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1989 Crusader 454 HUGE PROBLEMS!! NEED HELP! Thanks so much for reading!

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  • 1989 Crusader 454 HUGE PROBLEMS!! NEED HELP! Thanks so much for reading!

    Sorry about the looooong explanation but I need some serious advice. My boat is at a local shipyard and theyíre telling me Iím due for a repower on my boat. This is the last thing I was expecting before I took it there. I bought the one year ago. It was in the great lakes (freshwater) and both engines had less than 1000 hours. The boat hadnít been used in 7 years and was on the hard. The first time I started the boat there was antifreeze that came out of the exhaust so Iím pretty sure it was properly winterized. Also, when I purchased the boat the compression test for both engines was around 140 lbs. After purchasing I brought the boat to the Carolinas.
    Earlier in the summer my 1989 Crusader 454 (starboard side) started to overheat only over 2200 RPMS. Everything below 2200 RPM the engine was fine. After this started to occur, I used the engine for another 15 hours or so. During that time period I never went over 2200 RPM because of the overheating issue.
    I took the boat to a local marine mechanic and they started chasing the overheating problem. First they replaced the manifolds and risers. Every time the boat was started you could see rust in come out of the exhaust so I figured it wasnít a bad idea. That didnít fix the overheating problem so they pressurized the heat exchanger to learn that it wouldnít hold pressure. So the heat exchanger went off to a shop and they fixed a couple of pin holes. After the heat exchanger could hold enough pressure they reinstalled it and the engine still overheated. Next, a couple of hoses and the impellor were replaced. Another sea trial was performed to find out it still overheated. After that didnít fix it they replaced the cooling pump. Still overheating. Next they told me that they sea trialed the boat and the cooling system will stay pressurized until it hit 2200 RPM and then it would start to lose pressure. They also said they did a compression test on both engines and they are around 40 lbs each.
    So now their recommendation is to repower the boat because there is most likely a crack in the block and there is coolant leaking into the heads. Ugh! I had noticed steam coming from the exhaust just around or before the overheating problem.
    Iím not sure what the answer is. Could it be something else? Should I take it to a second mechanic and get a second opinion on what the problem could be and possible solutions. I donít want to pay for a repower. Who does!?!? I donít know if this boatyard is the best to deal with considering it look them replacing almost the entire cooling system up to this point and now recommend a repower.


  • #2
    Re: 1989 Crusader 454 HUGE PROBLEMS!! NEED HELP! Thanks so much for reading!

    I'd be looking at a head gasket. It's only one engine that's overheating, right? And I'd redo the compressions test... Something sounds fishy with all cylinders on both engines being 40psi...
    The world takes on a whole new perspective when viewed from 100' below...



    1972 Bertram 'Bahia Mar' 20
    2006 Mercruiser 4.3MPI (0W617679) w/Alpha 1 Gen II (0W829301)
    **
    Please don't send service questions in private messages. That's what the forum is for. Messages of thanks, always accepted.
    **
    Member of the month - April 2013. http://www.iboats.com/blog/achris-member-of-the-month/

    Comment



    • #3
      Re: 1989 Crusader 454 HUGE PROBLEMS!! NEED HELP! Thanks so much for reading!

      I would suggest the mechanic is probably taking you for a ride. I'm not an expert on boats, but I do know car motors. If a engine had 40 pounds of compression on all cylinders it would not run. Engines are usually 100lbs or more. I would at least have another mechanic compression check the cylinders and give you a reading for each cylinder. The numbers will usually vary, for example one cylinder may be 110, and the next 40. If the water jacket rusted through it would impact one cylinder or another, not all equally. Another possibility is there could be something wrong with the fuel mixture or timing which causes it to run hot. It may be running really lean and knocking, or if you had a timing chain jump a tooth. Highly unlikely this would occur on both motors.

      The fastest and cheapest way to see whats going on is to remove the spark plugs and see the color and shape of each plug. The color and condition of the plugs tell a tremendous amount an awful lot about how the motor is performing. If you had one bad cylinder with a bad water problem, the spark plug would show it.

      To correctly check the compression I would remove all plugs and test the cylinders one a time and get some reading.

      Comment



      • #4
        Re: 1989 Crusader 454 HUGE PROBLEMS!! NEED HELP! Thanks so much for reading!

        Open the throttle when checking compression
        Pull all the plugs
        You get an initial boost on the gauge with subsequent readings more slowly pumping up. After about 5 or 6 revs, the compression will be at its max on the gauge.
        At 40PSI the engine wont run.

        Cracked block? How about a bad head gasket, especially is adjacent cylinders are low. Leaky gasket will make it overheat.
        Crack to me means someone let it freeze

        Comment



        • #5
          Re: 1989 Crusader 454 HUGE PROBLEMS!! NEED HELP! Thanks so much for reading!

          Thanks so much for helping me so far. Itís been great to hear everyoneís opinion since I have not been in this situation.

          I stopped in yesterday to talk to them and ask a few questions that you recommended. The compression test results they wrote down for both engines were from the low 50ís to high 60ís per cylinder. Even though the starboard engine is the only one overheating, they tested both to compare the results from on to the other. One year ago the compression test results were all in the 130ís to 140ís range per cylinder and at that time, a year ago, the boat had not been run in years, so I was told. Does anyone else know why and how or if itís possible for the compression to drop almost 100 psi over the last year?

          The engines were running fine with the exception of the starboard overheating. Would they run that well if the compression was only in the 50ís to 60ís range?

          I checked the oil and there is no coolant that is leaking into the oil. There is a lot of vapor coming from the starboard exhaust. I have identified that there is not a pressure leak in the coolant cap. I also donít know if there is a cracked head since they have not pulled that part of the motor apart yet. Also, all of the plugs looked okay.

          Their recommendation is to buy a remanufactured block because the cost of labor to machine the head which may or may not fix the issue would be almost as much as buying a remanufactured long block.

          The estimate is $7,500 to pull ONE block and reinstall a remanufactured long block. They recommended doing the same to the other engine because of the low compression results. The notes from the estimate included:

          Remove engine. Remove heat exchanger, exhaust risers, coupler, transmission cooler, alternator and carburetor before lifting engine. Transfer parts from old engine to long block. Install and align engine.. Spark plugs, coil, wires, dist cap and rotor, oil etc Hose, clamps, coolant etc. ASSUMPTION: Engine and trans mounts are re-usable. NOTE: Suggest getting the starter and alternators reworked. NOTE: May want to replace the oil/trans cooler.

          I asked if it was a bad head gasket and he said its a bad head or possibly a cracked block and theyíre not sure.


          Any thoughts that would help?

          Comment



          • #6
            Re: 1989 Crusader 454 HUGE PROBLEMS!! NEED HELP! Thanks so much for reading!

            There are many reasons the reading could have dropped so much. For example, the first test may have been done with the plugs all removed, and the second test was done with the plugs in...slowing down the motor. Or the battery might not be fully charged. Or the cylinder walls may have rusted, and the rings are not sealing as well. Or the compression tester might have been leaking air. I might understand bad readings on one motor, but not both.

            What really matters is the difference between cylinders. For example if the front cyl was 150, and the middle two cyl's were 100, and the back cyl was 150, it might clue you in to the fact that there's a head gasket leak between the two middle cylinders. If your oil and plugs all looked good, I doubt you have a cracked block. As soon as water get sucked info the cyl. it will usually change the color of the plugs, and the cyl with water will look different from all the others. You might have a cracked head, but that would probably only impact one cyl, unless you had multiple cracks.

            Not sure what this boat is worth, but imho 7500 might be better applied to another boat. I don't like the idea of placing 1989 components like carburators, water pumps or fuel pumps on a new block...plus it can effect your resale value...because it's not a new motor. You might look around to a few salvage yards (truck or boat) to see if you can pick up a running motor which is newer. Not sure how much of the 7500 is labor and how much is parts. Also you're going into the winter when things slow down. You might get another mechanic to come up with a much better price, or solution. I did a quick google, and there's a place with a pair of running 7.4 liter marine engines for $4700.

            It's time to get another mechanic's opinion. Even if you pay another mechanic $300 for his time to come over and look, and he ends up confirming the findings of the first mechanic, you'll feel a lot better knowing you're not being screwed. Just a guess, but it looks as if this mechanic is looking for some projects to keep him busy this winter.

            Comment



            • #7
              Re: 1989 Crusader 454 HUGE PROBLEMS!! NEED HELP! Thanks so much for reading!

              Originally posted by notfriedman View Post
              ....I asked if it was a bad head gasket and he said its a bad head or possibly a cracked block and they’re not sure....
              Something smells rotten here. A bad head or head gasket would affect 2 cylinders at most. A cracked block usually doesn't affect cylinder compressions. It allows water into the engine oil and you end up with the infamous 'milkshake oil.

              All 8 cylinders on both engines being down like that says (in VERY loud words), GET A SECOND OPINION!!! Or better still, buy a compression gauge and do the reads yourself.

              It's quite simple.
              1. Warm up the engine.
              2. Remove all spark plugs.
              3. Ground out the HT leads so you don't a zap. (It hurts, trust me )
              4. Set throttle to full open.
              5. Using a 'remote starter switch', or helpful friend, and with the compression gauge in #1 spark plug hole, crank the engine for about 4 or 5 compression strokes. Record the pressure reading.
              6. Reset the gauge to 0 and repeat step 5 for each cylinder. (Don't move the throttle back from full open until you finish checking all cylinders)
              7. Come back to iBoats and tell us how it looks...

              Chris.......
              The world takes on a whole new perspective when viewed from 100' below...



              1972 Bertram 'Bahia Mar' 20
              2006 Mercruiser 4.3MPI (0W617679) w/Alpha 1 Gen II (0W829301)
              **
              Please don't send service questions in private messages. That's what the forum is for. Messages of thanks, always accepted.
              **
              Member of the month - April 2013. http://www.iboats.com/blog/achris-member-of-the-month/

              Comment



              • #8
                Re: 1989 Crusader 454 HUGE PROBLEMS!! NEED HELP! Thanks so much for reading!

                first - welcome to iboats
                second - find a new mechanic

                third. do the compression test yourself.

                do you have a full system or a half system? the anti-freeze in the exhaust could be as simple as a bad riser gasket.

                do you know if they put a straight-edge on the manifolds and risers prior to installing. more times than should happen - new does NOT mean straight.
                1988 Cruisers Rogue 2420 - VP AQ271C / 290DP "Rock'n Along"
                http://forums.iboats.com/showthread.php?t=500145
                1970 Wooster Hellion 7' of cool mini boat with a Merc 9.8
                Recent Boats
                2002 SeaRay 190BR - MC 5.0 / Alpha I series II "Cheasheads in Paradise"
                1984 Avanti 170DLI - OMC 3.0 / OMC Stringer 400 "Ship Happens"

                The problems we face today can not be addressed at the same level of intelligence we were at when we created them - Albert Einstein Or with the same level of $ - Me

                Comment



                • #9
                  Re: 1989 Crusader 454 HUGE PROBLEMS!! NEED HELP! Thanks so much for reading!

                  Originally posted by achris View Post
                  I'd be looking at a head gasket. It's only one engine that's overheating, right? And I'd redo the compressions test... Something sounds fishy with all cylinders on both engines being 40psi...
                  Yes, correct. It's the only engine overheating. It sounds like another complression test is in order. Many people have said the same thing. Thanks for the help. Also, many others mention that its most likely not a cracked block but a head gasket.

                  Comment



                  • #10
                    Re: 1989 Crusader 454 HUGE PROBLEMS!! NEED HELP! Thanks so much for reading!

                    Originally posted by mitchd123 View Post
                    I would suggest the mechanic is probably taking you for a ride. I'm not an expert on boats, but I do know car motors. If a engine had 40 pounds of compression on all cylinders it would not run. Engines are usually 100lbs or more. I would at least have another mechanic compression check the cylinders and give you a reading for each cylinder. The numbers will usually vary, for example one cylinder may be 110, and the next 40. If the water jacket rusted through it would impact one cylinder or another, not all equally. Another possibility is there could be something wrong with the fuel mixture or timing which causes it to run hot. It may be running really lean and knocking, or if you had a timing chain jump a tooth. Highly unlikely this would occur on both motors.

                    The fastest and cheapest way to see whats going on is to remove the spark plugs and see the color and shape of each plug. The color and condition of the plugs tell a tremendous amount an awful lot about how the motor is performing. If you had one bad cylinder with a bad water problem, the spark plug would show it.

                    To correctly check the compression I would remove all plugs and test the cylinders one a time and get some reading.
                    I'm going to call another mechanic to do a compression test. The mechanic that has been working on it said all the plugs looked fine. How would I know it its the fuel mixture or timing?

                    Comment



                    • #11
                      Re: 1989 Crusader 454 HUGE PROBLEMS!! NEED HELP! Thanks so much for reading!

                      Originally posted by mitchd123 View Post
                      There are many reasons the reading could have dropped so much. For example, the first test may have been done with the plugs all removed, and the second test was done with the plugs in...slowing down the motor. Or the battery might not be fully charged. Or the cylinder walls may have rusted, and the rings are not sealing as well. Or the compression tester might have been leaking air. I might understand bad readings on one motor, but not both.

                      What really matters is the difference between cylinders. For example if the front cyl was 150, and the middle two cyl's were 100, and the back cyl was 150, it might clue you in to the fact that there's a head gasket leak between the two middle cylinders. If your oil and plugs all looked good, I doubt you have a cracked block. As soon as water get sucked info the cyl. it will usually change the color of the plugs, and the cyl with water will look different from all the others. You might have a cracked head, but that would probably only impact one cyl, unless you had multiple cracks.

                      Not sure what this boat is worth, but imho 7500 might be better applied to another boat. I don't like the idea of placing 1989 components like carburators, water pumps or fuel pumps on a new block...plus it can effect your resale value...because it's not a new motor. You might look around to a few salvage yards (truck or boat) to see if you can pick up a running motor which is newer. Not sure how much of the 7500 is labor and how much is parts. Also you're going into the winter when things slow down. You might get another mechanic to come up with a much better price, or solution. I did a quick google, and there's a place with a pair of running 7.4 liter marine engines for $4700.

                      It's time to get another mechanic's opinion. Even if you pay another mechanic $300 for his time to come over and look, and he ends up confirming the findings of the first mechanic, you'll feel a lot better knowing you're not being screwed. Just a guess, but it looks as if this mechanic is looking for some projects to keep him busy this winter.
                      Thanks for all of the great advice. I agree I need to talk to another mechanic. I think the labor was around half or so. The boat is a 34 Black Watch and everything else is in great condition for its age. I dont think I'll be getting much for the same price. I'll get new readings on the compression and report back. Thanks again!

                      Comment



                      • #12
                        Re: 1989 Crusader 454 HUGE PROBLEMS!! NEED HELP! Thanks so much for reading!

                        Originally posted by achris View Post
                        Something smells rotten here. A bad head or head gasket would affect 2 cylinders at most. A cracked block usually doesn't affect cylinder compressions. It allows water into the engine oil and you end up with the infamous 'milkshake oil.

                        All 8 cylinders on both engines being down like that says (in VERY loud words), GET A SECOND OPINION!!! Or better still, buy a compression gauge and do the reads yourself.

                        It's quite simple.
                        1. Warm up the engine.
                        2. Remove all spark plugs.
                        3. Ground out the HT leads so you don't a zap. (It hurts, trust me )
                        4. Set throttle to full open.
                        5. Using a 'remote starter switch', or helpful friend, and with the compression gauge in #1 spark plug hole, crank the engine for about 4 or 5 compression strokes. Record the pressure reading.
                        6. Reset the gauge to 0 and repeat step 5 for each cylinder. (Don't move the throttle back from full open until you finish checking all cylinders)
                        7. Come back to iBoats and tell us how it looks...

                        Chris.......

                        Thanks for the advice. I'll get another test and report back to you.

                        Comment



                        • #13
                          Re: 1989 Crusader 454 HUGE PROBLEMS!! NEED HELP! Thanks so much for reading!

                          Originally posted by Scott Danforth View Post
                          first - welcome to iboats
                          second - find a new mechanic

                          third. do the compression test yourself.

                          do you have a full system or a half system? the anti-freeze in the exhaust could be as simple as a bad riser gasket.

                          do you know if they put a straight-edge on the manifolds and risers prior to installing. more times than should happen - new does NOT mean straight.
                          The is a raw water side of the system and a fresh water side. i dont know if they put a straight edge on the maniforlds and risers.

                          Comment



                          • #14
                            Re: 1989 Crusader 454 HUGE PROBLEMS!! NEED HELP! Thanks so much for reading!

                            Originally posted by notfriedman View Post
                            The engines were running fine with the exception of the starboard overheating. Would they run that well if the compression was only in the 50’s to 60’s range?

                            I asked if it was a bad head gasket and he said its a bad head or possibly a cracked block and they’re not sure.

                            Any thoughts that would help?
                            if compression is 50-60psi, the engine won't run at all, forget about running well.

                            if they can't tell you if it's a head gasket or not but they can recommend a full re-power, i wouldn't want them working on it.

                            it sounds like these people don't want to actually find your problem, they just want to replace parts.

                            if i were there, i'd at least do the compression test myself and pull whichever head is suspect, it's probably something simple like a blown head gasket. got a trusted auto mechanic? replacing a head gasket is replacing a head gasket, just make sure you use a marine gasket.

                            if a friend asked me to come out and replace a bad head gasket in their boat, i'd do both heads for $400 and the assurance that i would be well-fed.

                            i was just out this weekend helping a very good friend who blew his engine, took it all apart and then got lost on what to do. i went out there and rebuilt the motor for him, we had it back in the car and running last night.

                            Comment



                            • #15
                              Re: 1989 Crusader 454 HUGE PROBLEMS!! NEED HELP! Thanks so much for reading!

                              sorry, double post.

                              Comment

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