Step 1 – Remove Bilge Pump

Sunday, January 14, 2018

After procrastinating long enough I have finally removed the bilge pump.  With thanks to James Knight at NordhavnOnly for some coaching on the finer points of the build of these boats, I made the decision to cut this baby out.

First off I was wrong when I said in my last post on this subject that I had 11″ of room to sidle through to work.  I had 10.5″ of room and that may not seem like a big difference from 11″, but when you are 16″ across at the hips and 10″ deep at the stomach. . . well let’s just say it wasn’t comfortable work.

I pulled all the probable tools, lighting, camera, etc. into the work area (on top of the generator) and then pulled myself as far in as possible.  As I began to create a plan for removing things the obvious risks came to mind.

  1. Is water going to pour into the boat when I remove the piping?  Get back out and shut the outlet ball valve at the hull.
  2. How do I remove the piping without damaging them?  Is there spare room if I cut the piping? [Thanks James for sharing your knowledge.]
  3. Who will call the authorities if I get stuck in here?  Wait I brought my phone, never mind.


The first thing I did is loosen the pipes to free the pump from the plumbing.  Oops, those are stuck.  Can I cut them?  James informs me that I may not have a lot of play, but I do have 4-5″ of piping sticking out, so I can move the pump aft if necessary.  After about 30 minutes of messing about I start cutting and ripping at the piping (it is steel reinforced, so you can’t really cut through it).


But I also notice that the pump is not properly set into the boat, the mounts have degraded, so I remove two of those and find the other two so badly degraded that they can’t be removed.  In future I will need to buy a steel cutter to remove that crap.

I also tried the pump with the piping off to make sure there was no suction . . . there is no suction.   James has recommended the Whale 320, which is substantially less powerful, but a cheap and quick install, so I may go with that for now, but I don’t think I will be comfortable crossing an ocean without a much more powerful pump.   (If you breach the hull, water removal is a critical survival item, and while the chances are so close to zero of that happening that they are almost beyond measurement, it will only cost a few hundred dollars to simply prevent the risk all together).

In any case after shutting down the bilge outlet, I had the best insight I have had in a while.   To get into that little nook, I have to squeeze between the generator and the rear, engine room bulkhead.   That space is 10.5″, but the generator has removable panels on every side!! I simply took off the panel on the bulkhead side and I gained a place for a knee and about 3″ of room for my hips.  Still not enough to be comfortable but at least I could use both hands to work and was able to keep my head above my heart.

Overall, the pump is out, I will replace it tomorrow with something, perhaps a low cost Whale 320 for now and some appropriate piping, but I will also look around for something that is at least 10gpm and see if I can find something comparable.

1 thought on “Step 1 – Remove Bilge Pump

  1. Hi Don, is John from Kea island (Manolis friend) contact us if you need help with the spare parts or places to buy and not cost you a fortune

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