Updating Your Live Well - Disassembly
Well I don’t know if you own a boat or not, but if you are a bass fisherman then I’m sure you do or are looking at some. One of the most important components of any Bass Rig is its live well system. That’s what will keep your fish alive until it’s time to weigh-in.
If you are looking at boats, take a look in the rear compartment and I think you will see that it is a pretty crowded area with 3 or 4 batteries, one or two gas tanks, an oil tank, and a lot of electrical wires that run from the 2-3-4 batteries to all the components on the boat. And down in the bottom, under all that stuff that you can see is where the bilge pump, 2 live well pumps, inboard transducers, automatic bilge switches all go. A very confusing and ominous area to have to work in.
Most of you will say “darn that’s too much stuff to mess with,” and you are probably right, until something down there goes out on you and you have to either replace or repair it. This is a minimum of a two-man job!!! This article is going to highlight what has to be done, as I do my boat to upgrade it to new live well pumps, new automatic bilge switch, all new quick disconnect hose system, live well aerator and pump out system. Why am I doing this, you might ask? Well, a while back my live well control valves went out and I had to install an in-tank bubbler system just to keep my fish alive during tournaments.
This also meant I had to put plugs in both of the live wells to hold the water in. This has worked great, but it’s time to fix all the things that are wrong. I decided that since I’m going to have to remove all the stuff in the back compartment, that I might as well update everything back there to eliminate future problems. Plus as I did the research on trying to find the older parts I’ll need and some were extremely difficult to find because of the age of my Boat. So we are going to put all new and up-to-dated stuff back in and my boat should be good to go for another decade or so.
Before you start you need to remember that every boat manufacturer does their systems a little differently and what I am saying here is for my Skeeter and it may not be exactly like your boat so keep that in mind but the basic premise is the same. So to start out it means that everything in that back compartments has got to come out! As I take everything out I am running diagnostics on all of it to make sure what’s there is sound and cleaning it all up.
The batteries will be the first things that have to come out. I numbered each with a marker and labeled the positive and negative leads that go on the battery from the main power line and the charging system with the same number so I do not get any crossed up during reinstallation. I checked to make sure there is ample acid in each of the cells and cleaned all the post and wire terminals to make sure I have a good connection when I re-install them. I am also testing each cell to make sure I do not have a weak cells or dead cell. The battery trays will also have to be removed to allow the gas tank ample room to slide back. The trays will be cleaned and checked to make sure they are not cracked or damaged.
Next is the engine oil tank. It has to be moved to allow you access to the bilge area. I will move it to where battery 3 and 4 sat while doing the repairs. I then will clean the tank thoroughly and check it closely to make sure there are no cracks or leaks in the tank itself.
Next is removing the rear compartment door lift shocks that are attached to the compartment opening to allow room to remove the gas tank. Trust me, when the manufacturers installed all this stuff they made sure to get the largest they could in the area available. Because of the tight clearances this means taking the lifts for the compartment door off the boat and folding them up out of the way. You may not have to do this on your boat but I do on this one.
Next is the gas tank. In my case it is a single 26-gallon tank that goes all the way across the back compartment. All the gas has to be pumped, or ran out, of the tank or you will never be able to get it lifted out of the rear compartment. I went and bought me a couple of extra 5 gallon gas cans to pump the excess into. I had a friend that loaned me one of the pumps that you connect to a drill to pump out what was left in the gas tank. That made it a lot easier than having you use my hand pump. Once I got it out I cleaned it up and checked it closely for any cracks then set it aside for the re-install.
With the gas tank out I’m still faced with the boards that goes between the gas tank and the live wells. It is also the primary rear vertical support for the rear deck. Lucky for me the manufacturer had already cut an access panel to allow access to the live well’s input ports, but to have room to maneuver I had to take the boards out as well.
Since I am installing a new live well pump out system designed by “Flow-Rite”, all the old stuff has to come out. We are talking about parts that have been in the boat for 13 years, got to be very careful on this don’t want to break out the live well.
Once out they are trashed and the new ones will go right back in their place. However, since the boat was not equipped with a pump out system from the factory, it means that two through-the-hull ports have to be installed for the pump out system. One on the port side gunnel and one on the starboard side gunnel and the hoses from each ran. This required drilling a 1 1/8” hole through the gunnels on each side to install the pump out ports.
Well my editor is saying this is too long for a single article so this ends the take out Part 1. The installation of the new stuff will be covered in Part 2. Hope this helps you get your boat ready for a live well system upgrade. If you have any questions or comments send them to Hook_up66@Yahoo.com and I will get you an answer. Have a great day on the water and catch a big’un!