Topics

Cleaning the worst parts of an Amel

Arno Luijten
 

Most of us really like our Amels. We like the clever way it has been thought out and such. However some choices have their drawbacks.

My least favorite parts to clean on our 54 are the Grey water bilge and the raw water strainer.
Having tried a few ways to perform the tasks I think I have found a fairly good way to do it now that I would like to share for those that are still trying to make the task easier.
It involves a Milwaukee M18 battery operated wet/dry portable vacuum cleaner and a small (Kärcher) high pressure cleaner. The latter is one of the smallest you can buy and is also excellent in removing the salt of the deck and things after a (rough) sail)
I connect the HP cleaner to the water outlet at the helm seat.

To clean the water strainer I close the sea-cock (turn off Fridges and A/C first), open the lid of the strainer and BEFORE removing the strainer-insert I first use the shop-vac to suck out the the water and crud. Next I remove the insert and use the shop vac to suck out as much as possible water and crud as I can. Next clean the insert (it can be separated into two halves to make it easier). Put the strainer back together and Bob is your Uncle. This way you prevent the crud from entering the outlet pipe when you remove the insert.

For the grey water bilge use your manual bilge pump first to get a much as possible water out. Next use the pressure washer to do a first clean of the bilge. This can be very smelly! Remove the water with the manual bilge pump. Again use the pressure washer to stir things up in the bilge. Now use the shop vac with a piece of hose attached to suck the water and crud out of the bilge. Keep the end of the hose just at the waterline so the shop-vac sucks a water-air mixture. When empty use the pressure washer again to clean the bottom of the bilge and the Shop-vac to suck out the water/crud mixture. Do not forget to empty the shop-vac regularly as it fills up quite fast!
Repeat the process until the bilge is clean.
The fist time I did this it was almost a treasure hunt. I retrieved screws, bolts, nuts and even a screwdriver from the abyss. It also enables you to inspect the grounding strap and keel bolt that sits at the bottom.

Hopefully the story above is to someones help.

Regards,

Arno Luijten,
SV Luna,
A54-121

Porter McRoberts
 

This is a very good process!  Thank you Arno!  We would like a high pressure water sprayer (looking for a small one) but good dockside pressure can work as well.  A little simple green overnight in the bilge can help emulsify. The crazy part of the process is that your Siri knew I had an Uncle Bob!  

Made me laugh!

Anyway. Great summary and thank you!

Porter 
A-54-152 off the boat in Fort Lauderdale. 




Excuse the errors.  
Sent from my IPhone 
Www.fouribis.com

On Dec 13, 2019, at 12:00 PM, Arno Luijten <arno.luijten@...> wrote:

Most of us really like our Amels. We like the clever way it has been thought out and such. However some choices have their drawbacks.

My least favorite parts to clean on our 54 are the Grey water bilge and the raw water strainer.
Having tried a few ways to perform the tasks I think I have found a fairly good way to do it now that I would like to share for those that are still trying to make the task easier.
It involves a Milwaukee M18 battery operated wet/dry portable vacuum cleaner and a small (Kärcher) high pressure cleaner. The latter is one of the smallest you can buy and is also excellent in removing the salt of the deck and things after a (rough) sail)
I connect the HP cleaner to the water outlet at the helm seat.

To clean the water strainer I close the sea-cock (turn off Fridges and A/C first), open the lid of the strainer and BEFORE removing the strainer-insert I first use the shop-vac to suck out the the water and crud. Next I remove the insert and use the shop vac to suck out as much as possible water and crud as I can. Next clean the insert (it can be separated into two halves to make it easier). Put the strainer back together and Bob is your Uncle. This way you prevent the crud from entering the outlet pipe when you remove the insert.

For the grey water bilge use your manual bilge pump first to get a much as possible water out. Next use the pressure washer to do a first clean of the bilge. This can be very smelly! Remove the water with the manual bilge pump. Again use the pressure washer to stir things up in the bilge. Now use the shop vac with a piece of hose attached to suck the water and crud out of the bilge. Keep the end of the hose just at the waterline so the shop-vac sucks a water-air mixture. When empty use the pressure washer again to clean the bottom of the bilge and the Shop-vac to suck out the water/crud mixture. Do not forget to empty the shop-vac regularly as it fills up quite fast!
Repeat the process until the bilge is clean.
The fist time I did this it was almost a treasure hunt. I retrieved screws, bolts, nuts and even a screwdriver from the abyss. It also enables you to inspect the grounding strap and keel bolt that sits at the bottom.

Hopefully the story above is to someones help.

Regards,

Arno Luijten,
SV Luna,
A54-121

James Alton
 

Arno,

   A portable wet dry vac that can suck up screw drivers out of the bilge? It sounds like you may possibly have found the Ultimate “Amel Vacuum”!  Bill R. has pointed out many times on the board the value of having a wet dry vac on the boat and after getting a big clunky 220V unit that we can unfortunately only run dockside I am convinced that he is on target.  I had no idea that the portable battery powered units had reached the level of suction that you are reporting.  How nice it would be to have a wet dry that did not rely on dockside or genset power so was available for use anytime.  Thanks Arno  for taking the time to post your cleaning solution, I am going to see about getting one of these vacuums to replace the big 220V unit we are now carrying. Hopefully they are available in Greece…

   I would also like to add that while regular bilge cleaning is less critical on my Maramu with the overboard galley sink drain it is still IMO really important to keep the bilge clear of any foreign objects that can clog a pump in an emergency.  With the depth of the bilge in my Maramu a wet dry vac is probably the only way to really pick up those potential pump cloggers.  

   I am always amazed at how much one can learn from the amazing group of people on the Amel board.  Thanks to all that contribute and Happy Holidays!

James and Joann
SV Sueno
Maramu #220

   

On Dec 13, 2019, at 1:00 PM, Arno Luijten <arno.luijten@...> wrote:

Most of us really like our Amels. We like the clever way it has been thought out and such. However some choices have their drawbacks.

My least favorite parts to clean on our 54 are the Grey water bilge and the raw water strainer.
Having tried a few ways to perform the tasks I think I have found a fairly good way to do it now that I would like to share for those that are still trying to make the task easier.
It involves a Milwaukee M18 battery operated wet/dry portable vacuum cleaner and a small (Kärcher) high pressure cleaner. The latter is one of the smallest you can buy and is also excellent in removing the salt of the deck and things after a (rough) sail)
I connect the HP cleaner to the water outlet at the helm seat.

To clean the water strainer I close the sea-cock (turn off Fridges and A/C first), open the lid of the strainer and BEFORE removing the strainer-insert I first use the shop-vac to suck out the the water and crud. Next I remove the insert and use the shop vac to suck out as much as possible water and crud as I can. Next clean the insert (it can be separated into two halves to make it easier). Put the strainer back together and Bob is your Uncle. This way you prevent the crud from entering the outlet pipe when you remove the insert.

For the grey water bilge use your manual bilge pump first to get a much as possible water out. Next use the pressure washer to do a first clean of the bilge. This can be very smelly! Remove the water with the manual bilge pump. Again use the pressure washer to stir things up in the bilge. Now use the shop vac with a piece of hose attached to suck the water and crud out of the bilge. Keep the end of the hose just at the waterline so the shop-vac sucks a water-air mixture. When empty use the pressure washer again to clean the bottom of the bilge and the Shop-vac to suck out the water/crud mixture. Do not forget to empty the shop-vac regularly as it fills up quite fast!
Repeat the process until the bilge is clean.
The fist time I did this it was almost a treasure hunt. I retrieved screws, bolts, nuts and even a screwdriver from the abyss. It also enables you to inspect the grounding strap and keel bolt that sits at the bottom.

Hopefully the story above is to someones help.

Regards,

Arno Luijten,
SV Luna,
A54-121

Paul Brown
 

Hello Arno,

I also this year went on the same treasure hunt and found the same items, amazing.

I first had the issue of a regular smelly bilge and Engine room but was trying chemicals, then one day the bilge pump became clogged, then with my trusty 220v high powered large 50 euro wet/dry I sucked it clean along with my small Kartcher, rinsing and sucking several times till it became almost new again.

I will be repeating this every few months at least in future,,, hopefully I’ll find a tool kit by the end of next season..

I will test a portable 18v wet/dry vac, but expect they don’t collect as much water or as powerful, however they may do the job and smaller to store?

If there’s an easier method I would like to know.

Regards, Paul... Fortuna II A55/17

On 14 Dec 2019, at 05:28, James Alton via Groups.Io <lokiyawl2=aol.com@groups.io> wrote:

Arno Luijten
 

For those that are interested:

Shop Vac:

https://www.amazon.com/Milwaukee-0880-20-18-Volt-Cordless-Vacuum/dp/B001AHMQ90/ref=sr_1_1?keywords=milwaukee+m18+shop+vac&qid=1576267974&sr=8-1

Pressure Cleaner:

https://www.amazon.com/Karcher-Electric-Power-Pressure-Washer/dp/B01BMETE6I/ref=sr_1_2?keywords=Karcher%2Bk2&qid=1576268072&sr=8-2&th=1

Both work nice and perform a variety of task on our Amel. The shop vac has amazing performance. For those that are into the Makita or DeWalt system, I think there are similar devices from those manufacturers as well. I like the Milwaukee because all parts (hose, mouthpieces) are contained in a single "suitcase".

Regards,

Arno
SV Luna,
A54-121

Joerg Esdorn
 

Thanks, Arno, for this post.  I, too, have been using a wet vac and Kaercher to get the bad stuff out of the bilge.  But I found that the Kaercher makes a bit of a mess with dirty water mist everywhere (including my face) and totally shreds the insulation if you accidentally direct it on that.  So this year, I tried something different.  When I went through the Amel training, they showed me a wooden scrubber on a long stick which came with the boat and explained that I needed to cut the scrubber down to no more than 6 inches wide to have the ideal tool to clean the bilge.  I finally did just that this fall and found scrubbing to be easy and less messy than Kaerchering!  I used some degreaser and a normal hose with a nozzle to wash everything down and used the manual bilge pump to pump it out.  I flushed everything three or four times until all the water remaining at the bottom was clear.  I could have used the wet vac to clean that out but I didn't see a need since I could see the bottom and the keel bolt in good shape and no foreign objects were in sight!

I also have a tip for treating the bilge during the season which has worked very well for me.  Once a week, I add 2 espresso cups of Citric acid power to the bilge dissolved in warm water (via the galley sink).  The Citric acid neutralizes the soap residues in the bilge and it results in flakes of soap residue coming off the hoses in the bilge.  I leave the acid for 15 minutes to soak the bilge and then pump out the bilge with the manual bilge pump.  I have reduced the frequency of my bilge cleaning from every two months to once a season this way.  Much less smell, too.  Note, however, that we also clean all dishes and pots with paper towels before washing them.  So no crumbs, olive oil and sauces in the bilge!  Thanks to Bill Rouse for that tip!

Cheers Joerg

Joerg Esdorn
A55 Kincsem #53

Paul Brown
 

Nice tip Joerg and Bill thanks

Regards, Paul... Sent from my iPhone

On 14 Dec 2019, at 09:41, Joerg Esdorn via Groups.Io <jhe1313@...> wrote:

Thanks, Arno, for this post.  I, too, have been using a wet vac and Kaercher to get the bad stuff out of the bilge.  But I found that the Kaercher makes a bit of a mess with dirty water mist everywhere (including my face) and totally shreds the insulation if you accidentally direct it on that.  So this year, I tried something different.  When I went through the Amel training, they showed me a wooden scrubber on a long stick which came with the boat and explained that I needed to cut the scrubber down to no more than 6 inches wide to have the ideal tool to clean the bilge.  I finally did just that this fall and found scrubbing to be easy and less messy than Kaerchering!  I used some degreaser and a normal hose with a nozzle to wash everything down and used the manual bilge pump to pump it out.  I flushed everything three or four times until all the water remaining at the bottom was clear.  I could have used the wet vac to clean that out but I didn't see a need since I could see the bottom and the keel bolt in good shape and no foreign objects were in sight!

I also have a tip for treating the bilge during the season which has worked very well for me.  Once a week, I add 2 espresso cups of Citric acid power to the bilge dissolved in warm water (via the galley sink).  The Citric acid neutralizes the soap residues in the bilge and it results in flakes of soap residue coming off the hoses in the bilge.  I leave the acid for 15 minutes to soak the bilge and then pump out the bilge with the manual bilge pump.  I have reduced the frequency of my bilge cleaning from every two months to once a season this way.  Much less smell, too.  Note, however, that we also clean all dishes and pots with paper towels before washing them.  So no crumbs, olive oil and sauces in the bilge!  Thanks to Bill Rouse for that tip!

Cheers Joerg

Joerg Esdorn
A55 Kincsem #53

 

When Judy and I were still cruising, she told me it was a dirty job and "someone" had to do it. I used a wet vac also, but anyone who knows me, knows I use a wet vac for lots of things. 

Best,

CW Bill Rouse
Amel Owners Yacht School - www.AmelOwnersYachtSchool.com
720 Winnie St
Galveston Island, TX 77550
+1(832) 380-4970

On Fri, Dec 13, 2019, 3:45 PM Paul Brown <feeder.brown@...> wrote:
Nice tip Joerg and Bill thanks

Regards, Paul... Sent from my iPhone

On 14 Dec 2019, at 09:41, Joerg Esdorn via Groups.Io <jhe1313=yahoo.com@groups.io> wrote:

Thanks, Arno, for this post.  I, too, have been using a wet vac and Kaercher to get the bad stuff out of the bilge.  But I found that the Kaercher makes a bit of a mess with dirty water mist everywhere (including my face) and totally shreds the insulation if you accidentally direct it on that.  So this year, I tried something different.  When I went through the Amel training, they showed me a wooden scrubber on a long stick which came with the boat and explained that I needed to cut the scrubber down to no more than 6 inches wide to have the ideal tool to clean the bilge.  I finally did just that this fall and found scrubbing to be easy and less messy than Kaerchering!  I used some degreaser and a normal hose with a nozzle to wash everything down and used the manual bilge pump to pump it out.  I flushed everything three or four times until all the water remaining at the bottom was clear.  I could have used the wet vac to clean that out but I didn't see a need since I could see the bottom and the keel bolt in good shape and no foreign objects were in sight!

I also have a tip for treating the bilge during the season which has worked very well for me.  Once a week, I add 2 espresso cups of Citric acid power to the bilge dissolved in warm water (via the galley sink).  The Citric acid neutralizes the soap residues in the bilge and it results in flakes of soap residue coming off the hoses in the bilge.  I leave the acid for 15 minutes to soak the bilge and then pump out the bilge with the manual bilge pump.  I have reduced the frequency of my bilge cleaning from every two months to once a season this way.  Much less smell, too.  Note, however, that we also clean all dishes and pots with paper towels before washing them.  So no crumbs, olive oil and sauces in the bilge!  Thanks to Bill Rouse for that tip!

Cheers Joerg

Joerg Esdorn
A55 Kincsem #53

Arno Luijten
 

Hi Joerg,
I'm not sure how the bilge is designed on a A55 but I only use the Kärcher in the bilge-pit itself, for the A54 there is no insulation there and keeping the water-level low to begin with, produces little "back-fire"spray. What I mostly want to achieve is to get the crud from the bottom of the pit, so I don't let the water level go up much before I suck the water out again.

We also have a fairly strict regime to avoid solids and fat entering the bilge. But it's still a grey water bilge, whichever way you want to look at it :-)

Cheers,

Arno
SV Luna,
A54-121

Paul Stascavage
 

Always such useful information on this forum.  Thank you to all.

We also find that wiping plates, pans, etc. with paper towels is a great prevention technique.  Additionally, we use vinegar in between major cleanings to keep the bilge fresh and prevent odors.  About once a week or so, we will pour about 1/8th gallon of vinegar down each head sink, and about 1/4 gallon down the galley sink.  We do this in the evening with the bilge no more than 1/3 full of water.  We let it sit overnight.  This procedure works wonders for us in extending the duration between major cleanings and we believe it should also help keeping the waste lines clean.  We will also use this procedure before a sail in an effort to have the mixture slosh around down there and be even more effective.

We use a similar procedure for the sea water basket/reservoir.  After I clean the strainer/reservoir, we will flush fresh water through the system by flushing the two heads while adding fresh water from a hose.  I will then add a gallon of vinegar to the reservoir, cap, and let sit for at least a few hours before re-opening the sea cock.  I find this procedure eliminates those stains on the strainer/resevoir that are not removed with ordinary cleaning.  I believe it must be helping to keep the associated plumbing cleaner as well.

All the best,

Paul Stascavage
SM #466 - s/v Rita Kathryn
Currently Exploring Brunswick, GA

www.RitaKathryn.com

Alexander Hofmann
 

Hi Arno,

thanks, very good ideas and descpription. 

Something to add. Olivier Beauté (Amel boat expert ond former SAV of Amel) instructed me so, and I do it with good success since over 4 years. 

Before starting the manual cleaning procedure I
  1. empty the bilge with the manual pump 
  2. take 2 tablets of small bags of cleaning substance for the DISH WASHER (makes no foam!!!) in the sink in the pantry, dilute it well in very hot water, 
  3. drain it into the bilge, add a lot of hot water (even if the hot water tank is empty) by separately boiled water mixed with cold wtare to about 70 °C, and drain it until the bilge is completely full (disconntect the contacts for the electrical bilge pump before).
  4. let it work for at least one, better more hours, it softens and cleans the heavy mug at the sides and bottom an everywhere in the bilge 
  5. pump this cocktail :-) out with the manual bilge pump. 
I do this always after a 4-5 week sail, sometimes on half time also. 
The complete process (with the Kärcher) runs on my ship only once a year or even less due to this prevention of thick mug layers. 

Hope this is an additional idea to the perfect process you have described. 

Alexander, SY Oceanica I Amel 54#156

Mark & Debbie Mueller
 

I opted for the low tech approach.  First I installed a small filter prior to the refrigeration raw water pump to filter out the smaller unwanted bits that escape the main strainer or grow in the supply hose.  When cleaning the main strainer turn off the intake valve then remove the bowl of the small strainer then open the lid on the main strainer.  The small strainer is below the level of the discharge of the main intake so the water level drops and the main strainer can be removed without critters or junk getting out of the main strainer.  However, in my case I have a course bristle brush on the end of a pole that I push down through the strainer, open the intake valve, push the brush down to clear the bottom of the boat to assist the exit of any remaining coarse debris, hold the strainer in place with one hand withdrawing the brush quickly so it clears the valve then close the intake valve.  With a little practice this can be done without water overflowing the main strainer.  Then remove the plastic insert and clean normally.  No hazmat suit necessary.

This method works very well when the strainer in the intake becomes clogged.  The attached show the results of a jellyfish bloom.  We had to clean the main strainer every 4 - 12 hours this summer.  My wife had to do it when I had to be off the boat - the methodology worked but she ran the A/C for shorter intervals.

Not wanting bilge spray blow back I flush with a garden hose on an irregular basis but add Unique Natural Products Marine Digest-It Holding Tank Treatment.  It is a blend of bacteria and enzymes that is safe for plastics and metals.  I believe its byproducts are CO2 & water.  A couple of tablespoons every 2 - 3 weeks seems to work pretty well - no smells and a fairly clean bilge.

Mark Mueller
Brass Ring  A54

Arlo
 

Well I wanted to test the bonding for my keel bolt this weekend, so I finally did the dreded annual bilge cleaning. Since we previously had a grease based stuffing box, needless to say it was a messy job. So glad we upgraded to a dripless system. (We have a Mango). I did find a host of stuff in the bilge when I used the shop vac, including a flashlight from the previous owner, several caps from oil and antifreeze containers, and assorted screws, zip ties, and a few hand tools....oh and about 1 inche of thick greasy muck. But the bilge is now clean and I am happy to say that the bonding to the keel bolt tested perfect. I also installed a galvanic isolator since I am at the dock.  By the way cleaning the bilge really does rank up there as the top job I dislike.....but glad its done. :)