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Tips on replacing aft bilge pump on 35 convertible

Discussion in 'Viking Yacht' started by steveg_nh, May 29, 2018.

  1. steveg_nh

    steveg_nh Member

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    My aft bilge pump under the cockpit isn't working on my 1989 35 convertible. Not sure if the float switch is good, but I can't even turn it on manually. It does nothing. Hoping it's just the pump and not a wiring issue elsewhere. But how the heck do you access it? It's mounted in a really touch spot. I don't think there's any secret here, or some hidden access.

    It's mounted under a shelf, almost at the transom. That shelf is not movable and has the steering pump, auto pilot, etc., all mounted to it. The fuel tank buts up, almost, to this shelf, leaving about 18" between the two. The only way I can see to get at it is to pull the fish boxes and somehow get int here, and lay down sideways between this shelf and the fuel tank, if I can even fit. Viking did so many things right, but this seems crazy for a design, which has me wondering if I'm missing anything.

    Any ideas or tips?

    Thanks.
  2. Capt J

    Capt J Senior Member

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    It probably is the way it is. I would have an aluminum L bracket made that you can mount the pump and the float switch to, that you can then mount so that you can get to it to change it more easily if possible. Make sure to use heat shrink butt connectors on the wiring.
  3. Pascal

    Pascal Senior Member

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    Not unusal for builders to install stuff before putting other things on top although that pump and switch had to have been replaced at some point in the past

    If you cant get to it... leave it there and just instal a new one where it can be reached. Like capt J suggested, mount it on a L shape bracket secured to a stinger or bulkhead at the top. I recently re did all my bilge pumps that way, althou i use starboard for the brackets, heating and bending the bottom into an L. I also added a float switch above th pump for high water alarm
  4. PacBlue

    PacBlue Senior Member

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  5. steveg_nh

    steveg_nh Member

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    Thanks guys. The boat has a high water alarm in the engine compartment that works fine. I agree it had to have been replaced before. The pump doesn't look all that old. I have to look harder. Can't get down to the boat today though but I hate having it like that. And thanks for the tip on the Ultra Pump. I'll take a look at them.
  6. Capt J

    Capt J Senior Member

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    The rule switches in the past few years have turned to absolute garbage quality and now made in China. Ultra switch is very high quality and you can mount it right to the pump itself with a large hose clamp.
  7. Pascal

    Pascal Senior Member

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    I ll second or third the VOC on Ultra switches ... :) a little more $ but made in the USA is worth it.
  8. ERTW

    ERTW Member

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    I've added a check valve on mine, you have to climb in feet first in through the side hatch and lay in on your side to reach it, basically your feet will be sticking out the other side and you will be resting against the back of the fuel tank. As the diesel mechanic said when I bought the boat "don't get any bigger" when looking at working around the engines!
  9. Pascal

    Pascal Senior Member

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    I really dont like check valves on bilge pumps unless absolutely necessary, like when the sump or bilge area is too small causing short cycling. They can jam or sometimes cause too much back pressure for the pumo to overcome
  10. steveg_nh

    steveg_nh Member

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    Check valve? Not able to see how that is setup for the bilge pump.

    Pascal! How are you....long time...from BE forum...

    I actually tested the aft pump yesterday though, thinking it was no good, and it was fine. So nothing needed at this point, a false alarm. It worked as did the float switch. What is interesting is how the breakers need to be on the panel. Not sure if something was changed when someone did some work. I do have all the original papers for the boat, so I'll look through them. But in short, both the forward and mid ship bilge pump require the breakers to be in the on position. The pump won't run constantly, but will activate with the float switch. The aft pump requires the breaker to be off for it to activate via the float switch. They do not appear to be direct wired to the batteries. The panel does have locking tabs on the breakers however, to prevent accidentally flipping the breaker to the wrong position. I admit I have a lot to go through still with all the switches and stuff to figure out what is what.
  11. MBevins

    MBevins Senior Member

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    That sounds right. The pumps on my Viking are wired the same way. I have breaker locks on them so they can't accidentally be turned off
  12. steveg_nh

    steveg_nh Member

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    Thanks. Why is one different than the others though? The aft and forward must be on, the engine room (mid) needs to be off. Yours are that way?
  13. Capt J

    Capt J Senior Member

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    Most likely they wired the float switch to the wrong wire feed. Perhaps wired it on the negative supply of the pump and feed or something weird like that.
  14. MBevins

    MBevins Senior Member

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    Look carefully at the breaker description, some say pump on, some say pump on manual, what the logic behind it is I've never investigated.
  15. steveg_nh

    steveg_nh Member

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    Hmm, I'll have to take a closer look. On the panel, I thought they were all just on/off with no qualifier for manual.

    As for wiring backwards, I was thinking that too. I will compare wiring between the forward pump and mid (engine room) at some point. I'm just happy they all work now!