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Old 09-01-2006, 06:11   #1
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Unhappy Water in oil

Hi all,
Started up my Volvo MD11C yesterday an noticed that the oil pressure was low. Turned off the engine and pulled out the dip stick---oil is a milky color and way too much shown.

So my guess is that I have a blown head gasket. Does this sound correct, or is there some other common answer (yeah it also could be a cracked block I guess, but let's not even think about that now).

If it is a head gasket, is that a hard fix? I used to fool around with cars a little bit, but I know very little about diesels.

Thanks
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Old 09-01-2006, 06:26   #2
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I'm not familiar with the engine but if it has an oil cooler I would have that pressure tested first.
As you have already run the engine I suggest you drain the oil, change the filter and refill with a low viscosity oil and run for a couple of minutes to flush moisture away from the bearing & cylinder surfaces. It might even pay to do this twice as it could very well mean the difference between a head gasket/oil cooler and a new set of rings, bearings, crank, camshaft etc. Wouldn't hurt to shove a fan heater into the engine compartment as well. No exageration, I saw exactly the same thing on a Challenger engine a few months ago and the down stream cost was considerable.
Don't panic, if you do this today it will be fine, there won't be any damage yet.
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Old 09-01-2006, 06:46   #3
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Had the same happen on my Westerbeke in previous boat.

Blown head gasket, the engine was shot and needed overhaul.

10 years old and only a few thosuand hours.
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Old 09-01-2006, 11:17   #4
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Pete is bang on. Errr... Kiwi for correct. The problem can lye in a couple of area's other than the engine itself. In fact, it is much less likely that the fault is what you are thinking. If you have a blown head gasket bad enough to have let that much water into the sump, then chances are, the engine would not start at all and worse case, you would have hydraulic'd a cyclinder turning it over. Check the periphial devices first.
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Old 09-01-2006, 19:14   #5
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Wheels,
I looked at this engine today. It's a raw water cooled Volvo. I can't think of any ancilary devices that would cause this. Oh, It's been a salt water boat it's whole life untill last year.
Any ideas?
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Old 09-01-2006, 19:57   #6
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Oil

Boomer, remove the head and have a look see. The rocker cover and head are just like any other OHV motor. Difference is the diesel is running higher compression. The head will be heavy and the bolts will be solid. You do need to get the water / oil mix out, so changing the oil and running it made sense to me. Then shut it off and start unscrewing things. Number the push rods so they go back in the same holes. Order gaskets, head, rocker cover and any others for the things you may have to remove. You will need to bleed the system to fire it up again. Head bolts are usually pretty tight, if you find some lose ones that could be a sign. Ask the Volvo dealer ( I think its a Volvo ) if this is a common practice.
Bon Chance.
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Old 09-01-2006, 20:43   #7
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Pat mate, Your asking me?? I think I am standing in line behind you when it comes to the expert knowledge part
But if it helps, First question, just how much water is in there? I presume we are talking more than condensation??
I like approaching things from an analytical point of view before I start pulling things down. Maybe I don't like creating work for myself AND Especially when Volvo's become expensive as soon as you loosen a nut

Have anodes been kept upto it? If not, there could be some major issues about to be uncovered.

Pressure test the engine cooling jacket system and see if you have a leakdown. I suspect yes and I also suggest there is little that can be done without a strip down anyway, so you may as well go ahead and lift the head. If the engine has seen some history, then I suspect it is a good time to re-seat valves etc, so you can at least do that as an excuse for the cost.
Seeing as it seems a cylinder is not getting water into it, then I suspect a corrosion problem has occured between a water port and an oil port at the head/block surface. If it was a case of head gasket blown, it is 9x out of ten between cylinders because of the pressure and heat. If the gasket has majorly failed, I find it very rare for water to go to oil unless the engine is showing other major head failure signs especially instarting issues. Of course, there is that 1x though that could blow all theories.
Will be very interested in your findings, so keep us posted.
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Old 11-01-2006, 10:48   #8
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Good news to report.
Ye old Volvo is still alive!
After pressure testing the cooling system, and aside from a few small leaks. It held pressure. It appears the oil has massive amounts of condensation built up in it and it's turned to jello.
Next step is to pump it out and give her a good flushing.
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Old 11-01-2006, 11:22   #9
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Woooohoooo. Great news.
Thanks for the update Pat.
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Old 11-01-2006, 11:29   #10
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Just as I was posting my reply, I was thinking of many a time I have seen great amounts of condensation in engine internals. It is staggering how much can get in there and shows that regular engine oil changes are as important about getting rid of condensation, just as much as it's about flushing dirty oil. I'm not sure on the ratio for the following in a deisel engine, but a petrol engine, for every 10ltrs of fuel burn't=one ltr of water is produced and 1/10ltr of Sulfuric acid is produced. This of course is ruff rule of thumb, as it does depend on quality of fuel and air moisture content etc etc. Here in NZ, we now have low sulfur fuel and about to go to no sulfur content.
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Old 11-01-2006, 12:56   #11
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Which reinforces why oil changes and running engines at temp for long periods is a really good thing.

I can't imagine letting that much condensation build up if you're getting the engine up to temp and running it for a couple of hours every so often.

Not just letting it idle to charge batteries or start pull out of slip stop.

Guess it goes to the basics, clean oil, clean fuel, good compression, air.

Happy Motor.
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Old 11-01-2006, 13:20   #12
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Just to finish the thought, I had just changed the oil in September. The PO had always used synthetic oil, and I have continued to do so. The issue (I have just learned) is that I probably have not run the engine for one continuous hour in the 18 months Iíve owned it. Pat highly recommends taking the boat out and motoring for at least an hour once every 3 months or so. This I will do in the future.

Thanks for all your input.

P. S. If you are in the Atlanta, GA area and need someone to work on you engine, I think you would be hard pressed to find someone better than Inland Marine Diesel.
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