Author Topic: Whale Bilge pump update  (Read 4059 times)

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Offline Threeweight

Whale Bilge pump update
« on: April 16, 2014, 12:23:42 PM »
I installed an automatic "Whale" brand 650 gph bilge pump a couple of years ago.  I really like it's compact size, making it easy to install in the limited bilge access in our Arimas.

However, I and several other folks have had an issue with the sensors on these pumps coming on and staying on in response to humidity and moisture in the bilge.  Not an issue when the boat is trailered and the bilge can be full drained, but it crops up when the boat is moored and you can never totally get the bilge dry.  I suspect some mildew grows on the two metal poles of the sensor and tricks it into thinking it is submreged, as a good cleaning with Simple Green solves the problem (for a while).

Anyway, I thought I would post an update since I have recommended this pump in the past.  Overall, I am still  happy with its size and performance, but this issue with mooring is problematic as it could cause the pump to kill the house battery and leave you with not bilge pump to take care of rainwater.

I am considering replacing it with a Johnson brand pump with an integrated float switch, to get around the issue of moisture in the bilge tripping the pump.
Former Sea Chaser 17 owner
Wild Card, Hewescraft Ocean Pro 220, Honda 225 and 9.9

“Never turn your back on fear. It should always be in front of you, like a thing that might have to be killed.”
       --- Hunter S. Thompson

Offline First Cabin

Re: Whale Bilge pump update
« Reply #1 on: April 16, 2014, 12:46:29 PM »
Thank you very much!  I will stick with the Rule Pump. 
First:  1982 15' SeaHunter, Yamaha 70 2-stroke, Yamaha F6
Second:  1987 17' SeaRanger, Merc 90 2-stroke, Yamaha F8
Current:  2002 17' SeaChaser, Yamaha F100, Yamaha T8

Offline ishan

Re: Whale Bilge pump update
« Reply #2 on: April 16, 2014, 06:57:56 PM »
argh!!!! now you tell me! :jester:

just put one in....

i tested it a few times and seems like its on task,
but maybe what i'll do is ride it up a bit higher in the bilge... just so it has room to air out
yet if the boat is really filling up it will kick on....

gotta at least get a year out of it at this point...
and i got my batteries sharing all the duties
so we'll just run and charge if the bilge drains one...

props for the heads up  :smile1:

"red fish blue fish"
'06 19' SR
honda 135 & yammy f8

Offline Threeweight

Re: Whale Bilge pump update
« Reply #3 on: April 16, 2014, 07:20:07 PM »
Mine has held up great... it is four years old and runs without a hiccup.  Used in manual mode, it works great.  Just the auto thing is annoying.
Former Sea Chaser 17 owner
Wild Card, Hewescraft Ocean Pro 220, Honda 225 and 9.9

“Never turn your back on fear. It should always be in front of you, like a thing that might have to be killed.”
       --- Hunter S. Thompson

Offline ishan

Re: Whale Bilge pump update
« Reply #4 on: April 16, 2014, 09:06:08 PM »
funny enough... it was the auto thing i was counting on...

o.k.
so how many of inches of rain a day does it take to sink an arima?

i check it soon before that....


 :wink:
"red fish blue fish"
'06 19' SR
honda 135 & yammy f8

Offline Markshoreline

Re: Whale Bilge pump update
« Reply #5 on: April 16, 2014, 09:34:09 PM »
The whale I had in my 19 was perfect for what, three years?

No complaints.
2002 Sea Ranger HT 21, Yamaha 150, Yamaha 9.9

Offline Threeweight

Re: Whale Bilge pump update
« Reply #6 on: April 16, 2014, 10:45:25 PM »
Yah, for the record I think the Whale pump is a pretty high quality product when compared to the other alternatives... mine has already outlasted my first two Rules.

I haven't actually had a problem with mine killing a battery.  The issues I have noticed have been after I run the wash down for a while, or take a bunch of spray/rain in the boat during a fishing trip.  When I walk to the back of the boat, the water pools in the bilge and the pump comes on like it is supposed to.  But it doesn't turn off after it has cleared water down below it's intake.  If I switch it off manually, then switch it back to "auto" it is fine.  And if I give it a good cleaning it seems to clear up.

It's a crap shoot with automatic bilge pumps.  One of my Rules used a float switch that was prone to sticking in the "on" position.  Doing some reading tonight,it sounds like the Johnson auto pump has the same issues my Whale does.  Rule makes a model that cycles on every 3 minutes then cuts off if the motor doesn't meet the resistance of water, but it has mixed reviews for the quality of construction and how quickly they die. 
Former Sea Chaser 17 owner
Wild Card, Hewescraft Ocean Pro 220, Honda 225 and 9.9

“Never turn your back on fear. It should always be in front of you, like a thing that might have to be killed.”
       --- Hunter S. Thompson

Offline Markshoreline

Re: Whale Bilge pump update
« Reply #7 on: April 16, 2014, 11:04:18 PM »
I haven't had any problem with my Whale.  I do have the same problem with the whale and my Rule that on occasion they won't pump because there is air in the line and they don't work immediately so I have to turn on, turn off, turn on before they work.  If that is a priming issue someone knows how to solve please tell me!
2002 Sea Ranger HT 21, Yamaha 150, Yamaha 9.9

Offline ak-angler

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Re: Whale Bilge pump update
« Reply #8 on: April 17, 2014, 05:05:17 PM »
Maybe a call to the manufacturer is in order to discuss the 'it turns on, but doesn't turn off' issue?
1985 Sea Ranger 17 Skiff Top with 2012 Suzuki DF90A

2007 Cape Cruiser Marinaut 26 with twin 2006 Honda BF90's

Offline GregE

Re: Whale Bilge pump update
« Reply #9 on: April 17, 2014, 05:10:20 PM »
I'm waiting on a back ordered Whale to arrive.  Keep the info coming...
Greg
Osprey 26 LC Kodak;  Arima SR 19 HT; SL 22 Honda 225
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Sold:  Arima SE 16 WeeBait; SH 15 WeeBoat;
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Offline ishan

Re: Whale Bilge pump update
« Reply #10 on: April 17, 2014, 06:11:50 PM »
yeah, when i tested it, i had the same kinda funny feeling... there was a while when it was no longer spitting any water, but kept running... after a few minutes it stopped... lets hope it does on the mooring! :bigshock:
"red fish blue fish"
'06 19' SR
honda 135 & yammy f8

Offline First Cabin

Re: Whale Bilge pump update
« Reply #11 on: April 17, 2014, 06:17:43 PM »
I've used the Rule that cycles on every five minutes to check for water.  I actually like this as when I hear it cycle, I know it is working.  If I ever slept on my boat, I'm sure it would drive me crazy, but I only use mine once in a while while I'm bottom fishing in rough water or moored for the night.  The Rule pumps have lasted a long time for me.  I burned out one by forgetting to turn it off all the way home from Neah Bay.
First:  1982 15' SeaHunter, Yamaha 70 2-stroke, Yamaha F6
Second:  1987 17' SeaRanger, Merc 90 2-stroke, Yamaha F8
Current:  2002 17' SeaChaser, Yamaha F100, Yamaha T8

Offline Steve

Re: Whale Bilge pump update
« Reply #12 on: April 19, 2014, 09:03:28 PM »
I've used the Rule that cycles on every five minutes to check for water.  I actually like this as when I hear it cycle, I know it is working.  If I ever slept on my boat, I'm sure it would drive me crazy, but I only use mine once in a while while I'm bottom fishing in rough water or moored for the night.  The Rule pumps have lasted a long time for me.  I burned out one by forgetting to turn it off all the way home from Neah Bay.

I cannot sleep with mine on. It does drive me crazy, so it's turned off while sleeping on the boat. I usually get up at least once a night to run my bilge pump and the boats.
« Last Edit: April 20, 2014, 10:03:43 AM by Steve »
2006  21' Sea Ranger HT
2006  150 Honda
2011  8 hp Honda High Thrust

Offline Threeweight

Re: Whale Bilge pump update
« Reply #13 on: April 27, 2014, 03:07:42 PM »
After doing some research and shopping, I ended up buying another Whale auto pump from Columbia Marine Exchange ($65).  The woman who owns the shop summed up my research by saying basically 1 in 4 of the other brand pumps she carries get returned because of pumping failure, and the Whale brand is the only one she recommends.  She also gave me a free bottle of a new citrus bilge cleaner they are carrying to try on my bilge and the old pump to see if I could get it working.

Pulled the old Whale pump yesterday... filthy!  Had quite a collection of nastiness growing on and in it.  Soaked it with the bilge cleaner, then washed it off and re installed.  Filled bilge with water... worked like a champ.  Pumped fine, shut off fine in auto mode.  I now have a spare Whale pump  :doh:

So I'm guessing the lesson is I just need to be more diligent about keeping my bilge clean   :nono:

One other item... the new Whale pumps are shipping with a check valve to prevent back flow of water through the hose.  This is a nice add-on, which costs $25 or so when purchased separately with other pumps.
Former Sea Chaser 17 owner
Wild Card, Hewescraft Ocean Pro 220, Honda 225 and 9.9

“Never turn your back on fear. It should always be in front of you, like a thing that might have to be killed.”
       --- Hunter S. Thompson

Offline Markshoreline

Re: Whale Bilge pump update
« Reply #14 on: April 27, 2014, 09:31:22 PM »
A dirty bilge be not the fault of the pump!
We all know that everything that comes out of the bilge does so via the pumps, unless you trailer.  In the case of moored vessels you have to be fastidious about fishing line trimmings, cable tie pieces, starboard trimmings, leaves, twigs and anything else that can clog the pumps.
Has anyone come up with a screen system to strain the water before it seeps to the bilge?  I bought some roofing strainer but never got around to installing it in the 19 but it's waiting for an inspiration.
2002 Sea Ranger HT 21, Yamaha 150, Yamaha 9.9

Offline ishan

Re: Whale Bilge pump update
« Reply #15 on: April 27, 2014, 09:37:18 PM »
i think maybe on SR arimas the guys fishing tuna
are in a whole new bilge world than those that bonk a few salmon....
"red fish blue fish"
'06 19' SR
honda 135 & yammy f8

Offline Markshoreline

Re: Whale Bilge pump update
« Reply #16 on: April 27, 2014, 10:03:20 PM »
Yeah, you must be right.  Are there macerators for bilge pumps or are they just for toilets?
2002 Sea Ranger HT 21, Yamaha 150, Yamaha 9.9

Offline Threeweight

Re: Whale Bilge pump update
« Reply #17 on: April 27, 2014, 10:51:56 PM »
I am guilty of bilge abuse  :facepalm:



Mark, I have used some of the white plastic gutter covering to keep mess out of the bilge, with  only marginal success.  It might be ok for keeping car keys or your favorite spoon from going into the bilge, but most of the nastiness goes in the corner "joints" where the port and starboard panels mate up against the center under the transom.  Some of the coarse foam-type gutter covers might work for that, but not sure much else will.

One nice thing about the Whales is that because they are horizontal, the pickup for the pump is elevated off the bottom of the boat by maybe 1/4".  Mine has never clogged with line or anything.  Just grows a nice coat of goo, fertilized with herring juice, salmon guts, and Tuna! blood.
Former Sea Chaser 17 owner
Wild Card, Hewescraft Ocean Pro 220, Honda 225 and 9.9

“Never turn your back on fear. It should always be in front of you, like a thing that might have to be killed.”
       --- Hunter S. Thompson

Offline Lingripper

Re: Whale Bilge pump update
« Reply #18 on: April 27, 2014, 10:59:20 PM »
I trailer mine so not much of a problem and I mix 1 qt of bleach in a gallon of water when I pull out after a nasty day of blood and guts poored in the bilge for the trip home and drain it at the house.
1990 Ranger 19 Ht
2009 140 Suzuki
2008 Yamaha 8 HT

Offline Wyrguy

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Whale Bilge pump update
« Reply #19 on: April 28, 2014, 06:53:42 AM »
With all the bilge area cleaners out there, (ie: citrus one mentioned by 3wgt) I'd be real 'frugal' with using bleach. It's corrosive. All the plastic bilge pump parts and even the  wiring insulation will get brittle and fail.

WyrguyRick


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'Arima Therapy' - Life begins where the land ends!
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Offline Lingripper

Re: Whale Bilge pump update
« Reply #20 on: April 28, 2014, 07:42:26 AM »
Rick you are probably correct now that I just installed all new equipment under there I probably will spend some money on regulate bilge cleaner.
1990 Ranger 19 Ht
2009 140 Suzuki
2008 Yamaha 8 HT

Offline StreamFixer

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Re: Whale Bilge pump update
« Reply #21 on: April 28, 2014, 08:23:58 AM »
The gutter foam product is fairly cheap and easy to install.  It catches a lot of gunk and junk.  Because it is so cheap, you might wish to just plan to throw it all away each winter as you winterize the boat.

Since it is really flexible, pieces can be stuffed into the nooks and crannies 3WT has mentioned.  Might have to change out more often.

One piece will likely last you three or four years.  Use a sharp knife when 'customizing', i.e., don't try to use the whole piece at once...

http://www.homedepot.com/p/GUTTERSTUFF-5-in-x-48-in-K-Style-Foam-Gutter-Filter-GS-K5-SPAN/203318223

StreamFixer
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Offline Markshoreline

Re: Whale Bilge pump update
« Reply #22 on: April 28, 2014, 10:00:01 PM »
Great idea!  I'm going to try that one when I get my boat back from the installer!
2002 Sea Ranger HT 21, Yamaha 150, Yamaha 9.9

Offline ishan

Re: Whale Bilge pump update
« Reply #23 on: May 09, 2014, 08:34:04 AM »
ok. so i did a little testing...
and it seems that the reason that my whale keeps running is due to its position in the bilge.
if it as laying in the middle lengthwise with the boats fore and aft,
it seems that at times the sensor will still be in the water while the suction input is above,
so it just keeps spinning.
what would be ideal would be to mount it so that the sensor is tilted up toward the gunwales, along the curve of the bilge,
and have the suction a bit deeper down.
but how to do this?!?! there is no way to screw or attach up there.
i have a bunch of squishy rubber foam that might be able to hold it where i want it.

any ideas?
thanks!
"red fish blue fish"
'06 19' SR
honda 135 & yammy f8

Offline Threeweight

Re: Whale Bilge pump update
« Reply #24 on: May 09, 2014, 09:39:35 AM »
You could try cleaning the bilge surface really well then gluing the base down with 3m5200 or similar.  I have had mixed results with this.

Does your boat have an epoxied base for a Rule pump?  Mine did.  When I put my Whale back into service a few weeks ago, I mounted it to a flat piece of aluminum, then mounted that to the old Rule base using stainless screws (same ones the old Rule used).  Let me position the pump way further back in the bilge.

The Whales are supposed to go off after 3 minutes if they don't meet pumping resistance from water. 
Former Sea Chaser 17 owner
Wild Card, Hewescraft Ocean Pro 220, Honda 225 and 9.9

“Never turn your back on fear. It should always be in front of you, like a thing that might have to be killed.”
       --- Hunter S. Thompson