Reminder – Flushing Your Engine The Right Way. Don’t Blow A Water Pump

Hose to boat 4Over the July 4th weekend we were blessed with rain, lots of rain. Actually its a nice chance to do some needed stuff, like adding a fresh water flush system. Even though we are in brackish water, you can never be hyper enough. I will add that the way its set up with a hose part, its very tempting to put the hose from the spicket right up to it. DO NOT DO THIS. EVER!  What happens? Well, trust me from experience. You blow the gasket on the water pump and it stops pumping. That’s what. So how do you do it the right way?  Well it all starts with.. you guessed it, a 5 gallon bucket. Here we are with out bilge colored 5 gallon bucket.

Hose to boat large

Two separate hoses.

You place the hose from the spicket to the bucket, FILL, then hook up a separate hose to the intake valve on the engine and shut off the intake from the bottom feeder, and start the engine.
Hose to engine2

The pump will pull/suck from the bucket filled with water. This way the pump is doing what the pump loves to do. Pump. Not choke on water being forced into it. We hope this little tip of the day is helpful. No back to ebay toilet seats and dock shots.

Hose to engine

Close up

Also as a bonus, here is a Jimmy tip! If you find yourself with a huge leak! Like massive. Take the hose and hook it up and pump water out of the bilge. It may save your boat? Its an extreme thing to do. But having a valve like this can be useful in many ways.

14 replies
  1. Kentucky Wonder
    Kentucky Wonder says:

    The Jimmy Tip: It’s called a crash valve by some people. Very easy to have ready if your boat already has a dry dock water intake plumbed into its system. Most boats should have this option at the ready, hose attached, ready for the valve to be opened. Huge, massive leaks generally appear quickly, right?

  2. jim g
    jim g says:

    You can hook up a hose directly from the faucet. But you crank the engine first then turn it on when its running. Then turn it off right before you turn the engine off. I have a valve on the end of the garden hose so I can do this when I’m next to the boat.

  3. Bilge Rat
    Bilge Rat says:

    A lot has to do with the available water pressure that you have from your outside hose spigot. I use the “suck from the bucket” method when running my 327 Graymarine and at home and my house water pressure cannot keep the 5 gallon bucket full if I run over 1000 RPM. At my shop where water pressure is higher, the bucket stays nearly full even at 1500 RPM. The Graymarine pumps a lot of water, good thing that is free from the lake/river.

  4. Garry
    Garry says:

    How wet can you get?

    I wonder how many backfill or flush their engines for winter storage with anitfreeze?

    • John Baas
      John Baas says:

      I use the pink stuff in Wisconsin. Run it for about 5 minutes after the exit water goes pink. Works great.

  5. Tom H
    Tom H says:

    If your going to use the inlet hose as a emergency bilge pump install a strainer on the end of it. I know all of your bilges are immaculate but you will most likely suck up some cookie crumbs or chunks of old caulking into your pump trying to save your boat.

  6. Jim Staib
    Jim Staib says:

    My bucket has a bilge pump outlet installed backwards at the lowest point on the side. If the pump needs it you can raise the bucket to help prime it.

  7. Dan T
    Dan T says:

    My W has a bronze hose bib plumbed into the out water connection of the pump. The engine can be flushed with hose water pressure bypassing the pump without running the engine.

  8. Dick Hansen
    Dick Hansen says:

    Does the same issue of over pressurizing the pump apply if you are using a Fake-A-Lake? Mine blows out the side of the FAL until I fire up the engine.

    • Shell-Point
      Shell-Point says:

      “Is the impeller that delicate?”
      Yes, my belief is that rubber impellers like on my Mercruiser 215 are butterfly wings. It has a Jabsco sea water pump. We go to extraordinary lengths to make sure it stays wet.

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