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Bilge pump won't stop running

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Yesterday while out on the water I noticed that the bilge pump light on my dash would stay lit even though the switch was off and the ignition was off. I was really confused because no water was coming out of the rear bilge drain and a quick check of the engine compartment showed it was bone dry. I could hear the motor faintly whirring away.

Now, the problem is that the bilge pump is still running today and my boat is on a lift. There is no reason for it to be running this long as it clearly is not taking on water while sitting on a lift.

Is the float sensor for the bilge pump stuck or something? I don't want my battery to die or the pump to burn out if it keeps going like this.

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I'm guessing here but, if the red light that is built into the switch is illuminated, then somehow the switch is shorting to power and the swtich thinks it's doing the right thing by sending power to the pump and hence, the pump is running.

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I'd check the float switch, sounds like it is stuck. There should be a little knob on the bilge the you can manually move the float up or down.

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Sounds like a stuck float switch.

I had the same stuck float switch a couple seasons ago, it ended up killing my battery.

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If it's running dry while you work today, it will drain the battery and could easily toast the pump. I don't think they like working without water for very long.

If nothing else, disconnect you battery.

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ICBW but, if the float switch were stuck, the red light inside the switch would not be illuminated.

It should...I "tested" the automatic function of the bilge pump in my driveway, and when the water level got to the point that the bilge pump turned on, the red light did illuminate.

My money would be on a stuck/faulty float switch in this situation

Edited by rts
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I called my dealer and he said it probably got stuck on a plastic zip tie. I did find a few of those in my bilge when I first took delivery of the boat and I picked them out by hand. I guess it is possible I missed some and one is now stuck in the pump. I'm kind of surprised that this would be such a common problem that Malibu would not start to do a better job of cleaning up the bilge in new boat installations, or at least putting a strainer around the pump to catch such foreign objects.

Anyways, I tried reaching the pump by hand, but it is located directly under the engine block and you'd have to be a contortionist to reach it. That pump has been running for three days now and my battery is getting weak while the pump is getting hot. I tried disconnecting the dash switch, but the pump kept running even though the dash light turned off. It's probably not a short in the switch. I am going to have to take time off from work to pull the boat out and take it to the shop to get fixed. :-(

Edited by jpk
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Yes, the light on the switch is a nice indicator that tells you when your bilge comes on in auto mode. I see that way before I would notice water shooting out the thru-hull. It's the first head's up that you might be taking on water. You may have to disconnect the battery to stop the pump. Disconnecting the dash switch will break the manual on circuit, but not the automatic circuit. There are 3 wires to the pump: manual+, auto+, and ground. You disconnected the manual+ at the switch. That pretty much says the problem is in the automatic circuit, IE float. If the float is stuck, can you reach it to at least bang on it to see if the float drops? Will at least keep the battery from discharging.

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If your pump has been running dry for three days, I'd do all I could to get it replaced, even if they diagnose a faulty/stuck float. They are not designed to run dry or continuously, and you have used up a lot of life of that pump. I'd go so far as to pay for one if they would not replace it under warranty, which they may not since you've known it was running dry for three days and did not disconnect the battery.

I'm surprised your battery lasted three days with the pump running 24/7.

Also, that heat you feel is not good...you have the potential for starting a fire when (not if) the pump fails, then you've got a serious problem.

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Well, the service shop says that nothing was stuck in the pump or the float, so it must be a wiring glitch somewhere. They have disconnecting the pump for now. Wierd.

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ICBW but, if the float switch were stuck, the red light inside the switch would not be illuminated.

I disagree, if the bilge pump has an automatic switch, the light will turn on even is the switch is off. Mine does.

You should have three wires for your pump. Put a test light on the wires and see if you have an "always hot" (12V ) wire, a good ground, and one that works from your switch.

Why would it be stuck? You said that you had no water in the bilge to turn the pump on, so I would consider replacing it.

Edited by Sunsetter95
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The dealer service shop says they found some corroded wires or something and replaced them, and now the pump is working normally. I picked up the boat and put it back on the water. The second I started the engine I hear a loud "POP" from my speakers. Shocking.gif

Now the bilge pump operates just fine (other than probably the massive wear and tear for running so long), but my stereo is hosed. It sounds kinda normal if running while the engine is off. Just a faint hiss that didn't used to be there. But the second I start the engine there is a really loud buzzing sound over the music that increases with the engine RPMs. The music is very faint now and the buzzing is super loud.

I took a quick look around and I can't tell where the wires that were replaced are, but I did find that the ground terminal on my battery way barely connected. It looks like someone disconnected it and then just finger tightened it back on a few threads for some reason. Not sure if my stereo is now fried because there was an electrical spark due to loose wiring, a fuse blew, or there is just a ground wire loose somewhere.

I think the bilge pump is just the beginning of my electrical problems. Cry.gif

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OK, I'm going to follow up here with something that may be related to your problem. I just got back from a long lake vacation and had a situation where my boat got stuck in a rain storm before I could get it covered. Next morning, I came to my boat and the stereo was running. The dash switch was off. There was no reason for it to be on. Are the dash switches not waterproof? What's up with that? I took the switch out, let it dry, and now it works fine. Maybe your bilge switch has water in it.

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