Another Dead Bilge Blower

Well I had to replace my start (bilge) blower on my trailer today. This one had very little soot in it and had NO signs of corrosion or damage. The blades spun freely and there was NO sign of melting. I had sealed the motor connections with RTV before installation. The last one I replaced had thousands of miles on it and was full of soot and I could still spin it back up and get it to run but replaced it this spring. It would just get physically stuck up. It is in line with my gas supply. I have debated putting it on a Tee to keep it out of the stream but my current setup allows me to pump woodgas right to the engine and use zero gasoline. Also, I used to use RV sewer gate valves for controlling flow but found that woodgas would dissolve the rubber seals in them so I gave them up. Just thought I’d put this out there and see if anyone else has had issues with them. They are a simple solution but probably not the best. I played some at Argos with a blower that Jim Mason had sent me but after getting home and examining it found out that it had some fire in it which damaged the impeller. It still works fine but we probably need metal impellers … Mike L

I just made this post to bring this to the top of the list. Does anyone have suggestions to help these bilge blowers survive. Like I said I got at least a couple of thousand miles through the first one and this last dead one only had a few hundred on it and looked like new. I didn’t use any RTV on the recent replacement as I’m thinking that sealing the motor may have prevented it from drying out ??? … ML

Hi Mike,

I have mounted all of my blowers vertical. Hope it helps with blower longevity.

Mike, sorry I don’t know anything about bilge blowers. I have tried without much success to use blowers to get the gas up to the throtle. On the Mitsubishi there was no gas tank (not even a carb.) and I got her to go pretty good. On the Van I bought a quarter tank of petrol once in a while, But the gasoline start-ups on the dakota are getting expensive. Where do you apply the blower? Now I use a vacuum switching system with check valve, get the gas up there, but I’m interested to know how to get away from gasoline starts all together. Once I had a system where I had a vacuum under the hood and a blower in the back at the fresh intake. But it was miserable, and smoky and awkward and not much success. So your system works pretty good if the bilge pump works?

Mike, I can’t say for sure. Tar is not kind to them. Low voltage/loose wires can make me think one is dying… but I’ve never had one quit completely.

John, I’ve been starting the Dakota gasoline free for a couple weeks now. There are 4 suction blowers mounted on the condensate tank, and 2 pusher blowers on the gasifier intake. Running these simultaneously gets the gasifier warmed up in a hurry; then just shut the suction blowers off, close their outlet valve. The pusher blowers will send gas up to the engine and backfeed out the air valves. You’ll have a full-rich starting condition, it takes some practice to get it started reliably without lots of cranking. A few hits of the starter should get a response. Always key off and back on before another attempt.

At this point it’s easier for me to start this way than on gasoline. It does require a minute of patience, and some days you’ll have to use the gasoline regardless. I still find it worth doing - it’s good practice!

Morning Mikie ,

I have had a couple to go out. One at three years and 30,000 . I replaced it and put the old one in a bucket of diesel fuel over night and it worked good afterwards . Its on the shelf now if I need it.

Another at two years , not sure of the miles but it is on my daily driver the V-10. The prop las locked down with carbon against the housing . I don’t remember exactly what I did but I think I put diesel on it or sprayed with wd40 and freed it up and put it back on the truck.

Hi Guys, I just changed out the first one because after long periods of no use I would have to open up the pipework and spin it by hand to get it going again. This last one just went dead. It was still clean. I don’t know if a solder joint went bad in it or if the brushes fried or what. I tried beating on it etc to see if the brushes would make contact. I don’t have a closed system so can not use a pusher blower. I just keep the one in line and do it that way. On my 95 olds I would open the hood and hook my blower on with clip leads to the battery and would pull the woodgas all the past the mixing valve until it was ready. It would usually start right up on straight woodgas. It would flood if I used any gasoline. Mike

Chris, I really like the idea of no petrol start. As you know I am using a vacuum cleaner under the hood to get everything moving. And, of course I must keep on with this system. I do take heart from your work on start-ups. And I thankyou for feedback. Tomorrow I will attempt to simulate your flow pattern using the Kirby.


I had one suction blower go out pretty quickly. When I replaced it I took the other ones out as well and dabbed RTV on all of the terminal connections. So far no more have failed. I don’t know if it was a fluke or not, but I do know that the gas is very corrosive so protecting the terminal connections with RTV cannot hurt. I would recommend everybody do that. It only takes a second.

Hi John and John, Thanks for keeping this topic going. I have always put RTV on all the connections, tabs, and anything I can get at. This one went from working fine one day to fully dead the next day. It was clean inside and had been IN the system for several hundred miles. I think maybe the RTV kept moisture in the motor and caused corrosion when it could not dry out. This new one I left stock except for the side hole and used some duct tape and then aluminum tape. Of course I had to grind those extra tabs off the 2 ends. The blower is on a slight incline so can not hold water in it. At 17 bucks a piece I don’t worry too much. For years I ran inverters into AC furnace blowers and the such and the bilge blower does a better job and draws less amps usually. Jim Mason sent me one of his blowers which I tested at Argos. It is too small to “live” in the system but it sure flared things off nice until I would kick the bilge blower in behind it and it would back fire and then burn at the inlet of the impeller. The impeller on that APL blower is a bit melted but OK. I didn’t notice till I was unpacking it from the trip. I had to slap off a few fires on Saturday night playing. I’m not a show off these days. I just like to drive on it. Sue and I went to the river over the weekend with it. It was actually her first time in the new truck on wood. I got it up to 70 mph a few times for her. She wasn’t impressed. I think I had her up to 90 in the 91 olds but this is just a 2.2 liter … John Stout, I need to check your place out sometime. I think it would be more interesting than mine … Mike

Could you mount the blower right after the air filter under the hood but before your air valve? That way you could pull gas all the way up front but with the engine running no gas and the air flow should dry it out. That or mount a back flow valve like I’m using with the blower on the outside of it. That would take care of the backfires too. Still not that familiar with your setup.


Marvin, I used to raise the hood and hook the blower right to the air inlet and then pull through the whole way. Only problem with that is there is low quality gas (some tar) for a few minutes until the gasifier warms up some and usually lets out a puff to consume the last of the air in the hopper. On my last 2 setups I am using the stock air filter and have the mixing valve between it and the throttle body. I rely on the hay filter to protect the engine from crap in the woodgas. I just pull off the connection from the outlet from the trailer and start up the blower. When the temperature comes up and the gas clears up I just hook my flex hose back up and the blower pushes the gas to the engine (and I turn it off) or I start on gasoline and suck it ahead. I can usually turn off the fuel pump in about 200 feet. The blower is the last thing in my system after the cyclone, cooler, and then hay filter. I have my system on a trailer so I can switch it between vehicles. Mike

Mike, come and check it out. You’re welcome any time.