View Full Version : HELP, New Boat owner has water in oil! Mercruiser 3.0

Merrymeeting Mercruiser
11-01-2009, 07:18 AM
Hi All, I just bought an 88 Chris Craft w/ a 3.0 Mercruiser 140. The previous owner stated it had been winterized a couple years ago and not used since. It seemed to crank over all right but would'nt start since it had no spark. The oil on the dipstick looked fresh and looking inside the valve cover thru the oil filler looked like a new engine so I never thought of it again. I figured with a couple hours and some parts I could get it running. The seller seemed trustworthy so I trusted what he said, we made a deal for $750. as is and took it away. I put in a set of points and condenser and priming it with some fresh fuel it started up and seemed to run good. The problem is that the oil in the oil pan has turned to a foamy mess. I pulled off the oil filter and that too is loaded with contaminated oil and I can see where it has started to pump up into the rocker arm area. So, My question is. If this was winterized and drained, how did the water get into the oil. I dont think it was there the last time it was run since the dipstick and inside the valve cover looked clean before I started it. What would be the best way to determine if the block is cracked, head cracked or gasket is leaking or??? before removing the engine and disassemblying the whole thing? Lastly,if I do need an engine, is there another newer engine that would be a better one to replace it with, or is this 3.0 a good way to go ?

1 Tuff 69
11-01-2009, 07:45 AM
I would think a compression check and a leak down test would give you an idea of the condition of the motor.

11-01-2009, 09:41 AM
If the boat has been sitting for a couple of years the oil WILL look fresh and clean, because it has been sitting and all the dirt and water has went to the bottom, change out the oil and filter run it for an hour or so and drain and change out the filter again ,, just to "clean out the water in the engine"

there are SOOO many back woods ways of "winterizing" inboard boats out there that folks "think" are doing it correctly, and are not.

11-01-2009, 10:32 AM
all my years of working on boats ive never seen a 3.0 freeze internally,they usually break under the exhaust manifold and i have fixed hundreds with marine tex/jb weld,,,,id be more inclined to busted manifold or blown head gasket.....easy check on manifold is take it off and fill water passage with water and look in intake/exhaust area and see if any water
than have pressure checked
do leak down on motor as well as compression

Merrymeeting Mercruiser
11-01-2009, 05:59 PM
Please excuse my ignorance but what is a leak down test? I have only been boating in my Amphicar which has a totally isolated cooling system. So having a real boat that uses lake water as a coolant is foreign to me. Thanks, I will pull off the exhaust manifold tomorrow and see how that looks! One more thing. Looking at the outdrive I see there are 2 rubber bellows that connect it to the hull.. The one on top is totally disconnected from the boats hull and the one on bottom is connected??? What goes inside these bellows?? :confused:

11-01-2009, 08:28 PM
what kind of drive bravo or alpha or is it wight coular???

Dave Strong
11-01-2009, 08:29 PM
Slow down on tearing things apart! Top bellows has shaft that connects drive to the engine, lower one is exhaust. If the upper bellows has a hole or is not in place chances are the boat sunk.
You need to get yourself a manual, Factory Merc are best and most expensive. Do some reading and get familiar with things.
For now if a compression test doesn't show a low cyl, or 2 side by side with same low #'s. I would add a pnt of diesel fuel to the oil run on the hose until good and warm. Change oil and filter, sometimes have to do this 2 times. Change oil and filter finally with no diesel and run on hose for an hour, if the oil stays clean the you will need to fix bellows. Most likely the gimble brg, and u-joints will need to be replaced as well.
JMO Dave.;)

Merrymeeting Mercruiser
11-02-2009, 06:28 AM
It has an Alpha One outdrive. Bottom exhaust bellows are definitely disconnected, they don't look torn and they still have the clamp. It doesnt look like they are even long enough to reach connection on hull, but that could be due to the coldness. I will do the diesel fuel, oil change flushout today and report back. Thanks!

Merrymeeting Mercruiser
11-02-2009, 02:22 PM
Did a comperssion check ....135-140 lbs in all cylinders! Drained oil, got more water than anything else out of it! Put plug back in, added 1 gallon of kerosene, drained, kept doing this until it came out clear of white foamy oil! Added 4 qts of oil and 1 qt kero- new oil filter and ran it for 15 minutes, good oil pressure, temp went up to 180-200 . Shut it off and drained oil. Did this 3 times and it got cleaner each time, so it does'nt appear to be taking on water from cooling system! The exhaust seems to be coming out of the propellor even though the bellows are disconnected! It seems like the inside boat filled up with water to about the height of distributor. The alternator is all rusty and does'nt charge, the starter and inside the distributor the points were rusty too, but inside the valve cover and the carburetor looks perfect! More questions, the tilt wont work, all I hear is a click when I try to move it and the outdrive is stuck up. I havent added antifreeze to it yet does the outdrive need to be down to properly add the Antifreeze or can it be added in the up position? Does the tilt assy have a motor that runs the hydraulic assy that might be bad from being submerged in water? Thanks for everyones help! Jack

11-03-2009, 02:59 PM
disconnect the rod at the trim ram ends to get the drive down manually and deal with motor, chances are if the boat got water in it the trim pump is shot or frozen in possition and wont feed oil, the clicking is the up or down relay activating.. but obviously the pump isnt turning or your drive would move.. hydro cylinders rarely freeze in place unless they get bent or are seriously corroded... sounds like the engine took on water while it was either sitting out with the plug in it, or it sank due to bad bellows... the exhaust isnt so critical as the main coupler bellows... the exhaust bellows can actually be open and not cause an engine of hull issue... the top drive coupler bellow is your transom seal... it must be in good condition or else things sink fast... the top one is your concern not the bottom..

09-13-2012, 10:47 AM
Greetings newbie here!
It seems I bought a boat with similar water intrusion. 85 or so 16Ft Sport craft / Ski King with 3.0 Mercruser 140Hp 85 date code/Alpha1/quicksilver throttle shift control.
After inspecting the boat it looked like it may have been left open and the drain hole got loaded with leaves etc. we could see a water line partially up the seat bases. the starter and alternator looked rusty as well. I went ahead and picked up a used alternator and starter before we got into trying the motor. Also picked up a new master electrical plug and electronic ignition distributer. Well we put a battery on it and most electrical items worked nothing from the starter unless we jumpered across the high tension lead. It turned over very slowly. Looked to have oil in it although it was milky. We ended up swapping out the main electrical plug / alternator / and starter and rebuilt the carb mainly cleaned it and needed to free up an accelerator jet check valve. Also cleaned the Fuel pump and checked it for fuel discharge while cranking. Put some new plugs in it checked for spark etc. So far all looked good - compression was low all across but figured the rings were not loosened up yet. Well it sat a few months and we needed to go back in and squirt some PB blaster in the cylinders since it seemed to have gotten stiff and hard on the starter. Got is all back and attempted to start it.

Back fire here and there recheck plug wires 2 were not in the right position now 1,3,4,2 CW rot at rotor #1 plug wire rotated approx as I saw on some different images of similar motor. Left dist a little loose to slightly rotate as we cranked it. It made a few short attempts to start, kept dialing in the dist position until it seemed to be very close made the best attempts. Still not running (yes we had water muffs on the alpha). Back to the drawing board. re checked dist point gap was tight re gapped to .022 tested spark looked better nice snap from coil wire to ground decent but slightly amber snap at plugs still looked good enough to fire. Motor seemed to really drain the battery continuously had charger on it letting it recover then re attempt the starting. Decided to re check oil maybe it was low - What no oil thatís weird it was a while since we checked it added 1 quart still no oil. 3 quarts added this is weird no oil still. Closer look indicated water droplets. Could there be water in the pan that we didn't see or check for before?? Decided to pull the drain plug. Tried to use a funnel and hose to route it out the drain plug in the hull. Kind of worked the hose seemed to get backed up with the thickness of what came out. First clear water about 3 quarts followed by milky water 2 quarts or so followed by my newly added oil a bit milky now. Wow what a mess. Toward the end all I could do is just let it drain into the hull and out the drain hole. Well now what. Considered maybe that I was getting water in from the stern drive to motor somehow left the muffs on it and continued to crank no water coming out. I am suspecting we just never drained it from the original soaking that the hull had before we got it. I guess if water was over the dip stick it could have entered there.
I am letting it drain then will try and re fill it get a new oil filter first.
Valve train check: prior to the oil /water supprise. I decided to pull the valve cover and take a look. Weird, water sitting in one of the rockers near the back only 1 everything looked okay in there except - #3 rocker had a lot of play. looking closer noticed the valve was down about 3/16 pulled the rocker and pried at the spring cup and pop up it came apparently it may have been rusted in place this hole time. Inspected the push rod - some light surface rust... replaced the rocker and screwed the nut about the same as all others. went and checked all rockers again some in contact with valve were firm like under compression of valve others that were free some had a little play some seemed springy like lifter was soft/springy. Did some cranking and watched the rockers do their dancing up and down. The #3 one that had stuck valve rocker didn't try to compress the spring. I think the lifter may be locked in collapsed position. I poured some light oil down beside pushrods but I may need to pull that side cover and see if I can get at the lifters I have an electronic manual and saw how they can be disassembled. Also read that they are cheap to replace. Well thatís my story to date...

One question running the water muffs on the alpha should I be seeing water up to the motor? Or not until it starts? So far I think the line from alpha runs up back of bell housing and between Carb and valve cover I don't see water coming in yet that being said also may indicate that the water in the pan was from the overfilled hull. I pulled that hose off the thermostat housing and sucked on it to see if water was down there somewhere and did get water out but its not being pumped out -Yet?
Also pulled the large hose off water pump on Ft of motor and its dry even after lots of attempted cranking. Maybe itís good it didn't start yet until I sort out these new findings.
Wow sorry for the length on this...