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Old 01-16-2020, 12:13 AM
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My A4 adventures

Hi everyone, so here it goes:

The back story:
I've been bitten by the bug many years ago and have been searching for a sailboat, off and on, for the past 10 years. I saw ones I've liked throughout the years but I didn't jump on them until I found the "Tiare" in October 2018. (A Tiare btw is a type of Gardenia Flower found in Tahiti)

Note: Just because I searched for a long time doesn't mean I knew anything about boats, let alone motors. In fact, I had absolutely no knowledge about either other than making sure it floats and maybe changing spark plugs.

The Honeymoon:
I took her out maybe 10-12 times from Oct 2018-Aug 2019 and we started getting acquainted. A mini adventure was finding a dinghy for her (maybe another thread, but I had a steep learning curve on that adventure as well).
She taught me a lot during that time (she is a year older than me after all), but I began noticing little issues (rain water seeping through her port side aft eye, minor minor deck wear here and there etc.) but what bothered me the most was the stalling of her A4 heart, which to a tremendous lack of piece-of-mind. I want to feel comfortable sailing with my two children, family and friends who will be looking to me if anything happens on the water.

The Afourians:
I googled "A4 expert in San Pedro" and that's when i found you all. The post I read was from a guy who coincidentally had the same problem as mine...stalling. He said he searched the forum and is pretty sure the problem is coming from the carburator, but that he was not confident removing let alone rebuilding a carburator. Sounded a lot like me, except that I didn't even know what a carburator looked like.
He asked if someone would recommend a mechanic and two offered to go out to take a look. Those two were Thatch and Ndutton. I looked them both up and saw a weird moniker next to their names, which read "Afourian MVP". I immediately reached out to both of them and Ndutton came out to see me.
A few hours of talking with Ndutton was worth many many many hours of researching and re-searching for answers. He talked and I listened and took notes. When we were done, I felt confident I could remove the carb, rebuild it and what parts to order and what I should do next (which was to refresh the whole fuel system). I refreshed the fuel system only with the advice and thx to ndutton whose patience in dealing with my newbie questions is still remembered and cherished and dare I say it, continuing
The motor worked so well in fact that I ran it and ran it hard. I was so impressed that I forgot the fact that engines need oil... and it soon developed a knocking and once ndutton came by and heard it for himself I found out that the knocking was one that would require it being pulled out of the boat. No, I didn't cry fyi. I was happy to know exactly what I had to do thx again to ndutton. Oh ya..and he told me that the motor was an early model A4, where it should've had a late model A4 so I assume the Tiare wasnt telling me everything and that she had been around this block before.

Rebuild or buy?:
$3500 rebuilt vs. ~$2000 to rebuild is what I found. Until I found a late model on FB for $900! Made sure it worked, borrowed a truck, scooped it up and brought it back along with a million other parts and toys that the seller unloaded on me for just another $100 (such as a whisker pole and sails for it, magna stabilizers, half of the EWDS, full set of brand new gaskets, adjustible alternator arm, etc, etc etc) realizing (too late) that I have no way to take her out the bed of the truck once I get back into town, and I had to return the truck to the owner. Guess who saved my ass. You guessed it...ndutton, that's who. He brought over two planks to make a ramp and we wheeled her off (yes, she was on wheels thk goodness).
So, my question was answered for me...the answer is Both.

The swap:
So as the story goes, I had one working late model on the slip that I was buying new and improved additions for (EWDS, therm + housing, water pump, water jacket stud kit, etc etc..I guess Don can chime in and say what else I got and one handicapped early model on the water slowly being dismantled.
A few days before the swap (I had a boom mounted winch) the Marina told me that I'd have to do the swap at a boat yard...mind you I could've motored it to a yard before I had taken it all apart...now I'd either have to put it all back together to motor it or just tow it. Thankfully I had US Boat Towing and they towed it for free. Might as well get the bottom painted $$$ (I got sick of seeing the monthly report from the bottom cleaners saying the bottom paint was "poor"). Might as well have it buffed $$$.
Got it back a week later (end of Oct. 2019...about a year after purchasing it) and had to tow it back bc the new motor wasnt nearly ready to run (prop shaft not even connected). Took the old motor to the house and began tearing into the block while slowly reconnecting the new motor.
All the random research I did in the past was now making sense and paying off with info on such things as feeler guages, motor mount adjustments, EWDS bell and whistle placement etc.

To conclude (though it may never end):
New motor - I just put the wiring on the new motor so she has power and I put MMO under each (brand new) spark plug. Just ordered a brand new the instrument panel (bc I really dont want to put the EWDS display anywhere else) and the OPSS. When I get those, I will install them and maybe, maybe fire her up before that just bc I'm curious...but not until I add oil :)
Old motor - I found that the knocking was coming from the trashed journal connected to the piston in cylinder #2. Got a quote to hone and machine the crank shaft (~$200), but not to straighten it (which I wont know if it needs it until I take it in). Now I need to contemplate if I will rebuild or sell off the good parts. What you guys think?

Final Note: every little thing I did was a pita...nothing, and I mean nothing was easy. Removing bolts for example was a mini adventure...I had to buy a specific wrench to remove a stripped thread. But nothing worth while is easy and it is a really nice hobby to have IMO and I love it and consider it fun. So there you go. I'm sure I'm with like minds. "Hi everyone, my name is Ando and I'm an Afourian"
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  #2   IP: 192.186.122.174
Old 01-16-2020, 10:31 AM
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Welcome Ando!

Keep plugging away, one step, then the next and soon it'll be all there!

You are in great hands out there with the fount of wisdom locally and backed up on here.
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1975 Alberg 30
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Old 01-16-2020, 11:50 AM
Dave Neptune Dave Neptune is offline
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Thumbs up Great Start

Ando, well stated. Bill, this could be an intro "article" for the MMI site. Anything can get done with determination and good helpful information.

Welcome aboard. You were in good hands with Neil & Tom who are among the some of the Afourians I have shared stories and a beer or two. I still hang around the site as I am an old engine nut now without an old engine. I still have a sailboat but it is diesel powered and I still get good maintenance info regarding the boat stuff here first if possible.

Fair winds _/) _/)
Dave Neptune
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Old 01-16-2020, 01:37 PM
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Great story Ando, and similar to many of us who've had to "learn by doing" on these A4's. My story is similar to yours, except my knocking turned into an errant connecting rod blasting a hole through the block.

I think you'll find the biggest benefit to your effort is you now know your motor intimately, and no matter what happens to it you'll be able to fearlessly and knowledgeably dig in and make it all better. That should go a long way toward confidently taking your family out on the boat.
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Old 01-16-2020, 07:39 PM
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I'll chime in on the early model A4. The last year they were used is about 1969 and then a few 'hybrids" appeared. I have a virgin great running one in my 1966 Morgan 34 which I have had for 44 yrs. [I change oil often and thank the forum]. My point is that they were installed in what are now pretty old boats with old owners if they still around [our wooden boat fleet is gone]. We have about 700 boats [majority sail] in my Chicago harbor [I am the informal A4 go to guy] and I have not run across another early A4 - many late models still running good. I also have a rebuilt late model A4 in storage that I bought 25 yrs ago thinking I might need it one day - don't yet.

My comment is I don't think there will be any substantial demand for good running early model A4. I 'd limit my efforts and $$'s. However it only takes one buyer who would want a direct replacement?
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Old 01-16-2020, 10:09 PM
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I've driven down a lot of roads in this life. Some were paved highways with lots of signs, etc - others were dirt, single lane, showed up as dotted on a Topo map, and suitable only (maybe?) for 4 wheel drive with plenty of ground clearance. You tear the muffler off, it's going to be a noisy trip the rest of the way.
Which roads do you think I've enjoyed the most? Which do you think I'll remember the longest?
These roads were taken in full awareness that AAA charges a LOT more for a recovery than a tow!
A lot of 4WD vehicles have an electric (hydraulic?) winch. Usage is about 50/50 for saving someone else and saving yourself!
What does this have to do with older sailboats & A4 engines? Not sure - seemed germane when I started...
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  #7   IP: 45.49.35.172
Old 01-16-2020, 10:11 PM
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Ando Ando is offline
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Thanks for all your comments so far. Really appreciated.

Since the instrument panel is coming, I'm starting to get ahead of myself and think about my next project(s) to re-wire/clean-up this bundled mess. Getting ahead of myself again because the motor isn't officially running yet. I will keep y'all posted.

In the meantime, maybe I'll set up a poll as to what to do with this early A4 or a poll to see if I should do a poll ha!

Thanks again and a special thanks to Mr. Ndutton
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Old 01-16-2020, 10:19 PM
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Ando Ando is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Al Schober View Post
I've driven down a lot of roads in this life. Some were paved highways with lots of signs, etc - others were dirt, single lane, showed up as dotted on a Topo map, and suitable only (maybe?) for 4 wheel drive with plenty of ground clearance. You tear the muffler off, it's going to be a noisy trip the rest of the way.
Which roads do you think I've enjoyed the most? Which do you think I'll remember the longest?
These roads were taken in full awareness that AAA charges a LOT more for a recovery than a tow!
A lot of 4WD vehicles have an electric (hydraulic?) winch. Usage is about 50/50 for saving someone else and saving yourself!
What does this have to do with older sailboats & A4 engines? Not sure - seemed germane when I started...
haha...I'm actually looking into a 1970 Ford Bronco 4x4 (bc I need another project I guess), so your post is actually perfect. I'd say serendipitous. Regardless, it is appreciated and noted. Thankfully, the Bronco has a winch. Not sure if it works, but now you can be sure that I'll test it before my first test drive.
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Old 01-16-2020, 11:13 PM
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I'm glad you found my observations helpful but it should be noted that most members of this forum would do the same thing. Someday in the future you will too.

Quote:
seemed germane when I started...
Channeling Sheriff Buford T. Justice from Smokey and the Bandit:
The God %@#&ed Germans got nothing to do with it.
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Had my hands in a few others
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Old 01-17-2020, 12:03 AM
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Ando Ando is offline
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[QUOTE=ndutton;119613]Someday in the future you will too.[/I][/QUOTE

I sincerely look forward to that day
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