Rule pumps

K2MSmith

Member III
Does anyone have a rule bilge pump setup that actually works when you fill a -dry- bilge ? I’m on my second one and since they don’t self-prime and airlock , they will always require about 3/8” of water in the bilge to work . I know the airlock issue with these pumps is well discussed, but it seems they can’t really be used at all (?)
 

Loren Beach

O34 - Portland, OR
Senior Moderator
Blogs Author
Does anyone have a rule bilge pump setup that actually works when you fill a -dry- bilge ? I’m on my second one and since they don’t self-prime and airlock , they will always require about 3/8” of water in the bilge to work . I know the airlock issue with these pumps is well discussed, but it seems they can’t really be used at all (?)
Like some of us wryly say, they are a true marketing success. Reliable water removal, not so much. :(
 

Kenneth K

Contributing Partner
Blogs Author
At 3/8" of water, I doubt water is even touching the pump impeller. My Rule 500 and 800 work just as they are supposed to (and the 800 kept my boat from sinking when I blew the PSS shaft seal)--but that means that after the float switch turns off, and the water backflows through the lines, there is about 2" of water in the bilge. A Rule centrifugal will never "empty" the bilge. It will, however, move a decent amount of water (I estimated about 360-400 gph from my Rule 800) when you have an unwanted ingress of water into the boat.
 

K2MSmith

Member III
At 3/8" of water, I doubt water is even touching the pump impeller. My Rule 500 and 800 work just as they are supposed to (and the 800 kept my boat from sinking when I blew the PSS shaft seal)--but that means that after the float switch turns off, and the water backflows through the lines, there is about 2" of water in the bilge. A Rule centrifugal will never "empty" the bilge. It will, however, move a decent amount of water (I estimated about 360-400 gph from my Rule 800) when you have an unwanted ingress of water into the boat.
I’m finding that if you completely empty the bilge ( by manually pumping/ sponging the water out ) until it is dry . Then test bilge pump system by pouring a few buckets of water into it until float switch is activated . ( the switch in my boat is mounted on 1/4 plywood , so the water needs to be about 2” deep before it is activated. ). Once pump switches on , it runs but doesn’t pump water out . In order for my pump to work , I always have have enough water in the bilge it to keep the pump primed . I can test this by manually filling it to 1 or 2” and manually actuate the float switch to check that water is pumping out . ( the pump needs to be reprimed though if starting empty ) . Once I hear “air” sucking through . I can release the switch and some water remaining in the outlet hours will flood back into the bilge . Then I know it will work .

I don’t really like this setup because it requires a “wet sump”. I spent a lot of time cleaning the keel bolts , so I’m aiming to minimize water ( and corrosion) in there . I know I can just put fresh water i it , but I’d like to keep it dry if I can .
 

Kenneth K

Contributing Partner
Blogs Author
2" of water should be plenty to prime the Rule pump (it is for mine). If not, you likely have a dip, restriction, check valve, or air pocket in the bilge hose.

When my PSS failed, I eventually set up a 1/6 hp AC powered sump pump connected to a garden hose as my "primary" pump (I couldn't get hauled out till 4 days after Christmas). The first time I ran the AC pump--perfect. The second time I ran it--nothing--the garden hose was too long (and in a coil) before it pumped out over the cockpit coaming. I shortened the hose so that it was in a continuous, always-upward-sloped-run over the coaming, and the pump never failed to move water again.
 

K2MSmith

Member III
2" of water should be plenty to prime the Rule pump (it is for mine). If not, you likely have a dip, restriction, check valve, or air pocket in the bilge hose.

When my PSS failed, I eventually set up a 1/6 hp AC powered sump pump connected to a garden hose as my "primary" pump (I couldn't get hauled out till 4 days after Christmas). The first time I ran the AC pump--perfect. The second time I ran it--nothing--the garden hose was too long (and in a coil) before it pumped out over the cockpit coaming. I shortened the hose so that it was in a continuous, always-upward-sloped-run over the coaming, and the pump never failed to move water again.
The PO had a check valve , I removed it . The hose a very slight dip ( maybe 3-5 degrees) . This is because the hose barb on the rule 900 is about 1” higher than the hole in the bilge bulkhead that the hose runs though . Output house is 3/4 ( or is it 5/8 ? ) and runs to port side and then out to the transom thru-hull. So it’s about a 20’ run.

I could try a rule 1500 ( the rule pumps are relatively inexpensive). The hose barb is lower with this design so little or no dip. The output barb though is 1 1/8 , so i would have to put a reducer in some place or see if I can change out the whole bilge hose ( and maybe thru-hull fitting .
 

Kenneth K

Contributing Partner
Blogs Author
Might be worth a try. If it still doesn't work and/or there is a dip in the line, this might be a good candidate for a (much-touted) diaphragm pump.
 

K2MSmith

Member III
Might be worth a try. If it still doesn't work and/or there is a dip in the line, this might be a good candidate for a (much-touted) diaphragm pump.
I’ve considered ( a as per Loren’s and others suggestion) . I just don’t have a convenient place to mount one unless it goes under the cockpit , but I hate working back there - very limited space in my boat. A diaphragm pump setup is also a bit more complicated .
 

Loren Beach

O34 - Portland, OR
Senior Moderator
Blogs Author
Over the years I have noticed a Jabsco diaphragm type bilge pump located in the engine area on a lot of Ericson's. Ours is located, and difficult to reach, under the after berth. Given the long life of that design, perhaps EY was somewhat cavalier about the location. At 3/4" the hose is easy to route, and the pump can be quite remote from the bilge and the float switch.
 

K2MSmith

Member III
Over the years I have noticed a Jabsco diaphragm type bilge pump located in the engine area on a lot of Ericson's. Ours is located, and difficult to reach, under the after berth. Given the long life of that design, perhaps EY was somewhat cavalier about the location. At 3/4" the hose is easy to route, and the pump can be quite remote from the bilge and the float switch.
On my 33RH , there are two freshwater diaphragm pumps , mounted deep in the engine compartment ( accessible with difficulty from below the cockpit ) . One is for the house water supply ( sinks ) . The other I think is a shower bilge pump . Both didn’t work after I bought the boat . I bought exact replacements for them and replaced the sink pump but the shower bilge pump ( a puppy pump )is still in the box :) I’m thinking I should replace it because even if the shower is not used , it’s kind of a backup If the water got that high in the boat and the primary bilge pump fails (maybe ?)

I will check the after birth location on my boat . Batteries and water tank are located under the main starboard birth, but I’m forgetting what’s under the after birth even though sit there a lot because the nav table is there - my second office away from home .
 

Christian Williams

E381 - Los Angeles
Moderator
Blogs Author
I put a diaphragm pump under a settee seat. I have not needed to look at it in four years.

 

K2MSmith

Member III
I put a diaphragm pump under a settee seat. I have not needed to look at it in four years.

Thanks Christian - nice article. I'd like to do this but I need to sort out the plumbing/electrical. I think the bilge hose would have to be replaced and an input hose added. It's a bit of a challenge for a tall guy like me to crawl around under my cockpit (but I'm getting better at it.) . I may have to find a smaller version of me to help me to do that. My wife has volunteered to help but she has been 6 weeks in a cast with a broken wrist :-0
 

K2MSmith

Member III
Might be worth a try. If it still doesn't work and/or there is a dip in the line, this might be a good candidate for a (much-touted) diaphragm pump.
Ken, I'm curious how your system will prime. If you dry out your bilge (including the water that flows back form the outlet hose - assuming you don't have a check valve), then there is no water in the pump outlet. If you manually fill the bilge (say with a bucket or two of fresh water; enough to trigger the float switch), does it still work ? It doesn't seem like it would.....but maybe I am wrong in my understanding of how the Rule pumps are designed.
 

Kenneth K

Contributing Partner
Blogs Author
RE: Ken, I'm curious how your system will prime. If you dry out your bilge (including the water that flows back form the outlet hose - assuming you don't have a check valve), - I do not have a check valve

then there is no water in the pump outlet.
- correct, only air in the bilge, pump, and hose.

If you manually fill the bilge (say with a bucket or two of fresh water; enough to trigger the float switch), does it still work? - yes, whether I fill it with water, or water flows in from the mast, or water floods up from a leak, the pump works when the float is triggered, even though it was dry to begin with.

It doesn't seem like it would.....but maybe I am wrong in my understanding of how the Rule pumps are designed. -
A. Start with a dry bilge and an empty bilge hose. How do you really know if your hose is empty? (1) Disconnect it and blow air through it--Did you feel any trapped water in the line? Or, (2) disconnect the existing hose and hook up a test hose from the pump to your sink or your cockpit--a clear hose is better so you can see what is happening.

B. Start filling the bilge with water. As the water level water rises, water need to pass through the pump, past the pump blades and pump outlet (even while the pump is unpowered) and into the bilge hose. The water level in the bilge hose has to rise to the same level as it is in the bilge itself. As long as this happens, the pump blades are in full contact with the water and are, therefore, primed. The pump will move water when activated. Or,


C. If you add water to the bilge, but the water level is not simultaneously rising in the bilge hose, this means you have air or water trapped somewhere in the hose (like the Rule "airlock" video). If the water has not risen in the bilge hose, then water has not passed from outside the pump, past the pump blades and pump outlet, and into the hose--meaning the bottom of the pump case is still full of air (even though the bilge is full of water). When the float switch triggers, the blades will spin around and splash against the trapped air and water but will not pump water through the hose. In other words, until the pump is activated, the bilge hose needs to act as an air vent for the pump--it vents the air from the bottom of the pump case as the pump case begins to fill with water.

20201226_224755.jpg Water level rising in bilge, pump, and hose before bilge switch triggers.
 
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Christian Williams

E381 - Los Angeles
Moderator
Blogs Author
The basic Rule submersible pump has a physical float switch. The swtich needs half and inch or more of water. To test it you pick the pump up and turn it upsidedown--the float drops and the pump performs. No "float" switch can offer a dry bilge, by definition.

A diaphragm pump doesn't automatically give a dry bilge either, because it also needs some form of water sensor. But you can manually get more water out if the pickup hose isn't in a strum box, by "vacuuming."

I follow up with a rag, then paper towel, then Kleenex, then heat gun, then a nice coat of Petunia Bilge Moisturizer available from L'Oreal.
 

Loren Beach

O34 - Portland, OR
Senior Moderator
Blogs Author
I follow up with a rag, then paper towel, then Kleenex, then heat gun, then a nice coat of Petunia Bilge Moisturizer available from L'Oreal.
Join up Today:
the Ancient Order of the Turkey Basters of America.
Dues are cheap and the turkey is great!
Motto: "Slurrrrrrrp!"
:)
 

Kenneth K

Contributing Partner
Blogs Author
I follow up with a rag, then paper towel, then Kleenex, then heat gun, then a nice coat of Petunia Bilge Moisturizer available from L'Oreal.
Join up Today:
the Ancient Order of the Turkey Basters of America.
Dues are cheap and the turkey is great!
Motto: "Slurrrrrrrp!"

My friend the pharma rep could make a ton of extra money selling on this site. Myself included, of course.....o_O :egrin:
 

shepherdsond

Member I
I also have been wrestling with the wet bilge problem ever since I assumed ownership of my E33RH. The PO had installed a Jabsco diaphragm pump (not the nice one referenced by Christian but more of a washdown pump) under the cockpit. This would more or less dry the bilge when used with one of those small square strum box's when used in the manual mode. However the pump proved to be extremely unreliable (due to the diaphragms getting clogged I think). After many rebuilds and a replacement I went to the standard Rule plus float switch which leaves a couple of inches in the bilge as noted.

I think the solution is the diaphragm pump that Christian uses located under the cockpit (with float switch in bilge and auto/manual switch), I just haven't summoned up enough enthusiasm to spend that much yet.

One thing not noted here is that on my 33RH when I removed the diaphragm pump under the cockpit and replaced it with a centrifugal pump in the bilge is that when the stern squats while motoring (thus submerging the outlet) the pump sets up a siphon so that when it switches off there is a continuous flow of water back in (not just the contents of the pipe). If the pump were to fail while this was happening you would soon be in deep trouble. I had to install a siphon break under the cockpit.
 

Loren Beach

O34 - Portland, OR
Senior Moderator
Blogs Author
Interesting. Thanks David !

Our factory pump system has a Jabsco separately-mounted inlet strainer for each of the two pumps. From the way the hose and all parts are mounted, I am 99.8% sure it left the factory this way.
I notice that WM sells the strainers along side the pumps.
Having cleaned up our bilge after we bought the boat, and it needed it, we have not yet found anything in those little screens. I do inspect and open them regularly, tho.
 

K2MSmith

Member III
I also have been wrestling with the wet bilge problem ever since I assumed ownership of my E33RH. The PO had installed a Jabsco diaphragm pump (not the nice one referenced by Christian but more of a washdown pump) under the cockpit. This would more or less dry the bilge when used with one of those small square strum box's when used in the manual mode. However the pump proved to be extremely unreliable (due to the diaphragms getting clogged I think). After many rebuilds and a replacement I went to the standard Rule plus float switch which leaves a couple of inches in the bilge as noted.

I think the solution is the diaphragm pump that Christian uses located under the cockpit (with float switch in bilge and auto/manual switch), I just haven't summoned up enough enthusiasm to spend that much yet.

One thing not noted here is that on my 33RH when I removed the diaphragm pump under the cockpit and replaced it with a centrifugal pump in the bilge is that when the stern squats while motoring (thus submerging the outlet) the pump sets up a siphon so that when it switches off there is a continuous flow of water back in (not just the contents of the pipe). If the pump were to fail while this was happening you would soon be in deep trouble. I had to install a siphon break under the cockpit.
Interesting about the siphon. I removed the check valve but i have not seen this problem. Maybe my hose has enough of a loop to prevent this (?) .
 
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