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FingerLaker

Engine Hydrolock

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FingerLaker

Short story long...I have a 1989 Sunsetter w/ 220 hours total that I got last summer in great shape. Last weekend I was out tubing with my kids and stopped to switch kids and boat would not start. When I turned the key, nothing happened except indicators turned out. I figured it was something related to the neutral switch as I had problems w/ this last year and played w/ putting it in and out of neutral, but the boat did not start. Had to get towed to the dock and later tried putting a screwdrive across the neutral switch contacts and nothing. Then I put the screwdrive across the starter solonoid and the boat turned over and after a few attempts, started.

I figured the problem was relatively simple, either a new soloniod or neutral safety switch, but decided to take the boat to the marina to look it over. On the way to the marina, I was going about 20 mph and the boat hesitated or "coughed" and then immediately died. I tried starting the boat and it sounded like the ignition/starter worked, but the drive assembly did nothing. I called for a tow from the marina and they tried jumping it and moving the drive pulleys manually before starting and they did not budge. When we got back to the dock they started pulling sparkplugs and water started pouring out of the engine from all the cylinders.

The boat came w/ out exhaust flaps and without knowing better, I had not replaced them and the mechanic said he thought when the boat "coughed", it probably sucked the water in and hydrolocked the engine probably destroying a connecting rod and who knows what else....I read another post about the concept of "desieling" and perhaps that is what happened.

The boat sits at the marina and they can not look at it for another two-three weeks and their recommendation is to pull the engine and start taking it apart until they figure what is destroyed and what caused the problem. Best case scenario they said would be a bad connecting rod on one cylinder and nothing else on the block damaged and repairing that would be about $2,000. They said if it is more extensive damage, it would not be worth repairing/rebuilding and then it would require a remanufactured engine for $6,500.

I heard from a friend that another marina could order and install a short block and have it repaired for $3,000 and be done with it.

I don't know much about engines, don't have a ton of money or think the boat is worth the cost of a remanufactured engine. That said, I don't have money for another boat so I really want to get this boat back on the water.

Any thoughts on the problem (what caused it) and how to approach repairing it?

Thanks for your informed thoughts!

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nuttyskier2002
Short story long...I have a 1989 Sunsetter w/ 220 hours total that I got last summer in great shape. Last weekend I was out tubing with my kids and stopped to switch kids and boat would not start. When I turned the key, nothing happened except indicators turned out. I figured it was something related to the neutral switch as I had problems w/ this last year and played w/ putting it in and out of neutral, but the boat did not start. Had to get towed to the dock and later tried putting a screwdrive across the neutral switch contacts and nothing. Then I put the screwdrive across the starter solonoid and the boat turned over and after a few attempts, started.

I figured the problem was relatively simple, either a new soloniod or neutral safety switch, but decided to take the boat to the marina to look it over. On the way to the marina, I was going about 20 mph and the boat hesitated or "coughed" and then immediately died. I tried starting the boat and it sounded like the ignition/starter worked, but the drive assembly did nothing. I called for a tow from the marina and they tried jumping it and moving the drive pulleys manually before starting and they did not budge. When we got back to the dock they started pulling sparkplugs and water started pouring out of the engine from all the cylinders.

The boat came w/ out exhaust flaps and without knowing better, I had not replaced them and the mechanic said he thought when the boat "coughed", it probably sucked the water in and hydrolocked the engine probably destroying a connecting rod and who knows what else....I read another post about the concept of "desieling" and perhaps that is what happened.

The boat sits at the marina and they can not look at it for another two-three weeks and their recommendation is to pull the engine and start taking it apart until they figure what is destroyed and what caused the problem. Best case scenario they said would be a bad connecting rod on one cylinder and nothing else on the block damaged and repairing that would be about $2,000. They said if it is more extensive damage, it would not be worth repairing/rebuilding and then it would require a remanufactured engine for $6,500.

I heard from a friend that another marina could order and install a short block and have it repaired for $3,000 and be done with it.

I don't know much about engines, don't have a ton of money or think the boat is worth the cost of a remanufactured engine. That said, I don't have money for another boat so I really want to get this boat back on the water.

Any thoughts on the problem (what caused it) and how to approach repairing it?

Thanks for your informed thoughts!

Finger....I'm new to this site but not to the boating world. I'm also a member of the Correct Craft Fan website and post there quite often. The most experienced boat mechanics on that site will tell you that the number 1 cause of hydralock in an inboard motor is leaking exhaust manifolds. The risers (part of the manifold) and their gaskets get leaky or the manifold just rusts through and then your engine sucks water in from the exhaust.

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FingerLaker
Short story long...I have a 1989 Sunsetter w/ 220 hours total that I got last summer in great shape. Last weekend I was out tubing with my kids and stopped to switch kids and boat would not start. When I turned the key, nothing happened except indicators turned out. I figured it was something related to the neutral switch as I had problems w/ this last year and played w/ putting it in and out of neutral, but the boat did not start. Had to get towed to the dock and later tried putting a screwdrive across the neutral switch contacts and nothing. Then I put the screwdrive across the starter solonoid and the boat turned over and after a few attempts, started.

I figured the problem was relatively simple, either a new soloniod or neutral safety switch, but decided to take the boat to the marina to look it over. On the way to the marina, I was going about 20 mph and the boat hesitated or "coughed" and then immediately died. I tried starting the boat and it sounded like the ignition/starter worked, but the drive assembly did nothing. I called for a tow from the marina and they tried jumping it and moving the drive pulleys manually before starting and they did not budge. When we got back to the dock they started pulling sparkplugs and water started pouring out of the engine from all the cylinders.

The boat came w/ out exhaust flaps and without knowing better, I had not replaced them and the mechanic said he thought when the boat "coughed", it probably sucked the water in and hydrolocked the engine probably destroying a connecting rod and who knows what else....I read another post about the concept of "desieling" and perhaps that is what happened.

The boat sits at the marina and they can not look at it for another two-three weeks and their recommendation is to pull the engine and start taking it apart until they figure what is destroyed and what caused the problem. Best case scenario they said would be a bad connecting rod on one cylinder and nothing else on the block damaged and repairing that would be about $2,000. They said if it is more extensive damage, it would not be worth repairing/rebuilding and then it would require a remanufactured engine for $6,500.

I heard from a friend that another marina could order and install a short block and have it repaired for $3,000 and be done with it.

I don't know much about engines, don't have a ton of money or think the boat is worth the cost of a remanufactured engine. That said, I don't have money for another boat so I really want to get this boat back on the water.

Any thoughts on the problem (what caused it) and how to approach repairing it?

Thanks for your informed thoughts!

Finger....I'm new to this site but not to the boating world. I'm also a member of the Correct Craft Fan website and post there quite often. The most experienced boat mechanics on that site will tell you that the number 1 cause of hydralock in an inboard motor is leaking exhaust manifolds. The risers (part of the manifold) and their gaskets get leaky or the manifold just rusts through and then your engine sucks water in from the exhaust.

So, should I have them check the exhaust manifolds first to see if that was the cause of the problem?

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nubu4me

If water came out of your cylinders like that it probably did suck it back the exhaust when you came off plane. This will happen without exhaust flaps. A guy in this area ruined 2 or 3 engines that way. Now that the water is out, will it roll over freely? If it will, check the compression. If all cylinders are good, change the oil and try it. Certainly a faster and cheaper way to start than tearing it all down. If you bent a rod this should tell you.

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EZSnow

DEFINITELY check the compression across all cylinders before proceeding with removal/tear-down. Compression (ideally) should be within 10% across all cylinders, and should be tested with a strong battery.

You don't want to pay for them to tear the whole thing down only to find that all is well. I can't tell you how many times our PWCs have been hydrolocked. Just put 'em on the lift, pull the plugs and turn 'em over till they're dry, a little oil for the upper cylinders and off they go. We've yet to bend any rods (KNOCK ON WOOD!!) You do, however, need to find the source of the water filling the manifolds. Flappers would be a good start, and probably a safe bet. If you really need the peace of mind, popping the manifolds off shouldn't be too big of a deal.

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FingerLaker
If water came out of your cylinders like that it probably did suck it back the exhaust when you came off plane. This will happen without exhaust flaps. A guy in this area ruined 2 or 3 engines that way. Now that the water is out, will it roll over freely? If it will, check the compression. If all cylinders are good, change the oil and try it. Certainly a faster and cheaper way to start than tearing it all down. If you bent a rod this should tell you.

Unfortunately, it will not rollover at all...either by the starter or by trying to do it by hand. So the mechanic surmises that a rod let loose. So that is why they want to start tearing it down. Can you tell the extent of the damage (whether need to tear down or replace) by taking off the valve covers and looking in from the top?

I don't want to waste all the time and money to take the engine out if it is not necessary to determine that it needs a short block.

Thanks!

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cstello

It will not even attempt to turn over until all the spark plugs have been pulled. Pull the spark plugs, if it turns over then get the water out, change the oil and try to run it.

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FingerLaker
It will not even attempt to turn over until all the spark plugs have been pulled. Pull the spark plugs, if it turns over then get the water out, change the oil and try to run it.

Sparks plugs were pulled, water came out from all the cylinders, tried turning it over w/ starter and w/ a wrench on a flywheel and would not move...removed the starter (thinking it might have jammed) and again tried to turn the flywheel by hand with no movement.

Several mechanics I have spoke w/ say there is probably major engine damage, but need to pull out engine to determine the extent. Most I have talked w/ say it probably needs a new/reman engine with estimates at $4,500-$6,500 installed...I don't think the boat is worth it for that amount, nor can I afford that.

Should I be able to get the engine rebuilt for a couple grand or less?

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nubu4me

you can by an engine in New Jersey with block and heads only for $2600. That is a 310HP vortec. Others are cheaper. I was thinking of going this route for mine. Buy a boating mag and check the ads in the back. Can't remember the name of the place. They are new engines. You can put your external gear on it.

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Boatman

I bought a reman engine for my 94 Echelon a couple of years ago and it was under $2000 + install. CHeck with all the auto parts stores in your area. Many can order reman's for marine use.

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dalt1

I had an I.O. that I accidently pulled safety lanyard at about 1500 rpm, it filled cyls with water also. Trying to restart not knowing of water, it fried the starter. Lucky for me it did no damage to engine. Pulled plugs, put in new starter, turned over to remove water, squirted oil in cyls and turned over some more. Replaced plugs and oil and all was well for several years and hundreds of hours later.

Later found that internal exaust flappers were broke loose in exhaust tubes and did not stop any back flow of water.

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electricjohn
you can by an engine in New Jersey with block and heads only for $2600. That is a 310HP vortec. Others are cheaper. I was thinking of going this route for mine. Buy a boating mag and check the ads in the back. Can't remember the name of the place. They are new engines. You can put your external gear on it.

To add; Look on line for Boat Shopper and Salty Dog magazine out of NJ. The best deals come from the southern shore area, about a 5 hour ride from the Fingers.

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FingerLaker
you can by an engine in New Jersey with block and heads only for $2600. That is a 310HP vortec. Others are cheaper. I was thinking of going this route for mine. Buy a boating mag and check the ads in the back. Can't remember the name of the place. They are new engines. You can put your external gear on it.

To add; Look on line for Boat Shopper and Salty Dog magazine out of NJ. The best deals come from the southern shore area, about a 5 hour ride from the Fingers.

On another post, a person recommended Michigan Motorz.com. I called them a new engine 5.7 L would be $2,799 plus $200 shipping or a reman for $1,949 plus $200 shipping.

Anyone have experience w/ them and how does that price sound?

Around here, marinas seem to use Jasper and a reman would be around $2,500 (but I don't have a solid quote yet) plus install.

I am still hoping that the engine can be fixed and I don't have to throw a new one in.

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