1998 Bowrider 210 - leaking transom seal

Discussion in 'Sport Boats' started by Joel_CA, Jul 18, 2017.

  1. Joel_CA

    Joel_CA Member

    83
    Sep 15, 2013
    Norcal
    1998 Bowrider 210
    5.0 Mercuriser/ Alpha 1
    So we finally took our boat out after 1.5 years of storage. As paranoid as I can be sometimes, after we cleared other boats and found an open area, I shut down the engine, raise the sunpad and opened the hatch so I can check for water in the bilge. To my surprise, there was water already in there. We had only been out for less than 15 minutes. I turned on the bilge pump until no more water was coming out and waited another 10 minutes. After turning on the pump again- more water was being pumped out. I shined a light down there (the best I could do was my cell phone flash) and couldn't really see anything. So, instead of cutting the trip short- we just stayed out there for a couple of hours while the kids swam. The whole time, I couldn't relax as my mind was on the leak. Being the busiest time of the year, I still managed to squeeze myself in to my trusted boat mechanic's schedule but had to wait over a week. He just called me and told me that he filled up the bilge with water and found the leak to be coming from the transom seal. :smt021 He said it was very very uncommon with this boat and that he would try make access to the bolts and see if they came loose and that loose bolts can be caused by dryrot. Got my fingers crossed.. not sure what to expect.

    J
     
  2. Joel_CA

    Joel_CA Member

    83
    Sep 15, 2013
    Norcal
    1998 Bowrider 210
    5.0 Mercuriser/ Alpha 1
  3. sibnai1

    sibnai1 Member

    287
    Jul 18, 2014
    NJ, USA
    195 Bow Rider 5 Series
    4.3litre V6 I/O Alpha I Gen II
    That's great news!!!
     
  4. Joel_CA

    Joel_CA Member

    83
    Sep 15, 2013
    Norcal
    1998 Bowrider 210
    5.0 Mercuriser/ Alpha 1
    So we got our boat back from the mechanic the day before we were supposed to meet with several other friends and family at a nearby lake. There were supposed to be other boats in our group so not having an opportunity to personally splash the boat after having such a big repair performed made me a bit nervous and paranoid. From the minute we launched, I would occasionally turn on the bilge pump to see if there was any water in there. I was so happy to see that there was none. Every hour or so, I would either open the hatch or turn on the pump to see if there was any water... and each time- there was none. I got to the point where I was comfortable and just enjoyed the day of pulling wakeboarders and tubes. After spending all day out there in the lake and finally loading the boat onto the trailer, I removed the plug and was shocked to find a whole lot of water coming out. I would estimate at least 3 gallons. I swear my heart sunk... I didn't know what to think... thoughts of a rotten transom, etc filled my head.
    Two days later, my wife and I had a chance to launch the boat again. This time, the goal was to see if I could pin point where the water was coming in- and also to try out my new SS 4 blade/17p SS prop I just picked up. After heading out for several minutes, I found a clearing where I could stop to open up the hatch. Once open, I could HEAR the water trickling in fast. I shined my flashlight down there and found that it was coming from one of the plastic manifold drain plugs. I carry extra's on board, so I reached down to either tighten or remove the existing plug to find that it was cracked. The head of the plug ended up in the my hand, while the threaded part remained in the block. Needless to say, with the engine running- the water was coming in pretty fast. Im hoping that this is where all the water was coming from from the previous outing. We headed back to the launch ramp to load her up- thinking I would try to extract the broken plug while out of the water. I was unsuccessful- so we ended up going home. So now I have 4 new plastic plugs in there, and we're heading out to the lake tomorrow. I hope this is the end of my troubles. Its been 4 years of very reliable service until this year. On a side note: moving to a 4 blade 17P SS prop has given my boat new life!
     
  5. NorCal Boater

    NorCal Boater Well-Known Member SILVER Sponsor

    Jan 24, 2008
    Covington, LA
    Cobalt CM23
    GM SB 383" Stroker" Alpha Gen I
    This post is interesting to me. I have a 1985 Cobalt CM23. This boat "lived" the first 28 years of its life in the water in Long Beach, CA. It's a boat I owned for about 10 years ('89-'99) and bought it back 3 years ago. I moved the boat from Long Beach to Sacramento and it sat on the trailer for about 18 months. After 28 years in salt water the gimbal housing deteriorated to the point that it needed replacing. This included the big molded o-ring that seals it to the transom. before I got around to this repair. Prior to a moving to Louisiana I put the boat in the water to check for leaks around the transom seal. It leaked. I was very disappointed as I knew I was going to have to take it all apart to repair it. But for now I had to get the boat ready to ship.

    So I had the boat shipped to the New Orleans area where I was moving to and it sat there on the trailer for about 7 months before I could get back to work on it. The first thing I wanted to do was to put it in the water again and pinpoint the leak. I backed it in on the trailer and guess what? No leak! Then it hit me.... I took a boat that spent 28 years in the water and moved it on a trailer to a relatively dry climate like Northern California where it sat, out of the water, for almost 2 years. I then moved it to a very wet climate. Wood shrinks when dry and expands when wet. The time the boat sat on the trailer down here was one of the wettest on record. In this climate the wood expanded and sealed the leak. I remembered when I worked in a boat yard and we pulled old wood cruisers out of the water for a couple of weeks for repairs. When it was time to put them back in we would do it at the end of the day and let them sit overnight in the slings of the Travel Lift because they leaked like crazy until the wood swelled and sealed.

    I think its possible your leak was 2 separate issues. Your signature shows you are in Northern Cal and you stated your boat was out of the water for 18 months. It's possible the wood in the transom of your boat contracted in the dry climate of Northern Cal just enough during that 18 months, to allow water in. Not around the seal but most likely from one of the bolt holes through the transom. If I'm not mistaken, 6 of the 8 bolts go through the transom. The transom seal o-ring on the gimbal housing rarely fails. They're sealed pretty good between the gimbal housing and the transom and really do not have much exposure to the elements. I have a boat with an Alpha drive that spent 28 years in salt water. There was nothing wrong with the transom seal.

    I guess the moral of the story is....use your boat more. I recommend using every weekend. ;)

    Shawn
     

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