water in starter and alternator!!!

Discussion in 'Powerboats' started by flyingdoc2, Jun 27, 2008.

  1. flyingdoc2
    Joined: Jun 2008
    Posts: 2
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    Location: MA

    flyingdoc2 New Member

    My hydrohoist sunk in an awkward position and water seeped in through the engine hatch! I charged the batteries that were dead and the alternator was smoking! I changed it and soon after a few fuses (seemed like anything that was always hot, radio, bildge, and engine hatch). I tried starting her today and nothing! No draw on the batteries, no clicking, nothing! I had all power to ignition and lights ect..I did notice 2 things: the hour meter was clicking a bit, not sure why, and the bildge pump was making an awkward noise. I should also note the batteries were drained down quite a bit again! If one battery was fully charged and I added the 2nd with half a charge, would the sorta even out? would the good battery get drained by the poorly charged one? does anyone have any advise where to look first? I own a multimeter, but have no idea how to use it..Im gonna buya new bildge pump tonight, im assuming the motor is shot from running when it took on water and the batteries died/shorted. The batteries are good per autozone. The alternator is now new. Thanks in advance...Tom
  2. Petros
    Joined: Oct 2007
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    Location: Arlington, WA-USA

    Petros Senior Member

    If this was seawater, you need to clean it all out with fresh water BEFORE you apply power. It is possible the sea water (a conductor) is draining the power.

    Open all the places where water got in, flush out with distilled water, and then soak all the inner electrical parts with LPS1 (made by CRC). Also spray it on all the contacts and cable connectors. It will displace water and will not short out electrical components. You can start an engine underwater with this stuff sprayed on all the electrical components, I have seen it work.

    If it will not start you likely burnt out some components in the starting/charging system.

    Good luck
  3. charmc
    Joined: Jan 2007
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    Location: FL, USA

    charmc Senior Member

    If this was seawater, do everything Petros suggests. The problem with seawater is the dissolved salt. It can and will invade everything it came in contact with. Pure water is actually a poor conductor, it's the mineral content that conducts, and seawater is, of course, high in mineral (salt) content. The penetrating oil/CRC recommendation is best. It does displace moisture and it will penetrate wherever the water did. If things don't work after lots of that several times, they have to be replaced.

    BTW, electrical current, like water, will flow to the path of least resistance. A drained battery will pull down a fully charged one; apart from that there is always the possibility of a hidden short from the dunking. Hate to say it, but rewiring may be the best solution. :)
  4. CDK
    Joined: Aug 2007
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    Location: Adriatic sea

    CDK retired engineer

    I'm afraid it is much worse. Electrolysis and capillary action cause far more damage than you can see at first glance.
    Everything that was submerged while powered has internal damage. The cables that still look good have their copper core eaten away, crimped on terminals lost their contact, relays are ruined. I've seen the damage in my own boat and in several others: there is no spray on this planet that can push out out the water that crept in the cables over a length of several feet.

    Take the batteries out, recharge them with 0,1 times nominal capacity for 12 hours, check of they reach approx. 13,5 volts. Check again after 24 hours without charging. If they have less than 12,8 volts, discard them.
    Replace every relay, electrical motor, cable etc that have been in direct contact with the water; if they are OK now, they will fail in the near future. Check also other appliances that you think were not powered at the time of submersion, they may have received electrical current through the water and may also suffer damage.
    This is an insurance case!

  5. flyingdoc2
    Joined: Jun 2008
    Posts: 2
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    Location: MA

    flyingdoc2 New Member

    thanks for all the advice. I know the water level and where it reached. It got the alternator and I replaced it. The starter was hit, but no completely. Thank god there are only grounds for wires where the water was. Im charging the batteries completely now and ill try to get that spray you mentioned. where can I get this spray?? Im also gonna get a new bilsge, its got a wired connection and looks old and something tells me to change it! Thanks again guys..Tom
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