For the seriously sad folk who are interested in waterpumps and the delights of boat maintenance and anyone employed by Jabsco:
You know how things always go wrong at the least convenient times? Well, we had fired up the genset, loaded the washing machine and were pottering about “doing things” when the Captain noticed a red flashing light on our nice Miele machine. The machine is nice, not the red flashing light of course. It was warning us of a blocked inlet filter according to the very Germanic instruction book. Now, removing the machine is another job from hell. You would have to take the door off, protect the wooden floor, remove the retaining timberwork and then try to wriggle it forward out of the snug little recess it lives in. Oh yes, really looking forward to doing that to access the water inlet filter.
In desperation, the Captain looked for other causes and found one. The water pressure was very very low. More a dribble than a flow through the taps. Hum. Off to inspect the fresh water pump which still looked like one even if it didn’t behave that way. Seemed that it was not only low on pressure but also just switching itself off from time to time for no obvious reason. No signs of air locks, power supply problems or anything similar so time to remove it and fit the spare that we have.
Spare is a grand term. It is the original pump which we wore out after a couple of years and rebuilt with a “repair kit”. The pumps are feeble things and get lots of negative feedback from all the live-aboard cruisers for having a very short life. So, pump removed, spare fitted and switched on. Firstly it wouldn’t prime. Secondly, the outlet fitting was dripping. Not an auspicious start. New O ring fitted, it still leaked.
The inlet and outlet fittings are, in the Captain’s humble opinion, junk. One O ring and a simple slide clip that hold the fitting in place. Much movement and the O ring gets distorted and they leak. This poor solution is exacerbated by the boat builders who fit solid pipework on the outlet side so getting the thing even vaguely aligned is very hard. Still, we tried. Twice. Finally leak free but the pump still refused to prime. So happy as it was Friday afternoon and of course the “next day delivery” for a new pump was only possible for orders up to 2pm…… (No chandlery in Wales seems to stock our pump as it is the higher capacity Jabsco “Sensor-Max” unit, most boats use the smaller one)
So, after stripping down both pumps and trying to build one working one (motor and sensor from the first pump, diaphragm assembly from the second) we had water again but only at a low pressure. Grr. Our original (2010) plan to have a backup unit permanently fitted in the system was messed up as the bulkhead has no space on it. The boat was built with a second little diesel heater that allows you to warm the heads (toilet and shower compartments for the non-boaters) without firing up the main system. That is mounted right next to the water pump:
Of course, the hybrid pump kept us going sort of until Tuesday morning when a new one was delivered and fitted – with the same water leak past the new O ring. Seems a common thing as Stephen (for regular blog readers, you have already met him. He is the trolley shopper, sailing and clay pigeon shooting expert) also had fun with a replacement last summer in France.
Dear Mr Jabsco – if you have started supplying smaller O rings, then stop it. Also, please re-engineer the pipe fittings from simple slide clips to something more substantial. Guess what – stuff gets shaken about at sea and fittings move you know, especially when the pump is rubber mounted to cut noise and vibration. Time to get serious and totally re-plumb things this winter using a 240v commercial AC pump with the feeble 24v leisure thing as a backup….
The one silver lining to this large Cumulo-nimbus cloud? At least we didn’t have to wrestle the washing machine out of its den.