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Old 18-09-2010, 19:50   #1
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Water in Perkins 4-108 Oil Sump

I have a different problem: my boat has been out of the water for a couple years, and was recently put back in the water. The engine has not been run, the entire time out of the water or since. However, when I checked the oil there was over a gallon of water in the oil pan.

The heat exchanger seems dry as far as I can reach a finger into it. Without the engine having run, is it even possible for coolant to find its way from the heat exchanger into the oil pan?

Alternatively, the source could have been a flood of fresh water in the bilge shortly before I discovered the water-in-oil-pan problem. For a few minutes before I got it under control, this flood rose almost to the bottom of the crankshaft pulley. Is it possible that over a gallon of water could have seeped into the oil pan from this source, in just a few minutes?

Any suggestions for diagnosis appreciated! Thank you.

Dallas Hemphill
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Old 18-09-2010, 19:58   #2
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Dallas -

In the engine: Freshwater, seawater or coolant?

Coolant is colored. A tablespoon of seawater left to dry in a glass will leave considerable salt (compare to actual seawater).

If the water was "up to the pully" maybe it was higher earlier....water, being a very small molecule, will easily pass seals that oil cannot. Ask the saildrive users
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Old 18-09-2010, 20:19   #3
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I moved this to its own thread as it is pretty much a different subject.

Water in the bilge above the pan would have to flow past the pan gasket or front or back seals. I don't think this is the source of water.

I can see a lot of water in the bilge after a couple of years on the hard due to condensation in a humid environment. If this was the "first" time you checked the oil in 2 years.

If there was no water and then a "few" minutes later you had a gallon of water you have a pretty serious internal leak.
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Old 18-09-2010, 20:32   #4
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Thank you, gentlemen. Most appreciated. The water in the oil was relatively clear but this doesn't help much as the coolant probably had little antifreeze, and the boat is lying in fresh water. Also, I'm sure the flood didn't quite get to the pulley level, and then only for a very short time.
I'm wondering whether the problem is simpler: oil cooler? A leak in that would give a direct path for the coolant into the oil pan, yes?
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Old 18-09-2010, 22:16   #5
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My oil drain hose fitting became a wee bit loose once. Water went in without oil coming out. The engine often sat in a puddle because the engine was just a fraction above a tiny bilge pan that caught water from aft areas as well as the engine. Not good. (Previous boat).
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Old 18-09-2010, 22:35   #6
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Its been a while since I have looked at a Perkins, but could the water have gotten in around the dipstick?
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Old 19-09-2010, 11:19   #7
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Thanks again, folks. You have all given me some great ideas for stuff to check as soon as I get back on the boat in a few days.

The dipstick opening is too high to have been flooded, but perhaps its attachment to the crankcase is loose--will look.
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Old 19-09-2010, 12:50   #8
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Usually water in the oil is backflow from the exhaust. Water syphons into the exhaust and back flows into the head and then into the pan. There should be an anti-syphon valve at a high point in the exhaust. Unfortunately, these valves often stick closed resulting in flooding.

You didn't mention whether the engine will turn over. You'll almost always end up with a cylinder full of water from the back flow getting in through a partially open valve. You don't want to try and get the engine started with water in a cylinder. It doesn't compress for beans and can result in fatal damage to the engine. Best to pop the injectors before you try and turn it over. Fortunately it's fresh water so may get lucky and just have to flush out the pan, evacuate the water from the cylinder, replace the injector in the flooded cylinder and you'll be back in business. Do not wait to get the engine to turnover as it's rusting inside as long as there is water in it.
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Old 19-09-2010, 14:18   #9
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An exhaust siphon wouldn't occur if the engine hadn't run, and if the exhaust through-hull remained above water level, would it? For now I'm thinking that a siphon is a remote possibility.
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Old 19-09-2010, 14:45   #10
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i've got an old 4-108, and, the shop manuals. amazingly, according to the perkins shop manual, the oil cooler is unnecessary except for very high loading conditions not encountered in sailboats (heavy machinery also used the 4-108) so you can disconnect it if you like. good bit of info to know if you ever get a leak in the oil cooler - you don't need it.

i would change out the oil and filter, removing all the water at the same time, and put in fresh oil. then i woud remove all the injectors and turn the engine over to remove any possible water in the cylinders, although i doubt there is any.

then get her ready to run (fresh fuel, fresh fuel filters, etc) and crank her over.....
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Old 19-09-2010, 15:57   #11
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The water syphons in from the intake, not the exhaust. Should have said there should be an anti-syphon on the intake water hose.
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Old 19-09-2010, 17:37   #12
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Heat exchanger dry? Raw water side I would think so since the eng has not been run , but the fresh or coolant side should have water in it, lots. If it is missing and is dry then you have a coolant leak , head is the obvious choice. If the eng has wet liners it is also possible that one has developed a hole, letting water run directly into a cylinder, either above or below the piston depending on where the piston is at in it's rotation. Oil cooler , again probably not if the raw water pump has not been pumping. When I am put back into the water I make sure all my thru-hulls are closed. If yours were closed (engine sea cock)then you can rule raw water out. Hope this helps
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Old 23-09-2010, 11:53   #13
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Folks, thank you very much for all of your help. We now have a definitive diagnosis. While the boat was hauled, I had a new PSS cutless bearing installed. The installation was faulty: the hose between the raw water system and the PSS had no siphon break, with the result that the river poured straight into the exhaust system and then into the engine. For now, the cylinders are filled with a witches' brew of oil, WD40, and what-have-you, and next week we will tear it apart and decide how extensive the damage is.

Again, thank you for all your pointers.
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Old 11-08-2016, 14:51   #14
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Re: Water in Perkins 4-108 Oil Sump

Quote:
Originally Posted by roverhi View Post
Usually water in the oil is backflow from the exhaust. Water syphons into the exhaust and back flows into the head and then into the pan. There should be an anti-syphon valve at a high point in the exhaust. Unfortunately, these valves often stick closed resulting in flooding.
I realise that this is an old thread, but if you think you have fluid in a cylinder, if the engine won't turn fully forwards (with a spanner, not the starter), turn the engine backwards, and it will eject the water through the inlet manifold. I have water getting into the oil too, but I suspect it is the timing cover gasket. I suspect too, that the sump is perforated :-(
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Old 11-08-2016, 16:06   #15
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Re: Water in Perkins 4-108 Oil Sump

[QUOTE=roverhi;524412]Usually water in the oil is backflow from the exhaust. Water syphons into the exhaust and back flows into the head and then into the pan.

How on earth does water get from the cylinder into the oil pan?
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