Rule pumps

K2MSmith

Member III
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.

View attachment 36950 Water level rising in bilge, pump, and hose before bilge switch triggers.
Thanks Ken . Good info . I especially like the idea of a clear test hose to isolate whether it’s the pump or my outflow . If the rule pumps do get primed if the water level in the outflow hose gets high enough, then my system -should- work .

Other than the slight dip mentioned, i don’t see any obvious problem. I didn’t actually try to blow air in the outflow hose , but I’ll try that. I did connect a garden hose to it ( with a brass garden hose coupler) and water flowed through it fine . There must some back pressure in line somewhere causing the airlock . I’ll try your diagnostics next time I’m at the boat. I’d like to prove that it works with a test hose. If that works , then I know it’s a problem downstream .

Ps: I wonder about danger of not having a check valve . Do you have any siphoning issues at different points of heel ?
 

Loren Beach

O34 - Portland, OR
Senior Moderator
Blogs Author
I wonder about danger of not having a check valve . Do you have any siphoning issues at different points of heel ?
Raise the discharge hose, inside of the transom, up a couple of feet higher than the discharge thruhull. i.e. have a vertical loop in it. Even tho my Jabsco pumps will not allow back flow, I have those loops in place anyway,
 

Christian Williams

E381 - Los Angeles
Moderator
Blogs Author
I added an anti-siphon valve to the top of the bilge hose loop on the 32-3. Belt and suspenders no doubt. (That boat didn't have a diaphragm pump with built-in check valves)
 

K2MSmith

Member III
Raise the discharge hose, inside of the transom, up a couple of feet higher than the discharge thruhull. i.e. have a vertical loop in it. Even tho my Jabsco pumps will not allow back flow, I have those loops in place anyway,
Here is a picture under the cockpit looking back to the transom. The two red hoses are the bilge hoses. you can’t see in this photo very well but they both connect to a “t” fitting which exits in a thru-hull near the waterline. (About 6” above). This many be the original factory configuration. The bilge hoses do have a loop but they go up probably no more than a foot above the thr-hull height. They attach to clamps (out of the pictrue) to the cockpit floor, which I seem to think is about 15’ above the waterline.


90091B7A-28DF-4A91-B82B-FD6A7C2C2E98.jpeg
 

Loren Beach

O34 - Portland, OR
Senior Moderator
Blogs Author
I seem to recall that the ABYC wants a separate thruhull outlet for each pump exit hose. (?) Interesting.
I am not used to seeing anything less on the 80's Ericson's that I know of, given that they all also have a high-capacity manual cockpit bilge pump (Category One gear for off shore racing) as standard.
 
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K2MSmith

Member III
I seem to recall that the ABYC wants a separate thruhull outlet for each pump exit hose. (?) Interesting.
I am not used to seeing anything less on the 80's Ericsons that I know of, given that they all also have a manual cockpit bilge pump (Category one gear for off shore racing) as standard.
Maybe a question Seth would know. What I thought was standard factory stuff on my boat (like the internal backstay adjustment purchase) turned out to be a mod according to Seth. I am thinking that the 2nd red hose is the shower bilge hose and that the manual pump does have it’s own. I guess another trip below again tomorrow.
On the manual pump; you’ve reminded me that I need to test mine to make sure it actually works and since I‘m staying on the boat tonight, I can try that out tomorrow morning.
 

Kenneth K

Contributing Partner
Blogs Author
I wouldn't have thought of this just from looking at your picture, but since you're having trouble with your pump priming, maybe this is related: I wonder if there's a slight dip in those hoses that is trapping water. If you ran the hoses like shown in yellow (below) with a constant upslope from the bilge to the high point of the loop, then directly downard to the through hull, maybe that would help.

90091B7A-28DF-4A91-B82B-FD6A7C2C2E98~3.jpeg
 

K2MSmith

Member III
I wouldn't have thought of this just from looking at your picture, but since you're having trouble with your pump priming, maybe this is related: I wonder if there's a slight dip in those hoses that is trapping water. If you ran the hoses like shown in yellow (below) with a constant upslope from the bilge to the high point of the loop, directly downard to the through hull, maybe that would help.

View attachment 36966
That is an interesting point. If these are the original hose configurations, they weren’t thinking about centrifugal pumps and air locking. Maybe even just loosening the clamp and pulling some slack out of the hoses would eliminate that dip that seemingly goes below the level of the thru-hull. maybe just put a wire tie in there to pull it up temporarily just to try it...
PS...In fact I see some wire ties dangling loose there. I wonder what that is ??
 
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Keeping in mind that Centrifugal Bilge Pumps were never designed to pump a bilge dry and only to help prevent your vessel from sinking in an emergency it is still frustrating not be able just turn a switch on and "dry out" the bilge. A big sponge and a shop vac are handy companions.
I have had some success using whales supersub pumps that adapt to tight and angled spaces like sailboat bilges and seem to pump down a little further. I used to maintain yachts professionally and if it was in the owners budget, something I would always do is mount a diaphragm pump like the whale gulper that has a suction lift of about 10' somewhere convenient and run a long inlet hose so that I could move it around to help dry out the bilge. Personally had a new experience today which was having to pour hot water into and ice filled bilge just to be able to pump anything out!
Also, by no means pitching whale just a product line I am familiar with. There is a Rule in my bilge currently and that will probably not change until it is necessary.
 

1911tex

Sustaining Member
After a good hard rain (which we need badly), when I check the bilge the next day or so, there is usually 1-1/2" of back flow and mast drainage (maybe a total of 1 gallon total). If dry weather is forecast, I will clean out and dry the bilges, just because. If wet weather continues in the near forecast...I just leave the 1-1/2" in the bilges and over flow will pump out down to that level. No harm and that is what they are designed for. No big deal.
 

Loren Beach

O34 - Portland, OR
Senior Moderator
Blogs Author
Tex is correct about there being no real threat to having an inch of water in the bilges, but up here in the damp NW we heave to deal with mold/mildew problems and the humidity inside the boat is very important. Some owners keep their interiors dry all winter with dehumidifiers, and some just try to keep standing water out or minimized.
One thing about having standing water is that whether the water is 2 inches deep or a half inch, the surface area for evaporation is about the same. At least, until it is allowed to rise to where it spreads out over the cabin sole. :(
And the amount of water evaporating of continually will always be a certain mildew-nourishing % as along as there is any surface of standing water.

I can only keep our boat 'dry' until the next rain storm, but by visiting it once a week in the winter and drying out the bilge I can keep the interior relatively dry.
Turkey Baster Humor is quite acceptable... :)

(Not directly a part of this discussion is air circulation. I have added vents on the face off all of the interior moldings that contain areas where air would not circulate otherwise. My friend with an E-38//200, built a bunch of nice looking varnished little teak gratings for a bunch of 3" vent holes, and they all look "just like factory" and accomplish the same goal. Having dead air behind those handsome settee fronts provides a fertile place for mildew to flourish.)
 

1911tex

Sustaining Member
Tex is correct about there being no real threat to having an inch of water in the bilges, but up here in the damp NW we heave to deal with mold/mildew problems and the humidity inside the boat is very important. Some owners keep their interiors dry all winter with dehumidifiers, and some just try to keep standing water out or minimized.
One thing about having standing water is that whether the water is 2 inches deep or a half inch, the surface area for evaporation is about the same. At least, until it is allowed to rise to where it spreads out over the cabin sole. :(
And the amount of water evaporating of continually will always be a certain mildew-nourishing % as along as there is any surface of standing water.

I can only keep our boat 'dry' until the next rain storm, but by visiting it once a week in the winter and drying out the bilge I can keep the interior relatively dry.
Turkey Baster Humor is quite acceptable... :)

(Not directly a part of this discussion is air circulation. I have added vents on the face off all of the interior moldings that contain areas where air would not circulate otherwise. My friend with an E-38//200, built a bunch of nice looking varnished little teak gratings for a bunch of 3" vent holes, and they all look "just like factory" and accomplish the same goal. Having dead air behind those handsome settee fronts provides a fertile place for mildew to flourish.)
You bring up a valid point I have not thought of......when leaving the boat for home....why not leave the bilge lids off to the side, so any evaporation moisture does not sit on the bottom of the lids? We also live in a humid area...I do not rely on only the factory dormer vents for circulation...I also run a 110 fan on low from the v-berth towards stern when berthed...never have had a mold/mildew problem inside the cabin or under the cockpit.
 

K2MSmith

Member III
Keeping in mind that Centrifugal Bilge Pumps were never designed to pump a bilge dry and only to help prevent your vessel from sinking in an emergency it is still frustrating not be able just turn a switch on and "dry out" the bilge. A big sponge and a shop vac are handy companions.
I have had some success using whales supersub pumps that adapt to tight and angled spaces like sailboat bilges and seem to pump down a little further. I used to maintain yachts professionally and if it was in the owners budget, something I would always do is mount a diaphragm pump like the whale gulper that has a suction lift of about 10' somewhere convenient and run a long inlet hose so that I could move it around to help dry out the bilge. Personally had a new experience today which was having to pour hot water into and ice filled bilge just to be able to pump anything out!
Also, by no means pitching whale just a product line I am familiar with. There is a Rule in my bilge currently and that will probably not change until it is necessary.
Thanks for the suggestion on the whale gulper. The problem I am having is not that I expect the rule pump to completely empty the bilge , but it I start with dry bilge and fill I with water , the rule intermittently air locks and if just runs dry with 3” of water in the bilge . Once I get it running ( pulsing the switch can help prime it ) , If I let it pump out until it reaches the lowest level and then stop the pump, the flow back seems to keep the pump primed and it will work reliably from the then on if I keep a little fresh water in the bilge.
I think Ken is on to something with the little dip I appear to have in my photo at the hose thru-hull outlet. I just need to play around with it a bit more .
 

K2MSmith

Member III
I wouldn't have thought of this just from looking at your picture, but since you're having trouble with your pump priming, maybe this is related: I wonder if there's a slight dip in those hoses that is trapping water. If you ran the hoses like shown in yellow (below) with a constant upslope from the bilge to the high point of the loop, then directly downard to the through hull, maybe that would help.

View attachment 36966
I put a wire tie around the two bilge lines and that black cockpit fitting raise the hoses and removed the dip. I emptied the bilge dry, then filled it with a few gallons of water and it the pump primed itself and it worked. It is an intermittent problem so, so I need to test it a bit more to confirm. While I was down there, I also found another small u-shaped dip further upstream that could trap water. The dip looks to be there for no other reason than the hose was too long. I plan to remove the dip there as well.
 

Christian Williams

E381 - Los Angeles
Moderator
Blogs Author
On the topic of bilge water, how seriously to take it and worry about it.

I decided to see how much water was actually left in my E381 bilge beyond the reach of the automatic pump function to remove it.

It has always seemed like a lot, meaning too much. But here is the entirety of the sponge-out and rag squeeze: one wine glass in a 38-foot boat : trivial.


bilge water.JPG
 

K2MSmith

Member III
Since you are using a remote pump with a pickup line in the bilge, it must be getting more water out than a Rule centrifugal. after manually flicking the float switch to pump all the water out, I still have quite a bit more water than that (maybe a quart or two). What bothers me most is the water coming into the bilge from my stuffing box. I am having List Marine adjust/repack it for me next week. I'll report back later.
 

Loren Beach

O34 - Portland, OR
Senior Moderator
Blogs Author
Regarding how much or little water will remain when the pump shuts off, the first part of the 'pumping system' is the strum box.
EY had installed a little cast bronze one for each of our pumps, and their little cast 'feet' were about a quarter inch proud, so the amount of remaining water was rather thin. Even with the the Jabsco pumps, there is always a little water that flows back when it shuts off, and the pumps are located about 6 plus feet away from the strum boxes.
Each of the bronze castings had a bronze perforated strainer in the opening on the bottom, and both had lost most of the strainer due to corrosion, so I replaced both with plastic ones.
I have both held down with plastic wire ties and short screws very close to them to keep them in place and their bases in contact with the bilge.

I only mention this because I have seen other boats where either the style or the mounting of the strum box was more loose or just further above the bilge. Every quarter inch of height, across the area of the water level is a significant amount of loose water.

Probably not your problem, but something to check off on the install procedure.
 

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Christian Williams

E381 - Los Angeles
Moderator
Blogs Author
My pickup sits directly on the bilge floor (arrow). No strum box, two in-line mesh filters. Even so, the water level has to rise to the Water Witch, which I could probably move even lower.

bilge arrow.JPG
 
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