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Old 04-07-2018, 05:58   #1
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Overheating Westerbeke 44b

On goes my never ending saga with this engine. This year it was the heat exchanger. Then the starter died en route to Figawi and I had to change in 40kt winds at midnight on mooring night before race. Only saving graceto that was winning the fleet.

Anyways I had an overhead alarm after an extended motoring session. Anchored and what I found was all, or a lot, of coolant pushed out of exhaust manifold into overflow. This has happened before but never overheat. It must drain back when cool.

So I changed the thermostat and checked the old one was fine. Strainer is clean, pumps raw water like a champ.

It will run for about 5-7 hours. The only "fix" is to pop the radiator cap and let the coolant drain back in. I learned this trick yesterday just as I was about to negotiate woods hole and the alarm went off.

Here's another strong clue. It bubbles, extremely vigorously, into overflow bottle. It has always done thisto some degree. So something is pressurizing the coolant out of manifold. At times it's a tiny like early in season or last year. Now it's almost like the overflow bottle is literally boiling.

My first thought is head gasket. And the green prestone has taken on a dirtier color. But could the cap cause this too? Certainly the cheaper option.

Thx
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Old 04-07-2018, 08:38   #2
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Re: Overheating Westerbeke 44b

Bubbling in the coolant very strongly suggests head gasket. If you can borrow an exhaust gas analyzer, you can use it to sniff the coolant and if it shows hydrocarbons, you will have ID'd the issue.
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Old 04-07-2018, 09:54   #3
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Re: Overheating Westerbeke 44b

Worst case seems to me a blown head gasket indeed. But it could be just air in the system. In my case it took over 20 hours of engine use to get rid of the air bubbles. I've got a water heater installed that worsened the trapped air problem quite a bit.


The air had to "move along" in the system to finally reach the expansion tank and radiator cap. It passed weird corners and possible the pump resulting in different faults and situations for basically the same problem: trapped air.
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Old 04-07-2018, 10:45   #4
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Re: Overheating Westerbeke 44b

Has the engine performance deteriorated along with the increase of the boiling? If so, this strongly suggests combustion gases are getting into the freshwater side. While the head gasket is probably the most common fault, a cracked head, block or sometimes exhaust manifold can also cause this.


A new cap is about 10 bucks...
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Old 04-07-2018, 11:52   #5
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Re: Overheating Westerbeke 44b

Yeah engine had performed fine. Head was removed last season dueto exhaust valve getting stuck. New gasket was installed at that time byme and torqued to spec with snapon wrench.

Bubbles are big fat chunky bubbles not like carbonation.

Will replace cap, water pump. Also will check belt tension since that drives pump. Already replaced thermostat and checked old one. I did remove HX this year and that was fine but did not pressure check cooling system.

I think the combustion gas check is a good one to do.

Thanks for the ideas will update.
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Old 04-07-2018, 17:39   #6
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Re: Overheating Westerbeke 44b

Found a hose clamp that was allowing air to suck in could hear it at shut down. Also changed belts to ensure water pump was getting good tension.

Ran engine with cap removed and lots of frothy bubbles. Coolant also looks dirtier than bright green prestone.

https://youtu.be/Cq6rG7LPGGw
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Old 04-07-2018, 18:46   #7
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Re: Overheating Westerbeke 44b

The video looks normal to me, I donít see air bubbles, I see a little foam which is normal and water flow, which is normal.
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Old 04-07-2018, 18:47   #8
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Re: Overheating Westerbeke 44b

Usually a blown head gasket will pressurize the system to the point that ten recovery bottle overflows.
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Old 04-07-2018, 18:50   #9
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Re: Overheating Westerbeke 44b

Are you absolutely sure they're bubbles, not just fibration? The tank seems a little to full to me. Let the level sink about 1Ĺ inch lower and film what you see again.
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Old 05-07-2018, 05:05   #10
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Re: Overheating Westerbeke 44b

Ok will try again today. Tank was full because I let expansion tank drain until manifold was topped off.

I can't say for sure they were bubbles but they sure looked like it to me. Engine was getting warm fast so I could film long.

Plan to go to auto parts store and get new radiator cap.

I still can't get over the color of antifreeze.
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Old 05-07-2018, 06:39   #11
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Re: Overheating Westerbeke 44b

https://www.ebay.com/itm/14PCS-Radia...-/132397163970
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Old 05-07-2018, 16:46   #12
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Re: Overheating Westerbeke 44b

Swapped radiator cap with new one no change.

Bought coolant gas tester and will try that.

Still suspect head gasket.
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Old 20-10-2018, 15:27   #13
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Re: Overheating Westerbeke 44b

So here's the latest. Limped through rest of season and had boat pulled early. Engine still ran fine, coolant overflow bottle was getting darker and darker.

Once behind my barn I ran fresh water through in prep for winter. I performed combustion gas analysis and it failed within 5 seconds turning the fluid green.

I also did coolant system pressure check and that passed fine.

My attempt at a leak down test was not successful mostly due to me getting frustrated climbing in and out of laz to find TDC so I said screw it and just pulled the head.
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Old 20-10-2018, 15:36   #14
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Re: Overheating Westerbeke 44b

Once I pulled the head I noticed there were a couple anomalies between head, gasket and deck. Mainly a couple coolant passages not lining up. 1 spot in particular seemed a likely candidate.

In the pics, there is a spot where there is a coolant passage in deck that does not align with head and gasket shows this.

Upon further inspection, the gasket has a spot where 2 pin holes have developed in the space going downwards into block. It seems clear there is some"action" happening there.

So I cleaned off head and checked it using my best Starrett straight edge. Now this isn't precision ground but it's a hardened edge that checked out on my surface plate.

In that area of concern, I'm getting a 0.0015" feeler gauge to drag. I can also see light under edge with flashlight behind it.

There is a very reputable machine shop I have used before, they did my valve seats last year. Factory Service Manual says to surface grind and specs are 0.002". Shop says they will cut it, not grind it. My parts now are all machined and not ground so not sure that's a big deal.
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Old 20-10-2018, 15:46   #15
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Re: Overheating Westerbeke 44b

I wish I had a better edge to check but at this point I'm getting the head shaved anyways so might as well let the shop check it.

After seeing all this my thoughts are this:
  • Head has probably always been warped in my ownership (5 years)
  • Coolant overflow line has always bubbled a little bit, this year it got much worse
  • Thinking before I pulled head last year, was likely seeping by due to warp, somehow this year it actually popped a couple holes in gasket and got much worse
  • Seems to explain all my symptoms.

Does anyone have any other thoughts as to what else could be causing it? I did check the deck but not thoroughly as it needed to be cleaned and stoned.

Any recommendations about how to go about that? I have some fine stones I could rub with oil and knock down any burrs or high spots. I've seen some people use those special Scotchbrite wheels on a die grinder to clean it up too. I think they are called surface conditioning wheels.

My concern with either of those things is getting abrasive into bores and oil galley. I think stoning is far less dramatic and less chance of making a mistake.

I'm assuming machine shop will return head to me ready to roll.

I have factory Mitsubishi head gasket to go back on as well as Snap On torque wrench. The threads in the deck have some rust and I noticed pulled head studs that they were seized a little. I would like to use some type of anti seize or grease, oil to prevent them from getting rusted bit heard this will affect torque values.

Thx
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