Two completely different approaches to making your own seawater impeller extractor – which one grabs you the most?

John Cowan modified an automotive tool for his boat

I had a problem removing my seawater impeller recently – the essential, delicate, flexible plastic paddlewheel that draws seawater up into the cooling system of a boat’s diesel engine.


Luckily, I was at a boatyard and was able to borrow a remover. But worse things happen at sea, so I looked into buying one but was more than a little aghast to find the proper stainless steel Jabsco tool retailing at £75.

So I looked on ebay and found a 2in Auto Car Two Jaw Twin Legs Bearing Gear Puller (left side of photo above). OK, it’s not stainless steel, but for £6.37 I decided to try and adapt it myself.

The cheap puller before modification

It needed a bit of hacksaw and filing work to adapt it – the width and a little of the thickness of the legs were trimmed down to fit my size of impeller.

Notches were then cut in both ends of the cross bar so the legs stayed parallel when clamped onto the impeller.

I tied a lanyard to the puller and superglued the other end to the Allen key, so I can’t lose it in the bilges!

I also peened the plain end of the sliding bar handle to stop it being able to fall out.

The plain end of the sliding bar was peened over

Allen key is glued to lanyard so it won’t get lost

The width and thickness of the legs were filed down to fit my size of impeller

This is now a valuable little safety tool that I hope never to have to use at sea, but it should make annual servicing a doddle.

Originally published in PBO Feb19

The happy impeller puller

The following month, Doug Pattison sent us his new impeller extractor – a cheery chappy indeed!

Like your correspondent John Cowan in Practical Projects PBO February 2019, I too was put off by the price of a ‘proper’ impeller extractor for our Beta 20 engine. So I also decided to make my own.

Using an offcut of 3mm aluminium, I cut out this cheery chap, who seems to work very well, and is now a permanent member of our crew.

The teeth on his ‘antenna’ grip the impeller, and the ‘eyes’ were designed so I could insert a small mole wrench to get a firm hold – although in practise simply squeezing by hand normally seems to suffice.

Then a tap through the inside of the nose away from the impeller housing is all that has ever been needed.

Cost – zero!

Originally published in PBO Mar19