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96 Response LX, Belly Pan hydro box


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I ran my 1996 Response LX aground hard. Its a real heart breaker. It has low hours, Had a clean bottom and great interior. The first guy I went to told was very negative and told me to scrap the boat, that it would cost $20,000. But he also said they were swamped with work and he seemed annoyed I brought the boat for him to look at and told me an itemized estimate would cost me $550.00 because he was mandated by the State of New York to pay them 2.5% of the estimate when he totals a boat.. The 2nd guy, a correct craft dealer proposes a good fix and figures $5000 labor plus the underwater gear, rudder, prop, strut, shaft, fins which I priced online at .$3400. The only problem is he can't do it until after the boating season.  I have done boat carpentry and fiberglass work. I can see 18-24 hours.So I think I can do it for the cost of the running gear plus west system materials and my time. . 

The biggest unknown to me is the fiberglass "belly pan" which is under the engine and also forms the top of the wet box or what the collision guy called a hydroponic box. (I thought that's where they grow weed}. The shaft goes though the hull through an opening that has a 1/2" gap all the way around and lets water in. Also you can access the backing nuts for the strut.  The front of the box has the shaft seal, the top of the box has a cover that was sealed with silicone, and the bottom of the box was attached to the hull with fiberglass roving (strips of very think cloth). This seal has broken loose it allows massive quantities of water to pass into the hull. Apparently collision ship 1 had a bad experience where they didn't get a Malibu fixed correctly and it sank, so they are pretty gun shy. So anyway, does anyone know a better term for this belly pan, and if it is attached just around the wet box. The strut was torn right off the boat along a piece of hull the same size as the strut plate. It is such a clean break I had to look carefully to see if the fiberglass was an insert. You could barely make a cleaner cut with a saw. 

To taper the fiberglass back to a 12 to one ratio I either need to cut out a portion of the belly pan (recommended by the correct craft dealer) and repair it from above and have a small line of gel coat to replace, or repair it from below and have a large area to with various contours to shape and gel coat. Cutting the wet box out would allow me the access and allow me to attach it back to the hull,. It would be nice to know if they sealed it down with adhesive and then the fiberglass roving or if they used the fiberglass roving only. I will then need to repair the wet box with a 12 to 1 vee ground out. Okay, Maybe I am looking at 40 hours especially by time I add installing the running gear and aligning the engine. If shop 2 was figuring labor at $125/hr then 5000 would be what? 40 hours. Yes. Thats for someone in practice with tools and materials at hand.

I also had all three fins knocked out. They came out clean except one bolt ripped s little bit of fiberglass. But I read a lot about that in other areas of this post.

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16 hours ago, Adk1Guy said:

I ran my 1996 Response LX aground hard. Its a real heart breaker. It has low hours, Had a clean bottom and great interior. The first guy I went to told was very negative and told me to scrap the boat, that it would cost $20,000. But he also said they were swamped with work and he seemed annoyed I brought the boat for him to look at and told me an itemized estimate would cost me $550.00 because he was mandated by the State of New York to pay them 2.5% of the estimate when he totals a boat.. The 2nd guy, a correct craft dealer proposes a good fix and figures $5000 labor plus the underwater gear, rudder, prop, strut, shaft, fins which I priced online at .$3400. The only problem is he can't do it until after the boating season.  I have done boat carpentry and fiberglass work. I can see 18-24 hours.So I think I can do it for the cost of the running gear plus west system materials and my time. . 

The biggest unknown to me is the fiberglass "belly pan" which is under the engine and also forms the top of the wet box or what the collision guy called a hydroponic box. (I thought that's where they grow weed}. The shaft goes though the hull through an opening that has a 1/2" gap all the way around and lets water in. Also you can access the backing nuts for the strut.  The front of the box has the shaft seal, the top of the box has a cover that was sealed with silicone, and the bottom of the box was attached to the hull with fiberglass roving (strips of very think cloth). This seal has broken loose it allows massive quantities of water to pass into the hull. Apparently collision ship 1 had a bad experience where they didn't get a Malibu fixed correctly and it sank, so they are pretty gun shy. So anyway, does anyone know a better term for this belly pan, and if it is attached just around the wet box. The strut was torn right off the boat along a piece of hull the same size as the strut plate. It is such a clean break I had to look carefully to see if the fiberglass was an insert. You could barely make a cleaner cut with a saw. 

To taper the fiberglass back to a 12 to one ratio I either need to cut out a portion of the belly pan (recommended by the correct craft dealer) and repair it from above and have a small line of gel coat to replace, or repair it from below and have a large area to with various contours to shape and gel coat. Cutting the wet box out would allow me the access and allow me to attach it back to the hull,. It would be nice to know if they sealed it down with adhesive and then the fiberglass roving or if they used the fiberglass roving only. I will then need to repair the wet box with a 12 to 1 vee ground out. Okay, Maybe I am looking at 40 hours especially by time I add installing the running gear and aligning the engine. If shop 2 was figuring labor at $125/hr then 5000 would be what? 40 hours. Yes. Thats for someone in practice with tools and materials at hand.

I also had all three fins knocked out. They came out clean except one bolt ripped s little bit of fiberglass. But I read a lot about that in other areas of this post.

Wow.  Sorry to hear about that.  I hope that everyone involved is OK.  It sounds like a wild ride.  Post a few pictures of the damage and your repair as it evolves.

Search for the term "HDS Box" and you will find a lot of threads about them leaking and how people made repairs.  I don't think they were overly glassed in at the factory, so getting it out should be fairly easy.  In your case, I wouldn't hesitate cutting it to get inside and fix the hull the proper way.  It doesn't matter how much extra glass you add inside, so go for it.  The box only needs to be well sealed to keep the water in it and not in the boat.

You might consider pulling the engine also to make double sure that the stringers are not broken as well.  You will probably find some damage at the engine mounts, and you will need a plan to fix that as well.  That would also let you cut the whole HDS box out instead of just a part of it and have room to work.

By the way, the mods are surely going to move this thread to maintenance and repair, so don't be too surprised when you can't find it where you put it.

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3 minutes ago, justgary said:

the collision guy called a hydroponic box. (I thought that's where they grow weed}.

Actually, it grows "leeks" (get it?)  :)  Sorry for the damage though and I hope no injuries. @justgary gave great advice.  I think you are looking a a couple weeks worth of work, minimum.  Might be worth getting  a marine surveyor to assess for a total write-off.

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A Malibu owner corrected a leak issue via making a non HDS replacement fiberglass tunnel that he glassed in.  He also would sell the parts for those that want to convert over.  Might be a worthwhile change as you repair yours.  I don’t recall his name off the top, I think you’ll find it in the HDS thread link. Search under ‘shaft log’ also.

Edited by Woodski
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I'd agree that it would be best to find a "bypass" solution because the leak that often comes from the HDS system is not just between the glass and the "top", but where the "liner" is mated to the hull, and the source of water can be from very strange places.  Thus "ditching" the design given this kind of impact seems wise.

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