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Old 28-05-2016, 09:54   #1
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Looking for advice -- 4 year old boat -- is it a lemon?

I have a 4 year old boat. Last year, the transmission failed -- the infamous SD50 slippage problem. I had the saildrive completely removed and rebuilt -- even though I suggested that they do the simpler in-water fix. The work was done in June of 2015.

Three weeks ago, the boat went into the water for the first time this year. Then last Saturday, we went sailing, and had a great day on the water. When we got back to the dock, we noticed that the automatic bilge pump was pumping, about once every two minutes.

We let with it pumping occasionally, and didn't get a chance to sail the next day. Two days later, my manager calls me and tells me the boat is taking on water -- evidently, he had shut the pump off the day before, and enough water came in to cover the floorboards. Why they shut it off and didn't check it is beyond me, but it happened.

In any case, they hauled the boat, emptied the water, and put fresh water in to see if it would leak out -- but nothing came out.

I'm convinced that something has failed on the saildrive seal. As it seems this is the general area where the water is coming in.

My manager tells me that neither the batteries nor the engine was submerged. I'm thinking of having a marine surveyor look at everything to make sure that is correct.

I guess my questions to the group are:

1. What can I do to reduce the damage due to water intrusion?
2. What should I do to reduce damage due to the salt water?
3. Has anyone else seen a seal like this fail after a year?
4. Is this a failure that I can file an insurance claim on?

Any advice is welcome!
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Old 01-06-2016, 13:50   #2
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Re: Looking for advice -- 4 year old boat -- is it a lemon?

I did some more searching around, and can't find anybody that has ever had problems with the diaphragm seals. Further most manufacturers suggest checking them every 2 years, but then never mention actually replacing them. Has anyone out there ever had a leak in the saildrive diaphragms? Has anybody actually replaced them as a matter of regular maintenance?
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Old 01-06-2016, 15:55   #3
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Re: Looking for advice -- 4 year old boat -- is it a lemon?

If someone removed and replaced the sail drive and the boat had not been put back into the water and the engine run until this year then it appears that the folks who did the work have not completed the job, they should have checked their work and run the engine in the water.


On your manager turning off the pump it appears that he (or she) created a liability for themselves by this action and should accept some responsibility for their actions. If they had good reason to switch it off they should have informed you.


Call your broker or the insurance company regarding a claim. Preferably the broker if you used one.


It does not really matter whether anyone else has had the problem. Whilst advice is good to have it's your problem with your particular set of circumstances.


The diaphragm thing with sail drives is the weak point from a watertight integrity viewpoint and I don't think I'd have one without it being isolated in it's own little compartment.


A dirty great noisy horn which switches on if someone disconnects your shore power and a warning tag on the lead might be the best solution to power disconnecting marina managers or other miscreants.
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Old 01-06-2016, 15:56   #4
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Re: Looking for advice -- 4 year old boat -- is it a lemon?

Hi.

Stupid question from an ignorant... You leave the boat knowing something isn't right as the bilge pump is working (water getting in) and don't think about till you get a call two days later?

I check my pump (activate it manually for 5 seconds) every time I leave it over night but maybe I'm crazy. In all fairness, if I leave the pumps on auto and water gets in, sooner or later the batteries will depleat anyway.

That's probably why I remove the battery over the winter. No pump will save the boat from sinking during 6 months.

Regarding your saildrive, I'm sorry I can't help.

Tony

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Old 01-06-2016, 17:22   #5
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Re: Looking for advice -- 4 year old boat -- is it a lemon?

Ups, didn't realise you were on shore power. Sorry.

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Old 01-06-2016, 19:37   #6
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Re: Looking for advice -- 4 year old boat -- is it a lemon?

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Originally Posted by tchavei View Post
Ups, didn't realise you were on shore power. Sorry.

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No problem. It wasn't going constantly -- it was intermittent -- a little spit every few minutes. The problem was my manager shutting it off on Sunday and not checking it until Tuesday. There were people there every day -- I knew it might be a problem, but with the power plugged in there shouldn't have been a problem.

Believe me, I will have a serious discussion with him when this is all over.

In the meantime, I'm finding it difficult to find anybody to work on this thing before the end of June -- which isn't making me happy, I have somebody that says they are willing to freelance, and I might take him up on it.

According to one Yanmar rep, these things should be replaced every two years -- which begs the question -- why didn't they when thye did the work on the cone drive last year -- I thought they had.

Now they tell me -- oh yes, replace it at 4 years -- when most people say they have never changed them.

Does anybody do this diaphragm change as a matter of course?
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Old 01-06-2016, 19:39   #7
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Re: Looking for advice -- 4 year old boat -- is it a lemon?

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Originally Posted by RaymondR View Post
If someone removed and replaced the sail drive and the boat had not been put back into the water and the engine run until this year then it appears that the folks who did the work have not completed the job, they should have checked their work and run the engine in the water.


On your manager turning off the pump it appears that he (or she) created a liability for themselves by this action and should accept some responsibility for their actions. If they had good reason to switch it off they should have informed you.


Call your broker or the insurance company regarding a claim. Preferably the broker if you used one.


It does not really matter whether anyone else has had the problem. Whilst advice is good to have it's your problem with your particular set of circumstances.


The diaphragm thing with sail drives is the weak point from a watertight integrity viewpoint and I don't think I'd have one without it being isolated in it's own little compartment.


A dirty great noisy horn which switches on if someone disconnects your shore power and a warning tag on the lead might be the best solution to power disconnecting marina managers or other miscreants.
They didn't disconnect the power. We generally leave everything unlocked because there are plenty of people around all of the time. He went on board and shut off the auto-bilge switch -- which I had purposely left in that position.

And I was going to call my manager that morning anyhow and discuss the problem with him.
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Old 01-06-2016, 20:52   #8
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Re: Looking for advice -- 4 year old boat -- is it a lemon?

What you can do is get a little more retro-active about your boat. If the bilge is cycling...CHECK IT OUT! Don't worry...soap and water washes dirt off your hands. "In any case, they hauled the boat, emptied the water, and put fresh water in to see if it would leak out -- but nothing came out". well that's an insane way of checking for a leak!
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Old 01-06-2016, 21:31   #9
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Re: Looking for advice -- 4 year old boat -- is it a lemon?

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Originally Posted by Celestialsailor View Post
What you can do is get a little more retro-active about your boat. If the bilge is cycling...CHECK IT OUT! Don't worry...soap and water washes dirt off your hands. "In any case, they hauled the boat, emptied the water, and put fresh water in to see if it would leak out -- but nothing came out". well that's an insane way of checking for a leak!
Not that insane -- you have to get the salt water out anyhow, by flushing with fresh water -- so if you see a leak at the same time, then you get a lead as to where it is coming from.
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Old 01-06-2016, 23:32   #10
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Re: Looking for advice -- 4 year old boat -- is it a lemon?

If the pumps were cycling at an accelerated rate, then a search with a flashlight in any area where a water connection is present. You don't just observe that water is coming in a boat, shrug your shoulders, then go home (When we got back to the dock, we noticed that the automatic bilge pump was pumping, about once every two minutes..) This is a noticeable leak by any definition.
This is reminding me of another thread going on right now on the forum...
What ever happen to the REAL cruisers?
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