View Full Version : Bilge pumps short circuit when wet..WTH???

09-27-2009, 11:03 PM
So this weekend I go to Lake Mead to meet up with some friends and I have one of those idiotic moments that happens to everyone. If you haven't forgot to put the plug in, just wait, your turn will happen. I got out of my normal routine at the ramp when I was going to launch by myself and wait for my friends to arrive, but they showed up, he offered to drive me in, and away I went, without a plug in.

We launched my boat, and all was good. The ramp was slow and I dock my boat and help him to get launched. He pulls in and says, 'you must be already ready to board, the swimstep is under water'. I suddenly have that feeling you get when you know you did something stupid. I open the center hatch and the bilge has about 10 inches of water in it at this point. I put the plug in....but wait, my bilge pumps are not on at all! I flip the manual switch, nothing. I get under the console and both the aft and forward bilge circuits have popped and when I put them back in, they just pop again. So I have to put the boat on the trailer and pull the plugs and wait for the water to drain out.

So what this means is that my bilge pumps never turned on the tell me that I forgot the plug. I finally would have noticed when water was above the floor...a little late IMO. The lake was dead calm and the bilge pumps never came on. I am not sure, but 2 bilge pumps might have been able to keep up with a 3/4 inch hole, or at least temporize the flow.

The boat ran flawlessly the rest of the weekend and I had a great time. The rear bilge came back to life eventually, but the forward bilge still pops a circuit after about 5 seconds, and never actually pumps.

So I am pretty distressed that I could have even stayed on the ramp while parking the car and talking to some other friends that came, and let my %^$#@ boat sink. Who makes a bilge pump that does not work when it gets wet or submerged. I know that my pumps worked before, because I have a nagging leak somewhere and both have come on intermittently every hour or so even when no water is brought into the boat. But when I really needed them, they failed.

On a second note, why does MC use some type of bilge hose that looks like the stuff you use to put around the stereo wires? I thought bilge hose should be non-compressible. This stuff I could squeeze off with the tips of my fingers.

09-28-2009, 01:12 AM
There is a possibility that the pump motors are frozen from corrosion. That would pop the breakers fairly quickly - and matches with your description of the breaker popping 5 seconds after resetting it.

It's unlikely that they would both freeze up at the same time. Perhaps one died a while ago, and you never noticed because the other was keeping the bilge dry. Then, the second died at an inopportune time. Would you have noticed if they were both dead?

09-28-2009, 10:11 AM
That one is tricky. I would imagine either testing pump manually to see if it turns or swaping front to rear pump to see if it's the pump or the wiring...?

Goot-Ruck as my Oriental friend says...

09-28-2009, 10:41 AM
Did a little trouble shooting this morning. The front motor is frozen and the back motor now works like nothing ever happened. I did not climb in the rear of the boat but it sounds like it is working fine on the switch. I disconnected the wires from the front pump and the circuit no longer pops, so I am sure the front motor somehow froze up and causes the circuit to pop. There was no debris in the front motor blocking it, the impeller is just very difficult to turn.

Why the rear popped is still beyond me, since it runs fine now. I will have to look at how the wires are in there. I suspect once those wires get under water, it might cause the circuit to blow. MC uses a connector that will make replacing easier, but might make it easy for some water to short circuit the system. I will have to see where they lay and put them up a little higher. Might be a good time to replace both. Maybe the float is broke on the rear pump that triggers the auto bilge so it never came on???