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Old 14-01-2016, 09:05   #1
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smoke from the engine

There is whitish gray smoke coming out of my Perkins 4-108. I'm not talking about coming out of the exhaust, but coming out of the engine itself inside the boat. Obviously this is bad if for no other reason than the carbon monoxide in the living space. t's hard to identify the exact source, but It looks like it's coming out from somewhere around the top of the engine toward the aft end. Maybe a leak in the exhaust fittings?

Any suggestions on how to proceed with troubleshooting this?

Thanks!
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Old 14-01-2016, 09:33   #2
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Re: smoke from the engine

Your going to have to first find the leak, to see what needs fixing.
Has the water discharge out the exhaust diminished any?
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Old 14-01-2016, 09:45   #3
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Re: smoke from the engine



While it’s running (with plenty of ventilation!) hold a string of toilet paper drooping around the spots you suspect, if there is a leak it should blow the paper out away from the leak.


Is it steam?


Exhaust?


Does a lot come out of the oil filler cap when you open it?

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Old 14-01-2016, 09:47   #4
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Re: smoke from the engine

No change in the amount of water.

Pretty sure it's exhaust. Smells like that. Thanks that's a good tip.
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Old 14-01-2016, 09:49   #5
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smoke from the engine

Cheechako, are you asking whether there's smoke coming out of the oil fill cap? Not sure about that. Is it safe to open the oil fill cap while the engine's running?
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Old 14-01-2016, 10:01   #6
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Re: smoke from the engine

You can take the cap off, there will be some pulsing of air even in a perfect engine, but if there are broken rings or such, then there will be a lot of air coming out, along maybe with some smoke. big $$$

I was thinking maybe you have cooked the water lift muffler, one way that happens is if there is a lot less water in the exhaust than there should be, temps go up and the muffler gets a hole melted through it, releasing exhaust gasses. smaller $$$
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Old 14-01-2016, 10:13   #7
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Re: smoke from the engine

If it smells like exhaust it sounds like you have a an exhaust leak, gasket or something. You can often feel those with your hands carefully while running
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Old 14-01-2016, 12:37   #8
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Re: smoke from the engine

Have a professional marine diesel mechanic troubleshoot it and give you an estimate.
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Old 14-01-2016, 13:14   #9
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Re: smoke from the engine

Could also be a loose valve cover gasket allowing oil to leak onto the exhaust manifold. Doesn't smell much like diesel exhaust, but to the inexperienced it could be mistaken for it... You can usually hear an exhaust leak, unfortunately often only after you fix it. (By it's absence)
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Old 14-01-2016, 13:20   #10
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Re: smoke from the engine

You can hold some tp (but typically use a white rag) over the smoking area for a while (tp might sog apart) and then take it up on deck, in fresh air.


If the leak was just steam, it will evaporate away. If it was oil or fuel, a brown or gray stain will remain along with a definite "fuel oil" odor.


If you scrub down that part of the engine, and then let it dry and dust it with talc (plain unscented talc or baby powder, no cornstarch etc.) then whatever is leaking out should leave tracks as it runs down and through the talc. That often helps you to spot the exact place the leak is coming from.


And if that leak if from between the block and head, from the head gasket, then you want to get is fixed really fast, before it does something brutal like fail completely and take the engine out.
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Old 14-01-2016, 13:54   #11
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Re: smoke from the engine

Thanks very much. Great suggestion. I will try it out.
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Old 14-01-2016, 14:44   #12
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Re: smoke from the engine

And remember, when poking around an engine thats running. Belts and whatnot are ready to grab loose clothing etc.
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Old 14-01-2016, 15:26   #13
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Re: smoke from the engine

I generally do engine work naked so I don't get my clothes oily.
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Old 14-01-2016, 19:35   #14
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smoke from the engine

Ok so putting those hints to use I have definitively identified the culprit as a failed gasket between the exhaust manifold and head.

It looks to my inexperienced eye like a relatively straightforward thing to remove the hoses and bolts, pull off the manifold, replace the gasket and put it all back together.

Is it as straightforward as I'm thinking or are there hidden gotchas I need to be aware of?

Thanks!
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Old 14-01-2016, 19:58   #15
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smoke from the engine

Btw, any thoughts on whether it's safe to move the boat under power with this failed exhaust manifold gasket? I'm not talking about an extended passage, but just a short move of say an hour or two.
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