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  1. #1

    Swamped 15F, need suggestions

    I need some expert advice on how to proceed with this issue.

    A few weeks ago, our 15F partially sunk while tied up to our floating dock. (salt water) My father was riding earlier and tied the ski up while he took a break. I was away on vacation, so I missed all the action. I was told that the engine compartment was filled with water to about 80% up the air intake.

    The ski was pulled out of the water and the engine bay was drained and rinsed with fresh water several times. I told my dad to drain the air intake box (via the three drain holes towards the rear of the ski) and to check the oil. Apparently the oil did not appear to be milky. The ski could not be started. I was told that the ski almost started with starting fluid shot into the air intake box. I was also told that the ski had spark (probably only tested on one cylinder).

    Some additional details that I learned later:
    - Mistake #1 - I believe that the plugs were NOT removed before cranking the ski.
    - Mistake #2 - The air intake box was drained but the intake manifold was not drained. I did not know that there was a drain on the intake manifold. The air intake box was not removed.

    I looked at the ski yesterday, about two weeks after the ski originally submerged:
    - I checked the oil and it did not appear to be milky.
    - No errors reported when ski was powered on. Everything appeared to be normal (beep beep, no warning lights)
    - I confirmed that we had spark.
    - I found out the air intake box was shattered. I do not know what caused this. (Backfire when trying to start the ski when it was first pulled from water?)
    - I removed the air intake box, opened the throttle body, shot some starting fluid into the throttle body and cranked the ski.
    - Ski started up but was running pretty rough. It did not seem to idle.
    - I checked and cleaned all connectors on the wiring harness. I did not see any obvious corrosion, but I figured that it would be a good idea to check and clean every connection that I could access.
    - I hooked the ski up to the hose and started it up again. (I still needed a shot of starting fluid to get the ski to turn over.) I held the throttle between 2k and 3k for a few minutes.

    At this point the ski would start by itself and was running somewhat smoothly... but the engine compartment was filling up with water again. (I'm out of the water on a SportPort and running off a hose.)

    Problem #1 - I find a hole in the middle of the exhaust manifold. The hole is in the middle of the manifold, slightly above the curve in the cylinder 1/2 pipe. There are no connections, joints, or anything else on the manifold in this area. I compared with my 12F and found that the manifold is smooth at the same location. I did not feel a crack -- just a hole -- but I didn't pull the manifold for close inspection yet.

    I don't know what caused this hole. I don't see an obvious explanation for how this could happen. I'm thinking that I replace the exhaust manifold, cross my fingers, and I get out of this mess without too much trouble.

    Problem #2 - I check the oil again and find that it is milky. Uh oh.

    I changed the oil, ran it on the hose for a while (with the drain plugs open so that the engine compartment doesn't fill up with water. Oil is still milky. I changed the oil again, briefly ran it without the hose, and decided it was time to seek some advice.

    Oh, I also checked compression. It wasn't good. I believe the readings were 150/160/140/110. One other note - no strange noises when engine is running.

    Summary - I now have a 15F that has a gapping hole in the exhaust manifold that's leaking water into the engine compartment. Engine runs and appears to be normal, but oil looks like a chocolate milkshake.

    Any ideas how the exhaust manifold could form a hole? I've never heard of this. I also don't see how this could cause the ski to take in water when the ski was not running -- the hole appears to be above water level (but I'm not 100% sure).

    How is water getting into the oil? Blown head gasket from cranking the engine with some water in it? Maybe cracked or warped block? Any way to narrow this down without pulling the engine?

    What's my best option going forward? Pull the engine and replace with rebuilt engine from SBT? A rebuilt engine is expensive but it's a simple solution. I'm guessing internal engine work on a 4-stroke will be complicated and expensive. How difficult is it to check the head gasket, head, block, and valve train?

    How difficult would it be to do this work myself? It's getting colder and I'm assuming that this thing is done for the season, so I have a few months to work on the engine.

    If I decide to take it to a shop, any suggestions in the New Jersey/Philly area?

  2. #2

    Join Date
    Sep 2006
    down under
    Step 1: fix the hole in pipe. It is caused by corrosion. I'm pretty sure that Mr Kawi uses the exhaust system as an anode.

    Step 2: change oil again.

    Step 3: ride it like you stole it.

    Step 4: check comp and oil again with hot engine.

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