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Need Help - Contender 30ST Air Locking

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Need Help - Contender 30ST Air Locking

Old 07-10-2018, 04:34 PM
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Default Need Help - Contender 30ST Air Locking

Hey gang, hoping for some suggestions here and anyone else with recent experience. I found some old threads but didn't want to wake the dead. Long story short I have a 2017 30ST and have had issues since day one with the live wells. Due to the nature of how the step hull works, the bait wells air lock since the high speed pick up is installed in the final step. Understanding now, exactly why this happens, I consider it to be a design flaw and needs to be fixed. The first remedy provided by my dealer ship was to install a second high speed pick up with it's own pump so now both wells run independently. Still under warranty, so no cost to me, which seems swell of them to do so thanks. Guess where that high speed pick up is??? Right next to the first one. With no exaggeration, at 4K rpm running 45 mph on a glass day, they still both air lock with in the first 5 min. It is literally impossible to be on plane and have fresh bait by the time you reach your destination.

The answer I've received now is that I need to buy a sea chest. I've read about the sea chests and yes I'm sure this will correct the issue. These things aren't cheap, and I've received no willingness so far to help cover the costs. Considering all articles I've read on step hulls over the past several days have identify that step hulls need to have the high speed pick ups installed in the first step not the last ( some articles also with same information stated by Contender engineers themselves ), I find it hard to swallow the idea of dishing out this kind of money for a design flaw. This has been identified well before my model year, so why the pick up is still in the back of the boat on a configuration without a sea chest is beyond me. I even popped my head in the bilge of a new 2018 the dealer just got in and it's the same damn thing. No sea chest but the pick up in the back step instead of the front.

Are there any other Contender owners out there that are going down this same path and gotten different feedback from the manufacturer than me so far?? Everything else about the boat is amazing so I hate to bang on them for this but, with the high standards of their reputation and cost of the boat, I expected a little better answer than this. Hell I'd be happy with giving me the chest at cost and covering labor to meet half way at this point.
Old 07-10-2018, 06:46 PM
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You want a pick on the first step? Like the very first step ahead mid ship? I sure hope you don't do that if so because that is not the answer. What you need are proper high speed pick ups such as the one best marine has. Why don't you post a picture of what you have now. Its not really a design flaw contender just doesn't care which is why most everyone serious about live bait fishing orders one with a sea chest or installs one. Unfortunately that is the only way to have it right, yes I have had stepped hull contenders. Take some pictures of the pick ups and post them then put some pictures up of the livewell pump set up in the bilge and I will try to help there are some other options besides a sea chest but they won't work as good.
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Old 07-10-2018, 07:22 PM
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Fiberglass Livewell Pump Boxes (All Sizes)

Just get a sea chest. You will never have another problem. They are cheap if you compare it to the price of goggle eyes at $60/dozen
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Old 07-10-2018, 07:56 PM
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Originally Posted by T-bone123 View Post
You want a pick on the first step? Like the very first step ahead mid ship? I sure hope you don't do that if so because that is not the answer. What you need are proper high speed pick ups such as the one best marine has. Why don't you post a picture of what you have now. Its not really a design flaw contender just doesn't care which is why most everyone serious about live bait fishing orders one with a sea chest or installs one. Unfortunately that is the only way to have it right, yes I have had stepped hull contenders. Take some pictures of the pick ups and post them then put some pictures up of the livewell pump set up in the bilge and I will try to help there are some other options besides a sea chest but they won't work as good.
She's in for 100 hour service now but I'll snap some pics when I get it back in a couple days. The pick up in the first step is just what I read from articles where engineers were talking about the step hulls. Same with the thru hull ducer. It's installed by Contender at the factory during manufacturing because it's placed up in the first step where the boat runs "clean". As for now, after the fact, no I don't want it in the first step and have two giant holes patched where the current ones are... =/ I understand getting a sea chest is the best answer at this point. What I don't understand is why this model is being sold as is when there's basically zero chance of the wells being able to function properly and the customer is left hanging
Old 07-10-2018, 08:06 PM
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Originally Posted by 305seahunter View Post
Fiberglass Livewell Pump Boxes (All Sizes)

Just get a sea chest. You will never have another problem. They are cheap if you compare it to the price of goggle eyes at $60/dozen
Agreed, but when you've shelled out the kind of money that a brand new 30' Contender runs to find out the wells don't work then told the only real fix is another $3-6k after the fact.... Kinda leaves a sour taste

funny part is, thinking back at it, the problem existed during my sea trial but I just didn't realize what was happening at the time. Wasn't like we were filling the wells to go fishing or anything... Guess I should have paid closer attention
Old 07-10-2018, 08:26 PM
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I don’t have any experience with stepped hulls but when you say in the last step, is the pick up actually in the small step cavity? Or is it on the flat section aft of the step. Ours is way aft just before the euro transom
Old 07-11-2018, 05:41 AM
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Originally Posted by Bro1234 View Post
She's in for 100 hour service now but I'll snap some pics when I get it back in a couple days. The pick up in the first step is just what I read from articles where engineers were talking about the step hulls. Same with the thru hull ducer. It's installed by Contender at the factory during manufacturing because it's placed up in the first step where the boat runs "clean". As for now, after the fact, no I don't want it in the first step and have two giant holes patched where the current ones are... =/ I understand getting a sea chest is the best answer at this point. What I don't understand is why this model is being sold as is when there's basically zero chance of the wells being able to function properly and the customer is left hanging

yes if it does suck I’ve dealt with it before on my contenders if they weren’t rigged right to start.
The best pick ups I’ve used are these. 1 1/2” what would fit a contender
Best Marine Products High Speed Pickups
An upgraded livewell pump can help but won’t eliminate the problem. These are much better than the typical bait sentry pumps I see in contenders a lot
https://www.hodgesmarine.com/Shurflo...jqeniramsegdoh

Old 07-11-2018, 06:22 AM
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Originally Posted by nautiboyz View Post
I don’t have any experience with stepped hulls but when you say in the last step, is the pick up actually in the small step cavity? Or is it on the flat section aft of the step. Ours is way aft just before the euro transom
it's in the aft side of the last step on flat surface. On a true functioning step hull though, as soon as you pass the first step, the entire running surface is absolute turbulence. There's so much air sucked in that the pickups can't work properly. The performance of the hull is amazing as far as cruising speed and efficiency. I'm getting 1.8 mpg on average fully loaded doing 45 mph and have hit 65 mph top speed, which I'm very satisfied with. Live wells just need a different system. If it had a sea chest from the start, my payment would have been $30 a month higher ( factoring what they say the cost is for the upgrade over the length of my loan and interest ). Now it's several thousand out of pocket though
Old 07-11-2018, 06:25 AM
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Originally Posted by T-bone123 View Post



yes if it does suck I’ve dealt with it before on my contenders if they weren’t rigged right to start.
The best pick ups I’ve used are these. 1 1/2” what would fit a contender
Best Marine Products High Speed Pickups
An upgraded livewell pump can help but won’t eliminate the problem. These are much better than the typical bait sentry pumps I see in contenders a lot
https://www.hodgesmarine.com/Shurflo...jqeniramsegdoh

Yeah, I really want it to be done right, which means I'm going to end up with a sea chest. I use live bait almost exclusively bottom fishing. I'm just super frustrated with the lack of willingness to help from them when it's clearly a widespread on their step models
Old 07-11-2018, 06:35 AM
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Originally Posted by T-bone123 View Post



yes if it does suck I’ve dealt with it before on my contenders if they weren’t rigged right to start.
The best pick ups I’ve used are these. 1 1/2” what would fit a contender
Best Marine Products High Speed Pickups
An upgraded livewell pump can help but won’t eliminate the problem. These are much better than the typical bait sentry pumps I see in contenders a lot
https://www.hodgesmarine.com/Shurflo...jqeniramsegdoh

That is an interesting looking pick up. No issues with trailering? The ones they put in look like cheese graters flush mounted to the surface
Old 07-11-2018, 06:37 AM
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Common problem with step hulls.

Although a sea chest is the best solution, I solved my airlock issues by installing Shurflow 1500 pumps horizontally IAW the installation directions. These pumps have an anti airlock feature that clearly works. I do still have a lot of air in the live well water when running, but the pins seem ok with it.
Old 07-11-2018, 06:46 AM
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You need to close all the drain valves for each livewell. If set up like the 32 each one has two valves. Two of them are way back in the bilge and very difficult to get to the other two should be just behind the hatch opening in the bilge attached to the bottom side of the deck. Again close all of them so they pressurize and use the two closest valve to adjust the over flow when not running. Also what size pumps are you running?
Old 07-11-2018, 05:36 PM
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Originally Posted by Bro1234 View Post
That is an interesting looking pick up. No issues with trailering? The ones they put in look like cheese graters flush mounted to the surface
not at all they should be mounted like this
Old 07-11-2018, 05:46 PM
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Originally Posted by T-bone123 View Post

not at all they should be mounted like this
Ahhhhh it's on the back of the step, not at all what I had pictured in my mind. So would also require relocation of the existing holes. Well if I don't get any better answers on helping out with the sea chest, I can bring this up as an option as well.
Old 07-11-2018, 05:52 PM
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Originally Posted by swimming mullet View Post
You need to close all the drain valves for each livewell. If set up like the 32 each one has two valves. Two of them are way back in the bilge and very difficult to get to the other two should be just behind the hatch opening in the bilge attached to the bottom side of the deck. Again close all of them so they pressurize and use the two closest valve to adjust the over flow when not running. Also what size pumps are you running?
I do close the two that are right under the bilge hatch about a quarter of the way which pressurizes them at stand still. It's when I get on plane that the pumps air lock and then if I look back I see the wells go to about 3/4 full and sloshing around. Even if I have the wells off completely they fill to about that amount just on the upward pressure. So, the other 2 valves you're speaking about do the same thing as the first two? How does that effect the pump itself from air locking though? Also, as is when I'm at rest, it seems to really get a good amount of pressure in there to where it's difficult to open the lid. If you close the other two valves, how much pressure is too much?
Old 07-11-2018, 06:23 PM
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Gotta love Comtender. Build a boat and send it off to the customer knowing the live wells are f’d up. Another awesome customer service experience from Contender.
Old 07-11-2018, 06:39 PM
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Find a better dealer that knows WTF they are doing!!
Old 07-11-2018, 07:36 PM
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Originally Posted by Bro1234 View Post
Ahhhhh it's on the back of the step, not at all what I had pictured in my mind. So would also require relocation of the existing holes. Well if I don't get any better answers on helping out with the sea chest, I can bring this up as an option as well.
that’s the back end of the running surface, not one of the steps.


Originally Posted by Flatout71 View Post
Gotta love Comtender. Build a boat and send it off to the customer knowing the live wells are f’d up. Another awesome customer service experience from Contender.
Been a while since I’ve seen a contender build sheet, but I’m pretty sure the sea chest option is on there. On the build sheets I’ve seen, everything is an option. Shoot, even rigging the spaces with live well plumbing was an option.

I agree with the poster above who said it was a dealer issue

Pretty sure that until recently all the Yellowdins went out without sea chest and guys had to ad them on their own.
Old 07-11-2018, 07:47 PM
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Originally Posted by Bro1234 View Post
I do close the two that are right under the bilge hatch about a quarter of the way which pressurizes them at stand still. It's when I get on plane that the pumps air lock and then if I look back I see the wells go to about 3/4 full and sloshing around. Even if I have the wells off completely they fill to about that amount just on the upward pressure. So, the other 2 valves you're speaking about do the same thing as the first two? How does that effect the pump itself from air locking though? Also, as is when I'm at rest, it seems to really get a good amount of pressure in there to where it's difficult to open the lid. If you close the other two valves, how much pressure is too much?

do your wells look like this? You may be closing off just the drain at the bottom and leaving the top drain wide open, hence it drains to to 3/4 full and sloshing when on a plane. Need to close down the valve to the top drain as well to pressurize
​​​​​​
Old 07-11-2018, 07:54 PM
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I did not know the sea chest business was that lucrative...I need to start making some molds.

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