Sunday, January 12, 2020

The month of the pumps

This was supposed to be the “summer of the paintbrush”, and yes, I have got quite a bit of that done but for a while there it was the “month of the pumps”.  Kairos has four water pumps that deliver water to the sink, the hot water heater and the handbasin in the head,  and the last one pumps out the shower when that’s in use. It has a macerator pump on the head, and three electric bilge pumps plus a manual one, and one more which is the engine cooling pump.  Ten in all, some of which have quite complex plumbing.

Would you believe that over about a month I’ve worked on every one of those!
I’ve replaced two of the domestic fresh water pumps, and overhauled two more. I’ve replaced two bilge pumps and repositioned one, put a new impeller in the engine cooling pump and put an overhaul kit in the head pump.

Every pump in the old ship has been either replaced or rebuilt. 

But one, just one, and that one the worst one, still didn’t do its job.

That’s the head.
So, bearing in mind that the outlet from the head is just below the waterline, and that only thing that could be wrong was the plumbing from the head itself through the holding tank and to the skin fitting with its big ball valve, and that I’d cleaned that ball valve out from outside a week or two ago, I took everything moveable and shifted it from the bow to the stern, anchors, chain, toolkit, bedding and a heap of other stuff, and with the RIB inflatable dinghy on the davits managed to get the bow up enough to get that fitting up to about water level so I could pull the hose off the inside of the fitting then flick it on and off to check that it was still clear. It was, and I only had a couple of buckets of water come in and the bilge pumps took care of in very short order.
I’d already taken the hose off the head outlet, and with a bucket under it had established that the pump itself was working as it should, (sigh of relief, that meant that my overhaul wasn’t a messup) so working back from there took each piece of hose off in sequence.  About halfway back through the five pieces I found that they were packed full of you know what, as full as a politicians  campaign speech.
Cleaning them out and refitting them as I went, I worked along the series, and voila, hard up against the ball valve found a big chunk of cotton wadding and shredded plastic filling the end of the hose and the rest of it packed solid.  Pulled the hose right out, up to the workshop with it, drove an aly pipe through it and then a pullthrough in the same way you’d clean a rifle barrel which  fixed that, hosed the area down with bleach and hot water, and reassembled it all.  Got my garden sprayer, more bleach (lemon scented of course) and got the area as clean as possible then tried it.  Bingo, it all works.

Did much wiping of the very hard to access spaces and took great care in fastening all the hose clamps, and after taking three showers things are back almost to normal.

It wasn’t fun, but gosh its good to have everything working again.

Living on a boat is not all a bed of roses, marine toilets are cantankerous things.

Open for business again.  A very mundane subject I know, but necessary.