What brand of bilge pump is the best quality

SZihn

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Title of the post says it all. I see several on the market and most seem pretty low quality, cheaply made, with a lot of small plastic parts that seems likely to break at the time you'd need it.

So. are there any hand pumps out there that are what you'd call "high quality"?
 

JohnAbercrombie

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I've owned a few different brands of dinghy/kayak bilge pumps.
I haven't found that the plastic parts are fragile.
For me, the most important factors in choosing a pump are:
a)low friction - if the shaft gland is too tight, it wastes a lot of 'arm energy' just pulling on the handle.
Pumps with stainless 'connecting rods' can often benefit from lubrication with silicone lube (O-ring grease or silicone spray).
Check your pump regularly if you have this type.
b)high pumping volume
c) stowage - some pumps are more bulky than others due to the way the flotation foam is arranged.

The Harmony pump is what I like and use. They pump well and stow easily - on deck, outboard of the seat hangers, or under shock cords on the cockpit sole. The smooth body means that they can be extracted for use quickly.
KayakAcademy (Seattle area) sells them - that's where I bought mine- and I see there's at least one Canadian source, too:
https://www.wildernesssupply.ca/bil...ts-safety-kits/harmony/high-volume-bilge-pump

Harmony.JPG


Notice the handle shape and the rectangular outlet on the Harmony.
I've used some 'lookalikes' which didn't work as well or stow as easily.
 
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cougarmeat

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Though most pumps can be stored on deck, under bungees, it’s nice if these “less used” items could be accessible but somewhere else in the cockpit. Behind the seat would be great, but my pump is just a bit too long for that. Maybe it would work at an angle, held by the bungee on the seat backhand. Unless you plan on carrying it on deck, be sure to check the size of your intended storage area. I’d say the pump is the least used item I carry. If I went over, I’m usually paddling with someone and we’d just empty the boat. That said, I always carry one; but it doesn’t have to be in a primary access place. Some boats can hold it under the front of the cockpit deck via bungees routed there.
 

Mowog73

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What is the diameter of the Harmony bilge pump? The pump I have wont fit outboard of the seat hanger.
 

CPS

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I've got a Scotty pump. I've only ever used it on courses, but I bring it all the time to satisfy regulations.

I've seen some pumps seize up, but that's likely easy to mitigate with the occasional fresh water flush.

I think most brands are probably just fine.
 

JohnAbercrombie

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Though most pumps can be stored on deck, under bungees, it’s nice if these “less used” items could be accessible but somewhere else in the cockpit. Behind the seat would be great, but my pump is just a bit too long for that. Maybe it would work at an angle, held by the bungee on the seat backhand. Unless you plan on carrying it on deck, be sure to check the size of your intended storage area. I’d say the pump is the least used item I carry. If I went over, I’m usually paddling with someone and we’d just empty the boat. That said, I always carry one; but it doesn’t have to be in a primary access place. Some boats can hold it under the front of the cockpit deck via bungees routed there.
I usually stow my pump in the cockpit unless I expect to use it - in a clinic or if I'm paddling with 'new' - new to me or new to paddling - people.

I wouldn't put it behind the seat since I couldn't get it if I needed it to pump another boat. I can pop the skirt and grab the pump from inside the cockpit pretty quickly if I need it. I like to put tie-down points on the cockpit sole - the pump goes there if it won't fit outboard.
mini-IMG_0498.JPG


mini-IMG_0500.JPG
 

sofstu

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Jun 14, 2021
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Kootenays BC
I have a Scotty I bought a year ago for half price from a rental shop.
It had some stones inside which I cleaned out in 2 minutes.
They are as basic as a bicycle tire pump and as long as you don't use it as a club should last you decades with just the odd cleaning and lube.
 

Mac50L

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You might note the flotation is internal and is a flow director (marked "Float") i.e. does two jobs so it is accepted! As seen in the picture the float should be curved on the edge nearest to the outlet to act better as a director. The pumping capacity is double because the tube is the same diameter as a commercial pump's flotation foam wrap-round.

The disks can be cut with a holesaw and with a nut and bolt, fitted to a power drill and filed down to the required diameter. The disks as shown there have not got the water flow holes cut yet. Two disks at the top, one in, one out and glued together, no water flow holes. Rubber flapper valves not shown there. Cut them from an old inner tube.
 
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CPS

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Twice the volume, but is it more work to use? Looks like a pretty sweet, low profile, design.
 

Mac50L

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Twice the volume, but is it more work to use? Looks like a pretty sweet, low profile, design.
You will be lifting twice the weight of water but how strong, how weak are you?
There is less friction as the piston doesn't actually seal. Yes, a loss but not much, not worth worrying about. The piston disk is made so it moves freely but not rattle within the tube. There is a flapper valve (inner tubing) over the water flow holes in the piston so it one direction flow. The same with the bottom disk. See the complete link.
 
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SZihn

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Thanks you guys,............I think I'll make one.

I can get PVC pipe cheap,and making the check valves will be very easy and fast for me because I have a large lathe that I use in my gunshop. I can cut a groove in the bottom valve disk to accept a neoprene O-Ring, so the pump could be maintained and kept in "new condition" for a very long time.

So once I get all the pipe and flat stock to make the valve bodies, the rubber, the O-Rings and the rod (stainless tubing, which is light and very strong.) I can probably have the whole thing made in about 20 minutes. If I made the body 14" long and 2" inside diameter the stroke will be about 12-1/2 inches which calculates to about 7 stokes per gallon.

If I were to go to a 2.5" I.D. pipe and make it 14 inches long with a 12.5" stoke that will move about 1.1 gallon in 4 stokes. That would empty a cockpit pretty fast, but it may be too bulky. However considering how easy and cheap it would be to make, I think I'll try one and see.

At 14", plus the T of the handle sticking out the top, I think the whole thing can be made about 16" long which would mean it would fit behind my back band on the deck and not be in the way at all. I don't like the foam inside because it would add too much to the length, but by wrapping a loop around it and attaching a line-float I think I can make it handy and also make it float if it were to fall out or be dropped. Another way to do it would be to attach a capped 1" PVC pipe along side with enough sealed air volume to float it. To do that I'd fabricate some PVC lip attachments and when fitted I'd glue them with plumbers cement. The idea is for the to be 100% permanent and to be unsinkable unless you were to break them open. I'll use the threads of the plumbing pipes at the top of the pump body so it can be maintained and cleaned now and then, but the rest would be made in a way like a plumber makes pipe connections in a house. PERMANENT!

If I do this I'll post my results and let all the readers know how I did and how good, bad or ugly it works out.


O have a friend who is a contractor and I am going to ask him to save me a few scraps of PVC pipe from the next job and I'll make one (maybe a few, in different diameters.) and see if I can make one as good or better than what I can buy.


Thanks again guys for the idea.
 

Mac50L

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The top two disks are glued to each other, PVC glue, plumber's glue. The smaller one is just inside the tube and the bigger one sits on top.

The piston comes up the tube as far as the bottom of the outlet tube. An inch above the top of the outlet tube to the top plates isn't much and a bit of foam there is enough for flotation. If the pump is full of air it will float on its side. If it is full of water it will float low but with the handle upwards ready to be grabbed. Note - on the website, a bit of yellow on the rod by the handle. That is to stop you hitting the pump with your fingers on the downward stroke.

SZihn, I can see the American influence coming out, "Lets make it more complicated." Our Shed has an American member and he admits to that approach, that failing. He finished off a half built kayak and all the simple things to do he kept trying to find a more complicated way.

I like to make things as simple as possible and probably make the prototype a bit fragile so I can see what will break and only strengthen that part. Can we get rid of bits? Can we make it easier to assemble? Can we make something do two jobs?

This is why the piston doesn't seal, it doesn't have to and it is simpler to make to not to seal, and it works.
 

Mac50L

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I finally found who I was looking for, Rube Goldberg. "Rube Goldberg syndrome" is what our Shed member called his "failing". Goldberg was actually a cartoonist but sketched a mad inventor who always made simple things completely complicated.

NOTE - do not take this seriously, there is no medication for it.....
 
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JohnAbercrombie

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The top two disks are glued to each other, PVC glue, plumber's glue. The smaller one is just inside the tube and the bigger one sits on top.

The piston comes up the tube as far as the bottom of the outlet tube.
The top disks aren't fastened to the pump body but the outlet tube keeps an over-enthusiastic user from pulling the piston out of the pump barrel?
 
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