I finally found the coolant leak I’ve been chasing for nine months. I was convinced the leak was in the heat exchanger, but after many pressure tests and a partial tear-down of the heat exchanger, I realized that I was wrong. Wow, that really came as a surprise.
These engines have turbochargers on them, and the turbos are cooled by the same coolant that circulates through the engine. The coolant that I could smell when the engine was running.
A mechanic suggested that the turbo may have developed a hole, allowing the coolant to leak into it and then out the exhaust. So I took the turbo apart and guess what…coolant inside it.
This is the inside of the turbine housing, also known as the “hot side”. That green stuff is engine coolant, and it ought not be there. Not good.
Well, sort of good I guess, because at least I now had a goal. Replace the turbo and thereby eliminate the coolant leak.
First, there’s the fact that this boat has two engines, each with its own turbo. So if the starboard turbo is fatally wounded due to years of use and the internal rusting that comes with that use, then the port turbo probably isn’t far behind. Just makes good sense to go ahead and replace them both and be done with it.
As I quickly found out, you don’t just run down to Pep Boys and plop a credit card on the counter and walk out with new turbos. These are Garrett turbos, a very big name in the turbo world, but these are 1990 vintage units, and Garrett hasn’t made any new ones in oh so many years. That’s not so bad though, because remanufactured units are almost as good as new, so I’ll just get a pair of reman’s I figured.
Well, it seems that this particular model turbo as a remanufactured unit is available in the same plentitude as hen’s teeth.
I’m starting to narrow my search a bit, and it looks like I may actually end up with a couple that are a mix of brand new and reman parts, so at least it seems that I’ll be able to get my hands on them and get the beast running again. It’s going to cost a few more Boat Units than I’d planned, but so far, I don’t think I’ve done anything to this boat that has cost less than I thought it would.
After it’s done, I’ll be able to sleep better knowing I have two new turbos, and I can move on to the next project.
There’s always a next project.