Urgent help needed on SD 33 head issues.

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Urgent help needed on SD 33 head issues.


Post by sobraon »

This is a long story; however I thought it necessary to explain the problem. Please read and feel free to comment. Any suggestion will be appreciated.
We have an SD 33 engine in our yacht. It was marinised in Australia in the mid 80's.
Unfortunately we have had an issue that is causing serious heart ache.
We anchored in a remote town in the Philippines 4 weeks ago and had not experienced any recent issues at all with the engine, in fact I had just said to my wife that the engine had been running great.
I religiously check oil levels before starting. Two days after anchoring, whilst preparing to leave I noticed that the level was high. A check of the heat exchanger showed that it was empty. I pumped the oilpan and found the water. It had not emulsified so obviously the leak had occurred over night whilst the engine was at rest. I suspected a head gasket. I had a local dive boat mechanic assist in replacing the gasket ( we carried a spare ) His methods were very unconventional using sealant on the new gasket and paying no attention to torque settings.
The repair was completed and the engine started and ran well. We shut down the the following morning checked oil level and it seemed OK( this may have been an oversight). Started again and ran to temp then shut off. The following morning I started without checking the level. (My mistake) The engine started ok however the oil pressure suddenly dropped then increased above normal.
I shut down to check and I had emulsified oil coming out the rear breather..
We then suspected the oil cooler. So that was tested and discounted. I removed the head and travelled 8 hours to the closest larger town. I had a machine shop conduct a hydro test. They said the head was fine; however they machined the face as they said there was a slight warp. So I was left believing it was the mechanic that may have caused the second problem during the install. He had difficulty with one of the o rings.
The head was brought back to the boat and reinstalled using a mechanic that would at least follow the proceedures from the workshop manual.
Before filling with oil I had the mechanic fill the heat exchanger with fresh water. Straight away we could hear the water trickling into the oil pan. After closer observation we could hear the leak in the sixth pushrod hole. The valve gear was removed and more water added. Looking into the pushrod hole a visible stream of watercould be seen flowing.
Obviously the machine shop never carried out an effective hydro test.
I have now contacted another machine shop in Puerto Princesa. They say the holes are sleeved and that they can remove them and replace with stainless sleeves.
So after a long story my main questions and concerns are, 1. Has anyone else suffered this kind of problem on a Normally Aspirated SD 33 head before, and 2. are the pushrod openings sleeved. I thought they would have just been machined in the head.
Any advice would be much appreciated.
Being stuck at anchor in a remote are is very unnerving. We have a weather pattern generating very strong winds in about a weeks time so we need to get out of here and into a safe secure anchorage.
Thanks in advance
SV Spirit of Sobraon
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Re: Urgent help needed on SD 33 head issues.


Post by Jovy168 »

Hi, i would like to ask if you were able to solve your problem. We are having the same problem with our yatch. Same engine. Same issues with you.
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Re: Urgent help needed on SD 33 head issues.


Post by waynosworld »

The original poster of this thread has not been here in 8 years, I do not know much about the SD33 engine myself, hopefully you can find someone to fix it.
I know the voices are not real,
but they have some really good ideas.
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