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Bristol 38.8 overheat

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Oct 21, 2012
Bristol 38.8 Tiverton RI
Hi all. We bought a Bristol 38.8 a couple years ago and love her. A great sailor and beautiful to behold. We do have a gremlin though, the original Universal 44 engine is prone to airlocks in the cooling system, which cause overheating problems. Any advice? We have a heat exchanger, hot water heater system where the expansion box seems to be part of the loop. We actually installed a bleeder valve, to get air out of the system, but it does not always seem to work. We also have a problem with white smoke, which we have had several very good mechanics look at and the consensus seems to be moisture in the exhaust, but....

I would love to hear if any other Bristol owners or Universal 44 owners have experience with this issue.....

Many thanks
Aug 2, 2005
Celebrity Class 19 Penn Yan, NY (Seneca Lake SP)
Just a thought......Have you inspected the tubing for humps, high spots, or turns that might trap air? That proved to be the cause of our airlock following the installation of new tubing and a new water heater. I had run a tube differently than it had been prior to the repair because it seemed "better" to me at the time. It wasn't.

Also, I would wonder how the air is entering. Perhaps time to replace the tubing.

May 27, 2012
Oday 222 Beaver Lake, Arkansas
Overheat is bad. Overheating repeatedly is VERY bad. Is it white smoke, or steam in the exhaust? Airlocks could be caused by a blown headgasket leaking air (combustion gases) into the cooling system. Overheating could a symptom of a blown headgasket. Steam in the exhaust is another indication of a blown headgasket. How does the oil look? Milky after running? Any steam vapor/puffing, from oil filler hole while running? Look inside oil filler hole, any milky residue?

At any rate its best to get to the bottom of it before you lose your engine. You need a mechanic.
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