Sunday, June 6, 2010

Easy tasks get done

This project from s/v Estrellita 5.10b, May, 2010. Livia's key observation below: "...easy tasks get done and annoying tasks are easy to push off" is soooo true.
You guessed it. It's HAUL OUT MONDAY!

I can tell that you are excited.

Underneath our cockpit is our 29HP diesel engine, a Volvo MD2030D.
Volvo MD2030D

Our impeller is what moves sea water through our engine which passes around tubes of coolant and cools the coolant so it, in turn, can cool the engine. This is called a heat exchanger and works the same as your radiator in your car except your radiator uses air.

The impeller lives inside the raw water pump and should be checked regularly. The housing for it is not terrible to open but not exactly a "pre-sail" check. Plus, we generally would have to replace a paper gasket because it tears AND you have to shut off the sea water intake (raw water = sea water) so you don't flood your boat.
Raw water pump

The impeller itself looks like a black rubber asterisk. Ours had one blade torn in half and two others cracking. They can still move a fair amount of water when damaged but if they stop, you overheat and when they blow up into bits, those bits get into your heat exchanger and plug it and generally become a PITA. If you look closely you can see the torn blade (clicking on the photo might help if you want a larger size).
Cracked impeller and speed seal

What you can also see in the photo above is a new pump cover with an o-ring instead of a paper gasket. After inserting a new impeller (or after checking an old one) there are two guide screws that are left inside the pump.
Impeller and guide screws

After sliding the cover onto the guide screws and hand tightening those, you insert two other screws, also hand tightened with etched sides that make them easy to handle even when wet.

Speed seal

We can now check our impeller as easily as we can reach the raw water shut off...which is still a wee pain, but much, much less of a pain now. And if I have learned anything about maintenance it is that easy tasks get done and annoying tasks are easy to push off.

Now, complete honesty. We are right on time with all of our other engine maintenance, but we have *never* checked our impeller before this haul out. And, after reading the detailed log kept by the previous owner, I don't know if he ever checked it either. This would mean that the impeller inside was original, from 2004 and had 730 engine hours...and it was cracking...and the gasket was completely decomposed.
Taking Livia's observation to heart, we are going to fit out Eolian with one of these too. Side benefit: you get a new impeller cover plate. It is the cover plate and the bottom of the well in which the impeller sits which form the side seals that keep pumped fluid from sneaking from the high pressure side back to the low pressure side, lowering pump efficiency. A new one is a good thing.

The device is a SpeedSeal impeller cover - it can be gotten direct from SpeedSeal, if not from your local chandler.


  1. so what is the brand/name of this replacement impeller plate and where can you get them?

  2. Wow - what a critical omission! Thanks for catching it.

    I amended the post.



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