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Old 08-03-2008, 11:13 AM
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Default Westerbeke Generator - checked oil before starting - its milky - could open seacock cause?

Checked oil in genset before starting today, milky oil. Seacock was left open, could that be the cause or do I have a bigger problem? Most likely seacock was open for a 45 mile run. Removed oil filter and it is full of milky oil so it looks like water has circulated throughout the engine.

Good thing is I checked oil before starting but need to establish next steps to diagnosing the cause of problem.

8kw Westerbeke - 1989 model
Been fine all year - always check oil before starting

Hopefully someone has a few steps I can take to diagnose the problem.
Tim
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Old 08-03-2008, 11:24 AM
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Default RE: Westerbeke Generator - checked oil before starting - its milky - could open seacock cause?

Milky oil=water in oil. You should not have that mixing from an open seacock. I am not that familiar with the design, but worst case would be cracked block, followed by head issue/head gasket, but maybe as simple as a bad oil cooler. I would drain the oil ASAP, after shutting the seacock of course, and refill/flush to purge any remaining water from the block. Then start with oil cooler checking for issues and work your way around the thing. BTW, any oil residue coming out of the exhaust?
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Old 08-03-2008, 11:31 AM
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Default Re: Westerbeke Generator - checked oil before starting - its milky - could open seacock cause?

Mlaco,
I have not noticed any oil in exhuast but really have not been watching. Genst has not used any oil during the 40 or so hours we have used it this season and I always check oil before starting. I can't get new oil filters today, only stocking store is not open so I'll have to wait to change oil until tomorrow. I imagine I'll have to fill and drain oil a few times to get all water out so I want to have 3 or 4 filters on hand.
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Old 08-03-2008, 01:35 PM
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Default Re: Westerbeke Generator - checked oil before starting - its milky - could open seacock cause?

Is there water in the cooling system or is it in the oil?
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Old 08-03-2008, 02:34 PM
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Default Re: Westerbeke Generator - checked oil before starting - its milky - could open seacock cause?

Remove your oil cooler and have it pressure tested. Oil coolers are very expensive to buy new, but they are relatively cheap to have repaired.
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Old 08-03-2008, 08:22 PM
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Default Re: Westerbeke Generator - checked oil before starting - its milky - could open seacock cause?

Old westerbeke don't have an oil cooler. Probably a head gasket. I think your engine has an engine driven water pump. The seal could have let go allowing water to get pumped into the oil. If you have not lost coolent (antifreeze) then it is probably your raw water pump leaking on the engine side.
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Old 08-04-2008, 04:50 AM
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Default Re: Westerbeke Generator - checked oil before starting - its milky - could open seacock cause?

It appears I might be just smart enough to create problems for myself. Prior to launch last season I replaced all the seacocks on our boat and installed a strainer / scoop pickup on the generator. I now understand this is a big Do Not Do.

Question to the board?
Could leaving the seacock open and having the strainer / scoop have forced water into the engine during the recent 45 mile trip, genset was not running?

Coolant level in the freshwater side of engine is at a normal level.
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Old 08-04-2008, 05:24 AM
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Default Re: Westerbeke Generator - checked oil before starting - its milky - could open seacock cause?

The scoop is your problem, I've seen several failures because of the scoop issue.

If it's in need of rebuild, then you have a dilemna, the cost of rebuild could easily approach replacement cost. I hope it's not the problem, but sounds bad. Good luck to you, hope it's minor.
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Old 08-04-2008, 05:35 AM
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Default Re: Westerbeke Generator - checked oil before starting - its milky - could open seacock cause?

I drained and filled genset with fresh oil 4 times last night, replacing filter each time. After 4th time I don't visually see any water in the oil. Not sure if there is a way to check other than visually, it now runs fine. Although I have not run it for more than a few minutes. Thought I would change oil one more time then run for 30 minutes or so. I guess time will tell if any damage was done.

Question now is if I only use the generator while at anchor and close seacock affter every use do you think I can get through the remainder of the season with scoop? I can easily replace the sccop with standard thur-hull once the boat has been pulled for the off season.
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Old 08-04-2008, 10:11 AM
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Default Re: Westerbeke Generator - checked oil before starting - its milky - could open seacock cause?

You may be good, I'd run her to temperature and then cool, check again. You can probably get by with the scoop if you close it as you suggest, but a diver could remove the screen unless it's a combo unit. An inspection haul , hold her in the slings deal shouldn't cost too much and, given the risk, might be a good idea and do a quick changeout.

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Old 08-04-2008, 10:26 AM
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Default Re: Westerbeke Generator - checked oil before starting - its milky - could open seacock cause?

Unfortunately, the thru-hull is a combo unit. So I'll wait until the fall to change out the sccop being very careful until then to be sure seacock is open only when genset is running at anchor.

Tonight I plan to change oil again then run generator for a good 45 minutes to an hour then change oil and filter again.

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Old 08-04-2008, 01:18 PM
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Default Re: Westerbeke Generator - checked oil before starting - its milky - could open seacock cause?

Well you found your problem. Now good luck with the bearings. My guess is you will be ok because you drained the oil/water. I hope you sucked out every last drop you could. Remember oil floats on the water. That puts the water at the lowest level in the oil pan. Can you remove the oil drain plug? I hope so.
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Old 08-04-2008, 03:45 PM
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Default Re: Westerbeke Generator - checked oil before starting - its milky - could open seacock cause?

Good luck. The other alternative is to drill another 3/4 thru hull while she hangs in the slings, probably take less than an hour, if you want to use while running. Is there a washdown thru hull without a scoop?
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Old 08-05-2008, 02:23 AM
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Default Re: Westerbeke Generator - checked oil before starting - its milky - could open seacock cause?

All of the Perkins/Westerbeke engines I have seen have an oil cooler, even the older ones. It's a combo unit with 2 heat exchangers, the upper is for coolant and the lower is for oil. Both units are cooled by raw water. How would leaving a sea cock open allow water into the oil unless there was a leak somewhere like an oil cooler. I have seen many leaking oil coolers on the Perkins/Westerbekes, all but one case leaked on the outside though.
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Old 08-05-2008, 04:39 AM
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Default Re: Westerbeke Generator - checked oil before starting - its milky - could open seacock cause?

Last night I ran genset up to temp and changed oil and filter again (no visual sign of water in oil). I then ran the genset for 45 minutes and all seems fine. However, I'm sure any damage will not immediately show up.

Tomorrow I'll run the genset up to temp and do a final 6th oil and filter change and hope for the best.

Thank you to everyone who has helped me resolve this issue. I will be replacing the scoop thru-hull this off season. Until then the seacock will only be open when the generator is running while at anchor.
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Old 08-05-2008, 06:05 AM
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Default Re: Westerbeke Generator - checked oil before starting - its milky - could open seacock cause?

The older westerbeke engines were not perkins. My 8kw has no oil cooler. The water was forced up the intake through the heat exchanger and out the exhaust. There the water encountered pressure from the muffler/exhaust system and went into the engine through open exhaust valves. The raw water injection line at the riser introduced the water into the engine. Gravity took over from there.
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Old 08-05-2008, 05:58 PM
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Default RE: Westerbeke Generator - checked oil before starting - its milky - could open seacock cause?

I drowned my 8 kw Northern Lights gen set 2 seasons ago. In my case the water lift muffler was not mounted low enough. The previous owner never left the dock without the gen set running. We were out sharking one day and decided to shut the generator down. The boat was rocking which caused the muffler to fill, which forced water up the exhaust manifold and into the engine via an open exhaust valve (like CB). When I tried to start it a couple of hours later it was hydra locked. We ended up removing the glow plugs and hand cranked the water out. The oil was milky and took 5 changes to get it clear. So far I have put on 300 trouble free hours (knock on wood) on it since that incident. Good Luck!
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Old 08-05-2008, 06:34 PM
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Default Re: Westerbeke Generator - checked oil before starting - its milky - could open seacock cause?

I wasn't thinking about water coming in through the injection elbow in a below the waterline installation.
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