Smell and yellow liquid leaking into Head from Helm wall

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Smell and yellow liquid leaking into Head from Helm wall

Postby Plamich on Mon Jul 30, 2018 12:27 am

We seem to have a leak of sorts in our 2016 28 Cutwater—new to us newbie boaters. So, we are trying to learn as fast as we can but this issue has us stumped.
I think it’s coolant leaking in the Helm and then into the Head. It’s yellow, there is a very pungent smell in the head-reminds me of the smell I encountered when the heating core packed it in on my truck. Though the coolant doesn’t seem to be too low.
The helm hydraulic system has needed to be topped up a few times with fluid but if it were hydraulic it seems we’d need to be adding much more as what is leaking out seems more significant. It accumulates in the bottom right corner of the shower. It is coming from the wall. We keep cleaning it up but reappears fairly quickly. Any ideas? I also thought I saw water coming from the same wall but closer to the Starboard side of it. (I’m new to the forum, is there a way to attach pictures?)
We’ve checked the helm hydraulic fittings, all looks ok and tried to find a leak somewhere else but don’t see that anything else is wrong. No warning reports. Engine coolant seems ok. We do find the the boat does pull to Port, a lot! Constantly pulling the wheel to Starboard. Maybe a couple of issues?
Any help with this is appreciated. I have talked to our dealer but we still haven’t found a solution and I messaged Cutwater, same thing.
Thanks so much,
Mich
Sunshine Coast, BC
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Re: Smell and yellow liquid leaking into Head from Helm wall

Postby BB marine on Mon Jul 30, 2018 7:44 am

The Cabin heater core is located starboard lower side of helm. If the hose clamps were loose or core was leaking there may be evidence of coolant at the head location. The sanitary 1 1/2 " hose runs under the heater. If antifreeze is leaking onto the hose it may run along the hose and drip into the head. I would assume that anti-freeze level would be dropping. To access the heater, the bulkhead in forward part of cave needs to be removed, 6 or 8 screws total, very easy to remove.

Pictures of bulkhead removed to access the heater

Image

Image

The Boat pulling to the port is very common to right hand rotation prop. All single engine Rangers and Cutwaters have right hand rotation props. In FWD the prop walks the stern to the Starboard and bow to the port.
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Re: Smell and yellow liquid leaking into Head from Helm wall

Postby Plamich on Mon Jul 30, 2018 12:01 pm

Thanks so much Brian,

I will go through all your suggestions and post the results. And, thank you for responding so quickly!

Have a great day,
Mich
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Re: Smell and yellow liquid leaking into Head from Helm wall

Postby Cutwater28GG on Mon Jul 30, 2018 1:03 pm

you can also unscrew the heater on the 28 from the front and there should be enough slack to gently pull into the footwell of the helm. you can then tighten the hoseclamps from there

if not as Brian says go in through the bunk cabin. remove the smaller panel at the top right (starboard) two screws on the left hand side of this panel.
this should give you enough access on its own.

if you need more you can remove the lower panel. you dont need to remove the matress. two screws on the left. the panel can pivot out left side first top corner towards you and it comes out. you will have easy access to all things in there.
with your leak in question, Id suggst Brian's route so you can get a proper look

also open the mirror hatch in the head and look at the hyrdraulic hoses on the back of the helm. any stains there?
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Re: Smell and yellow liquid leaking into Head from Helm wall

Postby trailertrawlerkismet on Tue Jul 31, 2018 6:30 am

If you find it was an antifreeze leak from the heater hose, or any anti freeze leak, make sure to top off the engine with appropriately approved antifreeze.

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Re: Smell and yellow liquid leaking into Head from Helm wall

Postby Plamich on Tue Jul 31, 2018 12:29 pm

Thanks so much everyone. This is so incredibly helpful! Going to try to have a look today. I needed her for tomorrow but will leave her docked for now.

Another question, has anyone experienced cracking my sounds from the helm area when hit by a larger wave on Starboard? Wondering if it is connected to what is going on or if it caused by “settling”.
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Re: Smell and yellow liquid leaking into Head from Helm wall

Postby PhilR on Tue Jul 31, 2018 1:40 pm

My 2011 R27 that I have since sold, used to make a loud "creaking" noise in the vicinity of the helm when I hit a large wave....never could find it Sounded like wood on wood that is not fastened tightly and shifting on impact. Happened so infrequently that I would forget about it until it next happened.
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Re: Smell and yellow liquid leaking into Head from Helm wall

Postby Cutwater28GG on Tue Jul 31, 2018 1:51 pm

yes mine creaks occasionally in waves. usually the engine drowns it out.
I think its the wood trim flexing at different rates to the fiberglass cabin.
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Re: Smell and yellow liquid leaking into Head from Helm wall

Postby Plamich on Tue Jul 31, 2018 11:04 pm

So, I looked everywhere for a leak. Couldn’t find one but the hydraulic fluid in Helm is down again, so likely the pump. Had a marine mechanic come check it out, he thinks the same. Absorbent towels in key places to leave for a few days just to make sure it isn’t something else. Then will order parts to fix pump if all checks out and pump is likely culprit.
Mechanic says the smell is hydraulic fluid. I’m learning a lot in this process!

Thanks for the info on the creaking. It’s also been very hot of late and mechanic agreed it’s not concerning and probably settling or flexing because the boat is still fairly new.

Going to take it out for a good run and check helm fluid levels regularly. So glad to have this forum the helpful people on it.

Will update as I know more.

Cheers,
Mich
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Re: Smell and yellow liquid leaking into Head from Helm wall

Postby Plamich on Fri Aug 03, 2018 2:42 pm

Hi Everyone,
Couldn’t find the actual leak so we are left to assume it is the helm pump. Was going to run it again with strategically placed absorbent towels but now we have an engine problem.

2015 Volvo Penta D4-260. Turned over and then stopped 30 seconds later. Then would not start. Low fuel in filter. Primed for a while untouched l finally fuel in filter. Now engine warning comes up. Too much fuel pressure. Anyone know what could cause this? Lift pump issue?

Maybe we aren’t suppose to go the San Juan Islands for our vacation in two weeks...
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Re: Smell and yellow liquid leaking into Head from Helm wall

Postby trailertrawlerkismet on Fri Aug 03, 2018 3:39 pm

Have you recently changed your fuel filter? If so was it the proper VP brand? Or if you have not changed it the issue could be contaminated fuel?

Keep us posted as to what the ultimate issue is.

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Re: Smell and yellow liquid leaking into Head from Helm wall

Postby Cutwater28GG on Mon Aug 06, 2018 10:39 am

my d4 when hot, will stall after starting. runs for about 5 seconds. then stalls.

if I open the hatch and reprime the fuel by pressing the black buttons a few times it will start. either that or a long crank on the second start.

it seems if the engine bay is hot from a run. I moor for a couple of hours the heat soak causes an air bubble or fuel lock somewhere. I have a suspicion its the seal on the fuel filter. as the behavior changed after a new filter and seal were installed two times ago but now occurs again after the latest change.

if I let the engine bay cool down over night the engine starts fine the next day from cold.

does this sound similar to yours? I dont get any warnings so perhaps yours is more a pump issue?
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Re: Smell and yellow liquid leaking into Head from Helm wall

Postby MacDev on Mon Jul 15, 2019 4:13 am

I forgot to update this. Fuel filter issue caused air in the lines. Replaced filter.
Helm, seems like a leak so replaced seals just a couple of weeks ago, hope that does it. The issue went away in the winter.
The pungent smell is still there but maybe fluid and stuff still draining...or it’s the septic system. Noticed more in warm weather.
Fingers crossed that helm is fixed and smell will also go away. It can be pretty overwhelming in the head and cabin.


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