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Water inside Optimax cowling

Old 08-09-2012, 05:42 PM
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Default Water inside Optimax cowling

The last time out my 2001 Optimax 135 started running poorly. Seas were rough so I made a run for it. Back at the dock I opened the cowling and it was filled with water level to the top of the lower cowling. With the boat on the trailer water slowly drained out from where the lower cowling meets the lower unit.

I assume there is a bad seal and wave action forced water into the cowling. If I let the motor run with the mitts on and then rev it up no water escapes from the poppet valve.

Any experts out there care to comment before I start tearing things apart?

Thanks in advance.
Old 08-09-2012, 06:15 PM
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Water gets in u need to clear the drain
Old 08-09-2012, 06:23 PM
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Not an expert but had a similar problem with a 2001 225 optimax, turned out a poppet valve failed. Easy enough to diagnose. Going from memory the poppet valve does open until over 2000(?) rpm. When it opens, if it is the problem you will see water pouring out. Before diagnosing mine the engine would just have a minor momentary hiccup, here and there.
Old 08-09-2012, 06:41 PM
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I had a leak in my 225 it was the piece for the exhaust that goes in the power head and cowl. You could see it while idling though.
Old 08-10-2012, 07:51 AM
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X2 on the Poppet valve. It's located on the starboard side of the engine toward the rear just below the powerhead mounting surface. You have to remove the stbd lower cowl but it's not hard. Just two bolts on the poppet and you will need a new diaphram and two gaskets.
Check your powerhead for signs of corrosion at all ground connections, plug wire boots, etc, due to the water being in there. Look at ground straps from the coil plate and if they are green, from being sprayed with water, replace them. That water didn't come in from running in rough water.
If you run the motor with the cowl off, you will likely see the water spraying out of the vent in the poppet valve cover. When you take the poppet valve off, hold onto it, since there is a spring inside that may surprise you. Carefully clean the gasket surfaces with knife or razor and use a small amount of gasket sealer.
Good luck!!!!
Old 08-13-2012, 09:11 PM
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Thanks for the replies guys. I'm not sure the problem is the poppet valve. In fact it was replaced less than a year ago when I had the cooling system upgrade installed by a mechanic. And like I said, with the mitts on if I open the engine to 3000 rpm there is no water leaking from anywhere.

On the other hand, if I point a hose inside the lower cowling then water runs right out the bottom. This can't be normal? I would expect the cowling to be sealed? ;?
Old 08-13-2012, 09:53 PM
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At 1st thought you would think the lower cowling would be sealed since it sits so low to the water, but if there were no drain holes (or if they are clogged as often happens, water flowing from a loose tell-tale hose or damaged poppet can fill the cowling and copious water may get sucked in or just flow in the bottom of the air horn shortly before the new engine is needed as happened to a friend (loose telltale after pro O/B mechanic had the cowling off).

It doesn't sound like you have a tell-tale or poppet problem unless it only manifests at even higher RPM, but I'd make sure that cowling drains really well . But then , I'm not familiar with that engine.
Old 08-14-2012, 07:16 AM
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first of all,,,, don't run the engine above idle when unloaded like that. Not good!!!!
There are water hoses that run from the block to the exhaust adapter and they have been known to leak at higher RPM. I would still be suspect of the poppet, since it's been worked. It may just be loose.
Do you use a speedometer? The small diameter hose that runs from the gearcase to the gauge could also provide a source of water under the cowl, if cut or the connector is unhooked. That would not show up unless running along at speed. Do you see signs of water being sprayed all over? Are you in saltwater?
Old 08-14-2012, 09:13 AM
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Originally Posted by tiretired View Post
. . . Do you use a speedometer? The small diameter hose that runs from the gearcase to the gauge could also provide a source of water under the cowl, if cut or the connector is unhooked. That would not show up unless running along at speed. Do you see signs of water being sprayed all over? Are you in saltwater?
The speedo hose is unhooked just sitting there coiled up inside the cowling. No obvious signs of water spray and yes its saltwater.

My first thought was water leaking in through the cowling because the symptom (hard to start) first showed up after drifting for a couple hours in 2-4 foot seas with waves continuously spashing 1/2 way up the cowling. Of course I could not open the cowling on the open water and it was only after an hour run back to the dock (with the engine running like crap) that I opened the cowling and noticed all the water.

Based on TTaxi's reply I also wonder if my cowling is draining fast enough. The water runs out but its more like a dribble.

Thanks for the ideas!
Old 08-14-2012, 10:41 AM
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U need to clear ur drains. No reason to have it sealed.

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