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RTS

Almost sunk the boat this weekend....

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RTS

I always take my boat out alone at the beginning of the season, just to make sure everything is 'shipshape' before I load up my wife and (almost) 4 year old daughter. I had the oil/trans fluid changed a couple weeks ago by the dealer...and just like cruising around alone the first time out.

I dump the boat in the lake, go park my trailer, get back to the boat and idle out to about the middle of the lake...maybe 400 yards. I look down to see my bilge pump light is lit, but a quick glance over the side and I see no water coming out from the pump.

So I open the engine cover, and the bilge is filling up with water...fast. I don't know if I've burst an engine hose or have some other problem. I know the only plug I ever pull is in (the T-handle one in the engine compartment).

So I start hearding back to the ramp, run like a crazy person to get my trailer in the water, and manage to get the boat up on the trailer and pull up the ramp. Maybe 10-15 minutes total the boat was in the water.

I start looking around and my transom plug is not there. I never pull that plug, ever. It takes a wrench to do so, so I don't bother with it, and the bilge seems to drain fine with just the center plug being pulled. The plug was either removed by the dearship (doubtful, as it was not in the boat and I don't think they lake tested the boat or anything after the service), stolen by someone who needed a plug, or came out on its own (again, very unlikely, as those brass plugs tighten up pretty good)

The water came to about the level of the floor. I am concerned about the parts that ususally are not under water. Steering cable, transmission, 'bottom' of the starter....those kind of things.

After buying and installing anouther plug with lock-tite, and cleaning the junk out of my bilge pump, everything seemed to be fine with another lake test.

Anything I should be concerned about? Again, the max water level seemed to be right at the floor level...the carpet didn't get wet.

PS...I'll be checking all the plugs before I go out in the future...even the ones I don't normally remove. And I always wondered what would happen if I left a plug out. I didn't realize it would take that long for the water to fill the bilge.

Edited by rts

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stewart

I guess its a good thing your wife and daughter weren't on board, that could have been a little hairy.

I don't think you'll have any issues. I would check the trans fluid an make sure no water got in there, but as far as everything else goes you should be G2G.

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RTS
I would check the trans fluid an make sure no water got in there, but as far as everything else goes you should be G2G.

After the water drained out (about 8-10 minutes of draining with the rear and center plugs out) I removed the dipstick on the transmission. It gave its customay 'hiss' when it opened (which I was told was normal...to have a little vacuum in the trans) so unless water can get in there from somewhere else, that should be good.

It would not have been good to tell my wife to put on a lifejacket (daughter always has one on) because our return to the dock was not assured, so I'm glad they were not there.

Edited by rts

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DIE2SURF

You're a wise man to take the first run solo (or at most with a buddy who can swim). I do the same thing. It's just not worth taking several people (especially kids) for this first run where things are (IMO) more prone to go wrong. Hope everything works out and no damage to the boat. Good catch too!

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woody

We had a similiar thing happen two years ago with the bilge filling almost all the way up to the floor with all the plugs in. Dontknow.gif

We turned on the bildge pump high tailed it back to the dock for some truble shooting and found the hot water hose from the shower had come off the hose barb on the engine bolck. You could imagine how much water was pumping into the bildge when the engine was running.

After dropping the new hose clamp and screwdriver three times I got it put back together after an hour.

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99response

Just drench that starter in WD-40. It may go bad in a season or two, or it might be fine. I would not worry. Usually a problem with boats that sit with alot of water in the bilge for extended periods.

-Chris

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RTS

One more thing that bothers me. My ski locker filled up. I'm not 100% sure how these boats are constructed, but I guess the water got to a level that was over the bilge liner? There are air vents down there that were submerged, etc.

Is there anywhere I could be 'holding water'? Areas that do not normally get wet? Between the liner and hull, perhaps? anywhere that wouldn't drain with the plugs pulled?

BTW...some of you wakeboard guys would have been proud of the wake I was throwing on the way back to the dock. :)

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SacRiverRat

Sounds like a good pucker moment.. Was your bilge pump not working? (you said no water coming out the side)

All n All - this is a boat - it got wet.. relax Yes.gif I agree you might have starter issues down the road, I'll also think your steering cable might get a little sticky earlier than normal, after having been submerged in water.. But nothing you should be immediatly concerned over... Definitely nothing you need to run out and replace

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VinRLX

Tor, not likely to be your first reaction, but keep in mind this little trick: Close the valve for the raw water intake. Remove intake hose at this fitting and let engine pump water out of the boat.

Glad you didn't get any farther from the ramp!

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chathamsolutions

I bet it was your service dept. Cope, here in NorCal always pulls my transom plug when I take it in there. And I've never taken it out myself, I've only had to put it back in after Cope pulls it. Which is wacky, it's not like they water test it or anything.

Anyway, I'd call the service shop and check your cup holders for the plug. They always pull it and leave a note literally tied to the steering wheel that says they pulled it.

Wacky that your bilge wasn't working. That would scare me. I've often thought of replacing my bilge pump with a larger one, just for this type of thing.

Good idea Jack, but I never would have thought of using the biggest pump on the boat :) Not in a time like that.

Glad you got back to the dock OK!

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RTS

You know, I thought of doing just that. But I don't have a shutoff valve at the raw water pickup, and I was unsure of the current leak source at that point, so I didn't think the using the engine as a pump would remove what I was currently getting in the boat, plus what would come in throught the raw water pickup even if I shoved a rag into the pickup.

In the past, I have thought of installing some sort of three way valve at the raw water pickup. One in which I could leave one inlet open to the bilge, the other inlet to the thru hull pickup for normal operation. That way, if the bilge was full of water, you could throw the valve and use the engine to pump out the bilge.

I believe I will look at this more seriously now.

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tvano
But I don't have a shutoff valve at the raw water pickup, and

take a minute to check it again. i think it's a federal reg that any opening below the water line does.

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RTS
I bet it was your service dept. Cope, here in NorCal always pulls my transom plug when I take it in there. And I've never taken it out myself, I've only had to put it back in after Cope pulls it. Which is wacky, it's not like they water test it or anything.

Wacky that your bilge wasn't working. That would scare me. I've often thought of replacing my bilge pump with a larger one, just for this type of thing.

The more I think about it, the more I think someone 'borrowed' my transom plug. They are pretty standard across many boat manufacturers. And once I was on the trailer and I saw that it was gone, the first thing I did was search the cupholders for the plug. And I did call the service dept, just to 'inquire', but they said they would not have done that. I didn't persue this any more, as frankly it was my fault for not checking all the plugs before going out, especially since service was done on the boat.

I think I will install the transom plug from the inside out, if that is possible, like the one in my ski locker. That would make taking it more difficult, at least. I never pull that one, anyway.

The bilge pump was spinning, but not pumping. It is a 500 gph pump, and I saw a little piece of debris when I took it apart. It sure wasn't much. If that was all it takes to clog the pump, it is not good. But it's working now. I may look into installing a second pump in tandem...a bigger one at that, maybe a 1000 gph one.

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RTS
But I don't have a shutoff valve at the raw water pickup, and

take a minute to check it again. i think it's a federal reg that any opening below the water line does.

I am 100% sure I don't have one. My father, who has owned off shore fishing boats all his life, noticed this the first time I showed him my boat while he was doing his requisite Coast Guard Inspection on my new boat, and he was very surprised there was not one there. Of course he said, "you better get a valve installed in that right now", which I didn't, and when I told him of my adventure this weekend, he got to give me a nice "I told you so". I haven't had one of those from him in about 10 years.

Edited by rts

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SunriseH2OSkier

IIRC, they did not make the shutoff valve standard equipment until 2003. Don't think you can put that plug in from the inside - it is a tapered thread.

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jetskipro550

I think the most important question to ask is, how was the wake? Biggrin.gif

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RTS
I think the most important question to ask is, how was the wake? Biggrin.gif

May have been the biggest wake ever thrown by a SunsetterLXi with wedge up, no fat sacs, no factory ballast and one person on board. Sorry, I didn't get pictures :)

And if anyone at the docks noticed this wake as I was blowing through the no wake zone to get to my trailer...Sorry, I was in a BIG hurry.

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obski

I bet that got your heart racing! And probably left a bit a of sick pit in your gut as well.

I don't think you should have any problems.

A couple of years ago I took a huge wave over the bow, such that the water was over a foot deep in the cabin. I quickly opened up the midship ballast door and it all quickly disappeared into the bilge. I had to sit and idle for about 20 minutes to let the bilge pump empty out enough that I felt comfortable going again. It ran fine and I never had any problems. I also had water up to the carpet in the old 'Bu when it had a slow leak around the shaft and the battery died while it was being moored. That also never caused any problems with the boat.

Glad it all worked out for you.

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electricjohn

People are stealing anything that is a precious metal around here. I had to go check one of the building at the place I am working because there was no power to the bldg. Found out that someone, actually some group, stole the live 480 volt wiring coming into the bldg. This was no small wire either. It supplied a 5000 amp switchgear and the wire was run underground in 12 large pipes. They even stole the copper bus bars in the switchgear.

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SacRiverRat

I think just having an extra electric pump on board is pretty handy.. something to use in addition to the bilge pump. I carry one for the extra ballast sacks, and would go along way to help get water out of the boat.

Would be a lot faster than disconnecting the engine intake, and then you don't have to shut off the engine once it sucks all the water up ;)

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SCOTTDOMINE
IIRC, they did not make the shutoff valve standard equipment until 2003. Don't think you can put that plug in from the inside - it is a tapered thread.

Tapered thread Yes.gif Won't work from the inside No.gif But I do know the feeling of water coming thru those plugs. IT'S FAST Crazy.gifCry.gif:Doh:

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chathamsolutions
I bet that got your heart racing! And probably left a bit a of sick pit in your gut as well.

I don't think you should have any problems.

A couple of years ago I took a huge wave over the bow, such that the water was over a foot deep in the cabin. I quickly opened up the midship ballast door and it all quickly disappeared into the bilge. I had to sit and idle for about 20 minutes to let the bilge pump empty out enough that I felt comfortable going again. It ran fine and I never had any problems. I also had water up to the carpet in the old 'Bu when it had a slow leak around the shaft and the battery died while it was being moored. That also never caused any problems with the boat.

Glad it all worked out for you.

WOW! a foot of water in the cabin?! That must have been a huge wave. I've taken waves over the bow, that slammed into the windshield and soaked everyone in the cabin, but there was never any standing water in the boat. Can't imagine how much water it would take to put a foot of water in the boat...

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SacRiverRat
I bet that got your heart racing! And probably left a bit a of sick pit in your gut as well.

I don't think you should have any problems.

A couple of years ago I took a huge wave over the bow, such that the water was over a foot deep in the cabin. I quickly opened up the midship ballast door and it all quickly disappeared into the bilge. I had to sit and idle for about 20 minutes to let the bilge pump empty out enough that I felt comfortable going again. It ran fine and I never had any problems. I also had water up to the carpet in the old 'Bu when it had a slow leak around the shaft and the battery died while it was being moored. That also never caused any problems with the boat.

Glad it all worked out for you.

WOW! a foot of water in the cabin?! That must have been a huge wave. I've taken waves over the bow, that slammed into the windshield and soaked everyone in the cabin, but there was never any standing water in the boat. Can't imagine how much water it would take to put a foot of water in the boat...

I suspect David found that wave on a river.. I know that on the Delta, the big cruiser boats can throw some HUGE waves.. like nothing you'd generally find on the lakes. If you hit them wrong, you could easily get a good quantity sloshing around on the floor... (12" of water sloshing around is probably a little creative exaggeration ;)) but I bet I could get water rolling through the boat if I buried in one of these waves Crazy.gif

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stewart
I bet it was your service dept. Cope, here in NorCal always pulls my transom plug when I take it in there. And I've never taken it out myself, I've only had to put it back in after Cope pulls it. Which is wacky, it's not like they water test it or anything.

That's probably where they run there oil drain line on your VD.

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vette-ski
I think just having an extra electric pump on board is pretty handy.. something to use in addition to the bilge pump. I carry one for the extra ballast sacks, and would go along way to help get water out of the boat.

Would be a lot faster than disconnecting the engine intake, and then you don't have to shut off the engine once it sucks all the water up ;)

Yep, me too. I'm hard plumbing all my sacs right now, but plan to carry the manual tsunami pump on-board at all times just for this kind of thing. Drop it in the bilge and plug it in.

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