View Full Version : Caramel Looking Oil

06-07-2010, 03:46 PM
Checked the oil before my evening outing and it looked like caramel in color, but not in consistency. I don't think that is normal... right or wrong?

What is the cause?


03 35th Anniversary
06-07-2010, 03:49 PM
Water in the oil.

06-07-2010, 03:51 PM

I'm assuming there are any number of reasons for this, what are the most common reasons? Where should I start?

06-07-2010, 03:57 PM
Did you just fire it up for the first time this year? I ask because if it wasn't properly winterized you could have a cracked block.

06-07-2010, 04:06 PM
No, I've ran it for several days prior to last night. I purchased the boat over the memorial weekend. The boat was properly winterized, per previous owner. I trust him.

I checked the oil before purchasing it, and it looked fine.

06-07-2010, 04:11 PM
Did it overheat while you were operating it?

06-07-2010, 04:36 PM
From easy to check to hardest...
Exhaust riser gaskets.
Intake manifold gaskets.
Cylinder head gaskets.
I would start by pulling out the spark plugs to look for the signs of water entering the cylinder(s). They will look cleaner for any cylinder that has water intrusion. Compression testing and/or cylinder leak down testing might help locate the source of leakage for any cylinder(s) with questionable spark plugs.

06-07-2010, 05:28 PM
No overheating but I did blow the belt that runs the raw water pump. I immediately shut the motor down and had a tow home. Could that have caused and issue.

06-07-2010, 05:58 PM
I wouldn't think so. I would proceed as Jl suggested, however I would get that oil out of there ASAP if you haven't already. Until you get this resolved, I would use whatever oil is on sale. You won't be giving it any hard exercise until this is resolved, so going with the cheap oil will save you a few bucks. When you drain the oil, put it into a washer fluid or similar container so you can see how much water is there once they separate.

How high is the oil on the dipstick?

06-07-2010, 07:19 PM
It was noticeably past the full mark.

So if I replace the oil, how soon after will I know it was a freak occurrence. Will I see water immediately after use?

Thanks for everyone's input. This is all new to me and it is my first boat.

06-07-2010, 08:23 PM
If there's water in the oil, you may need to change it, run it for 5-10 minutes, change the oil again and then monitor it. Otherwise you'll have some residual oil/water mixture that may contaminate the 1st change out. Don't forget to change the filter.

Depending how long the oil/water was in the engine, it may never seperate in another container. I did not believe water and oil could be combined and not seperated, until I did it. I had the same problem in my boat, but I pulled out 7 quarts of liquid. After 6 months in a clear container, there was no seperation. A quick way to see if it's actually oil is to drop a teaspoon into a hot pan or skillet. It the oil has water in it it'll pop and hiss, similar as if dropping water into hot bacon grease.

06-08-2010, 10:19 AM
After the oil change, I would run it in the driveway for a while checking the oil level every few minutes. If you rather put it in the water to test run it, I wouldn't do anything other than a fast idle initially. I would definitely not run it hard.

Finding the water source depends how fast the water is coming in. I had a bad exhaust manifold which started as a small leak and got worse in a hurry. When you first detect water in the oil, if the engine isn't too warm, you may be able to see water on the spark plugs. For sure a help in finding the source.

06-09-2010, 10:02 PM
Well after a 10 minute water test I still have water in my oil!

I called the the dealer and they basically said that it sounds like it could be the head gasket. This is just a guess after he stepped me through some troubleshooting over the phone. Great guy, was on the phone with him for a good 45 minutes.

I'm not familiar with the task of having to breakdown the engine to get to the gasket so I guess I'm taking it into the dealer tomorrow. I know it's a process so... I'm assuming my labor costs are going to be huge.

08-11-2010, 10:33 PM
you may be able to see water on the spark plugs.

Can you elaborate on what water on the spark plugs looks like?

I pulled all 8 of my plugs and the two aft cylinders the spark plugs were wet, not oily, but I couldnt tell if it was fuel or water. The other 6 plugs just looked normal.


08-11-2010, 10:59 PM
Water will typically bead up on the plug. If you shake it on a white paper towel, gas will usually look a little yellow and water will be pretty clear. You can also smell the paper towel to check for gas.

08-12-2010, 11:15 AM
The cheapest thing in a boat is usually the driver. Shop labor is expensive but sometimes well worth it.

08-13-2010, 03:18 PM
the plugs were not wet enough to "bead up" or "shake off". I am wondering if they were just wet because I turned it over for a few seconds...

I got a compression tester thingermajigger so I am going to go check the compression right now.

Using shop labor you never teach yourself a lesson. Its not that Im cheap, if I was cheap, I wouldnt own a boat. I like to learn to maintain products I own.

08-13-2010, 03:26 PM
The great Carsini predicts he has low compression on the two cylinders that had wet plugs. Head gasket blew through and he's pulling water from the water channel/jacket between those two plugs. Not sure how it is leaking down through the cylinder so quickly though. Of course, i've never been inside an engine when running :-P

08-13-2010, 03:39 PM
compression is equal in all cylinders...looking for what normal compression is right now, dad said 80, but all read between 160-165.

Interesting thing is that the rear two spark plug holes are dripping fuel after running with no plugs in the holes...

08-13-2010, 04:06 PM
Carmel color or milky looking?

08-13-2010, 04:09 PM
Damn Carsini wrong then. Ah well.

They would be dripping fuel after running with no plugs. Fuel has to go somewhere when you turned the engine over.

i've seen postings indicating anywhere from 135 (low end) to 165 (excellent compression) on that engine. If they are all within 10, you're in good shape there.

So where is the water coming from.... did you check for bleed down on the cylinders? What I mean is turn the engine over (with the killswitch disabled or the coil plug off), and then see if the cylinder holds at 165 for a minute?

i'm just trying to think where else water is getting into your oil pan.... hmm... manifold gaskets perhaps?

08-15-2010, 11:47 AM
i'm just trying to think where else water is getting into your oil pan.... hmm... manifold gaskets perhaps?

I kind of thread jacked this here...sorry.

I just had a major overheating problem last week and suspected that I may have caused damage due to the fact that I was seeing white smoke. Everything seems to be good now.

I do appreciate your help.