Idiot owner (leak)

Thread starter #1
This idiot failed to turtle sunfish this winter. Cockpit and storage filled with ice. Found hull filled with water. Can't locate leak. I don't have a drain plug on deck--tho' I installed one in stern.(also installed 2 deck ports.) I know have cracks in mast hole but that stayed covered. Any suggestions as to how to locate leak? I read the "air test"--but again--have no deck drain plug--and have known cracks in mast hole. Grateful for any help.
Roger
 

L&VW

Well-Known Member
#3
If the cockpit filled with ice, a large gap could have been forced open at the cockpit/deck interface (the underside of the deck, where it meets the cockpit). To run the leak test, you can use the drain you installed in the transom.

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Thread starter #4
Water can enter from the cockpit through the little vent hole...
Thanks. Is that the tiny hole near top of fore section of cockpit? If so, I doubt it is the problem since as boat filled with water it tilted back on dolly, leaving that hole above water line.
 
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Thread starter #5
If the cockpit filled with ice, a large gap could have been forced open at the cockpit/deck interface (the underside of the deck, where it meets the cockpit). To run the leak test, you can use the drain you installed in the transom.

View attachment 17239
Thanks. I wondered about that; I looked in that space thinking that would be the problem area but not surprisingly, saw nothing with naked eye. ( I assume the lake test you mean is the "air test", right?)
 

signal charlie

Well-Known Member
Staff member
#6
There are over 40 holes and seams in a Sunfish hole, I would look at the coaming rivet/rivnut holes. Water can also come in through a popped deck/hull seam if you have one of the pre 1988 boats.
One way I have found water was by watching for where it ran out, for instance I saw water running out of a seam once when flipping a boat. So maybe you turtle your boat, put a little water in it and see where it runs out...bow handle holes, deck seams, halyard cleat holes, halyard fairlead holes, mast step, daggerboard trunk, coaming rivet holes, eyestrap holes, deck/hull seam, bailer hole, gudgeon holes...........

PS don't fill in the vent hole, that's what keeps the boat from popping.
 

L&VW

Well-Known Member
#7
Thanks. I wondered about that; I looked in that space thinking that would be the problem area but not surprisingly, saw nothing with naked eye. ( I assume the lake test you mean is the "air test", right?)
You could do a "lake test" on land, by tipping the Sunfish over, using the mast as a prop. Water poured into a cockpit should not leak away into the inner hull. If it does, you've found one leak. :oops:

The "air test" would allow a small amount of pressurization to the body of the hull, and a soaped-up brush used to check the places from which air could be leaking. To see if you've achieved adequate pressure, use the brush on the vent. As written earlier, do not use excessive pressure.
 
#8
Belated thanks. Have put off dealing with problem--in part busy--but in part discouraged. Could I do the "air test" with a leaf blower over the transom drainage plug hole?
 
#9
You can use just about anything that'll blow air - compressor, shop vacuum, leaf blower - just be careful to not put the full flow into the hull; i.e., bleed most of the air "overboard". Otherwise you may cause more problems than you're trying to repair. Setting up the blower with it pointed at the drain opening, leaving a gap in between, will likely give sufficient pressure inside the hull for the soap bubble test to work. Better to ease into the pressure than putting too much in. You may need to tape over the mast hole, since you know it leaks, and possibly the vent hole in the cockpit as well.
 
#11
You can use just about anything that'll blow air - compressor, shop vacuum, leaf blower - just be careful to not put the full flow into the hull; i.e., bleed most of the air "overboard". Otherwise you may cause more problems than you're trying to repair. Setting up the blower with it pointed at the drain opening, leaving a gap in between, will likely give sufficient pressure inside the hull for the soap bubble test to work. Better to ease into the pressure than putting too much in. You may need to tape over the mast hole, since you know it leaks, and possibly the vent hole in the cockpit as well.
Thanks!
 
#13
Thanks. I did put water in cockpit--and in storage (tho' with boat upright.) No water got into hull. However the valve (?) in bottom of cockpit designed (I think) to drain water--which hadn't worked for years (it's a 70's boat)--froze and crumbled--so I'll probably have to just seal the hole.
 

L&VW

Well-Known Member
#14
However the valve (?) in bottom of cockpit designed (I think) to drain water--which hadn't worked for years (it's a 70's boat)--froze and crumbled--so I'll probably have to just seal the hole.
As a temporary seal for the Sunfish original plastic cockpit bailer, auto parts supply stores can get you a water-tight expanding freeze plug" for about $4.
 
Thread starter #15
As a temporary seal for the Sunfish original plastic cockpit bailer, auto parts supply stores can get you a water-tight expanding freeze plug" for about $4.
Hi--
You were right. The leakS are at the juncture of deck and storage compartment. So a couple of more questions__
1) what do I seal that seam with? 2) the bailer that broke was metal; there's still a collar which I'll have to break off. Then you think freeze plug will work? 3) I also got 2 flats on the dolly--which don't inflate with pump so I assume I need to fix or replace inner tubes--but it looks like it will be a job to get tire off the rim (any suggestions?)
Thanks again,
Roger
 

beldar boathead

Well-Known Member
#16
My Seitech dolly has tubeless tires. Sand sometimes gets in the rim and causes the flats - hard to clean that out. You could get tubes installed. Lawn mower shop could probably do it.
 

L&VW

Well-Known Member
#18
"...1) what do I seal that seam with?"

The seam can be filled with a waterproof silicone caulk. If you run a weak vacuum at the same time, the seam will be better sealed for it.

"...2) the bailer that broke was metal; there's still a collar which I'll have to break off. Then you think freeze plug will work...?"

Remove every part of the metal bailer. The freeze plug will work. However, so there are no surprises should the plug should get nudged by dock or foot, I'd suggest using a larger washer (than supplied) on the bolt head end. A 5/16" wing nut will enable a quick draining from rainfall. Don't remove it while afloat! :eek:

"...3) also got 2 flats on the dolly--which don't inflate with pump so I assume I need to fix or replace inner tubes--but it looks like it will be a job to get tire off the rim (any suggestions?)

Two choices:

1) Check your tires to see if they "read" tubeless. Note the valve stem: have they sunken inside, or firmly wedged in the rim? In either case, try filling the tire again after wrapping several radiator clamps securely in a big loop around the center of the tire circumference. Soap-up the bead with soap suds and brush. You'll be trying to seal the bead on both sides, rather than have the tube (if present) squeeze out of the rim.

2) Tube-type tire: Don't bother fixing the tire. Google around, and you'll find a mounted tire on your choice of rim. Neither rim nor tire you'll receive is the quality they used to be :( but they're cheap and bolt-on upon receipt. Some require just the removal of a cotter pin. Try Harbor Freight. (If they are lug nuts, make sure the old lug nuts can be removed —use WD-40, "P-B Blaster" or "Kroil" to break the stubborn ones loose).

My bet is that the tire isn't seating on the rim, and your hard-fought inflations are just leaking around the rim.

Edited...:My reply took over 30 minutes, so the previous replies are "still on the mark".

:)
 

danpal

Active Member
#19
I also had a flat on a trailer tire that I couldn't inflate with a pump. I tried using a pancake compressor but the tire still wouldn't inflate. I finally went to an auto repair shop and inflated it there and the tire is now fine. It's held it's pressure for the last two months. The takeaway is that you need enough pressure to seat the rim as LVW said.
 
#20
You're past this but a very easy way to leak test is use a shop vac on exhaust. To avoid too much air is easy. Use about two feet of medium size vinyl tube. Stick the tube up the vacuum hose a foot or so and loosely tape it with duct tape so the hose leaks. Now stick the vinyl tube in the drain plug and fine tune until you get some bubbles where your leaks are. This should be very safe because the small tube only flows so much and the leak around the tube is a safety valve that's not your hull.
 
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