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Old 25-03-2019, 19:03   #1
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Volvo Penta Lost All Power - Cooling Water Leak / Obstruction - Any Tips?

Hey all,

While I was coming back into the harbor yesterday after some extended motoring, my raw water Volvo Penta 2003 lost pretty much all power much like I would expect with a fuel supply issue. I was able to barely limp into my slip, but any RPMs much more than idle speed made it seem like the engine was going to die. I believe the idling itself was rough and unusual in sound and a little quieter than usual from what I recall. The day was quite rolly, so I figured something in the tank probably got stirred up and clogged the fuel filter.

Upon further investigation, I found some slight oil buildup near a rubber head cover seal over the number three cylinder which I hadn't previously seen. I also spotted an o ring in a state of disarray where cooling water first enters the cylinder head and sprays each cylinder. It almost looked like it was pinched upon installation, but I did not recall this occurrence. There could have also been an obstruction which would have caused the o ring to pop out, but I thought this was unlikely since I had observed fairly adequate water flow exiting the boats exhaust at multiple points throughout my trip. I also rarely heard my bilge pump making any noise, so the leak must not have been too massive.

Anyway, at this point my best guess is that the o ring was installed wrong and caused the number three cylinder to overheat since it's last in line for cooling and would fail first. Perhaps this somehow would cause the oil spots I observed? To further diagnose, I'm guessing I need to perform a compression test to see if I have compression on the number three cylinder. Does anybody with greater engine knowledge have any words of wisdom to lend or recommended diagnostic steps? I would be interested to hear some theories.

Other relevant information: my engine has no raw water strainer so it's entirely possible something could have caused an obstruction. Also, thermostat (correct rw version), exhaust elbow, and water impeller were recently changed. Oil looked clean when inspected after the trip and didn't seem unusually low. Engine was ran excessively in the past with an extremely clogged exhaust elbow, so overheating problems due to that are certainly possible.

Thanks in advance for any advice.
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