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1977 17' with Plugged Keel Scuper, need advice

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  • 1977 17' with Plugged Keel Scuper, need advice

    I have been looking for a good utility boat and found this 1977 17' just about a match to the one of my childhood. I am going through all the systems. My present project is fuel. But my question is about the keel drain scupper that surfaces below the engine. It looks to me that it is plugged, I have tried pushing a solid copper wire (10 gauge) and it goes about 12" and hits something that I can't poke through.

    I have removed the three small round hatches, the one in the front (fuel vent pickup) has a bunch of condensation on it. Leaving me to believe that I need to get this drain working.

    Thanks for your help,

    Click image for larger version

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  • #2
    I don't have any experience with the 17' but on the 19' and 21' boats the fuel tank floor is very low and only has a small area to drain. I'd bet you are either hitting the fuel tank or the floor for the tank. If you can get a picture of the drains that would help. I'm guessing they are outboard and high enough that your not able to get the wire past the fuel tank. The drains are only about 4" long.


    • #3
      I see what you mean. I got just far enough to exit the first section under the engine cross stringer and through the part where the space changes to the fuel tank. Then hit the tank. The hole looks to be about 1/2".

      How about if I shoot some compressed air into the end I can reach (under the engine) and see how it reacts?



      • #4
        I was going to suggest compressed air. Give it a try.
        1981 Hardtop Cuddy Alaskan Bulkhead Rebuild Thread
        1972 HT Cuddy-Rebuild Thread
        8' 650cc Kawasaki powered dinghy


        • #5
          You won't hurt anything. The biggest issue is the drains are higher then the hull so unless you can hang the boat from the bow it will always have a small amount of water in that area. I assume your boat doesn't have the full tank hatch. A lot of the glasply have access to the tank by removing a bunch of screws then the center floor lifts out. Also don't have too much fear about the condensation on the deck hatch, with the warm weather we are having and the cold nights, in that small space with an aluminum fuel tank it's bound to have some condensation. Another thing you could try is to put some sort of liquid in there and see if it will come out. If you don't want to use water you could use the nontoxic potable water antifreeze used in rv's and boats.
          Last edited by jjc23; 03-04-2015, 09:26 PM.


          • #6
            I played around with it tonight again. There is a short bottom section between the front motor mount and the back of the fuel tank. There doesn't seem to be a scupper there. Has anyone cut in a hole in the tube that crosses it to let it drain?

            I have been working on the fuel supply. Last owner was a nice guy, put a lot of effort in the boat until he purchased a new boat. He purchased a carburetor, which was a clue the fuel was in trouble.

            I started by removing the below deck spin on fuel filter assembly and then forcing the filter off. It was full of water and ugly stuff. Pretty good argument to clean the tank.

            So on to the tank. I found the sender was under the deck. You were correct no center hatch just a couple of round covers. I used a 4" hole saw and exposed the sender. Removed it and found the tank 3/4 full. Fuel a dark color and a big blob at the bottom, covered about a square foot of area.

            Siphoned the tank moving the hose around to hit all the corners and edges. The tank is now clean and has only 1/4" of fuel in it. I will just filter and run the old fuel in a lawnmower.
            Last edited by sgschwend; 03-05-2015, 06:09 PM.


            • #7
              I'm not sure yours will be the same as this, but this picture shows how the limber hole is set up to drain the fuel tank compartment (and the bilge area forward of that) as it passes through the forward engine mount on the 19.5 footer.

              The water passes through a 1/2-inch copper pipe glassed in place there. In the fuel tank compartment you can see the flat "false floor" the tank rests on. Any bilge water from the cuddy forward of the fuel tank compartment flows below that "false floor." Your wire probe might have hit the edge of that, or the tank above, eh? But if it were pushed below that floor (the space there is maybe an inch or more), it should have a good 6 feet or more to move.

              Hope that helps....
              -- Tim Taylor

              1979 Glasply 21-foot I/O Overnighter w/ 5.0L Volvo-Penta duoprop (Cardinal)
              1982 Glasply 16-foot runabout w/ 50hp Mercury OB (JV Junior)
              1978 Glasply 19-1/2 foot runabout, project boat (Beer Goggles)

              I wrote a song about a tortilla. Well actually, it’s more of a wrap.


              • #8
                That does look like what is happening. Once the wire clears the tube it dead ends on the fuel tank mount. I think I will just do a final verify with compressed air. I have that extra well about 10" in length with no drain. I think a weep hole in the tube should let it drain.

                Thanks everyone for the help.