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'[OT] Jet ski -- possible ways for the water to get'
2008\08\16@155805 by Martin K

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Almost definitely a blown head gasket. Are you "covered" in that case?
And why doesn't any insurance cover this? Was there optional insurance
you could have purchased to cover it?
-
Martin

Vitaliy wrote:
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2008\08\16@172443 by Carl Denk

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How do you explain the battered sparkplug and broken valve with the
blown head gasket scenario? The coolant hot and hard starting is new
evidence. That could be (and there are other scenarios) water in the
lube oil, and the start of loss of lubrication, increased friction, and
seizing/galling of bearing surfaces, or failed water pump, or, or, or...
A blown head gasket allows coolant (water) in the combustion chamber,
which (absence of really bad piston rings or a hole in the piston) could
leak slowly into the crankcase, in general only while engine is stopped.
Generally the engine still runs, though rough and power down a bit, with
no major damage. When going to start the engine, major damage to
crankshaft, connecting rod and/or piston along with possible structural
damage to head and crankcase due to liquid not being compressible. Has
anyone had actual experience contrary to this.

And yes, homeowners or renter insurance might cover this, need to read
the words, there are all kinds of quirks including horsepower limits and
number of passengers. Ours covers golf carts, but not if equipped for
road use or if on a public road. We have several golf courses in our
area that require crossing a public road to play the back holes. Better
not hit a anything while crossing the road.

Martin K wrote:
{Quote hidden}

2008\08\16@213401 by Jake Anderson

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blown head gasket lets water into the cylinder, Think *very blown*.
I have seen a blown head in a car put enough water into a cylinder to
actually squirt somebody in the face from about 2 meters away through
the spark plug hole (we removed the plug)
If the gasket was damaged and leaking then you would get the loss of
power etc and quite conceivably a busted up plug and the busted valve.
I'd guess those would be done while trying to start the engine after
hammering it while it was running.

If they haven't pulled the head off the engine you could fill the
engines coolant passages with water and see if it fills the cylinders again.

But still the best bet is the oil, its the only thing that's going to
show the engine running for a period of time with water present
otherwise they could blame the blown gasket on injested water

Oh btw, if it goes poorly, keep in mind you should get the old engine
;-> new valve and gasket and your on your way.

Carl Denk wrote:
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2008\08\17@052311 by Carl Denk

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Was the valve damage on the engine that squirted in the face? I asked
for actual experience, not conceptions. If I read the below correctly,
changed the head gasket, probably changed oil, and engine was OK, which
is the common blown head gasket scenario.

Jake Anderson wrote:
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2008\08\17@055243 by Lee Jones

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>>>> - When I was riding the jet ski, the "Coolant Hot" light came on.
>>>> Per instructions, I slowly rode it to the shore and let the engine
>>>> cool. I noticed that there was steam coming out of a tube on the
>>>> right side of the jet ski (toward the front). I have a feeling
>>>> this is when the water started slowly leaking into the engine.
>>>>
>>>> - After the "Coolant Hot" event, it became increasingly difficult
>>>> to start the engine. At first, all it took was a brief push of
>>>> the "Start" button. As the time went on, it became more and more
>>>> difficult to get the engine to start.

When you say "Per instructions", did the rental agency advise you,
at the time of rental, that the coolant hot light was likely to
illuminate?  If this was common practice and you can substantiate
it, you might be able to use it as evidence that the rental agency
knowingly rented equipment that was worn and likely to malfunction.

When I rode some friends' jet skis (a while back), they did not
overheat nor did they become hard starting as the day went on.
But they bought them new and kept then in good repair.


And a side comment -- you state that you had to stop riding because
the jet ski was overheating, steam was coming out of an orifice, and
it was getting increasingly hard to start.  Why didn't you return it
to the rental agency and complain?  Continuing to use rented equipment
that is failing appears to be asking for trouble.

                                               Lee Jones

2008\08\17@214636 by Jake Anderson

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It was a $500 car, didn't bother pulling the head off, the crank was
bent though.
you couldn't turn it by hand with all the plugs removed.

Carl Denk wrote:
{Quote hidden}

2008\08\18@222156 by Vitaliy

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Martin K wrote:
> Almost definitely a blown head gasket. Are you "covered" in that case?

I don't know.

> And why doesn't any insurance cover this?

I don't know either way (haven't checked yet).

> Was there optional insurance
> you could have purchased to cover it?

Not from the rental company, if that's what you mean.

Vitaliy

2008\08\19@002117 by Vitaliy

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Lee Jones wrote:
> When you say "Per instructions", did the rental agency advise you,
> at the time of rental, that the coolant hot light was likely to
> illuminate?

No, the instructions were on the back of the jet ski.

> If this was common practice and you can substantiate
> it, you might be able to use it as evidence that the rental agency
> knowingly rented equipment that was worn and likely to malfunction.
>
> When I rode some friends' jet skis (a while back), they did not
> overheat nor did they become hard starting as the day went on.
> But they bought them new and kept then in good repair.

When I brought it back, one of the mechanics told me the engine sometimes
overheats -- especially at low speeds. He didn't sound like it was something
out of the ordinary.

> And a side comment -- you state that you had to stop riding because
> the jet ski was overheating, steam was coming out of an orifice, and
> it was getting increasingly hard to start.  Why didn't you return it
> to the rental agency and complain?  Continuing to use rented equipment
> that is failing appears to be asking for trouble.

Hindsight is 20/20, that's probably what we should have done. :)  At the
time, the jet ski seemed to run fine (once started), I've seen jet skis
overheat before without major consequences, and for all I knew, the steam
coming out of a pipe may have been a normal part of operating the
watercraft. So rather than err on the safe side and waste the $300+ that was
spent on the jet ski and getting it there (truck, gas), not to mention
wasting the day, we continued to operate it.

I don't see this much different from a scenario where you rent a car to
attend an event in a different city (a football game, a concert, etc). If
you noticed strange symptoms in the middle of your trip, would you turn
around, and take the car back to the rental company? And if you decided to
drive on, would you allow them to hold you responsible for the damage to the
drivetrain that resulted from normal wear and tear, or the company's failure
to do preventive maintenance? I think not.

Vitaliy

2008\08\19@065309 by Lee Jones

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>> Pictures would be worth a 1000 words. :)

> http://www.maksimov.org/jetski/
>
> Would love to hear your thoughts!

In general, I agree with the other postings on this.  Certain
specifics are unknown and probably will never be known.

It appears to me that the valve head failed, possibly due to loose
guide (probably due to wear).  The valve head rattling around did
a bunch of damage and quite possibly broke the head gasket seal to
allow water in.  That might account for the really clean condition
of the cylinder with the failed valve.  It also accounts for the
broken sparkplug (valve head hit it).

The adjacent cylinder towards the center has different coloration.
If the broken value lifted the head, it might allow some coolant
to enter that adjacent cylinder and account for its "cleanliness".
I think it's a possibility.

It's also quite possible that the head gasket started leaking first.
That could cause differential force or thermal stress that could
cause the valve head to break off (primary event or exacerbate an
existing weakness).

I've had 2 engines that have had head gasket failures -- V8 & V6.
Both ran -- poorly -- and steam came out of the exhaust.  And you
could see the coolant in the oil (i.e. turned it into a milk bath).
There were no broken valves, no broken sparkplugs, etc.  In both
cases, replacing the head gaskets fixed the problem.

I can't tell if the broken valve is an intake or exhaust.  Your
photos don't show the intake or exhaust runners (either through
framing or excessive cropping).  It kind of seems like the broken
value is one of slightly larger diameter, which would indicate it
is an intake value.  That might indicate water ingestion _before_
it broke.  (Or not.)

Exhaust valve guides run hotter and subsequently wear faster.
[
[ Intake valve guides are bathed in a cooling flow of air & fuel and
[ the value is in full contact with the seat during combustion (when
[ hot gases are going every which way).  Exhaust valves open into
[ that hot malestrom, get hotter (than intakes), carry that heat up
[ the valve stem, and the exhaust gases bath the exhaust valve guides.
[
So exhaust guides usually have slightly more clearance than intake
guides and, I think, are slightly more likely to break "first" since
the stems are more highly stressed.  Or my ramblings could all be
useless conjecture and that valve, be it intake or exhaust, had a
weak spot and just decided to break while you were renting it.

I'd definitely see if you could get an analysis of the stem of the
broken valve.  They may be able to provide an expert opinion (of
the legal sense) as to what caused the valve to break.

I'd also try to get the amount of use on this particular jet ski
and compare it to normal time between overhaul for jet skis used
in rental activities.  Both of those numbers may be hard to get.


Given everything I've heard so far, it seems to me that the rental
company is trying to get you to pay for a new engine because they
think they can.  They may be doing so from a belief that you did
in fact cause the failure.

Or they may be doing so because their operation is marginally
profitable (couple enthusiasts start a company, think everyone
loves jet skis as much as they do, then economy is down, price
of gas is up, & people cut way back on recreational activities)
and rental company(*) can't afford to repair their equipment or
replace it when it wears out.  I got this idea when you wrote that
they wanted you to pony up the cost of the engine repair _before_
they ordered parts or started work on it.  If a <rental-item> is
earning money, a company don't let it sit broken.  They repair it
out of maintenance reserve account while they negotiate with, or
sue, the renter to attempt to recover the cost.

Or they may be doing so maliciously (because they're bast....
not nice people).

(*) a jet ski rental company near me just closed its doors in
   the last month or two.  I had priced renting a jet ski for
   a weekend, but hadn't ever actually rented one.  You can't
   run a business on looky-loos & tire kickers.


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I kind of remember water maybe being ejected from a side exit the
few times I rode a jet ski.  So maybe it was normal.  Or maybe my
memory is faulty.  My jet ski experience was quite a while ago.

>> So rather than err on the safe side and waste the $300+ that was
>> spent on the jet ski and getting it there (truck, gas), not to
>> mention wasting the day, we continued to operate it.

Sounds like the rental place was some distance from the lake.  I had
assumed the jet ski rental place was located at or near the water.

> I don't see this much different from a scenario where you rent a car
> to attend an event in a different city (a football game, a concert,
> etc). If you noticed strange symptoms in the middle of your trip,
> would you turn around, and take the car back to the rental company?

No.  But if it was overheating to the point where I had to stop and
let it cool off _and_ it was hard to start, I would be on the phone
to the car rental company's 24-hour road-side assistance center.  I
could give them an ear full while I was waiting for the temperature
to drop back to normal.

Did you call the jet ski rental company and ask if the behavior
you were seeing was normal and what they wanted you to do?  That
might have been a good CYA move. :-)

> And if you decided to drive on, would you allow them to hold you
> responsible for the damage to the drivetrain that resulted from
> normal wear and tear, or the company's failure to do preventive
> maintenance? I think not.

I would have the name of the person I spoke with and exact time if
they were able to convince me to continue driving it.  Car analogy
doesn't hold up real well as you can find an independant mechanic
to take a look at it while you're waiting for it to cool down.

And no, I wouldn't pay for rebuilding their rental car's engine.

                                               Lee

2008\08\19@081544 by Carl Denk

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Should check as quick as possible with the various insurances that might
cover. Some have a time limit like several days for notification.

Vitaliy wrote:
{Quote hidden}

2008\08\20@095544 by Vitaliy

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Lee Jones wrote:
> It appears to me that the valve head failed, possibly due to loose
> guide (probably due to wear).  The valve head rattling around did
> a bunch of damage and quite possibly broke the head gasket seal to
> allow water in.

I think this appears to be the consensus now?

[snip]
> Exhaust valve guides run hotter and subsequently wear faster.
> [
> [ Intake valve guides are bathed in a cooling flow of air & fuel and
> [ the value is in full contact with the seat during combustion (when
> [ hot gases are going every which way).  Exhaust valves open into
> [ that hot malestrom, get hotter (than intakes), carry that heat up
> [ the valve stem, and the exhaust gases bath the exhaust valve guides.

Hm, that makes sense! It's times like these I kinda wish I took Auto Repair
101 instead of Electronics/Robotics in high school. :)

> If a <rental-item> is
> earning money, a company don't let it sit broken.  They repair it
> out of maintenance reserve account while they negotiate with, or
> sue, the renter to attempt to recover the cost.

Excellent point. This thought did cross my mind initially. On the other
hand, they may have gotten the impression that I'm shopping around for a
cheaper engine -- but considering the $225/day rental fee, and the fact that
they are in a better position to find the best deal, it doesn't make sense.

>>> So rather than err on the safe side and waste the $300+ that was
>>> spent on the jet ski and getting it there (truck, gas), not to
>>> mention wasting the day, we continued to operate it.
>
> Sounds like the rental place was some distance from the lake.  I had
> assumed the jet ski rental place was located at or near the water.

Yes, the lake is about 15 miles from the rental place. For some reason,
there are no jet ski rental companies located close to any of the nearby
lakes (there used to be one, but they shut down). This particular one was
actually the closest (others would be 30+ miles from the lake).

{Quote hidden}

Unfortunately, there was no cell phone reception in that area (the lake is
surrounded by hills). Otherwise, that would have been exactly what I would
have done.

> I would have the name of the person I spoke with and exact time if
> they were able to convince me to continue driving it.  Car analogy
> doesn't hold up real well as you can find an independant mechanic
> to take a look at it while you're waiting for it to cool down.

Not if you're in the middle of nowhere. :)

> And no, I wouldn't pay for rebuilding their rental car's engine.

We're in agreement, then. :)

Vitaliy

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