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Leak Found! Need help with fix!


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PontoonPat

I am new to The Crew, and just brought home a 99 SSLXi a few months ago.  I immediately noticed the bilge was running way too often, so i dug in and found a leak next to the rudder box.  Water is pouring in the boat.  I dont see any major issues underneath the boat next to the rudder, but i clearly see cracks next to the box on the inside the boat.  The rudder shaft/packing assembly is not leaking at the bolts or the shaft, rather its the black fiberglass are that is sunk around the box and has visible cracks.  The area doesnt look pretty as-is, black resin rough surface, sunken around the rudder box.
 

Any help or recommendations to fix this would be greatly appreciated! Do i need to fix fiberglass on the hull or outside of the boat? Can i use some type of sealant at the crack only?  TIA

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Welcome to the ‘crew!!

I bet it’s the HDS box.

google HDS leak Malibu and you’ll see tons of threads. Fixable, but a PITA from what I can see.

Edited by braindamage
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PontoonPat

I originally thought it was the HDS box until i took out the gas tank and can visibly see the water coming in next to the rudder box.  When inside the boat, the rudder box area is slightly raised, and the sunken area around it is where the leak is coming from.  HDS looks good.

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PontoonPat
27 minutes ago, braindamage said:

Hmmm..pics?

Are you able to see those pics? Posting was a little tricky..

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Yikes.  I don't see how on earth that happens unless the boat was backed off the trailer rudder first into a sand-bar or something.  That rudder hardware looks kinda new too.  What does the rudder and surrounding area on the outside look like?  I suspect this thing was run aground and someone did a piss poor job repairing it.

To fix, maybe grind out whatever goop they used to try to repair it and lay down some directional glass all around it, then seal it up good with 3M marine adhesive.

Edited by UWSkier
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1 hour ago, PontoonPat said:

Are you able to see those pics? Posting was a little tricky..

Yes the photos work. Can you take a couple from underneath showing the condition of the rudder and area where the rudder bolts thru the gel coat 

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PontoonPat
7 hours ago, Bozboat said:

Yes the photos work. Can you take a couple from underneath showing the condition of the rudder and area where the rudder bolts thru the gel coat 

Yes... on the way.

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PontoonPat
7 hours ago, UWSkier said:

Yikes.  I don't see how on earth that happens unless the boat was backed off the trailer rudder first into a sand-bar or something.  That rudder hardware looks kinda new too.  What does the rudder and surrounding area on the outside look like?  I suspect this thing was run aground and someone did a piss poor job repairing it.

To fix, maybe grind out whatever goop they used to try to repair it and lay down some directional glass all around it, then seal it up good with 3M marine adhesive.

Thank you for the suggestion! That is the path i am leaning.  Never worked with glass before but i need to start somewhere

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1 hour ago, PontoonPat said:

here are photos from underneath.  I have not dropped the rudder to see whats going on underneath the hardware, but i dont see any major issues from underneath the boat.

https://photos.app.goo.gl/F3B68mr6qX2MXsdd6

https://photos.app.goo.gl/JZhhj3oSBZcfnY426

https://photos.app.goo.gl/SgAjfnKLgB3Mynj98

Rudder does not look bent, underside looks pretty normal.  Is there any flex in the leak area when you push forward and aft or side to side on the rudder?

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That might still actually be an HDS leak. HDS leak causes water to get between the hull and bilge liner. This may just be where it's finding its way out. If you fill it up with the hose on the driveway, does the water drip out of the rudder box or up by the shaft? 

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5 minutes ago, UWSkier said:

That might still actually be an HDS leak. HDS leak causes water to get between the hull and bilge liner. This may just be where it's finding its way out. If you fill it up with the hose on the driveway, does the water drip out of the rudder box or up by the shaft? 

I agree.  It is hard to tell from the photos, but the upper fiberglass layer that is leaking appears to come from the HDS side.  Stick a chisel in there and pry up just a bit.  I suspect that you will find that it is delaminated all the way to the HDS in that area.

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PontoonPat
47 minutes ago, Bozboat said:

Rudder does not look bent, underside looks pretty normal.  Is there any flex in the leak area when you push forward and aft or side to side on the rudder?

No flex in the rudder or that crack whatsoever

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PontoonPat
19 minutes ago, justgary said:

I agree.  It is hard to tell from the photos, but the upper fiberglass layer that is leaking appears to come from the HDS side.  Stick a chisel in there and pry up just a bit.  I suspect that you will find that it is delaminated all the way to the HDS in that area.

I am doing the test now in the driveway.  I agree that it could be the HDS and will hopefully figure that out with the test

thanks for all the help.. my first ski boat and only had it for about a month.. fml

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7 hours ago, PontoonPat said:

I am doing the test now in the driveway.  I agree that it could be the HDS and will hopefully figure that out with the test

thanks for all the help.. my first ski boat and only had it for about a month.. fml

The good thing is your boat is probably the most sought-after model Malibu ever built.  Those are awesome boats and you'll love it once you get this sorted out.

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10 hours ago, PontoonPat said:

No flex in the rudder or that crack whatsoever

It seems that given the rudder mounting surface (no cracks or splits in the gel coat or fiberglass) is structurally ok, the rudder post is straight, and you do not see any other identifiable damage underneath the boat, the HDS leak idea is the next thing to rule out or fix. 

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Gary Pelletier

Slightly fill the bilge area with water on the trailer and see where the water drips out from.  Could be HDS or even a loose tracking fin.....

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10 hours ago, Bozboat said:

It seems that given the rudder mounting surface (no cracks or splits in the gel coat or fiberglass) is structurally ok, the rudder post is straight, and you do not see any other identifiable damage underneath the boat, the HDS leak idea is the next thing to rule out or fix. 

 

10 hours ago, Bozboat said:

It seems that given the rudder mounting surface (no cracks or splits in the gel coat or fiberglass) is structurally ok, the rudder post is straight, and you do not see any other identifiable damage underneath the boat, the HDS leak idea is the next thing to rule out or fix. 

Thanks Boz i was able to perform the test and confirm it is the HDS.  Thankfully there are many other members who have contributed to this topic, so i dont feel alone! Thanks for the help

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2 hours ago, Gary Pelletier said:

Slightly fill the bilge area with water on the trailer and see where the water drips out from.  Could be HDS or even a loose tracking fin.....

Confirmed HDS. I couldnt believe the box would leak that far back!

 

On 6/10/2021 at 10:09 PM, braindamage said:

Welcome to the ‘crew!!

I bet it’s the HDS box.

google HDS leak Malibu and you’ll see tons of threads. Fixable, but a PITA from what I can see.

You were right all along.. here we go with an HDS fix.

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2 hours ago, PontoonPat said:

Confirmed HDS. I couldnt believe the box would leak that far back!

 

You were right all along.. here we go with an HDS fix.

If mine ever leaks, I'm going to try a Cabosil paste from the inside of the box to stuff the joint and get a smooth radius all the way around, then go over that with a layer of glass and a few extra coats of resin to help seal it.

Since you can get access to the leak in your boat, it wouldn't hurt to cut part of that layer back and do the same thing right in front of the rudder box.

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51 minutes ago, justgary said:

If mine ever leaks, I'm going to try a Cabosil paste from the inside of the box to stuff the joint and get a smooth radius all the way around, then go over that with a layer of glass and a few extra coats of resin to help seal it.

Since you can get access to the leak in your boat, it wouldn't hurt to cut part of that layer back and do the same thing right in front of the rudder box.

Just Gary, I’m interested in your solution,  the only one I have read about is the fix where you make a shaft log, any details, I am assuming you would take the lid off the HDS and smear paste around the hull/box seam, then glass it making a new seal between the liner and the hull? That sounds easier than cutting out the box and making a shaft log.

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