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Easy way to clean debris out of your jet pump (without pulling plugs or going in the water)

jim1

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No, for 2 reasons.
1) If you can get your boat going in reverse faster than no wake speed, I want to watch! LOL
2) The intake grate on the pump scoops water from the forward direction....going in reverse would likely pull water OUT of the cooling system.
Got it...thanks!
 

biffdotorg

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I find twins are easy. Get the boat moving backwards and kill one engine. Repeat for the other engine.
That tip right there is money! After you figure out which one is plugged. But either way, do both and they should clear. Very good tip!
 

wmugrad28

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No, for 2 reasons.
1) If you can get your boat going in reverse faster than no wake speed, I want to watch! LOL
2) The intake grate on the pump scoops water from the forward direction....going in reverse would likely pull water OUT of the cooling system.
1. If I know the port side has an issue, could I just leave that engine off and do the reverse trick with just the starboard? I have a 2019 E-series. I'm thinking it would be best to not run the port side at all.
2. To further the above... I previously had a shutoff valve installed for the cooling on each engine.. If I performed #1 above, would it be best to first have the valve closed (on the port side in this case) for extra safety?

I was able to close that valve last night and easily come in on one engine at 10 mph instead of the no wake 5 mph. I didn't know of the trick being mentioned until I read the forums today so I'm eager to try it as it seems like there is a blockage. We were going along at 20 mph and suddenly slowed down and things got much louder. It is definitely the port side. I didn't see anything when looking in the cleanout ports or after my boat was on our lift... but it was late, so maybe I need to look during daytime. I don't believe it would be weeds as we were on the coast of Lake Michigan in at least 10 ft of water or deeper, but I've never had this happen before.
 
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Julian

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1. If I know the port side has an issue, could I just leave that engine off and do the reverse trick with just the starboard? I have a 2019 E-series. I'm thinking it would be best to not run the port side at all.
2. To further the above... I previously had a shutoff valve installed for the cooling on each engine.. If I performed #1 above, would it be best to first have the valve closed (on the port side in this case) for extra safety?

I was able to close that valve last night and easily come in on one engine at 10 mph instead of the no wake 5 mph. I didn't know of the trick being mentioned until I read the forums today so I'm eager to try it as it seems like there is a blockage. We were going along at 20 mph and suddenly slowed down and things got much louder. It is definitely the port side. I didn't see anything when looking in the cleanout ports or after my boat was on our lift... but it was late, so maybe I need to look during daytime.
#1- yes....you can reverse with just one engine and leave the other off.
#2- No need to close the shut off valves.....you won't be backing water up into the exhaust with this maneuver. This is a 30 second reverse, then kill the engine(s).

The reverse maneuver is the FIRST step to clearing something out of your intake. If after 2-3 tries it doesn't clear, THEN you open up the clean out ports.
 

Dean P

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#1- yes....you can reverse with just one engine and leave the other off.
#2- No need to close the shut off valves.....you won't be backing water up into the exhaust with this maneuver. This is a 30 second reverse, then kill the engine(s).

The reverse maneuver is the FIRST step to clearing something out of your intake. If after 2-3 tries it doesn't clear, THEN you open up the clean out ports.
Or jump in as in my case... :winkingthumbsup"
 

bobkeesecker

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1) Put it in reverse, and get the boat moving backward (faster the better)
2) Kill the engines (pulling the lanyard off is the fastest way)
3) Put the throttles into forward (this allows water to be pushed directly into the exposed jet nozzles and force stuff in the tubes back through the grate, or off the grate).
What I do is grab the lanyard with my left hand, put it in reverse with my right hand, get up some speed, yank the lanyard with my left and instantly put it onto forward with my right.....works 95% of the time. The only time it didn't work for me that I recall was when I sucked up a flexible frisbee...and it was lodged hard in the intake grill.
This works great for weeds, sticks etc.
What's old is new again! Thanks so much for posting this. 1/2" diameter foot-long branch up the starboard impeller. Backed off, rattle subsided, went out and hard vibration started at 4k rpm. Went back, got the chopped-in-half branch out. Next time this happens, first thing I'll do is this procedure.
 
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Lunarvrx

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The bucket controls do not function when the engine is off. What I didn't test yet is what happens if you kill the engines when the boat is in reverse....my assumption is that the gates will remain in the reverse position until the engines are started, at which point they will return to neutral. But not certain on this and @Adrenalinejunky suggests they do return to fully open.

So the reverse move for an E-Series may need to be:
  1. Put it in reverse, and get the boat moving backward (faster the better)
  2. Put the throtles into forward (this allows water to be pushed directly into the exposed jet nozzles and force stuff in the tubes back through the grate, or off the grate).
  3. QUICKLY Kill the engines (pulling the lanyard off is the fastest way)
My 2021 Chaparral VRX203 is throttle by wire. I assume the gate control is also by wire but I don't know for sure. It has just one joystick for directions and throttle. I am thinking if I accelerate in reverse, and once it is going fairly fast backwards, then move the joystick to forward then quickly cut the engine (with key or lanyard) that might work. I will try it next time (not this winter though - LOL).
 

Dean P

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My 2021 Chaparral VRX203 is throttle by wire. I assume the gate control is also by wire but I don't know for sure. It has just one joystick for directions and throttle. I am thinking if I accelerate in reverse, and once it is going fairly fast backwards, then move the joystick to forward then quickly cut the engine (with key or lanyard) that might work. I will try it next time (not this winter though - LOL).
Agreed. It will work because even if the gate is not fully "up", water is still flowing thru the nozzle and grate (backwards) instead of grate then nozzle (normal operation).
 

rarebreed

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this is what I usually do on my PWC or my 16 foot jet boat have the engine shut off stand on the back of the boat and bounce up and down it usually clears it you don’t have to get in the water same scenario on my jet boat but if there’s two people both of you go back there it usually works I do like your new idea in reverse and doing it that way I’ll try it this year the Mississippi backwaters have a lot of junk in them
 

markallan

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Wow, I need that in the Florida Keys with all the turtle grass
 

Suekizzel

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Help sea grass going all the way up into impellers
 

tdonoughue

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@Suekizzel , did you pull the plugs and get it out?
 

PhatPat

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I have NEVER gotten "the reverse trick" to work. I tried again this morning, to no avail. There was a plastic bottle cap stuck in my starboard engine, and the reverse trick did nothing to dislodge it. I popped out the cleanout plug and was able to reach down and pull the bottle cap out without much effort. Not sure why the reverse trick didn't work.
Do I maybe need to set my reverse RPMs to go higher? If you have two engines, can you just leave the affected engine gate open and reverse with the other one? I tried reversing with both engines getting as fast as it would go, then I pulled the cutoff lanyard and threw them both into forward. It has never worked for me. Maybe when I get stuff stuck, I get it REALLY stuck.
 

tdonoughue

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I think the reverse trick is good for only some types of clogs. If you get something wrapped around the shaft, it will do you no good. Likewise if you have something jammed between the impeller and the ring (like your bottle cap or, as I get, a chunk of driftwood)--no dice.

But, where some boat they get mounds of weeds that can get clogged near the beginning of the intake (either on the grate or just before it). For those types of clogs you have better odds (especially if you still have 1 engine clear and can get going fast enough in reverse).
 

PhatPat

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That makes sense.

I will do my PSA here for everything I have learned so far about getting stuff stuck:
It seems on the waterways I frequent there is more debris after big rains, and it seems like you run the highest risk of getting something stuck when you are going slow, so a good strategy is to never slow down if you see a bunch of junk in the water. I have had that happen to me at least 5 times. Twice it cleared itself by just revving the engine. Once (this morning, actually) I was able to pull out the obstruction. The other two times I was able to get back to the dock on one engine. If it is a piece of wood your best strategy is to let it dry out and it will fall out or you can tap it out with a long screwdriver and a hammer. Your intake grate comes off and lets you get to the impeller easier. You can also access the impeller by removing the cleanout port. However, if something is stuck to the impeller, you can't move your hand enough to pull it loose. I bought some right-angle long-handled vice grips for that purpose but have never tried them. Also, a hair dryer in the cleanout port helps accelerate the wood drying process,
You can also try "the reverse trick" if something looser is stuck in the impeller.
Also, don't run over your tow rope for boarding and tubing. This is bad because if the impeller wraps it up the right way it could rupture the seal between the impeller and the engine, and then you will have a water leak there. If you do get a rope stuck, you might be able to cut it out with a really long knife from the cleanout port, but having done this twice, I have needed to remove the intake grate to cut it loose each time.
 

tdonoughue

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I would (wood?) suggest:

Long before you take off the intake grate (which you should basically never do), pull the pump. There is a video in the FAQ. It is very easy and a much better way to remove that chunk of wood or Gatorade cap stuck in the impeller...
 

PhatPat

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Hehe... wood.
I would hate to give anyone bad advice so please help me understand this... why would you never take off the intake grate? It's 3 screws and seems like a MUCH easier method for accessing the impeller than pulling the pump. It's what I always used to do on my jet ski as well. Have I been living my life wrong this whole time?
To clarify, I'm not talking about the metal duct part that you have to seal to the boat hull with "a quality marine grade silicone". I am talking about the barred grate that connects into that part with 2 screws and another one into the hull. I am assuming you have the same setup on your boat. It seems like it is meant to be taken on and off.
 

Julian

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I would (wood?) suggest:

Long before you take off the intake grate (which you should basically never do), pull the pump. There is a video in the FAQ. It is very easy and a much better way to remove that chunk of wood or Gatorade cap stuck in the impeller...
100% AGREE.....the LAST thing you want to do is remove the intake grate...that opens up another can of worms (intake tunnel cavitation) that is unnecessary to get into. Just pull the pump (30 minute job if you go slow-15 once you've done it once).

The reverse maneuver will not remove something wedged in the impeller - it is primarily a weed removal trick. Sticks, bottle caps, frisbees, golf balls, etc....will require manual intervention.
 

tdonoughue

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Yes, and some of us have smoothed (or tried to smooth) out even that outer intake grate area with silicone or 4200. So pulling those hex screws (which are torqued to death) is not only difficult, despite being fewer in number, but may then require resealing with silicone or 4200. Messy.

But, I was once there and tried that. Never again...

I wood not do it.

:)
 
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