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Old     (uncc_grad)      Join Date: Mar 2007       04-30-2007, 8:48 AM Reply   
I have a 17' bowrider with 3.0 Mercruiser. I had my boat in the shop to replace a shift cable recently and when I took it out for a test run, I forgot to put the plug in. I tried to plane off and the bow went straight in the air and wouldn't plane and when it came down it sputtered and choked out. By the time I realized what had happened, water was 3/4 the way up the oil pan, just below the bottom of the starter. I had to get a tow back to the ramp and put the motor on the trailer to drain the water out.

I pulled the plugs, sprayed WD40 in the cylinders, cranked it over and repeated several times. The starter will turn the engine over but it acts as if I am not getting spark. I know I am getting power to the coil. I have yet to give a spark test. The carbs are getting fuel but the motor won't even fire with a shot of starter fluid in the carb. The oil on the dipstick looks good after the crank has turned several times so I don;t think I have water in the crankcase.

What are things I need to look for? Change plugs, spark test, water in the fuel pump? Would the starter have enough torque to turn the engine over if it had water in the cylinders? I hope I haven't ruined the engine.

(Message edited by uncc_grad on April 30, 2007)
Old     (rallyart)      Join Date: Nov 2006       04-30-2007, 8:51 AM Reply   
Water in the distributor cap
Old     (uncc_grad)      Join Date: Mar 2007       04-30-2007, 8:59 AM Reply   
Art, how would it get in there? The water level was way below the distributer, unless water got in the crankcase and migrated up the shaft to the cap? I'm going to be looking into it more this week since I had to go out of town last weekend so suggeetions would be a huge help.

I forgot to add that no water came from the cylinders when turned over without plugs and that the compression "felt" even when my helper put his finger over the holes. I'm thinking it's a spark issue but will perform s compression test if I find I am getting spark.
Old     (rallyart)      Join Date: Nov 2006       04-30-2007, 9:01 AM Reply   
If your engine has points, they may be wet. If moisture got inside the cap the rotor and cap may have been shorting the spark. I think you'll be OK.
Pull the coil wire from the center of the distributor and put it close to a bolt or metal on the engine, maybe a quarter to half inch away. Crank while you watch the gap. If you see a spark it will be getting to the distributor. If not the problem is with points, condensor, or the electronic spark control. If you have spark reconnect to the center of the distributor and try the end of a plug wire. If you have spark you have a fuel problem. If you have none you have a problem with the cap or rotor.
Old     (rallyart)      Join Date: Nov 2006       04-30-2007, 9:05 AM Reply   
It's amazing where water can get when you don't expect it.
I'm very sure you have not ruined the engine. If you are concerned you could change the oil and filter. Any water makes the oil look milky and then you are out of luck.
Old     (uncc_grad)      Join Date: Mar 2007       05-01-2007, 5:29 AM Reply   
I'm sure it's a fuel problem now. Last night I checked for spark and had it going to the coil and to the spark plugs. I squirted a shot of starting fluid in each cylinder, cleaned all the plugs and reinstalled. It fired up and ran well for about 20 seconds and then cut out as I tried to give it more fuel.

I'm guessing the next steps are to replace the fuel filters and rebuild the carb and fuel pump?

(Message edited by uncc_grad on May 01, 2007)
Old     (chaser)      Join Date: Sep 2006       05-01-2007, 6:23 AM Reply   
so if it is water in the fuel, how did it find it's way into there?
Old     (uncc_grad)      Join Date: Mar 2007       05-01-2007, 6:35 AM Reply   
I'm thinking it might have been drawn back through the exhaust when shut the motor shut down in forward gear. With all the water in the rear of the bilge forcing the the stern down, the exhaust would be more prone to floodback when shut down in forward gear (which is a no-no).

I would think that with all the starter fluid I have put in the carb it would have dried it out. Maybe there is water in the fuel was close to the high water mark, but then again gas would be seeping out if water could get in. I'm kinda at a loss. Before this, I just got hit with a $500 repair bill for replacing a shift cable, yoke and adjusting my linkage so I really would like to fix this on my own to keep the cost down.
Old     (rallyart)      Join Date: Nov 2006       05-01-2007, 7:43 AM Reply   
To dry your fuel you need to first get any water out that you might be able to. If you have an electric pump disconnect the line at the carb and pump it out into Jerry cans. Make sure you get all the way to the bottom because that's where the water will be, if it's in the tank. If you have a mechanical pump mounted on the side of the engine block disconnect the line from the fuel tank side and you'll have to siphon the fuel out by putting an additional length of hose on that line.
Change the fuel filter and work the accelerator pump on the carb until it doesn't squirt anymore when you open the throttle quickly. You could take off the top of the carb and dry it instead but that means you have to put it on correctly again.
Water separates from the gas fairly quickly so you'll see it coming out when you pump or syphon. Keep the gas and put it back in, chuck the water, add gas line antifreeze or pure ethanol to act as a cosolvent that removes any remaining water. Connect it all back up. Put a tiny splash of gas down the carb throats to help start it with you carb empty. Hopefully it starts.
I'd recommend an oil change too. Just because any water in your oil becomes a huge problem later.
Old     (rallyart)      Join Date: Nov 2006       05-01-2007, 7:45 AM Reply   
30% of boats that sink are from the drain plug not being put in.
Old     (byrd)      Join Date: Dec 2005       05-01-2007, 8:15 AM Reply   
It sounds as if Art is correct. The water may have gotten in if your fuel tank. Check your water separater filter, all of them if there is more than one.
Old     (mobv)      Join Date: Jun 2002       05-01-2007, 8:19 AM Reply   
If water only got mid-way on hte oil pan I doubt that is your problem. Did the engine get really hot? How is compression?
Old     (uncc_grad)      Join Date: Mar 2007       05-01-2007, 10:03 AM Reply   
Some guys on the forums seem to think it is moisture in the distributor cap which is causing misfiring upon startup. They say the fuel system is a closed circuit and can only get water through either condensation of the gas tank or water through the carb. Seeing as how I've ran a couple tanks this year with no fuel problems before this, I doubt I have condensation in the tank.

I put the plug back in but got a little wet and cold from doing so

The distributor is an easy check so I'll try it first before moving to the fuel pump or carb. To be honest I've never seen a water separator on the engine but I'll look for one. I still think it may be a clogged fuel filter or water in the gas since it would run when the cylinders were fogged with starting fluid.

About the motor getting hot, never showed any signs. I have yet to do a compression test but it feels strong when you put you finger over each plug hole.

(Message edited by uncc_grad on May 01, 2007)
Old     (woreout)      Join Date: Aug 2006       05-01-2007, 10:30 AM Reply   
The belt can sling water everywhere as well.
Old     (uncc_grad)      Join Date: Mar 2007       05-01-2007, 4:33 PM Reply   

It's fixed! I took off the rotor cap and sprayed WD40 liberally to the cap, points and condenser and wiped clean. It started right up after a few turns of the crank! The oil on the dipstick looks free of water so I think I am good to go. For once I can catch a break...

Thanks Art! If you ever pass through central NC, I owe you a beer!

(Message edited by UNCC_Grad on May 01, 2007)
Old     (azwakekid)      Join Date: Apr 2005       05-01-2007, 4:57 PM Reply   
i would take off the drive and get the water out of the bellow! and i would grease the gimble bearing liberally along with the u joints.
Old     (rallyart)      Join Date: Nov 2006       05-01-2007, 8:15 PM Reply   
HeY Brad, I might actually get down there sometime to look at furniture so I'll take you up on it if I do. Otherwise it's a touch out of the wayUpload
Old     (uncc_grad)      Join Date: Mar 2007       05-04-2007, 10:45 AM Reply   
Bad news! Checked compression b/c I was having a hard time keeping idle and I have 2 low cylinders. #1 75 psi, #2 50 psi, #3 120 psi and #4 125 psi.

Sounds like a head gasket but I'm doing a wet test this weekend to see if compression comes up and leading to a ring problem. I've got the gasket set ordered and plan on taking off the head and replacing the head gasket if it's not a stuck ring.

How bad is it to pull the head? This will be my first time trying it.
Old     (jpshaff01)      Join Date: Jun 2005       05-04-2007, 11:20 AM Reply   
You most likely didn't ruin the engine, a similar situation happened to me last season in my direct drive. I had a bigger hole and more water in the boat. It was due to bad fiberglass work done by my local dealer. My starter got totally wet and i assumed once it was not being used this winter it would corode. But it was fine this week when i got it ready for the summer.
Old     (rallyart)      Join Date: Nov 2006       05-04-2007, 11:33 AM Reply   
Brad, see if you can get a leak down tester. It will tell you more. You put pressurized air into the cylinder through the spark plug hole at top dead center and it gives you a reading.
You can listen at the exhaust or carb to see if you lose air through the valves. You'll always hear it coming past the rings if you listen at the oil filler cap on the rocker but you can also tell if it goes past the head gasket, again by listening. Your low compression is unrelated to your last problem, I am sure.
You usually won/t get 75 or even 50 psi if you have a blown head gasket.
Old     (uncc_grad)      Join Date: Mar 2007       05-09-2007, 12:17 PM Reply   
It was a blown head gasket between #1 and #2...nearly a 3/4" long section was missing! I took the head off, had it milled flat and reinstalled. I have yet to adjust the valves and fire it up.

The water in the bilge had nothing to do with this but it was almost a blessing to keep me from running the motor all summer like that and making a bad situation worse.

(Message edited by UNCC_Grad on May 09, 2007)
Old     (rallyart)      Join Date: Nov 2006       05-09-2007, 2:38 PM Reply   
Dang, now I'm not gonna be able to steal a beer.
Old     (uncc_grad)      Join Date: Mar 2007       05-10-2007, 5:40 AM Reply   
Art, you helped me troubleshoot so free beer still applies ;)


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