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Old 05-04-2015, 09:35   #1
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Blown Head Gasket on Westerbeke W58?

I've been having overheating problems with my W58. She'll run fine for 20 minutes then the temp quickly goes over 200. I've cleaned and or replaced all units in the fresh water cooling system. The raw water system works fine with plenty of output.

I noticed bubbles coming into the coolant reservoir and used a test kit to see if the bubbles were exhaust oriented. They were. This makes be believe that I have exhaust bubbles coming from a blown head gasket and blocking the coolant flow, thus the overheating.

I used the engine briefly to get off the dock when I had to, but now the engine barely cranks. The battery is fine. If I try to crank the engine, wait a half hour, try to crank again, let it set and try one more time, the engine turns over enough to fire and run. I tried this intermittent approach to keep the starter from overheating and it worked.

My theory is that the coolant drains back into the cylinder through the head gasket hole and, since water won't compress, keeps the engine from fully turning over. Trying to crank intermittently slowly applies pressure in the cylinder and forces the coolant back out of the head gasket hole, thus letting the engine turn over.

If my theory is correct, it confirms the head gasket problem and I'm getting the tools out to replace it. Does my theory "hold water"?
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Old 05-04-2015, 10:16   #2
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Re: Blown Head Gasket on Westerbeke W58?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Kalinowski View Post
I've been having overheating problems with my W58. She'll run fine for 20 minutes then the temp quickly goes over 200. I've cleaned and or replaced all units in the fresh water cooling system. The raw water system works fine with plenty of output.

I noticed bubbles coming into the coolant reservoir and used a test kit to see if the bubbles were exhaust oriented. They were. This makes be believe that I have exhaust bubbles coming from a blown head gasket and blocking the coolant flow, thus the overheating.

I used the engine briefly to get off the dock when I had to, but now the engine barely cranks. The battery is fine. If I try to crank the engine, wait a half hour, try to crank again, let it set and try one more time, the engine turns over enough to fire and run. I tried this intermittent approach to keep the starter from overheating and it worked.

My theory is that the coolant drains back into the cylinder through the head gasket hole and, since water won't compress, keeps the engine from fully turning over. Trying to crank intermittently slowly applies pressure in the cylinder and forces the coolant back out of the head gasket hole, thus letting the engine turn over.

If my theory is correct, it confirms the head gasket problem and I'm getting the tools out to replace it. Does my theory "hold water"?
Sounds like you have tested and confirmed exhaust gas in the cooling system so could be a head gasket. But if I remember, my W50 the exhaust comes out of the block, into the bottom of the coolant tank on the side of the block then out to the exhaust elbow. I'm no diesel expert but as another possible (maybe not probable) explanation but could exhaust gas be leaking into the tank from the manifold?

If you think the coolant is leaking into the cylinder you should check that immediately or you could be doing permanent, irreparable harm to the engine. I wouldn't think if liquid did leak into the cylinder it would be pushed back out a head gasket leak since the water would be sitting down on top of the piston while the head gasket is at the top of the cylinder.

May be time to pull an injector or two to see what's inside.
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