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Leaks


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I have several leaks in my new (to me) '01 Sunsetter LXi. Water leaks through a hole in the hull which I think is for a water temperature sensor. It is a pretty big hole. Maybe a 1/2" x 1 1/2" oval. And the only thing going through the hull is an insulated wire to a fitting which is screwed into the outside of the hull with two pan head screws. And there is another fitting which appears to be some sort of partial cover for the first to deflect the water when underway. It looks a little like a wing and is screwed into the outside of the hull with two pan head screws. The 1/2" x 1 1/2" hole is filled with what looks like clear silicone sealer. The wire takes very little room in the hole so there is a lot of silicone sealer. Is this really how it is supposed to be done? It seems like there must be a better way to seal around the wire. It doesn't seem like the silicone is adhering to the wire. It also doesn't seem like a very good design to have a flexible wire going through the hull like that and expecting to be able to seal around it.

Another leak I have is a mystery and is much more troubling. When I set my perfectly dry boat into the water I see drops of water forming on the side of the ski locker / ballast compartment between the driver seat and the observer seat. The drops form near a crease in the bilge and grow until they are big enough to run to the bottom. I've attached a picture. The bow of the boat is toward the top of the picture. The leak is on the right side of the center line of the boat. The keel is near the middle of the picture.

%7Boption%7Dhttp://www.facebook.com/#!/photo.php?fbid=1866107572211&set=a.1866107532210.2095710.1226673909&type=1&theater[/img

The surface is not soft. It is very rigid. I'm nervous that it indicates some sort of delamination and wicking of water inside the fiberglass of the hull. Is this possible? Is it something that would be covered under the lifetime hull warranty?

The plugs in the bottom of my hull also leak a little water. Through the threads, not the through-hull fitting.

And the ballast system. I received the boat with the fat sack not installed. But the fill pump and the drain pump are installed. I noticed that water comes in through the fill pump hose at a pretty good clip when I am underway. Is something supposed to prevent this from happening? Is the fill pump supposed to serve as a shut-off valve when it is not running?

Any advice you can give would be much appreciated. Thanks.

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The SSLXi shouldn't leak thru those holes. Do you have a picture of the oval hole? Also, the link above appears broken.

Ony my boat, The depth sounder is a black round puck about 1.25" just off center of the keel line that is flush with the exterior of the hull. The temp sensor is a wire covering similar to the covering where the speedo pickup lines go thru the transom and is just in front and to the right of the depth sounder. No leaks from either.

The stringers are on the outside of the ski locker, so you may have water entering or trapped in them. Where it's coming from is anybody's guess. The hull warranty does not cover collision damage, so it would depend on what your dealer determines to be the cause.

There should be a ball valve on the ballast pump line. If there isn't one, you should add one. It will depend on the pump & the thru-hull, but many of the high flow pumps (aerator type) will not work like a shut-off valve when they aren't running.

The plugs should not leak, but a little teflon tape should seal them.

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TheThere should be a ball valve on the ballast pump line. If there isn't one, you should add one. It will depend on the pump & the thru-hull, but many of the high flow pumps (aerator type) will not work like a shut-off valve when they aren't running.

:plus1: brass ball valve right after the thru-hull, there should be no plastic or rubber fittings inbetween. In the mean time plug that hose or at least elevate the end above the water line.

It appears your picture link is not working...

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Thank you very much for the replies. Here is another try at pictures: https://picasaweb.google.com/103591431748676158418/BoatLeak#

It makes perfect sense that the ballast system should have a shut-off valve. Thank you for confirming. In my boat the fill pump was screwed directly into the through-hull fitting and there was no shut-off valve. I've removed the pump and put a plug in that fitting until I address my other issues and I'll get back to the ballast system once I've addressed the other leaks. Thank you for that information.

I have the black depth sounder puck just like wienrdog describes. I see no leaks around that. The temp sensor where I'm having the problem does look very similar to the speedo through-hulls. I still think there must be a better way to seal that hole than filling it with silicone. Any thoughts?

And I neglected to mention a couple of other things I think are strange in my original post. There are two bulkheads. One is just in front of the ski pylon. The other is at the rear end of the ski locker. There as a little less than a foot between them. The one in the front has an oval hole cut in it near the keel. It had the ballast drain hose going through it. But there is a separation in the fiberglass at the bottom of the hole that is a little troubling. Is the separation something I should be concerned about? This bulkhead also has three circular holes in it on top of each other nearer the top on the right side. It looks like they were meant for hoses or wires, but there is nothing in them.

Finally, in the bulkhead that is just in front of the ski pylon there is a hole with a plug near the keel. But when I put in the plug it doesn't seem to restrict the flow of water from the front to the back or vice-versa very much. It sure seems like there would be no need for the plug if it was not intended to stop the flow of water between the two sides of the bulkhead. Is water supposed to flow from front to back when that plug is installed? Is there supposed to be a bilge pump forward of that bulkhead?

Thanks again for any advice.

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It is normal to have the two bulkheads.

Front one is typically referred to as back of ski locker. The plug there doesn't look like it's seated - mine goes all the way to the end of the threads.

Not sure how/where you got picture #7 as the tops of the bulkheads are entirely under the floor of the boat. Looks like they may have added a bulkhead to protect the pumps from the bag and/or skis in the locker.

The rear bulkhead (at the front of the engine compartment) typically hides the bilge pump, misc wiring and the pylon bottom & protects them slightly from the engine area.

I haven't had my temp sender off, but that looks like a possibly after-market replacement of the temp sender where they added/expanded the hole to get the sensor through the hull. If the two fittings are sealed well & screwed into the hull, it shouldn't leak nor should the wire move, so you should be good. Sealed well = silicone sealant under the flanges all around & filling the hole well.

On mine, the rear of the ski locker has two holes in the upper port side for battery cables and the drain plug. That's it. The hole in the starboard stringer is there & does go forward to under the dash & has all types of cables & tubes.

I think the rest of the holes there were added for fill/drain hoses for the bags.

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Thanks for the tip on the plug in the bulkhead. I didn't have it screwed in all the way. I pulled it out and put it back in to check that it was threaded properly and screwed it all the way in. I used vice grips and a screwdriver to get it all the way in, but it did go all the way in. I haven't tested it yet to see if it prevents water from getting past the bulkhead. I'm hopeful, but skeptical. I'm not convinced the water is only going through the plug hole. I did not use teflon tape -- yet. I don't know why I'd want to restrict the flow of water in this way (possibly trapping water forward of the bulkhead and preventing it from reaching the bilge pump). I'm just trying to get a feel for how the water can move in my boat.

There are only two bulkheads in this area. One is just forward of the pylon. The plug is in this one. The other is near the rear of the ski locker. The top of the one near the rear of the ski locker is exposed when I open the ski locker. There is no bulkhead between the engine compartment and the bilge pump, paddle wheel, depth sensor and associated wiring bundle. Are you referring to a Sunsetter LXi?

I cleaned out all the old silicone from the water temp through hull hole and redid it. I filled up the hole from the bottom and globbed silicone on the back of the sensor and around the cable and screws and screwed it in. Unfortunately, screwing it in did not pull the sensor part as tight against the hull as I was expecting. I should have bent it a little first. I decided to proceed and hope. Then I filled the cover plate with silicone and covered the screws and screwed it in. Then I wiped off the excess. Then I went into the bilge and topped off the hole. I have my fingers crossed. I still think there must be a better way to fill the gaping hole.

I bought a new plug for the drain in the engine compartment because a couple of the threads on the one I had were dented. I put the new plug in and water is still dripping out of it. :-( I was hoping to avoid having to use teflon tape. I'm considering using a tap or a steel plug to try to repair the threads inside the fitting. I do not like this drip. I'm hoping to avoid replacing the fitting.

I'm tempted to fill the seam at the bottom of the hole in the ski locker bulkhead with silicone or epoxy.

An old Malibu dealer thinks the seeping leak in the ski locker is caused by the HDS leak allowing water in to run down the stringers. I'm probably going to hire someone to glass the HDS box just to find out.

I wish it were easy to take the floor out so I could have a better look.

Thanks for your help. I'll write more later.

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The boat is still taking on water. It becomes visible in the ski locker much faster than behind the bulkhead plug. But the rear compartment does take on enough water eventually that the bilge pump spits some out every few minutes. I took the boat out of the water yesterday and the only wet spot under the boat this morning was beneath the water intake fitting. And it is completely dry inside the boat around that fitting. The ski locker still has more than an inch of water. How can I determine if it is the HDS leak? Or what the cause is?

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  • 3 weeks later...

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