Better than original?
It’s not too often that an improvised repair job can produce something better than the original but in the case of yesterday’s pump repair, I think we accomplished just that.
The other day we noticed that our shower sump pump, the unit that will take any water which has accumulated on our head’s floor and get rid of it overboard, was no longer working. Although it would turn on and make some noise when the switch was thrown, no water would be evacuated when it ran. Fortunately, this pump was not hidden in some inaccessible place. Instead, I had direct access to it in our forward locker, although I did have to hang upside-down a bit to get my hands on it.
Although my initial guess was that the joker valve or one of the seals had failed, once the pump was removed it didn’t take a rocket scientist, or in this case a pump scientist, to figure out why it wasn’t working. We could easily see that a plastic fitting which was supposed to hold the unit together had snapped, no doubt a victim of the harsh marine environment and vibration. Unfortunately, this crucial piece would almost certainly not be sold individually, at least not down here that is. And purchasing another pump, which I found were selling for $250.00 US, was out of the question.
After throwing several ideas around, I opted to follow our friend Kirk’s suggestion (it pays to have smart friends) and use one of his extra-large hose clamps (and it really pays to have friends who have lots of fix-it stuff on their boat) to support the fitting which had parted. To get a clamp that was just the right size, we actually had to mix and match a bit, connecting two separate stainless steel clamps of different circumference together. And in order to get it to fit just right, I used our Dremel tool to cut off the little extrusions on the plastic fitting. Once the dual hose clamp was tightly secured on top of the original fitting, and covered in rigging tape to ensure that it would not slip off, we had something even stronger than the original construction.
Of course, the final test was to see if it would pump water. I first checked this by connecting some 12-volt test leads to the pump while still inside the boat and satisfied that it was functioning as it should, I repeated the hang-upside-down-in-the-locker process which was required to reinstall it.
End result: It took a couple of hours of thinking and work plus about $10 bucks in misc. parts to get the $250.00 pump back on the job. Not a bad afternoon’s work.
Ready to begin repair process.
Dual stainless-steel hose clamps securing the pump.
The belt and suspenders approach… a bit of rigging tape, just in case.