The Boatist

Sailboat Ownership, Translation Work and Tales of Minor Adventure

Retire early, be passionate, don't worry, die poor

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Pump Mechanic - Episode 2

In my last post, I said I could now disassemble and assemble a foot pump in a flash. I was wrong. I should have said that "I can now destroy a pump pretty damn fast!"

In case you didn't read my last post (and I don't blame you because it's really boring), I fixed the foot water pump...sort started working again but leaked like a waterfall.

I took it apart again, so fast and easily that it didn't satisfy the mechanic's itch. The diaphragms "seemed" a bit loose so I disassemble them too. Then I tightened them real good, so good one split open.

foot water pump
It's fixed for ever and an eon.
My boat is naked, but I cannot live without a galley water pump, gotta have at least one.

My next victim was the electric water pump which I haven't used in years. Why? Because I ruined the pressure switch by running the tap with just a dribble to save water. Which means the switch kept going on and off like a machine gun. And, yes, I confess, it was the second pump I dispatched in that manner (fools never learn). Not finding a switch for sale, I bought a new pump. Those were the days I was still making good money.

Plastimo water pump
Removed the Plastimo water pump from the bilge.

Parts for Plastimo water pump
It was pumping great when I last used it about 6 years ago. Now the pump part is full of crud and won't spin. The motor spins like it was new.
I placed it in a small container, poured vinegar to cover the bottom cruddy part and let it soak for a few days.

After all that work and after washing the dishes from lunch by pouring water from a jug (highly ineffective and messy), I went for a stroll around the marina.

Replica of Slocam's Spray
An acquaintance of mine stopped over on his way to the Algarve on a replica of Slocum's Spray, which he built himself out of plywood in record time.

The vinegar dissolved most of the crud and the motor worked perfectly. But when I attached the pump section, it just stuck. A little grunt and nothing more. I hit it repeatedly with a rubber mallet, swore, threatened it with fierce-looking vice-grips. Nothing. Merda!

Back at home, a Youtube video taught me that the bearing is seized. OK, so now I know how it works, which was beyond my comprehension. No, I'm not going to buy a new bearing. I think I'll just scratch my head for a while.

I think I still have the original electric pump in a plastic bag some place in the garage. 


  1. Ohhh to the garage, the garage!! Like my livingroom's ex workstaton corner! My experience with my pressure pump.... took it all apart and rebuilt with the pressure switch screw all the way in and tight. My plumbing almost exploded! Got a new switch. It has a sticker saying the adjusting screw is factory set at so many bars. Backed mine out a bit and problem solved. Lots of head scratching though. Strange objects. I want a foot pump! Maybe next year. Or hell... a gravity day tank!
    And hell that's a strange looking Slocum knockoff! But he's sailing about. I'll shut up now...

    1. Boats are like the old Russian Lada cars. I know because my father once owned one, along with 2 Russian tractors (and no, he wasn't a Commie). Anyway, our Lada broke down twice per week when it was running and only once per week when nobody dared to drive it! After 3 years, from new, we finally had to put it out of its misery and sold it to a travelling freak show (just kidding, but only about the freak show).
      So maybe boats, boat pumps and all the other crazy boat parts are still at the Lada stage of technology.
      I met the Slocum knockoff owner years ago in the Algarve when he had another Slocum vessel about half the size. It looked like a big shoe. But there he was, living the life, embarrassing proper yacht owners, especially with a cute younger bikini tanning on deck, and sailing the dreaded Portuguese Atlantic coast. Makes one think.

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  3. Don't reinstall the propeller just yet, as you're going to run the engine to flush the cooling system, and you should never run an engine out of the water with the propeller on because of the obvious danger from the whirring blades GLM aftermarket water pumps Smear a light coating of Vaseline or similar light grease over the tightened connection