Sniffing Out “Sneaky” Oil Leaks

Sniffing Out “Sneaky” Oil Leaks
We have seen a variety of salt and mineral corrosion issues over this past season and one that stands out is the engine oil cooler on the Suzuki 140 Four-Stroke outboard.

This oil cooler was designed to allow engine cooling water to circulate beneath the oil filter and carry away the heat of combustion and internal friction that is transferred to the crankcase lubricant. The intent of the design obviously is to provide a more even engine oil temperature.

The issue becomes apparent when either water is noticed in the oil via a milky color and/or the low oil light flashes and the crankcase checks low or empty. The mineral build up inside the oil cooler oxidizes the aluminum and when the material becomes porous, the oil escapes through the cooling system and leaves with the exhaust; no leak ever being apparent.

Flushing the engine with fresh water after every usage is a great way to slow or stop this problem. Checking the oil regularly is another good practice.

During oil change maintenance is the best time to have this cooler removed, inspected and cleaned.

The process will usually add approximately one half hour of shop time, maybe an hour if corrosion is present, but it is well worth the time to avoid a problem that could get costly.

Suzuki builds a great product and this area just needs a little more attention. Every outboard has an Achilles Heel and you just have to know where to look and when. We will address each manufacturer over the next few months and point out each one, then you will know more about what to ask for during routine service or during your own inspections.

Have a great Thanksgiving!
Chris Mapp
Coastal Bend Marine | Port O'Connor, TX | 361.983.4841