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The trick to inserting a new water pump impeller


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What is the issue?
Flexible rubber impeller pumps are the most common mechanism to cool yacht engines. However the rubber impeller wears and requires regular replacement. This can prove to be difficult, particularly so for larger pumps where the vanes can be disagreeably stiff or when the pump housings is difficult to address in the confines of an engine compartment.

Why address this?
A failed impeller can overheat the engine. Making the impeller servicing an easier task means it is more likely to attend to. A smooth implementation could make the operation of changing a failed impeller more agreeable whilst at sea.

How to address this?
Use this simple technique to make replacement impeller insertion easy:
1. Cover the replacement impeller with silicon lubricant.
2. Tie an electrical cable-tie around it.
3. Tighten the cable-tie down until it draws in the impeller vanes into a contracted shape.
4. Press the constricted impeller into the pump housing.
5. As it slides into place the cable tie will come against the outer edge of the housing sliding it off. This releases the vanes inside the pump housing.
6. Once the engine turns over it will automatically turn the vanes into position - there is no need to try match the original alignment.

Getting the impeller in is usually the challenging part of the operation. However sometimes you can have difficulty removing the original impeller. The best removal technique for a jammed impeller is to use a pair of pliers. Grip on a vane from either side with both pliers and pull it out. If this fails try pry it out addressing it with two screwdrivers from either side.


With thanks to:
Michael Harpur, Yacht Obsession.

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