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Old 03-02-2008, 10:22   #1
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Using Single Diaphram Pumps as Bilge Pumps

Has anyone experience using an electric single diaphram pump, such as a whale or Gulper type as a remote mounted bilge pump? My Gulfstar 37 has an extremely narrow and difficult to access bilge, so you have to use a remote pump with a suction hose attached...I think the lift is about 2 feet, but the head would be almost open flow after that point. Currently use a Jabsco diaphram type pump, the one that looks like a water pressure model (motor drives a belt that moves a diaphram). I am worried about the fragility of the valve system in that type of Jabsco pump, also it only pumps about 3-4 gpm, so I would like some more capacity.

The single diaphram type looks like it could handle debris and whatever easier without clogging.

Anyone have any experience or thoughts?
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Old 03-02-2008, 10:58   #2
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These types of pumps are really only good for emptying out the bottom of the bilge that can't be picked up by your regular bilge pump. we have tryed almost every brand over the years and found they all failed within the first year if used on a regular basis. The Whale Gulper seem to last the longest. We are not big fans of anything Jabsco but that is just our opinion. For anything to assist the main pump in an emergency you will need a much more serious pump.
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Old 09-02-2008, 09:09   #3
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Diaphram bilge pumps

Chuck: I agree with you about needing a more serious bilge pump for real emergencies...the problem is that there is literally no room for a good centrifugal pump in the bilge on the 37 gulfstar...the best I can come up with is to mount something in the engine room with the intake about level with the bottom of the engine...which means the entire bilge area would be full before it works....but for truly emergency use it would be better than nothing...the jabsco works ok for the occassional water in the bilge, as I have a dry boat, but it would not be much use if a hose came off or something. Evidently, this is what the Gulfstars were equiped with...30 years ago....and the PO just kept replacing with the same equipment.
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Old 09-02-2008, 09:43   #4
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how narrow? i have seen pumps designed to go down in a narrow bilge.
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Old 26-09-2009, 23:42   #5
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whale gulper standard on the shannon 43 . in addn higher up a big Rule and a big manual from the cockpit.
gulper was good.ds
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Old 26-09-2009, 23:46   #6
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What you do is use two pumps. Use a positive displacement pump with a hose on the suction end as a scraper pump for down lower and then a centrifugal pump where it will fit further up as your high volume pump. Put an alarm on your high volume pump.
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Old 27-09-2009, 09:50   #7
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Agree with David and think the Gulper 220 is the best "second bilgepump" out there. Instead of a hose down into the bilge, I prefer to use a length of 3/4" PVC pipe, stopping about 3/8" or less from the bottom, without strainer. Whatever enters the pipe will be pumped overboard.

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Old 27-09-2009, 11:39   #8
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Nick is describing a "skimmer", which protects the other pump from floating debris.
Another good idea, that I didn't think of.
Of course it doesn't dry the bilge.
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Old 28-09-2009, 08:03   #9
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Gord,

I tried a hose + strainer too and that didn't dry the bilge either. The only electrical thingy that succeeded with my tests was a shop vac.

With the PVC pipe, I use the standard PVC clamps to fasten that size of pipe. At the top of the pipe, I use PVC cement and an elbow to create a 90 degree turn, followed by a couple of inches of pipe again and a pipe-to-thread fitting. Then, I mount a clamp on the vertical part so that I can still adjust the height of it. Then I test, bringing the pipe down while pumping to decide between the volume pumped and the amount of water left later. I only have a couple of mm left, which quickly evaporates.

For electrical: a float switch will switch off long before the pump finished. You can use nice & spiff vacuum switches to keep the pump running as long as it's not drawing air, but the Gulper can pump air+water mixture too, so you will stop too soon that way. I am now using a solenoid with timer (from Raritan toilet) and adjust the timer until it's just perfect. I mount the float switch to the bottom-end of the draw-pipe itself using a little bracket made of King Starboard.

For my gray water tank, this system is foolproof. Every 6 months (we're talking full time use for _all_ gray water aboard) I need to rinse the (cheap, standard) float switch to get it unstuck. The incoming gray water drops on top of the float switch for self-cleaning action. This too was found to work the best after many experiments.
Every 3 years I need to replace the float switch because the float fails (fills with water). The pump didn't need any service for the past 5 years.

Compared to the old "traditional system": it needed maintenance every 3 weeks which included removing and disassembling it's $100 super float switch, cleaning the yucky soap residue out and disassembling the macerator pump to clean the shaft from hair wrapped around it. It needed a new pump-head every year or so.
Also, the hose & strainer needed cleaning while I never had to touch the PVC pipe again.

cheers,
Nick.
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Old 28-09-2009, 09:13   #10
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jlogan as a gulfstar 37 owner was wondering if the orig. pump and pick up tube is still in the boat our's is a 79 and has a itt jabsco 800 series i know it won't do much in a flood but works ok for emptying bilge. our float switch is on a length of plexi-glass on the forward side of the sump, and sits about 5" from bottom. if your worried about a breach then i think you would have go with an engine mounted crash pump
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Old 29-09-2009, 08:56   #11
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there are pumps and there are PUMPS.

See here:

Bilge Pump Placement
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Old 29-09-2009, 09:03   #12
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single diaphram pumps do not like matchsticks
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Old 29-09-2009, 09:05   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Talbot View Post
single diaphram pumps do not like matchsticks
Neither do centrifugals.

Both benefit from a screen or strum box.
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