Hunter 34 false bilge

Jan 24, 2017
568
Hunter 34 Toms River Nj
Just started new winter project false bilge issue. Have owned this boat senses 1983 well Over 30 plus years with this false bilge issue. I have always kept the bilge clean, always flushing it with fresh water and cleaning products every weekend.
I never could get rid of this foul odor that seemed to come from the bilge no mater how clean it was. I found a post on this site about false bilge and think I have finally solved the mystery. After probing the bilge liner (aka false bilge) I drilled a small hole into the liner and found that water was trapped between the hull and liner. Used a right angle Dremel tool to cut out the bottom of thr bilge liner and removed it. Found under the false bilge a 30 plus year old piece of rotted play wood along with 30 plus years of the most disgusting layer of sludge. The odor of that sludge was horrific. After flushing the area with bleach and other cleaning products the odor seams to be gone. Next stage will be to paint the area with bilge paint and reinstall the bilge pump and float switch in the spring. A few weeks after I started the project so far no more odors. Looks like the mystery has finally been solved!
 
Dec 1, 1999
2,391
Hunter 28.5 Chesapeake Bay
False bilges are common in a number of Hunter models, including my H28.5 I kept mine mostly dry by pulling up the panel in the cabin sole and snaking a small Jabsco oil pump tube down the limber holes on each side of the main line. But, you've just got to wonder what Hunter was thinking about when they came up with this design.
 

SFS

.
Aug 18, 2015
1,977
West Marine Kayak Tampa Bay
Capt. Robbie, it's often not a good idea to start two threads on the same topic in different subforums. It dilutes your responses, and makes you check two places to read those responses. You may want to consider asking a moderator to combine the two threads.
 
Oct 29, 2005
2,187
Hunter Marine 326 303 Singapore
any photos of how the false bilge looks like?
Thanks in advance.
 
Dec 1, 1999
2,391
Hunter 28.5 Chesapeake Bay
I don't have any pictures of the false bilge on my boat, but a bilge should extend to the lowest interior level of the hull. On my boat, it was shallow bilge of some 18 inches deep that served well to drain the shower and ice box, but not water finding its way to the lowest level of the hull. Even the Creature from the Black Lagoon would find this water unacceptable....
 
Jan 24, 2017
568
Hunter 34 Toms River Nj
I just found some pics of after the false bilge sect has been removed
Hope this helps.
As I posted previously on the bigger boats section I have my on going project along with other projects I have done.

Unfortunately i am new at this form page and I was told that I posted this thread in the wrong section. Now most of the post are in the bigger boats sect.

Never the less hope this helps.
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Oct 29, 2005
2,187
Hunter Marine 326 303 Singapore
Thanks Capt.
So if there's any water there, it'll stay in forever right?
 
Jan 24, 2017
568
Hunter 34 Toms River Nj
Yes, and not just water. I had 30plus years of the foulest smelling crud and water you can ever imagine. I thought one of hunters workers got trapped and died in there and decomposed. That's how bad the smell was. Omg!
So far after I did the mod and flushed it out, no more issues knock wood. Still I work in progress, have to reinstall pump and float switch.
 
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Oct 29, 2005
2,187
Hunter Marine 326 303 Singapore
Would putting couple drops of odour eliminator into false bilge help to stem the foul smell?
 
Jan 24, 2017
568
Hunter 34 Toms River Nj
Maybe,
I think that after you remove the crud and flush real well the oddor should be gone. Mine is almost 100% gone. A few more flush out with hose I think will do the trick.
 

John L

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May 6, 2016
15
Hunter 34 Edgewood, MD
How are you flushing the false bilge, and how to keep it empty in the future? And why a false bilge in the first place. I am a new 1985 Hunter 34 owner, need all the info I can get about everything.
 

John L

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May 6, 2016
15
Hunter 34 Edgewood, MD
Speaking of bilges, I have noticed what looks like a metallic one-way check valve that a PO installed in the bilge discharge hose just downstream of the bilge pump. I seem to recall reading that this is not recommended, but don't remember why. Any thoughts on the right or wrong of this?
 
Jan 24, 2017
568
Hunter 34 Toms River Nj
1st. Of all welcome aboard, John L

Hunter 34 is great boat as you will find out yourself, ton of fun!

I have been flushing mine with boat soap and bleach at the stuffing box, forward area of the engine drip pan has two holes, ice box, and under the hot water heater.

You may have to cut out the bilge liner "AKA" false bilge if po has not done this modification. If this mod has not been done trust me well worth the time and effort. No more bilge smells! Your bilge pump will keep the bilge dry for the most part. You will always have some water in the bilge, approximately 1". I rinse it out every time i use the boat to keep it clean.

The false bilge to the best of my knowledge was a quality control/ designe flaw issue Hunter had when they vacuumed the modular cabin section to the hull.

I have a west marine pvc check valve on mine that I installed approximately an inch or two after the discharge port of the bilge pump. I added this because when the pump would pump out the bilge after the pump shut off whatever water was still in the discharge hose would back flow back into the bilge. After I added the check valve the bilge stays much dryer. If you have a matalic check valve make sure it is suitable for marine use and not a home depo special. I can't say if this is recommended or not, however I cannot see any disadvantages.
 

John L

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May 6, 2016
15
Hunter 34 Edgewood, MD
Thanks, Capt Robbie
Never had an odor this first summer, but did find water when winterizing, so poured antifreeze there to prevent freezing. The mod is worth considering, with your pictures as a guide. Then I can examine the check valve. John.
 
Jan 24, 2017
568
Hunter 34 Toms River Nj
Good idea to put antifreeze, I always run some thru my bilge pump. The 1st time I forgot to I split section of discharge hose and cracked the housing on bilge pump. $150 buck down the drain and could have been avoided for $5 jug of antifreeze.
 

mjsb

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Jan 28, 2021
27
Hunter 31 0 Tampa Bay Sailing Squadron
Hunter 31 owner, I am. New to me 4/1/21. The smell issue was on most Hunter 31's I looked at, but passed it off to boat being closed up, sea water related.
I have taken every cushion and pad out of the boat. Replaced all of the sanitation piping, cleaned out the forward "holding" tank area that was covered in mold. Dumped enough bleach, Borax, and sprayed renuzit,But she still smells.

The bilge is now kept clean, and I "dry out the deep bilge completely and the rear area under the steps and in front of the motor, everytime I use the boat. Still the odor. So I have searched and searched and look at schematics which are hard to find., and now I find myself here.
My understanding of the construction is the sole plate is sectioned with 4 "fiberglass bulkhead beams". The sole plate was attached to the hull during the construction process, (must have been a bad batch of a mastic adhesive) used to adhere the sole plate to the raw side of the hull. Overtime between the flexing of the hull and sole plate you end up with minute separations, some of the sole plates I have looked at are cracked, at or before the bulkheads or in the exposed floors. Water is more than likely getting in at the stuffing box, water lines, sanitation piping, hatches, side ports or just wave action handled by the bilge pump. However some has found its way into the secret bilge.
The question how do you modify the bilge to help elevate the problem. Cutting into the bilge area right over the keel, has got me "queasy", so my concern is to ask you folks what were the steps you took to cut into the bilge bottom, flush the area out and "repair' the bilge or leave it open exposed to the hull.
 
Sep 4, 2007
737
Hunter 33.5 Elbow, Saskatchwen, Can.
What I did first was drill a 3/8 hole in the bilge. I marked the bit with some tape so I could judge my depth. When I started drilling I felt the void under the bilge and black water started coming out. Lots of info in the posts above starting at # 7. Also do a search for Capt Robbie.
Hope this helps. It sure made a difference in our boat.
 
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