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S&S Swan General - Drain hole from engine bilge to sump
24 August 2013 - 18:04
Join Date: 16 April 2010
Posts: 36

Drain hole from engine bilge to sump
Can anyone tell me where the drainhole from the engine bilge to the main bilge/sump is located. I guess ours is blocked! Would like to access it from engine bilge to clear it.

Swan 47 #039

24 August 2013 - 22:31
Join Date: 29 January 2007
Posts: 1018

Engine bilge should be separated from main one, so, in case of oil leak etc. it won't contaminate main bilge

Fair winds!

matteo (38/067 Only You)

25 August 2013 - 21:12
Join Date: 16 April 2010
Posts: 36

Aha! You lsrn something new every day! Thanks

26 August 2013 - 19:58
Join Date: 15 April 2011
Posts: 393

Dear Outrageous,

I seem to learn at least one thing every time I correspond with the Professor and here is a recent gem.  Like you, I am concerned with the limber holes in the boat, there should be one that runs under the engine pan, and not through, for the reasons posted by Matteo.  While cleaning out from the stern through to just forward of the engine, the amount of debris cleared away was surprising.  In my last boat, keeping the limber holes clear from stem to stern  was a challenge.

The Professor suggested, and I will follow his advice, running a chain through the limber holes and attaching either end to a stretch chord so that debris may be cleared as needed!  I believe he may have credited Rod Stephens, but I'll give the Professor the credit!

Good luck,


Mabel's Casse Tete 43/003

26 August 2013 - 21:04
Join Date: 16 April 2010
Posts: 36

Where exactly does it start at the stern?

26 August 2013 - 21:31
Join Date: 15 April 2011
Posts: 393

Well...on my 43, the first limber hole is found just behind the two large sheaves used for the trim tab control cables or just ahead of the rudder post;  it runs vertically and empties below the fuel tank into the athwartship center of the boat, like a swale, which then leads to a tube running beneath the engine pan.  this empties into an area below the batteries that ultimately finds its way to the bilge.  I have not examined the limber holes forward of this point. 

After removing the fuel tank, I realized just how much debris had accumulated  - the vertical drain described above was completely blocked and would not come clean without some force!

26 August 2013 - 22:26
Join Date: 29 January 2007
Posts: 1018

Dear All,

as always The Proffessor's advise is a pearl of wisdom. He knew very well Rod Stephens and I think he was there when he visited the shipyard, many times per year, to check the boats, and speaking about this specific matter (copied and pasted from his 100 suggestions) when Rod Stephens wrote one of his notes: "... I have always felt that a tea cup full of water, put in right at the fore-peak, and one just inside the transom should find its way immediately to the lowest part of the bilge, where the pump intakes are located; and the capacity of the limbers must be such that they can get water to the pump intakes just a little more rapidly than the properly operating bilge pumps can take it out..."

Fair winds!

matteo (38/067 Only You)

29 August 2013 - 10:58
Join Date: 21 September 2010
Posts: 53

The cleaning of limber holes on old Royal Navy sailing warships was a weekly punishment routine. I don't think my crew would accept that! So I think the chain idea is n excellent one.

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