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lo2jones 28-12-2020 08:41

Re: Is my engine dead?
A knowledgeable and trustworthy mechanic is what you need. Theyíll help you find the best answer. It wonít be cheap...the best mechanics never are...

NNBill 28-12-2020 09:08

Re: Is my engine dead?

Originally Posted by ABJ87 (Post 3296967)
Good advice above, just a couple of comments. Injectors can also cause white smoke, does the exhaust smell like fuel or slightly sweet (coolant). Pressure testing the cooling system will tell you for sure, many auto parts stores in the us rent testers.

Since there was no mention of cooling system abnormalities, loss of, or coolant blowing out the expansion tank, I too am leaning towards one or more cooked injectors that are dripping causing the white smoke.

nmccubbin 28-12-2020 11:16

Re: Is my engine dead?
As others say, have a good mechanic investigate
My own experience with Volvo's is terrible.
We sold our last one for $1000 and installed a Beta, in 2014
Best this we could have done. Teh SSCA database shows these Kubota based units have MUCH longer meant time between failures than Volvos, and better than yanmar

captchetco 28-12-2020 13:01

Re: Is my engine dead?

Originally Posted by cottonsail (Post 3296923)
Pull the head to change the head gasket, but how are the piston rings? Here's a simple ring test. With the head off turn the crankshaft until all the pistons are at an even position in the cylinder. Now fill each cylinder with diesel fuel or kerosene. Comeback the next day. If you lost a little of the fuel your rings are good. If the cylinder is empty the rings are worn out.

In either case, be sure and change your oil after the test.

Oohla 28-12-2020 14:48

Re: Is my engine dead?
White smoke not steam means fuel not burning. Common cause would be an injector that needs to be rebuilt.


White Smoke Indicates a Faulty Fuel System: Time for a Fuel Injector Service

White Smoke Indicates a Faulty Fuel System: Time for a Fuel Injector Service

The key of longevity for any engine is regular maintenance. Any time you see a change in the behavior, you need to address it. It might be a small problem, it may be the beginning of a huge issue, but either way, a quick reaction will ensure that the engine life is not compromised and that the costs to you are not unnecessarily high. So, what to do if the tailpipe is bellowing white smoke? And I don’t just mean a slight whiff of smoke when starting, or when the engine is at maximum load, I am talking regular usage white smoke. During really cold weather, it is reasonable to expect some, but an engine running at full power should show no visible smoke. If it does, it is time for a fuel injector service.

Possible causes

The white smoke is a result of combustion temperature in your engine being too low. To be more specific, the white smoke you see is your diesel fuel, unburned, or only partially burned. The commonest reasons for this lie in the fuel system. They range from faulty fuel injectors to retarded fuel injection timing, or even low compression.
Injector pump timing

The commonest cause of white smoke is likely injector pump timing. In order to function properly, a diesel engine needs precise timing of the injector pump and high pressure. So, any decrease in the pressure or delay in the fuel delivery to the combustion chamber will result in incomplete combustion, leading to white smoke. The incorrect timing can be caused by a worn out timing gear or a damaged crankshaft keyway.
Faulty fuel injectors

Faulty fuel injectors are also known to cause white smoke. This occurs when the fuel injector does not spray the appropriate amount of fuel into the combustion chamber. This usually makes an engine a lot louder than normally. In this situation, the best course of action is a fuel injector service, to isolate the faulty injector, and replace or repair it.
Low pressure in the fuel pump

Similarly to the fuel injectors, low pressure in the fuel pump can also lead to white exhaust. This mainly comes to be when air or other things get into the fuel line. The engine with a faulty fuel pump will be a lot quieter, but it will also have a lack of power, often stuttering when revved.
Low cylinder compression

Low cylinder compression is another, albeit not so common cause of white plumes. This is a problem which can have many causes. Broken or leaking valves are among top causes of low compression, but far from only culprits. The cylinders or the rings on the cylinders might be worn from use, which requires replacing them promptly. Yet another option is cylinder glazing, which is basically a patina of sorts coating the cylinder. The only help here is cylinder honing.
The solution

As said at the start of this text, the problem might be a really simple one, like air getting into the fuel supply, which you can mend easily. However, there might be a more serious situation, when water enters the system. This is usually a result of faulty head gaskets or cracked cylinder heads or blocks. The treatment for this kind of failure is often really expensive.
Whatever the cause of white smoke in your diesel engine is, you need to check it, before the situation escalates. Regular diesel engine maintenance should prevent these situations from ever occurring, but be sure to note any change in the behavior of the engine. It could have far-reaching consequences further down the line. Treat your engine well, and it will serve you for a very long time.

SimonFirth 28-12-2020 15:54

Re: Is my engine dead?
If itís Volvo, under 50hp, and painted green, get something else.
The small marine Volvos are known in Oz as ďThe Green DeathĒ

Icarus 28-12-2020 19:42

Re: Is my engine dead?

Originally Posted by Goofeyfoot (Post 3296398)
Is my engine dead? The engine is a Volvo MD 2020 in a 33 foot sailboat. The engine was produced in approximately 2001.

This summer my boat overheated. The collar on the heat exchange came separated from the heat exchange tank and blew out all the coolant. The engine stopped dead ss a result.

This summer the mechanic put in a new heat exchange tank and that side of the engine works fine.

However, now the engine belches white smoke all the time. It doesnít go away after you run the boat for awhile. So Iím thinking that something happened in the overheat situation, maybe a head gasket or something blew. I really donít know much about these things.

So I guess the question is, given that the boat overheated, that a gasket blew, am I now foolish to continue to repair the engine? Should I chuck the engine? Should I fix it? Whatís the likelihood that it will ever be right?

As I said I donít know much about these things I just donít want to buy repairs that will just put the engine on life support.



Check the engine oil, is it milky? I f yes you have most likely a blown head gasket.
When the engine is running are there bubbles in the header tank? Just leave the cap off and have a look. If yes Head gasket is blown hence the white smoke.
However, there could be a crack in the block or head because of the engine overheating.
I would take the head off and inspect the head and cylinder walls for cracks.
Take the head to be tested and get it surface ground.
Reinstall the head with a new head gasket, torque to specs and you are on your way again.
Head surface grinding maybe 150$
Valve lapping 15$ each
Gasket set 250$?
Labour 400$ not counting removal and installation.
Depends how much you can do yourself regards removal and installation.
I done up my 40-year-old 3-cylinder ISUZU the other month
All up about 700 AUD
Did the work myself.

Icarus 28-12-2020 19:49

Re: Is my engine dead?

Originally Posted by Uncle Bob (Post 3296455)
Mate, given that you acknowledge a lack of experience with engines I would suggest a decent mechanic be employed to at least identify the problem and quote to repair it.
How to find a good mechanic? Simply ask at least six boatowners at your marina, you should get at least three that would recommend the same one, contact that one and see if they can assist.

Good advice, there is a difference between spending 2500$ for a simple repair or 10000$ plus for a new engine plus installation cost.

vic008 28-12-2020 22:28

Re: Is my engine dead?
I endorse 'Parts4engines' good price, quick delivery. Avoid VP spares! Motor certainly worth repairing.

gulfislandfred 28-12-2020 23:41

Re: Is my engine dead?
If it's just a head gasket, it's worth fixing. If it's a cracked block, it's probably new engine time.

If it's a Perkins with Volvo stickers on it, parts are available at a more or less reasonable price. Check the coolant tank for bubbles, and coolant for oil. Dies the oil look creamy? (water/coolant in oil) Do a good close look around the head and block. for leaks.

It's worth it to get a good diagnosis from a good mechanic. If it's a head gasket, and the engine is otherwise OK, pull the head, get a valve job done while it's off, and get your mechanic to reinstall the head with a new gasket.

With the head off, you can check for cracks in the block, but you can't see all the oil and water passages.

If it's a Perkins with Volvo stickers, and you have to replace it, get a Perkins that fits the mounts.

Carl-T705 29-12-2020 21:04

Re: Is my engine dead?

Originally Posted by Spider0804 (Post 3296449)
White smoke in exaust is the signifier of head gasket blown.

I have changed a couple head gaskets on vehicles, they are more time consuming than anything to change. You are taking the top half of the motor off.

There should be an owners manual for whatever engine it is with a step by step to take it apart and replace it, keep the engine in time, and put it all back together.

To tell if your piston rings or cylinders are fubar you can grab a compression tester and turn the engine over and compare what you get with the manufacturer spec, compression goes down slightly as hours on a motor pile up in most cases, so it can be a little off.

If thing is starting, not running like crap, and not knocking, the chances are the engine is not fubar though...People do this to cars fairly often and a real good portion of the time the engine can be saved...or they just opt to drive it around forever until it looks like a fog machine.

Good compression, change the head gasket.

A head gasket for a car is 100 bucks or so but marine anything is expensive so probably double.

Worth a try before you drop a buttload of money on an engine.

If you are not mechanically inclined at all and/or do not have a pair of sockets and wrenches you could buy what you need to pull the motor and take it to someone.

At the very least have a mechanic come aboard your boat to test compression and give you an opinion.

. You won't have good compression with a damaged head gasket, sorry.

Carl-T705 29-12-2020 21:08

Re: Is my engine dead?

Originally Posted by Scubaseas (Post 3296962)
Don't trash the engine for the sake of a head gasket or even a cracked head. Blown head gasket may effect the compression reading. There are a several ways to determine a blown gasket.

If you are not familiar with engine maybe hire a mechanic to diagnose it for you.

One way to diagnose is to put a pressure tester on the coolant reservoir, pump to 14 psi and let sit. Take out injectors or glow plugs. Crank over engine. If coolant/water comes out you have a blown head gasket. Another way is pump up the cooling system , let sit over night then try and hand crank the engine over. Careful as the engine may be hydrolocked. Unlock by removing glow plugs or Injectors then cranking over.

Another way is a leak down test but you will need a compression tester fitting, a leak down tester and compressed air to do this.

Another way is to fill the cooling system and leave the cap off then crank the engine over. If water shoots up into the air you have a head gasket or head issue. This only works on BIG leaks.

Another is to leave the coolant pressure gauge on and run the engine. It will slowly build pressure due to normal thermal expansion but once up to temp it should hold steady. If you warm up the engine and with it running the pressure continually builds up then yes, you have a blown gasket or warped or cracked head. This is a good way to check for small leaks.

If you have a blown head gasket you should start to see the engine oil start to look like a chocolate milkshake. This may take a couple of hours or even longer to happen.

Rule out salt water smoke by running the engine without the raw water going to it for about 2 to 3 minutes when the engine is cold. If the smoke stops you have a problem where raw water is getting into the engine somewhere. Possibly at the mixing elbow. Watch the exhaust hose doesn't get too hot when doing this but you can run the engine for short periods without raw water going to it.

Possible you de-tempered the piston rings but I kinda doubt it. You would need to get the head off to tell you if then fixing the boat is worth it or not by looking at and measuring the bores.

NCBoatrx has a good plan. Ditto pete7 Look at Youtube "Bums on a boat" who just took their head off of a MD2030 which is the same beast. It's really not hard to do.

Does the smoke smell like oil and leave a sheen on the water? Or does it smell like steam from a kettle? Or smell like diesel and also leave a sheen on the water?

. You don't have to remove anything to remove water from a cylinder, simply turn the engine over in the reverse rotation and the water will be pump out the exhaust valve.

Carl-T705 29-12-2020 21:19

Re: Is my engine dead?
If you ran the engine long enough without coolant to seize the engine you did damage to it. I doubt it's a damaged head gasket. The piston got hot enough to seize in the bore, that's what locked the engine . If your engine has any fore and aft angle to it, the bore at the highest elevation is the one that locked the engine down. My guess is the piston rings are welded to the piston or simply the rings are broken. The continued running of the engine is destroying the bore and the block will need an oversized bore and new pistons and rings. Be prepared to spend some serious money.

vic008 29-12-2020 21:29

Re: Is my engine dead?
Complete gasket/seal set about $us110 plus freight

Ballsnall 01-01-2021 16:09

Re: Is my engine dead?

Originally Posted by Goofeyfoot (Post 3296398)
Is my engine dead?

So I guess the question is, given that the boat overheated, that a gasket blew, am I now foolish to continue to repair the engine? Should I chuck the engine? Should I fix it? Whatís the likelihood that it will ever be right?

Engines get repaired all the time and if done correctly there is no reason it will not go on to achieve full service life.

"Should I chuck the engine? Should I fix it? "

To answer this you will need to work out if it is economical to repair. It's a 20 year old engine, so you need to balance up the current hrs v expected hrs.
What will be the cost of repair, first you need an accurate diagnosis and you won't get that on a forum. Have a professional diagnosis done and repair quoted.
Get quotes for a new engine and also for full rebuild of current engine. Now you have a starting point to analyse your options. Add any other external considerations, ie: maybe the boat is underpowered and this is a good opportunity to upgrade, or your planning a circumnavigation and a new engine is appealing.

On the face of it I would agree you either have a blown head gasket or a cracked head. So factor in that you will need to remove the head to find out which it is and this will need to be done before you can make an informed decision either way. It's quite possible and probable that you have scoring of the piston & cylinders as well.
Hope that helps.

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