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Thread: Drain plug leak

  1. #1
    Seaman Apprentice
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    Default Drain plug leak

    A new boat for us - year 2000 Regal 180 LSR with Volvo 4.3 GL with SX-M stern drive.

    Second trip out was about 45 minutes in calm water. Upon return noted water in the bilge and turned on the pump. Hard to guess volume but perhaps 2-3 litres of water expelled. Cranked up front of trailer and removed drain plug. Perhaps another 1/2 litre of water. Screw plug back in but water continued to dribble. Looked like it was from around the edge of the brass flange where it meets the gel coat. The flange is screwed into the boat with four screws and appears to sealed. I think the seal/caulking in the site of the leak.

    Two questions and excuse my ignorance as a new boat owner. (1) How much, if any, water should I expect to accumulate in the bilge while driving? Is it possible that water will accumulate while driving but not while moored? (2) How difficult is it to remove the drain plug/flange assembly in order to reseal? And to reseal what do you suggest? The local marine store has a number of #M products ? 5000 series I think??

  2. #2
    Lieutenant Junior Grade danond's Avatar
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    Default Re: Drain plug leak

    1) None. If you're getting water in the boat, any amount, something is leaking. No boat is designed to take on water uncontrollably.

    2) Easy. Take the screws out, pry it off, clean it up, goop it up with sealant/adhesive, screw it back on. Get the screws with goo as well.

    Very easy to do.
    1989 Starcraft 171S Select "Cap'n Crunch" / OMC Cobra 4.3 V6 / 432APRMED

    If you're going to keep that OMC Cobra, please for the love of everything good in the world, get an OMC factory service manual. Not a Clymers, Not a SELOC. You can find them on eBay.

    My boat repair website: http://transomfix.dcpolk.com


  3. #3
    Senior Chief Petty Officer cooter2506's Avatar
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    Default Re: Drain plug leak

    Really should not be getting any water in the bilge while moored or running. Only time you should get water in the bilge is if people are getting in and out of the boat from the water. Should be easy to get screws out to resel it. I use 3M 5200 for all my transom sealing.
    1994 Crownline 182BR w/4.3LX 4bbl Alpha 1 gen 2
    2007 Dodge Ram 1500 SLT w/5.7 HEMI
    2004 Chevy Tahoe w/5.3
    1970 Chevelle SS 396-OK its the 18 year old daughters car but hell its fun to drive!!

  4. #4
    Seaman Apprentice
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    Default Re: Drain plug leak

    Excellent answers.

    I have thought about other possibilities for leaks.

    (1) hull is pristine and does not appear to have had any repairs - thus I do not SEE any cracks. The silicone? seal around the perimeter rub strip appears intact.

    (2) The pickup and external cable/hose for the speedometer is screwed into the hull and the is a entry hole for the hose to pass thru the hull. Perhaps I should remove the screws, silicone and rescrew?

    (3) I am not that familiar as to how the stern drive is attached/sealed. I assume that there could be a leak here. Any suggestions short of removing the drive? Any benefit of running a bead of sealant around the perimeter of the stern drive flange?

    (4) I don't any obvious leaks inside the engine compartment. The hoses and clamps seem OK - but I have not visualized every inch of the motor.

    Has anyone had any sneaky sites of water leaks??

  5. #5
    Senior Chief Petty Officer
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    Default Re: Drain plug leak

    Garboard drains are a pretty common leak site, as mentioned remove it clean everything up real good and re install with the 3M 5200 sealant I like the quick cure but thats just me. I had a leak that was driving me crazy it ended up being the rubrail it took me a long time to figure out where it was coming from. If it is leaking from the outdrive gasket you should be abel to see that while floating or driving, if thats the case I would replace the gasket rather than try to seal it with sealant. Just start with the drain to eliminate that then continue your search if the leak persists.

  6. #6
    Chief Petty Officer rjlipscomb's Avatar
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    Default Re: Drain plug leak

    From your initial question:
    Is the boat moored and always in the water?
    Is there water in the bilge while the boat is moored and just sitting in the water?
    Or, is the water only found while/after running it for a while?
    If, its only after running the boat, maybe you should let it idle and check for engine water leaks (simple starting point).

    RJLipscomb
    2005 Glastron GX-255
    Volvo 5.7 Gi-E w/ DP-SM

  7. #7
    Seaman Apprentice
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    Default Re: Drain plug leak

    We live in Nova Scotia and have a cottage in Cavendish, P.E.I. Usually we travel over on a Friday night, spend the weekend at the cottage and return Sunday night. Our cottage is not on the water but we are 5 minutes away from a small seasonal marina. The likely plan would be to drop the boat Friday night and moor the boat until Sunday night. Obviously a water tight unattended boat would be desirable!!!!!

    First step will be to pull the drain plug/flange. I assume it is well sealed and wonder how much effort it is to PRY out. Should I carefully heat it with a propane torch before attempting to pull it out of the boat?

    The last comment made me think. I really do not know if the bilge water accumulation is a hull leak or an engine leak. The boat is in my driveway. What do you think if I put muffs on the engine and run it? I realize I can only run the boat at low RPMs. Do you thinks this would approximate the real (high RPM driving on the water) world sufficiently to make it worth the effort??

  8. #8
    Senior Chief Petty Officer
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    Default Re: Drain plug leak

    It won't hurt to run it on the muffs and see might be simple like a clamp dripping a bit from summerization, make sure to let it run for a bit up to operating temp, so water is flowing everywhere. Have the hose on full bore to get as much pumping through as possible. On the drain take a single edge rasor blade once the screws are out and help it around the edge by cutting the sealant, once it is a bit loose you may be abel to screw the plug back in and grab the plug with some vise grips to help pull it out. Again if you are planning on using it soon check the cure time of your sealant some of it takes a long time to set up.

  9. #9
    Petty Officer 3rd Class
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    Default Re: Drain plug leak

    Have the transom inspected begore another outing.
    I had a similar "leak" on my first boat when I bought it. Turns out the transom was rotted and water was seeping in. A bad transom can be dangerous. Rotted transom inside new gel coat can be hard to see unless you check closely.

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