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Old 20-05-2021, 07:49   #1
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Saltwater sprayed in engine room

Hello:

The "Water Injected Exhaust" hose blew on passages. I patched it the best I could, but it blew saltwater across the engine and wires. I made it into port but a week later when I started the engine I got an electrical spark and lost all power to engine and panel. It seems it corroded the wires and looks like some saltwater even got sucked into the engine. The water was a mist, but saltwater just the same. I have never dealt with a problem like this before. I am really hoping my engine is not shot! Anyone have any advice on how to clean this up and deal with it? I have called a few mechanics, but they either don't work on sailboats or don't want to deal with it.
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Old 20-05-2021, 08:09   #2
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Re: Saltwater sprayed in engine room

Well, right after you patched your blown cooling water hose (carrying spare hose isn’t a bad idea, checking for weakened cooling hoses and replacing them before they blow is even better) I would have rinsed down the entire engine area with fresh water to remove as much salt as possible. The whole area was wet anyways.
You still have to get the salt off now and the best way to do that is freshwater rinsing. Then you have to start replacing every corroded wire, gage, solenoid, etc.
If your engine actually aspirated some salt water mist, there might be internal rust and corrosion. Check your engine oil - if it is milky, change your oil and filter before trying anything else.
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Old 20-05-2021, 08:24   #3
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Re: Saltwater sprayed in engine room

If the engine ingested some mist it's probably fine. But yes, it's all the peripheral stuff that will be a problem. As mentioned fresh water rinse, clean thing s up as best as possible. CRC makes a "wire drier" spray. After flushing with fresh water and letting it dry. (Air hose?) spray it liberally on all connections. Check inside any plastic wire bundle connectors most engines have one or two.
https://www.amazon.com/CRC-Wire-Drye...a-570021168923
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Old 20-05-2021, 09:24   #4
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Re: Saltwater sprayed in engine room

Our boat watcher in Mexico ran the engine every two weeks and didn't notice that the exhaust elbow had corroded through on a Perkins 4.108. The first time I started the engine after returning to the boat after a couple of months, I detected a strange noise and on opening the engine compartment observed a fine mist emerging from the exhaust elbow. Strangely and sadly, I did not notice how many things had rusted during our two month absence when I checked the oil prior to starting the engine.

As suggested above, I hosed the engine and engine compartment down with fresh water, a couple of times, allowing for drying between each treatment. I then sprayed everything that looked rusted and all electrical connections with Corrosion Block. This was my first time using this product and I now keep it on both boats. It works really well.

We had a new elbow fabricated in stainless but some of the welding seams leaked, very slowly. Version 2 has been in place for about 4 years with no issues.

It has been about 4 years or maybe a bit more, and there have been no downstream issues resulting from the salt water bath.
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Old 20-05-2021, 10:04   #5
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Re: Saltwater sprayed in engine room

Great suggestions. Please keep them coming. What do you think about the saltwater getting sucked into the engine?
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Old 20-05-2021, 10:42   #6
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Re: Saltwater sprayed in engine room

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Originally Posted by HarrisonM View Post
What do you think about the saltwater getting sucked into the engine?
Other than not letting the engine sit without turning over, an oil and filter change. With the engine running, oil is carried to the upper cylinder, so there should be no to little rust.
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Old 20-05-2021, 10:51   #7
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Re: Saltwater sprayed in engine room

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Great suggestions. Please keep them coming. What do you think about the saltwater getting sucked into the engine?
If the engine was run afterwards, I doubt there is anything there. Diesel engines run on sprayed oil/diesel. Whatever was there is gone. If it was a large amount change your oil maybe, but I understand this was like spray or mist..?
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Old 20-05-2021, 20:24   #8
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Re: Saltwater sprayed in engine room

I had the piece of junk anti siphon valve put salt water over my engine (changed to grocko bronze anti siphon after) and I still worry about alternators and starter but 3 years later no problems. Did fresh water wash but it was leaking for a while before i caught it. Have a beer take a deep breath and go sailing!
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Old 20-05-2021, 21:54   #9
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Re: Saltwater sprayed in engine room

whenever there is any saltwater near either of our engines, we spray liberally with lanox - lanolin based anti-corrosion lubricant

works a treat to protect from corrosion and general deterioration caused by salt water but best applied soon after sw. once you leave it and let the corrosion get into wiring etc it will generally need to be replaced fairly soon.

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Old 20-05-2021, 21:58   #10
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Re: Saltwater sprayed in engine room

I'm astounded that it was left for a week to marinate, should have been treated ASAP.
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Old 21-05-2021, 10:07   #11
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Re: Saltwater sprayed in engine room

Time to rewire the engine. Capillary action has sucked up salt water at every wet terminal crimp. No amount of flushing will stop the eventual failure of the wire. If you got salt water in your starter and alternator take them off immediately, disassemble them and clean thoroughly with fresh water. Put them in your oven at 200 degrees Fahrenheit for an hour to dry them, then re-assemble.
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Old 21-05-2021, 11:36   #12
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Re: Saltwater sprayed in engine room

Thanks... This was definitely a rookie mistake. I am shooting for a full re-wire rather than fix this and then that breaks..... Westerbeke sells a harness I am looking into now. I might tackle this myself. The engine does have pretty good access.
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Old 21-05-2021, 11:40   #13
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Re: Saltwater sprayed in engine room

Quote:
Originally Posted by PirateGuy View Post
Well, right after you patched your blown cooling water hose (carrying spare hose isn’t a bad idea, checking for weakened cooling hoses and replacing them before they blow is even better) I would have rinsed down the entire engine area with fresh water to remove as much salt as possible. The whole area was wet anyways.
You still have to get the salt off now and the best way to do that is freshwater rinsing. Then you have to start replacing every corroded wire, gage, solenoid, etc.
If your engine actually aspirated some salt water mist, there might be internal rust and corrosion. Check your engine oil - if it is milky, change your oil and filter before trying anything else.
What he said but you must change the oil. Run it a few hours and do it again.
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Old 21-05-2021, 15:47   #14
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Re: Saltwater sprayed in engine room

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Originally Posted by stormalong View Post
Time to rewire the engine. Capillary action has sucked up salt water at every wet terminal crimp. No amount of flushing will stop the eventual failure of the wire. If you got salt water in your starter and alternator take them off immediately, disassemble them and clean thoroughly with fresh water. Put them in your oven at 200 degrees Fahrenheit for an hour to dry them, then re-assemble.
Hold on... hold on... for the wiring... spray each connector with something like WD40 or Fluid film. This will prevent the green stuff corrosion. Switches are explosion proof and there for salt spray will not get in. The starter is hermetically sealed... as it is spark protected to prevent spark in the bilge. The alternator, some are explosion proof some are not. Do not worry... the alternator will dry up upon start up and is some what protected against salt spray or salty environment. In Canada, starters and alternator last for yearsss in Canadian climate and salty road conditions. I would lubricate connections like battery terminals and similar connections. Salty environment is common in many boats, vessels and not the end of the world...
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Old 21-05-2021, 16:24   #15
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Re: Saltwater sprayed in engine room

We had a water maker intake burst spraying seawater over the entire engine room and running engine. We immediately hosed down the engine with fresh water, taking care to avoid the hot exhaust until it had cooled a bit. Then we sprayed the engine with rubbing alcohol to absorb the "standing" water before wiping everything dry. Finally we saturated everything with WD-40 just to make sure. We replaced the air filter element and changed the oil just to be safe. We experienced no adverse effects. If any water got into the cylinders, it must have been blown through and the next injection of diesel oiled the cylinder walls.
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