Join Date: Jun 2005
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While the 'extended cranking' thing is possible, you have to remember that it exposes itself while it is happening. If you crank, then stop, and crank, then stop, and water does indeed build up in the exhaust (as it surely will, just as your engine manufacturer and 'Faster' say), when it back-flows into an open exhaust valve and fills a cylinder, the very next attempt to crank the engine results in a profound 'THUD' as the cylinder tries to compress the water. You realize that 'compression' requires both valves to close and the piston to continue upwards, but it will stop as though it hit a brick wall with water in the cylinder. An operator will know something very serious just happened, and will, or should, say as much to the boss. Once again, a single rusty cylinder will tell the truth.
Also, with a water-lock compression event, the starter motor sometimes causes the rod in that cylinder to take on an 'S' shaped bend, and that DEFINATELY tells the story. That only happens if the sequence of compression in the affected cylinder is as far from the starting rotation as possible, allowing the starter motor to get the heavy flywheel to top speed before the hydraulic lock occurs.
I wish you luck with this case, but I caution you to do a good job preparing and get several 'experts' who actually get to examine the engine to sign noterized statements prior to filing your suit. Armed with solid evidence and expert testimony, the yard will capitulate rather than pouring lawyer money down a losing well. Also, if we are all wrong, you will be assured of the truth and can get on with repairs feeling financially hurt but wiser in the ways of engines.
I will be watching. Don't waste your time or peace of mind barking face to face with that yard owner. He has spent a lifetime in that position and considers it a part of doing business. It's the marine version of the O.K. Corral and he's Wyatt Earp. He's got the badge on that turf.