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  #1   IP: 70.61.201.254
Old 10-15-2020, 07:08 PM
Neuse River Sailor Neuse River Sailor is offline
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Abrupt and Massive Inflow of Water Into Oil

The boat was in the yard for about a month. On launching, I checked the oil, found it to be clean and at the proper level, opened the seacock and fuel petcock and started the engine with no issues - running smoothly and spitting fine. After running at the dock in forward and reverse I shut down. The next morning, I repeated the process, checking the oil and verifying the spitting, and all was well. I spent about an hour motor sailing at low speed, went onto the dock and shut down for night. The next morning, I checked the oil and found it half a gallon high, completely opaque and milky. A local mechanic, reputable and sympathetic to Atomic 4s, looked at it, checked and verified that the drain hole in the water pump housing was open, and suggested either a cracked block or blown head gasket.

Any other ideas on the cause of this massive influx of water? One other issue of concern to me. When the boat was in the yard, a worker having trouble removing the propeller beat and whaled on it while heating it with a small torch and then a big torch, for most of an hour before an older mechanic showed him how to use a propeller extractor. The yard of course says there is no way this could cause any water influx issue, and the second mechanic, from another yard, agreed. So there is no seal at the back of the engine that could be damaged by this treatment is what I am hearing.

I got a good half gallon of gray-white, foamy oil out of the engine with great effort but the sump is still full. My extractor pump is having difficulty with the cold oil. Is this a situation that I could start the engine and run it enough to warm the oil and try to get more out, then go through the process of changing it several times to see if it clears up - or will this just do more damage?
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Old 10-15-2020, 08:21 PM
TimBSmith TimBSmith is online now
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Thread from earlier this month worth a look...

Don provided a great overview diagnostic for water in oil here..

https://www.moyermarineforum.com/for...read.php?t=274

I am relatively new to the forum and A4's, though, collecting useful threads. Recalled a couple of water in the oil issues in Oct and Sept. So good recent reference points...

This recent thread also in-line with peanut butter creamy oil....from water incursion with several useful cleanup and diagnostic angles..

https://www.moyermarineforum.com/for...ad.php?t=11694

All the best with resolutions. Stay well. Tim
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Last edited by TimBSmith; 10-15-2020 at 08:29 PM. Reason: add thread...
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Old 10-15-2020, 08:44 PM
Neuse River Sailor Neuse River Sailor is offline
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Thanks, Tim for the reply. I saw those threads but what happened here is definitely not a case of condensation caused by the weather or water splashing in the dipstick hole. The cases in those threads seem to be relatively small amounts of water, or in the peanut-butter situation, the oil not being checked for a while. l'm hoping - not really expecting, but hoping - somebody has seen a massive influx of water in an hour's light motoring caused by something easily repaired. One thing I will do tomorrow is pull the spark plugs and see if there is evidence of water in the combustion chambers. I'll post my findings then, as maybe another clue as to what the heck is going on here. Although I am afraid I know, but just don't want to admit it yet.
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Old 10-15-2020, 08:53 PM
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Stick some MMO or kerosene in there, that will help get the oil out. Meanwhile you can pressure test the block any time, no need to wait for the oil to be removed.
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Old 10-15-2020, 10:26 PM
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I wish to slightly differ with your reputable mechanic. If your water pump seals and bearings are shot, the weep hole does not necessarily prevent water from getting past the oil seal of the pump into the accessory drive and the crankcase. This happened to me.
I had noticed the pump leaking out the weep hole, but assumed water would stay out of the crankcase because the of the oil seal. In reality, the constant washing of the oil seal by water impelled past the water seal caused the oil seal to fail too, then the bearing. The bearing at the oil seal was seized. The worn shaft wobbled around, opening up everything further. I would never have thought that much water could get past the weep hole, but it did. I doubt if it was a half gallon, and I think it took a lot more than an hour's motoring, but the oil was definitely milky, and the back of the pump when removed from the accessory drive was coated in froth. Three oil changes were required. Replacing the bearings, shaft, and seals on the pump fixed the leak into the crankcase. The problem was finally brought to my attention by the engine overheating, as not enough coolant was getting into the block.
So check your water pump for leaks when the engine is running. It may be a slow leak when it is off, but when running, the pressure from the impeller may put more water past the water seal than the weep hole can handle. If the oil seal on the other side of the weep hole is shot, and the bearing as well, water can definitely get into the crankcase.
However, this situation is relatively easy to repair with a pump rebuild kit, or a spare pump ready to go. Hope this is your problem, and not a cracked block or blown head gasket. If your compression is good, and a pressure test of the block and manifold is good, inspect the pump, and rebuild if necessary.
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Old 10-16-2020, 05:30 AM
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Did you notice any loss of power during the short trip?
IIRC a hole in the cylinder wall below the travel area of the piston can let water into the crankcase and oil. Will do some searching and see if I can find some posts on this.

Dan
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Last edited by Marian Claire; Yesterday at 03:59 AM. Reason: spelling
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Old 10-16-2020, 06:06 AM
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More posts.

https://www.moyermarineforum.com/for...+cylinder+wall Post # 2.

https://www.moyermarineforum.com/for...+cylinder+wall I did not do a good job clarifying the cut and paste I used in post #3.

https://www.moyermarineforum.com/for...+cylinder+wall

Dan
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Last edited by Marian Claire; 10-16-2020 at 07:30 AM.
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  #8   IP: 70.61.201.254
Old 10-16-2020, 01:10 PM
Neuse River Sailor Neuse River Sailor is offline
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Thanks, Joe_DB, a couple ounces of kerosene made a big difference and I was able to get most of the oil out.

Capnward, thanks, that is an encouraging note and I will talk it over with the mechanic.

Dan, thanks for the links. The second one in particular, once I found the follow-up post "Proud Rebuild", sounds very similar to my issue, so along with Capnward's post, it suggests that the water pump is a real possibility for rapid, major water ingress.

The yard is busy and probably won't be able to look at my boat for a couple of weeks, so I will update this post when I find something new.
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Old 10-16-2020, 04:21 PM
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I second a second look at the pump.

Don't under estimate the possibility of a water pump seal failure. If that engine was running perfect and you just found water in the oil, no steam out the exhaust, not missing, plugs are clean of water drops, compression?.....I'd be trying another pump on there before I'd be doing anything.

Kiskadee had a similar issue a few years ago...he though he needed an engine and was in a remote spot in BC on holiday when he noticed water in oil. Although we now live on different coasts, we both belonged to the same club here in Halifax and he's a facebook friend. Saw his post on facebook stating he needed an engine and noted the marina he had stopped at. Googled their business and called the number and talked to him. Convinced him to order a pump. He did so from Moyer, had a courier bring it and it was indeed the problem. The price of a pump saved a tear down. The pump was the problem.
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Old 10-23-2020, 05:50 PM
Neuse River Sailor Neuse River Sailor is offline
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OK, got an email from the boatyard today. They say "We blocked off the coolant system, minus the raw water pump, and pressure tested the engine and while the leak did not present itself as a major leak, there is an internal leak". So where do we go from here - pull the engine out of the boat and start disassembly, looking for a leak at the head gasket, in the block, or around the pin that was used in some blocks to fix a casting issue? The yard is going to wait for me to give them some guidance as to what I want them to do. I'm guessing they will want to install a Moyer rebuild or a Beta rather than tear down the old engine.
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Old 10-23-2020, 06:18 PM
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Compression check?

Tell me they did a compression check on that engine while they were there today.
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Old 10-23-2020, 07:56 PM
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Was the manifold part of this test?
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Old 10-26-2020, 09:44 AM
Neuse River Sailor Neuse River Sailor is offline
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The yard says that the only tests left to do require the removal of the head and fabrication of block-off plates to identify where the leak might be. If it were simply a water pump replacement, that would be the obvious route to go, along with upgrades to the other systems to make the engine easier to maintain and more reliable. But with a problem that could require substantial work to diagnose and fix, I'm preparing to have the engine replaced with either a Moyer rebuild or a Beta. I know people who are adept with Atomic 4s and the old one will end up in good hands.

Thanks all.
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Old 10-26-2020, 02:36 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Neuse River Sailor View Post
The yard says that the only tests left to do require the removal of the head and fabrication of block-off plates to identify where the leak might be. If it were simply a water pump replacement, that would be the obvious route to go, along with upgrades to the other systems to make the engine easier to maintain and more reliable. But with a problem that could require substantial work to diagnose and fix, I'm preparing to have the engine replaced with either a Moyer rebuild or a Beta. I know people who are adept with Atomic 4s and the old one will end up in good hands.

Thanks all.
At this point if you are paying yard labor rates, getting a new(er) engine will be the best deal.
I have heard nothing but good about Beta diesels, so that is a good choice as are the various Moyer offerings.
You also may score a good used Craigslist find.
Beta is not far from you if that matters.
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Old 10-26-2020, 05:38 PM
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A word of caution regarding the Beta engines. They do sell an engine that has the same mount footprint and shaft centerline as the A4, but there are other considerations. Primary in my mind is that the Beta engines have overhead valves and are taller. They may not fit under your cockpit, joinery, or engine box.
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Old 10-26-2020, 06:33 PM
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Beta replacement - some other things that may need replacing

1) you will also need to either replace or modify your fuel tank as the diesel engine requires a return line to the tank
2) cooling water thruhull - may need a larger one
3) prop shaft and prop
4) engine controls

You may find this thread over on the Ericson forum of interest.

https://ericsonyachts.org/ie/threads...-2#post-136791

Best,

Peter
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Old 10-26-2020, 08:34 PM
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To elaborate:
4) engine controls
a. Replace shift and throttle cables
b. Replace cockpit lever control, either riser or pedestal mount
c. Add stop cable (might be able to repurpose the A4 choke cable. Might.)
d. New or modified electrical harness to include a glow plug circuit with either a high amperage switch or relay system
e. New tachometer
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Old Yesterday, 02:30 AM
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I don't understand. If the yard pressure tested the engine by blocking off the cooling system minus the water pump, does that mean the pump was not blocked off, and was included n the pressure test? If so, no wonder there is a small pressure leak. I assume they meant that they blocked off the cooling system including the water pump. If you have an internal leak in the block, and especially if your A4 is raw water cooled, it's time for a new engine. I recommend a Moyer rebuilt A4, to avoid all the other modifications that go with changing to a diesel, not to mention the noise and the smell. What tests had the yard done before they told you there were no more tests to do except to find the internal leak? Did they test compression? Did they test the block and manifold together? Did the yard even check the water pump? All they had to do was remove the pump and look at the back of it for foam around the seal. It will be immediately apparent what the problem is. I hope you don't find that the next owner of your A4 only had to replace the pump to fix the leak into the crankcase, and you spent several thousand dollars unnecessarily.
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Old Yesterday, 06:11 AM
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This is why I end up DIY'ing everything, I do a better job than random yard people
I would see all this with my own eyes before I did anything else that cost money. The pressure test is not beyond even basic DIY skills, even a caveman could do it
As for Beta diesel engines, the couple people I know that bought them love them. DIY'ing the engine swap will cost you double what a Moyer swap will cost you and probably triple at yard labor rates. The boat will be worth more at resale time, but not even close to what you will spend. Probably $0.25 on the dollar at best. The only reason I would swap over on my boat is if I have a need for a lot more range under power, which I presently do not.
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Old Yesterday, 10:04 AM
JOHN COOKSON JOHN COOKSON is online now
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? DOES NOT PASS THE "SNIFF" TEST IMO

Quote:
Originally Posted by Neuse River Sailor View Post
OK, got an email from the boatyard today. They say "We blocked off the coolant system, minus the raw water pump, and pressure tested the engine and while the leak did not present itself as a major leak, there is an internal leak"..


How does this square with the title of this thread "abrupt and massive inflow of water into oil". I joining others in the opinion that the yard found nothing relevant at best or at worse are trying to sell you a unnecessary replacement.

ex TRUE GRIT
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Old Yesterday, 01:01 PM
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Another way water gets into engine oil

Once, in the fall while on the hard, because of a hatch leak, I had a bilge full of water after a huge downpour of rain. I had not yet opened the bilge drain plug and pump was not on. The water came up to at least the bottom of the engine which is canted a bit. My oil was milky, so I decided that the bilge water must have got into the oil pan on the aft end. I changed it 3 or 4 times. Has been ok ever since. Good Luck!

Mary
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