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    Portland, OR
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    2003 Signature Cruiser 260

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  1. I have learned a lot from this forum over the years. If you have time to reply I'm interested in hearing your thoughts (and experience if this has happened to you). TL/DR: My manifold has a hairline crack and a slow leak. I posted (or linked to) a video at the bottom of this post. Would you still take it for short put-put trips in this condition while you wait two weeks for parts to arrive? UPDATE: link to the vid right when the water begins to well up and drip. Fast forward to see the extent of the drip as it warms up. The long version: I have a 2003 Sig 260 with a water cooled 5.7 Gi-B engine. I recently cleaned out my bilge for a Coast Guard vessel inspection that I requested, and long story short that has helped me find this problem. Originally I thought it the water in the bilge was from the weep hole on the water pump, which was dripping. I pulled the pump and replaced the seal, and it no longer weeps/leaks. I thought I was done. But I check the bilge fairly frequently and was dismayed to find more water. That's how I found this crack on the port side manifold. I believe this has been leaking for at least a year, and it's possible that it has been leaking for all of the seven years I've had it. It's also possible that it was fine when I got it but that I didn't properly drain the block and freezing caused this fracture, but I don't think that's likely. I always drain the block before the temp drops, and I always open up the hole/plug (IDK the technical term, sorry) at the aft end of each manifold. I don't particularly care how it happened at this point--it's there. I ordered new manifolds and risers from Volvo this morning. I am getting new bolts, gaskets, etc. They should arrive in 5-7 days per Volvo, so with covid and whatever else I'm actually expecting 7 to 14 days. Here's my question for the community: Would you still put-put about a mile down river and sit on the hook for the day, then put-put back? Without the leak I'd probably do this at least 5 times in the next two weeks. I'm anxious to get the repair done, I just don't want to stop using the boat unless I have to. Part of my mind says "STOP! You have a problem. Stop using it until you fix the problem. The solution is on its way. Be patient. Thus far you've only been lucky. Don't press your luck." The other part of my mind says, "it has been leaking for at least a year, and during that time you were at cruising speed as often as you pleased, drug kids around on a towable, and generally put the engine (and thus the manifold) under stress. It has done no worse than this in all of that time. Keep an eye on it, but don't freak out. You have a tested, working bilge pump, and you're only talking about short round trips. You can check the bilge at each destination and you have a friend who will give you a short tow back to the marina if the leak gets so bad you feel you can't safely make it back to the dock. However, pull the boat and to the repair as soon as you have the parts in your hand." YouTube link Water starts to seep at about 1:30. Text from the YouTube post: I took this video after I found water in my bilge and located its source. I have already ordered a pair of OEM manifolds and a pair of OEM risers along with new bolts and gaskets. They should arrive within two weeks. I took the video to assess the extent of the damage. Also, I now believe this has been leaking for at least a year. I'm thinking about continuing to put-put about a mile down the river to a spot where I like to spend the day at anchor. In the video I go from a cold start and find where it starts to leak at idle (or was it 1000 RPM?) at about 1:30 in the video. Later I raise RPM to about 2000 to see what happens with the leak at higher RPM. Then I back it down to idle (~700 RPM), then I turn it off and wait for the leak to slow.
  2. Correct, Chap243. @CaptScott, for me (see specs in my signature, below), the relevant part info is: 955981 Drain screw O-ring (yes, the number has only six numerals, unlike the others) 3855081 Oil level plug O-ring 3852045 Dipstick O-ring I'm pretty sure my local marina puts their own label on the part. It looks like they use a dot-matrix printer to print a bunch of stickers, then put the stickers on the baggy. It's not an actual Volvo OEM part. I realize this is splitting hairs, but I think 1/2 the width of a human hair is about all the tolerance you have with this! [EDIT: I don't think they're trying to pass these off as genuine. I think they printed the stickers to try to stay organized, but they were disorganized in the first place. It doesn't say Volvo on it anywhere, it's just a reference to the part number.] I uploaded an image and scaled it to be close to life-size if it displays at 100% size. The ring on the left is the oil level plug o-ring and the one on the right is the drain screw o-ring. The ring the marina sold me was somewhere between the two as far as thickness goes. It's easy to see how someone could make the mistake, though it's kind of inexcusable for a marina to sell and install the wrong part for something so critical yet simple. I'm posting this because it's easy to see the difference if you have a new, correct part that you can compare. If you don't have that and somebody just hands you a part, they all look the same.
  3. That's good to hear, Rip5! I hope I was just the unlucky one.
  4. This is for Volvo Penta owners that change their own gear lube. It might also be for owners that have their gear lube changed at a shop but it always seems to leak/weep some "oil" into the water. Maybe this is a no-brainer, but make sure you get a Volvo spec rubber O-ring to go back in that little groove around the drain plug. The OEM part from Volvo is a similar size but much thinner than a typical rubber ring, and I don't think you're likely to find a proper substitute in the trays at your local hardware store. My local marine shop uses/sells a part that is not quite right. It looks the same at first glance (and it even has the Volvo part # on the baggy) but my marina's part is a little too fat when you try to reinstall causing the housing to shave off the edge of the rubber ring when you screw it back in. The ring shreds on installation, but you can't see that because the drain hole narrows about 1/2" up inside the opening. The damaged rubber ring allows fluid to seep out and water to seep back into the drive. The outdrive case and the drain screw are very well machined, and the whole thing depends on this thin, little rubber ring/washer. There is very little tolerance (i.e. none!) for size variation. Get the right part and it's fantastic. Dry as a bone, not a leak in sight, etc., etc. Stray by a fraction of a millimeter and your outdrive turns into a mint milkshake dispenser. I ended up driving about 45 min to a Volvo parts supplier and bought ten OEM rings. They're cheap! Now I have a ten year supply. The rubber rings supplied by the marina failed twice and gave me a heart attack each time. I spent hours pressure testing the outdrive, etc. because I thought for sure replacing all of the seals would solve the problem. Nope. It was always that I was getting the wrong rubber ring for the slot around the drain plug. With the wrong part, each time I "fixed" it I broke it again, always with the added cost of new synthetic gear lube. I had been getting a light, but regular oily sheen behind the boat for two years. It all came down to the wrong ten cent part. BTW, the marina still maintains that they're using the correct part. They have a cross-reference chart that they use to show they're using an identical/equivalent part. They most certainly are not! Most boats in this market seem to be Mercruiser and apparently these guys treat Vovlos like an old V12 Jaguar engine--spooky magic! [slaps forehead]
  5. Perhaps the most beautiful engineering feat I've seen. It's truly amazing in its mechanical complexity and physics simplicity. I need something like this to drag my tired @55 out of bed in the morning. On one side, I have a bunch of liquor in a tub of water. In the other--drinking liquor--is me. Each time I consume a bottle my tub gets heavier until it dumps me out face-down on the tiles. This offsets the consumption of 1.21 gigawatts, and if I plan it all right my tub drops at 88mph.
  6. My 2003 Sig 260 came to me with a Lewmar Horizon 400 (or was it 500?). There's a middle story about why I had to replace it, but the important thing is that I went with the Pro Sport 550. If I remember correctly, it had the same footprint and three of the four holes already lined up. The Pro Sport 550 is fantastic, IMO. Free fall would be very nice, especially if you often anchor in deep water. However, I typically anchor in 30' or less, and it doesn't take long to feed out out 75'-90' of rode. With my old windlass, anchoring was always a hit-or-miss, stressful operation. With the Pro Sport it has actually been pretty darn surgical. Twice I didn't let out enough rode so the anchor pulled free, but even that was almost a non-event because the Pro Sport works so well it was easy to pull it up a bit, reposition, and drop out enough rode so that my error wasn't repeated. The manual states clearly that once the anchor is set you should not leave the windlass to carry the load, so I always tie off to the cleat in the anchor locker so the windlass doesn't take all of the hits from waves, wind, etc. Thus, when considering the torque and lifting needs of my windlass, it occurred to me that 95% (or more) of my consideration should be the weight of my anchor, chain, and rode combination. If the anchor was ever hung up, I should tie the rode off to a cleat before trying to break the anchor loose by using the prop and the mass of the boat. If I can't break the anchor free while tied off I certainly can't break it free if it was just bashing the windlass while I tried. Once the anchor is free, I'm back to the weight issue alone. I hope this makes sense. Luckily, mine has only been stuck once and this is the method I used. I purchased mine on 7/24/13 from HodgesMarine.com. It cost just over 4 small herd of deer, and shipping was less than 10 bucks. I'm not saying it's the greatest thing ever--I wouldn't know. However, I didn't think it was worth twice the price for a free drop in my case. The original Horizon was my first windlass and the Pro Sport is my second, all on the same Sig 260. I anchor every time I go out, dropping a Delta anchor, 25' of chain, plus a bunch of rode. I must drop and raise at least 50 times a season. It hasn't failed or hiccuped once. Rarely there is a kink in the chain and the windlass halts. I have to tap the switch to let out a small amount and the kink resolves itself, then I pull it up as normal. This may happen once every ten times I pull anchor. It is caused by my chain, not by the Pro Sport. I think this "issue" would happen with any system that uses a similar gypsy. The only serious challenge for a new installation is probably running the correct wires to the anchor compartment. If you take of the padded strips that runs along the interior cabin benches, then remove the bow piece with the mirror and speakers, you could run your wire along the starboard hull and pass it through into the locker. There must be other people that have more experience with this and they've probably already posted here.
  7. Thanks, guys. I appreciate you taking the time to share your advice. Richard, I ordered parts online and they should arrive by Tuesday. We have a sewing machine [another head-slap!]. This will require me to humble myself to my wife after all, but it'll be worth it! Brian, I like your thinking. Changing out both of them makes a lot of sense. Brick, I thought the strap was riveted to the bar, but I never had reason to investigate. Your informational batting average is .999 or better, so thanks for the tip. It would be more difficult to sew if I'm dragging the whole thing around!
  8. One of the strap adjuster loops broke. I was hauling the boat a short distance at low speed, but I think I hit a tree limb or something and it whacked the strap and broke the piece. Of course, now there's a glowing red spot on my forehead from where I keep slapping it each time I gaze upon my strap of shame. I should have taken the extra two minutes to collapse the cover and put on the zippered wraps. [slap!] Yeah. So anyway, here's what I've got. The obvious option is to remove the canvas, take it to a local shop, and have them stitch in a new part. It probably wouldn't take very long and probably wouldn't cost more than three or four thousand dollars (it's for a boat, remember?). Before I take that step I wondered if any of my Chaparral bretheren and/or sistren have found other solutions for this problem. I have already ruled out: duct tapekittenstorches of any kindhiring a crew to hold the straphumbling myself to my wife and telling her that I caused the strap to break Starboard side strap is ship shape. Port side is broken [slap!] Any ideas? [EDIT] Extra special bonus: I received this lovely message when I clicked the save (or was it submit) button. Of course my first thought was that this is the universe's way of letting me know it wants me to keep clicking the submit button, or to just start a new post and keep doing the same thing over and over. Instead, I thought I'd post this so that an admin might pass this along to someone who can access the code and address this PHP glitch.
  9. My only rant about Volvo is that these pumps are designated as not user-serviceable (when they are, actually). Since they have been failing in the same way for such a long time, one must conclude that this is some kind of cash cow for Vovlo. On the one hand, I don't believe there is a conspiracy to make an extra couple hundred bucks here and there. On the other, there is enough history with this product that I'm as certain as I can be that Volvo is completely aware of the issue and keeps cranking them out without addressing it. It seems that the fuel pump assembly on every Volvo Penta is going to fail and be replaced by another unit that will also fail. These are not particularly difficult to take apart and clean. If I/we only understood it as owners understand the rest of their watercraft systems, I'd say I/we'd be willing to service the fuel pump assembly as part of routine maintenance. I wouldn't be excited, and we probably shouldn't have to do this at all, but it would be a whole lot better than a built-to-fail design that will almost certainly happen to each new pump assembly after enough hours. I suspect they don't offer any guide or support because of liability risks when people are fiddling with something that contains gasoline. Anyhow, other than this annoying as #377 issue I am very pleased with the engine. It's very easy to service and it runs like a champ.
  10. I replaced my fuel pump assembly, then ended up cleaning out the old pumps and realizing that I probably didn't need a new pump assembly after all. Here's a link to the page where I posted a bunch of pics and blathered about my experience. At the bottom of the page there's a link to a YouTube video I made when I replaced my fuel pump assembly.
  11. Water weighs about 8lbs per gallon. Gasoline weighs about 6lbs per gallon. This means that water has 133% the weight of gasoline. Different octanes or blends may equate to infinitesimal differences, but nothing that affects what's happening in our fuel tanks. Theoretically, one could raise the nose of the trailer so that the lowest point within the fuel tank is at the rear of the tank near the fuel pickup line. Then you could pull the fuel line off of the check valve at the top of the tank and attach something like this. If the tank has sat undisturbed for a while, the heavier water will pool at the pickup tube (the lowest point) and you would use the siphon pump to pump it into something like a big ol' pickle jar so you can see what's happening. If this works as expected, you should be pumping water for the first few pumps and when you start pumping out fuel you've gotten all of the water. If you don't get water from the get-go, there probably isn't any* water in your tank. It's not possible for the water to be "floating" within the tank if it has been sitting long enough, because water is so much heavier that the gasoline. Perhaps for the sake of paranoia you could then give it a rest and try pumping again several hours (or maybe a day) later to see if more water had pooled by the pickup. However, because of the weight difference, you probably would have gotten pretty much all of it on the first go. The caveat here is that if the fluid in the tank is sloshing around I don't now how long it takes for the water to settle. I'd give it a day in the garage before I did this, but come to think of it you could just shake up that jar of water/fuel you show in the pic and time how long it takes to separate. I'll grant you and everyone else that in the pic you posted the water is on top of the fuel, which suggests that it is lighter than the fuel. Perhaps that suggests that this is not entirely water and/or not entirely gasoline (i.e. something mixed in that makes that fuel heavier than water or something that looks like water but isn't that is lighter than gasoline). I am not a mechanic nor a scientist. I "learned" this while resolving fuel issues on my Sig 260. I hope it is useful in your situation. *There is always some water because as fuel is consumed air enters the tank. There is always humidity, and some moisture will condense on the walls of the tank and drip down. These drops will settle, pool at the lowest point, and be sucked up by the fuel pump. This is such a small amount of water that your separator easily handles it, though it's also why (among other reasons, I'm sure) you must change the separator each season.
  12. Welcome. I also have a 2003 Signature 260. Congratulations!
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