The 38 series, and I trust others too, used a welded steel collector that was galvanized. This device was placed on the outboard side of the hull where it was fed by two water cooled exhaust hoses coming from the V8 motor exhaust risers. From the collector, the pipe increased to 4-1/2" diameter on the 427 equipped boats, and that large hose ran to the muffler, and then was routed to the exhaust port under the foil near the waterline.
A while back I experienced a failure of one of my collectors, and I discovered it was badly rusted. Here is what that collector looks like
Here is that same collector again, after it was wrestled out of the boat. You can see how rotten the iron was! The copper collector was used to replace the original system during a major conversion I did.
Bruce Martin, one of our Forum V.I.Ps sent in the following photos, having just experienced the same failure on his freshwater boat. Mine was a freshwater boat too. It looks like 40 years is all we can expect out of this particular part in fresh water. In salt, it would have been gone long ago, and I suspect the copper exhaust system was what CC used if they knew the boat was heading for salt water.
Here is a close up of what Bruce encountered !
Here is the same image, not so enlarged this time.
Here is another view, and I want everyone to see the note Bruce added. This is very good info, because carbon monoxide can, indeed, kill. Therefore if any of you guys are still running the iron collectors, beware, their life span is around 40 years or less.
Thanks for the photos Bruce, and for the precautionary notice! You never know when a safety tip like this is going to help someone, and that's the reason for sharing this info!
FXA 38 3004 R
The photo above was the "Photo of the Day" on Good Friday and on Saturday before Easter, 2007. Thanks to Bruce Martin for drawing attention to the carbon monoxide dangers and for sending in the photos. The following text was listed along with the photo, and it is repeated here as a reference:
"Old steel collectors did their job well for 35+ years, but that seems to be their service life in fresh water. As a result, they represent a very real danger due to carbon monoxide poisoning. Even a small hole can admit the odorless gas, which over time will build up in the human body and eventually make a person drowsy, which can lead to a fatality.
Several of us have changed out our old galvanized steel collectors, and once theyíre out you can really see how the ravages of time, heat, and water have eroded the metal. The drain hole on the bottom, put there for wintertime drain-down, seems to be a prime location for the rust to begin. Normal use will rub through the galvanized surface, and once itís gone then it is only a matter of time before rust totally takes over. Any other flaws in the galvanized surface on the inside of the collector will also lead to a rust hole.
The photo above shows a collector recently removed from Bruce Martinís 1967 38 Commander. The one I took off my 1966 Commander looked very similar. When these fail, youíll get water in the bilge, but bilge pumps will automatically take this out and you may not notice the problem. The engine compartment is sealed, and the water on the bottom of the pipe will contain a lot of noise too, but some degree of exhaust fumes will also get through, and this is where the danger is. I didnít notice my collector had eroded until one day I shut off the motor and heard what sounded like a faucet running. I opened the hatch and sure enough, water was draining out of my exhaust system from a hole in the collector."