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03 LXI Bilge Water Issue


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Hey there MC,

Have an ongoing, possibly concerning issue.  Here's the full story.  I'm new to having a lake slip, which is managed by the resort.  Short version, after skiing, I left the T handle out (same as when I kept her in the garage).  The management crew lowered her to the water to make an adjustment to the slip hoist.  Yep, she sat in the water with T handle out.  DOAH!  For how long, I do not know.  Ever since then, I've noticed higher than normal water level in the bilge.  Here's the odd part, bilge water exists before we ski.  With lesson learned, I drain the bilge post ski then replace the T handle before her dry docked in the slip.  When we ski a day or two later, there is about a pinky's nail of water in the bilge.  This is the perplexing part for me.  Where can water come from if she's on the lift?  Is it possible Water is still making it's way out of the stringers and other crevices two weeks after the initial T handle event?  Prior to recent ski outings, I have drained the bilge before launch, them checked bilge water level while putting on ski gear and waiting for engine to warm.  With motor running while in neutral, there are no obvious signs of water flow in the bilge area.  One thought is the packing seal needs adjustment, however would this explain water in the bilge between outings after I drain from the skiing?  My boat 'guru' (which I no longer live near) shared something called a 'compromised through hull situation' which requires the 'hull box' be replaced.  Does this align with bilge water accumulation while dry docked?  Completely perplexed and concerned.  Thanks in advance for your thoughts and suggestions, Jeff-  

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Due to the construction process, to a greater degree I had more issues with my Moomba than I have had with my Malibus. The water would get between the hull and the liner on the Moomba.  The partitions in the sections of the boat would hold water, especially in the bow and under the ski locker. I ultimately drilled a 1 1/2” hole in the ski locker liner to shop vac out the water.  My Malibus have been of a more open construction to be able to drain/ clean out. But I still had the same issue on the strbd side on my 2010 LSV, but not nearly as bad. You will probably continue to see water in there for a while. Nothing to be too concerned about, but it would definitely of p...... me off and bug me until I got her dried out. 

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1 hour ago, EndlessPursuit8 said:

The management crew lowered her to the water to make an adjustment to the slip hoist.  Yep, she sat in the water with T handle out.

Did "management crew" tell you how much water got in the boat?  I would be much more concerned about high water one time in the bilge than some small leak somewhere.  Your starter and steering cable are probably compromised.  I would spray light oil (P-B, LPS-3, WD-40, etc.) on the entire engine and its components to help prevent corrosion.

Finding a small leak might be difficult, but it can be done.  Fixing it is usually fairly easy once you find it.

You might also want to verify that "management crew" is not out joy riding in your boat while you are away....  Personally, I don't think they should ever touch your boat without notifying you first.  How did you find out they had done it?

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If I had to bet on it, I'd say that water traveled up through the stringers and into the drain holes of the foam area.  Before you start adjusting shaft packing or anything else, I'd simply give it plenty of time to drain/dry out.  Gary's right, a far bigger and more immediate concern is the possible/probable damage to the starter, alternator, and rudder cable.

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@EndlessPursuit8 - Can you search for clues as to water level, I would look to see if the carpet got wet, if that is the case it could still be slowly drying out.  More concerning if this is the case are the previous comments on the electrical items getting wet.  I would also verify no water in the oil.  Might be a good idea to talk to the insurance agencies in case things start to malfunction.

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Thank you all for the feedback.  Some additional thoughts and feedback per your comments.  Thinking back, the bilge area drained after the mgmt. crew raised her once the slip cable twist was fixed.  However the ski locker is where I found high water, which did not touch the carpet.  Cause for my concern is that when we lower the boat and ski, there is a little water by the T-handle.  After 6-9 ski runs, there is significantly more water in the bilge by the T-handle.  That said, not enough for the bilge pump to discharge.  Could there be gallons of water stored in the stringers and foam as one of you mentioned?  Being that the bilge has water between outings, could it be an exhaust leak or some other item that takes in water while engine is running?  Thankfully the bilge pump works.  Noticed the oil pressure gauge has been reading very high early after startup, then it settles back down to normal.  My steering cable was already difficult to turn far right as compared to left, will eventually need replacing.  As for the mgmt crew, they lowered her to unwind a twist in the lift cable.  100% confident they did not joy ride.  Found this issue initially during a flood event on our lake, had to move boat to a floating dock to wait out the storm and rising water.  

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Hey again.  Just searched HDS leak as suggested.  Not hit anything, not that I know of.  HOWEVER I did trailer her 900 miles to new home.  One post said that may trigger a leak.  Any suggestions for how to diagnose?  Do I pull that black cover and go for a ride?  

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No, don't pull the cover. To check for a HDS leak, you fill the bilge when its out of the water, if water is leaking out the shaft hole, you have a HDS leak that you need to fix.  

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But keep in mind that any of the through bolts on your transom could be leaking also.  The platform bracket bolts are a great place to check.

Is the steering stiff when just sitting there, or only when at speed?  It is supposed to pull right when at speed to get rid of the deadband and the associated wandering that it causes.  You can trim your rudder to correct the pull to however much you want, but I would not get rid of it entirely.

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@EndlessPursuit8 - To you most recent comment, water accumulating in the bilge while out skiing;  some of that is normal as water is the lubricant for the shaft seal hence a small amount will enter the bilge.  If more than a relatively small amount it certainly could be an HDS leak which is not uncommon.  Do you have your ski locker sealed off from the bilge or can water freely go between them (there should be a provision to insert a plug between the locker and bilge)?  If sealed off, it would be good to determine how it entered the cavity.  As for your steering cable, as it now has been submerged I would put some effort in to getting the water out.  You use some ATF poured in the tiller end of the cable to help lubricate it, if that doesn't help or work, a cable replacement is in your future.

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So you're saying you completely drain the water, leave the boat up on a lift, and when you come back, there's a tiny bit of water in the bilge?  If the boat is completely dry when on the slip hoist, then yes, the only source of that water is drainage from other areas that haven't yet fully dried out.

If you're getting mysterious water intrusion while out skiing, check all through hull fittings.  Most common areas of leakage aside from the aforementioned shaft packing and HDS are from loose tracking fins, loose or improperly sealed wedge bolts, or sometimes, the bow eye (I had water coming in through my bow eye this spring).

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Don't have time to read the whole thread, and apologize if this has already been mentioned.

If you got that much water in the boat initially your front ski locker must also have gotten a lot of water.  Did you drain the front ski locker? There is a plug to drain or another plug to let it pass to the engine compartment.  If the front ski locker still has water it will slowly leak through the threaded plug between the ski locker and engine compartment while sitting on the hoist.  


The RLXI has a total of 3 drain plugs...

1) T handle infront of engine

2) Plug on stern

3) Plug in front ski locker

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