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Old 03-12-2010, 12:45 PM   #1
Join Date: Jul 2007
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Hi Everyone,

I had some oil and water in my bilge after doing an oil and coolant change recently. Just below the level of the bilge pump. It's about a five foot drop down to the bottom of the bilge from the hatch in the cockpit floor. Instead of having to twist myself around, upside down and inside out, I thought I'd just throw a few rolls of toilet paper down there into the sludge. A couple of days later I fished them out with a piece of wire and just slid down into the bilge once to give it a nice clean wipe. Good as new. Worked like a charm without any physical effort whatsoever. Thought I'd pass this on if anyone else might have the same problem.


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Old 03-12-2010, 03:56 PM   #2
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Old 03-12-2010, 05:36 PM   #3
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Interesting new twist, pardon the pun, on the use of toilet paper, I must admit! Frankly, I just used biosorbs....and wiped with absorbant sheets....

Like the "twist" on toilet paper though.... Sounds like a great new tune!

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Old 03-15-2010, 03:16 AM   #4
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A bundle of rags bought from the local vinnies store (charity that recycles clothing, clothes that are too far gone to resell get turned into rags and sold for a few $ per bag) cable tied to the end of the extendable boat hook did the job for me.
= New South Wales, Queensland,
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Old 03-15-2010, 04:56 AM   #5
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I strongly advise against throwing rolls of toilet paper into the bilge!

Think about it. You chuck a couple of rolls into the bilge and leave them there for a day or two. They do the job nicely and you are happy. OK. No problems. But.....

But if, let us say 12 hours after chucking them into the bilge, something goes wrong and for one reason or another you get water ingress. You start the bilge pump happy in the knowledge that you have a good pump and have been wise enough to fit a strainer (strum box I believe is the technical term). Your pump sucks from the first stroke and, looking over the side, you see the steady flow of bilge water pouring from the discharge line. You are confident that you will be able to cope with the flow of water until you find out where the water is coming from and can fix the problem. Suddenly the discharge stops. A few more trickles of water come and then you hear the unmistakable sound of the pump running dry.

At this stage you are a worried person, secure in the knowledge that the toilet paper is now a mush in the strum box or, even worse, (if you don't have a strum box) up the suction line and in the pump itself. Ah, the hand pump! You fit the lever into the Whale type pump you were certain you would never need but bought and fitted for safety's sake. Pumping like fury the water starts flowing again. But then sod's law kicks in. We all know how reliable these pumps are, provided you change the membrane before it perishes, so what has gone wrong? Why is my back-up pump not backing me up?

The problem with the Whale Gusher pumps and others of similar construction are the two little rubber flapper valves. They are simplicity themselves and, normally, I am an advocate of simplicity, but this can also be their downfall. A match, a sliver of wood or any other obsitcle fastening in either valve renders the pump useless until it is cleared. This is not a difficult task but when you need the pump you don't want to be taking it appart to unclog bits of toilet paper from it.

My advice is to forget the loo paper alltogether. Generally, rags are not sufficiently absorbent but if you find those that will wick up oil remember that if they are then placed in a poorly ventilated space, and a plastic bag I would describe as poorly ventilated, they can combust spontaneously. No, my advice is to bight into the sour apple and put you hand in your pocket and buy oil absorbant materials.

Aye // Stephen
Yacht NAUSIKAA | Call Sign: 2AJH2



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Old 03-21-2010, 01:52 PM   #6
Join Date: Jul 2007
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Hi Stephen,

I did neglect to mention that my boat is currently up on hardstand and in the process of getting some long needed TLC.

I don't disagree with a word you say, however, just like a surgeon counts every sponge he inserts into a cavity during an operation so too would you have to if you were droppping toilet rolls or any other type of absorbant package into a bilge to soak up the sludge. I did actually climb down and wipe everything down once the toilet rolls had done their job so that the actual labour involved and time spent in a confined space was minimal. (I was then also quite confident that there was nothing left to be sucked up by the bilge pump.)

I must admit I would think twice about using this method if afloat and perhaps would only use one roll at a time and ensure that I kept a close eye on how the absorbtion process was proceeding. I certainly would not use toilet rolls to the point where they began to disintegrate and could well block things as you say.

I do take your words of wisdom on board Stephen as I think you are quite right in what you say. Having said that though if one listens to your advice and does decide to use toilet rolls as an absorbent, under the right conditions and with the right follow-up process then little harm could be done.

I suppose the ultimate decision, whether to use toilet rolls or not, is a personal choice. (I don't believe I said that!)



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