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Water in Bilge?

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Guys the other day when I pulled my drain plug after a fishing trip I had a pretty good flow of water coming out for a minute or two. It seemed to be probably 7 or 8 gallons of water. I noticed the seal behind the drain plug was starting to dry rot a little so I took my drain plug case out and resealed it really good and put the plug case and plug back in. I have the type that twists into the plastic case. I let it set about a week. I took it back yesterday evening for a couple of hours and when I pulled the plug it still had a flow of water but not nearly as much. Seemed like about 3 or 4 gallons. It was a steady stream for about a minute then slacked off to a drip. It went from having nothing at all to this. I have not damaged the hull or done anything. There are no cracks or gashes in the hull. I also noticed that my bilge will not pump anything out. I can hear a buzzing when I turn it on but it never ejects any water. I'm afraid the pump has gone bad. Will this allow water to flow in the bilge drain if the pump has gone bad? My feelings towards this is water is getting in from the bilge drain or another seal around another drain has gone bad. It isn't enough to even noticed when your on the water. I only noticed it when I pulled the drain plug. Like I said, it went from nothing coming out after pulling the plug to this from one trip to the next. Anyone know what it could be? 

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A leak around livewell intake grommet or hose is common. With it sitting on the trailer dry start filling it with a hose and see if it drips somewhere.

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Is the bilge the same thing as the battery compartment when I open the back hatch in-front of the outboard? This part is bone dry while the water is exiting out the drain plug hole.....  How do I manually fill the bilge with water? Or are you talking about fill up the livewell with water? 

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Bilge: The lowest inner part of a ship's hull.

What is suggested is to fill your livewell up, and see if it's leaking into the bilge.

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If you are hearing noises when you turn the bilge pump on, it may be OK. Pieces of plastic baits, sticks, leaves or other junk can clog the bilge pump and lock up the impeller. Pull the pump out and make sure nothing is stuck in the pump housing.

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Check the discharge hose from your bilge pump through the hull. if you can hear the pump running but nothing comes out, the hose may have broken or fallen off, and you are taking in water through the discharge.

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20 minutes ago, Kelroy said:

Check the discharge hose from your bilge pump through the hull. if you can hear the pump running but nothing comes out, the hose may have broken or fallen off, and you are taking in water through the discharge.

 

This seems like a possibility........My questions is how do you get to the dang thing?? 

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The bilge discharge should be well above the water line.  it's a possibility, but highly doubtful that's the source.

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How you get to the bilge pump varies by boat. Mine is fairly easy but I've seen some that were pretty tough. It's entirely possible that the bilge pump is mounted such that you aren't taking on enough water that the pump is able to pick it up.  

You could flood the hull with a garden hose to test the pump if it's difficult to get to. You'll want to put quite a bit of water to make sure there's enough for the pump to pick it up. If you can't see the pump then I would add water till I was sure it was over the pump. (Be best if you knew for sure) Also make sure that the trailer is secured since the water will add quite a bit of weight. If it runs but no water comes out the discharge  then I would assume either the pump is blocked or the hose is broken as suggested, or the impeller is damaged such that the pump runs but isn't moving water  

As far as where it's coming in there are a lot of possibilities. Any thru hull fitting, transom tie down bolt, bow tie down, motor mounting bolt, etc is a possibility. As are any connections or hoses within the boat. Just have to try to isolate possible problems. Don't overlook the seal at the rub rail. Quite a bit of water can come in if there's an issue there. 

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Since u went from zero water to a lot after refitting the drain plug, that's where I would focus. 

Two things. 

Make sure you sealed all around the plug....with the right sealant...like 3m's 4200.

Next make sure your plug seats correctly and all the way in.  

I was puzzled to find water in my new boat's bilge. After some time and inspection I narrowed it down to my drain plug. I thought I was tightening all that it would go but it was never really easy to turn.  I applied some marine grease into the threads and around the seal itself. Not only did it turn so much easier, I was surprised that I was able to get an additional 3/4 of a turn. Missing that last 3/4 turn apparently was enough to let several gallons of water in over the course of a day on the water.  

Now, my bilge is bone dry...and a huge weight off of my mind as nothing can nag at you knowing there is a leak somewhere and it can't be figured out.

Maybe consider replacing the whole drain plug assembly as they are super cheap? Allows you to start over and eliminate a faulty plug.

Hope this helps and good luck!

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1 hour ago, OperationEagle said:

Since u went from zero water to a lot after refitting the drain plug, that's where I would focus. 

Two things. 

Make sure you sealed all around the plug....with the right sealant...like 3m's 4200.

Next make sure your plug seats correctly and all the way in.  

I was puzzled to find water in my new boat's bilge. After some time and inspection I narrowed it down to my drain plug. I thought I was tightening all that it would go but it was never really easy to turn.  I applied some marine grease into the threads and around the seal itself. Not only did it turn so much easier, I was surprised that I was able to get an additional 3/4 of a turn. Missing that last 3/4 turn apparently was enough to let several gallons of water in over the course of a day on the water.  

Now, my bilge is bone dry...and a huge weight off of my mind as nothing can nag at you knowing there is a leak somewhere and it can't be figured out.

Maybe consider replacing the whole drain plug assembly as they are super cheap? Allows you to start over and eliminate a faulty plug.

Hope this helps and good luck!

What marine grease did you use?

Is yours a plastic plug?

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Silicone will work fine on through hull fittings, provided you assemble the fitting properly. 

Put a quarter inch bead of silicone where the fitting seats against the hull.  Screw the fitting just tight enough so the silicone starts to ooze out from between the fitting and the hull.

Then let it sit for at least 24 hours.  That will allow the silicone to completely set.  You then end up with a 1/8th inch of solid silicone which forms a perfect seal against the hull.  Once set, all you need to do is tighten each mounting screw a quarter to a half turn.  That will make a snug seal between the fitting and the hull.

If you tighten the connection to the hull without allowing the silicone to set up, all you are doing is squeezing the silicone out from between the hull and the fitting.  Eventually, that connection will leak.

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Possibly the live well is filling.  Typically, the water discharge locations are different, live well vs bilge. 

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Silicone sealants:  My boat's live well fittings were sealed with it at the factory and after a few years the plastic fittings broke off the live well, flooding the bilge.  The silicone sealant used contained something that made the fittings weak and brittle. So I recommend using 3m marine sealant on plastic boat fittings to avoid this problem down the line.

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53 minutes ago, BobP said:

Silicone sealants:  My boat's live well fittings were sealed with it at the factory and after a few years the plastic fittings broke off the live well, flooding the bilge.  The silicone sealant used contained something that made the fittings weak and brittle. So I recommend using 3m marine sealant on plastic boat fittings to avoid this problem down the line.

It couldn't have been silicone.  Silicone is inert.

I'm a big fan of 3M5200 but would never use it on through hull fittings, unless I wanted them fixed permanently in place.  It would be a nightmare to remove those fittings from the hull.  They'd have to be cut off, or ground off, and then you'd have the pleasure of separating the tube from the hull. 

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1 hour ago, BobP said:

So I recommend using 3m marine sealant on plastic boat fittings to avoid this problem down the line.

I would NEVER use anything permanent to seal a thru hull fitting.

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UPDATE: I took the entire drain plug case out and used a soft wire brush on a dremel to sand away all of the old sealant down to the aluminum hull. Resealed a ring of flex seal around the insert with another ring around the edge and reattached the insert into the hull. Let it dry for 24 hours. Took the boat out for a couple of hours this evening and when a pulled the plug after loading on the trailer it was bone dry. Problem fixed! Good Feeling!

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