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Bilge Pump Replacements - 2855-gctid394552

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    Bilge Pump Replacements - 2855-gctid394552

    The aft bilge pump on my 2855 was DOA this spring, and I decided now was the time to fix it prior to our summer cruising. After a protracted struggle I learned a few things I'll pass along.

    I knew there was something wrong because when I flipped the manual switch on the dash the light on the aft bilge pump switch stayed dark, and I couldn't hear the pump. Before working on the pump I checked all of the fuses and found one blown fuse. I had carefully bought a "complete" set of fuses at a local car parts store. Unfortunately, it did not include 7.5 amp fuses, and the bilge pumps are each on a separate 7.5 amp fuse. So I bought a 5-pack of 7.5 amp fuses, and sure enough turning on the aft bilge pump caused the fuse to blow. A good friend and electrical/mechanical genius told me over the phone: "Odds are 99% the pump has siezed and is blowing the fuse." He was right. I removed the pump (details to follow) and the impeller wouldn't budge. The pump was dead.

    The mid-cabin bilge pump didn't blow its fuse, but I also couldn't hear it working, so I decided to replace it as well. Removing it was good practice for removing the aft bilge pump. In the 1996 2855, Bayliner used Johnson pumps. They are easy to recognize because they are solid red in color. Replacements are readily available, which is great. The drain hose is connected to the "frame" that is mounted in the boat. Removing the drain hose (as I did on the first pump) is a complete waste of time (half an hour of my life spent). All you need to remove is the pump mechanism, which screws into the frame.

    The mid-cabin Johnson pump is a 500 gallon per hour (gph) pump, the aft pump is 1,000 gph. Removal is easy. Clip the two wires going to the pump (as close to the pump as possible, in order to leave maximum wire for splicing). Find a little upright plastic "stick" on one side of the pump and pull it out a little while twisting it. This releases it from holding the pump mechanism in the frame. *THEN* you can twist the "wings" on the top of the pump counter-clockwise about a quarter of a turn, followed by a slight click and the pump mechanism lifts out very easily. Yes, I tried for fifteen minutes before realizing the little stick was holding everything in place and was not in fact some sort of override for the pump.

    Learning/practicing on the mid-cabin bilge pump prepped me for the aft pump which is located under the forward-most part of the engine. I clipped the two wires to the aft pump fairly easily, but contorting my 55-year old body was painful and I wished for Karma to make all Bayliner designers spend 100 years doing maintenance on the boats they designed. Now that would be justice. Once I got into a position where I could reach the top of the pump I twisted the "wings" and the pump mechanism came out more easily than I could have imagined.

    When I bought the replacement pumps I also bought (at the urging of my genius friend) a bottle of Liquid Tape and a dozen 12-14 gauge dual-crimp butt splices. Fortunately I keep a decent wire splicing tool on the boat. The dual-crimp butt splices allowed me to crimp one end on the replacement pump wires ahead of time, so when I was re-contorting myself I only had to insert and crimp one wire per butt splice.

    Back to the boat, the old 500 gph pump didn't have color-coded wires (brown for hot and black for neutral/ground). Both wires were black. Fortunately I had bought several multimeters (electrical testers) at Harbor Freight - they go on sale for less than $3.00 each on a regular basis, which is ridiculous - and keep one on the boat. I used it to test the wires to determine which was "hot" and spliced it to the brown wire. After splicing both pairs of wires I tested the bilge pump and it worked.

    Then I "sealed the deal" with the Liquid Tape. It's like applying gooey "white-out," except it's black, and it cures in 24 hours to make a completely water-proof seal. I would have liked to use heat-shrink marine splices, but I don't have a heat gun and don't want to light a match in the engine compartment of a gas-fueled boat.

    Then off to the aft bilge. The wires were held in with cable ties and I could barely reach them. I used needled nose pliers to push the wires back through through a set of cable ties so I had more room to work with. The replacement pumps came with about 18-24 inches of wire (bless the people at Johnson pumps), so that made working on the connections easier. I used the butt splices, connected the wires, put the pump into the frame, and tested it. It worked! Then I sealed it up with Liquid Tape and cable-tied the wires out of the way of the engine belts.

    What I learned:

    1. Check all of your fuses and have at least five replacements for each type. Testing can easily blow two or three fuses, so make sure you have plenty of spares - they're cheap. Make sure your kit has every fuse you need for your boat. I had to buy separate 7.5 amp fuses, plus my boat has in-line higher-amp fuses at the battery that I bought separately.

    2. Buy a multimeter and keep it on the boat. They're inexpensive and handy for troubleshooting.

    3. Have a wire stripper/crimper tool. I tried using my swiss army knife, but it was impossible to get two hands on some of the wires. Have a good wire stripper/crimper.

    4. Buy some Liquid Tape and keep it on the boat. It's great for sealing splices.

    5. Test your bilge pumps on a regular basis! I could have been in deep (several hundred feet or more) trouble.

    6. I keep all my electrical supplies and tools in a bright orange plastic toolbox. It's easy to grab in an emergency, and easy for others to find.

    For many of you this is basic stuff that you already knew. I hope this helps some of you novices (like me).

    Rob

    #2
    Great write up,

    I need to tackle the same thing this weekend.

    Steve

    Comment


      #3
      Hi Rob,

      Where is the forward bilge pump located?

      I can find the aft, but not the forward. I have a 2004 Cierra 2855.

      Regards,

      Dave

      Comment


        #4
        Hi Dave,

        The mid-ship bilge pump is located under stairway. Lift the step up and you'll find it.

        Good luck! Rob

        Comment


          #5
          robster_in_edmonds wrote:
          Hi Dave,

          The mid-ship bilge pump is located under stairway. Lift the step up and you'll find it.

          Good luck! Rob
          Hi Rob,

          Thanks for that!

          I will check it out this weekend.

          Cheers,

          Dave

          Comment

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