About the original bilge pump...

Jon March

I know modern Jabsco pumps are superior, but I do prefer the look and hose outlet/inlet rearward-"aim" of the original Wilcox-Crittenden marine bilge pumps. But heres what I learned:

1) make sure the impeller housing isnt heat deformed from being previously run dry.....and use a new impeller (avail thru depcopump.com)....and lube it annually with waterproof lube like Super Lube

2) When you mount it, keep the motor UP, and the inlet/outlet at the bottom....you want the water to run back into the impeller from the outlet on the rear, so it keeps the impeller primed

3) Heres what I did: i ran a fresh 18ga ground wire thru the driver sidewall to the dash, and connected it to a countdown bath-fan timer under the dash. When turned, it connects ground to trigger the rear pump relay, and when the timer runs out, it releases, so the motor doesnt run forever if you get talking/distracted.
.....Then I used the (now available) thick wire that powered 12v to the firewall pump, to run a much lower current Sea-flow marine pump on floor near tranny. It has a built in float switch that turns on automatically....and it also has a lead to turn it on manually.
So re-use se the thick 12v wire (from the illuminated dash pull switch) for THAT secondary pump!

Now you have a backup pump....and no longer will you be pulling high-current thru your connectors, or heat up / short out your long harness.

Redundnany on the sea
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Amphicar Expert
Why not use a Flojet Marine Pump? Model 4125-114 , Runs dry without any issues, self primes, diaphragm pump, mounts were your original does and you probably won't find one that looks closer to the original once on the firewall. Will cost you a bit more. Great if you also want the look and quality though. One of the best tips I've ever received years ago.

Jon March

like i say, IF i can figure out how to fix whatever issues the stock pump has, i really like the stock look...as well as the way the hose outlets aim to the rear-neater

Not to memtion, i would be forever a hero among purists in the amphi community if i could make the old ones work well and reliably again!
I put a Jabsco water puppy on the firewall with a dry run impeller . It looks similar to original and is reliable. Of course the original is on the shelf. If you want to be original, remove dual master cylinder, VW muffler, LED lighting, alternator, steering brace...the list goes on. I agree, its nice to keep it the way it is supposed to be, but if its just bolt on changes and you have the "correct" parts. Whats the big deal?


Active Member
My solution: An absolutely watertight Amphicar. The original bilge pump only as a decoration. As an emergency backup a dry run Johnson or Rule submersible pump invisible in the sump. But if one of the rubber bellows breaks, any pump will not help anymore.

The original pump with impeller in a plastic housing will never be reliable.


Gold Subscriber
I totally agree on the watertight Amphi being the solution. I take in a little around the seal on my new this year, fiberglass hood. Otherwise, she is virtually watertight. For the record, my original bilge pump has worked flawlessly for the 30 years that I have owned my car. I test it every year, but rarely take on enough water to have to use it. I suppose that is partly because Amphi gets used less and less every year it seems!

Jon March

Great reply, Peter! Everyone should strive to minimize leaks, and that is on my to-do list.

You really hit the target I was looking for: the original pump housing is plastic, rather than the modern bronze, so when it runs dry and gets too hot, it melts and deforms the impeller area. This reduces the suction that even a new rubber impeller cant solve. If i cannot find a metal housing with similar rear-facing ports, i will have to bite the bullet and get the jabsco. Thanks for that key piece of info about the housing!

I imagine that everyone agrees that the dual-port bilge outlet like the one Gordons offers is better than using a "y" or tee fitting?

And is there a way to secure the rubber bellows as a safety to prevent them breaking or releasing?
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Jon March

Lol - guilty as charged, Jack! Well, i just like the compact size and look and outlet orientation of the original - but if the impeller housing being plastic is always going to present issues, then i wave the white flag on this!
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Jon March

Agreed! being so new and under a time crunch, i just used her and dealt with it - not that summers over for me, im hoping i can find the time to track down leaks in a 2 foot pond somewhere!


Active Member
Just a little correction. I have original pumps in my two cars and they work fine. They are not gutted as pass through things as mention by Jon. I've heard of people doing that but it is not me. I keep the impellers primed with Krytox oil but my cars run dry and I have only used one of them once. The original pumps look the best and with care they will run fine. They do require care though when operated. Both of my cars also have submersible pumps and check valves feeding into Y connectors for a single outlet. Dry cars are the only way to go.

John Friese
67 White
67 Red

Jon March

oops-sorry John. I must have recalled another fellow purist who posted the pass thru they use.
I need to float yhe car and ID breaches-but i also am working on a bilge pump impeller housing idea...


Platinum Subscriber
I'm working with a stainless steel tubing bender to fabricate the tube on the outlet on the outside (see picture below) I researched the history of these and they were a gift one year from a member. Is anyone interested in getting one or two of these. I'm going to have mine made but considered having a few made if there is demand. I'm not sure what they will cost yet and when I find out I will post it.2377

Dennis Witthun

New Member
I'm working with a stainless steel tubing bender to fabricate the tube on the outlet on the outside (see picture below) I researched the history of these and they were a gift one year from a member. Is anyone interested in getting one or two of these. I'm going to have mine made but considered having a few made if there is demand. I'm not sure what they will cost yet and when I find out I will post it.View attachment 2377
I would like one


Platinum Subscriber
Thank everyone for your response. I have given the fabricator a sample made of plastic tubing and the picture and asked for a quote on 50 done in "high grade" stainless steel with a 1/2" OD on the tube. Can I get confirmation 1/2" is good ? I only ask because I added a second bilge pump and the outlet is 9/16 so I drilled out my original to 9/16 and I'm having him make me two of them 9/16. Still waiting for a quote on the cost.


Platinum Subscriber
OK, I went to one pipe bending place in Pico Rivera (I drove there in my Amphicar so I could demonstrate) and they said they could do it from my prototype plastic tube sample and photo. They have been a week getting back to me and have unanswered three emails so I went by another place in Huntington Beach and talked to the owner who said no problem on doing 50. I found some 1/2" OD seamless 316 Stainless Steel tubing with a .035 wall thickness on line and they will drop ship anywhere. It seems 316 stainless is the better available than 304.
A lot of stainless or tube bending shops cannot bend something this small since special equipment is needed to bend something as small as 1/2".

"Grade 316 stainless steel has high amounts of chromium and nickel. ... The higher molybdenum content results in grade 316 possessing increased corrosion resistance. 316 stainless steel is often considered one of the most suitable choices when selecting an austenitic stainless steel for marine applications."

My only issue now is getting back my plastic prototype sample from the first bender that doesn't respond. I will give them a call tomorrow and see if I can get her to send it. Possibly they don't respond because my job is too small or they are too busy. The guy in Huntington Beach can do it right away and I met the owner and he seemed real hands on and nice. I can always fabricate another prototype if needed,

The bilge outlets on my car are both 9/16" but I'm pretty sure I can use the 1/16" gap for some adhesive like 3M Marine 5200 to place these with a piece of tape to hold them in the correct position until the adhesive dries. I will continue to keep you updated on my progress and cost. I plan to sell them at cost which I hope is around $20.00 each plus shipping. I'm hoping I can work out a deal that everyone that buys one and also donates $10.00 towards the support of this website. Without this website we are all toast finding out accurate information.

On another note I want to give a shout out to Shellee and Scott at Gordon Imports. I drove there a few weeks ago to buy a few parts and discuss a few questions and Scott offered up to take care of any issues I had with my car. I left it and he did everything I needed and more !! I called to see if it was ready after a week or so and they told me they only needed to do a "water test". I was elated to hear this since I had forgotten to even think to ask for that. He found I had some leakage in the front hood so he replaced the rubber seal and all is good now. I also bought some NOS dash knobs that have the lettering engraved on them from choke to cigarette lighter. This was a huge find since I had looked at options from a Ptouch lable machine to having mine engraved. They wern't cheap but they really look great !

I will keep all posted on the progress of bilge tube.


1964 Amphicar
Avalon, Catalina Island, California
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