Lotus Elan

Cream / water+oil emulsion - diagnose PLEASE someone!?!?

PostPost by: el-saturn » Sat Aug 18, 2018 3:48 pm

i've been so busy getting my engine, body, electrics, etc ready for my elan presentation in oldtimermarkt magazin because they were looking for someone who knows a lot about OUR punks AND someone who restored the entire car by himself (the didn't ask about the electrics and i forgot!).
........................in any case here's the parts and work done stuff in question
........................the symptoms

a) bottom was still new (a 23B crank!! from santa barbara) and new shells
b) timing case put back together with 3Bond silicone
c) new ajusa gasket
d) freshly honed, cleaned 701 with new accralites
e) head checked for paralellity - machine shop didn't pressure check for cracks, but gave their ok
f)
symptomes:

a) cream all over the place :roll: :roll: - i just emptied all the f.. Cream and cleaned where i could (cam area). then i poured a gallon of gasoline through the engine: not in one go.
b) water and cream came out of the sump (dry s) ------------------ later almost clear gas!
c) the water system, as i see it, stayed untouched
d) always had nice high oil pressure

Where DO you expect the water leak fellas???? the car should be running in 2 weeks - for the mag.
this isn't my 1st engine and i cant see my possible mistake(s)!?!?

cheers alpine sandy

c)
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PostPost by: Chancer » Sat Aug 18, 2018 5:45 pm

Its dry sumped Sandy?

A badly designed system can create a lot of oil emulsion, I cant recall exactly what it is the part that makes the difference, I think the design of the return feed to the tank and its de-aeration, you also need a thermostat to stop the flow through the oil cooler until the oil is hot enough.

If you are not losing coolant its just condensation in the oil that is not hot enough to boil it off and/or the tank design and venting hinders its removal.

My first dry sump system turned the oil to mayonnaise very quickly until I corrected the deficiencies.
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PostPost by: el-saturn » Sat Aug 18, 2018 6:06 pm

thanks for the quick reply - i ddint change anything, so it's prob either the head gasket?, the head cracked?, an oil channel sucking water? i hope its just the gasket tbh sandy - a difference: the water is clean this time, as i've had this before (way before!! ) this is my 5th engine
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PostPost by: nmauduit » Sat Aug 18, 2018 10:00 pm

Hi Sandy,

sorry to read about your trouble... As I understand you've rebuilt an engine that was running before, I hardly see why the dry sump alone would suddenly cause a massive emulsion - but if indeed you are not losing coolant at all Chancer's lead needs to be fully investigated.

would you had installed a cometic MLS I would have thought to try an Ajusa fiber composite gasket...did you install it with a sealant on both sides (I use wellseal, but other prefer permatex equivalent) ? Then you'll probably need to take the head off to investigate the source of the leak if leak there is.

keep us posted of the outcome
S4SE 36/8198
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PostPost by: Davidb » Sat Aug 18, 2018 11:29 pm

Sandy, If possible remove the oil pan and and then pressurize the cooling system-with coolant in it-if it is a crack it should show...
'65 S2 4844
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PostPost by: rgh0 » Sun Aug 19, 2018 1:08 am

Sandy
The first question to answer is where is the water coming from

1. Water condensation from blow by gases that are not boiling out as the oil is not getting hot enough
or
2. Leaks from cooling system into oil system.

To answer that question you need to have looked whether the radiator level was dropping and whether the emulsion / oil mix also has free antifreeze visible in it. The non emulsified anti freeze sits at the bottom of the sump and drains out first when you drain the oil. If no free antifreeze and no drop in radiator level then I would suspect the engine oil is not getting hot enough. Modern synthetic oils appear to be much more prone to forming emulsions if the oil stays to cold.

If you identify antifreeze in the oil or if the radiator level has dropped then its probably due to a leak from the water to oil system.

Possible leak paths in descending order of probability below. Without knowing the details of the build and components history it could in reality be any of them:
1. Water pump assembly (e.g. O rings passing)
2. Front cover crack ( some new castings especially are leak prone)
3. Head crack ( if not pressure tested this is an obvious potential culprit !)
4. Block crack (you can move this up the list if the block has had a lot of overbore work done)
5. Head gasket - (a leaking head gasket normally puts oil into the water and blows water out of the radiator not water into the oil)

I would pressure test the engine coolant system before dismantling to confirm it is a leak from the coolant and try to determine where its coming from. Removing the sump and cam cover will normally allow you to see the source of the leak.

cheers
Rohan
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PostPost by: el-saturn » Sun Aug 19, 2018 5:24 am

thanks gentlemen - the oil system does suck water out of the H2O system and so far it stayed very oily and NOT watery: so, how corrosive is this cream and was it wise to flush the engine now turned toilet!!??????

somehow i think its the water pump, because this bloke "adjusted" (by hammer!!) the pump's bearing (on its axis) and i was thinking the ceramic washer could've cracked. i just would like to (pure hope) replace the upper gaskets by leaving the bottom in the car. BTW: how corrosive is the emulsion ---- i would say the oil pump is full and the aeroquip AN10 lines plus a bit in the channels and a microfilm in the bottom bearings! ----------i worry about this possible corrosion and hope the high content of oil will still prevent corrosion as no air gets there! cheers sandy
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PostPost by: rgh0 » Sun Aug 19, 2018 5:38 am

deleted duplicate reply
Last edited by rgh0 on Sun Aug 19, 2018 5:40 am, edited 1 time in total.
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PostPost by: rgh0 » Sun Aug 19, 2018 5:39 am

Sandy

The white cream emulsion does not appear to be very corrosive at least in the short term

if you stop the coolant leak into the oil and refill the car with oil and run it until hot and then drain the oil and do this a couple of times then you will remove the emulsion from the engine.

However If you have to remove the head and front cover to replace the water pump ( if that's the source of the leak ) then I would also remove the sump and clean away any visible emulsion sludge. if you have external oil lines i would also remove them and clean them. With the front cover off you can access then block oil passage plugs and remove those and inspect and clean the passages if needed.

Damaging the water pump seal does not normally lead to water in the sump as the seal leaks through the weep hole in the front cover behind the water pump pulley rather than into the sump

Have you confirmed that the radiator level is dropping and / or seen free antifreeze in the bottom of the oil ?

cheers
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PostPost by: Chancer » Sun Aug 19, 2018 7:19 am

rgh0 wrote: Modern synthetic oils appear to be much more prone to forming emulsions if the oil stays to cold.



I recall now that I had not witnessed the problem until changing to Mobil 1 oil, perhaps Sandy has changed to a different oil, switching will prove if it is what is aggravating an existing maladie that is of overcooling of the oil but the root cause must be tackled.
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PostPost by: el-saturn » Sun Aug 19, 2018 7:44 am

i wish i could say it is whether a dry sump setup problem nor a oil problem (valvoline 20w/50 VR6) sandy
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PostPost by: Chancer » Sun Aug 19, 2018 9:46 am

In my case it was a combination of the two that made for the perfect mayonnaise :lol:
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PostPost by: promotor » Sun Aug 19, 2018 10:12 am

In my experience lots of short runs not allowing the engine oil to warm up sufficiently is enough to give you mayonnaise in the cam cover.
If you have a water leak due to a crack etc (or the deficiencies mentioned previously regarding the dry-sump set-up) and it is in the oil I would expect water to be sat at the bottom of your dry sump tank - is there a bottom oil drain plug in your oil tank? If so - if you remove the plug and the first thing that comes out is a fair amount of water then you know it's either a crack somewhere, or a bad dry-sump set-up.

If you do a lot of short distance runs (or running the car with it stood still in your garage) then I would say that is the likely problem. Considering that you live high up in the mountains I would expect there to be a lot of moisture in the air that can get into your engine quite easily.
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PostPost by: el-saturn » Sun Aug 19, 2018 10:44 am

yes promotor, it was water first and emulsion thereafter: 1-2 ltrs maybe. can't we pressure check each chamber using the conventional card-reading instrument???? and wouldn't that get me the horrable info?? sandy
..................i certainly don't see anything on the outside and cracks in the combustion chamber wouldnt suck water, or could they? sandy

SOMETHING on the SIDE/opinion wanted: slave-cylinder gap (1,5mil) should be checked by moving the pump's rod/pushrod and not by rattling the fork?? sj
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PostPost by: types26/36 » Sun Aug 19, 2018 11:28 am

I found a cracked head on a car a few years ago, to find which cylinder was giving the problem I modified an old spark plug by removing the centre electrode and welded a fitting to it so that I could attach an air hose.
I then set the engine at tdc on compression, put the car in gear and applied the hand brake.
Attached my compressor to the spark plug fitting and pumped it up to 100psi, checked the radiator to see if any air bubbles came up.
It bubbled on no.2 Cylinder and of course this would also show up a leaking head gasket but I was not that fortunate.
You obviously have to do each cylinder in turn and you must set in gear with hand brake on or the piston will be pushed down.
Basically its a home made leak down tester.
Brian
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