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Help with waterlogged engine


soreballz
10-17-2004, 09:19 AM
Alright, a few hours ago, my gf made the mistake of driving her 2000 Neon through a flooded intersection. It was pretty deep; the floors of the car have water in them. Hell, even the cupholders have some water in them. The engine is waterlogged, I know that because I tried to start in and it cranked, but the pistons sounded like they were stuck, so I'm guessing the combustion chambers are filled with water.
Now I know I have to find the drain plugs for the interior (or use a shop vac), but what can I do about the engine? She's freaking out because it's her parent's car, and she thinks they're gonna kill her, so if possible, I'd rather try to avoid taking to a mechanic unless it's absolutely necessary. I read somewhere that if you pull the sparkplugs out and start the car, the pistons should clear the water out of the combustion chambers...

HELP ME

Cliffnotes: Engine is waterlogged... Is she completely screwed? Or is there anything I can do without towing it to a mechanic?

CBFryman
10-17-2004, 11:38 AM
if the engine hasnt had time to seize and the ECU wasnt submerged then take the spark plugs out, put plastic over any electronics and crank the engine, it will push most of the water out, put some gasoline into the cylender (jsut a tad) and crank it agian, then pour some heavy weight oil in the cylender and crank it over agian. put the spark plugs in and change the air filter or take it out and let it dry then crank it, it might take a while so if the batery is nearing dead you much want ot charge it. but dont crank it for more than 15sec at a time, when it does crank your exaust will likely be spweing black and white smoke. keep it running untill smoke clears up then you should be good to go. if the ECU was submerged then take it out and let it dry in the sun, then clean it up with rubing alcohol. check to make sure no fuses where blown on the ECU, in under the hood and inside the car.

sierrap615
10-17-2004, 04:07 PM
do what CB said, and pray to god it works, hopefully the valves and connecting rod aren't damage. when you crank the engine with the spark plugs out, pull the fuses to fuel injectiors and the DIS/spark plugs(i don't know what type of system a neon has). you may also want to put a towel over the spark plug holes, or water will get every where. crank for 15 secs, then wait 60 seconds is the general rule of thumb to not over heat the starter.

also check the oil level, some water may have gotten into the oil pan. and just to be on the safe side check all fuild levels while you are at it.

CBFryman
10-17-2004, 04:32 PM
oh ya, i forgot the oil and transmission fluid levels. to tell if there is water in it when you pull the dip stick out if its clear at the bottom and then oil then there is water in it (oil is lighter than water, most oils anyway)

Kven
10-17-2004, 05:13 PM
water shooting out shouldnt really hurt any of the electronics under the engine bay since theyre supposed to be sealed anyways. just take the spark plugs out and crank it over and that should push any water out. dont put oil in there since if there is more water in there the oil will just sit on top of the water and might hydrolock your car some more. if you think theres more water in there just stick a tampon through the spark plug hole and that should absorb anymore water.

CBFryman
10-17-2004, 05:46 PM
you put oil in there to prevent corosion, all but a very small ammount of water will be pushed out when you crank it with the spark plugs open. the oil not only helps corosion but re lubes the cylender walls for start up. im nost saying fill the cylender up with oil, just about a half a cap in each cylender, if that. the electronics are not sealed if water got inside. how do i know? well during francis my yard flooded, bad. and my moms nissan frontier's door didnt seal well enough and water filled in to the bottom of the dash (not the bottom of the level surface, just below the steering columb). the ECU was fully sumerged according to the insurance claims guy, thats why it was totaled. would turn over and fule pump would turn onbut it wouldnt start, no water even go into the engine, the exaust was spitten water like crazy but the intake didnt get a drop. explain that one...

Kven
10-17-2004, 09:10 PM
how would water shooting out of the engine spark plug holes get into the interior? im talking about under the hood here. nothing in the engine corrodes(unless its exposed to some chemicals, and the water probally hasnt sat in there long enough to oxidize the steel which would cause rust), nor does the wall need lubing since its gonna scrape it up anyways(part of the rings: called the oil control ring ;)) btw; water shooting out of the exhaust pipe, but no water in the intake, usually means water entered through the exhaust pipes also. that happend to me when i accidently sprayed water in my muffler when i was washing my car. the water is behing pushed by air from the engine cycle.

sierrap615
10-18-2004, 01:11 AM
i suggested the towel to prevent a huge mess, and not to get anything wetter.

Rufe
10-18-2004, 01:54 AM
Did the car stop in the water, or did she drive it out?

Do you think the water is in the exhaust system?

The engine is water-tight by itself, the water would
have to enter via the intake or the exhaust. If the
air filter is dry, the engine might be fine. The water
in the muffler/cat might be the problem.

curtis73
10-18-2004, 04:36 AM
Good suggestions, all, but soreballz, DO NOT crank that engine anymore until you have the plugs out. If you tried to crank it and it "felt like the pistons were seized," then it might be too late. If you cranked it with water in the combustion chambers then chances are the rods are bent or broken. In fact, it probably bent the rods when she ingested water into it. If that's the case, its toast anyway.

1) Pull the plugs and crank it over plenty.
2) Drain the oil and replace with new oil and filter. If even just a few tablespoons of water got in there it can mean certain death if you run it that way.
3) Get new plugs (trust me on this one with your ignition)
4) Try to get it running.

If it runs but makes noise, stop it immediately and seek professional help. If it starts and sputters but makes no mechanical noise like knocking or scraping, it should run itself out. In the future, if a car ingests water enough that it stalls, just know its probably already toast from hydrolock, but don't try to get it running by cranking it with the plugs still in. There is more than enough torque in the starter to bend rods, score journals, and pop a piston in half.

Sorry to be the bearer of bad news, and it may be fine, but my guess is that it will need mechanical work. Its possible that the rods are mildly bent and you'll be fouling plugs and have a bad knock only in one cylinder.

Best of luck

-Jayson-
10-18-2004, 08:32 AM
waterlogging is the worst. I watched a buddy of mine submerge a brand new Ford Ranger Edge 4x4 into a puddle of nasty mud water. He sucked water in through the intake. Engine siezed up. We towed the truck out, then removed all the plugs, cranked the engine a few times, water shot out like a blow hole, was pretty funny. Then we put the plugs back in, cranked it a few mins and it finally started. Then for the next 3 mins their was a 6ft blast of water shooting out the tailpipe, that was pretty funny too. Afterwards the car ran rough, had a check engine light on, gave it an oil change, check engine light went off. As far as i know the car is running fine now.

CBFryman
10-18-2004, 04:57 PM
how would water shooting out of the engine spark plug holes get into the interior? im talking about under the hood here. nothing in the engine corrodes(unless its exposed to some chemicals, and the water probally hasnt sat in there long enough to oxidize the steel which would cause rust), nor does the wall need lubing since its gonna scrape it up anyways(part of the rings: called the oil control ring ;)) btw; water shooting out of the exhaust pipe, but no water in the intake, usually means water entered through the exhaust pipes also. that happend to me when i accidently sprayed water in my muffler when i was washing my car. the water is behing pushed by air from the engine cycle.

if its a pure cast iron block... it carodes very quicly even to air. water makes it oxidie in less than a day. and your idea about water inside the cylender. it wasnt hydro locked. the exaust manifold wasnt under water where ir meets the exaust ports of the engine. and if yo uread it carefylly it turned over. water in the cylendr wont allow the piston to reach TDC. and we where crnaking it makeing water spit out of the exaust. and spraying water in the exaust with a hose wont get all the way up to the manifold unles you seal it and even then i doubt it will because the air trapped in top will be stuck there...

Kven
10-18-2004, 06:35 PM
if its a pure cast iron block... it carodes very quicly even to air. water makes it oxidie in less than a day. and your idea about water inside the cylender. it wasnt hydro locked. the exaust manifold wasnt under water where ir meets the exaust ports of the engine. and if yo uread it carefylly it turned over. water in the cylendr wont allow the piston to reach TDC. and we where crnaking it makeing water spit out of the exaust. and spraying water in the exaust with a hose wont get all the way up to the manifold unles you seal it and even then i doubt it will because the air trapped in top will be stuck there...

damn you need to read what i said more carefully. the hydrolock part wasnt directed towards you. i was talking about the other guy's case, not your moms car. the part where i say water entered through the exhaust was directed at you... btw....if a iron block corodes from air, they wouldnt even make it because the engine wont last very long...

RandomTask
10-18-2004, 06:45 PM
Sorry to hear this dilema. Curtis dangit, you beat me to this one again :), I hate to be presenting the 'doomsday' approach here as well, but I'm almost certain you hydrolocked the motor. Water doesn't compress like air and as such the cylinder pressures become insanely high. It only takes a teaspoon of water to make it enough to snap/bend a connecting rod. The starter has more than enough torque/mechanical advantage to do this. I would suggest also: The spark plug hole is located on the top of the combustion chamber, I don't think the motion of the pistons would be enough to throw all the water out. Try taking a small vaccum or somesort and sucking as much water out as possible. Also, if there is rust inside the cylinders, throwing oil in it or letting the rings clear it are not the thing to do. Any rust in the cylinder must be machined (honed or bored) out. I would imagine being a 2000 Neon the car would not have a cap and rotor. If it does then this might have to be cleaned. If you didn't instantly kill your motor, you more than likely did a pretty bad hurting on it. Don't think that I'm trying make it sound horrible, I sincerely hope none of this happened, but chances are against it.

If all fails, listen to curtis, hes our hero :)
Best of luck,

Joe

CBFryman
10-18-2004, 07:53 PM
^^i said throw some oil in there to prevent corosion, not to get rid of it ;) . as far as that goes cranking the negine with the plugs out will get most of the water out. the rest can either be vacumed out (ie what you said) or put some heavy oil in there to prevent corosion, turn the engine over a few times, and let the water evaporate. as far as what Kven said, the outside of the block is kevlar/teflon coated and will eventually rust. the cast iton inside the cylenders has a film of oil on it most of the time and usually has a small carbon deposit in any pores. water will often deteriorate this carbon deposit and will allow for corosion. and ever notice that if you dont crank a cast iron block for even a few months then try to crank it it will be seized? that is because the thin layre of oil eventually drips down and the engine siezes.... this is especially present in older cast iron blocks.

Kven
10-18-2004, 08:00 PM
well this isnt cast iron, but its ductile iron. my cousin had his b18c5 resleeved with that material. there is no teflon on the cylinder walls at all, pure iron(infact, i think the honda h22 engine has to be bored or honed before you can use aftermarket pistons because of the teflon). also there is no film of oil because it gets scraped up by the oil control ring.

RandomTask
10-18-2004, 10:38 PM
I don't think I've ever heard of a cast iron block siezing from being let sit for that short of time. When I built a monte carlo I used an 010 small block which is a cast iron block. I blew the rear end in it. I drove my mazda for about a year. Finally switched out my rear end, put a gallon of premium in it, drove it to the gas station, filled up, ran the next 60k miles fine...

But I would like to see cases of this happening.

Kven, I couldn't resist your signature. "Advanced Timing" Ok, at least you did something other than a NOS sticker. But distributor, what about it, most cars have one? and the oil you use? ;) giving ya a hard time!

Kven
10-19-2004, 12:05 AM
i just wanted to hit the signature limit ;) if i had more room i wouldve added replaced pcv valve, painted rims black, sprayed fabreeze in my car, waxed my car, washed it with some sort of green soap with carnauba wax in it, inflated tires to 40psi, tire shine, washed my seat covers with tide, umm should i go on? o yea i had a small AutoMeter stick on my stock tach thats in the cluster :p im such a ricer lol.(btw, i dont even have a autometer tach)

o yea timing is about 22 degrees advanced(stock is 16), distributor is OEM replacement, but i painted it blue ;) (but didnt have room to put that in sig).

RandomTask
10-19-2004, 01:04 AM
I saw a post once in car domain, guy had a nissan sentra, under performance mods it said "Nismo Radiator Cap"... he was dead serious too

soreballz
10-19-2004, 03:53 AM
Thanks for all the great advice guys. I'm pretty sure the rods are bent. My gf's dad tried to start the car 4 or 5 times before he listened to me and stopped trying. I told him not to bother trying to start it, but he's old and stubborn and wanted to see for himself. Oh well, its not my car.
They had it towed to the dealership, but I'll post here later to let you guys know just how bad the damage was and how much it cost to repair it.
Again, thanks for all the help. :)

RandomTask
10-19-2004, 09:12 AM
Ouch, that sucks. I've had several friends hydrolock their motors by going through puddles including a neon R/T. I didn't immediately kill the motor, but he ended up putting the rod through the side of the motor about 4k miles later on an engine with 70k miles.

CBFryman
10-19-2004, 04:35 PM
well this isnt cast iron, but its ductile iron. my cousin had his b18c5 resleeved with that material. there is no teflon on the cylinder walls at all, pure iron(infact, i think the honda h22 engine has to be bored or honed before you can use aftermarket pistons because of the teflon). also there is no film of oil because it gets scraped up by the oil control ring.

there will be a film of oil if you put the oil above the ring..there fore it seals the oil above the ring...and i wasnt aware that there was teflon on cylender walls. i know the smoothish ruff material that coats the outside of blocks is kevlar/teflon. i wonder how they keep the teflon on the cylender walls...

Kven
10-19-2004, 05:34 PM
not all blocks have teflon. i was talking about the h22 honda block. as far as how teflon stays on the cylinder, i dont know.
what would be the point of putting oil in a hydrolocked engine anyways? if theres water in there, the oil will float on top of the water. so before the oil can seal off any gaps or leaks around the piston, water would have to be forced through the rings and into the crankcase. if you have to put oil in the cylinder to help the rings seal, you might as well open the engine up and replace the rings, because if you are losing compression they are bad anyways. while the engine is open you can check for any other damages and replace parts accordingly.

MagicRat
10-19-2004, 07:21 PM
I have waterlogged a few engines. As Random suggests, even if you do get the engine running, its likely there is internal damage. An engine can run for many miles with a bent connector rod, but the piston will eventially become scored, worn and start to slap.
IMHO get the engine professionally inspected and rebuilt. It's possible to make an insurance claim NOW to cover all the damage, but the insurance will NOT pay for a rebuilt engine in 2 months, even if the damage is already done.

bjdm151
10-19-2004, 09:04 PM
Don't listen to any of these silly Know it alls!!!!!!!!!

Heres what you do.

Get one of those giant car rotisseries like you see on them fancy restoration telvision shows. Now get yourself some high grade wood screws to hold your car to the rotisserie and and drill em into the bumper. Now before you flip the car over, take out your spark plugs, that way you don't get shit all over ya trying to do it when the car is upside down. once you've gotten to this point, have a beer or two. Now get on top of the car and start jumpin up and down to help shake alll that water out of yer engine. Repeat as nescesarry son, I drive my 1987 Lincoln Towncar through the creek between my house and the road every day on the way to work. I have to do this every once in a while when the water is high. As far as that crap everybody else is talkin about, I ain't never heard of no rods bendin'.

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