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Old 01-03-2012, 04:59 PM
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Default Suzuki DF140 "engine holder" corrosion fix!

Instead of adding on to the old thread I figured i would begin a new one as it is 2012 and tagging onto 5 year old threads is so 2011. Okay for those of you familiar with the 3-2 warning alarm for the Suzuki 90-115-140 which is brought about by an exhaust leak into the cowling caused by corrosion on the steel plug/aluminum housing on the engine holder on the port side of the motor (right above the flush port), this the story.

I figured now that the boat is fixed I will try to explain (with pictures) what exactly happened and how it was fixed. The Saturday after Thanksgiving was the Halibut tournament (in San Diego) which was the first time I had used the boat in a while which is usually when these things happened. That morning as we lined up for the start the motor was running kind of rough and after a while it started stalling on us. I was able to keep the thing running by just keeping it in gear which was really fun when they were trying to line up all the boats for a group shot.

So off we went, the boat seemed to run fine at running rpm, but again rough and stalling at idle. Fortunately we were fishing for Halibut on a day with very little wind or drift so we could just shut the motor down and take 45 minute drifts then get it running and repeat. This worked for most of the day and we were even able to get a fish on the boat (11.5 lbs) which got us 5th place out of 29 boats unfortunately only the top 4 got cash back (top spot won $4k). Towards the end of the day we started stalling more frequently then the alarm came on which for newer motors it gives you a flashing gauge that will have a sequence to it (which tells you what is wrong). Of course we were out on the water and had no clue what a 3-2 sequence meant so we limped in in to the tournament weigh in and figured we would need to search the internet to find out what our issue was.

The internet yielded lots of threads on Suzuki 140s with the 3-2 flasher and it didn't look really good for us. Apparently the exhaust had been breached inside the cowling which in turn flips out your oxogen sensor causing your motor to run like heck. Once you took the cowling off the escaping exhaust would just flow out into the air unrestricted and the motor would run fine again (which is the sure test to tell if this is your problem).

Now that we realized our problem it took but a few minutes to find where the exhaust leak was and how we could fix it. The leak was in the aluminum casting (part of the block) where a steel bolt plugged a port which was designed for a oxogen sensor that was never used. This is where it gets kind of tricky, there were lots of threads on the net about how this corrosion issue happens and who is responsible but from everything we read Suzuki has not fessed up to any problem from their end and that corrosion issues are not covered under their warranty (which I still have).

Our first option was to replace this section of the engine which is called the "engine holder" which goes for just about $1000 and would probably cost another $800 for installation. Next was the JB Weld solution which people had done and had limited success with but it was basically just a band-aide to get you by for a while. The third option was to have a welder remove the steel plug and grind out the area and weld in an aluminum plug. We definitely contemplated all the options as they ranged anywhere from a $6 dollar fix to a $2000 dollar fix. I heard a lot people tell me to just JB Weld it and not worry about it, but these were people who would not be using the boat and would not be out 30 miles when that fix fails. We finally settled on the weld fix as there were some nice pictures online of how people had done it successfully and not had any problems since.

We had several options for welders and fortunately for us one of the local guys was working on a swordfish plank down at Dana (where the boats is) and he looked at it and said he could do it (even though he didn't like welding on cast aluminum). His plan was to remove the steel plug, grind down the area then drill out the hole with a 1 inch drill then create a 1 inch plug out of billet aluminum and weld it in. Now I don't have much knowledge about welding especially aluminum so I told I trusted him and let me know when you are done.

The welder finished the job in about 4 hours and charged us very little ($200) as he is a regular down there and knows my Brother well so we really lucked out there. I came down after he finished up and wiped it down with acetone and put 3 coats of high temp engine paint to finish it up. We had been concerned about metal shavings falling into the exhaust cavity so before he got started I pulled the lower unit off so that everything would just fall out the bottom. So before we put the lower unit on we flushed the motor for a while to get the rest of the shavings out and have peace of mind that we didn't shoot ourselves in the foot by being lazy.

The boat fired right up and we ran it on the flusher for a while to make sure we (the welder) didn't warp the gaskets above and below the "engine holder". Everything looked good so we buttoned everything back together and took a little time to grease all the zerks fittings (which we had never done) which really helped in the steering category.

I hate to say this is the short version as it seems to have taken me half a day to write this but thats the quickest explanation that hopefully gives you guys an idea of what was done. I included several pictures to show how the whole thing started and ended. In the first shot that rusty thing is a screwdriver pushing through the breach, the rest of the pics should be self explanatory. It's a pretty beefy fix, and the welder was very confident that we wouldn't have to worry about that spot again.
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Old 01-03-2012, 05:49 PM
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Thanks for the very informative write up. How old was this motor and any recommendations on how to prevent it in the first place?
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Old 01-03-2012, 06:19 PM
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Sometime in the 2008 model year engines Suzuki changed to an engine holder without the plug in it. This is what you get if you order a replacement engine holder -- holder kit is around $900+ and about 5 hours labor [boyzntheirtoyz here on Cudjoe]. I had mine welded for about $150. Not every engine has the problem, but putting steel plug in an aluminum piece and then exposing them to hot corrosive gasses is a recipe for failure.

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Old 01-03-2012, 06:53 PM
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Thanks for sharing. I hope mine never has the problem but it's great to know the fix when it does.
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Old 01-03-2012, 07:16 PM
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Interesting. So, to maybe prevent this from happening, should an aluminum plug be installed in the place of the steel one? hmm....
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Old 01-03-2012, 07:41 PM
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My engine is a 2007, and I have been reading through all the threads across the net and it doesn't seem that anyone has the exact cause. The most obvious conclusion is that a steel plug is used in an aluminum housing which brings on the dissimilar metals corrosion issue. This is seems to make the most sense, but there are other factors that may lead to this problem.

The first problem which I am definitely guilty of is not changing the internal zincs (rectifier zincs) which I now realize should be changed every 50 hours. I finally changed mine at 1000 hours and they were at the 50% mark, or maybe a little better than that. I had changed my head zincs last year which my local shop pointed out to me, but there was a little confusion about them knowing about the rectifier zincs which they had to do some digging on the computer to figure out what I was talking about (Yikes!). These zincs seem to be in line with this section of exhaust housing which corroded, were they the issue? I don't know for sure, like I said there was zinc still intact on the plugs but at what point do they fail?

My next consideration is that we keep the boat in the water. Now of course the motor gets flushed every single time it goes down into the water, even when we just take the 1 minute putz over to the fuel dock but my theory involves how the flush is finished. Normally we leave the engine flushing which we let go for 5-15 minutes and always while the engine is warm and the thermostats are open. At the end we tip the motor up and let the water flush through for about a minute just to get any residual salt water out before shutting off the hose. Now my thought is that by leaving the water running while the motor is up that water gets trapped in certain sections of the motor, even when the hose is disconnected and the water drains out the engine. Now if you consider water being trapped in that particular section where the steel plug is contacting the aluminum and there is actually enough water to cross where they meet then there could definitely be some conduction going on there and lead to a quick failure. Again I can't prove this, it's just a theory that I have considered while trying to figure out the whole "why me" sob story.

Now that we are fixed and back at war with the fishes we have decided to take a few extra safeguards to hopefully prolong the life of our fragile engine. If you consider that by flushing (including finishing) the motor in the vertical position (on the trailer) then you know that all the water will drain back out when you finished with the flush and the hose is disconnected. Being that we don't have that option because we are in the water, we do the flush the same as before (finish with motor up), but when we finish and the hose is disconnected we turn the motor over hard to starboard so that the flush access is facing up then you will notice more water will run out of the motor and that section (port side) will be high and dry. Now the danger is that water will settle on the starboard side of the motor and find another weak spot (which hopefully there is not) to go after.

So these are my theories, and again they are just that, and to all of the boaters out there with a Suzuki 90-115-140 hopefully this will give you some insight into what many of us have had to go through. Oh and for those of you who are considering switching to Yamaha there are very similar things happening to them as well, mostly and inside out corrosion issue involving the oil pan which like Suzuki is not covered by warranty. I just had a very long conversation with a friend who is battling Yamaha over his twin 150's which are going to end up costing a lot of money to get right.
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Old 01-03-2012, 09:04 PM
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Does anyone know the diameter and thread for the steel plug, the custom car companies make aluminum plugs for water pumps in npt sizes, would be a quick fix if you drilled out and tapped for npt size if it is metric
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Old 01-03-2012, 09:19 PM
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Anybody have this happen on a fresh water boat?
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Old 01-03-2012, 10:33 PM
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I still have the steel plug, I will have to check it out and see if I can figure out exactly what size it is.
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Old 01-04-2012, 06:28 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Lattitude Adjuster View Post
Anybody have this happen on a fresh water boat?
Yes, according to one of the other threads on this subject.

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Old 01-04-2012, 07:20 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Coral Head View Post
Thanks for the very informative write up. How old was this motor and any recommendations on how to prevent it in the first place?

X2

I have a DF115 Suzuki and wonder if anyone has tried removing the plug PRIOR to having a problem and cleaning and greasing the threads?

I may try to remove mine on the next oil change and see if it will come out clean. If it works I would clean it and give it a coat of Never Seez every oil change.

Thanks for posting and looks like a good repair. Too bad Suzzuki wouldn't at least cut a break on the $1000 engine holder part for those that take that route.
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Old 01-04-2012, 07:25 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Hang fire View Post
I still have the steel plug, I will have to check it out and see if I can figure out exactly what size it is.
Thanks for the post. Any hardware store shold be able to tell you the size..........if it is a NPT as common in the USA.
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Old 01-04-2012, 08:00 AM
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Nice write up. Thats how I fixed mine.
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Old 01-19-2012, 01:51 PM
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Has anyone seen this product? http://durafix.com/index.html
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Old 01-19-2012, 03:36 PM
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Has any one been able to remove the plug before it caused a problem?
I tried to get one of mine out last year, it could not get it to budge and stopped before I broke something.
I did not get aggressive with it by use of a cheater pipe.
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Old 01-19-2012, 06:23 PM
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I have recently tried to remove the steel plug on my '05 DF140. It would not move, even when using my electric impact wrench. I will try again during the heat of summer, hoping the aluminum will expand more than the steel. I thought that I might be able to electrically insulate the plug from the aluminum using a lot of Teflon tape. An ohm meter would show if it was working, but unfortunately I didn't get that far.
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Old 01-20-2012, 06:52 PM
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I tried to get the one out of my '06, too. But after putting a LOT of force on it and it didn't move, I decided not to break what wasn't already broken. Since there *are* fixes for it if I should ever get the dreaded hole, I'll just keep an eye on it.

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Old 01-21-2012, 02:28 AM
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Nice post Hang fire, that will be my fix
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Old 03-04-2012, 12:26 PM
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So here is the problem with just fixing the hole by welding. The dissimilar metals creates a cancerous situation that moves thruout the engine holder. It could just be a temporary fix. My plug looked decent from the outside. I chose to remove it anyway and replace it with an aluminum plug custom made at a machine shop. Problem solved right? Well check what my engine holder looked like on the inside!




Shortly after replacing the plug, my engine holder gasket failed due to corrosion, allowing saltwater into the crank case and causing me to spin a bearing. Watch closely for signs of water in the oil!
-Shawn
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Old 03-05-2012, 02:05 PM
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Now I will have to check mine when the snow thins out some. I don't think I have seen this plug yet.

And if any are interested I have the service manual (factory) in pdf format. I can send it to you by way of yousendit (it is 43.8 mb's) for 2001 -2009 DF 90/100/115/140 four stroke
just email me at alaskanmutt@gmail.com

And curious as to what props and gph most of you are running
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