Boat took on a lot of water now won’t start

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Boat took on a lot of water now won’t start

Postby Thump0808 » Sun Jun 17, 2018 11:53 pm

Well we took the boat out for the 4th time this season and at the end of the day we decided to go eat on the river. When we came back the boat was full of water. I opened up the floor locker in middle of boat and and it was clear to the top! I had been suspecting I was getting more water than usual but I drain was always plugged with debri or plastic so I thought its hold water cause it’s plighed up. Took out few more times not to much water was in so I thought I was in the clear! Boy was I wrong! Boat dam near sank I manually turned on bilge and started pumping out the water. It ran for a few minutes then died out. I don’t know why bilge did not come on automatically. I put a new starter on today and all I get is a click when trying to start? I dumped fuel filter put back on and same issue just a click. I have 4 batteries in there and there all charged up. I turn the key over and just one click. Hopefully some one can give me some ideas!


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Last edited by Thump0808 on Tue Jun 19, 2018 1:25 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: Water took on a lot of water now won’t start

Postby Thump0808 » Sun Jun 17, 2018 11:54 pm

Sorry meant boat took on water
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Re: Boat took on a lot of water now won’t start

Postby cbsmith » Mon Jun 18, 2018 6:36 am

If the water was high enough you could have water in one or more of the cylinders causing a hydrolock. If that is the case using the starter can bend the connecting rod. You should check for this or get a mechanic to look at your engine. The sooner the better because water in the engine can can rust and issues for bearings and other parts if not resolved quickly.
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Re: Boat took on a lot of water now won’t start

Postby Thump0808 » Mon Jun 18, 2018 7:08 am

I checked for water in the engine. Oil looks same not milky looking or over filled. I’m hoping to get it to a mechanic sometime this week. Wish me luck
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Re: Boat took on a lot of water now won’t start

Postby kellyg » Mon Jun 18, 2018 7:19 am

Take out the spark plugs and see if it cranks.
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Re: Boat took on a lot of water now won’t start

Postby Thump0808 » Mon Jun 18, 2018 7:42 am

Ok I will soon as I get off work. Take one out at a time. What am I looking for how many do I take out? When starting all I hear is one click kinda scary cuz it sounds like it might be froze.
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Re: Boat took on a lot of water now won’t start

Postby wjh » Mon Jun 18, 2018 9:50 am

Pull all spark plugs out at once (mark plug wires, if needed). Ground coil wire. See if starter will turn engine over. If not, try to turn over the engine using a breaker bar and socket on the damper bolt. Engine should turn over fairly easily with plugs out. If you can turn it over, probably have an electrical problem with starter circuit. If you cannot turn it over with breaker bar and socket with plugs removed, might have serious engine problem.
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Re: Boat took on a lot of water now won’t start

Postby gofast24 » Mon Jun 18, 2018 11:10 am

Unless the boat was totally sunk I cant believe that water got into the engines intake manifold (the water would have to get above the throttle body flame arrestor to flood the intake manifold! ! Also, 5 batteries on a 23' Boat? Assume a single engine? Question = you turn on the bilge pump manually and it runs for a few minutes and stops? Check the open circuit voltage on all 5 of your batteries! Sounds like they are all dead and that is why the bilge pump stopped running on the auto float switch and then wouldn't run for than a few minutes when the pump was turned on manually at the helm a few hours later? The click, click, click indicates dead batteries, not water in the cylinders. Last major item, find out where the water is coming into your vessel from!! Probably out drive bellows or broken, loose, etc. sea water hose from out drive pickup into the sea water pump on the engine.
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Re: Boat took on a lot of water now won’t start

Postby cbsmith » Mon Jun 18, 2018 1:20 pm

If the transom sinks low enough in the water it can let water into the cylinder through the exhaust as well.
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Re: Boat took on a lot of water now won’t start

Postby Thump0808 » Mon Jun 18, 2018 4:32 pm

I have 4 batteries total and they are fully charged and brand new! My bulge pump is faulty I think because I reached down in there touched with finger and it came on and if I turn on manually it stays on. It’s a single engine. I have all the batteries got the stereo system. I talked to a boat service mechanic today he says it is hydro locked should be fine when I flush out the cylinders
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Re: Boat took on a lot of water now won’t start

Postby Thump0808 » Mon Jun 18, 2018 8:13 pm

Ok came home today pulled all the plugs. First one I pulled quite a bit of water come out. All the rest were just wet. I turned the key and it tried to turn spit out a lot of dirty water. I sprayed fogging oil in the cylinders. Tried to start and all I got was the starter winding. Called boat shop says I probably ruined the brand new starter trying to start it and bendix is not working. Says return and try it again. I have a feeling something else is bad like the motor. So I’ll be pulling this starter out and trying again! My summer might just be done!
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Re: Boat took on a lot of water now won’t start

Postby wjh » Tue Jun 19, 2018 6:17 am

I dont know what you mean by "starter winding", but the fact that the motor spun over with all the plugs out of it is a good sign. Several times, while working as a mechanic, I had cars that came in to the shop that were hydrolocked. I did exactly as I previously described to clear the cylinders. I then replaced all the plugs, re-connected all the wires, changed the oil and filter - car would start and run fine. Hopefully, yours is an easy fix as well.


Update - I re-read your post. Note that the starter will spin the engine over very quickly without the plugs in it and could seem as though the starter didnt engage. Try putting everything back together to see if it will start.
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Re: Boat took on a lot of water now won’t start

Postby Thump0808 » Tue Jun 19, 2018 7:30 am

Ok just woke and read last post. Mechanic suggested I try another starter so I returned it said there was a defect and tried the new one. Still nothing! The starter winds but bendix not spinning fly wheel. Let’s see how can I describe what happened????
Yesterday when I pulled the plugs I turned the key and let’s say the engine kinda like burped real quick water come shooting out the cylinders. That’s the best way to describe it. So I turn the key again and mechanic says it should be turning over spitting out what ever water is in there! Well it doesn’t! Only thing you hear is starter winding. Bendix not spinning fly wheel. Sorry if this sounds weird but I’m not s mechanic and trying to explain the best I can. When I get home today after work I will get my air hose blow out each cylinder and put bsvk plugs to see if I get any luck! Thanks guys really appreciate all your help!! Hopefully I can get her running!
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Re: Boat took on a lot of water now won’t start

Postby ImRich » Tue Jun 19, 2018 9:26 am

If it was hydro locked, perhaps you broke some teeth off of the flywheel. If yes, then there is a dead spot in the flywheel with no teeth, so the starter will just free wheel as you describe. What's the chance of two starters having a bad Bendix and/or solenoid?

To check for this, you need to remove the starter (again) and inspect the flyweel to see if there are any missing teeth.

If there was water in your cylinders (as you said), you could have bent connecting rods as well as broken flywheel teeth. Either are expensive to repair.

It sounds like you need professional help, and not the help of keyboard mechanics like myself and others.

Best of luck!
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Re: Boat took on a lot of water now won’t start

Postby wjh » Tue Jun 19, 2018 9:36 am

Just to verify - Have someone turn the key while you watch the serpentine belt to make sure that it is not spinning when you engage the starter. If engine is truly not spinning, you may have damaged some teeth on the flywheel while trying to start it with water in the cylinder. You can verify this by rotating the engine slightly using a socket and breaker-bar so that the starter will engage on a different place of the flywheel. The one thing that is puzzling is the fact that the starter engaged enough to spin the engine so that water was blown out of the spark plug hole. I know the above step sounds basic, but necessary to ensure that the engine is not spinning. Spinning the engine without plugs using the starter will sound vastly different than with the plugs in.
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Re: Boat took on a lot of water now won’t start

Postby gofast24 » Tue Jun 19, 2018 12:07 pm

OP originally indicated he has 5 batteries? Now only 4. Also bilge pump turned on manually and ran for a few minutes then nothing. Bad pump or dead battery that the automatic bilge pump is power by. Hard to believe that sea water got into all the cylinders (some intake valves are open some exhaust valves are open so most likely only a couple of cylinders had the possibility of water ingress ?) either through the throttle body or exhaust system but the indication that water came out of the spark plugs ports when actually turning over indicates that it did :( That vessel had to be almost totally sunk? Agree with the possibility that either a pinion gear or ring gear might have some teeth missing, if so, would be the ring gear as the pinnion spinning would have at least some teeth left to engage the ring gear while turning over.
Sound like time for a insurance claim?
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Re: Boat took on a lot of water now won’t start

Postby Thump0808 » Tue Jun 19, 2018 12:51 pm

Sorry about the typo 5 batteries! I used my iPhone to post all this and most of the time I’m pulled over at work so I should have read. I have 4 batteries 3 for music one for starting. I made a claim already so waiting for adjuster to come out. My middle ski locker was full of water rear of boat was half full about half the batteries were sitting in water when we stalled out. I turned bilge on and it started working don’t know why it did not come on automatically. All boat places around are 3 weeks out so I’ve been trying to get it running in the mean time but isn’t working out! Thanks for the reply
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Re: Boat took on a lot of water now won’t start

Postby Thump0808 » Tue Jun 19, 2018 12:53 pm

Also bilge was turned on manually and that’s how we had water removed it never went off when I tuned on manually! The problem was it never worked automatically like it was suppose to! Manually it works perfect
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Re: Boat took on a lot of water now won’t start

Postby Thump0808 » Tue Jun 19, 2018 11:41 pm

Well finally got her going!!! Now off to find a shop to figure out how this water gotbin. The mechanic today said bellows look brand new!! So I’m not sure how I’m gonna find this leak!??we even ran the ears for 30 min or so and no water! I’m sure it has to do with the bellows I’m gonna go anchor Friday hatch seats up and try to figure out where it is getting in at! Thanks for all the help. Oh we blew out the cylinders put some new blues in and it fired right up!
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Re: Boat took on a lot of water now won’t start

Postby gofast24 » Wed Jun 20, 2018 10:09 am

Thump0808 wrote:Also bilge was turned on manually and that’s how we had water removed it never went off when I tuned on manually! The problem was it never worked automatically like it was suppose to! Manually it works perfect

Glad that you got all the water out of the engine room! Regarding the bilge pump you can either remove it, see if some crud has caused the float switch to "stick" in the "off" position or just buy a new high quality pump and replace the one that almost caused your vessel to sink. Interesting, you have 3 batteries for the house power and only one for the engine starting circuit? Do you have a house battery charger (operating on shore power?) in the engine room and if so, does it maintain both your 3X house batteries and the engine starting battery? When the vessel filled up with lake water were you at dock and on shore power to maintain the batteries? Running on the cuffs won't show a water ingress into the boat, need to just launch the boat, tie up to a dock, and take a bright flashlight with you into the engine room and look for obvious leaks. Something obviously is causing a lot of water ingress into the boat!

PS: Not sure what your insurance will do for you as you caught the problem before the boat sank? Your deductible is probably higher than what you have paid the marina mechanics so far (whom have apparently done nothing to find the leak?) ? Good luck!
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