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Can't find the source of water in bilge - H33

Oct 13, 2016
61
Hunter 33 Kingston
Since launching in early June, I keep finding water in the bilge and I can't find the source. I am pumping roughly a bucket a day. Water is clean. I did a test where I vacuumed the bilge dry while at the dock and it stayed dry for about a week. The minute we left the dock water started rising again. The stuffing box isn't leaking. No water in the pan under the engine. No water in the pan where all the thru hulls are located. The next compartment where the shower drain pump is located is also bone dry. No indication of any leaks at the hot water tank or fresh water pump. I'm on vacation so I check the bilge morning and night and I drain about half a bucket each time. It's the first time this has happened since we bought the boat 3 years ago. At this point I wonder if the water could be coming from the keel bolts but I think it's unlikely. I don't know how the through hulls are installed on these boats. Is there anything accessible under the pan?

Wondering if anyone out there has experienced anything similar. It's a real head scratcher.
 
Jan 19, 2010
8,494
Hunter 26 Charleston
You did a taste test... which implies you are in salt water. But you didn't say if the taste was salty. You said it was clean so I'll assume it was not salty. If that is the case then it is not your keel bolts, stuffing box or through hulls or the water would be salty. The only other sources would be an onboard water tank... or if you are at a slip and hooked up to water then it could be a crack in a water line. BTW: if you are hooked up to on-shore water... and that line busts... you will sink your boat.
 
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Oct 13, 2016
61
Hunter 33 Kingston
You did a taste test... which implies you are in salt water. But you didn't say if the taste was salty. You said it was clean so I'll assume it was not salty. If that is the case then it is not your keel bolts, stuffing box or through hulls or the water would be salty. The only other sources would be an onboard water tank... or if you are at a slip and hooked up to water then it could be a crack in a water line. BTW: if you are hooked up to on-shore water... and that line busts... you will sink your boat.
I am in fresh water Lake Ontario. Water looks clean (not engine coolant). Could be from the potable water tank but my tank monitor shows normal consumption. Levels aren't dropping significantly.
 
Dec 14, 2003
1,165
Hunter 34 Lake of Two Mountains, QC, Can
Maurice, do yourself a favor and put some food coloring in your water tank. At least you'll be able to determine whether the water is coming from the lake or the fresh water system. It will not contaminate the system and you can flush it out after you've determined that it is or not coming from the system. All you'd have to do would be a simple empty, rinse and refill.
 
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Oct 13, 2016
61
Hunter 33 Kingston
Maurice, do yourself a favor and put some food coloring in your water tank. At least you'll be able to determine whether the water is coming from the lake or the fresh water system. It will not contaminate the system and you can flush it out after you've determined that it is or not coming from the system. All you'd have to do would be a simple empty, rinse and refill.
Good idea. I will give it a shot.
 
May 24, 2004
6,334
CC 30 South Florida
Many gallons of water are trapped under the sole. Some of it gets released when the boat is put in motion. The sources of this trapped water are usually;

Rain leaks
Wash down
Plumbing leaks
Sea Spray
Galley spills
Cooler or refrigerator discharge
Wet bathing suits
Water tank leaks
Stuffing box drips
 
May 22, 2020
5
Pearson 303 Casco Bay
Any thru hull transducers would be another place to check. I was mystified by a leak after checking "all the thru hulls" until I checked the forgotten thru hulls...
 
Jun 2, 2011
309
Hunter H33 Port Credit Harbour, ON.
The water out connection is at the bottom of the tank accessible from the small cabinet at the foot of the V-berth. The connector is a push in connector similar to all the other water line connections. I had an issue where water would show up in the bilge from time to time. Turned out it was when I filled the tank. I checked the breather and the top of the tank for issues. Finally discovered that it was coming from the water out connection The pressure of the water when the tank was full was enough to cause the leak. I pushed the connector back in towards the tank and it resolved the leak. After this happening a couple of year in a row I figured out that even though the tank was drained for the winter there was always a small amount of water in the tank. When it freezes in the winter it pushes the connection out of the tank. The fitting is partially blocked by the bulkhead and I cut the bulkhead slightly to allow the connection to be removed. I now push the connector back in each spring during my spring maintenance.

Hope yours is as easy a fix.
 
Oct 13, 2016
61
Hunter 33 Kingston
The water out connection is at the bottom of the tank accessible from the small cabinet at the foot of the V-berth. The connector is a push in connector similar to all the other water line connections. I had an issue where water would show up in the bilge from time to time. Turned out it was when I filled the tank. I checked the breather and the top of the tank for issues. Finally discovered that it was coming from the water out connection The pressure of the water when the tank was full was enough to cause the leak. I pushed the connector back in towards the tank and it resolved the leak. After this happening a couple of year in a row I figured out that even though the tank was drained for the winter there was always a small amount of water in the tank. When it freezes in the winter it pushes the connection out of the tank. The fitting is partially blocked by the bulkhead and I cut the bulkhead slightly to allow the connection to be removed. I now push the connector back in each spring during my spring maintenance.

Hope yours is as easy a fix.
Thanks for the tip. I will take a look tomorrow. Hope like you it's that simple.
 

RoyS

.
Jun 3, 2012
748
Hunter 33 Steamboat Wharf, Hull, MA
Check rudder post. Mine always leaks there when sea splashes up. There is a stuffing box seal on mine.
 
Jan 22, 2008
156
Hunter 34 Herrington South, MD
Check rudder post. Mine always leaks there when sea splashes up. There is a stuffing box seal on mine.
you might try using pool test strips to see if it is the same as the lake, water in the tank or rain water. I just chased down many leaks on my 84 H34. leaks came from broken drain hose under anchor locker, bad gaskets under water intake and pump out deck plates, leaky ports found with hose and friend, leaking water tank, leaking drive shaft and finally leaking companion way which I found by covering the companion way with a tarp for weeks.
 
Oct 13, 2016
61
Hunter 33 Kingston
Thanks for all of the suggestions. I traced back hoses and went through a process of elimination which is still ongoing. What I do know if the water is not coming from the water tank, depth sounder sensor or speed sensor, rudder post or stuffing box. I have established there is no water coming in when all seacocks are closed. I did a test one night where I closed the engine water intake and that did not help, so the only remaining option would be the head freshwater intake, galley sink drain and vanity sink drain. I doubt the water is coming from the drains so at this point it looks like the leak could be somewhere along the head intake hose. Since there is no water in the compartment where all the seacocks are located, it's possible there is a hole in a section of the hose hidden under the floor where I don't have access. I will see if there is still water coming in when I close the head intake seacock.
 
Oct 26, 2010
1,086
Hunter 40.5 Beaufort, SC
i had a problem similar to this and it turned out to be the drain in the anchor locker. The anchor locker is part of the hull liner and there is a drain at or near the bottom that goes from the locker to the ouside of the hull, probably with a clamshell on the outside. It was just a piece of pvc pipe puttied in with 4200 or some other sealer. If the seal on the inside breaks, when it rains, the water will get leak into the area below the V-berth and ends up in the bilge. That explains why some days it won't collect water (no rain) and other days it does.

Open up access to below the V-berth and start pumping water into the anchor locker and see if you are gettin water in from there. If it does leak let me know and I'll post some pictues of the fix.
 
Oct 13, 2016
61
Hunter 33 Kingston
i had a problem similar to this and it turned out to be the drain in the anchor locker. The anchor locker is part of the hull liner and there is a drain at or near the bottom that goes from the locker to the ouside of the hull, probably with a clamshell on the outside. It was just a piece of pvc pipe puttied in with 4200 or some other sealer. If the seal on the inside breaks, when it rains, the water will get leak into the area below the V-berth and ends up in the bilge. That explains why some days it won't collect water (no rain) and other days it does.

Open up access to below the V-berth and start pumping water into the anchor locker and see if you are gettin water in from there. If it does leak let me know and I'll post some pictues of the fix.
It's not the anchor locker. We had a big downpour and the bilge is dry. It's only dry when I close the seacock for the head's freshwater intake hose. So now I have another question for fellow H33 owners. The owner's manual shows there should be an anti-siphon valve somewhere along this hose however I can't find any indication my boat has one. The bulkhead between the head and the aft cabin looks like it's made of a solid panel so there's no space for the hose or valve. It just looks like the hose goes from the through hull straight to the back of the toilet under the floor so I wonder if the hose runs elsewhere because I can't believe this hose doesn't have an anti-siphon valve somewhere.

Anyone know if they have one on their H33?
 

RoyS

.
Jun 3, 2012
748
Hunter 33 Steamboat Wharf, Hull, MA
Anti-syphon on my H33 is between toilet pump and bowl.
 
Sep 20, 2006
2,714
Hunter 33 Georgian Bay, Ontario, Canada
It's not the anchor locker. We had a big downpour and the bilge is dry. It's only dry when I close the seacock for the head's freshwater intake hose. So now I have another question for fellow H33 owners. The owner's manual shows there should be an anti-siphon valve somewhere along this hose however I can't find any indication my boat has one. The bulkhead between the head and the aft cabin looks like it's made of a solid panel so there's no space for the hose or valve. It just looks like the hose goes from the through hull straight to the back of the toilet under the floor so I wonder if the hose runs elsewhere because I can't believe this hose doesn't have an anti-siphon valve somewhere.

Anyone know if they have one on their H33?

Intake hose goes from the thru-hull to the bottom of the toilet pump. Anti-siphon is betwen the pump and the toilet. It runs up between the panel behind the toilet and hull.

I had the exact same issue few years ago. Small hole in that hose leaking water in after opening the valve. Since that time I have replaced ALL hoses, galley & head sink drains, head intake, etc. The galley drain is a crappy hose and was destined to failure. I've also replaced the water intake hose for the water tank.
 
Oct 13, 2016
61
Hunter 33 Kingston
Intake hose goes from the thru-hull to the bottom of the toilet pump. Anti-siphon is betwen the pump and the toilet. It runs up between the panel behind the toilet and hull.

I had the exact same issue few years ago. Small hole in that hose leaking water in after opening the valve. Since that time I have replaced ALL hoses, galley & head sink drains, head intake, etc. The galley drain is a crappy hose and was destined to failure. I've also replaced the water intake hose for the water tank.
Thanks for the info. I will remove the panel. I see screws on the right side of the panel and the other side near the vanity seems caulked in (white silicone along the seam and no screws. The other hoses all look fine but I can see where it may be a good idea to swap them out for new ones before next season.
 
Sep 20, 2006
2,714
Hunter 33 Georgian Bay, Ontario, Canada
Thanks for the info. I will remove the panel. I see screws on the right side of the panel and the other side near the vanity seems caulked in (white silicone along the seam and no screws. The other hoses all look fine but I can see where it may be a good idea to swap them out for new ones before next season.
I wouldn't worry about the vented loop. It's mostly above the water line. I left it alone but replaced all the other hoses.

Few years ago replaced the waste hose from toilet to waste tank. A whole new adventure in itself. Get in touch if you end up down that rabbit hole.
 
Oct 13, 2016
61
Hunter 33 Kingston
I wouldn't worry about the vented loop. It's mostly above the water line. I left it alone but replaced all the other hoses.

Few years ago replaced the waste hose from toilet to waste tank. A whole new adventure in itself. Get in touch if you end up down that rabbit hole.
I'm surprised you had to replace your hoses already. The ones on my boat (2005) (specifically the ones from the toilet to the tank and the water supply to the toilet) all look fairly recent. They are the white PVC style hoses (non porous) so unless there is a hole in them I don't see the need to replace those. I expect to find a leak (pinhole maybe) in the hose that runs from the seacock to the vented loop as this would be the only one that could let water into the boat. Other than that I can't see what else I would replace at the moment.

I did replace the macerator pump last year an that was not a fun job either. :(
 

SFS

.
Aug 18, 2015
1,768
Hunter 31 Tampa Bay
I see you have posted about the connections to the water tank. We found out that our water tank itself was cracked, and leaking slowly but steadily. It was clear that the fittings and hoses were not the issue. But it took us a long time to consider the tank itself as the culprit.