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Old 08-30-2011, 06:26 PM   #1
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Guys, help me out - oil pan full of seawater!

Hey all, Irene blew through Maine and as precautions we doubled up on new stout pendants and shackles, etc., shut all the through hulls and she rode out the storm nicely, but with LOTS of pitching and rolling. After climbing aboard and finding the only visible damage to be the shampoo knocked over, we decided to take her out for a few days. I check the oil and there was none, but water was beading on the dipstick. I did it a few more times, and then decided to start my oil change procedure....got only seawater? So, where did the oil go? How did the seawater get into the engine. Is this likely to be insurance covered as the boat was fine before the storm, but not so now. And, I've heard of "pickling" an engine - (like when a boat goes down), but I don't really know what that means. Ideas, suggestions, ....this REALLY stinks!
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Old 08-30-2011, 07:04 PM   #2
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Guys, help me out - oil pan full of seawater!

The oil may still be there,* on top of the water. Suck everything out. In a hurricane, seawater can be blown up the exhaust into the engine unless you have a positive seal there. Some folks use those expandable plumbing pipe sealers used to close off large diameter pipes. That would be my best guess


-- Edited by Keith on Tuesday 30th of August 2011 07:05:51 PM
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Old 08-30-2011, 07:25 PM   #3
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RE: Guys, help me out - oil pan full of seawater!

Thanks Keith - I was also thinking maybe as the boat pitched, it was taking seawater up the exhaust. Do you think *the seawater could have displaced all the oil? the 3208 (210hp) *usually carries 12 quarts of oil, but no oil remains----wierd!

Thanks for your help!

Kevin O
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Old 08-30-2011, 08:17 PM   #4
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RE: Guys, help me out - oil pan full of seawater!

You said you started your oil change procedure. Did you continue it until no more fluid of any kind came out of the engine? If there is no oil in the bilge I would think the oil has to still be inside the engine. Keith's suggestion that enough water got blown up the exhaust to somehow fill the sump to the point where the dipstick is seeing only water seems plausible. If this happened you have salt water in at least some of your cylinders, too, as the water coming up the exhaust can only get into the engine via the exhaust manifold and valve openings.

If it was me I would notify my insurance company immediately. Also, regardless of whether there is oil still in the engine or not you need to get that engine cleaned out asap. I don't know enough about the subject to know if a partial or full teardown is required to do this properly or if the engine can be cleaned of salt residue without taking it apart. But the longer you wait do deal with the problem the worse the internal problem will become.
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Old 08-30-2011, 09:29 PM   #5
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RE: Guys, help me out - oil pan full of seawater!

That's very strange. What ever you do don't try to crank the engine until you're sure there is no water in the cylinders. Oh hell, you already knew that. Could the oil have gone out a breather and be in your bilge?
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Old 08-30-2011, 10:06 PM   #6
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RE: Guys, help me out - oil pan full of seawater!

All the oil drained out of my transmission and was replaced by seawater.* The transmission was totally ruined.* Total rebuild.* Had I caught it early I might have saved it, but once the seawater circulated it was over.
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Old 08-30-2011, 10:35 PM   #7
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Guys, help me out - oil pan full of seawater!

Quote:
BelfastCruiser wrote:
*And, I've heard of "pickling" an engine - (like when a boat goes down), but I don't really know what that means.
Picking an engine generally means what you do to it to preserve it during long periods of layup/disuse.* For example when the engine in the type of floatplane I fly is "pickled" the cylinders are filled with heavy oil and other components are oiled, greased, or otherwise protected against moisture intrusion, rust, and corrosion.* A pickled engine cannot be run until the pickling oil, grease, and other stuff is removed from the engine.

An engine that has been submerged in salt water or filled with it needs a different treatment altogether.* If action can be taken immediately after the submerging it may be possible to get the water out and then flush the engine thoroughly with fresh water or water with anti-salt chemicals in it and then somehow get the whole inside of the engine lubed properly.* As I said, I don't know much about what can be done in this regard.

But if several days pass before the engine can be flushed out and lubed I suspect that a teardown might become necessary.* Salt starts working on components right now so the window of opportunity to save the situation without a teardown is probably very small.* I know that the floatplanes Kenmore Air has recovered from sinkings in salt water are disassembled and sunk in the lake for several days to flush the salt*out of the airframe while their engines are immediately torn down and overhauled.


-- Edited by Marin on Tuesday 30th of August 2011 10:40:04 PM
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Old 08-30-2011, 10:54 PM   #8
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Guys, help me out - oil pan full of seawater!

John Deere recommends I examine the oil dip stick before everytime starting the engine to check the oil level.* What would the stick show when the engine, once*filled with oil,*has become*full of water?


-- Edited by markpierce on Tuesday 30th of August 2011 10:55:17 PM
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Old 08-30-2011, 10:59 PM   #9
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RE: Guys, help me out - oil pan full of seawater!

Quote:
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John Deere recommends I examine the oil dip stick before everytime starting the engine to check the oil level.* What would the stick show when the engine, once*filled with oil,*has become*full of water?



-- Edited by markpierce on Tuesday 30th of August 2011 10:55:17 PM
*it would be milky instead of oily.* Trust me you would see a difference from the regular dip.
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Old 08-31-2011, 04:26 AM   #10
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RE: Guys, help me out - oil pan full of seawater!

"it would be milky instead of oily"

Not if the engine had not yet been started.

Milky, is the water and oil forced to mix (think mayonaise) by the oil pump.

Looking at water will look like water .
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Old 08-31-2011, 05:08 AM   #11
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RE: Guys, help me out - oil pan full of seawater!

I was amazed when I removed the dipstick, I saw NO oil on it, just beads of water. I couldn;t quite believe it, and did the routine a few more times. Checking the oil is a habit. We were only going to bring the baot to the dock, maybe 3- minutes away, but because it has become habit, I checked the stick. I MAY be able to save the engine, but if I had tried to start it, it would be toes up for sure. Theres a lesson in this somewhere....
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Old 08-31-2011, 11:02 AM   #12
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RE: Guys, help me out - oil pan full of seawater!

Sunk boats usually have their engine thoroughly flushed and then put back in service. I'm somewhat skeptical of this vrs opening them up. But whatever you decide I would get some professional advice and notify your insurance company. Since it hasn't run since the flooding you should be in good shape.
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Old 08-31-2011, 06:04 PM   #13
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RE: Guys, help me out - oil pan full of seawater!

Hey all, this is a great sounding board. Here's what happened: I began to drain off the salt water, and after a couple of gallons, oil began to appear on the stick. You guys were correct. After draining the oil pan completely, and refilling with fresh oil and filters, I SLOWLY tried barring the engine over. It hung up...... So, I called in more expert advice who then removed the plugs from the dry ends of the exhaust manifolds. Water came out of both. Because both manifolds were water filled, he agreed the problem was the result of seawater coming up the exhaust, and NOT a bad manifold(his first suspicion). With the plugs in the manifolds out, we tried barring over the engine again, and this time she turned freely. Fired it up and it ran fine for a few minuted. Tonight I'm letting any residual water separate out and back into the pan. Tomorrow morning I drain it again and replace the oil & filters. With Luck, be cruising by evening. I've read that these Cat 3208's are prone to having water back up the risers. I will definitely be putting flapper valves on the exhausts!
Thanks Again
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Old 08-31-2011, 06:10 PM   #14
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RE: Guys, help me out - oil pan full of seawater!

I got water in one of my gas engines in a prior boat via a perforated riser. I had to change the oil 10 (yes, TEN) times before I would run it to temperature. Don't get in too big a hurry.
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Old 08-31-2011, 07:04 PM   #15
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RE: Guys, help me out - oil pan full of seawater!

Quote:
BelfastCruiser wrote:
I've read that these Cat 3208's are prone to having water back up the risers.
Don't know what your muffler configuation is like, and preventing water from being blown up the exhaust hose in the first place is the best way to prevent the problem you had.* But the custom fiberglass mufflers we had installed on our boat a number of years ago have petcock drains in their bottoms.* While all the exhaust components on our boat are lower than the exhaust manifolds on the engines, if we were in a location where strong storm winds could conceivably blow water up the hoses from the transom I'd be inclined to open the muffler petcocks as a precauton against having them fill up completely and then start forcing water up*to the*elbows and*into the manifolds.

Glad you were able to sort your problem without having to resort to a teardown and overhaul.
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Old 08-31-2011, 08:39 PM   #16
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RE: Guys, help me out - oil pan full of seawater!

TOMCO installs a wet/underwater exhaust system on main and genset in all its boats. This cools the engine exhaust in an above hull water filled chamber before the exhaust bubbles out under the hull. This is not only very quiet and kills any diesel smell, but would preclude any water getting blown or wave driven up into the engine.
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Old 09-01-2011, 04:23 AM   #17
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RE: Guys, help me out - oil pan full of seawater!

You might consider another HOT oil change after your first days run.

2 or 3 oil changes on an engine that measures in quarts , not gallons is no big deal.
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Old 09-02-2011, 04:55 AM   #18
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RE: Guys, help me out - oil pan full of seawater!

Just a concept for anyone caught short , with out 2 or 3 oil changes aboard..

Pump the water out and over fill with Diesel.

This will give you tine to get to a store to get lube oil.

While real diesel lube oil is needed for extended running , cheap K mart car oil will do just fine for the changes and small warm up time needed to capture the water.
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Old 09-02-2011, 06:18 AM   #19
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RE: Guys, help me out - oil pan full of seawater!

When you think all of the water is out of the crankcase, run the engine to operating temp and check the underside of the oil fill cap for condensation. If you find water beads, wipe off and continue running until no water beads appear, then change oil and filter again.
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Old 09-02-2011, 08:44 AM   #20
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RE: Guys, help me out - oil pan full of seawater!

Carl

I too have opearated diesel equipment all my life. Ignore your neighbor and go by the book regarding oil additives - kerosene is not one of them for normal use. Wet engines, as discussed, require special care to get them clean and dewatered. It sounds like*you are on the right track but I'd double check the geometry of your exhaust elbow and piping to minimize future untold happenings
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