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Old 23-05-2007, 05:11   #1
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Salt water in Perkins 4-154 oil sample

Went to survey on a 1983 Gulfstar sloop on Monday. Liked the boat a lot, and the surveyor was initially pleased. However, when the engine oil sample came back, there was salt water in the oil. The boat has been up on the hard, and the oil recently changed by a reputable mechanic that the seller hired. The "sea trial" (basically motored around for one hour) was the only chance the engine had of picking up the salt water, so there is a current problem. We have to budget to fix it, or kill the deal by Friday. Oil cooler? water pump">Raw water pump? Heat exchanger? Head gasket? Crack in block? Any ideas/experiences?
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Old 23-05-2007, 05:25   #2
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All the above.
I'd start with the oil coolers and pumps. Then move to engine internals. IE; rule out the easy stuff first.
oh, probably not the main heat exchanger as it doesn't(shouldn't) see oil. THe raw pump, tranny cooler, engine oil cooler, and raw pump are most suspect.
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Old 23-05-2007, 05:36   #3
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Thanks, Pat. Any ideas on how to test the engine oil cooler and tranny cooler?
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Old 23-05-2007, 05:54   #4
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How did the labí determine that the contaminant was salt water? Iím not certain the standard tests would determine that (could be wrong)
- Water by Crackle measures % of water volume present in oil by using a hot plate.
- Water by Karl Fischer measures water by titration and is reported in either ppm (parts per million) or % by volume.


Was the engine emitting any white smoke, especially /w a sweet odour (a sign of possibly blown head gasket)?

Is your engine raw (salt) water cooled, or does it have an intercooler (heat exchanger)?

If equipped with heat exchanger, was there any sign of low coolant (after running)? If additional fluid is repeatedly needed to maintain the proper coolant level, then a coolant leak is likely.
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Old 23-05-2007, 06:16   #5
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The lab noted high levels of sodium (PPM=91) in the sample and concluded a RW leak from that. The engine is FW cooled. The heat exchanger was pulled, flushed and put back on by one of the better mechanics in Palm Beach. There was no white smoke. Had a LOT of black smoke when we put the throttle to the stops (@2,800 rpms) briefly (injectors need service, probably). The engine has sat for about three years prior to the work being done on her. I didn't check the coolant level in the heat exchanger after the sea trial.
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Old 23-05-2007, 12:49   #6
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Aloha Starfish,
Lots of black smoke after a long layup at 2800 rpms is standard for that engine and after a couple hours run should not reoccur.
There might be some who disagree with that but it happened quite frequently on a Cal 2-46 that had the same engine I used to sail.
I wouldn't have a clue how saltwater would be entering the crankcase on a freshwater cooled engine? Pat's suggestions and Gord's questions are pointing in the right direction.
It will be an expensive repair so what I would do is change the oil one more time and have it tested (by a lab of your choice) after another couple hour run once again. If it persists then ask for a significant discount in the negotiated selling price.
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Old 23-05-2007, 13:03   #7
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Bula John,
Nice to hear that the same engine made the same smog (briefly) after resting too long. I knocked some off of my offer (there were some other things, as well), and am waiting to hear back as to whether it's my problem to resolve, or if the seller just wants to keep the boat. The surveyor wants to drive the boat around for several hours, then do another oil sample to determine if the salt has gone up. Makes sense, but the boat's on the hard, and the broker has said that he's not gonna drive her around all day, so we can't do that. Hence my search for info!
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Old 23-05-2007, 14:29   #8
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We have to budget to fix it, or kill the deal by Friday.
Why do You have to pay for this. I would suggest you do one of two things. Suggest the owner pays for it or get a quote from a mechanic and give an offer with that much removed from the price. This shouldn't be your problem
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Old 23-05-2007, 14:46   #9
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Hey Wheels,
Sorry, I guess that prior missive was a bit vague. I dropped my asking price to reflect a "worse case scenario" --ie; a repower, or seller fixes the problem. I'm 90% certain the seller is not going to fix the problem. If the seller takes my offer, I'm willing to spend some time & a little money figuring out whether I have a big blue anchor, or an engine that can be made healthy and reliable. If I have to repower, then the deal on the boat is okay at best. If I can get the engine healthy, then it's a pretty good buy.
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Old 23-05-2007, 16:53   #10
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In looking at the manual for that engine I don't see where the salt water and oil come together except one place. The oil cooler. Oil pressure should be higher than seawater pressure so oil should pump out not the other way around but stranger things have happened, I guess.

I'd start with item 34 and work my way up.
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Old 23-05-2007, 17:34   #11
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Would love to have a manual. Where'd you get that thing?
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Old 23-05-2007, 18:15   #12
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Ahhhh... the wunnerful 4-154 manual. I spent a lot of time with a scanner...

Please contact me via PM with your email addy.
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Old 23-05-2007, 18:21   #13
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Google is your friend. The internet is an amazing place.

I found an awesome Peterson Cutter website that has model specific stuff as well as a ton of general knowledge files. Someone is donig an awesome job there.

Don't know if cross posting is a rule violation but here goes. BTW - The Sitemap view is handy as it gets you right to the good stuff.

Another BTW - I think I have just decided that for the purchase of any next boat one of the criteria is going to be a very active owners group website. This site would make owning a Peterson Cutter much easier than other less active boats. It's a very attractive boat as well.

Rgds

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Old 23-05-2007, 18:30   #14
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The internet is amazing. However, after a LOT of googling, the only manual I could find specific to the engine was an outfit wanting over $100 for the thing!
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Old 23-05-2007, 20:54   #15
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NeverMonday helped us out with a fuel pump last year! Got us from Raitae to Oz. Thanks! i
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