Sunday, July 31, 2011

It's one thing after another, it's a boat.

A friend of mine recently bought a late model outboard motor that was attached to a free older center console boat. On the whole it was a very good buy, but the previous owner was somewhat cack handed at repairs, if they were made at all. The boat hull was buffed back into shape, and out it goes for an inaugural trip which results in a near sinking in some rowdy water. As the vessels stern compartment was filling with water it was observed that the bilge pump was not functional, but with some luck they made it back to the boat ramp. After waiting for half an hour for the water to drain out, home they went. I came over to look, and to listen to the story. Everything was fine in the beginning, but it was getting rough by the time they noticed the lowered back end and returned

The bilge pump was toast, and a new one was procured and wired in, initially to the bilge switch. The adjacent float switch was bad, and installing a new one was added to the list. There was a loose water intake fitting on the transom that was definitely leaking, and it was ripped out, and a new one installed. The gar plug was a cheap plastic one, and it was replaced with a new bronze fitting. It appears the leak source is found, and off the boat goes for another trial run.

Everything was fine, until a squall line caught them while they were running back to the boat ramp in rough water, and again the back end of the boat started to fill up, and the back end was dropping. This time there is a bilge pump, and it works, but It's disconcerting that it has happened again. The boat goes home, and the owner notices that on the aft port side of the boat, the hull had separated from the deck, and you could stick your finger into the crack. It didn't jump out at you until you got down, and looked up. It looked dramatic, and serious, and although there were other leaks, it was apparent that when running in rough seas, lots of water was being pushed up into this gap. 

This is the sort of thing that looks scary, but in reality the fix is simple. In the first picture you can see cracks from an earlier impact with a dock or piling that was hard enough to flex the hull back, possibly pulling the screws loose in that area. Pounding in rough water causes the hull to flex, and more screws pulled loose until a substantial gap occurred. The T top was after market added, and poorly installed, and it also pulled loose from the deck in the rough water.

The fix is straight forward. Remove enough rub rail to get to all of the affected area. Drill new holes larger than the screw thread diameter, and a lot of them, just through the deck. This will allow the two parts to be drawn together. Counter sink the deck holes, and then drill holes appropriately sized for the screws into the hull, Wedge the hull away from the deck, and apply lots of spooge (in this case 3M 5200 into the interface), release the wedge, and put in the screws dipped in spooge also. There were 20 screws holding every thing together, and now there are 55. Copious quantities of mineral spirits and rags are used to clean up, and the rub rail is reinstalled. It took less than an hour to complete.   

The bilge pump float switch has new wiring pulled to the batteries to allow automatic operation. Bilge wire connections are heat shrunk, and tied up clear of standing water. Easy peasy. Oops, pull all of the odd screw types out of the T top base, fill the old holes, and relocate the legs so the screw are in solid deck. Counter sink the leg pad holes, and reattach the beast properly, Oops, the battery switch is a little funky, put a new one on the list, and tie up the console wiring. The anchor locker cover is missing, make a template and buy some starboard. Are you sure the stern light works? It's a boat, it's always something. The boat was almost free.

1 comment:

  1. Flotation is a beautiful thing!!!

    Thanks again for all of your help with my flotationally challenged vessel....