Fresh Water Pump From Hell!

Strange title for a blog I know but please bear with me as it is, I believe, a worthy title. I, along with local lad, Lance, did battle for precisely eleven hours and ten minutes replacing Pendana’s FWP.

For those who know me, know that my skills with electrical/mechanical stuff, is akin to that of a garden snail i.e. I have about as much chance of being successful with anything to do with electrical/mechanical repairs as does a garden snail. Try as I might to watch YouTube video after YouTube video on how to use a multi-meter my skill levels on many fronts remains well below that of the most basic. That being said, however, I decided that as I had bought an exact replacement for my failing FWP I would tackle the job.

Replica pump ready for installation

Crazy idea right? Well, no, not in my world. I had ordered exactly the same pump and the fact that it looked the same, smelt the same, was the same colour, weighed about the same etc I was confident of being able to move one pump out and the new pump in, after all how hard could it be…… famous last words right?

Local lad Lance, who does possess black magic electrical skills, was there to assist me as I knew from past experience nothing ever goes as planned and as it turned out, just as well he was there.

After about two hours the old pump was out and the new pump was in. Great work….. let’s fire it up, I signalled. Emmmmmm, each time we turned the FWP on the circuit breaker would pop. On inspection of the old pump we noticed it drew 13amps on a 20 amp circuit while the new pump drew 18amps. As such, Lance, God bless him, flew up the road and bought a 25amp circuit breaker which we promptly installed – or should I say Lance promptly installed.

Circuit breaker out

Lonely hole in board awaiting new circuit

 With new circuit in place and smiles all round we were confident that the FWP would work perfectly. So we tried once again, and pop, pop, pop went the circuit breaker. Time to get the multi meter out (Lance showed me how to use it!) which showed that at the pump we had 100V, ok great the pump is a 115/230V pump so Lance suggested we check the wiring on the back of the pump to see how it was wired, was it wired for 230V or 115V. “Lance” I said, “Why on earth would they ship it as a 230V pump? Surely it will be 115V?” – Anyway surely 115V/230V means that the pump can take either voltage and work without re-wiring? Like auto adjusting voltage? Apparently not! Low and behold on inspection we found that it was wired for 230V as the factory default setting.

After moving the pump once again so that we could access the rear of the pump to change the wiring to allow for 115V and after once again reinstalling the pump (this all takes time) we started the pump once again. The enthusiasm was overwhelming as we were sure the problem was sorted. On it went…..and finally, no more popping breaker! Hooray, hooray! But there was still a problem as no real pressure was building past approx. 20psi. Back to the manual once again to re-read how to bleed the FWP lines. Try as much as we could nothing seemed to work, we simply couldn’t get the pressure to build past 20psi. What we wanted, what we needed and what we didn’t have was 32psi.

Photo of wiring on old switching mechanism

With time ticking on and the hours and lower back pain progressing with equal speed at the eight hour mark I said, ok……what if the ejector I ordered was the wrong type? What if we use the old ejector from the old pump and try again. This idea came to me after reading the manual again which talked about low well applications and deep well applications. Not sure what that actually meant other than low well seemed to be for small boats with 20ft plumbing runs and deep well seemed to be for much larger boats with much longer plumbing runs. I said, if we had the wrong ejector then it would make sense that we wouldn’t be building pressure right? Lance agreed to give it shot, God bless him, as we had no other real ideas (For those in Hawaii Lance can be reached on 808 728 9932).

If only I had read the manual.. although the deep well, shallow well information was well hidden I must say, on the FRONT page of the install manual

Time to move it out yet again……grrrrrr

Once again the pump was removed and the new ejector and housing assembly was replaced with the old ejector and housing. I mentioned to Lance that if this didn’t work we would call it a night and I would send an email to James Knight to seek instruction as I had no doubt he would know what the problem was instantly. Nonetheless we pressed on. With the FWP mounted once again we proceeded to turn it on. BINGO within seconds we had 35psi! After a quick adjustment to the pressure switch we turned it on again and again, perfect 32psi and our Grocco accumulator tank was holding the pressure perfectly. The accumulator tank holds water under pressure 38psi so that when you turn on a tap, take a shower or flush a head you have water delivered under pressure. For those who have accumulator tanks installed, make sure you check your tanks’ pressure every 12 months or when your FWP runs more frequently than usual.

HOOOOOOOORAY………. Eleven hours and ten minutes later the new FWP was installed and working.

Yuk, this is the old pump after old injector housing was removed

Now, eleven hours and ten minutes may sound like a long time and it is, considering one is in the half bent over position as if preparing to take a canning from the school head master for some indiscretion, (not that I would know of course), and it is longer than most international flights but it was not a total waste of time as a few very valuable lessons were learned.

Working beautifully

Lessons learned:

1./ Just because I am now in the USA does not mean the default factory setting for multi voltage pumps will be 115V.

2./ Manuals really are very useful things and should be read fully before starting any job. Glancing at them doesn’t count.

3./ When they say, “This is the same pump – it will just drop into place”, don’t believe them. Even the mounting holes were different leading to us having to modify the mount plate.

4./ When you expect a job to take three hours, quadruple it in my case then one won’t be disappointed.

5./ When you order the ejector and housing for your new pump don’t expect the sales guy to know that you need it for a deep well application.

6./ Finally, don’t ever change a FWP when visitors are staying with you as the added pressure of getting the system working again is something that is simply unhelpful.

So, once again, my total lack of knowledge of most things has proven correct yet again but the good news is that I now know all about the Dayton (formally TEEL) FWP 1D879 and am available to consult, at very reasonable rates, on any job to do with it.

Speaking of my growing knowledge bank, I decided to tackle our hand basin slow draining issue in the master cabin. For years the water has been draining slowly and it was time to get the problem sorted once and for all. I looked at replacing the hose but thought there must be an easier way and there was. Super Digest IT! . A product designed for the marine industry presented itself and after six applications this magic formula, had eaten through whatever gremlins lay trapped below. Once again, our drains are running beautifully as if new. Great product – simply add a cup to all sinks once a month to ensure smooth drainage continues. It’s that simple!

At $42.95 per gallon it’s not cheap but far safer than letting me pull hoses!

Another job tackled recently was to replace the fender covers. I had previously bought some from Australia and they had faded badly and looked, to be perfectly honest rather less than they should. With multiple websites loaded I managed to finally work out what cover sizes I required and went about finding a company capable of doing the job. The Australian company with whom I placed the original order were not answering their phone or emails so I decided to look further afield. Surely there was a company out there who produced a quality product.

One site after another all seemed to lead to cheap Chinese fender cover manufacturers and while the price point was attractive the covers were not. Pendana deserved better! Then all of a sudden I came across Maine Coast Marine Products and a very helpful chap who went out of his way to make sure the sizing was spot on. Basically he knew more about my fenders than I did in about two minutes of chatting. Maine Coast Marine only use Polartec polar fleece which is all hand-crafted in Maine. Run by locals, owned by locals this American company simply did everything right.

Now that’s a fender cover that fits perfectly

From fender covers, embroidery, dock wheel cover, line covers, fender straps to dock mats this is a company that has it all. One thing in particular that I like is when you place the order they call you back every time to triple check everything with you before starting the work and considering I have ordered Pendana business cards three times due to ridiculous mistakes, I, for one, am pleased to have someone second guess me to make sure everything is perfect.

Swatch showing colours available

Don’t usually have so many fenders out but this is post Tsunami preparation and have yet to remove a few of them.  When they look this pretty would be a shame to hide them!

Another job that needed to be done was to replace our rusty, green zinc/mould infected outside mixer tap with a marine grade stainless steel one. The replacement choice was a Grohe fitting. Now the Grohe taps are not cheap but then again quality seldom is. Grohe are the world’s largest manufacturer of sanitary fittings and fixtures and being a German company their exacting standards are only matched by the beauty in the finished product.

Out with the old….

I must say that when my Grohe order arrived I was expecting to see a mixer tap encrusted with diamonds but alas they must have fallen out during the shipping process. Secondly, I was surprised at all the parts in the box as in my world one should simply be able to unscrew the old, and fit the new. Emmmmm back to YouTube I go!

A few too many parts for my liking!


Once installed the finished product was a thing of beauty. No longer will people say, “Wow I love the lines on your boat” but they are more likely to say, “Wow, now that’s a tap!”. Anyway the mixer tap installation from start to finish took a respectable fifty-five minutes.

not much room to work in

Lance getting stuck in

The new tap is a thing of real beauty!

What more can I say!

Speaking of respectable, the company Cadbury comes to mind and our good friends, Leanne and Laura Miller, who visited us for a few weeks here at Waikiki, from Australia. These good friends of ours brought with them just a few blocks of Cadbury chocolate as a thank you along with a few other treats like the famous Australia Tim Tam chocolate biscuits. To say we were thrilled would be an understatement (…and no, Roger, not a single piece passed my lips!).

L-R Claire, Bianca, Laura and Leanne

Now that’s what I call a party….!

oooooooo yeah!

As some would remember from an earlier blog our Asko washing machine has been causing us no end of trouble for years so about a month ago with the help of Miele, we ordered a new marine grade and marine purpose built washer dryer combo. We didn’t, in fact, want the combo but due to space restrictions had no choice.

Moving the 110kg/242lb washer from the street to the boat was not an easy task.

Washer takes up residence while we await installation.

Yep, agreed not a good look!

The Miele service rep/installer is due to arrive here on October 13th so fingers crossed the removal of the Asko and installation of the Miele all goes to plan!

Anne from Anne’s Diving Service (phone: 808 783 8391) has just been and given Pendana’s bottom her monthly scrub. It is really amazing how much growth build up there is here Hawaii. Looking forward to Alaska where I would be thinking scrubbing Pendana’s bottom won’t be an issue!

Anne giving Pendana’s tender a once over before finishing up!

The plan from here is to sit back and relax, continue to enjoy Hawaii and all it has to offer and slowly start careful planning for our next adventure around May 25th, 2016 when we will depart Hawaii on a direct run to Kodiak, Alaska. A few people have asked why are we spending so much time in Hawaii and I guess the simple answer is, why not. In all honesty however, we are done with running against the tide in terms of weather and, as such, the run to Kodiak late May is a weather window with little likelihood of running into any of the famous, or should I say infamous storms that can develop in the higher latitudes. I guess there is a reason one of the largest US Coast Guard bases, is in fact, based in Kodiak. The goal for us on our run north is not to have use their services!

Rough route line of passage north to Kodiak, Alaska

In closing, anyone in Hawaii looking for a capable young guy to help out with all manner of things then give Lance a call. I must say that I have found him to be, punctual, respectful, reliable and he has the strength of ten men combined with the perfect body frame to reach the most distant place. This guy was born to work on boats! What I really like about Lance is that he treats everything with a great deal of care – certainly a lot more surgical in his approach than I. Lance can be reached on 808 728 9932.

Stay safe


4 thoughts on “Fresh Water Pump From Hell!”

  1. Russell Meggitt

    SUBJECT: Re: Fresh Water Pump From Hell!
    James you must be board shitless talking about fresh water pumps and
    fender covers

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