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post #1 of Old 08-20-2007 Thread Starter
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water in engine oil?!?!?

Need some advice! I just completed half of the survey for a 1994 Catalina 400 (850 engine hours) that I have on contract... why half, you ask? early in the survey, my surveyor checked the engine oil dipstick and found milky colored oil - glaring evidence of water in the oil!

I called my broker and he found out that the seller had trouble starting the engine a week or so ago - apparently the westerbeke deisel needs some kind of preheating that wasnt happening. I'm told that, at that time, the techitian also found a cracked/bad engine exhaust heat exchanger (where coolant is cooled by pumped in water). This part was changed last night (night before the survey) and the oil was also changed.

My broker says that the seller may have cranked the starter too much, which pumps water into the heat exchanger - and that this is known as "hydro lock" (anyone ever heard of this?). The bad oil was drained today while we were doing the survey and the engine was run up to temp.

I'm confused as to how, even if the heat exchanger was bad, water would get into the engine oil? Is this the death nail for an engine? If the water was ingested only because of overcranking without the engine starting with this bad heat exchanger - and the engine was not run much with the water in it - is there any way to salvage the engine?

The current plan is for the seller to have the oil changed a few times and running the engine for a few hours in between each change - checking for any water in the oil obviously - to flush out any water. They will likely have the westerbeke service people pull off the valve covers to check for any damage, water, etc... My plan is to get more info on this engine issue and think about a major discount to the agreed apon price.

One other major problem found - water in the deck was detected around the mast area with at least 1 soft spot indicating a deteriorated core (i think it's balsa in this boat). Any idea on the seriousness of this? ways/cost to fix?

Thanks in advance for any advice....
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