I purchased my boat, 1989 Welcraft Eclipse 216 with a little 5.0 Merc with a Alpha drive, 3 seasons ago from a friend of mine. It has been a great boat which has provided my family and friends many weekends of fun on the water the first few years with minimal cost. This year however was a little different. When I started it up on the hose in the driveway in the spring it sounded horrible... the result, a hole in the bellows had caused significant damage over the winter months. So, after having the gimbal bearing, shift cable, U-joints, bellows, water pump in the outdrive replaced it was back in my possession for $1600.
Last Sunday I loaded up the family and friends for a day on the water tubing (My fourth time this season). Once the boat was launched I dragged the first pair of kids three miles down the lake without issue. Shut the boat down and swam for 30 minutes or so before loading the next pair of kids up on the tube. When they were ready I fired the boat up and hit the stick. The boat seemed sluggish and was lacking power so I backed off after about 30 seconds and looked down at my guages and noticed I had ZERO oil pressure. I opened the sunpad and some smoke was coming out of the compartment. The risers were hot as hell so I figured the water pump that I had just replaced had failed (at this point "warranty" was running through my head) as I climbed in and out of the engine compartment I dropped a socket into the bilge in front of the engine. I reached into the water that had collected in there (my bilge is filthy so the water appeared blackish) and when I did I found 2-3" of oil!!
We got towed 3 miles back to the launch by an incredibly kind couple who watched the Marine Patrol drive right by us wtihin 40 yards and didnt even slow down despite us waving our arms, open hatch, and sounding the airhorn!
So Tuesday I dropped the boat off at Ocean Performance in Old Saybrook wtih Bill and waited for the verdict. Bill called me that afternoon to tell me that the the oil filter had rotted through in a small spot but they replaced the filter and oil and the boat was running in the yard and sounded ok!! I asked that he take it our for a little ride to be sure. He cautioned me that it may blow up if they do and I told him that its gonna blow regardless of whos running it so he might as well take it out.
Bill called me yesterday to tell me that as soon as he tried to come up on plane the engine began to loose oil pressure again and that motor was offically toast!
There are two kickers to this story... One, is that I had the oil and the filter in the garage and was going to change it on Saturday in the driveway but it was raining so I figured I'd wait until Tuesday as I had taken it off from work. The other kicker if you will is that I hadn't changed the oil the first two seasons that I had the boat because I didnt realize that an oil filter could rot through and my thought process was a car can go 3-5k miles without an oil change and there is no way the boat did that kind of mileage so whats the rush? I now know what the rush is....
I am offically out for the season...