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Old 04-03-2010, 07:59   #1
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Water in Oil (Milk-Colour Oil Mix)

Hi Everyone.
I have purchase an old 4 cylinder Volvo MD30-A engine with the idea of restoring it and being able to have Identical engine for spare parts. The former owner said that there was water in the oil and thought it might be head gasket leak
I have noticed water mixture with oil in the oil pan. (White colour mix with oil ) I removed the oil cooler and had it tested to 60PSI with no leaks, so I expected a water gallery in the engine block or head.
Tested block and head with air for 5 hours at 36 PSI no drop in pressure. I am at a lost, so I removed exhaust manifold and visually ck the valves no signs of rust.
Any idea’s welcomed. Can water come in through the exhaust and not stop at the piston but leak down into oil pan. I would expect we would have hydraulic lock at the top of piston? The engine still ran fine 2 weeks ago when hauled out. Where else can water enter into oil pan? I even began thinking someone may of poured water into the oil filler. ???
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Old 04-03-2010, 09:50   #2
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The common sources of contamination are the head gasket, oil cooler, and raw water pump. You were correct in pressure testing the oil cooler which sounds like it passed. Be aware that a head gasket usually blows from the cylinder in because the cylinder sees way higher pressure than you tested at. You may well not see a leak unless the engine is running to pressurize the cylinder. The water pump relies on an oil seal to prevent contamination which can fail.

I would start by checking compression and leak down to check your headgasket. If you don't have access to a compression tester, there are some field tricks that you can use. If the headgasket is blown, you will usually see bubbles (combustion gasses) entering the cooling system as you either crank or run the engine. If you do the same thing cranking but without compression and you don't see bubbles, then you have a headgasket that is being compromised by your cylinder pressure.

The seal on the waterpump might well be old. If you remove the impeller, you should be able to do a visual inspection to get an idea of the shape that it is in.
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Old 04-03-2010, 11:44   #3
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Can water get by when open weep holes

Thanks for the insight.
I hope it is the raw water pump. I just removed it and I can see all this white gue where there normally is oil. I am not sure of Eg before the hen scenario. Did the water enter here first and then contaminate the rest or is it a recipient of oil water mix from the oil pump. I can see that the seals are letting water by but it drains out the open port holes. I can see if there were no port holes then definitely the water would find its way to the oil system. Is it possible ore has any one heard of water still entering the oil system when the raw water seal fails but there is a couple of port holes that you would expect that the water would run out before going any further??
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Old 04-03-2010, 12:16   #4
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Good answers:

One question are these wet liners? If so there could be your culprit.

In answer to one of your questions...."Can water come in through the exhaust and not stop at the piston but leak down into oil pan"...

The answer is no...you would indeed have a locked up cylinder in that case, and if its salt water, a seized engine in very short order if not dispelled and lubricated by either getting the engine running or at least rolling over the engine despelling the water out a pre heater of injector hole and fogging that cylinder with oil.

You have an ingress some where..or some one screwed up like you said. Internal electrolysis can do funny things as well...We had an engine go down due to electrolysis behind a liner eating into the sealing surface causing water in the oil..this is why I asked if you had them...Just another posibility
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Old 04-03-2010, 14:13   #5
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Thanks Stillraining.
I do have wet liners. Would not, the pressure test of block and head, not also reveal a leak in this case you mentioned.
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Old 04-03-2010, 18:07   #6
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If this is a new engine to you, it could be possible that you have no leak at all and you are chasing a "red herring", just that the engine has not been run enough each time to get up to temperature and eliminate condensation in the engines internals. This is typical of engines, even gasoline road engines that are used for short journeys and emulsified oil is a characteristic of this, particularly in the valve cover and upper engine.

Initially, I would remove the valve cover to confirm this, replace it, then use a 'flushing oil' in the engine to clean it out. I would also replace the thermostat, if the thermostat has been remove, fit on of the correct rating. When the emulsified oil no longer evident fill with regular oil and run the engine hard, get it up to operating temperature 185 degrees F plus or minus 10 degrees and then check the oil regularly.
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Old 04-03-2010, 18:27   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sergy View Post
Thanks Stillraining.
I do have wet liners. Would not, the pressure test of block and head, not also reveal a leak in this case you mentioned.
If you are meaning pressuring up your cooling system when you say block then yes that is how you would test for it...If you are meaning you taped into an oil galerie and applied pressure then no that is not how you test for liner gasket failure.
Im guessing the later is what you did as 36 PSI is a whale of a lot on a cooling system so i assumed the later....but there I go assuming again..sorry..

You have to visually look for drips with the system pressured up usually no more the 15 psi...This is usually done with the pan off so you can see which liner is leaking...impossible in a boat usually...so just drain the oil out and let it drain till nothing is coming out apply your pressure and see if any water drips from the drain plug...

Ask the owner again about it...when it started, if he tried changing oil already and it came back..yada..yada...yada.. the Red hearing comment is a valid one.


FWIW ..Glycol is very corrosive to bearing material so if its been sitting like this for a long time and it ends up being cooling water in the oil you may have bearing issues now. or soon down the road.
We lost the bearings in an engine when the oil cooler went bad.


Good luck!
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Old 07-03-2010, 11:55   #8
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Thanks everyone for advice.
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sergy[IMG]file:///C:/Users/Owner/AppData/Local/Temp/msohtmlclip1/01/clip_image001.gif[/IMG]
Thanks Stillraining.
I do have wet liners. Would not, the pressure test of block and head, not also reveal a leak in this case you mentioned.
If you are meaning pressuring up your cooling system when you say block then yes that is how you would test for it...If you are meaning you taped into an oil galerie and applied pressure then no that is not how you test for liner gasket failure.
Im guessing the later is what you did as 36 PSI is a whale of a lot on a cooling system so i assumed the later....but there I go assuming again..sorry..[IMG]file:///C:/Users/Owner/AppData/Local/Temp/msohtmlclip1/01/clip_image002.gif[/IMG]

No I pressured up the drained cooling system to 36 psi. (infarct I had 30psi overnight which bleed down to 20 PSI but I found a minute leak in the exterior fittings I used to supply air, I fixed. I then re-pressured the cooling system to 36 PSI and left 3 to 5 hours with no change.) Only air in the cooling system
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If this is a new engine to you, it could be possible that you have no leak at all and you are chasing a "red herring", just that the engine has not been run enough each time to get up to temperature and eliminate condensation in the engines internals. This is typical of engines, even gasoline road engines that are used for short journeys and emulsified oil is a characteristic of this, particularly in the valve cover and upper engine.
I have since talked to the owner It seems that the boat sat at anchor for the last 6 years and only periodically started to charge up the batteries only once in this period took an 8 hr trip. I will ask again if the oil was changed during this time. I asked if he ck the oil level before starting and he said no but did a month ago when he went to charge batteries and he noticed oil was gray. He changed the oil and ran for ½ hour and said there was small amount of water (by colour but we know that until the entire engine is run to 175*F it would take several oil changes in order to remove all traces of water in oil. He also indicated that he tested the level of coolant in the thermostat reservoir and the level was still at the same level it had been for years. So we suspected the oil cooler.
I checked the raw water pump and filled with water to see if it would leak by the seal but no leak as of yet. I am starting to lean toward the condensation theory(i hope it is not wishful thinking as this would seem to be a possibility, ) can condensation really accumulate enough to cause oil emulsified with water? When I removed the valve cover it certainly was all covered with what looked like white Greece, I poured oil over area and seen it dissolve into crank case below I then poured 2 gallons of oil into filler cap to have oil pan full.
Thanks for this great information By the way my present engine when I have removed valve cover to ck the valves I have noticed several water droplets hanging from the cover. And these engines never get over 175* F when hot Thermostat begins to open at 170*F
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Old 07-03-2010, 15:07   #9
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Seems to me you have found your answer then.
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Old 07-03-2010, 15:14   #10
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Yes, condensation on engines that have short runs will emulsify the oil. I would suggest if the oil cooler checks out OK, change the oil and go enjoy the boat, run the engine up to temperature and keep it running for several hours......
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Old 07-03-2010, 16:51   #11
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Sergy check to make sure engine is actually coming up to temp (separate thermostat) if engine does not come up to temp this will cause same result. also if stat is sticking at times. i can tell you that on diesels getting them up to temp is important. fuel won't burn properly, creating more acid in pan on and on (truck driver by trade) note this will even happen to gas engines that don't come up to temp. wet liners are the hardest to detect probs. with you need a lot more pressure to find probs. unless one of the o-rings is broken. sounds to me as though engine has not been run enough to burn off water in block causing oil to absorb and mix to emulsion. htis will not cause to much harm until your oil pressure goes down. the cleaning of the mess inside is the real pain in the butt.
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Old 07-03-2010, 18:04   #12
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Check the gaskets on the raw water pump. If one gone, water drips, if both - it goes into the oil.

Easy to check - just start the engine and see if anything drips from the hole between the first and the second gasket. If so, at least the first one is gone. Replace both.

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Old 07-03-2010, 18:24   #13
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Great news guys thanks for all the advice. Imagine being able to diagnose a serious problem into a possibly minor problem from thousands of miles away thanks again.
One last note these engines seem to run cold to me 170*F and it always puzzled me why Volvo would have a thermostat begin to open at 170*F they must expect people to be running in hotter water, our average temp. Is about 58*F and I believe that when it begins to open at 170*F the cold water is able to keep temp of engine getting any higher. PS what I believe is worse is the oil cooler is exposed to 58* raw water never letting the oil get much higher in temp as there is not a thermostat to close below 170*F last year while on rout around Vancouver Island I had passed the 100 hr on oil and wanting to baby the engine I decided to change the oil unfortunately all I had for complete oil change was 40 weight oil so I figured it would not hurt for the next 20 hours till next oil change. To my amazement I found the oil pressure from the sending unit to drop close to 5 psi when slowing down to idle. Now that I have considered the oil being cooled by 58* water I believe that this 40 W oil is thick enough to not be able to penetrate past the small orifice in the sending unit (theory ) I had since installed a manual gauge and the actual oil pressure never goes below 20 PSI. I will obviously change oil to 15/30W as recommended.
Can anyone see any reason why I should not change thermostat to higher temp. Say begin to open at 180*F this would insure the ability to better boil off the water in the oil and less condensation. I notice now after I change oil the motor does not smoke, after sever days of motoring I seem to see more white smoke/steam and I am beginning to believe that I am condensing more which somehow could appear in exhaust how this could happen is a mystery to me unless water oil on side of liners.
Sorry for being so long but I cannot say enough how much you advice has been helpful
Thanks again.
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Old 07-03-2010, 18:32   #14
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I would not change the thermostat. The way they designed it, they had a reason. We might not know the reason, but it existed. Engine-ers. Ask Volvo before committing.

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Old 07-03-2010, 19:32   #15
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Call Volvo...But I don't personally see any danger in changing it myself...170 is to cold in my mind as well. Especially up here.

FWIW when I shoot my engine with my infrared instrument the head is the hottest area of the engine at about 210 degrees( excluding exhaust manifold flanges) ... That would not change rather using a 170 or a 180/185 thermostat..so the only thing your doing is allowing the engine to get to a better performance temp before it allows any exterior cooling..
So as long as your running long enough to get to those kids of engine temps..your thermostat really has nothing to do with your condensation issue.

Check with Volvo as Bill said..heck you might just find out that, that 170 is not supposed to be in there in the first place.

Sometime people will falsely think reducing thermostat temp openings will solve over heating issues...it will not.
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