Water Pump Failure in Gibraltar

This morning, Christi went to wash the dishes. She turned on the sink and no water came out. Uh oh. After checking a few things, Eric deduced the water pump had died. Thank God it happened on shore and not out at sea. Here, it is an inconvenience. We can use the marina’s toilets and showers, and buy bottled water until it is fixed. And it is easy to fix when the boat isn’t moving. At sea, it would be a nightmare. Yes, there are ways to tap into the water tanks or watermakerbut it is awkward and tricky when the boat is moving. We’d have to give up showers until it was fixed. And, since the pump is in the lazarette, we wouldn’t be able to work easily on it unless the seas were calm enough that water wouldn’t be coming over the cockpit walls into the lazarette.

We decided to go out for breakfast, knowing we’d deal with the situation better on a full stomach. Ahhh, it is such a wonderful luxury to go out to breakfast. We think we mentioned this in Australia, but a traditional English breakfast is a giant meal consisting of eggs, bacon, sausage, toast, baked beans, cooked mushrooms and cooked tomatoes, and sometimes there are hash browns, too. The place we went to also serves crepes, as well.

After breakfast, went looking for a pump. We actually have a spare pump on board, but if we use it, then we have no spare should the situation arise again. He found one at the chandlery right here in the marina. And he found a shaft packing tool! We’re off to a good start.

Eric went right to work on replacing the pump. Unfortunately, the one he had just bought wouldn’t work. The hose connectors were the wrong size, and so was the mounting bracket. So, he pulled out the spare we had with us. The pump in our boat is a shurflo 5.7. Eric hadn’t been able to find a 5.7 anywhere, so he bought a shurflo 4.0 as our spare, assuming the only difference was the amount of water pressure it put out. Unfortunately, this pump also has completely different connectors and mounting brackets. Great.

Our connector is built into our plumbing system. The proper way to deal with this situation would be to re-plumb our boat to accommodate the different size hose. Of course, that isn’t happening. So, Eric went to a plumbing store in search of adapters to fuse the two different hose sizes together. He spent the entire day building a custom connector system, using hose clamps and plumber’s tape, trying assorted methods of merging the two hoses. He finally got something that looked like it would work. Eric is proud of himself in that he had all the right tools on board to make the fitting, however, he is unhappy with himself that he would make the mistake of assuming the same brand pump would have the same connectors.

He installed the pump and tested it out. It is working, but it is leaking and the pressure is inconsistent. The set up is tenuous at best and it isn’t going to last. We really wanted to get the same pump as we had. So, for the time being the water pump is completely shut off. It’ll be the marina toilets and showers until we can locate the proper pump. Fortunately, it is a very short walk to the facilities.

Eric went to the local yacht chandlery and asked if they would order the part for us. They called the distributor and were told that because of customs issues, it would take two weeks to ship.

We skipped lunch and got an early dinner. We tried a steak and ale pie for lunch, which is basically a pot pie with bits of steak in gravy and no veggies. For dessert we tied a local favorite, called Banoffee pie. That was really good. The base is a thick, and we mean like ½ inch thick, sweetened graham cracker crust. It is topped with slices of bananas and toffee flavored pudding. Er, American pudding, which is a thick, flavored cream, not English pudding, which is a generic word for dessert.

After dinner, Eric started calling around in the US to try to find the pump (with the time difference, it was the morning in the US). The only place he found that has it in stock is going to charge us $400 USD in shipping alone from USA for delivery within one week. Delivery time cannot be guaranteed because of customs, and there could be additional import/export fees, too. Mind you, the pump costs $225 USD, so shipping would be 2/3 of the total known pump costs. There has to be a way to find it cheaper.

For those of you that like to hear about marinas”¦ the amount of roll is inconsistent. Sometimes it is nice and flat. Other times it is rocky. When a boat goes by, we rock around like crazy. When the wind blows hard, we rock. So, not terrible, but not good.

3 thoughts on “Water Pump Failure in Gibraltar”

  1. You might see if you can find a “repair kit” for the Shurflo 5.7

    Generally the problem is something simple such as a check valve, bladder, etc.

    It’s relatively easy to re-build the pump with a repair kit.

  2. Ive always wondered by Nordhavn doesnt have foot pumps in the galley and head. On our Nordhavn 40 its on the single pressure pump. I carry a small spare even for our coastal work, but foot pumps are so simple and would serve as a simple backup.

  3. just read about your 5.7 pump. Went to sureflo in google and read a rv blogg on that pump. Lots of failures attributed to high back preasure from the hot water heater backfeeding to the pump. http://irv2.infopop.cc/eve/forums/a/tpc/f/9686094452/m/17210466441 sureflo suggests a check valve at the waterheater to prevent backpreasure. The rv folks do not think that is the problem or the solution. I agree. having had two variable speed par jabsco pumps fail the same way. I think low voltage is the likely cluperet. The repair station in New Bedford agrees. After two, i went to a fixed speed model. We have a sail boat. When the engine is running or with fresh batterys we had no problems, but a few days on the hook, or at the dock with the battery charger off caused lower voltage to the pump, which created higher amperage, then component failure in the preasure senceing section of our pump motor controller board. I can’t say the sureflow has the same issue but it is likely. Good luck. Also a google search for a surflow 5.7 showed prices in the $ 150-200 us range safe trip home..

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