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Old 08-01-2021, 09:26 PM   #1
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Mysterious Substance in Bilge

I was looking at a 1978 Marine Trader 34 the other day. The bilges were dry and clean with the exception of the area where the stern tube enters the boat. I don't know what was in there, but it looked as if someone had thrown in a bucket of mud that had been left to dry over time. The final result was what looked like poorly mixed concrete that had weathered with time and was crumbling away.

Does anyone have a clue what this might be? hopefully a surveyor will have some insight, but before I put an offer on the boat I thought I would start here first and see if the great trawler hive mind has any thoughts.

If nothing else it should be entertaining to see what the guesses are.

Thanks.
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Old 08-02-2021, 07:13 AM   #2
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Does the shower empty to that part of the bilge?
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Old 08-02-2021, 07:17 AM   #3
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You mentioned poorly mixed concrete, that may be exactly what it is. May have been a cheap fix to get the deck to drain better or adjust the boat's trim.
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Old 08-02-2021, 07:30 AM   #4
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Not sure, but the mystery substance is near where the aft shower would drain. However, it isn't a layer at the bottom of the bilge. It is a pile; sort of like someone had dumped a bucket of material there. I thought about concrete ballast, but there just isn't enough of it. The amount that I was able to see wouldn't have made the smallest change to the trim of the boat.
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Old 08-02-2021, 07:36 AM   #5
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My bet is if it surrounds (up, down, left, right) the stern tube at the front where your packing is...especially if a small pile right under there...it might be packing material.


I have occasions where different reasons created a lot of packing that would ooze out when running.


If it's more than a small pile and the rest is more than just a coating (but can look like more if area is rough to begin with)...then bet's off.
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Old 08-02-2021, 07:42 AM   #6
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Originally Posted by R. Bush View Post
Not sure, but the mystery substance is near where the aft shower would drain. However, it isn't a layer at the bottom of the bilge. It is a pile; sort of like someone had dumped a bucket of material there. I thought about concrete ballast, but there just isn't enough of it. The amount that I was able to see wouldn't have made the smallest change to the trim of the boat.

Sand or clay from a grounding? If they ran hard aground in an area with a lot of mud or clay, and went hard in reverse it would have forced it into the stuffing joint and it's just dripped out over time.
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Old 08-02-2021, 08:02 AM   #7
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My bet is if it surrounds (up, down, left, right) the stern tube at the front where your packing is...especially if a small pile right under there...it might be packing material.


I have occasions where different reasons created a lot of packing that would ooze out when running.


If it's more than a small pile and the rest is more than just a coating (but can look like more if area is rough to begin with)...then bet's off.

The stern tube extends about a meter into the boat from where it passes thru the hull to the stuffing box. The pile of questionable material is located where the tube enters the boat, and is well away from the stuffing box. The bilge and the material are both dry, so leaking around the stern tube doesn't seem to be an issue. There is a substantial amount of material - I would guess about a large bucks worth.

Wish I could post a picture. I took one for that very purpose, but it just didn't come out.

Thanks guys for all the guesses!
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Old 08-02-2021, 09:59 AM   #8
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Maybe it is some sort of sealant used to seal the stern tube and they pushed a ton of it in there.
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Old 08-02-2021, 10:23 AM   #9
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Maybe it is some sort of sealant used to seal the stern tube and they pushed a ton of it in there.
I sincerely hope that you are not right. The answer to that question alone could be worth the cost of a survey.
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Old 08-02-2021, 11:18 AM   #10
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How to post pictures:
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Old 08-02-2021, 12:14 PM   #11
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Yes, a photo or two would help.
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