Bilge Blower Maintenance

Hi Wayne and others, I have been using a single bilge blower for starting my trailer the last 2 years or so. I leave it in line full time and use an spdt switch to have it dump into a light bulb if it decides to free wheel in there. By having it in line I can also pump woodgas up to the engine and start the engine on it WITHOUT using gasoline. When I use the trailer regularly I have no problems but when I let it sit for a few weeks or months (it is 8 degrees F here right now the second day of a late spring) the motor will seize up in it between the soot and corrosion from water vapor and vinegar from the hay filter. I used RTV where the wires go in and also used RTV on the electrical connections to the “cheap” motor that is in it. Every once in a while I have to remove the blower and work it by hand to free up the blades and then run it a bit and it will work fine as long as I use it on a regular basis. The bilge blower is a $17 Godsend. It is way better than running an inverter and 120V blowers etc etc etc … I am getting a replacement ready … I just did all the RTV etc … Just waiting for it to get warm enough to use duct tape outside. Your thoughts ??? Thanks, Mike

I need to add that it is in the suction line going to the truck or car and is not blowing into the gasifer. M

Mike, maybe you could use a couple of 3 inch pvc Y’s and a couple of RV dump valves to take the blower out of line when not in use.
Don M

Don, RV dump valves react to woodgas and the shaft seals dissolve and jam up. I stopped using them years ago. I still have a few left but they leak air past the shaft now. I have been hurt trying to get one unjammed and the handle cracked and cut my hand. I do not recommend them. They are cheap and work well for about a year (hopefully). Mike

Hi Mike, I ran into the same problems with the bilge blowers too. Terminals corroded off, fan stuck and air leaks around the hole where wires penetrate the shell. I am now using “5 Oceans marine products” bilge blowers. Their wires are covered, a rubber grommet where the wires penetrate the shell and no nubs to cut off when adapting to a rubber bell housing. Got mine on ebay for around $20. Here are some photos.

Would it work if you “T” it in close to the engine and use one of Wayne’s tennis ball valves for it? Would make it easy to remove for servicing and out of most of the flow. Would have to find a safe place to vent it.

Mike, I plan on doing the same with my truck, what has been working for my small gasifier as I have a manifold made to run my generator and my cushman cart…I start the process with a spa blower motor 110 vac…as my generator on gasoline will run this…I have a 2" pvc ball valve before and after the blower as well as 1" pvc ball valve to each engine outlet…I just draw on the system to get a good flow of gas…shut my ball valves on my blower, open ball valve to engine I will run and turn off my gasoline switches…adjust mixture… my blower pulls all the way through the hay filter right to the manifold to the engines…the ball valve on the back is what I had initually and found my blower was not sealed. So I put another valve in front…back valve keeps debri out of the blower, I also use this blower to presure test for leaks as I can pull it off the manifold and put it on the intake side of my gasifier( also spray some wd40 on the valves once a while to keep them from building up soot) I figure for a cold start…on my truck…a 2" ball valve before the fan at the mixing chamber vented to air…run a few minutes…close valve and stop blower and let the engine pull in the rest of the way…Warm start …it won’t be needed…out of the gas flow…and no air leak…

Just My 2 cents


Hi Gary & Dennis & Marvin, Gary, that is the only bilge blower I’ve seen that might actually be safe for it’s intended use. At least they have grommets and the such in them. I plug the side hole with RTV and tape the wires to it so they don’t move. I reach in the end and seal the wire terminals and the crimped over stuff. Dennis, I run 3" pipe and ball valves are tough to find. The say 3 inches on them and have a 2 inch hole it seems. It has been a while. I was running my 2.2 liter Cavalier just fine on 2 inch pipe and it was pulling adequate vacuum at the gasifer so I will probably run 2 inch on the new truck with a 2.2. I will probably use the same pipe as the Cavalier will be going to the boneyard sometime soon. It was a flexible suction line that had bought for a 5HP water pump. I had to cut the fittings off the ends as they were only 1.5" inside. It is a full 2 inches without them and that makes a big difference with woodgas. We are still buried in ice and snow here and I can’t get under anything. It partially thaws now and there is water under everything. I have chicken pox 2 / shingles right now. I have to be careful. I hope you can cut yourself loose and make it to Argos for that weekend in May. You might be closer than I am ??? Marvin, I don’t think I can use tennis balls here as they would be hard as a rock and would not seal. I’d try to pull the cord to open it and it would just crack. Try the tongue to metal pole some time when it is near zero degrees. :o) It was 8 here this morning … Thanks for the suggestion. I just use PVC connections and pull them off the pipe and when done or put a cap or plug on or whatever. Just have to wiggle them a little. Duct tape around the fixed joints with a copper wire wrap allows them to flex and move a little. I don’t use glue. Cars rot too fast and I need to re-use the old fittings. Haven’t bought any in years I think. Mike

Changed out the blower today.Trailer still buried in ice. Old blower has problems inside the motor. I don’t know if the brushes corroded off or one of the wires. Either way I couldn’t get it to spin up so just changed it out. It got warm enough for me to use tape outside. I used duct tape first for strength and a flex seal and then aluminum tape over that to keep the sun off of it. I know this trailer has been probably 2000 miles so the first blower did well. I made this post to get it up the list for others to comment on … I can’t read too much stuff or just fall asleep … Supposed to get more snow tomorrow … ML

Hey Mike ,

I would trade you some of this wind and rain for a little snow.

Wayne, We get our share of wind and rain as well. Of course the wind means there is more wood to cut up :o) … I wish you the best with the barn. I have my own rats to kill … One day at a time … My fiddle fingers got tuned up for Argos last night … Looking forward to your singing … Mike

Where is the gas going before you start the engine? Out the air filter?

Mike, I just ran across these valves at Amazon -
It looks like they are made especially for vacuum and probably would not have the same problems as the RV dump valves.
Don M