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Has any one seen or experienced the type of corrosion to cooling system parts as in these photos?

This is from a engine I built. And sold about a year ago.

I had run the engine in on a engine stand because I did not trust anyone else to run in the cam properly. It did a total of 10hrs running as I also tuned the carb and sorted out some ignition problems.

I ran it with rain water in the cooling system and when I drained the water for shipping the water came out as clean as it went in.

The guy that bought it recently contacted me with these photos of corrosion and accused me of selling him a junkyard motor repainted to look nice.

He said he put "Quality Fluids" in the engine as soon as he got it and started it the following week and it overheated like crazy.

(I do suspect he ran it without a fan on the radiator)

But he said the thermostat (which had only 10hrs service) was caked in rust and so was the inside of the water pump.

These were like new when I put them on.

In the photos the water pump is super corroded which what looks like crystals growing on the cast iron and the brass thermostat has deep pitting into the brass.

The pump backing plate had been totally cleaned, primed and painted with engine enamel which had been on there for years before I built the motor so was well and truly hardened.

The paint on the plate looks like it was attacked by strong acid and is almost stripped off.

He told me he only ran the engine with this "Quality" coolant only a couple of times and only briefly as it overheated.

Has anyone come across corrosion like this before in a barely run engine?

What is going on? IMG_5570IMG_5380IMG_5571IMG_5384


Images (4)
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Last edited by ausford
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There was no rusty crud in the water when I drained it and no overheating in the 10 hrs of running time.

Plain water does not corrode cast iron very fast  and does not corrode brass at all. Also plain water does not eat away engine enamel.

There was something weird in that coolant. It was more than normal corrosion, there was some kind of electrolytic reaction.

Last edited by ausford

Was the coolant pre-mixed or concentrated and then diluted, and if the latter, what sort of water was it diluted with. And are you sure that they are the water pump and other parts that you actually put on the motor originally and not some other things that he has taken pictures of and he is trying to cheat you? Why did he take off the water pump? Seems an odd thing to do...

I don't know which type of coolant he used as he won't say.

But the place where he lives gets the water supply from ground water which is notorious for being full of all kinds of mineral salts. I am suspicious of this.

The parts do look like the ones I used but you are correct in thinking there seems something fishy going on.

He said he removed the thermostat first and it was jammed up with crud so then he took off the pump and it was the same but then he said he decided to take off the heads to see if I put the gaskets on wrong blocking the water holes.

I think that was weird. Not the first thing I'd think of doing on a engine that has done 10 hrs of running without overheating. If you put the gaskets on wrong and blocked the water holes the motor would cook in two minutes not run for 10 hrs. Strange bit of thinking.

I'm wondering if I'm going to see a parts sale on ebay?

Following a demand for a refund.

I also find it weird he took nearly a year to tell me all this when it supposedly took place a week after receiving the engine.

Last edited by ausford

Personally, in light of the fact that the sale was a year ago, I wouldn’t engage in any further communication with the buyer.

The fact he is withholding critical information to allow an honest diagnosis is an indication he knows the error was likely made at his end.

Block his phone number and archive all his emails.

don’t keep playing his game


I agree with Larry and Joules.  This doesn't add up.  Besides, waiting a FULL YEAR to bring any issues to your attention is ludicrous!  Sounds like he screwed up and wants you to pay for it.

Reminds me of a 1996 BMW 328 I sold years ago...  The car had a new radiator, passed emissions testing with flying colors about 4 months before I sold the car - I replaced the catalytic converter a year or two before that -  and it ran great!

Anyway, the buyer didn't want to wait an extra day for me to smog it again (since my last certificate was beyond 90 days old) so I discounted the price and he said he would take care of it.  I sold the car "as is" and off he went.

A year later he called me to tell me the car had all kinds of problems and he couldn't register it, and wanted me to pony up $$$ to help fix the problems, including failing the smog test, leaking radiator, didn't idle right, and some other miscellaneous interior items he broke.  It turns out he never took it for an emissions test or bothered to register it until my stickers expired.  So he drove the wheels off of it (likely abused it) for a YEAR, then had the gall to call me and tell me that CA law states that the seller is responsible for the car passing emissions testing and that I needed to "be a gentleman and do the right thing" and, at minimum, pay for half of his $1,200 repair estimate!

I reminded him the car was perfect and had a new radiator when he bought it and had just passed smog 120 days before he purchased it, and that EVERYTHING worked and there were no issues.  AND, that CA law ALSO states a buyer has 10 days to register a vehicle after purchase.  I told him to "feel free to call the police, the CA Air Resources Board, the DMV, or try to sue me" if he felt so inclined.

I never heard from him again.

Last edited by garth66

Ah ha,

I think I've now figured it out.

The guy was dumb with ambitions of being a crook.

He received the engine a year ago. Put his quality fluids and his local ground water in it. I did some research on where he lives and found the local water supply is regarded as "brackish".  That is salty water. (I don't know how they drink it, drinking salt water sends you mad) that might explain his dumbness.

He has run the engine back then, all went well, hence not a peep from him. His story of it overheating then was rubbish, a lie.

His car wasn't ready so he put the engine to the back of his shed.

A year later the car is ready for the engine. He thinks he'd better give it a run.

Oh no it overheats. He takes it apart and finds the cooling system full of crud. (as it would be if bare clean cast iron was exposed to salt water for a year).

Relises his mistake in  putting salty ground water in the engine and seeks to trick me into thinking it was rusty when he got it In a effort to extract money from me to pay for his stupidity.

Hence this is why it took him a year to tell me about this overheating BS and why he will not give any information on what he put in the engine.

A big Thankyou to Google Earth. The average person's spy satellite.

So I think what you see in the photos is salt water damage over the period of a year without the engine being started.

Salt water would explain the pitting in the brass and crystal growth on the cast iron.

What a tosser, not just for making a mistake but for trying to put the blame onto someone else and trying to get money from them.

Beware of scammers.

Thanks everyone for your inputs.

Garth 66. Yes I think you are right. It would have gone well in your car.

Unfortunately it's been trashed now.

After this genius decided I caused the crud in his water pump he has gone on a witch hunt to find all the evil doing I have perpetuated.

That is when he took the heads off. He then took all the lifters out and I don't think he arranged them in any way to know where they came from. I said to him I hope you know exactly where those lifters go back because if you get it wrong you have killed the camshaft.

He did not reply. So I'd say the cam is trashed.

I think this Turkey actually knows Jack about engines. It is a classic case of the Dunning / Cruger effect. Too stupid to know how stupid they are.

He sent me a pic of inside the sump and said "err  it doesn't look good"

The pic showed the moly cam break in lubricant that had washed into the sump.

He seemed to think it was the remains of worn out pistons and other ill fitting parts. What a Moron.

Honestly I do not know why every ding bat thinks building a motor or engineering in general is super easy and anyone can do it without any training of any kind.

If your color TV went on the blink would you immediately rip the back off it and go blindly poking around with a screw driver? I know I wouldn't because I know enough to know I don't know any thing about it. These turkeys don't seem to have that insight.

I think the shipping cost from my location to yours would have been more than the engine, otherwise it would have been good in a Mustang.

Last edited by ausford

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