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TimBrown

Water in the bilge

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Finally got the new-to-me boat out on the water for an extended period of time over the weekend and everything worked pretty well.

The only real issue I have that concerns me is that the bilge pump kicked on at one point after we were out for about 40-minutes or so. It may have run more, but that's the only time I noticed it running.

I have a couple of questions for everyone:

1. The boat is only a 2010 with about 340 hours. Could the bellows be going bad already? Other potential sources of the leak?

2. I did fill up all onboard coolers with ice the night before and again the day of, so probably 80-100 pounds of ice total. Could this be the source of my water? I thought these were supposed to drain overboard, not into the bilge.

I'm planning a trip to Table Rock Lake in two weeks where the boat will be docked and in the water for a solid week straight. Should I be concerned? If there is a bit of water coming into the bilge, should I worry about the pump doing it's job and handling it?

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Define how much water you are speaking of.....Some boats will always have a little water in the bilge area, and depending on the placement of the pump/float switch, it can kick on the bilge pump frequently.

Feel the temp of the water in the bilge once you notice it...... if its warm, it could be from an engine component . If its cold... its coming in from outside ( a leak entering in ).

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It's tough to say how much was in there. I only noticed the pump kick on once, but it may have kicked on more and I just didn't notice.

I read another thread that talked about boats with the big swim deck like mine can get a lot of water in the bilge on launch. The swim deck scoops up a ton of water when it is put in the lake from the ramp and that all goes into the bilge. That could be my problem.

I'm going to take it out this week (hopefully tonight) and sit in the back with the engine hatch open and watch as it is launched and see if that is my problem. I'm also planning to anchor for an hour and watch the bilge with the hatch up and see if I can see water coming in. That should give me some more clues.

I've looked at the bellows and don't see any cracks. Are they usually pretty visible?

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If it was your bellow i would think (from personal experience) that there would be a whole bunch more water and your bilge would be running almost continually. Might be your plug isn't tight or maybe people getting in and out of the boat after being in the water. I always figured that if I walked down to the dock in the morning after the boat has been in all nite, and the ropes aren't pointed straight down I'm good :)

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Bellows won't let much water in the boat especially with the newer boats...for the u joint bellows, the water has to get through the yoke and gimbal which is mostly a tight seal. Same with the shift bellow. Exhaust won't leak. My boat is a 95' with over 130 hours In 10 months and around 300 overall I still have original bellows. Yours are probably fine, but it doesn't hurt to check. The coolers could drain to the bilge by design or a hose could be disconnected.

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Disregarding your questions, I have a few myself.

1- Where was the boat stored before going out ? If outside did it rain at any time ? Was it stored level ?

2-Did you notice any water when you lifted the hatch before starting the motor ?

3- Check the cooler drain hose. A number of reports about them not being connected and since you had about a hundred pounds of ice that should be checked. If disconnected it could also let water in.

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I agree, we need to know how much water is being pumped out and how frequently. Water in the bilge can come from several sources; outside water- transom bellows or leaky thru-hull hardware, swimming activity. Interior water can come from rain, cleaning, engine cooling system, or ice chests.

I would try to figure it out by systematically eliminating one source after another. Dry the bilge out completely, put in the water and look around the transom for a leak. Start the engine and see if any water emits from the hoses, or exhaust pipes. Plug all cooler drains and check thru hulls if at or below water line. You`ll find it. Also consider a float switch for your bilge pump, if you do not already have one.

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These are all great ideas!

When I go out tonight, I will not have any ice in the cooler and make sure the bilge is completely dry before I put in.

Another thing to mention, it was very windy and pretty rough on the water this weekend. When I put in, there would have been water washing up over the swim platform. My hope is that is the source.

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It's always a good idea to lift the hatch anyway and make an inspection of oil levels, drain valves etc. Doesn't hurt the evacuation before starting either. Water would have been noticed then.

Rain water will accumulate in the bow unless stored bow up and then it will drain all the forward compartments to the bilge when floated..

You have to do a few more tests to determine if you have a leak.

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Disregarding your questions, I have a few myself.

1- Where was the boat stored before going out ? If outside did it rain at any time ? Was it stored level ?

2-Did you notice any water when you lifted the hatch before starting the motor ?

3- Check the cooler drain hose. A number of reports about them not being connected and since you had about a hundred pounds of ice that should be checked. If disconnected it could also let water in.

There was a little bit of water in the bilge before I went out, but not too much. I towed with the plug out. I did notice when I parked on a bit of a slope at the store before going out that water was draining out of the plug hole, so maybe the coolers are part of the problem. I will check the hoses when I get home tonight.

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Water over the swim platform should not let water into the bilge. Is the boat stored outside? Rainwater has a way of hiding until the boat is in the water, and sometimes will not show its self until underway. My sugestion is verify that you are starting with a dry bilge by pulling onto a steep hill, pull the drain plug and wipe up any water left in the bilge. Now when you launch you can be relativley certain that any water you see is from a leak. The question then is wether it is from the engine or the exterior. Mirrors, lights, and toilet tissue wrapped around difficult to see areas can help find the source if there is indeed a leak.

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1. make sure the drain plug is in tight

2. When you store the boat if its outside, make sure you jack the front up so its higher than the back and remove the plug.

3. Could be bellows your steering arm. If you want to know if its coming in from the bellows, open the engine hatch, and have everybody stand on the back and even bounce up and down. watch the transom bracket on the inside for seepage.

4. See where your cooler drains are going, could be that.

Ive owned three boats and been on plenty of others growing up that the parents had, and there was always some water in the bilge at the end of the day. If the pump is kicking on, its not worrisome per say, but you are getting a descent amount of water from somewhere. Water sports, people in and out from swimming can introduce a lot of water.

If you store a boat outside dont rely on a cock pit cover and or bow cover. Buy a descent cover doesnt have to be a custom fit one thats a lot of money, descent semi custom ones can be had for 300 or so. throw that on when storing, that will help keep the water out and the sun from dry rotting other things.

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Water over the swim platform should not let water into the bilge. Is the boat stored outside? Rainwater has a way of hiding until the boat is in the water, and sometimes will not show its self until underway. My sugestion is verify that you are starting with a dry bilge by pulling onto a steep hill, pull the drain plug and wipe up any water left in the bilge. Now when you launch you can be relativley certain that any water you see is from a leak. The question then is wether it is from the engine or the exterior. Mirrors, lights, and toilet tissue wrapped around difficult to see areas can help find the source if there is indeed a leak.

I dont know I have the chap bolt on extended platform, and I could see if you came off plane fast the platform scooping the water back into the engine compartment. My fountain which didnt have much of a platform would scoop water in as well.

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When volvo stopped using exhaust flappers and rely soley on riser height I became much more careful about how I come off plane. But what I really meant was water just washing over the swim platform of a built in (which is what I believe he has). water should not be coming through the vent into the bilge, nor should it be coming through the seam under the rub rail.

Just checked a photo of the swim platform and his hinge line seems to be a few inches lower than mine.

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When volvo stopped using exhaust flappers and rely soley on riser height I became much more careful about how I come off plane. But what I really meant was water just washing over the swim platform of a built in (which is what I believe he has). water should not be coming through the vent into the bilge, nor should it be coming through the seam under the rub rail.

Just checked a photo of the swim platform and his hinge line seems to be a few inches lower than mine.

yeah it would have to come in pretty high in order to get over the built in, even looking at my 265SSI it would have to come high. I do know my fountain did it, but it had twins and sunk pretty low in the water.

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I went home for lunch and snapped a few quick pictures of the bellows with my phone. I don't see any damage here. I think it has to be something else.

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Our 244 has suffered from "mystery water" ever since we got it (used) 18 months ago. However, the amount of water is now very negligible.

Our first few times using the boat, we had a substantial amount of water. I ended up parking on the boat ramp prior to a launch, just to see where the water was coming from; a lot was coming from the bow and never did figure that one out. "Storage water" is my best guess.

When you have time, park your boat/trailer on a hill and just let it drain until dry.

Coolers: the rear cooler should have a drain line that is attached to the transom. The front cooler drains to a thru-hull on the port side, small clam-shell thru-hull.

The third cooler, in the seating area, drains to the bilge. Ours didn't have a drain tube attached and drained right onto the port battery; $5 at Home Depot and one stainless clamp later, problem fixed. Still drains to the bilge though.

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Aha! I think you guys might just have something here.

The boat has been parked outside while I wait for storage to be built and I'm sure it has rain inside. It has been monsoon season here lately. I have the boat parked in my driveway and the front is up, but the driveway slopes down so it likely has accumulated some water in the front of the boat.

Also, that cooler in the seating area is the one we use the most and the one that holds the most ice. I'll bet that's a major source of my water. Over the weekend, I'm pretty sure I dumped one 20 pound bag of ice and probably five or six 10 pound bags of ice into that cooler. That would create quite a bit of water in the bilge.

I'm still going to test this in the next couple of days. I will park on a steep hill and let it drain completely. I will also not use the internal coolers at all and see what happens.

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As stated before .. Next time you get water in there feel it to see if it's hot, cold or lake temp.

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I'm still going to test this in the next couple of days. I will park on a steep hill and let it drain completely. I will also not use the internal coolers at all and see what happens.

Or drain it completely and then fill each cooler full of water (one at a time).

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As stated before .. Next time you get water in there feel it to see if it's hot, cold or lake temp.

Will do...I'm anxious to put it in the water again and see what happens.

I will keep the engine cover up and watch too.

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The hose clamp on your shift cable bellow is completely rusted away...that could let water in possibly...

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The hose clamp on your shift cable bellow is completely rusted away...that could let water in possibly...

Good catch. I will replace that. Just a standard hose clamp?

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I wouldn't think that would be the source of too much water, but it is a good idea to replace. Thanks for the information!

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