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Old 08-24-2017, 07:32 PM   #1
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lack of coolant

After 3 years, the boat is "ready." So I went to load it up to bring it to the homeport.

Since I'll be underway on Saturday morning between 5:00 and 5:30 am, I decided to do some prechecks this afternoon. (boat is 4.5 hours away by car)

Checked oil - OK
Checked transmission oil - OK
Checked coolant level - nothing in the little plastic tank. Opened up heat exchanger, stuck my finger in -dry at least as far as my finger would reach.

Went to Operators Manual for Westerbeke 100, the troubleshooting section:

4. ENGINE OVERHEATING
a. Cooling water shortage
b. Water leaks
c. Belt loose or smeared with oil
d. Raw water pump defective

So the question I have is... other than a leaky hose connection what would cause "a. Cooling water shortage?"

And... can you add coolant when underway? seems like any real loss cannot be made up by checking every hour or so, and if the little plastic tank is empty how does on add coolant without a subsequent trip to the hospital? ( you are supposed to add water up to the rim of the filler cap neck. ( which means you would have to remove it (is it like an automotive radiator (do not remove when hot)?

This is frustrating.
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Old 08-24-2017, 07:49 PM   #2
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Before trying to keep the level up I would try to find where the leak is...

L
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Old 08-24-2017, 08:50 PM   #3
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The coolant went someplace. Start looking for leaks. If you can't find a leak then suspect the heat exchanger.

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Old 08-24-2017, 09:01 PM   #4
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Check the oil, look for little beads of water or discoloration in the oil on the dipstick. Has the oil level gone up?
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Old 08-25-2017, 05:24 AM   #5
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Top off with water. Go to your local auto parts store and borrow a radiator pressure tester. Pressure test to 15 lbs and look for leaks. The system should hold 15 lbs of pressure. Probably worthwhile to replace the rad cap at the same time. Ck yours but probably a 13 lb cap.
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Old 08-25-2017, 05:50 AM   #6
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"After three years---". Q and A
-- Did it ever have coolant in it under your ownership?
-- Did it per chance freeze up and burst plugs?
-- Did someone winterize it by draining coolant and not replace it?
-- Has it sat unused for this period? (If so, different system issues may occur)
-- Any coolant or water show up in bilge during this time?
-- Has a trusted soul been monitoring vessel.
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Old 08-25-2017, 05:52 AM   #7
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"Top off with water. Go to your local auto parts store and borrow a radiator pressure tester. Pressure test to 15 lbs and look for leaks. The system should hold 15 lbs of pressure. Probably worthwhile to replace the rad cap at the same time. Ck yours but probably a 13 lb cap."

Perhaps , but many older marine engines and noisemakers use a 2 or 3 lb pressure system..
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Old 08-25-2017, 08:11 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by FF View Post
"Top off with water. Go to your local auto parts store and borrow a radiator pressure tester. Pressure test to 15 lbs and look for leaks. The system should hold 15 lbs of pressure. Probably worthwhile to replace the rad cap at the same time. Ck yours but probably a 13 lb cap."

Perhaps , but many older marine engines and noisemakers use a 2 or 3 lb pressure system..
Agree, mine is only 7 lbs. On the plus side, it doesn't take much pressure to see an external leak. Internal, a whole different ballgame. I for one would not be leaving on an extended trip without first identifying where the coolant is going. Good luck.
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Old 08-25-2017, 08:26 AM   #9
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Coolant loss can be dangerous obviously, the coolant as previous posts can be lost through a

1) leaking cylinder head gasket(White exhaust smoke)
2) Cracked head(White exhaust smoke)
3) Corroded heat exchanger/seals(need to pressure check as no true way to diagnose if leaking into the raw water)
4) Corroded Exhaust Manifold (Especially if Aluminium )
5) Pin hole leak in cylinder liners(Air in system/water in oil-milky)
6) Turbo Charger(if fresh water cooled)

Most of those plastic bottles are not designed to be filled to the top- you must leave room for expansion -normally there's a mark

Why i say corroded exhaust manifold is that if the coolant is not changed every two years or so and especially if left sitting the coolant turns to acid and eats your aluminium away, below is just one example

Cheers Steve
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Old 08-25-2017, 08:33 AM   #10
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Start simple like Sunchaser posted, ask if the system was drained and never refilled.

After that, just fill with water and see what happens. If it stays, add some coolant system cleaner and run it some more, if at sny point more is gone than just burping and no obvious leaks, then time to do a manifold and or whole system pressure check.

Not my strongest area so put al, the suggestions in order from simpke to complex, just being wary of any that goes strait to damage if unnoticed...so keep checking the oil regularly during and after runs.
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Old 08-25-2017, 09:11 AM   #11
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Sounds like you dont know the history of the boat. I would fill with water and look for leaks. Then start engine and add more water after it warms a bit. Add via the radiator cap not the overflow bottle. You can leave the cap off for this but if after you put the cap on it gets to normal operating temps then do be careful removing the cap.You may have to put it in gear to get warm. If the water shows no sign of leaking then you should be good for a test run. I would not plan a long trip without a sea trail. There are lots of things that need checking after three years. Doesnt sound like the boat is "ready" in the ER space.
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Old 08-25-2017, 09:35 AM   #12
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So a little boat history.

The boast sat unused for 2013 and 2014. I had a survey done in 2014. During the survey, the raw water seacock was not opened and the boat overheated , destroyed the raw water pump, and melted the exhaust.

boat was repaired and passed survey ride. Boat is hauled out as it is now too late in the season to bring to new homeport.

Fast Forward to late 2016 - boat was launched, on test run fresh water pump bearing is shot. Boat is hauled out as it is now too late in the season to bring to new homeport.

Questions:
-- Did it ever have coolant in it under your ownership? yes
-- Did it per chance freeze up and burst plugs? no
-- Did someone winterize it by draining coolant and not replace it? no
-- Has it sat unused for this period? (If so, different system issues may occur) no
-- Any coolant or water show up in bilge during this time? no
-- Has a trusted soul been monitoring vessel. (well really what does that mean?)

So the plan is now to refill with coolant, take some spare coolant along, get it to home port. (check exhaust for white smoke)

Then pressure test system. (cap should be 14 psi)

(Manifold is cast iron)

Manifold availability is a question (This part number is no longer available.)

See what happens
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Old 08-25-2017, 10:26 AM   #13
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How far away is homeport?
Is the boat single or twin engine?
Is the run to homeport transiting rivers or open ocean?
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Old 08-25-2017, 02:07 PM   #14
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How far away is homeport? 86 nm

Is the boat single or twin engine? single

Is the run to homeport transiting rivers or open ocean? no rivers - but I wouldn't casll it open ocean ether. I'm taking it from Sag harbor to New Bedford Harbor.

There is a lot of traffic in this area. ( especially on Saturday - and my Tow Boat is paid up) If I have to shut down, I'll be inconvenienced, but not in trouble.

The boat yard had previously taken it for a 4 hour tour (which led to a quart drop in coolant - just beyond my finger)
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Old 08-25-2017, 02:15 PM   #15
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Considering the amount of coolant lost and that you noticed nothing much I would tend to think the issue is in the heat exchanger and your coolant is leaking in the raw water and pumped overboard via the exhaust.

L

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Old 08-25-2017, 02:29 PM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by PMF1984 View Post
After 3 years, the boat is "ready." So I went to load it up to bring it to the homeport.

Since I'll be underway on Saturday morning between 5:00 and 5:30 am, I decided to do some prechecks this afternoon. (boat is 4.5 hours away by car)

Checked oil - OK
Checked transmission oil - OK
Checked coolant level - nothing in the little plastic tank. Opened up heat exchanger, stuck my finger in -dry at least as far as my finger would reach.

Went to Operators Manual for Westerbeke 100, the troubleshooting section:

4. ENGINE OVERHEATING
a. Cooling water shortage
b. Water leaks
c. Belt loose or smeared with oil
d. Raw water pump defective

So the question I have is... other than a leaky hose connection what would cause "a. Cooling water shortage?"

And... can you add coolant when underway? seems like any real loss cannot be made up by checking every hour or so, and if the little plastic tank is empty how does on add coolant without a subsequent trip to the hospital? ( you are supposed to add water up to the rim of the filler cap neck. ( which means you would have to remove it (is it like an automotive radiator (do not remove when hot)?

This is frustrating.
What type of expansion tank configuration do you have? Some have a separate expansion tank AND an overflow tank, some use the heat exchanger and an overflow tank. I don't mean to sound dumb, but when you opened the heat exchanger, what did you open? The end cap? The pressure cap?

Ken
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Old 08-25-2017, 02:38 PM   #17
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Yes, that is what I am afraid of, wish it was a loose hose, but the yard did not observe any leaks. Is there a way to diagnose-isolate this as the problem?

(off to boat now, will read response on Sat night)
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Old 08-25-2017, 07:48 PM   #18
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There is a die you can put in that will show under black light. Not sure though if it will show in the exhaust water.
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Old 08-27-2017, 11:24 AM   #19
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So... a report.

I ran the engine at 2800 rpm for 10 yours on Saturday with no loss in coolant.

There is a little white smoke in the exhaust.

The engine shudders at low idle 500-600 rpm.

The engine has 9100 hours and has had no major work done since 5000 hours.

Recommendations?

John
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Old 08-27-2017, 11:43 AM   #20
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Originally Posted by PMF1984 View Post
So... a report.

I ran the engine at 2800 rpm for 10 yours on Saturday with no loss in coolant.

There is a little white smoke in the exhaust.

The engine shudders at low idle 500-600 rpm.

The engine has 9100 hours and has had no major work done since 5000 hours.

Recommendations?

John
You had a major overheat due to no raw water as best I understand. This is not minor. Assuming the engine shuddering and white smoke (steam?) are new issues you have a choice to make. Run it till it breaks while checking for damage or bite the big $ bullet now.

9000 hours is pretty good I'd say. Me, I'd get total rebuild price vs a new right sized engine (Beta Marine) and compare pros and cons. In the meantime, bore scope, check oil analysis every spring and fall, monitor and analyze coolant and be watchful for any worsening. Oh, stay near tow boat guys vs a long cruise from home.
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