I'm having a strange issue with the starboard starter on my 327F. When cold starting the engine, the starter would sometimes hesitate or pause during cranking. Other times it would just click. So I took it to a local rebuild shop. They could not get the issue to replicate on the test bench. So, they cleaned it up, painted it and installed a new solenoid.

So last night I went to start her up and had the same issue. First crank attempt it just clicked, then it cranked and paused a few times. Finally it cranked fine and the engine fired up. Once it's warm of course, the engine fires up almost instantly. 

It was late when we got back in so I haven't looked into this at all yet. I'm thinking it must be bad wiring or some-such... Any thoughts as to where to start looking? Thanks!!

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Ummmm..... I wouldn’t stand in front of the cylinders..... trust me from experience. If it’s water? It will hurt and soak you!
Thaaaank you Lee!

Sometimes I worry that I share too much here. But then I get a reply like this... We'll be sure to stay outta the line of fire!

UPDATE: Lee, you were spot on (as usual)!

I just got back from the boat where we tested the starboard engine as you suggested. We propped up a piece of cardboard wrapped in paper towel in front of all the now empty spark plug holes. First crank and sure enough! A fairly substantial amount of water came spurting out of the OUTBOARD - AFT cylinder. Second crank... even more water came gushing out. All of the other cylinders were bone dry.

Thank you so much for the guidance Lee!! Judging from the way the engine runs I'm very confident the problem was diagnosed before any further damage was done. Now I guess it's up to the yard to figure out where the water's getting in. Any thoughts or suggestions are certainly welcome! 

Are your engines closed cooled or raw. When I took my exhaust logs last year I found some coolant in the valve of my aft cylinder. Turns out there was a small leak in the gasket between the log and riser. Possible you could have a leak in the same place...

Greg Beardmore said:

UPDATE: Lee, you were spot on (as usual)!

I just got back from the boat where we tested the starboard engine as you suggested. We propped up a piece of cardboard wrapped in paper towel in front of all the now empty spark plug holes. First crank and sure enough! A fairly substantial amount of water came spurting out of the OUTBOARD - AFT cylinder. Second crank... even more water came gushing out. All of the other cylinders were bone dry.

Thank you so much for the guidance Lee!! Judging from the way the engine runs I'm very confident the problem was diagnosed before any further damage was done. Now I guess it's up to the yard to figure out where the water's getting in. Any thoughts or suggestions are certainly welcome! 

Steve, they're sea water cooled (Lake Michigan).

Steve said:

Are your engines closed cooled or raw. When I took my exhaust logs last year I found some coolant in the valve of my aft cylinder. Turns out there was a small leak in the gasket between the log and riser. Possible you could have a leak in the same place...

I would also put high probability on that gasket. Can you see any rust around that area?

Greg Beardmore said:

Steve, they're sea water cooled (Lake Michigan).

Steve said:

Are your engines closed cooled or raw. When I took my exhaust logs last year I found some coolant in the valve of my aft cylinder. Turns out there was a small leak in the gasket between the log and riser. Possible you could have a leak in the same place...

He may not see any rust..I didn't even notice I had coolant on my valve until I puller the log. There was a tiny leak from the gasket on the inside of the log so I would have never been able to tell it was ever there.

Mike H said:

I would also put high probability on that gasket. Can you see any rust around that area?

Greg Beardmore said:

Steve, they're sea water cooled (Lake Michigan).

Steve said:

Are your engines closed cooled or raw. When I took my exhaust logs last year I found some coolant in the valve of my aft cylinder. Turns out there was a small leak in the gasket between the log and riser. Possible you could have a leak in the same place...

That’s true, but if he can see rust on the outside it’s most likely also leaking on the inside. 

Steve said:

He may not see any rust..I didn't even notice I had coolant on my valve until I puller the log. There was a tiny leak from the gasket on the inside of the log so I would have never been able to tell it was ever there.

Mike H said:

I would also put high probability on that gasket. Can you see any rust around that area?

Greg Beardmore said:

Steve, they're sea water cooled (Lake Michigan).

Steve said:

Are your engines closed cooled or raw. When I took my exhaust logs last year I found some coolant in the valve of my aft cylinder. Turns out there was a small leak in the gasket between the log and riser. Possible you could have a leak in the same place...

Most of the time

its not a gasket. It’s a crack. The best way to test is a post I did not long ago. Search it. It involves threaded rod and a flashlight.it will tell you if it’s the man/riser or coking from the engine. If you can’t find the post let me know! Glad you found it before you bent rods! 

Thanks Lee! I've passed along the test-method below (with a few edits for clarity) to the yard. Let me know if I misrepresented anything.

"Most of the time when there's water in a cylinder, it's a crack and not a gasket. I developed a testing method to check this. To check risers or manifolds for cracks and water intrusion in an open cooling system: 
 

1) Remove the two middle manifold bolts and insert long pieces of threaded rod (from Lowes or Home Depot, etc.) the same size and thread as the bolts. Usually 3/8" coarse.

2) Remove all the other bolts and gently pry the manifolds from the heads just enough to see in there with a good light. Then remove all spark plugs.

3) Disconnect the positive coil wires and isolate with tape.

4) Spin the engine a few times to pump water through the system. 3-4 good 5 second spins should do it if the block was already full.

5) While spinning, watch in the gap with a good light. If water is running out the manifold ports it's a cracked manifold or riser. If water is coming out the plug holes it's an internal issue."

In the interests of closure for this thread...

It turns out Lee was right and there was a hydro-lock on the starboard engine. When we took it apart the manifolds, riser and elbows were all pretty well rusted out. Replaced everything with new or like-new and she's now running like a champ again Thank you Lee for your astute advice!

Now I've got issues on port... noted in a separate thread. I'm thinking I ready for this season to be over!!

If the engine is fresh water cooled (antifreeze) then it would be risers. If raw water cooled then could be a number of places. Dave

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