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Project Log:  Monday, May 4, 2015

Next on the agenda was finishing up the bilge pump installations.  I'd already installed an electric pump, and wired it, but it needed its discharge hose; I hadn't even started the manual pump installation.

To begin, I led two hoses from the steering room (lazarette) into the engine room through the bilge space running beneath the fuel tank.  Friction and the non-controllability of the hose meant that I couldn't push the hoses through on their own, but I knew this was a good conduit for the hoses, and a simpler path than any other I could conceive.  So I led a wire snake through, and used it to pull the hoses:  a 1-1/2" hose for the manual pump, and 3/4" hose for the electric pump.  I'd long given up on so-called "bilge pump" hose types, and instead chose good reinforced engine exhaust/water hose, which was strong, non-collapsible, and bendable.

With limited space in the bilge for the large suction hose, I cut notches in its end to prevent it from ever sucking itself against a hard surface, and led it into the narrow space of shaft alley, securing it in place with some large cable ties.  I'd make up the after end in the lazarette later, once I'd finalized some additional  plumbing and installations there.

The owner had a large double-action manual pump that he hoped to use, and it would have been nice, but the realities of the lazarette (pretty much the only practicable location for a manual pump) and the steering/autopilot installation meant that there was insufficient room for the bulky pump:  it interfered with the steering arm, cylinder, and hoses, and if I tried to keep it higher and away from these installations, it extended too far above the locker lip.  Instead, I planned to proceed with the pump I'd been planning on using, a manual Henderson pump with a more compact housing.


Turning back to the electric pump, I prepared to install the hose at the pump end and wrap up the work there.  However, I discovered to my dismay that the pump required 1-1/8" hose, not 3/4"; somehow I'd been sure it was a 3/4" pump, but alas.  I didn't have 1-1/8" hose on hand, which meant a frustrating delay on finishing the bilge work while I awaited the new order.

Moving on, I prepared to install the outlet (through hull) for the bilge pumps.  I planned to connect both discharges at a bronze tee at the outlet, so I chose the location based on the requirements of the internal plumbing and general access for installation and maintenance.  Without a real transom on this boat, options were limited, and eventually I chose a location aft and above the engine exhaust; I wanted the bilge outlet to be substantially higher to keep it away from submersion.

From inside the lazarette, I drilled a small pilot hole to mark the location, then drilled the required hole to accommodate the 1-1/2" through hull from outside.


I installed the fitting with lots of sealant, holding it in place from outside with some tape.  Inside, I threaded on the nut about an inch, and then found I could no longer turn the nut by hand:  the threads were too tight.  With over 2" of thread remaining, this could pose a problem, working alone.  Hoping I could improve the situation, I removed the fitting--a messy proposition--and threaded the nut on and off a number of times while holding the fitting in a vice.  This didn't help much, but at least I proved I could thread the nut on, and that the threads weren't unusable.

With this complication, installation of the fitting, normally a straightforward task, was much more challenging.  With no easy way to hold the stem against spinning while working the nut with a wrench, and difficult access from within (I was glad I'd kept the access as good as I had), eventually I managed to use my through hull tool--a stepped casting that catches the ears within the through hull fitting--to hold the stem from within, as I could grip the top end of it with Vice Grips and turn (barely) the nut with a wrench.  Eventually, and not without some inappropriate language, I got the nut past the tight section of threads, and could with great relief thread it tightly against the hull by hand.  Afterwards, I cleaned up the excess sealant, completing the job for now.



The propane storage locker that I'd soon be installing in the cockpit required (as do they all) a drain to the outside.  There were limited options for the placement of the through hull fitting for this drain, between various access limitations, standards-based requirements for its location, and the minimal amount of space available between the cockpit sole and the waterline.  Eventually, I chose a location as high as I could, and near the patched hole left over from the original drain, which seemed too far down.  I drilled the hole for the 1/2" fitting, and with much contorting got the nut secured from within (no picture of that since I didn't feel like crawling back in there later).


After cleaning up, and with the end of the afternoon in sight, I decided to go ahead and install the drain plug, since there was no reason to leave it out any longer.  Though I'd not been able to remember specifically where I put the plug itself for storage, I quickly found it along with all the other boat items I'd stored nearby, and threaded it in with a bit of sealant to hold it securely.


Total Time Today:  4.5 Hours

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