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2005 Hunter 36 Bilge

drm1

.
Sep 13, 2020
12
Hunter 36 50 Point
Hi everyone,

My bilge seems to be wet most of the time. I live about an hour away from the Marina, and every weekend when I arrived at the boat there was water in the bilge, sometimes quite a lot. I'd pump it out with a hand pump only to have a wet bilge again the following weekend.

On the hard now since it's winter here, but looking forward to getting in the water in April and thinking about my wet bilge ....

I'd appreciate any ideas that anyone has.
 
Jan 22, 2008
226
Hunter 34 Herrington South, MD
You have a leak.

Not to be flip but you need to have a friend with a hose spray different areas while you watch inside. I found deck plates for water and waste had deteriorated gaskets. Fixes ports had marine sealant let loose. Anchor chain drain hose busted. And hose that takes in water and drains out a thru hull may have a loop which stores water and breaks as the water freezes. These are some of the places I found leaks
 
Jan 4, 2006
3,295
Hunter 310 West Vancouver, B.C.
Keep an eye on the bilge now that the boat's on the hard. This will tell whether the leak is above or below the water line.
 
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Likes: tfox2069

drm1

.
Sep 13, 2020
12
Hunter 36 50 Point
Thanks Ralph. Will do. It's shrink wrapped now so its dry, but once the shrink wrap comes off it will be a good test.
 
Mar 20, 2004
1,622
Hunter 356 and 216 Portland, ME
You didn't say what year your 36 is, but the above suggestions are good to start. Older boats may have leaks around the fixed ports and almost anywhere caulk was used. Escape on delivery had leaks around the hull to deck joint under the rubrail; water on deck would run under the rubrail and come out inside. One particular bad spot was on the bottom of the sugar scoop; backing into my slip would put water in my otherwise dry stern lockers, as would anything that lifted the bow (spinnaker run or full throttle)!
 
Dec 19, 2006
5,702
Hunter 36 Punta Gorda
When back in water put paper towels different places to see where it’s coming from.
 
Jan 22, 2008
226
Hunter 34 Herrington South, MD
Keep an eye on the bilge now that the boat's on the hard. This will tell whether the leak is above or below the water line.
I used a pool chlorine test strip to see if the bilge water matched the Bay water vs rain water
 
Jan 4, 2006
3,295
Hunter 310 West Vancouver, B.C.
I used a pool chlorine test strip to see if the bilge water matched the Bay water vs rain water
Which was it ?

Actually, I don't see how either liquid would have a chlorine content. Bay water would have a CHLORIDE content which is a whole 'nother story from CHLORINE content. Go ahead and be non-tech and taste the bilge water. What doesn't kill you makes you stronger.
 
Last edited:
Jan 22, 2008
226
Hunter 34 Herrington South, MD
I called them Cholorine strips but they measure pH which is actually what you want to look at. Rain water and Bay water have different pHs. Sorry for the confusion.

I never had to taste the bilge water since before I opened up the false bilge on my H34, there was 30+ years of stagnating water that you could smell.
 
Jan 22, 2008
226
Hunter 34 Herrington South, MD
Rain water, the bottom is fine. Our biggest leak was from the anchor locker drain hose that had a loop before going overboard. In the winter it would fill with water and freeze.
anchor locker drain.jpeg
 
Jan 7, 2011
2,316
Oday 322 East Chicago, IN
Hi everyone,

My bilge seems to be wet most of the time. I live about an hour away from the Marina, and every weekend when I arrived at the boat there was water in the bilge, sometimes quite a lot. I'd pump it out with a hand pump only to have a wet bilge again the following weekend.

On the hard now since it's winter here, but looking forward to getting in the water in April and thinking about my wet bilge ....

I'd appreciate any ideas that anyone has.
I assume you have an automatic bilge pump on a 36 foot boat....and are just using a hand pump to try and get as much water out as possible?

Greg
 

drm1

.
Sep 13, 2020
12
Hunter 36 50 Point
I assume you have an automatic bilge pump on a 36 foot boat....and are just using a hand pump to try and get as much water out as possible?

Greg
Yes, that's true. The hand pump is just to get the last bit of water out of the bilge below what the automatic bilge pump will drain.
 
Apr 8, 2011
322
Hunter 36 Deale, MD
Agree with the other posters - determine if its fresh or salt water (although its possible its BOTH). One thing to check if you're getting leakage only while in the water - your stuffing box. I have a 2009 H36, so very similar to yours. The factory stuffing box is the standard deal with packing compressed against the shaft that should leak only a few drops per minute when the shaft is turning. Otherwise it shouldn't be leaking. Its very easy to check on your boat as its underneath the first mattress in the aft stateroom bunk under the center access board. If that's leaking while the shaft is at rest then you'll need to either tighten the packing, or if you've never replaced it, do so. Its a PITA, but your access is pretty good compared to a lot of boats, and the cost to DIY is very minimal, including buying the picks you'll need from Harbor Freight to get the old stuffing out. You CAN do it in the water, but I'd highly recommend doing it out of the water. And if the packing has never been changed, do it now while its out of the water as a winter project.

FYI, I bought the correctly sized wrenches for the stuffing box, which made working with the nuts much easier than rough pipe wrenches. They're not cheap, but you know you're not going to round off a soft nut when you crank on it after applying PBBlaster to break up the inevitable corrosion. Let PBBlaster have the time to do its job, maybe even multiple applications, and you'll be rewarded.

If you resolve that and still have a leak, keep looking.
 

drm1

.
Sep 13, 2020
12
Hunter 36 50 Point
Thanks tfox. Yes I was wondering about the stuffing box as a potential leak point. I don't think its ever been changed. The boat has only ever been freshwater sailed. Is there a way I can tell by looking at it to see if it needs replacement? Sounds like maybe I should just do it to eliminate the variable.
 
Apr 8, 2011
322
Hunter 36 Deale, MD
Thanks tfox. Yes I was wondering about the stuffing box as a potential leak point. I don't think its ever been changed. The boat has only ever been freshwater sailed. Is there a way I can tell by looking at it to see if it needs replacement? Sounds like maybe I should just do it to eliminate the variable.
There's no way out of the water you can tell if the stuffing box needs adjusting or replacement. Once in the water you can tell if its dripping at rest, as I mentioned previously.

Agree with you that its probably past time to change your stuffing out. If you do, recommend you tighten the nuts just slightly - maybe gently hand tight - and then be prepared when the boat is still in the slings at launch to go below and tighten JUST until the water stops dripping. Then you'll want to check it while underway with the engine to ensure its dripping slightly, but not when at rest. The packing will need some settling/wearing in, so expect to tighten it just a little bit a few times, and then just check it periodically.

Good luck!
 
Jan 4, 2006
3,295
Hunter 310 West Vancouver, B.C.
I don't think its ever been changed.
If it hasn't been changed since 2009 and you don't know the type of packing or its condition, now that the boat's out of water would be the ideal time to change the packing material. It's doubtful you'll be able to tighten it properly once you're back in the water and you don't want to try to change it in the water if it's eleven years old.

It's not going to be a fun job but take it slowly and you'll live to tell us all about it :mad: !
 
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Likes: Tally Ho
Dec 25, 2000
4,741
Hunter Passage 42 Shelter Bay, WA
I'd appreciate any ideas that anyone has.
Before replacing the stuffing box packing consider what others have suggested and that is to tighten the box a flat or two. Odds are the packing material is still in good condition. What I do is tighten it by hand then one flat tighter with a wrench. Even when I replace ours every seven years, the material is almost like new.

When you splash, the packing will have dried out during the winter so good chance it will leak some until it becomes soaked and swells with water. One other note, when you loosen the box, apply some anti-seize lubricant to the box threads and lock nut face. I'm assuming you have the standard bronze stuffing box and the anti-seize lubricant will help to prevent the box and nut from seizing between adjustments.