Join Date: Feb 2000
Location: Annapolis, Md
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A cautionary tale....
This is a pretty basic thing but I thought that I would bring it up as a cautionary tale to others. Its really about me getting so much confidence in my boat that I begin to take it for granted.
This weekend I chose to do maintenance on the boat. Of late I have been noticing more bilge water than usual and as a part of the weekend's planned maintenance, I thought I would try to find where the water was coming from. I had taken a quick look last weekend and saw nothing. Done this time of year, this hunt should have been easier than it might have later in the year since we have not had rain since July or so, so at least I figured that I was not looking for deck leaks.
On Saturday when I came aboard my boat was filled with a lot of water. In fact, in the four days since I had been on board last, the bilges had filled nearly to the underside of the floor boards, and Synergy has deep bilges. After drying out the bilge, I began my search for leaks checking seacocks and hoses. No clue.
Finally, I began the planned routine engine work; you know, new raw water pump impeller, tension the belts, change filters, and oil and so on. When I finished up, I ran the engine again to check for leaks at the filters, and water pump. There were no detectable leaks when the engine was running, but when I shut the engine down, I found that there was a small drip, drip drip type shaft seal leak on the raw water cooling pump that only occured when the engine was shut down.
I pulled the pump off and originally decided to buy a replacement pump and rebuild the one I had as a spare. I don't know if you have priced a Yanmar raw water pump, but they are roughly $450 these days. The shaft seal is only $7. I ended up buying just the seal and will replace it myself. I don't need a spare pump all that badly.
Anyway, if I take a lesson from this, it is amazing how quickly even a small leak can fill even a deep bilge. And although I should have known better, its a mistake to take even small increases in bilge water for granted. The good news was that I don't leave my bilge pump on 'auto' or I probably never would have caught the leak.