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Where is the water coming from?

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2008 Sunesta 254; this year I have been getting so much water into the bilge that the auto pump is going off about every 7 or 8 minutes, hard. This happens even if the boat is anchored sitting still; water is coming through the gutter under the gas tank; forward starboard locker is somewhat damp, starboard locker in front of helm station also has some soaked carpet. Ski locker has some moisture but I cannot be be sure it is not from rain.

Hull has absolutely no evidence of a problem. Boat has never been beached; never had this problem; is stored on boat lift at docked.

Any thoughts?

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Another fine example of Chaparral's fine QC. Every time I hear of boats taking in water I just cringe. Mine still takes in water, but I've reduced it some. Here is what I found thus far, but I'm still searching.





This is the drain port to the built in cooler up front. The drain hose was never connected so essentially I was driving around with a 3/4" hole in the hull of the boat taking in gallons and gallons of water. As long as it was below the water line.....water was coming in. I'd check that first. You will have to remove some of the dividers that divide the compartments up front.

Next, simply look at the engine at idle and while it's in gear and under way. There are drain ports in the manifold and in the engine block 2 on each side for a total of 4 I think. Make sure those are all sealed with their drain plugs. Also look at the water pump/impellar area. Don't forget the drain plug. Also there are two bellows down in the lower unit.....big black rubber tubes, make sure they have no cuts, holes or tears in them.

If your ski locker is wet and others lockers up front...please check the cooler drain port hoses. Please be careful and keep an eye on it. Heck if it wasn't for my bilge pump, my boat would have probably sank no doubt. I was taking in that much water and I'm not exaggerating.

Good luck. Let us know what you find so we can keep the word out on this 'trendy' problem.

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Still cannot find source of problem; water is coming from somewhere ahead of bulkhead in engine compartment; water is flowing in the gutter under the gas tank; went underwater and inspected hull; no issues; boat has never been beached; took dividers out of forward port locker; no moisture; a little moisture in starboard locker forward of helm station; no moisture in head; no moisture in starboard locker under sink; no moisture in rear starboard locker; all thru hulls are connected tight;

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I had a similar problem and it turned out the transom gasket of the gimbal had failed. You said Ahead of the bulkhead, right? There is nothing there to let water in. You might have to rip up the floor take out the fuel tank and see where it's coming in. Not fun, but a sinking boat is less fun....Good Luck

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  • 3 weeks later...

Found where the water is coming in; see attached; boat has never been beached and sits in my dock on a boat lift 12 months out of the year. bunks are set by lift mfg @ 26" spread forward and 36" aft.

Fiberglass guy thinks it is hull stress failure; there are going to cut out the ski locker Monday (ouch); this could get rich; I think I hear my lawyers calling.

I have had three Chaparrals since 1983; what the heck has happened to their QC?

Will post additional pics


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I wouldn't do anything to the boat until you have permission from either your insurance company or Chaparral warranty. IMO if your dealers inspection becomes inconclusive as to the cause of the failure, you may be voiding your hull warranty by doing this. I don't know if the hull warranty was lifetime in 08 as it is now but I wouldn't take the risk by destroying the evidence. it will only give someone an excuse to blame something or somebody else leaving you financially responsible.

Good luck. and please keep us informed.


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Good grief that is a big gash in the hull. It looks like the fiberglass was to thin and cracked inward. Maybe the thickness in that area was way below specs. Definitely a manufacturing defect.

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