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Bait well pump not pumping when switch pressed?

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Bait well pump not pumping when switch pressed?

PostFri Jul 04, 2014 12:06 am

So I push the baitwell switch on my 197 islander and the pump runs but doesn't pump the water. However, it will function properly when I reach down in the bilge and turn the ball valve lever from open to closed back to open. It's like the pump has to prime once the water is forced in. Is this normal? I know it's annoying to have to do that every time. Any assistance would be great.



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Re: Bait well pump not pumping when switch pressed?

PostSat Jul 05, 2014 2:50 am

I don’t know if the pump mounting in the 197 Islander is the same, but this has been a frequent problem with the 197SF bait pump. The problem has been discussed numerous places in this forum. Often times the complaint is that the pump works when you initially switch it on, only to stop working during the run from the place where you catch your bait to the fishing spot. The most likely cause of the problem in both cases is that the pump is air-locked. There are three contributing factors to the problem. First, on the 197SF the pump is mounted on a long intake stem that threads into the top of the seacock/shut-off valve that is located on a raised horizontal surface in the bilge. The combination of the long stem and raised mounting position places the pump impeller very near the water line. The pump will only work if the pump impeller is below the water line and flooded at all times. The other contributor is the way the pump output hose is plumbed. The pump’s ability to clear air may be hindered by plumbing that is horizontal or sagging below horizontal.
To solve the problem you need to get the pump as far below the waterline as possible; and make sure that the hose has an upward slope along its entire length. This can be accomplished by shortening the pump intake stem and reducing the length of the hose running to the bait-well. I would recommend cutting off small lengths of the stem and dry fitting after each cut. Leave the stem long enough for full depth engagement in the seacock threaded section. Don’t cut the stem so short that the hose cannot be attached to the pump output port without interfering with the interior side of the hull. When you get within a ¼” of the shortest allowable stem length, check the orientation of the output port when the stem is fully bottomed in the seacock top fitting. Ideally, it should be oriented such that the port barb points in the direction that minimizes bends in the hose while allowing you access sufficient to attach the hose. On the 197SF, the orientation that best satisfies those criteria is one that results in the output port barb being pointed at the side of the hull. A belt sander can be used to remove the last small amount of thread needed for proper orientation. Final adjustment to eliminate any remaining hose sag can be made at the point where the hose attaches to the bait well. Just remember not to pull the hose so tight that it stresses the pump stem or output port barb.
Boggy Bob
2005 197 SF Mercury 150 Optimax

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