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2007 chaparral 235 ssi crack in engine bay bilge area


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I am currently looking to purchase this used boat and I had a marine surveyor check it out. He mentioned some cracks in the bilge area, port side stringer immediately forward the motor mount, and the bottom of the hull at the top propulsion motor shows gel coat stress cracks and minor cracks- repair as needed. I was wondering is this something I should be worried about or just walk away from the boat entirely. The moisture reader is reading wet under the transom and down the entire keel (see survey results), however there was sitting water in the bilge area from the boat not being on an angle on its trailer. It also down poured the night before. Would that effect moisture meter? 

 

 

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There are pieces of wood in every Chaparral hull regardless what the surveyor had copied from their marketing materials. The engine block supports are the primary example, as documented in the first pictures. You need to take care of them.

Probe with a small diameter drill and assess how dry or wet the wood is. That could be just the stress cracking of too thick layer of gelcoat but still, this needs to be sealed. If no obvious wood rot, open the cracks up, remove lose material, and let the wood dry over the winter. Fill in and reseal the cracks with poly resin and apply gelcoat after, or if you do not care about the looks, use epoxy resin to fill in and refinish the cracks.

In the meantime, keep the engine bay as dry as possible.

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The moisture reader is reading wet under the transom and down the entire keel (see survey results)

You will not be able to really inspect it and know for sure until you can get under the surface ... not likely the owner will allow.

If the wood under this engine is really wet and/or rotten you do not want to buy this boat.

If that is just a stress crack and no water damage yet, you could get the cost estimates to fix the cracks and lower your offer.

In any case, get a second informed opinion before making the decision.

 

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If that is an experienced marine fiberglass guy, he should be able to assess the problem and provide range of scenarios based on his experience.

Just make sure to ask what is the worst case scenario in his opinion. Let us know what is his assessment on Monday.

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Just to add to your headache - the cracking around wooden insert at the bottom of the bilge that serves as a base for a bilge pump is troublesome as well.

After looking at the pictures again, it would worry me even more than the engine block support cracking since these cracks are often submerged in bilge water for long periods of time. This is a culprit responsible for high moisture readings along the keel. I would not be surprised to find water inside the hull between its honeycomb core and inside/outside FRP layers of the hull.

I would say proceed with caution, share the above concerns with the surveyor and with the fiberglass guy and seek their feedback.

BTW, where is the bilge pump? It is often installed on that wooden insert in front of an engine on many Chaparral models.

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Thank you, those are definitely concerning to us as well because of the moisture readings from the survey too. It showed consistently high along the keel, but it tapped crisp and clear. We think the bilge pump is further back behind the motor? 

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I have restored a rotted boat...here is my $.02.

The engine mount looks to me like freeze damage from water penetrating the laminate via the engine mount lag screws and then freezing during winter. When water freezes, it expands which can cause a crack like you see.

The same thing is going on under the keel stringer...water probably penetrated through unsealed bilge pump mounting holes, froze, expanded, and caused cracking.

I would doubt a 2007 would be rotted yet especially with the quality XL rot-resistant wood chaparral still uses?

If you want to know for sure, just smack it all with a hammer...solid=good, hollow=run.

At this point, I would be very leary to purchase this boat.

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10 hours ago, drewm3i said:

I have restored a rotted boat...here is my $.02.

The engine mount looks to me like freeze damage from water penetrating the laminate via the engine mount lag screws and then freezing during winter. When water freezes, it expands which can cause a crack like you see.

The same thing is going on under the keel stringer...water probably penetrated through unsealed bilge pump mounting holes, froze, expanded, and caused cracking.

I would doubt a 2007 would be rotted yet especially with the quality XL rot-resistant wood chaparral still uses?

If you want to know for sure, just smack it all with a hammer...solid=good, hollow=run.

At this point, I would be very leary to purchase this boat.

When the Surveyor check the boat out he said Phenolic hammer soundings produced consistent, sharp reports with no Evidence of delamination or Deterioration, but Monday a fiberglass guy is going to check it out and give us a cost of the repair and what he thinks of it, it’s just a shame the boat is a one owner boat with 236 hrs and is it good shape besides the cracking. 

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The hammer sounding is more of an art than science. Good educated guess at best and will not indicate just water intrusion nor degree of damage until there is a significant damage; rot or delamination or some other material damage. Drilling or coring the hull in multiple spots and checking for wet material and water content is the only way to learn what is going on inside the hull.

Good point on freeze damage. Where is the boat located? If not a stress crack of the thick gelcoat due to engine weight load on somehow flexible wood, then either wet wood expansion and contraction or freezing and thawing. The same end result, just more sever in four season climate.

Again, proceed with caution if at all.

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21 hours ago, Cblack229 said:

We are looking to purchase it so I don’t think we will be able to drill it. What’s the worse case scenario if there is rot? 

We asked for permission from a seller to drill stringers and they agreed.  The wood is structural, the hull will not perform as designed without the strength the wood contributes.

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All a matter of the amount of risk you are willing to accept - you alone can judge that.  For me, not interested in a project boat (or one that could become a project boat)  So if it were my shoes in this deal, I'd be moving on to the next option.  And there is always a next option out there

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Yep.  I would bet you will find some wet wood when you pull the drill bit out.  Been there, done that, have the t-shirt.  Hard to believe its been 3 years.  I never updated the iBoats thread.  I did loose some pictures on an old hard drive when it crashed but have some I should post.  I am very happy with my repair.  Chaparral used some good wood that resists rotting even when wet.  However, the cracking you are seeing is the weight bearing down on the mount.  The wood is getting soft and squishing down from engine weight.  This block is made up of several layers of plywood.  The bottom most layer or two will have the majority of damage and wetness.  So get a 90 degree drill head so you can drill closest to hull.  

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The fiberglass guy checked it out and told us that it’s probably wet, but the fiberglass could be fixed. However he said that we might not have rot now, but probably would in a few years, so we decided to pass on this one.  You guys were helpful in this decision so thank you!

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On 6/15/2020 at 10:57 AM, ramoszx12r@comcast.net said:

Is the new chap are all fiberglass or still have some wood.

Most boats are still using wood.  A few high end use phenolic resin and composites (Coosa Board) or foam filled all fiberglass structural grid.  But from what I can see in a lot of the factory tours that are on YouTube, wood is still the go to material.  

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