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Taking on water

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HI. Have a 96 Response LX which is taking on more water than it used to. After a moderate day of activity on the lake we have to punp the bilge for about 5 minutes to empty it out. Maybe this is normal but seems a lot to me. I've checked everything I can think of and all seems ok. I would appreciate any ideas people have and will check them out.


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Mine was doing the same thing.  Turns out water was leaking where the the exhaust hose meets the muffler.  You could only see it with the engine cover fully opened, and the engine running.

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Minus a water leak from the engine, my guess is its the propshaft packing that is leaking.  Have you ever changed or adjusted the propshaft packing in your '96?  if the bilge pump is 500 gal/hour and you run it for 5 minutes, you are pumping out about 40 gallons after a day of use. That is a lot of water, but I would expect an engine leak to dump a lot more water into the bilge over a full day.

I would open the engine cover and look backwards under the floor towards the stern.  You will see a big brass nut on the propshaft.  See if water is leaking from there while at rest.  If not, start the boat and put it into gear and idle forward and look again.  See if it has water coming out of it.  It should only drip a few times a second while in gear if its adjusted properly.  if there's a good trickle/stream, you found your problem.

Good luck!


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I have the same problem on my 98 Malibu Sunsetter LX and have checked the prop shaft packing and the HDS box.  I believe it is the exhaust hose where it meets the muffler.   At this point the exhaust hose is spongy therefore I believe the hose is leaking.  I have the new hose from Overtons ($80) and working on replacing it.  

Any tips on pullling the gas tank so I can get to the hose at the transom would be appreciated.  Do I have to take the tank out or can I take it loose and set it at an angle to reach the exhaust hose?

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On 7/17/2016 at 0:50 PM, H2 said:

After a moderate day of activity on the lake we have to pump the bilge for about 5 minutes to empty it out. Maybe this is normal but seems a lot to me.

Regardless of where this huge leak is coming from (which I'm sure you'll soon discover following the Crew's advice), it sounds like your auto bilge is not working...which begs the question do you even have an auto bilge?!  If you have a manual bilge, I would DEFINITELY upgrade the switch/pump.  5 minutes seems like an eternity to me and is a LOT of water for normal ops, and only possible if the auto feature is not working...with an auto switch you'd see it cycling throughout the day, a much safer proposition IMHO.

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Thanks. I decided the check this out and am embarrassed to say I can't find the pump. It sounds like it is under the floor ner the ski pylon but I cant see any way to access this. It looks like there is a panel at the front of the engine bay but I would have to remove some hoses and maybe a water pump to get at it. Is this the way?

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Just had this same problem with an 02 Sunsetter. Pump was in front of the motor near the pylon behind a plastic plate. Had to remove 4 screws to get the plate out. Found some debris clogged the pump; cleaned it and it works great.

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