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.
- 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.
- How do I remove the piping without damaging them? Is there spare room if I cut the piping? [Thanks James for sharing your knowledge.]
- 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.