Water in Westerbeke Gen Oil

@scooper321 If the pressure test fails and/or you notice the reservoir (under the cap) low on coolant, do not attempt to start the engine. Do the pressure test and if that passes you should be fine. If it fails you could have coolant in the cylinder(s) and cause a hydro-static lock and damage the engine.
 
@scooper321 If the pressure test fails and/or you notice the reservoir (under the cap) low on coolant, do not attempt to start the engine. Do the pressure test and if that passes you should be fine. If it fails you could have coolant in the cylinder(s) and cause a hydro-static lock and damage the engine.
Something is in there. Why wouldn’t it have already hydro locked? 20 hours of running and more time running while changing the oil … Warm up, testing afterwards. Shouldn’t it have locked up by now? Baffling.
 
Something is in there. Why wouldn’t it have already hydro locked? 20 hours of running and more time running while changing the oil … Warm up, testing afterwards. Shouldn’t it have locked up by now? Baffling.

Just being cautious, wasn't sure about the 20hrs being the gen run time or the trip time since it overheated. Either way definitely don't run the engine if the pressure test fails.
 
One thing about head gaskets - if they develop a leak between the cylinder and coolant passages typically it will blow the engine coolant out of the engine and make a mess in the bilge then the engine will get hot. Coolant can get into the cylinders when not running through a failed head gasket. The cooling system pressure test will indicate leakage but not necessarily where the leakage is. Cylinder head, exhaust manifold, gear case crack, etc.

Conversely the only place raw water can be introduced into the engine is the mixer elbow and something causing the water to flow backwards into the exhaust ports. Failed vacuum breaker, cranking the engine too much, something restricting the water flow out of the exhaust.
 
So....my comments are about the test.

Specifically before you do anything else......check the overflow reservoir to see if it has coolant in it. If it is empty.....that is not a good sign. Conversely......it is a much better sign if it has coolant in it.

Next remove the pressure cap on the generator and note its pressure rating (should be stamped on it). If the reservoir was empty.....there is a good chance you won't see coolant when you pull the cap off.

Then hook up the tester. You will not need an adaptor and there should be sufficient clearance for it to be attached. I haven't seen a single Sea Ray generator or engine where it did not fit.

Next you pump up the tester until it reads the pressure stamped on the cap. Usually it is around 15-17 lbs. but I have seen some less and some more (The tester is rated up to 30lbs). Once you have built up enough pressure......it should hold the pressure for 8-10 minutes (I believe the Stant instructions say 2-5 minutes). If you have a leak.....the pressure will slowly drop during that time.

If the pressure holds and does not wavier......that is a good sign. If it drops.....then the next step is a compression test to find out where the problem is and things get more complicated and expensive from there.

As @Skybolt suggested testing the cap is also a good thing.

Good luck and we are all hoping for the best.
@scooper321 I agree with @PlayDate in that it's very easy to do the pressure test. I would focus on that at this point and see what the results are. If the pressure test fails you will need to get a mechanic involved to diagnose it further or repair it.

EDIT: See above, John's explanation is more detailed.
Maybe you more experienced marine guy's can teach an old auto tech here something. In my world, (automotive technician 40+ years) I'm not giving any engine cooling system a Green flag if it only holds consistent pressure for only 8-10 minuets not to mention the 2-5 from Stant. If that is actually what they say,... they need to get out of the business, they have been in it for a long time, and they know better!

The "Hot" cooling system pressure test is indeed, sometimes messy and a pain in the ass and no fun, it can be time consuming, especially with odd plumbing configurations as all air need's to be purged for an accurate test. But, it is a test and a deep diagnostic procedure that I hope you don't have to get into.
 
@techmitch Mitch, I agree that the cold test should also be 15-20 minutes and what I posted a few post's up. When there is a problem I usually go to the cap pressure first for ~5 min then if nothing is wrong, go to 5 lbs above cap pressure and leave that for 10-15 minutes, depending on the application or what is going on it could be twice that.

For me with my engines, two cycle Detroits, they have o-ring seals that seal the cylinders from the coolant so I need to be cognisant of the pressure and not go too far above the 7 lb cap pressure.

I believe the cap pressure is ~13 lbs for the Westerbeke BTD series, pretty standard for marine applications of this era. The newer tech, especially cars go much higher.

The reason for any pressure at all is to raise the boiling point of the antifreeze. That pressure can cause other issues in marine applications. Higher pressure also raises the temperature a bit and being in an engine room, sometimes with out a shroud, can be troublesome at best. Because of the higher pressure found in cars a hot test is sometimes the best route to diagnose a car/truck.
 
Maybe you more experienced marine guy's can teach an old auto tech here something. In my world, (automotive technician 40+ years) I'm not giving any engine cooling system a Green flag if it only holds consistent pressure for only 8-10 minuets not to mention the 2-5 from Stant. If that is actually what they say,... they need to get out of the business, they have been in it for a long time, and they know better!

The "Hot" cooling system pressure test is indeed, sometimes messy and a pain in the ass and no fun, it can be time consuming, especially with odd plumbing configurations as all air need's to be purged for an accurate test. But, it is a test and a deep diagnostic procedure that I hope you don't have to get into.


I never thought that Stant's 2 minutes was right:

Hand holds steady: If the hand holds steady for two minutes, there are no serious leaks in thesystem. Nevertheless, examine all points for seepage or slight leakage with a flashlight.

Hand drops slowly: Indicates the presence of small leaks or seepage. Check radiator, hosegaskets, and heater core. Very tiny leaks in the radiator core may be stopped by a good quality stop leak. After repairing leaks, the system should be rechecked for minor leaks as these will quickly become major ones. If the radiator hoses swell excessively while testing the system, it indicates the hoses are in a weakened condition and should be replaced.

Hand drops quickly Indicates that serious leakage is present. Large radiator leaks should be repaired by a reputable radiator repair shop.



There are far more potential leak areas in an automotive coolant system than there are on a marine generator......which always made me wonder why they picked two minutes.

Maybe just one of life's mechanical mysteries. In any event, I use 10 minutes......sometimes I have used 15 but never saw much difference between 10-15 if the pressure held. Usually.....if there is a leak.....it starts to fall in the first minute and then may stabilize at 50% of the rated pressure depending on where the leak is.

I have never done or seen a hot cooling system test. No judgement....I just have never seen one done. I could see some benefits but at least in the OP's case.....I'm pretty sure the cold test will tell the story. Actually....just looking at the overflow reservoir will probably answer the question.
 
@techmitch Mitch, I agree that the cold test should also be 15-20 minutes and what I posted a few post's up. When there is a problem I usually go to the cap pressure first for ~5 min then if nothing is wrong, go to 5 lbs above cap pressure and leave that for 10-15 minutes, depending on the application or what is going on it could be twice that.

For me with my engines, two cycle Detroits, they have o-ring seals that seal the cylinders from the coolant so I need to be cognisant of the pressure and not go too far above the 7 lb cap pressure.

I believe the cap pressure is ~13 lbs for the Westerbeke BTD series, pretty standard for marine applications of this era. The newer tech, especially cars go much higher.

The reason for any pressure at all is to raise the boiling point of the antifreeze. That pressure can cause other issues in marine applications. Higher pressure also raises the temperature a bit and being in an engine room, sometimes with out a shroud, can be troublesome at best. Because of the higher pressure found in cars a hot test is sometimes the best route to diagnose a car/truck.
A BTU is a BTU - higher pressure does not create BTU's nor raise temperature; it's the engine's operation that creates BTU's. Pressure only changes the boiling point and the capability of the liquid to pack and transfer more BTU's. The latent heat of vaporization (enthalpy) is altered by pressure - those thermogoddammics courses we had to absorb in school. If you can pack more BTU's in the heat transfer media then you can more efficiently remove the heat in the exchanger. But the system still produces X BTU's. Actually, the engine block will probably be physically hotter if the coolant is changing phases and thus a hotter engine room.
 
I never thought that Stant's 2 minutes was right:

Hand holds steady: If the hand holds steady for two minutes, there are no serious leaks in thesystem. Nevertheless, examine all points for seepage or slight leakage with a flashlight.

Hand drops slowly: Indicates the presence of small leaks or seepage. Check radiator, hosegaskets, and heater core. Very tiny leaks in the radiator core may be stopped by a good quality stop leak. After repairing leaks, the system should be rechecked for minor leaks as these will quickly become major ones. If the radiator hoses swell excessively while testing the system, it indicates the hoses are in a weakened condition and should be replaced.

Hand drops quickly Indicates that serious leakage is present. Large radiator leaks should be repaired by a reputable radiator repair shop.



There are far more potential leak areas in an automotive coolant system than there are on a marine generator......which always made me wonder why they picked two minutes.

Maybe just one of life's mechanical mysteries. In any event, I use 10 minutes......sometimes I have used 15 but never saw much difference between 10-15 if the pressure held. Usually.....if there is a leak.....it starts to fall in the first minute and then may stabilize at 50% of the rated pressure depending on where the leak is.

I have never done or seen a hot cooling system test. No judgement....I just have never seen one done. I could see some benefits but at least in the OP's case.....I'm pretty sure the cold test will tell the story. Actually....just looking at the overflow reservoir will probably answer the question.
If the coolant temperature is stable and not changing plus no compressible air in the system then a pressure test will yield results in pretty short order unless a hairline crack somewhere. Hoses are somewhat flexible and will vary the volume of the system but that ends up being a static condition once pressurized. I would be a bit dubious of the results with hot coolant as it's volume will change as it cools down. Secondly, be cautious of pressure - the water pump seal isn't infallible.
 
@scooper321 If the pressure test fails and/or you notice the reservoir (under the cap) low on coolant, do not attempt to start the engine. Do the pressure test and if that passes you should be fine. If it fails you could have coolant in the cylinder(s) and cause a hydro-static lock and damage the engine.


That's why I do a compression test if it fails the cooling system test. I also have already pulled the plugs before I do the cooling system test on a gas motor. On a gas motor it is easy and the minute you spin it after a failed cooling system test.....coolant blasts from the offending cylinder when you spin the engine if it is a headgasket.

Just a little more work to do it on a diesel but it does clear the cylinders of coolant after the test and gives you a chance to push some wd-40 into the cylinders if you aren't going to break it down immediately.
 
A BTU is a BTU - higher pressure does not create BTU's nor raise temperature; it's the engine's operation that creates BTU's. Pressure only changes the boiling point and the capability of the liquid to pack and transfer more BTU's. If you can pack more BTU's in the heat transfer media then you can more efficiently remove the heat in the exchanger. But the system still produces X BTU's. Actually, the engine block will probably be physically hotter if the coolant is changing phases and thus a hotter engine room.

I never said it would raise temperature, I did say it would raise the boiling point so it could support higher temps. I was also comparing things to automotive application as that is what Mitch was asking.

Just to be clear raising the boiling point supports higher coolant temperatures and why it is done. An engine with a 170 thermostat is going to be cooler then an engine with a 190 thermostat. And your last sentence is what I was eluding too.

When I post things on CSR, I am not writing a tech bulletin or an application note. I don't see the purpose of being that precise when explaining things so others can understand them. But that's just me.
 
That's why I do a compression test if it fails the cooling system test. I also have already pulled the plugs before I do the cooling system test on a gas motor. On a gas motor it is easy and the minute you spin it after a failed cooling system test.....coolant blasts from the offending cylinder when you spin the engine.

Just a little more work to do it on a diesel but it does clear the cylinders of coolant after the test and gives you a chance to push some wd-40 into the cylinders if you aren't going to break it down immediately.

Exactly and why I mentioned the pulling of the glow plugs. You can also do a compression test through that orifice as well, although pulling the injector(s) is preferable and much more work.

The two tests are great test's on an engine and can have two different results. Meaning the pressure test can pass and the compression can fail and visa versa. Although usually not the case and the water jacket is usually breached with the cylinder as you suggest.
 
We all try to help and that is the best part of CSR. One of the things that makes my day is when I hear that the problem is: Solved!

If you played a small part in getting the owner to that point........it is a good feeling to have.

Over time.....most of my answers have gotten more detailed. The reason why is the internet at least in my time will be around forever. I get people sending me questions about posts I made in 2006 so providing more detail and context means hopefully it makes more sense 20 years from now when I won't know what time it is.


Tom is a standard I won't get to. His detailed engineering knowledge is extraordinary. I remember dropping out of a Thread when he calculated that his engines may not be getting enough fresh air and he had devised a system to measure it.

That would not be on my wife's list of approved projects.:rolleyes:
 
... Tom is a standard I won't get to. His detailed engineering knowledge is extraordinary. I remember dropping out of a Thread when he calculated that his engines may not be getting enough fresh air and he had devised a system to measure it.

That would not be on my wife's list of approved projects.:rolleyes:

I also dropped out of that thread as well. And I agree I will never meet that standard either. But I don't try too either. I already know I am not the smartest in the room, I just aspire to not be the dumbest.
 
We all try to help and that is the best part of CSR. One of the things that makes my day is when I hear that the problem is: Solved!

If you played a small part in getting the owner to that point........it is a good feeling to have.

Over time.....most of my answers have gotten more detailed. The reason why is the internet at least in my time will be around forever. I get people sending me questions about posts I made in 2006 so providing more detail and context means hopefully it makes more sense 20 years from now when I won't know what time it is.


Tom is a standard I won't get to. His detailed engineering knowledge is extraordinary. I remember dropping out of a Thread when he calculated that his engines may not be getting enough fresh air and he had devised a system to measure it.

That would not be on my wife's list of approved projects.:rolleyes:
I also dropped out of that thread as well. And I agree I will never meet that standard either. But I don't try too either. I already know I am not the smartest in the room, I just aspire to not be the dumbest.
Too much credit to a person that had to absorb from talented employees in order to communicate smartly with customers. But my career bread and butter was in propellant systems and the dynamics therewith. BTW that project with the engine room air was a fail; simply couldn't obtain data with enough resolution within reasonable cost. Certainty, no intent to ruffle feathers if it came across that way.
OK back to the show...
 
So I got out to the boat today. First inspection, there wasn't coolant in the overflow tank. There WAS some in the overflow hose. And the manifold appeared to be full. Mixed signals, to be sure. But a positive sign (I think) that the cooling system was full cold. I didn't run the gen to watch the overflow (you'll see why) but took comfort that my system has coolant.

Next up, pressure tested the system. I know, you said don't do this if the coolant was low. But since the manifold was full I forged ahead. For those of you that said the pressure tester would fit fine, you were right. Mostly. It fit, but it was a PITA. Y'all must have Dancers! See the cap back there?
1207514A-9198-4FFA-A9B3-0D3DEBE2CA4F.jpeg


Anyway, I got the tester in there and seated. The gen is a 14 PSI system so I pumped it to that and watched for 10 mins. We may be on to something.

Start:
681C45FA-41CC-4620-A63E-21453694432D.jpeg


After 10 mins:
C49DF02C-153B-4089-9222-8DAF2BB08AF9.jpeg


So the system is definitely losing pressure. I did test the cap, too. It burped properly at 14 PSI multiple times. But it appears to be losing pressure a bit. This is after a minute:

Start:
54F61F41-8CB0-4514-B849-6680165B9AD6.jpeg


After a minute:
E2A13088-1917-40A8-8C6A-C72B272BAD44.jpeg


I'm sure the gen is due for a new cap, so once this is all worked out that will be replaced too.

Like I said, I didn't start her up. Based on this result, I didn't want to inject any more coolant into the engine. I didn't see any leaking from hoses or anywhere else during the pressure test. And the cap burped nicely when I let off the pressure at the end of the test. So the system is holding pressure to a degree, it's a slow leak. Perhaps it's just a gasket after all. I think it's time for the professionals now.
 
Also, I need to revise my description of the oil in the gen. While it is milky on the dipstick, the sample I took, and sent off for analysis was a not as brown as that. If anything, it had a slight dark green tinge to it. That may seem to indicate coolant, correct? That does seem to be color of the coolant in my system. It's a little strange that the dipstick would show a coffee with milk, color, and the sample from the oil pan would show a green hue. I pump the oil out thru the Reverso when I change it. Do I potentially have two issues here or is this just a case of looking at oil samples from different locations?
 
Great job of getting the testing done and really good pictures!

I was really hoping it wasn't on the coolant side......but the tester does not usually lie. Just to check it.....do you mind pressure testing one of your engines with it?

If it is coolant......it normally separates to the bottom of the oil pan where the oil pump picks it up and mixes it with oil creating a coffee with milk mess. The more coolant .....the more it moves to the milk end of the color spectrum.

The dipstick gets subjected to a different set of issues. Normally condensation around the top of the dipstick doesn't have anything to do with what is going on below.

That said ......we are early in the diagnostic. BTW really mystified why you don't have an overflow tank. Is there a out fitting on the neck where the cap goes?

Good work......
 
Thanks. And no, there's definitely an overflow tank. Did I say there wasn't? I probably mistyped. What I mean to say was that the overflow did appear to be empty. There WAS coolant in the overflow hose, running from the manifold neck to the overflow tank. So clearly, it needs a top off. But since the manifold itself was full, it doesn't look like I've lost a lot. So whatever leak there is must be small, which is why I haven't hydrolocked.

And good idea about testing the tester. I thought about doing an engine while I was there, but I didn't. I did do the cap, which showed the pressure release spot on at 14, then settling around 11. I did that a few times. At the end I did try to repeat the gen cooling test, just to validate my result. But the space above the manifold is really tight so I wasn't able to get a good seat with the tester cap on the manifold. I got frustrated and aborted. Ha ha. I will check the engines next time down there.
 
Also, I need to revise my description of the oil in the gen. While it is milky on the dipstick, the sample I took, and sent off for analysis was a not as brown as that. If anything, it had a slight dark green tinge to it. That may seem to indicate coolant, correct? That does seem to be color of the coolant in my system. It's a little strange that the dipstick would show a coffee with milk, color, and the sample from the oil pan would show a green hue. I pump the oil out thru the Reverso when I change it. Do I potentially have two issues here or is this just a case of looking at oil samples from different locations?
Have you received the oil analysis?
 

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