clogged bilge pump exhaust

HerbertFriedman

Member III
The Rule bilge pump on E34 is not working, seems to be a clogged exhaust line. The manual and the float switches seem to be working, I can hear the pump rotor spinning but no flow.

I disconnected the exhaust line from the pump, pump works super, lots of flow. I removed the check valve a few feet downstream, no clog there. So the line from the aft the check valve (accessible under the galley cabinet) to the outside seems to be clogged.

There are several thru hull fittings at the rear under the transom accessible from the rear lazarette with some contorsion, all above the water line, thankfully. A few of them appear to have the same hose as the bilge exhaust but with no flow I cannot tell which is the bilge line, any ideas which one is from the bilge? I dont think the thru hull is clogged, say from growth or mussels because they are all well above the water line.

I will try to trace the hose through the engine compartment but that looks to be difficult. My plan is to first disconnect the hose aft the check valve and insert the deck water hose with lots of pressure to try to blow out the clog. Next would be to run a snake line but with lots of bends, that sounds difficult. Any ideas out there?
 

Loren Beach

O34 - Portland, OR
Senior Moderator
Blogs Author
Plan C.... used something like 'duck tape' to secure the end of the hose from an inflatable dinghy foot pump to the hose and..... put some pressure on it.
I once used this idea to trouble shoot a possible clog in a diesel fuel line.
 

Kenneth K

Sustaining Member
Blogs Author
May be the check valve itself. Thats the problem I had previously. The pumps have no problem pushing the check valve open if the valve is NOT holding back water.
 

Kenneth K

Sustaining Member
Blogs Author
(continued) .....the pumps have no problem pushing a check valve open if the valve is NOT holding back water. But once the valve is holding back a column of standing water, the pumps often can't develop enough of a prime to create the pressure needed to open the valve. Even if the valve used to work, an old sticky valve could be harder to open than the valve was when new.
 

Dave G.

1984 EY30+ Ludington, MI
I would remove the check valve and retest. You will need a male to male 3/4" barb connector to replace the check valve. I wouldn't put a check valve back in the line either. They are known to be problematic and the risk is not worth what little benefit they could provide. Make sure the hose has a brief rise a bit higher than the level of the thru hull to prevent any sea water somehow making it's way in.
 

Loren Beach

O34 - Portland, OR
Senior Moderator
Blogs Author
I would remove the check valve and retest. You will need a male to male 3/4" barb connector to replace the check valve. I wouldn't put a check valve back in the line either. They are known to be problematic and the risk is not worth what little benefit they could provide. Make sure the hose has a brief rise a bit higher than the level of the thru hull to prevent any sea water somehow making it's way in.
I agree with this as an interim repair, and then reiterate again...restore the factory bilge pump scheme - the excellent Jabsco 37202 -series pump.
For sure have a rise in a loop in the discharge hose before it exits the rear of the boat.
The fact that the centrifugal pumps are a marketing success and profitable does not make them best suited for the purpose.
(As Mrs Slocum used to say, "I am unanimous in that opinion!")
 

Christian Williams

E381 - Los Angeles
Moderator
Blogs Author
Rule Pump works great but installed bilge hose is apparently clogged.

Tape a garden hose over the output of the pump and put its other end in the cockpit. Will it pump now?

Whatever the result, you still have a Rule submersible pump. [sarcasm]

Sometimes they work, sometimes not, and in between are a list of "reasons."
 

Bobby Steele

Member I
We went through this ordeal last year. The problem turned out to be that the hose didn’t rise, as Dave G mentioned above. Once the hose was reattached to clips that held it up, the problem was gone...
 

Loren Beach

O34 - Portland, OR
Senior Moderator
Blogs Author
Tape a garden hose over the output of the pump and put its other end in the cockpit. Will it pump now?
Somehow, in trouble shooting boat problems, lots of "tape" is often involved!
:)

Back in the good old days, the crowd would yell for "more cow bell!"
Times change........
 
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Dave G.

1984 EY30+ Ludington, MI
LOL, Christopher Walken/SNL reference duly noted Loren. Tape and bailing wire are the "go to" always with boats and all things mechanical.
Loren I am going to replace my bilge pump(Ruhle) with the Jabsco you cited above. What float switch do you pair with that unit ?
 

Loren Beach

O34 - Portland, OR
Senior Moderator
Blogs Author
Dave, I still use the "standard" Rule mercury switch. I would change to a resistance/capacitence type, but we are in fresh water, and the pure rain water that comes down the inside of masts here is often not 'contaminated' enough to trigger those metal probes. Those float type switches are not very reliable, over the years, but we have the two separate factory pump-and-switch combo's in our boat so the odds are that at least one of them will work. (sigh)

Sidebar: we have checking the bilge of a friend's E-38, for the last month - weekly - while they are out of town for a while. I have to manually switch on his bilge pump to remove about 2" of water because the little extra salt he places in the bilge for this purpose is no longer sufficient to make the electrical connection to trigger the pump reliably. He sez it's been a problem since the install, and usually the water level rises up enough to cover most of the exposed probe metal and then it does work.
 
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HerbertFriedman

Member III
Success, turns out it was the check valve. I removed the old check valve and inserted a short length of tube in its place, now the pump works fine but without the check valve, water left in the exhaust hose flows back into the sump once the pumps turns off, as expected. I have purchased a new check valve and will consider re installing it, noting all the negatives listed here.

I disassembled the old check valve to view the tri leaflet valve, seems OK but probably a bit stiff (after 33 years) and that was probably the cause the the bilge pump not pumping but still spinning. The Rule pump does not produce sufficient pressure to push the valve open especially with the weight of the water in the hose.

I will consider switching to a diaphragm located in the starboard lazarette as others have suggested but since the bilge water is usually fresh , a conduction switch may not work well and I will probably keep the old float switch.

A hearty thanks to all those who offered advice, what a great site this is.
 

Dave G.

1984 EY30+ Ludington, MI
Dave, I still use the "standard" Rule mercury switch. I would change to a resistance/capacitence type, but we are in fresh water, and the pure rain water that comes down the inside of masts here is often not 'contaminated' enough to trigger those metal probes. Those float type switches are not very reliable, over the years, but we have the two separate factory pump-and-switch combo's in our boat so the odds are that at least one of them will work. (sigh)

Sidebar: we have checking the bilge of a friend's E-38, for the last month - weekly - while they are out of town for a while. I have to manually switch on his bilge pump to remove about 2" of water because the little extra salt he places in the bilge for this purpose is no longer sufficient to make the electrical connection to trigger the pump reliably.
Thanks Loren, As I am also in freshwater so a float switch may have to be the choice. I will have to reroute the plumbing as a PO has long ago replaced the original system with a Ruhle at the pick up end and bypassed the original Jabsco pump location which apparently was on a bulkhead under the galley sink. Probably good time to replace the hoses while I'm at it. Luckily I have the original plumbing diagram to guide me.
 

Kenneth K

Sustaining Member
Blogs Author
I just put a Water Witch 101 electronic switch in my shower bilge. This bilge is closed off from the other bilge sections and only receives (fresh) rainwater that comes in from the mast. Rainwater and tap water (for testing the switch) cause it to cycle ON with no problems.
 

Christian Williams

E381 - Los Angeles
Moderator
Blogs Author
Works on my rainwater too, although there's always some residual salt I'm sure. From the brochure:

NOTE: If large amounts of rain water can enter the bilge, it may dilute the normal, fresh or salt, water outside our sensitivity window. Corrective action can be to switch pump on manually to remove diluted water or to add minerals such as salt, baking soda, bilge cleaners, etc… NORMAL FRESH WATER HAS AMPLE MINERAL CONTENT FOR PROPER OPERATION.
 

K2MSmith

Member III
The Rule bilge pump on E34 is not working, seems to be a clogged exhaust line. The manual and the float switches seem to be working, I can hear the pump rotor spinning but no flow.

I disconnected the exhaust line from the pump, pump works super, lots of flow. I removed the check valve a few feet downstream, no clog there. So the line from the aft the check valve (accessible under the galley cabinet) to the outside seems to be clogged.

There are several thru hull fittings at the rear under the transom accessible from the rear lazarette with some contorsion, all above the water line, thankfully. A few of them appear to have the same hose as the bilge exhaust but with no flow I cannot tell which is the bilge line, any ideas which one is from the bilge? I dont think the thru hull is clogged, say from growth or mussels because they are all well above the water line.

I will try to trace the hose through the engine compartment but that looks to be difficult. My plan is to first disconnect the hose aft the check valve and insert the deck water hose with lots of pressure to try to blow out the clog. Next would be to run a snake line but with lots of bends, that sounds difficult. Any ideas out there?
My Rule bilge pump outflow line is 5/8”, so I disconnected it from bilge pump and bought a garden hose fitting (female) in the hardware store and used a hose clamp to fit it to end. I then ran the dock hose inside the boat and connected it to the hose fitting. When I turned on the water it cleaned out the line and I could see the water jet exiting the water exhaust. Also note I had a check valve in the outflow line. The Rule manual states not to use a check valve (can cause air lock), so I removed it. The downside is you have some remaining water in the hose flow back into the bilge.
 

Kenneth K

Sustaining Member
Blogs Author
I would change to a resistance/capacitance type, but we are in fresh water, and the pure rain water that comes down the inside of masts here is often not 'contaminated' enough to trigger those metal probes. Those float type switches are not very reliable, over the years, but we have the two separate factory pump-and-switch combo's in our boat.....
I just put a Water Witch 101 electronic switch in my shower bilge. This bilge is closed off from the other bilge sections and only receives (fresh) rainwater that comes in from the mast. Rainwater and tap water (for testing the switch) cause it to cycle ON with no problems.

Like EF Hutton (if you're old enough to remember), when Loren talks, people listen.....Or, at least they should.

I just went back to check my Water Witch 101 a week after installing it. Though I tested it with rainwater in the bilge, after one week I went back to find the switch's contact submerged in rainwater but the switch not activating. Out of general paranoia, I had left the Rule pivoting float switch wired up as well. The Rule switch had been emptying the bilge, but not the Water Witch.

My problem with the Rule switch is that it triggers when the float is raised about 1.25". It then pumps out my (small, mast-water-catching) bilge in about 2 seconds. Once the pump stops, the backflow in the line refills the bilge by about an inch. Thus, I'm only pumping out about 1/4" of water per cycle.

My other bilge has an Aqualarm smart-switch:
209.jpg
This switch combines a mechanical float with electronic circuity. After the float bottoms out, the pump continues to run for 15 sec to continue lowering the water level in the bilge. I think I'll install another one of these to prevent the short-cycling.
 

Christian Williams

E381 - Los Angeles
Moderator
Blogs Author
This time of year I leave the bilge covers off and drape a towel into and between the two main sumps.

The 1/2" of rainwater the pump can't get out wicks up into the towel and evaporates.

Then upon arrival I dab the bilge with Kleenex and add a few drops of cologne. [sarcasm]

Really, we are all nuts, bilges are supposed to have water in them. I blame Loren and his turkey baster for our fixation.
 

1911tex

Sustaining Member
I have this switch...available at lower cost elsewhere...worth it! :

 

Loren Beach

O34 - Portland, OR
Senior Moderator
Blogs Author
Found what might be my next one on-line.
Much cooler than the $2. one I have been using! Closer to $10. though.........
:egrin:
But then, an Ericson deserves the best!
 

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