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Old 07-12-2018, 12:04   #61
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Re: A Whale of a Fail: Emergency bilge pump

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Originally Posted by Wallaby View Post
You're 40 miles offshore, water sloshing in the bilge, no 12v pump(s) for some reason (in my case, electrical fault), so you start pumping the manual pump...


The pump was a Whale Gusher 10, Mk3. It was fitted to a 50 ft. sailboat built in 2001-2. I suspect the pump was never used or tested until the above emergency. When it was needed, the Whale failed! It did not draw water after prolonged pumping. The vessel was never in danger of sinking--there is a 4,000 gph pump out of the 'slosh zone,' and two portable 4,000 gph pumps onboard.


In preparing for another offshore voyage, I installed a new hose and disassembled the pump, with a rebuild kit in hand. The pump appeared to be in as new condition. There was no debris, no sign of salt damage, all rubber looked to be in excellent condition etc. Then, I noticed that excess factory-applied paint caused a lump to form where one of the flapper valves seats. The valve will never obtain a complete seal with a lump. (see photo)



Given that a manual pump is the last resort to save a vessel, such a flaw in manufacturing/quality control is problematic to say the least, especially for a pump with a list price of $338. I contacted the manufacturer despite an expired warranty period. I was duly informed:



"... The issue is not relevant to our current production, which is due to its age which is also the overriding factor in this warranty case. We do consider out of warranty cases and quite often support products regarding expired warranty periods, but no matter the issue we cannot support a warranty claim that is well over 10 years past itís limit..."

The response speaks for itself! Whale stands by its current products only. Such a response is surprising given the tendency of US Courts to impose strict liability in product liability--for safety items like emergency bilge bumps, the response is mind-boggling.
Here is a photo of our 32+year old Whale Gusher 25. It looks a little rough on the outside but inside it is fine. We have a rebuild kit (also 32+yrs old).

This pump is used periodically, when major bilge cleaning events occur, and it works perfectly. It was used once when the boat flooded and after the inlet and outlet were properly placed, it cleared the boat quickly and easily.

TIP: The 18" handle is too short. When we use the pump we remove the ball on the end of the handle and slide a 4' section of 1" stainless, as shown in the photo. This give a MUCH longer and easier stroke.
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Old 07-12-2018, 12:19   #62
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Re: A Whale of a Fail: Emergency bilge pump

A few have mentioned issues with their Whale manual bilge pump. Here's our story: We replaced our 30-year old unit with the die-cast Gusher 10 (because it's a drop-in fit). At the start of our second season, I tested it by filling the bilge with fresh water and pumping away........nothing! On disassembly, I found the same situation as the original poster did; corrosion on the check valve seats. I sent pics to Whale, then spoke to the rep. The answer we got was...
1- no warranty service
2- "Just clean it up, swab some JB Weld on the seat and
3- have a nice day."
Another member posted that Whale company is not the same as it used to be. If you visit their web site, it's obvious that they're much more interested in larger and more lucrative products. In reality how important are we few sailors to their bottom line, and isn't that the way many (BUT NOT ALL!!!) companies are run these days?
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Old 07-12-2018, 13:19   #63
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Re: A Whale of a Fail: Emergency bilge pump

So what you’re saying is that you serviced the pump and didn’t take heed of that little blob of paint at that time? Why is the INSIDE of a bulge pump painted in the first place?
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Old 07-12-2018, 13:43   #64
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Re: A Whale of a Fail: Emergency bilge pump

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Originally Posted by thereefgeek View Post
So what youíre saying is that you serviced the pump and didnít take heed of that little blob of paint at that time? Why is the INSIDE of a bulge pump painted in the first place?

Because it is aluminum and lasts only a few days submerged in salt water without the epoxy paint. If the pump were bronze then it would be ok but the price would be probably 20% more.
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Old 07-12-2018, 13:46   #65
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Re: A Whale of a Fail: Emergency bilge pump

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Originally Posted by thereefgeek View Post
Why is the INSIDE of a bulge pump painted in the first place?

As stated above, because it is made of aluminum and will corrode rather quickly with salt water left inside. But paint is not perfect, and once there is a break in the coating it will deteriorate. I used to think metal was better than plastic, but in a marine environment that is often not the case.


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Old 07-12-2018, 14:49   #66
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Re: A Whale of a Fail: Emergency bilge pump

When I acquired the vessel I am working on it had a bilge pump made from aluminum that was far to corroded to save. I concede that it was probably a very old Whale product from 1981. and I discarded it. there are three whale pumps on the vessel and I have had them all apart cleaned and tested them. They are all made of plastic plus they all work very well. The people at the factory in Northern Ireland sent spare parts to me by air mail and at no charge: Thus their reputation is ok by me.



So I am not aware as to whether they still make metal pumps any more? why not do what I did throw it out and get a new one. and stop bad mouthing a good company.


BTW, Draughty I have used Crew saver life jackets from Mumby road, Gosport, Hampshire, England since 1971 and have no issues with them.
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Old 07-12-2018, 15:08   #67
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Re: A Whale of a Fail: Emergency bilge pump

Thanks for your post, I havenít check mine for much too long! Guess what I plan to do ASAP...
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Old 07-12-2018, 15:14   #68
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Re: A Whale of a Fail: Emergency bilge pump

All my bilge pumps worked, I used the whale every time I showered as the shower dumped straight into the bilge,
But I did find a problem that can only be known unless your sinking and you have two feet of water inside the boat,
The tops of my batterys were about 18 inches above the hull bottom,
As the water came in, The water covered the batterys, Lead acid, 200 amphrs, 8 D's,
I was certain I would have a fire as well as a sinking boat, Sparks and flames were going every where,
That was quelled very quickly as the batterys just shorted out and died, Totally Kaput, As the water covered them,
Salt water does carry current to both terminals on the batterys,
Hence no pumps working, No Power to them,
I have now put my batterys up high, so they will keep working till the boat actually sinks,
They are above the sinking line of the vessel, Battery placement is crucial to surviving,
Manual pumps are virtually useless, They wear you out Physically when you can be doing something else to stop the ingress of water,
It doesnt help if your rocking on rocks punching holes in the bottom of your boat,

If your sinking, The cupboards empty out and the water is full of all sorts of floating crap,
Your pumps need very good filters on them so they keep working, amongst this floating and sunken garbage,

Cheers, Brian,
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Old 07-12-2018, 15:51   #69
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Re: A Whale of a Fail: Emergency bilge pump

I test my bilge pumps with a garden hose once a year. First the automatic on and I let the water run for 2 or 3 minutes observing if the water flows out the transom. Next I run water in the aft end of the bilge and pump the whale and do the same thing. Could either fail? You bet, but they were working at the beginning of the season. Hope this helps.

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Old 07-12-2018, 18:54   #70
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Unhappy Re: A Whale of a Fail: Emergency bilge pump

For those of you who are interested in the recent ownership of Whale:
Whale was originally located in Bangor, Northern Ireland. It was purchased by Brunswick in 2014. Brunswick's Corporate Headquarters are located in Mettawa, IL., USA.

The only information I found concerning their their manufacturing facilities is it is currently in the United Kingdom. Northern Island is part of the United Kingdom but that doesn't necessarily mean the pumps are still manufactured Bangor, Northern Ireland.

I've had zero issues with my Whale pumps unlike another unmentioned company. They all were purchased prior to 2014. I need a new manual bilge pump, I maybe going elsewhere now.

https://ir.brunswick.com/news-releas...ol-newsArticle

https://www.brunswick.com/contact/
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Old 07-12-2018, 21:13   #71
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Re: A Whale of a Fail: Emergency bilge pump

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Because it is aluminum and lasts only a few days submerged in salt water without the epoxy paint. If the pump were bronze then it would be ok but the price would be probably 20% more.
Bronze? More like triple the price of painted aluminum, if you're willing pop the dough for a good one.

How much is your boat worth? A $1500 built-in (and plumbed appropriately) "When the $hit hits the fan" bilge pump is small peanuts compared to the cost of replacing your boat and paying the Coast Guard to come rescue your incompetent a$$.

I guess I'm just fortunate that my boat came with a built-in BRONZE Edson manual bilge pump. I rebuilt it of course (at a cost of roughly $200) before I went sailing with it and it performs splendidly. And, I'm even more fortunate that I had the wherewithal to install a secondary (WHALE) manual bilge pump up near the helm where I can steer and pump at the same time.

If you're sailing in saltwater, Aluminum has NO place on a sailboat in my opinion. The last thing on my boat that was made of Aluminum was the Pepsi can that I just put in the recycle bin...
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Old 08-12-2018, 01:47   #72
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Re: A Whale of a Fail: Emergency bilge pump

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Originally Posted by Coltrek View Post
Almost every one of those diaphragm Whale hand pumps I have ever seen is corroded and inoperable. They need to swap the casting out for plastic.
I would never buy one of those for an emergency pump, altho I am not sure what alternatives there are, as these are the only ones of this type I have seen.
I agree. The Whale Gusher 10 is simply not fit for purpose. Fail to flush with fresh water after EVERY USE, and the valve seat is gone within weeks. Using poorly painted aluminum for the valve seat in a pump intended to move sea water is a gross design defect. All these pumps belong in the trash.

Mine works at the moment, but I have wasted a few afternoons over the years refinishing the valve seats, and I never pump seawater with it anymore. How hard would it have been to use plastic valve seats, or just make the whole thing out of plastic? Or bronze? These pumps are carp.
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Old 08-12-2018, 10:24   #73
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Re: A Whale of a Fail: Emergency bilge pump

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Originally Posted by thereefgeek View Post
Bronze? More like triple the price of painted aluminum, if you're willing pop the dough for a good one.
I agree that aluminum pumps in salt water are a poor combination. An Edson 30 manual pump in aluminum is US$800 and in bronze is $US1,000, so about 25% more. The raw material isn't the big cost it's all the machining and that is actually easier in bronze than aluminum.
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Old 08-12-2018, 11:16   #74
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Re: A Whale of a Fail: Emergency bilge pump

Whale has been making the Gusher 10 since the 1960’s. They currently make two similar pumps from plastic so you’ve got a choice. They also make the old Henderson Mk5 which is a terrific pump.

As a teenager one of my jobs was to open the big wooden crates of Whale pumps that we ordered from Ireland. Later Imtra became the US distributor for Whale. Then Whale opened their own US distribution company which got sold a few years ago to Attwood.
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Old 08-12-2018, 20:23   #75
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Re: A Whale of a Fail: Emergency bilge pump

Not 40 miles off shore, How about 1000 miles SW of Galapagos with only 2 on board and get a rope around the prop which tears the stern gland out of the boat and shatters the internal shaft tube (log!) The Engine could be run in neutral to charge the batteries but the 12v bilge pump couldn't keep up with the influx of water despite trying amalgamating epoxy putty and plastic bags hammered in around the shaft internally. We were still taking more than 60 litres of water every 45 minutes so the Whale hand pump was a necessary tool, however it failed after 12 hours of use. We had a rebuild kit so installed that and the Whale pump again failed after 24 hours!! We had 2 West Marine stirrup pumps which we used continually every 45 minutes for 29 days until we reached Tahiti!! A great pat on the back for those great stirrup pumps! and a kick in the arse for the Whale pump.
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