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Old 04-03-2019, 03:30 PM   #1
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Water in Bilge

Hey you Mechanics, I have about 1.5" of water in bilge on a regular basis in my Mainship 30 Pilot. Ive read in different articles that this is actually normal and these intermittent drops verify the seal is operating as designed. Any thoughts ?
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Old 04-03-2019, 03:49 PM   #2
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Where is the water coming from? From the stuffing box or other general leaks. If it isnt the stuffing box you can lay out paper towels where you suspect the leaks are. One the paper towel gets wet it will be easy to see even if it dries out before you check it. If it is the stuffing box then you need to determine if it is leaking at rest or just when the boat is running. Unless it is a dripless box it should leak while the boat is running and neither type of box should leak while the boat is at rest.
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Old 04-03-2019, 03:54 PM   #3
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Also the depth will be determined by the compartment and bulge pump placement. If conventional stuffing box it will never be dry. If the pump is towards or at the aft end of the compartment you will likely be able to get more water out when running it but it will never be dry.
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Old 04-03-2019, 04:33 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Skyboss View Post
Hey you Mechanics, I have about 1.5" of water in bilge on a regular basis in my Mainship 30 Pilot. Ive read in different articles that this is actually normal and these intermittent drops verify the seal is operating as designed. Any thoughts ?

If you have a traditional stuffing box, intermittent drips might be the norm. If you have dripless shaft seals, you could aspire to a completely dry bilge... absent other factors. Which do you have?

If the latter, water would more likely be coming from someplace else. And the next question would be is it fresh water, or sea water? Slight leak in the freshwater piping or water heater? Raw water leak someplace else in your main engine cooling system? Slight leak in your AC raw water system? Et cetera...

And then there's that part about the bilge pump likely leaving a little bit behind...

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Old 04-03-2019, 04:37 PM   #5
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I agree with others--find the source of the water. My bilge is bone dry sans the very small amount of water coming from the traditional stuffing box, which is mainly when she's underway.
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Old 04-03-2019, 04:46 PM   #6
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Hey you Mechanics, I have about 1.5" of water in bilge on a regular basis in my Mainship 30 Pilot. Ive read in different articles that this is actually normal and these intermittent drops verify the seal is operating as designed. Any thoughts ?
The water you have in your bilge may or may not be completely normal. A traditional stuffing box should drip when underway but not when stopped. That said, there are new types of packing made for traditional stuffing boxes that barely drip at all.

You say you have about 1.5" of water in the bilge, but is it all coming from the stuffing box? There are multiple other places it could be coming from including leaks you may wish to address. For example it could also be coming from leaking fresh water tanks, AC condensate, shower sump, or various hatches. Not to mention leaking raw water lines.

I prefer a dry bilge, so in my case, I have the newer high tech stuffing box packing and have placed plastic containers under my stuffing boxes to catch the small amount of dripping that I still allow to occur. When I did this, it started to highlight the "other" sources of water that were collecting in the bilge. I re-routed the AC condensate lines to the shower sump and found a fitting that needed to be tightened on one of my fresh water tanks.

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Old 04-03-2019, 08:42 PM   #7
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I wish I had dry bilges. I don’t. There is always a small amount of water. I can suck it all up but it will be back in a week. My bilge pumps never cycle, how do I know, I have counters on them. I can only assume that it is some form of condensation or a leak rate equivalent to the evaporation rate.
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Old 04-04-2019, 11:16 AM   #8
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The whole idea of the hull is to keep the water out. Unless it is made of wood or you have stuffing boxes, the water is wrong. Find the leak.
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Old 04-04-2019, 02:45 PM   #9
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If it’s fresh, check your rub rail aka join strip. You may have some missing caulking and are shipping rain or wash down water. Scuppers and drain hoses are also a source.
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Old 04-04-2019, 03:52 PM   #10
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When I bought my MS34T (10 years old, 500 hrs), it had 3 freshwater leaks to the bilge; shower valve was a factory build issue, dockside freshwater connection was also a factory build issue, and an intermittent shower sump float valve failure.
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Old 04-04-2019, 04:02 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Skyboss View Post
Hey you Mechanics, I have about 1.5" of water in bilge on a regular basis in my Mainship 30 Pilot. Ive read in different articles that this is actually normal and these intermittent drops verify the seal is operating as designed. Any thoughts ?

First things first...fresh water or salt water?


Yes...this means you'll have to taste it -- unless you want to buy a salinity test.
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Old 04-04-2019, 04:45 PM   #12
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Go to your local pet store and buy a cheap hydrometer. The meter will interpret whether you have fresh- or salt water and all densities in between.
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Old 04-04-2019, 07:28 PM   #13
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I had water in my AT34 ER bilge. I traced to a plugged A/C condensate line aka A/C pan drain. Blew the line out and now back to an always a dry bilge in the ER.

In contrast, my N46 had flax shaft seal packing. I always had a certain amount of water in the bilge. I just had to accept that. SHRUG
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Old 04-05-2019, 08:55 AM   #14
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I thought water in the Bildge was normal. My current boat had a bad shower sump so the shower water would drain to the Bildge. I recently put a new one in so Im curious to see if it changes the amount of water in the Bildge.

But like I said I just thought it was normal.
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Old 04-05-2019, 08:59 AM   #15
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For some boats in some climates it's hard to keep them dry.


Some boats like mine, rain comes in engine room vents at the very least. As water temps change, drips at the old style stuffing boxes may start.
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Old 04-05-2019, 10:40 AM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Steve91T View Post
I thought water in the Bildge was normal. My current boat had a bad shower sump so the shower water would drain to the Bildge. I recently put a new one in so Im curious to see if it changes the amount of water in the Bildge.

But like I said I just thought it was normal.

For some boats it *can* be normal to have water in the bilge. Some boats are designed where the shower drains into the bilge, others have the AC condensate draining into the bilge, etc. Some sources of bilge water aren't normal at all, like stuffing boxes that drip all the time, leaking tanks or hatches, etc. One negative effect of always having water in the bilge is that water leaks that *should* be detected and corrected can go unnoticed. Another is having water in the bilge adds moisture to the inside of the boat all the time which can contribute to mold. With varying amounts of effort most any boat can be made to be a totally dry boat.



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Old 04-06-2019, 05:55 AM   #17
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A dripping stuffing box was the norm 50-75 years ago , tho copper tubing and a grease cup , and a half turn would solve the dripping after boat use.

Today with Duramax or similar modern packing there is no need for constant dripping underway or anchored..
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Old 04-12-2019, 03:24 PM   #18
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Water in bilge

We have a MS Pilot 34 and i found water under the starboard engine, long story short MS did s poor job caulking the hull /deck joint and it allowed water from the spray hitting the joint to enter the bilge. A quick bead of caulk along the joint ended the water intrusion.
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Old 04-12-2019, 05:48 PM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Skyboss View Post
Hey you Mechanics, I have about 1.5" of water in bilge on a regular basis in my Mainship 30 Pilot. Ive read in different articles that this is actually normal and these intermittent drops verify the seal is operating as designed. Any thoughts ?
Check your mufflers to see whether they are leaking. I had a pin hole leak in my fibreglass units which slowly filled the bilge.

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Old 04-12-2019, 08:23 PM   #20
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I have dripless shafts on mine, so stuffing boxes aren’t an issue. But do you run AC and does it drain into the bilge?? You would be surprised at the condensate accumulation over time. An acquaintance had a recent purchase (same boat as mine) from a deceased estate without any handover or knowledge and used the AC a lot for several months. I met him while anchored and got asked about wet carpet in the breezeway. The bilge pump ran for 30 mins pumping it dry.

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