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rhondavid

Leak - Skeg Bolt

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rhondavid

Okay guys, just found this site and hoping to get some advice.

I have a 98 Malibu Sportster that I purchased used two years ago. I have been having some leaking and have to keep the bilge on the entire time it is in the water. the pump has been running about once every 30 minutes for about a minute. I looked under the boat and found the caulking around the skegs to be in pretty bad shape so purchased some 3M marine caulk, adhesive, sealant to use. Last night while caulking one of the bolts holding the fin on had water leaking around it and oldest son stated it looked to be hanging lower than the others. He gets an allen wrench and begins to tighten but it will not do anything but turn.

I am looking for suggestions on how to permanently repair this myself or bandaid until the end of the summer. We are also RV'rs and there is a product called Eternabond that a tape material used for sealing roofs of motorhome trailers etc. Works great and last forever. Have thought I would just put that over the bolt heads but am concerned it will not hold up to the force of the water going by. It can be used underwater. Someone else suggested marine expoxy but not sure what I would do other than either plug the hole with it or put the expoxy in and stick the bolt back in. I have looked and do not see anyway to get to the top of the bolt from inside the boat. I therefore cannot tell if there is a nut on the topside or not.

Of course my fear is that with the attempt to tighten the bolt we have lost whatever material might have been there to hold it in place and ultimately lose the bolt and have a major leak at that point.

Anyone have any experience with this type issue? Suggestions will be greatly appreciated.

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Shine

Mine has a nut inside the hull to apply clamping pressure and You may have to remove a few parts to get to it but once you do it should be a pretty standard seal job.

Someone with a Sporty will pipe in with how to get to the top of the skag and I think 3M 5200 is the right sealant for that.

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rhondavid

I thought it would be strange to be a screw. There is a panel that separates the engine compartment from the floor channel. I have gotten it partially off but with the hoses to the shower etc attached it did not open up that much space. I felt around as best I could but with the panel there and the sky pylon and dusky dark I did not see anything or feel anything. Will try again in the morning when I can see better.

Thanks for the information. If anyone else can provide insight about the location of the nuts I would greatly appreciate it. I am a member of RV.Net which is for RVr's and it is a great place for information. This seems like a great place for information on our boats. Looking forward to visiting more often.

Thanks,

David

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JeffS

My $.02.

If the fin was indeed on with a screw - the easiest and most proper fix will be to through bolt it with a nut on the other side. Very rarely is the easiest fix the most proper - so this is your lucky day.

And when you put that bolt in place, lots and lots of sealant. You don't want water on the open edge of glass hull.

Sealant under the fin too - let it ooze out and clean it up with paper towel.

In my opinion - 3M 4200 is the right stuff. Since you are bolting the item in place, you don't need the adhesive (5200). And 5200 is a b!+c# to get off if you have to redo the repair ever.

-Jeff

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rhondavid

No way that I can find to get to the nuts. From the drain plug to the fin is approx 18 inches. Inside measuring from the drain plug again the is a solid cross member at approx 15 inches. I really do not see how water from the front compartment of the hull ever drain. I am still getting dripping from the fin bolts. My son and I have looked and felt around the entire area from the drain plug forward to the cross member and there is no evidence of nuts in this area.

I am now totally confused on what steps I need to take. Reluctant at this point to attempt to remove the bolt in fear of not being able to get it back in and secured/tightened so I will not loose it going down the river or the road while trailering. Guess I will contact dealer and see what suggestions they have if any other than bringing it in and ruining the rest of the summer.

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SmoothWaterMan

The tracking fins are held in place using machine screws, and the fiberglass is tapped to accept them. The best fix is to remove the fin, fiberglass in the holes, and remount the fin after tapping new threads. The potential does exist to use an oversize hole and a heli-coil, but while I've heard of it I've never done it.

The purpose of the fins not being through bolted is to prevent the fin from tearing a hole in the boat if it smashes into a major rock or other solid item. I have one in the shop right now that lost it's front fin due to impact, and the bottom damage is minimal. Almost 4 clean holes.

Peter

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rhondavid

Smoothwaterman, thanks for the information. I was beginning to think I was nuts. That makes a lot of sense.

Someone had suggested using J - B Marine epoxy. The idea was to stuff it up in the whole, stick the screw in and it would be a permanent fix. Any one have ideas on that approach?

One thing that has me puzzled is how I go about getting the water out of this comparement. I guess that I once the screw are out the water can drain, let it dry really well and then repair.

I really do appreciate everyone's assistance on this topic. I stumbled on this when having an engine problem and look forward to coming here and learning lots more. The other issues seems to have stemmed from a bad engine ground causing the fuel pump to shut down.

Have a great weekend.

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RTS
Someone had suggested using J - B Marine epoxy. The idea was to stuff it up in the whole, stick the screw in and it would be a permanent fix. Any one have ideas on that approach?

The problem with that 'permanent' fix is that if you ran into something, you would possibly rip a very large hole in your boat. A hole your bilge pump would have no chance of keepig up with. You would be defeating the 'sacrificial' nature of the skeg mounting that was designed into the boats.

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rhondavid

That is what I thought too.

Will keep it going with the bandaid at this point for a couple of more weekend rides and then take to the dealer for repair.

Thanks again for the repair and suggestion. This information has been most appreciated/

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rhondavid

Dealer finally called me back Wed after I called the previous Saturday. Not happy about their lack of response.

Said the fins do not bolt through but have an insert in the bottom that will have to be removed and new ones installed. Said it they were about 2 weeks behind in work so will keep it bandaided, does not appear to be leaking any more than it did, and take it in for repair after Labor. That is usually the last weekend we are on the water as they start dropping the water level and school activities take over.

Thanks again for all the assistance.

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