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old_school

shorted battery terminals and 6" of water in bilge

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old_school

I just bought a 99 Response LX last week, love the boat but having some problems with electrical system. During first trip out the boat ran fine, started several times on the water with not problem. The second outing the boat was dead when I tried to drive it off the trailer, I assumed the battery was bad (3 years old) and put a new one in. Boat again started and ran fine. Took it home and looked under engine box & saw 4" of water.

Hmm, I thought it had automatic bilge ( I didn't have bilge switch on, does it need to be on for auto-bilge to work?)

Worse yet, battery was totally dead (read 0.0V with my handheld voltmeter). Disconnected battery cables, measured between 2 and 3 Ohms. Pulled drain plug, and saw resistance go to around 1000 Ohms, which I assume is normal.

Any idea what is going on, or how to fix it?

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nuttyskier2002
I just bought a 99 Response LX last week, love the boat but having some problems with electrical system. During first trip out the boat ran fine, started several times on the water with not problem. The second outing the boat was dead when I tried to drive it off the trailer, I assumed the battery was bad (3 years old) and put a new one in. Boat again started and ran fine. Took it home and looked under engine box & saw 4" of water.

Hmm, I thought it had automatic bilge ( I didn't have bilge switch on, does it need to be on for auto-bilge to work?)

Worse yet, battery was totally dead (read 0.0V with my handheld voltmeter). Disconnected battery cables, measured between 2 and 3 Ohms. Pulled drain plug, and saw resistance go to around 1000 Ohms, which I assume is normal.

Any idea what is going on, or how to fix it?

Sounds like your float switch that operates the bilge pump is stuck. Also sounds like the water is supplying a path between your cables or some of the electrical wiring and ground. Any bare or spliced wiring with B+ voltage laying in that 4" of water?

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old_school

I think I found the problem. Bilge pump was froze up, so it wasn't bilging. Problem was compounded by need for packing adjustment (previous owner apparently hadn't done this for awhile). The wiring to bilge pump has 3 wires: 12V, Gnd, and the manual override signal from the bilge switch on the dash. You probably see where this is going...

The wiring splice was a few inches from the bilge pump, and not sealed (looks like just wrapped with black tape). So if the bilge pump fails, this will eventually result in shorted battery. Fortunately, mine survived until I took the boat out onto the trailer, when water sloshed to the front of the bilge. So I it didn't die on the water, but I bet battery got very hot during the drive home.

Pretty dumb design, in my opinion, especially if your boat is in the water for a few days at a time. I guess it works OK if you do a water-tight connection. I am replacing the pump tonight, I plan to coat the connections with liquid tape and then cover it all with the black tape that is impregnated with silicon. Then I'll tie-wrap the connection up as high as I can. I thought about rewiring so that 12V goes thru another switch on the dash, but maybe that's overkill.

My advice to everyone: check your bilge wiring splice and make sure it is water-tight or above the floor. Every bilge pump will eventually fail. You can live with a defective bilge pump until you get back to the dock, but its hard to drive the boat with a shorted-out battery.

And if you do take on alot of water, turn off the Pergo switch before you get the trailer up off the ramp.

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old_school

oh, one other thing. Obvious question is, "why didn't the bilge circuit breaker trip when wires shorted out"? This would have saved the battery. I think it was because the little CB panel under driver's armrest was shifted under an upholstery panel. This maybe prevented the breaker from popping out (although it seems like it would still open). Maybe my CB is bad? Maybe person who installed the pump just bypassed it? Dunno, but it should have protected the battery. Also don't know why CB panel is not securely fastened. I guess that's the risk of buying a used boat...

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skier92

Would the bilge pump run if you turn on the dash swithch? sometimes a small piece of debris will stop the impeller from turning. As for the 4" of water, with the boat on the trailer, plug in and battery disconnected so bilge pump will not run (if you already fixed that problem) put watet in the boat, let it sit, and see where it comes out. Any screw bolt or hole through the hull is a possibilty. If it comes thru the hole in the hull where the prop shaft is, it could be a leak between the stringer/bilge assy. and the hull. Referred to as a leak in the HDS (Hydronic Dampening System) I would tighten the packing a little (1/4 turn) prior to this test as water could migrate past the packing giving a false reading for HDS Problem. Loosen packing and re-set prior to next boat use.

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Baddog

Mine's been goofy lately but not to the point where it drained the battery. Time for a new one but don't have the time.

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Sunsetter95
I think I found the problem. Bilge pump was froze up, so it wasn't bilging. Problem was compounded by need for packing adjustment (previous owner apparently hadn't done this for awhile). The wiring to bilge pump has 3 wires: 12V, Gnd, and the manual override signal from the bilge switch on the dash. You probably see where this is going...

The wiring splice was a few inches from the bilge pump, and not sealed (looks like just wrapped with black tape). So if the bilge pump fails, this will eventually result in shorted battery. Fortunately, mine survived until I took the boat out onto the trailer, when water sloshed to the front of the bilge. So I it didn't die on the water, but I bet battery got very hot during the drive home.

Pretty dumb design, in my opinion, especially if your boat is in the water for a few days at a time. I guess it works OK if you do a water-tight connection. I am replacing the pump tonight, I plan to coat the connections with liquid tape and then cover it all with the black tape that is impregnated with silicon. Then I'll tie-wrap the connection up as high as I can. I thought about rewiring so that 12V goes thru another switch on the dash, but maybe that's overkill.

My advice to everyone: check your bilge wiring splice and make sure it is water-tight or above the floor. Every bilge pump will eventually fail. You can live with a defective bilge pump until you get back to the dock, but its hard to drive the boat with a shorted-out battery.

And if you do take on alot of water, turn off the Pergo switch before you get the trailer up off the ramp.

The wire to the dash may be overkill, but definitly tie-wrapping them up is a must. That is all I did with mine. After thinking about them for a second, I think mine are just have wire nuts on them but they are seperated and tied up as high as possible.

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