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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Feb 2012
    Location
    Murrieta, CA (SoCal)
    Posts
    45

    Default Bilge Pump Float Switch

    Hey gang, I was looking at my bilge pump the other day and noticed it has a float switch on it. The pump turns on and off with the switch on the dash regardless of bilge water level. When I articulate the float switch with it on nothing changes. Does anyone else have a float switch on their bilge pump that doesn't do anything? Or a float switch that DOES to something? Just hoping to compare notes before I start pulling stuff out and replacing stuff.

    Thanks guys.
    - John

    2002 Outback LSV

    "A towel, it says, is about the most massively useful thing an interstellar hitch hiker can have."

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jul 2012
    Location
    Cumming Ga
    Posts
    250

    Default

    My bilge pump pump has a little knob on the side that you can rotate to turn the pump on and off from the pump itself. My dash also works the switch. It sounds like to local switch doesn't work on the pump. Can you try filling up a coffee can with water and put the pump in there and see if it comes on and off on its own, if it doesn't then you need to change it. You want that thing to turn on by itself without you there, just in case you have a slow leak around they shaft packing or if it rains really hard.

    That's my .02 hope it helps

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jun 2013
    Location
    Lake Orion, MI
    Posts
    408

    Default

    Either your bilge has a built in float, or you have a separate float.

    If you have a separate flaot, those can either malfunction or the wiring can become disconnected, corroded, or what not. Check the wiring. If wiring is okay, the switch has probably malfunctioned. You can replace just the switch.

    If your bilge has a build in float, then basically if it's malfunctioning then you replace the whole unit. Check to make sure nothing's stuck in or around it, causing it not to fully actuate.

    I was a little confused by what you were saying, but it sounded like the switch on the dash was on (bilge running I assume) while you were trying to actuate the switch? Sorry if I understood wrong. But if that's the case, your bilge switch on your dash shouldn't be on when you try to actuate the float. That's the purpose for the float, which is basically just another switch for the bilge.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Feb 2012
    Location
    Murrieta, CA (SoCal)
    Posts
    45

    Default

    Wax, you got it right. The dash switch operates the pump as expected, on-off. It was not on when I discovered the float switch and when I articulated the float switch all the way up (like water in the bilge) nothing happened. I've heard the float switches can go bad. Mostly I'm just wanting to verify that someone else has a Moomba with a bilge pump with a float switch for fully-automatic operation. I want to have a clear idea of what is "supposed" to be there before taking action.
    - John

    2002 Outback LSV

    "A towel, it says, is about the most massively useful thing an interstellar hitch hiker can have."

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Mar 2003
    Location
    s.e. washington state
    Posts
    2,004

    Default

    BIlge pump used to have three wires, a ground, a hot to the float switch and a switched lead from the dash.
    1998 Mobius
    310 HP PCM

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jun 2013
    Location
    Lake Orion, MI
    Posts
    408

    Default

    Even if you weren't supposed to have it (which I'm pretty confident you are), it's always best to have a float switch. My 2000 Supra even came with a separate float, when it went bad I just took it out. I didn't live on the water anymore so it wasn't a big deal, I just got used to turning my bilge on every 10-15 minutes. I planned on putting a new one in, but never got around to it. If your boat ever sits in water unattended, you should definitely have one. Even if not, it's a good thing to have so you don't even have to think about it. They make separate switches, but it's easier just to install the unit with the built in switch. My mobius has an automatic bilge unit.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Oct 2005
    Location
    Durham, NC
    Posts
    641

    Default

    John, yes there is supposed to be a float switch for fully automatic operation. Mine is blue box right next to the bilge pump. And a correction on the dash bilge switch. The positions aren't really "on" and "off", it is more "on" and "automatic". It takes more water that one would think to actually trip the float switch, I think I read somewhere that the float switch needs 2" of water to trip it. There may be a way to adjust it? It does sound like you float switch is dead. I think mine might have died this winter too, as I haven't seen mine trip on automatically yet, and we dunk the bow frequently. Last year is was working perfectly. Although I did tighten my shaft packing before this season, which helped a lot.
    Brian Roberts
    2001 Outback DD

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jun 2013
    Location
    Lake Orion, MI
    Posts
    408

    Default

    The blue box is the same one my Supra had. That's a separate switch, not an integrated bilge switch. It does seem to require a lot of water.
    2006 Mobius LSV
    Previous ride - 2000 Supra Launch

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Feb 2012
    Location
    Murrieta, CA (SoCal)
    Posts
    45

    Default

    Thanks for the input. I had been wanting to put in an automatic bilge pump that responds to a switch on demand ("on" "auto" like this one is supposed to do apparently). Should I just get a new float switch for the existing set up or should I get a whole new automatic bilge pump? Are the unitary automatic bilge pumps more reliable than a split pump and float switch set-up? Also, has anyone put in a second bilge pump for a backup or as a "lag" pump to increase pumping capacity if you're taking on water a little faster? I like redundancies on the water where I can get them.
    - John

    2002 Outback LSV

    "A towel, it says, is about the most massively useful thing an interstellar hitch hiker can have."

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Jan 2008
    Location
    Tallahassee, FL
    Posts
    10,666

    Default

    I'm sure no one else has ever done this but I launched my Outback one time without putting the plug in. I remember thinking, "Why the heck is the bilge pump running already? . . . DOH!!!!!!!!!" I was very glad I had thoroughly cleaned the pump screen and the float switch. Popped the doghouse open and put the plug in. Never should have mentioned it to my wife because she ALWAYS asks about the plug now.
    My Mom said I'm not allowed to get wet!
    2008 LSV
    Exile Tunes
    PWI
    LLTR!!!!!!!!



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