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Old 11-01-2019, 08:38   #1
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Problem With Whale Foot Pumps

I love foot water pumps. They are much more practical than a normal tap for water delivery in the galley of a yacht, but Whale foot pumps have one glaring design flaw.

The axle for the foot mechanism is a stainless pin that is a simple push fit in the plastic. There is nothing to stop it gradually working its way out and with time it does just this.

When it moves enough to slip out of one side it tends to jam in place. The pump still works but pumps less well but it easy to miss the reduced performance. Worse of all, the greater movement of the lever seems to shorten the life of the diaphram.

I have had this problem with over 10 of these pumps purchased over a decade so it not an isolated fault.

So if you have one of these pumps check if the axle has moved. As the axle is under the pump you may have to use your finger. The axle goes through the pump so you need to check both sides. When fitting properly the pin should be flush as in the photo. If it is sticking out one side push it back so it centred. If it sticking out more than 6-7mm it has slipped enough to no longer be working correctly and pushing it back will make the pump work much better, and last longer.

You can easily modify the installation so the pin cannot move, or just push it back every 6 months or so.
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Old 11-01-2019, 09:12   #2
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Re: Problem With Whale Foot Pumps

Thanks for that note - I have two of these foot pumps on my boat and will be checking the pins in the spring when I get back to the boat.
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Old 11-01-2019, 11:22   #3
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Re: Problem With Whale Foot Pumps

Thanks, noelex, I also have two whale foot pumps to check. One is for saltwater and one for freshwater.
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Old 11-01-2019, 11:35   #4
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Re: Problem With Whale Foot Pumps

Got 4 of those on my boat. Had problems with one. Screwing two small pieces of 3mm GRP plate to the sides of the pump fixed that.
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Old 11-01-2019, 14:21   #5
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Re: Problem With Whale Foot Pumps

I wonder if a blob of either 5200 or epoxy bog would stick well enough to hold the pins in place? I'll check mine today to see what sort of plastic the cases are made of (and to check for slippage, though I don't think there is any... they've been fine for the 16 years we've been aboard the boat, and they were not new when we bought her).

Thanks for the heads-up, Nolex

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Old 12-01-2019, 11:37   #6
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Re: Problem With Whale Foot Pumps

Yep, had exactly that problem, which I discovered while removing the pump to install a new one. Pushed the pin back in and sold the new pump to a dock mate.
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Old 12-01-2019, 12:42   #7
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Angry Re: Problem With Whale Foot Pumps

At the current price of those pumps they should still be made from bronze not alternatively sourced crap. Pass the word; salt water pumps should be constructed from marine bronze.
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Old 12-01-2019, 12:55   #8
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Re: Problem With Whale Foot Pumps

Mine started leaking this summer and siphoned my whole water tank into the bilge. Need to figure out and Iím wondering if anybody had same issue?
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Old 12-01-2019, 12:58   #9
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Re: Problem With Whale Foot Pumps

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Originally Posted by oleman View Post
At the current price of those pumps they should still be made from bronze not alternatively sourced crap. Pass the word; salt water pumps should be constructed from marine bronze.
The word really is that the pumps are pretty dear in the plastic form. Bronze ones would be astronomical in price, being kinda complicated castings which are fairly easy to injection mold but damn hard to do in bronze, which would then need considerable machining.

And did you notice in my earlier thread that our Whale foot pumps are at least 16 years old (that's how long we've owned the boat) and we live aboard and cruise full time.

The fault under discussion is trivial to circumvent, and in our case has not ever happened. I think the design is pretty well proven!

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Old 12-01-2019, 15:08   #10
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Re: Problem With Whale Foot Pumps

I have 2 foot pumps onboard. Bought them both second hand about 15 years ago. One of them had an issue a couple of years ago. I Googled the company and got 2 repair kits and bought a third spare pump. Sorry I don’t remember the name of the company. I’m in Indonesia and Minggat is in Hawaii, or i’d just look at it and give you the name. But maybe someone else will chime in. After reading this, it seems that it’s another case of the brand name is doing a great job of selling a lesser product.

I do agree that foot pumps are great. Hard for me to imagine the attraction of hand pumps.
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Old 12-01-2019, 17:28   #11
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Re: Problem With Whale Foot Pumps

My boat was made in 1974 and to my knowledge one of my 2 Whale foot pumps is original. I swapped out the other about 7 years ago and have had no difficulty. Have you thought of epoxying a small glass patch the size of a nickel or quarter over the pin hole? If you ever need to remove the pin you can just drill a hole in the patch.
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Old 13-01-2019, 10:07   #12
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Re: Problem With Whale Foot Pumps

Quote:
Originally Posted by malbert73 View Post
Mine started leaking this summer and siphoned my whole water tank into the bilge. Need to figure out and Iím wondering if anybody had same issue?
Yep, had that problem too. It's a broken membrane. Can be replaced by new one from Jabsco repair kit. But, take care to get the right version. Old membranes won't fit to newer pumps.


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Old 13-01-2019, 20:37   #13
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Re: Problem With Whale Foot Pumps

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Originally Posted by ullar View Post
Yep, had that problem too. It's a broken membrane. Can be replaced by new one from Jabsco repair kit. But, take care to get the right version. Old membranes won't fit to newer pumps.


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Whale, not Jabsco
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Old 13-01-2019, 23:18   #14
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Re: Problem With Whale Foot Pumps

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Whale, not Jabsco
Sorry for mixing up the brands, Whale it is.
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Old 21-01-2019, 14:49   #15
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Re: Problem With Whale Foot Pumps

Same problem here. 2 pumps, each less than 3 months old! Easy to fix IF you have good access.
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