When it rains it pours (Transom Assembly leak)

J3ffJ3ff Posts: 1,929Member ✭✭✭✭
I'm at a fork in the road here. 

After spending the $ to bring the boat to the keys it is seriously hampering that relaxation and rest thing that is supposed to be indicative of living there. 

Since getting here

- 2000 dollar bill for damage fiber glass repair from unloading it off of a trailer on a super steep ramp (whoops)
- 4100 dollar bill for replacement of gimball bearing, some gears in the out drive and a new prop shaft seal. 

I thought I was home free and could finally focus on the leak from the top deck. However, after a week of being at the dock I stepped on the boat and the bilge pump immediately kicks on. This is a boat that hasn't had that happen in three years of ownership (assuming there hasn't been any rain, which there has not). First thought "Oh ****".

After countless attempts of finding the leak, it seemed like it might have been the bilge plug housing (because what yard could mess up screwing in a plug right?) Took the boat 25 mins to the closest marina (original marina that did the work is 75 mins away) and for 200 bucks they took it out, cleaned it out and put in a bilge plug housing and new plug. Here's where the real kick in the *** comes. 

The boat of course was dry when they put it back in. However after the ride back and 2 hours at the dock, it had 5 gallons of water in it again!!!

Spent a couple hours last night rigging up a second bilge pump and trying to find where it may be coming in. It's hard to swallow that it may be the transom assembly, but that's my best guess. This Transom assembly was replaced 3 years ago to the tune of $3000 + labor. 

This is where I can see water coming in, this is on the inside transom looking towards the stern... I've got a video of it where it's clear as day. It wasn't this defined the first time I did the get in the engine bay and swear all evening routine. However now it is. 



So the fork in the road is - sell it/trade in (at a heavy discount advertising the problem 100% truthful) or after all these issues, get it fixed?

Just as a reminder, the motor and transom assembly were replaced to the tune of $20,000 the first month I owned it, 3 years ago. Is there any other possible resolution to this problem other than needing a new transom assembly? 

Keep in mind that the gimball bearing went bad prematurely and water was found in the main bellow when they did the service a few weeks ago. So maybe it's been leaking the whole time and only gotten worse after the trip down... who knows. Looking for any thoughts and guidance. This morning I'm trying to find someone to come pick it up and put it in a dry stack anywhere so I'm not pulling my hair out 1500 miles away over Thanksgiving. 


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Comments

  • PickleRickPickleRick Posts: 532Member ✭✭
    I cant 100% tell from pics, is it coming in where the transom is sandwiched between the inner and outer halves of the outdrive housing or could it be coming in from the shifter cable, exhaust housing, water hose or the u joint baffle?    (Im more familiar with how the alpha drive attaches)  

    If its the between the 2 halves and she's wood cored she needs disassembly and dried out for a good while,  the Florida heat is good for that but the Florida humidity is not.  Is indoor temp controlled storage an option?  Is covered storage an option?  Just using a humidifier and enclosing the engine bay with painters tape, painters plastic could do the trick.  If this is not wood cored none of this is relevant.
  • J3ffJ3ff Posts: 1,929Member ✭✭✭✭
    edited November 21
    In this video you can see a drop of water form around the 12 second mark... It doesn't actually drop but that appears to be because it's part of a tiny stream flowing down the rear of the engine bay. It's a 4k video and will need some time to encode up to HD.. the drop appears on the left side of the light from the flashlight. 

    https://photos.app.goo.gl/aYJaQtXXoAbWHuvD6
  • PickleRickPickleRick Posts: 532Member ✭✭
    Im watching on a phone that fits in a pocket so I cant tell 100% from the video.  It's something that would make me worry.   





  • aero3113aero3113 Long Island, NYPosts: 2,897Member ✭✭✭✭✭
    I know it’s tough to see, but is it possible it’s coming from the steering pin and dripping down the side of the transom assembly to the bottom.
  • J3ffJ3ff Posts: 1,929Member ✭✭✭✭
    edited November 21
    Anything is possible at this point. I'm done messing with it for a while. Dry stack either tomorrow or Saturday and going to forget about it for a while. Maybe a hurricane will come take it away ;) 
    Post edited by J3ff on
  • PickleRickPickleRick Posts: 532Member ✭✭
    edited November 21
    Lol...ill trade you for a fully serviced 235.
  • Handymans342Handymans342 Posts: 7,756Member ✭✭✭✭✭
    Just live with it. Your boat wont sink
  • PickleRickPickleRick Posts: 532Member ✭✭
    Just live with it. Your boat wont sink
    The capt. of the titanic felt about the same
  • Handymans342Handymans342 Posts: 7,756Member ✭✭✭✭✭
    Just live with it. Your boat wont sink
    The capt. of the titanic felt about the same
    That wasnt a drip LOL
  • Black_DiamondBlack_Diamond Holland, MichiganPosts: 4,711Member ✭✭✭✭✭
    Just did 2 seacore transom assemblies here. Cha-ching. 

    2003 342FV "Black Diamond", 350 MAG MPI, 20P 4x4 Props, PC BYC, Holland, MI
  • AlswaggAlswagg Posts: 2,579Member ✭✭✭✭✭
    I just placed an order for a complete Sea Core transom assembly today.  The damaged transom was from a broken U joint causing the gimbal bearing / bellows flange to be damaged.  The gimbal ring and steering pin is tight and not worn out.  This transom has just over 1,100 hrs    14 months old 
  • J3ffJ3ff Posts: 1,929Member ✭✭✭✭
    edited November 22
    So that's probably why I'm going to sell this boat cheap and never go I/O again. How can Mercruiser get away with this crap? I had an OMC cobra drive. At some point it stopped shifting correctly, but you know what that 1985 boat never did? LEAK ANYWHERE! 

    Who wants a 2004 270 with a 383 stroker w/ 150 hours on it and a 1 week old rebuilt outdrive and bellows that has some kind of leak from the exhaust (that requires engine removal to fix) and a leak from one of the port windows for 10k? Make me an offer.  I'll even leave Diggin's custom table steps and lights. That's how angry this makes me right now. 
  • rasburyrasbury Sanford, FLPosts: 5,621Member ✭✭✭✭✭
    edited November 22
    Ok so I have been through this. And yes, it is a wood cored transom. All I can offer is some random thoughts and have to say I'm really sorry your still having problems and hope your not the victim of crappy repairs.,first, if a new transom asy was put in then I'd say there is no way that is your problem- unless you have struck something.
     
    I'm concerned you have a new transom asy and yet you have already replaced a gimbal bearing? That should not be. Would sound like the motor was not aligned - it's a pretty simple set up really.

    So where can it be leaking?
    If you have a new transom asy then I would assume you have a new steering pin and seal so you can kind of rule that out. That area is visible to inspect. You can sprinkle the area with powder and see if you see anything.

    How about your speedometer tube where it comes through the transom? Another area you can visually inspect and see, try a little powder again.

    Further down the transom asy it's kind of hard to see. When I put mine back together, I could not get the boot for the shift cable to stay on for crap! I used the bellows adhesive and Everytime I tried to tighten the clamp it would just work itself off. There should be a lip on the casting for the gimbal and shift cable boots for the clamp to secure against. The exhaust bellows itself will not cause a leak but there is a seal on the y pipe that could be leaking if it was not tourqued properly. And lastly, you have the bellows for the gimbal which sounds like a recent repair. With the out drive in the trailer position you can get a pretty good look at all the bellows which do sound like the are all new so a tear should not be an issue but if they are not secured properly, they will leak. The last thing I can think of is the seal on the out side of the transom is kind of hard to keep in place while getting the two half's together. But , it's been months since all the other repairs were done so I would really look at the boots on the out side and see if one may have worked itself off a bit. You also have a manifold where are your trim hoses meet on the bottom of your out drive- if that was not sealed properly there is another spot.

    For me, I could never afford our boat ( and saying I can afford it under any circumstances sounds silly) if I took it to the shop. You sound like a pretty handy fellow and if not this boat, another could have similar issues...you have a new motor, a new transom asy and perhaps a rebuilt out drive- you have a new boat. Get that thing out of the water and look. Run a bead of sealant around the transom asy on the outside- start ruling out where it is leaking man!
  • J3ffJ3ff Posts: 1,929Member ✭✭✭✭
    Thanks Rasbury, just frustrated with it right now. A mechanic stopped by today and when he called me I was in the middle of something so I didn't catch exactly what he said but he definitely mentioned exhaust something. So it could be the Y pipe you are talking about. He did say the motor has to come out to really nail it down. I'm going to swing by his shop tomorrow and thank him for coming out (for free) and offer to pay him for his time. He is too far away to bring it back up there and also super booked. So for now I've ordered a tarp to cover it while in the stack (hopefully to stop the water from coming in from the topside)... they require a month rental at the least, so I'll unload it Saturday and drop it off Sunday... then go have thanksgiving and try to figure it out. 

    The main problem with doing this myself is I am in an apartment on the water, with no trailer. A truck wouldn't be a problem, but the trailer would, nobody seems to "rent" trailers and I could buy one, but then I'd have to pay to store it...which I'd prefer not to. 

    Up North this was simple and cheaper..can you believe it?  May the boat went in, Nov the boat came out. Plenty of space anywhere you wanted to go... not much cheaper but not crazy like it is here! (600 for a month in a dry stack??!?)..

    Either way, thank you for your words, I'll report back after chatting w/ the mechanic tomorrow. 
  • rasburyrasbury Sanford, FLPosts: 5,621Member ✭✭✭✭✭
    edited November 22
    It could be real simple...I thought you had a trailer...Lord I went through it with mine having no real experience with any of this and just had to figure it out. I would never be without a trailer. It will have to come out of the water at the least..pulling the motor is not a big deal but don't know what they charge per hour. I would tend to think you have a bellows or the trim manifold leaking at this point.

    Good luck, I feel for ya!
  • rasburyrasbury Sanford, FLPosts: 5,621Member ✭✭✭✭✭
    PS I store on a trailer for 100 bucks a month...real estate in the keys however is not cheap..
  • J3ffJ3ff Posts: 1,929Member ✭✭✭✭
    Will check out how much trailer storage is... just don't have the time right now... have to get it out of the water and head north for the holiday. 
  • rasburyrasbury Sanford, FLPosts: 5,621Member ✭✭✭✭✭
    Have a good holiday...figure it out when you can...
  • raybo3raybo3 Revere MAPosts: 4,307Moderator mod
    I wont tell you how much both of mine were over a 2 year period. You would be scared. 
    2002 342 Fiesta Vee PC Point Of Pines YC Revere MA. popyc.org
  • Handymans342Handymans342 Posts: 7,756Member ✭✭✭✭✭
    Go outboards!!!!!
  • Dream_InnDream_Inn Annapolis, MDPosts: 5,516Member, Moderator mod
    Yes, my stern drives have sure cost me a lot too.  I've done the whole "replace both transom assemblies and everything else while you're in there".  I've also gone thru 3 new outdrives over the course of owning this boat since 2012.  I say my next boat will definitely not be I/Os, but it also means my next boat will be larger and the real pain will be that it will sit in the water 24/7...that'll cause other issues.  It's a boat!!

    Dream 'Inn III -- 2008 400 Express

  • J3ffJ3ff Posts: 1,929Member ✭✭✭✭
    Lol...ill trade you for a fully serviced 235.
    Keep talking! :) 
  • J3ffJ3ff Posts: 1,929Member ✭✭✭✭
    Dream_Inn said:
    Yes, my stern drives have sure cost me a lot too.  I've done the whole "replace both transom assemblies and everything else while you're in there".  I've also gone thru 3 new outdrives over the course of owning this boat since 2012.  I say my next boat will definitely not be I/Os, but it also means my next boat will be larger and the real pain will be that it will sit in the water 24/7...that'll cause other issues.  It's a boat!!
    After a night of rest I think the clear path will be this:
    1. Dry storage for a couple weeks to find a mechanic.
    2. Fix whatever this leak is in the engine room (and as you said, replace anything that you can while you're in there). 
    3. Fix the top side leak thats getting the carpet wet.
    4. Deep clean, fix anything that's broken.
    5. Sell in the spring. 

    Then go find an outboard powered boat with a cuddy I guess. If there's one out there that has A/C. 
  • Handymans342Handymans342 Posts: 7,756Member ✭✭✭✭✭
    There is nothing cheap when you own a boat. Whether is fuel, maintenance, repairs or insurance, or purchase costs its always something. Its the number one most expensive hobby on the planet and what it gives back in pleasure, well I'd rather get a massage with a happy ending. LMAO
  • rasburyrasbury Sanford, FLPosts: 5,621Member ✭✭✭✭✭
    edited November 22
    down in the keys what your describing is probably a more practical useful boat anyway. I still say your leak might be something very minor- we always jump to the worse conclusion and I'm guilty of that sometimes as well- with what you have done with the powertrain I'll say again you already have a new boat and really at a great price for what a new hull would cost. Anyway, you have to do what is best for you and good luck with however it comes out. And Handy, sorry you have to pay for happy endings! LMAO
  • Handymans342Handymans342 Posts: 7,756Member ✭✭✭✭✭
    Its all inclusive Ras. LOL
  • Handymans342Handymans342 Posts: 7,756Member ✭✭✭✭✭
    @J3ff. A few years back I wanted a SeaRay Amberjack for fishing and overnighting but once again they are IOs. I wonder if you could convert an IO to outboards???
  • PickleRickPickleRick Posts: 532Member ✭✭
    You can make or buy o/b brackets.  Building up the transom to handle the weight is the issue. Cheaper to just spend 10 to 20 k on a used late 90s to mid 2000s grady with newer efi motors already installed.  If you decided to resell you can break even if kept up.  Buying 2 new motors plus the conversion not many people will like or appreciate a one off rig. 

    Also, plenty of room to mount and a/c below deck at the expense of storage/bait well or cooler.

    Tons of trophies and such posting to for sale with trailer this time of year in my area for less than 10k, single ob. Although an alpha 1 gen 2 with a carbed 350 on a 23 to 25 footer would be hard to turn down.  An entire sei outdrive with 3 yr warranty is what...1400 and a long block 5.7 vortec from gm is @ 3,000
  • Liberty44140Liberty44140 Bay Village & Marblehead, OH.Posts: 2,490Member ✭✭✭✭
    @J3ff. A few years back I wanted a SeaRay Amberjack for fishing and overnighting but once again they are IOs. I wonder if you could convert an IO to outboards???
    Most of them are IO but there are v drive out there. My buddy has a v drive 29 amberjack with 350s and it handles rough seas like a 34 or bigger, nice boat! 
    Wine-N-Down -- 2006 342 Express Cruiser

  • Handymans342Handymans342 Posts: 7,756Member ✭✭✭✭✭
    @PickleRick I dont think I have ever been in a Grady that has a big enough V berth for two grown adults to sleep on. 
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