Go Pokes!

Excessive water in bilge...need HELP!!!

47 posts in this topic

New member here...unfortunately my first post is asking for help, not the way I wanted to get started!

I am a new (to me) owner of 2005 Chaparral 256 SSi, I can say that in the limited time I have had the boat I already really like it. I am an avid boater and have owned boats (crownline and baja) for many years. I had always heard positive things about Chaparral from some owners so I decided to buy one and see for myself.

The purpose for my post is to see if anyone has had this issue or can help me brainstorm on how to track it down...I'm getting a significant amount of water intrusion into the bilge while underway. When it is sitting idle/floating with the engine ON or OFF I take on no water, but when I drive around for more than a few minutes I take on a noticeable amount of water. Sometimes enough to trigger the float switch, other times about an inch below the switch.

It is driving me absolutely crazy because I cannot figure out where it is coming from. I have been in the engine compartment while the boat is underway looking for ANY water coming from the engine itself or hoses connected to it...NOTHING. I spent a few hours looking for "the leak" and could not find anything. I think it might be one of the thru hull fittings up towards the bow of the boat, but I don't know how i can access the bow to see if there is a hose that has come loose or what.

I'm sorry for the long post, but it is really driving me nuts. So to recap - It does NOT take on water while sitting with engine turned of or idling, none of the thru-hull fittings towards the transom are to blame, it is not the rub rail, it is not a cracked block (I have a close cooled 496) It seems to only take on water when the boat is on plane and the RPM's are up. I can easily take on enough water to kick on the bilge pump after driving at a high speed for <10 minutes. There is some superficial fiberglass damage along the bottom midline of the boat but no cracks or anything to indicate that water would be getting in there. (I've seen boats with far more "impact damage" that were completely sea worthy)

Any ideas? Anyone know how I can gain access to the bow thru-hull fittings? I'm heading to the lake this weekend to troubleshoot some more and would really appreciate some help!

Thanks in advance!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

There have been some owners that have found drain hoses off of the thr-hulls, but I can't tell you how they got to them. Try doing some searches and see if you find anything.

Welcome to the forum Go Pokes! . We are glad you are here and believe that you will find answers to a lot of your questions. We also provide some humor, of course at no charge to you other than the initiation fee you paid to join this forum ;)

A few pointers for you to do (if you have not already done so) to help us help you:

1. By clicking on your name in the upper right corner to bring up your options select my profile to add into your signature your location (geographic area).

2. Also under your signature add the type of boat you have and its mechanical systems, such as boat type, engine, drives, etc. This way you don't have to type it into to every post you put up. This will help us help you a lot! Without it, you may not get any answers.

3. Use the Search feature in the top right corner of the forum. There is a lot of good information on this forum that will answer many of your questions. We have a lot of experts here with a large amount of life experience.

4. Take a minute to review our Terms of Service, again right corner. There is good information in there that you will want to know including that we cannot discuss pricing. But read some of our other posts on here to learn the work around for that. ;)

5. We like pictures a lot! So when you get a chance, post some pics of your ride. Read through this thread to learn more about how to do so.

6. Take some time to look through the Help (upper right corner) and > Info Center) located under Chaparral Boats Forum on the main page. From there you will find parts guides, brochures, manuals, specifications, canvas installation manuals, vinyl care information, square gauge setup, weather links, computer desktop backgrounds, etc. Lots of good stuff there for you and your Chaparral!

7. Come back early and often to post. We are a community of friendly and some of us are border-line psychotic. But we admit to it and that's the first step to recovery ;)

Again, welcome to the asylum/forum and we look forward to more from you. Don't be a stranger.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Hello Go Pokes, I have a 07 255 ssi (same hull) all of your thru hull fittings are above the water line when the boat is moving for sure. Maybe at the very back one might dip below the water line while sitting still but that would only be for a moment if a wake from another boat rocked your boat. Take a close look at the tie down eyes on the transom they are under water but only when sitting still or at idle speed. Once on plane they two are above water. When the bilge pump kicks and pumps the water out how long before it kicks back on? *** Try the drain hose on cooler on the swim platform **** It has a shut off valve in the line to hold water or you can leave ot open to drain. I hope this it is it. Keep us posted good luck.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

take a cruise with the engine hatch open (at reasonable speeds) to see if you can spot the source. The ONLY positive thing is for once the water issue isn't a Volvo!!!!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

If the bilge pump kicks on automatically and clears the water, I have to then drive around for a little while (10-15 min.) before it MIGHT kick on again. (The strange part is it seems to really flow in sometimes and not quite as much at other times...sometimes the bilge has kicked on by the time I am coming to a stop, other times it kicks on once the water settles in the bilge) I bring on zero water while just floating or floating with the engine running. The intrusion definitely happens while underway and it seems to increase with speed.

- The boat is 5 years old, but only has 48 hours on it...I doubt the previous owner changed the bellows. With that being said, would cracked/torn bellows NOT allow water in while sitting still but then let in a lot of water when underway??

- Where is the speedo hose on the transom?

So frustrating!

Thanks for the help guys

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Welcome to the group..... :oregonian_winesmiley:

Also check the water lines going into the impeller housing on th lower port-side of the engine.

Correction Starboard side....

matt

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Capnken, I found a diagram that shows me where the speedometer hose is...did yours take on water while just floating or did you have to be driving?

Also, how much water would come in if you drove across the lake for 15 minutes? Are you talking 1-2 gallons or 5 + gallons?

Thanks!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

For Merc a bellows issue should allow some water all the time (guys correct me if I am out in left field)... I would take a close look at your water inlet/outlet hoses as the pressure on these increases with engine RPM. Or try a still test - stopped and tied to the dock in neutral rev the engine to 3500rpm with the hatch open and a dry bilge and take a look - if it stays bone dry then the water inlet/outlet are not the issue. That leaves the transom seals as a primary cause (big issue that requires the engine to be pulled).

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

fredthenuke - I spent about 2 hours driving with the engine hatch open last time I was out. Physically got in the compartment while underway and could not see ANY intrusion...and there is no doubt, there is a LOT more than a trickle seeping in. The only part of the engine I couldn't see was underneath towards the stern and i couldn't really see where the drive connects to the transom.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Block the drain at the front of the bilge under the fuel tank for sharts and grins... to prove it is coming in from aft... Then if all hoses and the engine block are dry I hate to say it but you are narrowing it down to only being the transom as a possibility...

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

For Merc a bellows issue should allow some water all the time (guys correct me if I am out in left field)... I would take a close look at your water inlet/outlet hoses as the pressure on these increases with engine RPM. Or try a still test - stopped and tied to the dock in neutral rev the engine to 3500rpm with the hatch open and a dry bilge and take a look - if it stays bone dry then the water inlet/outlet are not the issue. That leaves the transom seals as a primary cause (big issue that requires the engine to be pulled).

I had a similar problem two years ago and Joe (JCJ256) helped me solve the problem while at NACRU I. One of my hoses, when under pressure, had a slow bottom side leak. Joe put an additional clamp and it helped the problem. During winterization, I had the hose and clamp replaced that solved my problem. Don't know if yours is the same, but when underway, it is really had to spot an underside hose leak.

Good luck.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Capnken, I found a diagram that shows me where the speedometer hose is...did yours take on water while just floating or did you have to be driving?

Also, how much water would come in if you drove across the lake for 15 minutes? Are you talking 1-2 gallons or 5 + gallons?

Thanks!

depends on the speed you are going, mine was loose on top I placed a electrical tie wrap on the connection no more problems, had to lay on top of the engine to see it setting still no water. I was running top end when it poped off

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I don't have a clue how I could block under the gas tank enough to actually stop water flow...it would have to be a pretty solid seal otherwise the water would just force its way through.

That is actually one of the things I was planning on trying, I just can't figure out how to properly stop the flow of water.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Capnken - I don't follow what you are saying here - "had to lay on top of the engine to see it setting still no water"

From what I understand the amount of water was increased with speed? How in the #$^% did you ever diagnose that it was that hose???

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

If the bellows were leaking on a Mercruiser drive, there would be a LOT of water in the boat all the time...moving or not, and it would be a lot more than a couple of gallons every half hour. If it were the transom plate leaking, it would be a constant leak, not just while the boat is moving.

It could be the speedo tube hose is leaking or split near the transom plate connection.. This would explain why you are taking on water when the boat is moving.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

If the bellows were leaking on a Mercruiser drive, there would be a LOT of water in the boat all the time...moving or not, and it would be a lot more than a couple of gallons every half hour. If it were the transom plate leaking, it would be a constant leak, not just while the boat is moving.

It could be the speedo tube hose is leaking or split near the transom plate connection.. This would explain why you are taking on water when the boat is moving.

Can you give a simple explanation as to why the speedo hose would only leak while underway? (If this is a stupid questions, forgive me! I'm a complete novice when it comes to mechanical issues etc...)

Thanks to everyone who has given their opinion thus far.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

It's all a matter of water pressure. As the water enters the pilot hole on the front side of the torpedo(when moving), it is sent up through the speedo tube thus registering a reading on the gauge. When the boat sits at idle there isn't enough pressure to force water to move inside the tube. This could possibly explain the taking on of water only at speed. Is the speedo gauge bouncing around when underway?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Yes the speedometer works, the only gauge that has any issue is the fuel guage...obviously that isn't the problem.

This might sound a little crazy but it will rule out structural problems with the hull. While on the trailer, disconnect your batteries so the bilge pump has no power and put a garden hose in your bilge and run it until the water level gets to the highest level without it touching any electrical wires. Then check the bottom of the hull to see if its leaking water.

If there are no leaks I then think there is a leak in the hose that brings raw water to your heat exchanger.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

El Coqui...your advice is appreciated, I am going to give that a shot this weekend. Will my bilge kick on when the battery switch is turned to "off"? I'm guessing that even on "off" it still powers critical systems.

Thanks again!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

El Coqui...your advice is appreciated, I am going to give that a shot this weekend. Will my bilge kick on when the battery switch is turned to "off"? I'm guessing that even on "off" it still powers critical systems.

Thanks again!

You’re welcome. You have to physically disconnect the battery. The battery switch will not turn off the bilge pump.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!


Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.


Sign In Now