seems the pump is jammed. 

I found the install instructions and am going to try and remove the pump from the base tomorrow to see if I can clear the impeller and get it running. It seems the electrical is fine and it’s the pump. Seems that the main battery switch bilge circuit breaker is for the float switch circuit and the dash circuit breaker is for the dash switch circuit.

Any help or advice is appreciated. 

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Getting it out looks to be a bear.

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2 minutes ago, mpm330 said:

Getting it out looks to be a bear.

Yes, just getting the current one out will involve laying on top of an engine and balancing while I reach down. 

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I've not worked with the Attwood V1250, but have changed a few bilge pumps.  Your Attwood is rated at 1,250 gallons per hour, and uses a separate float switch.  If this was my boat, I'd install an integrated unit rated at least 1,500 gallons per hour at 12 volts.  You have a big boat, so more capacity isn't a bad thing.  Today's integrated units combine the bilge and float switch into one.  There's no need to wire multiple devices, and it's a cleaner installation in my opinion.  An aluminum mount is excellent.  A stiff rectangular piece of plastic is common as well.  If you can use one or all of the existing holes, great.  If you cannot, dry and fill with resin or 5200.  As to drilling new, no problem in the water.  Check the existing depth before filling and only drill this depth.  A drill bit, piece of wire, nail, etc. can be used along with a Sharpie to mark.  Be gentle, we're not carving.  When installing screws, I usually add a dab of 4200 or 5200, whichever is handy.  It seems to hold them in place better considering vibrations common to boating, and also protects the fiberglass from water.  I've never glued something to a stringer, so cannot comment.  Good luck.

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24 minutes ago, rjbergen said:

Yes, just getting the current one out will involve laying on top of an engine and balancing while I reach down.  

The worst part of the job.

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14 hours ago, Curt said:

I've not worked with the Attwood V1250, but have changed a few bilge pumps.  Your Attwood is rated at 1,250 gallons per hour, and uses a separate float switch.  If this was my boat, I'd install an integrated unit rated at least 1,500 gallons per hour at 12 volts.  You have a big boat, so more capacity isn't a bad thing.  Today's integrated units combine the bilge and float switch into one.  There's no need to wire multiple devices, and it's a cleaner installation in my opinion.  An aluminum mount is excellent.  A stiff rectangular piece of plastic is common as well.  If you can use one or all of the existing holes, great.  If you cannot, dry and fill with resin or 5200.  As to drilling new, no problem in the water.  Check the existing depth before filling and only drill this depth.  A drill bit, piece of wire, nail, etc. can be used along with a Sharpie to mark.  Be gentle, we're not carving.  When installing screws, I usually add a dab of 4200 or 5200, whichever is handy.  It seems to hold them in place better considering vibrations common to boating, and also protects the fiberglass from water.  I've never glued something to a stringer, so cannot comment.  Good luck.

Good stuff, Curt.  I think if his setup is split between the float switch and pump and is already wired that way, it might just be easier for him to just keep it that way, but what I would do is add an additional, integrated bilge pump as you suggested.  Now he'll have the capacity for that monster boat and a backup as well.

And spot on with drilling the new holes.  Just stick the drill bit into the existing holes to see how deep they are, then put a piece of blue tape around the bit where it meets the surface.  Then he can use that bit and stop right at the tape.  But if he's using a new mounting plate right on the stringer, he doesn't need to worry much about going through the hull.  That would be really hard to do with 1/2" or even 3/4" screws  I would go with a piece of PVC like you suggested.  Much easier to work with than aluminum. 

15 hours ago, rjbergen said:

Has anyone fashioned an aluminum mounting plate and used 5200 to glue it to a stringer? What would you do with the holes from the previous mounting plate, just fill them with 5200?

If you're not going to use the old holes, fill them in with resin or epoxy.  2-part marine epoxy is very easy to mix and you can even use that to mount the plate.  It cures like cement, just put something heavy on it to apply contact pressure.  Or after you fill the holes, put a bit of 5200 under the plate and screw that in. 

But if the pump and float switch are mounted on a stringer, those are pretty thick and wide so you don't necessarily have to worry about going through the hull.  Mine is mounted to the bottom of the hull next to the 2 transducers and in that case, I have to worry about putting a screw through the bottom.  But if yours is on a stringer, that's a heavy piece of wood that sits above the bottom of the hull and should be covered with resin and gelcoat and should be somewhere around 3" -6" deep/wide/high and you don't need to worry much about screws penetrating the bottom of the hull unless you decide to mount the plate and pump using 10" screws! :D  Do you have a pic?  It would be great to see how it's set up in your boat.

This is what mine looks like.  It's on the bottom of the hull right on the keel sitting on top of a glassed-in plate.  This is where I would need to be careful not to drill deep or use long screws.

x4tLXPo.jpg

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Chap uses a slip plate made from 3/8" thick  UHMW polyurethane rather than aluminum. You can buy the plastic from Amazon in any size you need and it cuts and drills easily.  I actually use it at our community launch facility for vertical rub strips on the dock piling faces as it is indestructible, non-marring, and will not support marine growth. Immune to UV rays also and I use 2" thick by 3" wide in 5' lengths and countersink in the 1/2" lag screws. Plenty of uses for that stuff, like slip pads on a trailer. OK, back into the bilge...  My pump sits well under the engine oil pan, but the mounting screws are well out ahead of the engine. Float switch too mounts to the plate, and by simply removing the accessible screws, one can advance the entire pump assembly forward for servicing as long as the wiring harness and discharge hoses are long enough.  W

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1 hour ago, Hatem said:

I think if his setup is split between the float switch and pump and is already wired that way, it might just be easier for him to just keep it that way...

You're right, it's easier.  Though, another consideration.  At potentially 12 years, both the bilge and float switch are old and this why I'd replace both at this time (regardless of which type; integrated or separate).  When a boat is kept in the water at an uncovered slip, there's the potential for wind driven rain, leaks through the canvas, snaps letting go and so forth.  I'd have trouble sleeping at night wondering.  A lot of money riding on $100.  It's also why on a used boat, vehicle, etc., it's wise to change all fluids, filters, plugs (and depending on hours/miles, wires), capacity check battery(ies), etc.  A clean start, no guessing.   

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W hen it is pump or float switch changing time.  I simply cut the wires so I have the longest leads to splice on longer leads.  LABE the wires. so you get the final wiring right. Pre test the switch & pump to be sure rotation is right.

I simply mount them on center line. Either in back or in front of the engine. I use a piece of plastic . RTV is good enough after I wipe all things to be RTVed together.  If you have a always wet bilge ?  Get almost on plane. Lower the plate into the stern most centerline area. pump is out. I stop the engines. wipe dry a center line place. Rag with Acetone to remove oil. The RTV the bottom of the pump plate. Press it down.  Come back in about 5 minutes to make sure the plate is still flat on the bottom.

If you keep boats for many years ? The RTV can always be forcefully removed easily.

Almost forgot the most important part of the wiring.  ONLY USE watertight, gell filled splices & connectors............. otherwise the pump will stop running again.  Corroded spots of bare wires...........NO house wiring colored wire nuts or house wiring butt splices.  Choke on the price of gell filled connectors. Beats doing the job several times.

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Thanks for the help guys. I’ll try and get a picture tonight. I’ll be down there and trying to get this working and/or figuring out my replacement plan. 

Basically, I have my centerline stringers that are 8-10” tall and spaced maybe 6-8” apart. Down in the gap is where the bilge pump sits all the wall back almost to the transom. I will basically lay on top of one engine and try and reach down in there to work. 

I’m good on the wiring aspect. I can more than handle that as it’s basically what I do for a living designing and prototyping cable harnesses for the Army. 

I plan to replace the pump and float switch as it’s an Attwood V1250 pump and float switch on the V-series mounting plate. That whole thing will come out. Haven’t decided between an automatic pump or a float switch yet. There’s different automatics too such as the Rule style that spins every 2.5 minutes checking for water resistance, the Rule Mate with an integrated float switch, and the ones with electronic water sensors. I had good luck with the Rule spin every 2.5 minute style, but they get a lot of bad reviews.

My current thought is to shop vac the little bit of water out (not enough to activate the float switch), dry the bilge, remove the existing parts, seal the holes, and then use 4200 to mount the pump’s strainer base. No screws or mounting plate. 

I’m looking primarily at 1,500 GPH pumps right now, but will check the circuit breakers and existing wire gage and upgrade if it can support the current draw. 

My future plans would be to replace the hose with smoothwall hose and add a second pump mounted higher on the stringer. My main concern is to get a pump running right now. 

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6 minutes ago, cyclops2 said:

Almost forgot the most important part of the wiring.  ONLY USE watertight, gell filled splices & connectors............. otherwise the pump will stop running again.  Corroded spots of bare wires...........NO house wiring colored wire nuts or house wiring butt splices.  Choke on the price of gell filled connectors. Beats doing the job several times.

I buy all of my wiring supplies from Best Boat Wire online. I only use adhesive-lined heat shrink butt splice crimp connectors and tinned marine-grade wire. Although for this job I’m considering using a Deutsch DT 3-way connector since I have the tools to assemble them at work. 

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3 hours ago, Wingnut said:

Chap uses a slip plate made from 3/8" thick  UHMW polyurethane rather than aluminum. You can buy the plastic from Amazon in any size you need and it cuts and drills easily.  I actually use it at our community launch facility for vertical rub strips on the dock piling faces as it is indestructible, non-marring, and will not support marine growth. Immune to UV rays also and I use 2" thick by 3" wide in 5' lengths and countersink in the 1/2" lag screws. Plenty of uses for that stuff, like slip pads on a trailer. OK, back into the bilge...  My pump sits well under the engine oil pan, but the mounting screws are well out ahead of the engine. Float switch too mounts to the plate, and by simply removing the accessible screws, one can advance the entire pump assembly forward for servicing as long as the wiring harness and discharge hoses are long enough.  W

When it cools down I'll have to check out how the pump is mounted. It would be nice to know that it is on a plate that can be removed.

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20 hours ago, Curt said:

You're right, it's easier.  Though, another consideration.  At potentially 12 years, both the bilge and float switch are old and this why I'd replace both at this time (regardless of which type; integrated or separate).  When a boat is kept in the water at an uncovered slip, there's the potential for wind driven rain, leaks through the canvas, snaps letting go and so forth.  I'd have trouble sleeping at night wondering.  A lot of money riding on $100.  It's also why on a used boat, vehicle, etc., it's wise to change all fluids, filters, plugs (and depending on hours/miles, wires), capacity check battery(ies), etc.  A clean start, no guessing.   

For sure.  Makes sense to change the float switch as well.  If these are the original pump and float switch, it wouldn't make sense just to replace the pump even if it's the one that conked out and not the switch.  My neighbor is a general manager for some company that builds all sorts of pumps from huge, industrial ones to these little things and one day she knocked on the door with a brand new Rule pump and switch as a gift.  Very nice of her when she said she overheard me talking to my son while cleaning the boat in the driveway that I wanted to add an additional and backup to the existing one.  It's still in the package lol.  I am planning on getting to it one day!  After doing all other 647 other things I want to do first.

I forget if it's actually ok to install a secondary bilge pump and pump it into the same hose using a Y fitting instead of drilling another thruhull.  Definitely want to avoid that at all costs.

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R

You are right about the computer Rule pumps ONLY LOSING the computer section. I save them and run them on the 3rd wire that goes directly to the motor windings.

My 16 foot Aluminum has 1 GOOD Rule Computer & 3 direct wired pumps connected to a single switch.  That is about 1500 gpm on the motor units only.

The computers die after about 2 summers of use.

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On 8/3/2018 at 5:42 PM, rjbergen said:

Yes, just getting the current one out will involve laying on top of an engine and balancing while I reach down. 

Why remove it then. Just install a new as far back as you can. 

I would not use a Y for installing a new pump. That hose was sized for that pump alone. So adding another pump would cause a lot of back pressure and not increasing the GPH by much.    Also you would need a check valve on both side of the Y so if one pump turns on, you not pumping it back into the boat. Just install a new pump "system", thru-hull and hose. If you have a dual battery setup, power the 2nd pump off the 2nd battery.

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The hose from the bilge pump starts at the bottom of the hull and works its way up and then back down out the thru-hull.  Putting the Y at the section where it pitches down and out should be fine and wouldn't allow any backflow into the other pump.  A catch valve closer to the pump is probably a good idea to prevent that little bit of water left in the upwards pitching part of the hose to backflow, just like a household sump pump.  I'd rather not drill another thru-hull.

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So I checked the electrical wiring diagram and it looks like I have 4A circuit breakers using 14 AWG wire for the bilge pumps. The problem is that most of the modern pumps are drawing 4A+ and spec a 10A circuit breaker. The 14 AWG can support a 3% voltage drops at 5A for 20’. That’s more than enough for the auto float switch breaker which is in the transom compartment and has a 16’ round trip run. It’s pushing it a little on the manual helm switch run, but we’ll within the 10% voltage drop limit. 

Anyways, my question is, does anyone have the part numbers for the circuit breakers? I’d like to upsize to a 10A at least. 

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REmember  A circuit breaker............IS NOT .........to protect the FAILING DEVICE  !!!!!!!!!!!!!!

It is there to PREVENT the excessive current of the FAILING device from MELTING YOUR WIRES.

NOTE..........Bilge pumps are well known for using cheap undersized none copper wires.  My findings

DO NOT put in a over sized fuse or  C B !!!!!!!!1 If the pump impellor gets junk wrapped around it ?  The Fuse or C B that is the same as the ........RATED AMPERES OF THE PUMP IS BEST TO USE.  It WILL TRIP on a overload in SOME CASES. NOT all cases

Companies hire supposed electrical engineers or LOUD MOUTH   DIY people to specify electrical parts.  No real experience with pump electrical characteristics.

I know all about screwing up things. I spent my life doing that.    :haha-7383:

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42 minutes ago, cyclops2 said:

REmember  A circuit breaker............IS NOT .........to protect the FAILING DEVICE  !!!!!!!!!!!!!!

It is there to PREVENT the excessive current of the FAILING device from MELTING YOUR WIRES.

NOTE..........Bilge pumps are well known for using cheap undersized none copper wires.  My findings

DO NOT put in a over sized fuse or  C B !!!!!!!!1 If the pump impellor gets junk wrapped around it ?  The Fuse or C B that is the same as the ........RATED AMPERES OF THE PUMP IS BEST TO USE.  It WILL TRIP on a overload in SOME CASES. NOT all cases

Companies hire supposed electrical engineers or LOUD MOUTH   DIY people to specify electrical parts.  No real experience with pump electrical characteristics.

I know all about screwing up things. I spent my life doing that.    :haha-7383:

I’m an electrical engineer for the Army and design military vehicle cable harnesses for a living. I understand what a circuit breaker is for, and even have to select between the most common type of circuit breakers: thermal, thermal magnetic, magnetic, and magnetic hydraulic. 

I’m not putting in an oversized circuit breaker. The current Attwood V1250 bilge pump is rated at 2.6A running which is fine for the 4A circuit breaker. There’s even headroom for the starting current. The problem is I want to move to a Rule 1500 or 2000 GPH bilge pump, but they draw 4.1A and 8.4A respectively. Neither would work on the 4A breaker. However, the 14 AWG wire is sufficient to support both of those loads at the circuit round trip distance I calculated by looking at the electrical harness schematics and adding up the lengths of each leg of the harness. 

So, to properly protect the Rule 1500, I need a 10A circuit breaker and for the Rule 2000 I need a 15A circuit breaker. I guess I’ll just pull off the panel and check the circuit breaker labels. 

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Just now, rjbergen said:

So, to properly protect the Rule 1500, I need a 10A circuit breaker and for the Rule 2000 I need a 15A circuit breaker. I guess I’ll just pull off the panel and check the circuit breaker labels. 

Seems like the best approach.  Cecil Marine (Online) can probably answer also, or perhaps if you search their website you'll find the right one (part number 13.01068).

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3 hours ago, rjbergen said:

So, to properly protect the Rule 1500, I need a 10A circuit breaker and for the Rule 2000 I need a 15A circuit breaker. I guess I’ll just pull off the panel and check the circuit breaker labels. 

Definitely pull the panel.  I discovered the hard way that my boat uses a different brand of breakers for the panel under the helm than on the panel with the DC disconnects.  They look the same, until you actually try to install the breaker and find out it's ever so slightly too large to fit on the bus.

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On 8/5/2018 at 6:09 AM, Hatem said:

I forget if it's actually ok to install a secondary bilge pump and pump it into the same hose using a Y fitting instead of drilling another thruhull.  Definitely want to avoid that at all costs.

As long as the hose attached to the through hull can handle the volume of both pumps pumping at full capability.  I think I read this is often not the case and it's therefore better to have an isolated second through hull and hose for capacity reasons.  

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The pump hose is sized for ...........ONLY............ 1 pump.   Obvious conclusion ?

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To be safe, install a check valve on each leg before they become one in the “Y”.  

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That is NOT SAFE.  Check it out before posting something that could cause a sinking because neither pump gets up to speed. Therefor BOTH pumps are pulling more current to do less work.  To do it your way the pumps need to have higher PRESSUREs to force their combined flow thru the undersized  Y .

Just add a separate hose of the correct size to the 2nd pump.  Get the full capacity. So it can provide help in a sinking condition.

If you can calculate the dimensions  of the Y.  Good luck.

Do check valves get stuck open or closed with all the junk found in bilges?  Which is more important ?  1 hose opening or a sinking ?

 

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