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marinoinPV 12-24-2009 02:21 PM

oil leak advice
Merry Cristmas Everybody!!!

After a long absence i am again baskin in the sun and ready to sail, but The Catalina on which i lived and sailed and love is in need of a overhaul. The owner left at the hands of some mexican cowboy who just left it there to detetriorate and now the engine hasnt been started and there is lots of oil in the bilge. I examined all i can see in the engine compartment and the only logical answer seems to be that the leak is somewhere under,i dont see oil sputters anywhere else. So can someoneoffer me advice what to do in order to find the leak and if its under how to get to it , i just dont have the budget to take the engine out , and if its under than what....oh i learned so much and had big plans for this boat and now....Thank you
Peace to the house

CalebD 12-24-2009 06:21 PM

Feliz Navidad!

It gets a little slow around here this time of year but I am certain that others will chime in next week.

First of all, which make and model diesel is it? Some here will have the exact same engine and be better able to answer your questions.

I would start out by cleaning up all the oil in the bilge and the bottom of the engine. Drain out as much of the old oil from the engine as you can while you are at it - you do not know when it was last changed anyway. They make oil absorbent pads for this but if there are no EPA regulations where you are then you can use anything but the pads work best as they do not absorb water. Oil change pumps like this work great:|311|296536|314179&id=220125
Oil pads like these will be useful, get a bunch:|10918|309314|311479&id=106252

Once you have drained out and cleaned up the old oil I would line the bottom of the engine with some new oil absorbent pads. Next I would make sure that any oil drain plug that might be under the pan is properly in place. Next add a few quarts of fresh oil and see if you can see or feel any drips under there. If no drips then fill oil as per dip stick level. If it is dripping you will see it on the white oil pads which will give you an indication of where it is dripping from (not necessarily where the leak is). Get a small mirror and a flashlight to be able to inspect the bottom of the engine.

Take pictures and post them here. Others will be along to chime in. There are probably a few most likely suspects that could cause an oil leak: oil pump, filter, lines, water pump seals or even a blown gasket somewhere. The procedure I outlined above should at least help you start to track down if and where you have a problem.

If it is a slow leak it may not be that big of a deal as many older engines burn or lose a little oil here and there. You just do not want to have a gushing oil leak such that there is a slick on the water around your boat. In US waters you can be fined for this.

Good luck.

hellosailor 12-24-2009 08:26 PM

What Caleb said.

Clean it all out, remember there are fines for pumping oil from the bilge and if you are in the US you need the bilge oil placard as well.

I'd suggest cleaning down the engine and transmission thoroughly, then at a minimum place clean newspaper all underneath the powertrain (tape it down) to try to see where the drips land. They can be coming from a rear main seal in the engine, in between the engine and gearbox where it is usually impossible to spot but that location also usually leaks only when the engine is running.

If you really want to chase it down...clean down the engine & tranny, dry it off, dust it with plain talcum powder. Anything that leaks and drips will create a path in the powder dust that is more easily seen.

You can also buy UV dye and a blacklight (same type used for rockhounds or AC testing), add the UV dye to the gearbox oil, and see if it shows up in the blige or under the powertrain. Give it a week, if the gearbox isn't leaking, add the same dye to the engine oil--and then see if that's leaving traces. There should be a clear UV stain down the engine (or gearbox) if that's where the leak in coming from.

Oilzorbs in the bilge, and under the engine, are a great idea in the meantime. Oil getting out with the bilge water can be a VERY expensive thing, and a 'zorb will suck most of it out of bilge water.

timebandit 12-26-2009 10:26 AM

First thing I would do is check the oil level for overfilling.

JoshuaMichael 12-26-2009 01:32 PM

Quick Fix
I had a similar problem, the main seal from the motor to the coupler went bad. Auto parts store has an oil additive to fix seals, you put right in your motor. Follow instructions should patch the problem for a time till you can change it. Heavier weighted oil in warmer climates can slow the leak as well.

NICHOLSON58 01-01-2010 07:34 PM

Clean it all up and check around first not running. It it passes this test, run it a while and keep a watch eye. You might get lucky and find the other guy dribbled oil and never cleaned up.

Billy654 01-01-2010 10:04 PM

Just had an oil leak fixed on my Cataina 30 and it was the head gasket.

deniseO30 01-02-2010 11:25 AM

I really hope there arn't Mexicans reading this thread!

Originally Posted by marinoinPV (Post 554112)
The owner left at the hands of some mexican cowboy who just left it there to detetriorate oh i learned so much and had big plans for this boat and now....Thank you
Peace to the house

what have you not learned?


the boat can be fixed. But can we fix the way people percieve others because of race?

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