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New 5.7l Vortec Puking Coolant??

Old 05-12-2019, 04:42 AM
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Default New 5.7l Vortec Puking Coolant??

Alright. Just swapped heads on my 24ft Albemarle, went from 12 Bolt intake with old 76cc heads to 8 bolt intake with Vortec heads. The motor has 400 hours. Ran great on the hose after I did everything. This is a FWC system.

Heres my problem.

Took it to the lake yesterday, started it up, ran it for about 2 minutes at cruise and wot and she heated up to close to 240 degrees. Shut the motor off, all the coolant in the heat exchanger was gone. We took the cap off, filled it with more coolant, we thought maybe it didn't bleed enough. Ran it again, heated tight back up then we shut it off. This time we took the cap off, not much coolant in the exchanger, we took the thermostat out, we thought that was stuck. Filled it up with coolant, ran the boat this time it took maybe 5 minutes or so to heat up at cruise and wot speeds. We shut it off, no coolant in the exchanger. We didn't think it was burning coolant because it ran great, the exhaust did not smell or smoke at all. There was a noticeable amount of coolant in the bilge at this point. I looked all around the motor, head gasket, water pump and hoses and couldn't see where it could be leaking from... So we filled it up one more time, I instructed my two crew members to stand back near the open engine box when I was running it. The motor hit 160 degrees and coolant started to spit out of the vent cap green tube right into the bilge. That was out the problem.

Now the solution??? Could it be as simple as a new cap, so as bad a cracked head or bad head gasket? Head gasket is new, torqued down right (25-45-65 ftlbs) and heads were brought to a machine shop and maganfluxed (or whatever they call it). Im really hoping its something simple, Im thinking my next step is to rent a coolant pressure tester at autozone.
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Old 05-12-2019, 05:06 AM
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interested
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Old 05-12-2019, 05:27 AM
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posted on your FB post,,,, but I think what is happening is that when it heats up the coolant expands (thats normal) and it gets pushed out thru the rad cap (also normal)... what you have happening since you dont have an expansion tank is that the when the heat exchanger "catches" up and cools whats now a full engine and tank,,, that coolant now contracts (normal) and then crates a vaccuum in the system ... the way you have it now that vaccuum sucks air back thru the rad cap... if you have an overflow tank it will suck that coolant it expelled back into the HE keeping the system full... Once air is in there, the cycle repeats... heat-expand-cool-vaccuum-air introduction--heat ..... etc... until it has puked out so much coolant that it can't cool it back down...

Spend the $10 on a universal expansion tank at the auto parts store and some zip ties.

I might add that it is probably set up exactly the same way you had it with the old heads and the system probably worked fine with them.... thats just one of those things that gremlins love to attack...
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Old 05-12-2019, 05:29 AM
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Something is pressurizing the cooling system..this is almost always a head gasket issue. Coolant may not leak into the combustion chamber..it's only 15 PSI. Combustion will leak into the cooling system because it is about 2000psi.
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Old 05-12-2019, 05:31 AM
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I had this same issue with my 5.7 Albe 247. Turns out that the riser gaskets were incorrect for my FWC System ,previous owner installed the incorrect gaskets.
Coolant went right out the exhaust and engine overheated. . Barr Marine 1-0104P Fresh Water Cooling Kit solved my issue.


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Old 05-12-2019, 05:36 AM
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Originally Posted by Capt Rick/NC View Post
I had this same issue with my 5.7 Albe 247. Turns out that the riser gaskets were incorrect for my FWC System ,previous owner installed the incorrect gaskets.
Coolant went right out the exhaust and engine overheated. . Barr Marine 1-0104P Fresh Water Cooling Kit solved my issue.
Good thinking! I wish I had FWC Manifolds, sadly my Manifolds are raw water cooled.
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Old 05-12-2019, 05:38 AM
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Originally Posted by billinstuart View Post
Something is pressurizing the cooling system..this is almost always a head gasket issue. Coolant may not leak into the combustion chamber..it's only 15 PSI. Combustion will leak into the cooling system because it is about 2000psi.

As much as I hat to say it, I'm starting to think your right. I think im going to put the new cap on, throw an expansion tank on and pray! I dont get it though, brand new gasket, heads decked, what gives!!
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Old 05-12-2019, 05:38 AM
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Originally Posted by Dan Apple View Post
posted on your FB post,,,, but I think what is happening is that when it heats up the coolant expands (thats normal) and it gets pushed out thru the rad cap (also normal)... what you have happening since you dont have an expansion tank is that the when the heat exchanger "catches" up and cools whats now a full engine and tank,,, that coolant now contracts (normal) and then crates a vaccuum in the system ... the way you have it now that vaccuum sucks air back thru the rad cap... if you have an overflow tank it will suck that coolant it expelled back into the HE keeping the system full... Once air is in there, the cycle repeats... heat-expand-cool-vaccuum-air introduction--heat ..... etc... until it has puked out so much coolant that it can't cool it back down...

Spend the $10 on a universal expansion tank at the auto parts store and some zip ties.

I might add that it is probably set up exactly the same way you had it with the old heads and the system probably worked fine with them.... thats just one of those things that gremlins love to attack...
This is the next step, im going to do this then take it to the lake and pray that it works. If it starts spitting out again, I know im in for a head gasket...
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Old 05-12-2019, 05:44 AM
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Originally Posted by Chrisravosa36 View Post
This is the next step, im going to do this then take it to the lake and pray that it works. If it starts spitting out again, I know im in for a head gasket...
On the FB thread I think you said it took 10 minutes or so for this to start .... I'd be shocked if it took that long for leaking combustion to show it's ugly head... plus I went thru the exact same thing with a new vortec motor about 6 weeks ago.... also on the cap what pressure cap do you have? I ended up with a 14
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Old 05-12-2019, 05:48 AM
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Originally Posted by Dan Apple View Post
On the FB thread I think you said it took 10 minutes or so for this to start .... I'd be shocked if it took that long for leaking combustion to show it's ugly head... plus I went thru the exact same thing with a new vortec motor about 6 weeks ago.... also on the cap what pressure cap do you have? I ended up with a 14
Good question, id have to check. never had any problems like this with the old motor. The new cap has a #16 stamped on the top of it, not sure about the old il get back to you on this. If it was a faulty head gasket, dont you think It would happen at idle as well? I ran the motor for 20 minutes or so a couple times on the hose before I took it to the lake. Seems od.
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Old 05-12-2019, 05:54 AM
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Originally Posted by Chrisravosa36 View Post
As much as I hat to say it, I'm starting to think your right. I think im going to put the new cap on, throw an expansion tank on and pray! I dont get it though, brand new gasket, heads decked, what gives!!
Combustion pressure is proportional to the load on the engine. May not leak at idle or on the muffs, but full throttle will load the engine and make it leak. Vortec heads crack..could be a minute crack around a valve.
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Old 05-12-2019, 05:57 AM
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A sure sign of a leaking head gasket is bubbles in the overflow tank; Iíd rig one up temporarily if you donít have one just to see if you get bubbles after the engine is shut off. We had this twice on a Ď98 Subaru Outback. On them when the HGs leaked it put combustion gases in the cooling system causing overheating, but would not get antifreeze in the oil.
Just make sure you really got all the air out. I like the Lisle special funnel designed to let the engine run till all the air bubbles are out. Works great and much less messy.

When you installed the new heads did you clean all the old gasket material off the block deck and run a thread chaser thru the head bolt threads in the block?
This is necessary to get the HGs to seal and for the head bolts to get proper torque. Thatís the most time consuming part of swapping heads. I did this job on my 4.3 pre-vortec (didnít upgrade to vortec heads just installed reman heads on the old short block) 2 years ago so far no leaks....

Last edited by LouC; 05-12-2019 at 06:03 AM.
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Old 05-12-2019, 06:12 AM
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It is also possible you have an air lock in the motor cooling jackets and the motor itself is not completely filling with coolant. Easy fix. Remove the thermostat and drill a small hole in the flange within the water passage path (inner perimeter). This allows the air in the motor to vent to the top while filling the system and completely filling the motor with out air pockets. Also the coolant needs to be a 50/50 mix coolant and water. It is the water that actually does the cooling and not the "coolant". Look for the cheap and easy fixes first before diving off the deep end.
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Old 05-12-2019, 06:26 AM
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Originally Posted by DoubleDose View Post
It is also possible you have an air lock in the motor cooling jackets and the motor itself is not completely filling with coolant. Easy fix. Remove the thermostat and drill a small hole in the flange within the water passage path (inner perimeter). This allows the air in the motor to vent to the top while filling the system and completely filling the motor with out air pockets. Also the coolant needs to be a 50/50 mix coolant and water. It is the water that actually does the cooling and not the "coolant". Look for the cheap and easy fixes first before diving off the deep end.

correct drill thermostat with two. 1/8 holes and run engine to operating temperature without cap
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Old 05-12-2019, 06:26 AM
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Over flow tank a must do also
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Old 05-12-2019, 06:28 AM
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Originally Posted by LouC View Post
A sure sign of a leaking head gasket is bubbles in the overflow tank; Iíd rig one up temporarily if you donít have one just to see if you get bubbles after the engine is shut off. We had this twice on a Ď98 Subaru Outback. On them when the HGs leaked it put combustion gases in the cooling system causing overheating, but would not get antifreeze in the oil.
Just make sure you really got all the air out. I like the Lisle special funnel designed to let the engine run till all the air bubbles are out. Works great and much less messy.

When you installed the new heads did you clean all the old gasket material off the block deck and run a thread chaser thru the head bolt threads in the block?
This is necessary to get the HGs to seal and for the head bolts to get proper torque. Thatís the most time consuming part of swapping heads. I did this job on my 4.3 pre-vortec (didnít upgrade to vortec heads just installed reman heads on the old short block) 2 years ago so far no leaks....
Used to be kits which detected the presence of combustion products in the cooling system. Still??
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Old 05-12-2019, 06:46 AM
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Originally Posted by billinstuart View Post
Used to be kits which detected the presence of combustion products in the cooling system. Still??
yes they still make them. On the Subaru it was obvious because the overflow tank would get little dirty particles of exhaust residue floating in the tank with bubbles right after shut off. Iím hoping the OP just didnít get the block/heads full of AF before running it. I would remove the stat housing and rig up a way to fully fill it with AF, then fill the heat exchanger and hook up the hoses. Get that Lisle funnel and let it run at idle as long as it takes to stop making bubbles in the funnel. Then try again.
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Old 05-12-2019, 07:12 AM
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Originally Posted by LouC View Post
A sure sign of a leaking head gasket is bubbles in the overflow tank; Iíd rig one up temporarily if you donít have one just to see if you get bubbles after the engine is shut off. We had this twice on a Ď98 Subaru Outback. On them when the HGs leaked it put combustion gases in the cooling system causing overheating, but would not get antifreeze in the oil.
Just make sure you really got all the air out. I like the Lisle special funnel designed to let the engine run till all the air bubbles are out. Works great and much less messy.

When you installed the new heads did you clean all the old gasket material off the block deck and run a thread chaser thru the head bolt threads in the block?
This is necessary to get the HGs to seal and for the head bolts to get proper torque. Thatís the most time consuming part of swapping heads. I did this job on my 4.3 pre-vortec (didnít upgrade to vortec heads just installed reman heads on the old short block) 2 years ago so far no leaks....
Yes, took an hour or so, not fun work... lol
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Old 05-12-2019, 07:34 AM
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Originally Posted by Chrisravosa36 View Post
Yes, took an hour or so, not fun work... lol
I spent a lot longer at it probably took the better part of half a day to get the block deck squeaky clean and the bolt holes cleaned out!
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Old 05-12-2019, 09:27 AM
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Originally Posted by LouC View Post

I spent a lot longer at it probably took the better part of half a day to get the block deck squeaky clean and the bolt holes cleaned out!

didnt take long long because motor has replaced 400 hours ago in 2015. Head gasket came off easy and didnít take much cleanup other than running the tap
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