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Thread: Water in the engine

  1. #1

    Default Water in the engine

    I have a 350 volvo penta with Barr risers. After winterizing, water was found in the engine. I drained all water and oil and the engine runs fine. I ran the around the harbor and in the driveway in order to find which riser was leaking. The motor took on no water and cylinders were fine. I took the boat out this past sunday and came home with an extra probably 3 quarts of water in the engine. Both banks of cylinders had water in each. My question is, what the chance that I sucked water back up the exhaust? I checked the oil midway throught the trip and had not taken any water on. A couple of times I shut down the motor at high rpm as not suck up a bunch of kelp. I have talked with a couple a couple mechanics and they said it is possible that I had sucked up the water. Do any you have experience with this?

  2. #2

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    I have a mid-70s Volvo V8 with wet exhaust. Have not had your experience, but seems unlikely that even if water got in on the exhaust side that it would end up in your engines. My first inclination would be to think head gasket failure, or rust-through in the block between the water jacket and someplace.

    If head gasket, seems unlikely that water would end up in *both* cylinder banks as both gaskets would have to fail simultaneously. So far as kelp, even if you got a clog in the raw water pump, or somewhere else along the line, that would cause overheating but I can't reconcile a seawater clog with getting water in the motor.

    Question: You probably didn't sample it, but any clue whether the water in the motor was salt or fresh (coolant)?
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  3. #3
    Member Roger's Avatar
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    Is it a bayliner ? If so lots of good info here

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  4. #4

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    Had the same issue. Was a manifold gasket in my case. Sometimes oil had a bit of water. Sometimes it didnt. Keep a close eye on the coolant level if you take it out again. If your low id say its a head gasket.

  5. #5

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    Thanks for the input so far! I know that it is not a head gasket or cracked block as the coolant level has not changed. Can "dieseling" the engine cause it to suck in raw water through the exhaust?

  6. #6

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    My best guess would be through the exhaust if you chop the throttle at high rpm...water will shoot right up through.


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  7. #7

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    Quote Originally Posted by bmcguire4 View Post
    Thanks for the input so far! I know that it is not a head gasket or cracked block as the coolant level has not changed. Can "dieseling" the engine cause it to suck in raw water through the exhaust?
    Yes. One reason to let the engine cool down a bit before shutting it off (so that it doesn't diesel). Plus what AK2AZ said.

  8. #8
    Member cormit's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by bmcguire4 View Post
    I have a 350 volvo penta with Barr risers. After winterizing, water was found in the engine. I drained all water and oil and the engine runs fine. I ran the around the harbor and in the driveway in order to find which riser was leaking. The motor took on no water and cylinders were fine. I took the boat out this past sunday and came home with an extra probably 3 quarts of water in the engine. Both banks of cylinders had water in each. My question is, what the chance that I sucked water back up the exhaust? I checked the oil midway throught the trip and had not taken any water on. A couple of times I shut down the motor at high rpm as not suck up a bunch of kelp. I have talked with a couple a couple mechanics and they said it is possible that I had sucked up the water. Do any you have experience with this?
    Many engines are ruined from issues related to various failures in the exhaust risers. If you have a heat exchanger (anti freeze in the motor) then all that separates the anti freeze side from the sea water side is the gasket where the riser bolts down to the exhaust manifold. When this gasket separation fails .... and seems like it eventually does ..... the amount of sea water that remains in the riser right above the gasket leaks down into the exhaust manifold ..... and from there ..... depending on how much water there is ...... it will flow into what ever cylinder that has an exhaust valve open when the motor was shut off. If the valve is closed the water will usually just puddle there and you end up with a rusty valve and seat. If the water that enters the cylinder is from the anti freeze side ...... you might be spared the rusting for awhile ...... but hit the starter with the piston in the right position with a little water present ...... and you end up with a bent connection rod. If it sounds like i've done this before ..... I have.

    After fighting endless riser problems on a series of big boats we built with twin 454's ........ I decided to build some one piece stainless steel risers with solid machined bases ....... that could not ever leak water back into the manifold. These worked pretty good ...... and water leaking was eliminated .... however, the new SS risers would allow more water to flow from the sea water pump. With a rapid throttle drop ...... we were getting water pulled back into riser and into the exhaust manifold. On the down stream end of the risers ...... the sea water mixes with hot exhaust and is blasted overboard. When operating at high throttle ... the sea water pump / impeller pump is moving lots of water. If you cut power quickly ...... the exhaust pressure at the discharge side of the exhaust risers drop drastically and might even become a vacuum briefly. This can pull the exhaust water back into the riser, into the exhaust manifold ........ and into the engine. In most I/O's there is a butterfly stopper valve located in the exhaust opening ....... usually the last place before the exhaust leaves the boat .... that closes when the exhaust pressure drops ........ this helps prevent the air needed to allow the exhaust water to get pulled back into the motor .... kind of like a vacuum breaker. In our case ..... those butterfly valves were no longer closing all the way ... and needed replacing as well. Avoiding rapid throttle drop will help some ...... but, the water that seeped into your engine during lay up will continue to cause trouble. Probably time to tear into those risers and inspect/replace riser gaskets. Hope this helps.


  9. #9
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    20130508_133859[1].jpg20130508_133948[1].jpg

    My boat has a 6" exhaust and is set up with a surge tube in the exhaust, its a Y in the tube so if water comes up the exhaust tube it runs straight to the dead end of the Y instead of rolling up into the engine. Sorry for the crappy shots but its kinda tight getting up under there. My boat also has a wet keel that fills up with water to cool the cutlass & bearing plus it makes for a great ride when it gets snotty out and she lays like a duck on the drift.

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  10. #10
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    take off the risers and check for rust down through your exhaust manifolds. Sound like a leaky gasket or a crack in your riser that is letting sea water to be mixed with the exhaust too early and it runs down the exhaust manifold to the cylinders. Those cracks start small then get bigger the more you run water through them at pressure.

  11. #11

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    Quote Originally Posted by skydiver View Post
    Yes. One reason to let the engine cool down a bit before shutting it off (so that it doesn't diesel). Plus what AK2AZ said.
    Not sure about other I/Os but with the Volvo you can't do that. Once you are at running temps (180) the thermostat keeps the temperature at 180. You could idle all day and it would never "cool down".
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  12. #12
    Member Jimw's Avatar
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    If it dieseled it will suck the water back up through the exhaust tubes and into the motor. ( i shut the motor down at higher RPM's than idel) I did it with my jet boat and the water went into the valve bank. (not knowing this) I went to turn it over and the water drained into the cyclender when the valves opened and "water locked" the motor. Pulled the spark plugs and turned the motor over. Man a 350 can shoot some water out of a plug whole. Put the plugs in and it fired right up. ran it to the launch took it out checked the oil. no water. changed the oil and no issues. Come to find out that the manufacture does not put "exhaust flappers" on any more. The replaced them with exhaust boxes that cover the exhaust outlet and is suposed to eleviate that. Guess they need to look at that again. in the photo below you can see the exhaust boxes on the transome.

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