Bilge pump timing and water inside the boat

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russtms
Posts: 9
Joined: Sat Aug 05, 2023 9:54 pm

Bilge pump timing and water inside the boat

Post by russtms »

The J109 bilge arrangement sucks (pardon the pun). The pump runs just long enough to pump out the bilge section that the pump sits in but not long enough to pump out the forward section where most of the water sits. So I added a time delay relay to the bilge switch and forced the pump to run 20 seconds after the bilge bump switch calls to cut power to the pump. In those 20 seconds the entire bilge is evacuated, not just part of it.

I spent a lifetime around boats, racing boats and water inside the J109 is a real weak spot. The flexible water tanks leak, the bilge doesn't properly evacuate and the aft most section of the keel attachment has a steel plate on it and water aft of the plate never makes it out of the boat. Consequently, when you heel 15 degrees the lower storage compartments below the stove get wet, ergo we don't store anything there.

Has anyone figured out a better solution to keeping the J109 dry from the inside? Better tanks? Anything?
Russ Thompson
Hull 240
Erie PA
TSweather
Posts: 46
Joined: Thu Aug 03, 2017 9:24 pm

Re: Bilge pump timing and water inside the boat

Post by TSweather »

Hi Russ,
The area that you are concerned with was part of a warranty repair when these boats were newer. I have never seen a photo of what it looked like before the repair, though the finish quality of these repairs varies greatly. As you can see below, our aft most keel bolt also has the added metal plate that you describe, though whoever installed it in our boat thankfully had the forethought to glass in a tube under that plate to allow for a 3/4" limber hole to drain forward into the bilge. The other part of the warranty repair involved pouring a large amount of resin into that area to build it up to the aft of that plate. For at least some boats, including ours, this repair may have solved one problem, though it removes much of the downward slope necessary to carry water to the bilge. Not all boats have this limber hole under the keel bolt plate including another J109 just up the dock from us, so they almost always have water sloshing around in that area. You will want to add a limber hole here if it doesn't already exist.

As for remedies to the standing water; I have cleaned under the cabin sole to remove debris, re-routed a couple wires that were clogging limber holes and even added one linking the underside of the aft cabin floor to the area under the galley. Instead of using a drill bit to achieve this I used an angle die grinder with a carbide burr bit. This allows you to redirect the hole while cutting and then to widen it more carefully across the bottom making more of an arch than a circle. When making any new limber holes it is important to dry the area well and to seal any end grain in the bulkhead that you expose as water will wick up into that marine ply if left exposed. As these boats age it becomes more important to prevent water from entering marine ply bulkheads.

Your solution of a time delay on the bilge pump switch is a good idea as we also have that slow water movement between the keel grid once it is in the bilge. This winter I may try to widen that limber hole also with the die grinder as there is no way that a drill will fit in that deep.

There are previous mentions on the forum of water tanks condensation issues as in holding water against the inside of the hull. If they are leaking, replacing those should be an easy task if you plan to put water onboard. We just use a 4 gal water cooler bottle with a pump on it that sits in the galley sink.

Todd
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Vento Solare
Posts: 403
Joined: Wed Dec 31, 1969 8:00 pm
Location: Newport, RI

Re: Bilge pump timing and water inside the boat

Post by Vento Solare »

Adding to Todds post....

Todd - it appears there is a crack in your laminate. I had similar after a grounding and ended up grinding down the glass to the core, feathered it and a new schedule of laminate using 9 layers of 17 ounce biaxial fabric. After the new glass was applied it was ground smooth and leveled using thickened epoxy, then gelcoat applied. I also used a carbide tip to grind the lip on the limber hole between the aft section and the main bilge to allow water flow. Previously it puddled behind the lip. Once the lip was removed, gelcoat was applied to prevent water intrusion in the glass. The aft section now flows to the main bilge so water no longer puddles.

Some pictures:
Cracked laminate in aft bilge
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Ground lip on limber hole forward
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Ground lip on limber holes aft
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Ground to Core and Feathered to remove Crack
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9 Layers of 17 Oz cloth applied
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Ground smooth and thickened epoxy used to level area using release cloth and squeegee
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Sanded smooth and Gelcoat Applied
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russtms
Posts: 9
Joined: Sat Aug 05, 2023 9:54 pm

Re: Bilge pump timing and water inside the boat

Post by russtms »

Thank you Todd and Bill. Bill, your attention to detail on this forum - all of the photos - is absolutely awesome! I can't thank you enough...
Russ Thompson
Hull 240
Erie PA
TSweather
Posts: 46
Joined: Thu Aug 03, 2017 9:24 pm

Re: Bilge pump timing and water inside the boat

Post by TSweather »

That "after" pic of your repair could be the cover photo for Bilge Monthly, looks excellent. Yours also has a bonus limber hole on the port side of the keel bolt, which I may end up adding.

Good eye on the crack in our bilge. It hasn't changed in the 5 years since the surveyor looked at it and had commented that it looked like the warranty repair had just been a pour in leveling on top that had stress cracked. I'm not aware of any core material in this part of the boat, so no real concern for water ingress aside from the winter where standing water could help grow the crack. There are no cracks on the outer hull and unlike yours where it looks like the warranty repair was previously done with chopstrand mat, ours is just smooth like a thickened pour.

Your approach to this repair is inspiring and I'm glad to see others using peel ply in composite repairs. I may take the opportunity to grind that crack and create a lower gully to channel water forward. It is also a good idea to drill a shallow hole at the end of any cracks before glassing to help eliminate the path in the future.

This is a really helpful discussion, thanks for sharing photos.
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