RUST NEVER SLEEPS
Q: Boat Doctor, we have a 2003 Sea Ray 22-foot bowrider. We are the second owners and bought it three years ago with less than 250 hours on the engine. This season an oil leak developed, and the oil pan leaked because of an apparent hole. The marina pulled the boat right away to avoid contamination in the bay.
First of all, why would the oil pan rust, and what can we do in the future to avoid such a slick mess? Thanks for a response. We are longtime subscribers to Boating.
Michael Bailey Somers Point, New Jersey
A: Sorry to hear of your troubles. Oil pans are now mostly made of aluminum. We’d have to go back and see what was spec’d in 2003, but aluminum was certainly not as prevalent as it is today. In fact, saltwater-specific engines, like the MerCruiser SeaCore line, go a step further and anodize aluminum parts. (SeaCore engines are available as an upcharge.)
So, at the risk of sounding blunt, 15 years of steel exposed to salt water is the cause for the oil pan rusting out. It’s actually amazing it lasted that long.
You might find this article helpful: boatingmag.com/ avoiding-oil-pan-corrosion.