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    Water Heater-gctid363360

    I am looking for advise on replacing my water heater. I have a 2001 3788 with the original water heater. I noticed today when looking in the hole, that there was some moisture on the mounting bracket with a slippery feel and some crystals in it that must be coolant. It doesn't appear to have come from either of the hoses, but up from under the case of the heater. I am assuming that I need to replace the water heater, so some questions came to mind while imagining how to do the project.

    The water heater is screwed into place using the front bracket, so I assume there must be a similar rear bracket. If so, did Bayliner typically screw this one down too. You would either have too remove the vacuum generator to come in from the front side, or somehow reach over the top. When you remove the coolant hoses should you somehow clamp them off or use a wood plug to keep coolant from flowing out or will the lack of a vent in the system keep most of it contained. The coolant hoses off the SB engine going to the heatercraft unit have a valve on the incoming hose to shut it off for servicing. The potable water and electrical connections seem straight forward. I drained the heater previously when I removed a faulty backflow valve and that was fairly simple. I am probably going to replace it with the same unit and it appears that the opening is adequate, but I may have to move the central vac unit out of the way.

    Thanks - Open Wide

    I had to replace the water heater on my 4087 last year. I was up in the Gulf Islands with limited tools and needed to get heater replaced quickly.

    It took the yard 9 hours to get the old one out-a total nightmare. They had to remove numerous Vaccuflush paraphernalia, other pumps and a very heavy battery. They couldn't lift the battery up, so had to build rails to slide it out!

    Hopefully your situation won't be as bad, but I was told that in several models, Bayliner put the systems in before they put the decking on. Also check the size of your new heater carefully. Manufactures in their infinite wisdom added a few inches or changed the shape, meaning you might have to modify the space to get the new one in.

    The only good news, the mechanic assured me the tank would out live me!!

    1996 4087 Lazy Days
    2011 11’ West Marine Rib 350 Lazy Mac
    2011 Porsche Cayman
    2010 Lexus IS 250C
    2008 Honda Ridgeline


      Machog wrote:

      Hopefully your situation won't be as bad, but I was told that in several models, Bayliner put the systems in before they put the decking on.

      Different boat, but that statement answers a lot of questions for me. I had to remove the oil filter and the filter mount off my 460 engine, then completely dismantle the water heater and I still had to bend the painted housing and finally jam the stainless tank out. The only other option would have been to remove the exhaust manifold on that side of the engine. It did not feel like clean work at all. Now I have to reverse the process to get the replacement installed. They must have put the water heater in before the engine was installed on the 460s.


        On mine, I have to remove the exhaust hose from the engine to get the Heater out and in. I do not remember a screw on the back bracket?

        In the 1988, the heater was setting directly on the fiberglass bench directly below the deck area to the stern of the engine room door. I found that it trapped salt water which comes in as vapor through the engine room air vent.

        I glassed in three strips of wood on the bench to raise the heater about a 1/4 inch.

        I also purchased a heater with a stainless outside finish.

        So far I have been getting good service after these changes.

        Good Luck
        1988 3870 Bayliner


          You may not have to replace your water heater just yet. Just tighten up your hose clamps and monitor the situation. I have had a couple of instances where there was some wetness around the hot water tank, one event looked like coolant (there had been no significant loss of coolant from the reservoir). In each case I tightened hose clamps after a detailed inpection, and the problem went away. I too had visions of replacing the HW tank. In at least one event, some water burped out after a long run just after I turned the water back on in the spring. It happened only once that year and was not a problem after that initial trip.

          Hope this helps.


            FWIW, I was just dealing with a leak issue on our HW tank. One other member who posts here was dealing with the same. In both cases the leak only occurred when the HW system was operating, either via engine heat or electrical.

            Turns out that the additional pressure that built up in the system was enough to cause a leak out the pressure relief valve. On mine, I wasn't positive that was the culprit until I put a fitting into the valve and ran a hose away from the area. As tank heated up, no more water at the base of the tank, so it was seepage from the valve. Haven't decided on the final fix, so right now, I've still got the fitting in and a hose draining the seepage away from the area. That seepage went everywhere before I figured it out; all around the base of the heater.

            On Dave's he installed a pressure tank on the hot water side, which prevents the buildup of enough pressure to force the leak at the valve. Problem solved.

            I guess some folks just install a loop in the line coming off the tank to relieve pressure, although I can't get my head around how that would allow pressure to be disbursed, since once that line fills up it must stay full.

            You might check to make sure exactly where your water is coming from before you do too much more.

            After reading this thread, all i can say is thank goodness for our 4388. Tank is sitting in the cave, easy to get to and remove if needed.


              On our 4087, the replacement took about 3 hours- the bigges pain was the 8D house battery.


                There's no question in my mind that my fluid leak is coolant and it appears to be coming out from under the inside case onto the mounting bracket area. I'll look more closely at it tomorrow to see if by chance a leaking hose fitting might be allowing the coolant to run down on the inside or would have to appear on the outside of the case. I cleaned it real well the other day, so I will tighten those two hoses and run it up to temp. and see if I can see positively tell if and from where it is leaking.

                Thanks - Open Wide