Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Fresh Water Pump Failure

With Maya's arrival along with all our existing obligations we've been busy and I haven't made much progress on projects recently, in particular is our new refrigeration which is moving forward but not quite complete yet.  Some unexpected projects do come up that jump to the top of the priority list and, in some cases, basically need to be done immediately.  One such project this month was the replacement of our fresh water pump.

The water that feeds our sinks and shower comes from a 130 gallon tank with what's known as an automatic fresh water pump.  Some boats also have a shore water port that connects to a hose pressurized by the city or marina feed which replaces the need for a pump when at the dock but Junovia doesn't (although may at some point in the future).  We use our fresh water pump a lot, especially because we shower aboard and now have an infant that requires lots of bottle/diaper liner/etc. washing.  So, when our pump started acting up early in September it was certainly a concern.  I should have just replaced it at the first sign weeks ago but instead waited until it stopped providing any water pressure during a weekend race to St. Helens and back.

We managed to get through the day using water from a cooler and filling a kettle whenever the pump would provide a little stream but it pretty quickly became a major issue that couldn't wait.  So, Sunday morning before departing St. Helens I pulled the failed pump and installed a smaller non-automatic pump we had in the spares inventory to get us by.  This actually worked surprisingly well and we even limped by on it for a few more days including for showers.  The only real downside was that you had to turn it off at the breaker panel between uses.  A device called an "accumulator" stores some pressure and allowed the sinks to work for short bursts without the pump so we really only had to run it every few uses at the sink.  A big pain, however, was when taking a shower someone else would have to turn off the switch or you'd have to jump out before getting dry to flip it yourself.  So, this needed a permanent fix asap.

Long story short I purchased a Shurflo Aqua King II 4.0 GPM for about $150 which came with hose barbs and the same plastic strainer we already had.  Installation was easy using the existing barbs and strainer, it provided an opportunity to replace the poor electrical crimp connectors with better replacements that include heat-shrink crimped on with a proper tool.

The new pump isn't much quieter and basically works identical to the 4048 before it started failing.  If I have to mess with it again I'll likely install a larger accumulator and look at mounting the pump to a different surface to further reduce noise.

Original Installation
Original Pump - Shurflo 4048-153-E75
New Pump - Shurflo Aqua King II 4GPM
Proper Crimp Connectors

New Installation

Proper Crimp Tool on Left