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Old 09-03-2019, 04:28 PM
Surcouf Surcouf is offline
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What had to happen.... is block dead?

Good afternoon,

so as it was bound to happen, my engine is about to let me down, due to my laziness (and POs'). Short history: I purchased my 1979 Catalina 27 4 or 5 years ago.
-- At the time of purchase, it had been winterized in the same yard in Rhode Island for many years, but the latest 2 winterization reports mentioned the fact that 2, then 3 of the spark plugs could not be removed. The mechanic told me he put as much torque / impact he though reasonable, trying to avoid to break the spark plug (that would have required to remove the engine from boat on a C27). I tried several times to let penetrant oil / mix ATF and Kroll oil during weeks (and several other receipes recommended by Steam boiler mechanics), tried to wrench or impact with engine cold or hot with no luck. And then I gave up trying, praying that I would loose my engine only at a season end (knowing that I do not go out of the Narragansett Bay, and so have a lower engine safety requirement, having already sailed back to the marina several times during my charger vs batteries issues). And that day has come...
-- I had to change the "engine side plate" that developed a hole a couple years ago (shipped in emergency by MM, saving the summer), removing a bunch of mud and crap for the bottom of the block.
-- I also changed the exhaust system to a MM new one, due to the exhaust gases leak
-- Even now, engine starts perfect, runs nice (appart from combustion gases leaking - no comment)

Anyway: long story short, this block was and is very rusty, and I never took the time to re-paint it; the access of a C27 is really really bad; I know it is not an acceptable excuse. And last Saturday, leaving the marina for Labor Day week-end to Newport, when rev-ing up, the engine started to exhale a very distinct "rpm-synched, gas blowing noise". Quickly found out there was a combustion gases leak somewhere around the first spark plug pit.

So Engine head is clearly junk. Now the questions to you guys the experienced mechanics:
-- Based on the pictures below is the rest of the engine dead too? Should I even try to save it, or go try to find another one? (the MM new ones are $$$)
-- Is it possible on a C27 to remove the head without moving the engine out, and install a new head?
-- All the head bolts look pretty bad, what is likely to happen when I will try to remove them?
-- The large bolt holding the engine to the boat, loacted in teh vicinity of teh water pump, looks very rusty. Is there any trick to remove that one if need be? Or jigsaw // torch ( I hate open flames in boats)

Thank you in advance for your experienced opinions!!!
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Old 09-03-2019, 04:29 PM
Surcouf Surcouf is offline
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Old 09-03-2019, 04:31 PM
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Old 09-03-2019, 10:49 PM
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Al Schober Al Schober is offline
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I take it the engine still runs. If you have 'Winter' where you are, that's a good time to pull the engine and get it someplace to work on until the return of sailing season.
There's a lot of corrosion there - the head corrosion is unusual. My question is: What's dripping on the engine?
Don't let the corrosion scare you. A little iron make a LOT of rust. You've got your work cut out for you cleaning that up. Buy a face shield or at least safety glasses with side shields. Like the safety poster says 'Protect your eye'.
Head may not be toast. Depends on what happens when you remove the spark plugs. They can be removed - it just depends on how much of the head goes along with them.
Removing the engine from a Cat27 is a challenge - no experience with that, just glad I had a Tar30! There are Cat27 folks here who will guide you.
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Old 09-04-2019, 08:21 AM
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TomG TomG is offline
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Are you sure it's the head? The rust and corrosion around that #1 plug looks bad enough that maybe the leak you hear is simply the spark plug being compromised? Like Al mentioned, I would get in there with a Dremel and a wire brush (and all the safety gear like goggles and masks and a shop vac, etc.) and clean the area up first.

You obviously have some problems, primarily, what is causing all the rust on and around the engine? I'd be looking to fix that pronto.

Secondly, you are overdue for new spark plugs. Past overdue. Removing them now is going to be an adventure. Depending on what is found after cleaning things up, there might be an obvious breach in the head, in which case I would pull the engine and move it the shop for a rebuild. If the head looks okay, I'd try to remove the plugs in place with the expectation that one or more plugs is going to break off in the hole. Then I would pull the engine and move it to the shop for a rebuild.

IMHO, you might get lucky and be able to pull the plugs intact and replace them. At this point, I think you'll be lucky if you don't have a plug break apart. I'd be seriously contemplating the best way/time to pull the engine and catch up on maintenance while standing up in a warm shop versus contorted in a cold bilge.

Best of luck!
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Old 09-06-2019, 01:04 AM
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I think you’ll need to replace the head and the engine mounts but the rest of the engine doesn’t look bad at all. Check what you can with it out of the boat and with the head off, but if she’s running well now...the right answer MIGHT be to wire brush what rust you can, put on a couple of coats of new paint, and put her right back in.
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