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Blodeuwedd
Blodeuwedd

Posted: Fri Apr 24, 2009 10:13am

Post Subject: enigne bilge

Hi I seem to have a lot of water in my engine bilge. I'm new to boating and have just got my first boat. At the end of its first journey (lasting a week) from where I bought it to where it's now moored, I noticed that although the back bilge compartment (where the non automatic bilge pump is) was almost empty there was what seems like a huge amount of water sloshing around the rest of the engine room. I've bailed a lot of it out into containers (three large buckets) but there's still loads more. I've been reading threads about filtering this water and cleaning up with sawdust etc but I'm really puzzled about how this much water has come to be there. The level doesn't seem to be rising so I don't think its a leak. Did I not pump my bilge often enough whilst travelling, and it overflowed into the engine room? I just filled up my water tank, could that somehow have overflowed and run down to the back of the boat? Is it likely to be coming in whilst I'm in reverse somehow? Its a large job to clean it all up as its got oil in it from under the engine. How can I ensure I don't get this problem again after I've cleaned it all out?

Tony-B
Tony-B

Posted: Fri Apr 24, 2009 10:45am

Post Subject: enigne bilge

Dear Annwen,The first question is did you check the water down there before setting out? If so and the bilge was fairly dry thats one thing, but its quiet another if the bilge was full already. I also need to know if the boat has an "all in one" bilge as older boats tended to, or separate cabin and engine area bilges. If its the latter then the water tank can not have anything to do with the engine bilge, but could leak into the cabin bilge. If its an all in one bilge then a leaking water tank would tend to fill the lowest part of the bilge, usually around the engine. I am assuming this is a rear engined boat. Under the engine you have to have a sealed "bilge area" that is known as a drip tray and unless you take precautions this will tend to contain water with a mixture of oil and fuel floating on the top. This is normal and is nothing to worry about if the areas around this are clean and fairly dry. If the whole rear end is covered in oil then the water level has, at some time, been higher then the sides of the engine drip tray. This could be from rain leaking in, a leaking weed hatch cover, or a leaking stern gland. If someone has been topping the engine header tank right up to the top every day this would also tend to fill the drip tray until it overflows. The first thing to do is to check the points I have raised. Inspect the weed hatch cover whilst running at about 1200 revs in gear and tied up. If its gong to leak it will leak then. Also check to see if any self draining channels for the cockpit are blocked. Once you clean out the drip tray make sure you do not overfill the cooling system and also put a oil absorbent mat or bilge blanket into the tray. Make sure you choose one that only absorbers oil. This will absorb any oil or fuel leaks and leave any water in a state the can be sponged out (say weekly or less) and disposed of along the hedge line. It will have only tiny amounts of oil in it so its quiet safe to do this. The only way to ensure you do not get it again is to be vigilant so you know when you will have to pump the rear bilge and when some form of leak is developing. Tony Brooks

Blodeuwedd
Blodeuwedd

Posted: Sun Apr 26, 2009 10:01pm

Post Subject: enigne bilge

Thanks very much, that was useful. I think I've sorted the problem. First I had a better inspection of the bilges and discovered that they were all connected and that the water went quite a way up the boat (as I found an inspection hole in the bathroom). I also had a really good look at my water tank and saw that the hole through which I'd been filling it didn't line up properly with the hose into the tank. So, every time I'd filled the tank water had been overflowing into the boat. The engine bilge had been overwhelmed by the water and the results a huge oily mess! Getting rid of the oily water was a challenge, and took most of the weekend but I now have clean dry bilges (I used sawdust to soak up the last of it) and am satisfied there is no leak. Thank you for the pointers, I will definitely get an oil absorbent blanket for under the engine. I'm determined to keep a better eye on my engine bilge and fingers crossed it won't overflow like that again.

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