Video: Restoring An Engine That

Video: Restoring An Engine That’s Been Underwater For Decades

We haven’t done one of these brain-soothing videos in a while. This one starts when some beachcombers come across a four-cylinder industrial engine that has washed up on the beach after spending years underwater. The fact that the ocean can “wash up” an engine is impressive on its own. The fact that these guys not only saw the engine, but also thought, “Let’s make it run again,” means they are definitely our kind of guys.

As they hose off the barnacles and other various sea life growing on the surface of the engine, things look pretty bleak. But, we are then greeted with lots of satisfying “snaps” as bolts break free for the first time in a long time, and the engine starts coming apart, revealing some interesting substances, but also a glimmer of hope that the engine is actually salvageable.

As more of the insides of the engine are revealed, the more it appears that the grossness of the engine is only skin deep. A power washer sprayed through the cooling passages of the block seems to confirm that the engine is in better condition than some junkyard engines we’ve torn down ourselves. The engine was obviously well sealed when it was dumped overboard (or the ship carrying it sank – who knows).

Looking at this engine, no one would ever expect to see it running again. Well, almost no one…

Once teardown is complete, manual reconditioning of all the parts begins. Thanks to the amazing amount of scrubbing, it’s impressive what a little solvent, elbow grease, and paint can fix. You can put lipstick on a pig, but just looking better isn’t the goal here. An incredible amount of know-how is behind all of the work, and even though they aren’t using fancy new machines (or machines at all, in some cases) to recondition this engine, things start to come together.

If you just started the video at the 10:20 mark, you would have no idea that the engine had been dragged out of the ocean after spending a considerable amount of time underwater. The decidedly low-tech reassembly pays off at the 13:40 mark when the engine, which most would have considered beyond repair, fires up and sings its song once again. Although it’s sans turbocharger, it still idles and accelerates far better than anyone could ever have expected.

So next time you look at a junkyard engine and think it’s beyond repair, think again.

About the author

Greg Acosta

Greg has spent eighteen years and counting in automotive publishing, with most of his work having a very technical focus. Always interested in how things work, he enjoys sharing his passion for automotive technology with the reader.
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