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Go Back   SailNet Community > On Board > Gear & Maintenance > mysterious leak
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Topic Review (Newest First)
11-04-2003 09:13 PM
sailnaway
mysterious leak

Stick corks in the cockpit drains and dump some food color in the hoses one at a time top with water and see if yu can see the die in the bilge. That might work on all hoses. Another spot can be when the motor is hot a crack in the exhaust lets water in when it expands.It could be an exhaust hose as well.
Shower sump leaking????You will find it just make it a game of hide and seek tag your it.
11-04-2003 02:40 PM
Irwin32
mysterious leak

You say that sometimes your bilge is full, and other times it is fairly dry. You need to first determine if there is a pattern. If it happens after it rains or you wash the boat - well that indicates where it is coming from. One would think that a below the waterline leak would not be intermitant. You need to check frequently and note prior situations. Determining wether this is rain water or a hull leak should not, over a little time, be difficult to determine.
11-04-2003 01:21 PM
kmeeks
mysterious leak

I had a mysterious leak at one point aboard my sailboat - turned out the stuffing box for the rudder post needed to be repacked.

I initially tightened the nuts - but after one afternoon of sailing in light winds - it was leaking again.

Another source of water into the bilge on my boat is the drain from the refrigeration / ice box.
11-03-2003 08:08 PM
e-27 sailor
mysterious leak

The only thru-hull I have on my boat is for the speed transducer. I pulled it to clean one day, reinstalled it, and screwed in the cap. The following week, I had water up to the floor boards. The drip from the cap was almost unpreceptable, but one more quarter turn on the cap, and the bildge in now dry again.
11-03-2003 02:11 PM
jbanta
mysterious leak

If you are getting a fair amount of water in your bilge. You could just take a look at the stuffing box if you get more than a drop every second or so and it''s been awhile since it has been changed I would put some attention on it even if you don''t think it''s the main problem.
11-03-2003 11:36 AM
coondogger
mysterious leak

Salinity cannot be used to help identify the source of the water because the boat is in a lake. I am, however, pretty sure that the bilge directly beneath the engine fills first.
But again, whether this is from the stuffing box or from, say, a leaking cockpit engine access hatch, is difficult to determine. Has anyone had a leaky engine access hatch?
11-03-2003 07:44 AM
mcain
mysterious leak

Important if it is salt water or fresh (assuming your boat is floating in salt water), and I don''t know from your post which it is.
If salt, consider thru-hulls, etc. This should probably go to the top of your list. I once had a VERY small hole (e.g. a hole from a removed screw) that was above the waterline until the boat moved, then it was under--it put a LOT of water into the bilge once covered it--it was surprising. So check for this. Rudder post or packing gland for the engine shaft are also potential hot spots, when running.
If fresh, two prime areas--rainwater (could be from anywhere). E.g. leaking hatch, etc.
OR, a problem we had--if you have a pressure water system with hot water heater, and the hot water heater pop-off valve dies, it could dump fresh water into the bilge and then the pressure system just refills it. Check if your water tanks seem to be going down quickly. IN any event, somewhere in the fresh water system could also be the problem.
I also like the talc idea--thanks Gord.
11-03-2003 04:03 AM
GordMay
mysterious leak

You could lay a light powdering of Talc'' accross the (dry) bilges, then watch for "tracking" - this might tell you which direction it''s coming from.
I presume there''s no sign of top-side leaks, (ports, hatches, etc.)
Perhaps a head or sink discharge hose?
Gord
11-03-2003 02:33 AM
coondogger
mysterious leak

Nope. No keel bolts; it''s a Folkboat. Also has a deck stepped mast.
11-03-2003 12:14 AM
GordMay
mysterious leak

Keel-stepped masts allow rain intrusion.
Likewise, bad keel bolts can allow water in, when/if you ground out at low tide.
Gord
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