89 mid cabin bilge leak

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mrrudely
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Joined: Sat Jun 08, 2019 11:52 am

89 mid cabin bilge leak

Post by mrrudely »

While in the process of changing fuel lines (fuel pump to carburetor) I accidentally let the gasoline from the old lines into the bilge
The next day I noticed the cabin smelled like gasoline
The forward bilge had about 1" of gasoline smelling water and the mid cabin blige had a bit as well
I dried everything up
There was some standing liquid in all three engine bilges before the gasoline spill
I poured a bucket of water in the starboard engine bilge only just to see if things got worse
the next day there was gasoline smelling water in the forward bilge again and a bit in the mid cabin
I don't believe this is a limber hole issue since none of the water levels were high enough to get to them
if water is getting into the stringers because of a breach in the engine bilge it seems odd that there would be an exit as well
It seems as if the water from the engine bilge (leak) is coming out from under the fresh water tank
Today I found some very wet material (packing?) that I was able to dig out from under the fresh water tank does anyone know what that might be?
Thinking about putting dye in the engine bilges one at a time
Any thoughts?
thx
rr

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RWS
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Re: 89 mid cabin bilge leak

Post by RWS »

Wish I could offer more info, but the bilges and bulkheads on the express are totally different than on the mid cabin.

That said here's what might help some:

On the EXPRESS the lowest point in the bilge with the boat at rest is the forward bilge (cabin)

The MID CABIN has her engines farther aft, so this might be somewhat different on yours

The express has 3 separate bilge compartments, however the forward bilge connects to the aft bilge UNDER the liner

My boat had a seepage of seawater coming in for YEARS.

The addition of a bilge pump counter, tied to the forward bilge pump was the greatest tool to find the leak, or in my case DRIPS

one tiny source was a mis-drilled screw hole on the trim tabs

the other was a previous repair to the fiberglass around the starboard shaft log.

My FEAR is a total loss if the boat would sink or catch on fire

All 1980's bilge pumps have been upgraded to higher GPM

all 3 factory bilge alarms are working and tested from time to time

A second high capacity bilge pump with a higher mounted switch has been added to the engine room and the forward bilge

These 2 bilge pumps are tied directly to the gen set battery

So now there are 5 total bilge pumps

on top of that, the engines raw water intakes have been plumbed with emergency crash pumps, ahead of the strainers.

finally, once every year or two I remove the transom plug and flush from the forward bilge back - to remove any accumulated debris

I wish this coukd be of more help, but the differences between the 2 designs are significant.

Perhaps MID CABIN EXPERT BobCT will chime in and cover this topic far better than me.


RWS
1983 Trojan International 10 Meter
Twin Yanmar 315 Turbodiesels
Solid Glass Hull
Woodless Stringers
Full Hull Liner

Trojan International Website: http://trojanboat.com/

WEBSITE & SITELOCK TOTALLY SELF FUNDED

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BobCT
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Location: New Haven CT

Re: 89 mid cabin bilge leak

Post by BobCT »

Well, with that intro.... how could I say no :)

By design, there isn’t any way for the water in the engine room to migrate into the cabin unless it’s getting into the stringers. I’m ruling out the limber holes because of your comment. As you probably know, the stringers don’t sit flush with the hull so there’s a natural/easy path for water to move UNDER the bottom of the stringers if there was an opening.

As you know, the standing water in a mid cabin all sits right against the main engine room bulkhead in the center. I would be suspect of each corner where the four main stringers intersect with that bulkhead. I had small areas of rot which I caught early and were easily repaired with epoxy. The center one holds the most water but the all of the others do as well until the level reaches the top of the limber hole. On my boat, I cleaned and built up each one of those areas (total of 8 “corners”) and opened up the limber holes so that the bottom is flush with the hull. That way, there’s no possibility of standing water accumulating, it all has to find it’s way to the center bilge.

I could add a lot more but I’m certain that this is the path the water is taking from engine room to cabin. All of this with the assumption that you are 100% certain it’s the SAME water in each part, of and not a separate leak. If your portholes, stanchions and water FW tank are good, there should never be even drop of water in the cabin bilge. Of course that means your A/C is no longer draining there (I added a shower sump box).

Bob
1988 10m mid cabin

mrrudely
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Joined: Sat Jun 08, 2019 11:52 am

Re: 89 mid cabin bilge leak

Post by mrrudely »

thank you for that but you leave me a little confused
I am seeing the fiberglass of the stringers sitting flush with the hull
are you referring to the wood within the fiberglass? and that there is a natural conduit within?
that would certainly leave a pathway if there were any kind of crack in the fiberglass
I'm a little puzzled that an entry point and exit point would both develop at the same time
I suppose one may have existed quite some time before the other
standing water in the mid cabin center blige seems to drain toward the forward bilge traveling under the fresh water tank

I am reasonably certain this is engine water because of the strong gasoline smell
What do you think of putting dye in the engine bilge to try and trace the leak?

Also not terribly important but do you have any thoughts as to why i would find what seems like packing material under the fresh water tank?
thanks for all your help
rr

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BobCT
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Location: New Haven CT

Re: 89 mid cabin bilge leak

Post by BobCT »

Correct, the plywood “core” of the stringer is what I was referring to. They are purposely built so they sit above the hull to eliminate hard spots and are a natural conduit. Once you vacuum everything dry, I would use a screwdriver and poke at each of the corners I mentioned. Be aggressive, you really want to open those up as much as needed to repair. I think I used a small spade bit on a drill on a few of them. Then, used a lot of acetone to clean up and six10 epoxy to fill.

You could do the food coloring trick in the engine room and double check that way. On the packing, I’m not sure. There’s nothing inside the cabin that uses packing. There is one other thing to check which is probably unrelated to your problem which is mid cabin specific. On my ‘88, there was a factory drain plug in the hull, bilge in front of the head. It was never bonded and turning pink and basically crumbled with a wrench on it. I eliminated it completely because there is no scenario where the boat would be blocked and that drain would do anything.


Bob

Packing
1988 10m mid cabin

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