This incident happened this weekend to my 180SP however it may be possible for this to happen to other models that are similarly configured. It bears mentioning that there is no ulterior motive for this post besides my desire to ensure that what can only be described as a bad situation...doesn't turn into a catastrophic episode for another unsuspecting owner…
Shortly after launching and a subsequently short, medium-speed cruise we had a high temp warning come on. Thinking we may have sucked up a diaper or something we stopped, gave it a blast in reverse and the light went out. Oil and AF checked good so we put it back in fwd and it wouldn’t allow greater than idle speed.
Being around 200 yds from a small inlet we idled towards shore and about 100ft from someone’s dock we had a burning smell, the bilge pump kicked on, and the engine died. Upon lifting the engine bay cover we noticed the bilge taking on water FAST so we were able to get into the shallow water and maneuver it to the dock where we proceeded to bail furiously while a resident was located to see if we could use their boat lift.
We obtained permission to use the lift and got the boat supported on the lift platform. We couldn’t raise it completely up because the lift was configured for a flats boat which didn’t mate well to the V-hull of the SP, but it was enough to keep it from sinking.
Upon examination of the engine compartment it was discovered that the hose leading from the exhaust canister to the resonator had popped off the fitting. My guess is that an exhaust overheat occurred which melted the plastic nipple/coupler on the resonator. Once the hose popped off, water was free to flood the bilge through the now open exhaust hose.
Obviously we were in a precarious situation…the boat couldn’t be towed back to the marina nor could it be moved an additional 60ft to a natural oyster bed ramp at the next house down so I made a plug from PVC pipe, removed the resonator, and plugged the open exhaust hose so we could paddle it to the ramp for trailering.
This first pic is the resonator removed from the boat. The melted inlet fitting is on the left.
This pic shows the hose that popped off after the coupler melted
This pic shows the resonator removed and the exhaust hose plugged. The circled area shows where the resonator mounts on the starboard side of the engine.
Here’s a close-up of the resonator fitting. The nipple melted and you can see it actually folded into the resonator. At this point hot exhaust gas started melting the exterior of the resonator and burned a small hole in it as hot exhaust was filling the bilge.
I just got the boat back to my driveway today and it’s going to the dealer tomorrow. Regardless of the outcome of this I’d suggest all SD boat owners that have this plastic resonator installed follow this simple procedure…in the event of an overheat warning immediately shut down and signal for help. DO NOT ATTEMPT CONTINUED OPERATION even at idle. The operators manual lists an overheat as a “Notice” and the boat should be turned off as soon as possible. This is BAD advice and gives the false impression that the boat can safely be used further to get you to a safe location and this is not the case. SHUT IT DOWN, SIGNAL FOR HELP, your day is over.
We were extremely lucky yesterday. Had this happened out in the middle of the St Johns river there would have been only 2 outcomes possible…
1. The boat would have sank and we would have had to swim to shore
2. The boat would have caught fire before sinking and we would have had to swim to shore
Obviously both being a bad day. I’ll keep everyone posted as to the outcome but I smell a recall coming on this one. I personally won’t accept this boat back with a piece of plastic in the exhaust stream that could fail so easily.
SAFETY WARNING: 2012 180SP
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