Return to the home page...

Go Back   Moyer Marine Atomic 4 Community - Home of the Afourians > Discussion Topics > Cooling System

Reply
 
Thread Tools Display Modes
  #1   IP: 73.133.67.239
Old 06-10-2019, 08:27 PM
ernst ernst is online now
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Dec 2009
Posts: 69
Thanks: 1
Thanked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Question Motor died. Two mysteries. Is it the snap ring on the impeller?

Haven't been here for years which shows how well my A-4 works! But on Saturday this streak ended. Fortunately nothing too dramatic but I need to know what is going on.

Here is some history: Many years ago, I installed the Indigo freshwater cooling system (the original one, the one that re-purposes the original water pump for the coolant and adds a new mechanical one for raw water). A week ago, I checked both impellers. Both looked fine but I lost all the coolant and I replaced it.

So, the main story: I sailed Saturday (great sailing on the Chessie!) and was approaching my selected anchoring spot. I was just getting out the leather gloves for the anchor chain when the motor stopped! No hesitation, just stopped. I dropped anchor immediately (it was a reasonable spot to stay for the night) and I investigated. So here are the symptoms:

First, a non-symptom: the impeller looked perfectly fine.

Second, I noticed that the coolant hoses leading to and from the coolant pump were reasonably cool, probably cooler than normally (I don't have a good basis for comparison because it always worked so well that I never really paid attention). OTOH the one that comes out of the block to the exhaust manifold was much hotter.

The other symptom is that the coolant level was way low! I ended up adding 3 quarts of water, even though I had refilled it a week ago (using the procedure in the Indigo instructions: loosening the hose at the coolant pump, run it until the coolant gets warm, then loosening the hose at the TCV and getting to 180degrees). All as prescribed. When I was done with it, it should have been filled to the brim.

Of course, I could have a leak somewhere. But if that is the case, where did the coolant go? It is not in the bilge! The thought that the head gasket might have blown and the coolant ended up in the oil crossed my mind but when I pulled the dipstick, the oil looked fine. No emulsion or anything.

So, there are two mysteries: One is the disappearance of the coolant. The second is why the motor stopped. Does it do that if it overheats? It was not glowing hot, just a bit warmer than I would have expected after running it for ~1/2 hour. Any ideas?

To come to the last part of my subject line: When I checked on the impellers last week, I remembered that I had read somewhere on the internet that the snap ring (circlip) on the impeller is there only for shipping purpose. Since it is a bit of a pain to take it off and on again (if you don't have the appropriate tool handy). I took it off and THREW IT AWAY.

Was that a big mistake? Is the snap ring functional after all? Did the coolant pump just not pump and therefore there was no circulation in the block?

Anyway, I waited overnight and in the morning the motor started immediately! I did not dare to run it for a long time, only to get off the anchor, and then I sailed the boat right to the marina where I ran the motor again for 5 minutes to get into the slip. Again flawlessly.

Any ideas?
Reply With Quote
  #2   IP: 24.152.132.140
Old 06-11-2019, 08:48 AM
ndutton's Avatar
ndutton ndutton is offline
Afourian MVP
 
Join Date: May 2009
Location: Torrance, CA
Posts: 8,485
Thanks: 135
Thanked 1,183 Times in 794 Posts
I think you're headed down the right path for the most part. Coolant loss is the most likely cause of your elevated temperature and there are very few places the coolant can go:
  1. Leak out and end up in the bilge - not in your case
  2. An internal block breach into the crankcase - also not in your case
  3. Manifold breach sending the errant coolant out the wet exhaust (who would even notice?)
Therefore I suggest a manifold pressure test is in order. As for the impeller retaining clip, it's not part of your current troubles and in my opinion completely unnecessary in use.

For the shut down I would approach it as separate from the elevated temperature. Testing is best performed at the time of shutdown and the first determination is spark or fuel. Once that is known the real troubleshooting can begin.
__________________
Neil
1977 Catalina 30
San Pedro, California
prior boats 1987 Westsail 32, 1970 Catalina 22
Had my hands in a few others
Reply With Quote
  #3   IP: 73.133.67.239
Old 06-11-2019, 05:12 PM
ernst ernst is online now
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Dec 2009
Posts: 69
Thanks: 1
Thanked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Quote:
Originally Posted by ndutton View Post
I think you're headed down the right path for the most part. Coolant loss is the most likely cause of your elevated temperature and there are very few places the coolant can go:
  1. Leak out and end up in the bilge - not in your case
  2. An internal block breach into the crankcase - also not in your case
  3. Manifold breach sending the errant coolant out the wet exhaust (who would even notice?)
Therefore I suggest a manifold pressure test is in order. As for the impeller retaining clip, it's not part of your current troubles and in my opinion completely unnecessary in use.

For the shut down I would approach it as separate from the elevated temperature. Testing is best performed at the time of shutdown and the first determination is spark or fuel. Once that is known the real troubleshooting can begin.
Huh! This is something I had not considered!

On the one hand, I can't help thinking that there is a connection between me opening the cooling system, refilling it etc and the motor overheating a week later (with no use in-between). OTOH, maybe there is such a thing as a pure coincidence and your option #3 surely would explain the loss of coolant. So I agree, a pressure test of the manifold may be in order. I found your helpful thread http://www.moyermarineforum.com/foru...ad.php?t=10146 and will procure the doohickey you are recommending.

I will also see if I can reproduce any of the symptoms while safely moored in the slip. Will dig out my IR thermometer and find out if the temperatures of the coolant going into the block and coming out of the block are too far apart. I don't really know what to expect there, clearly it must heat up but I never really paid attention to it. If anyone has an idea what is a reasonable temperature difference, I am all ears.

And thank you for alleviating my concerns about the snap ring. On the one hand, it would have been an easy solution. On the other hand, I would have felt incredibly stupid having thrown it away

As for why it stopped, again it could have been a pure coincidence that that happened when the motor ran our of coolant. But at some point there is too much of a coincidence....

Anyway, thanks for the information. I will report on the outcome of my tests but I can only get to the boat on weekends so it will not be a superfast process.

Last edited by ernst; 06-11-2019 at 05:14 PM. Reason: typos
Reply With Quote
  #4   IP: 71.38.87.228
Old 06-11-2019, 07:30 PM
roadnsky's Avatar
roadnsky roadnsky is online now
Afourian MVP
 
Join Date: Dec 2008
Location: Boulder City, NV
Posts: 2,802
Thanks: 14
Thanked 195 Times in 144 Posts
Quote:
Originally Posted by ernst View Post
I was just getting out the leather gloves for the anchor chain when the motor stopped! No hesitation, just stopped.

So, there are two mysteries: One is the disappearance of the coolant. The second is why the motor stopped.

Anyway, I waited overnight and in the morning the motor started immediately!
Ernst-
Did you try to restart the engine once you were anchored?
If so, did it start or what?
Or, did you wait until the next morning?
__________________
-Jerry

'Lone Ranger'

1978 RANGER 30
Reply With Quote
  #5   IP: 73.133.67.239
Old 06-12-2019, 12:08 AM
ernst ernst is online now
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Dec 2009
Posts: 69
Thanks: 1
Thanked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Quote:
Originally Posted by roadnsky View Post
Ernst-
Did you try to restart the engine once you were anchored?
If so, did it start or what?
Or, did you wait until the next morning?
I tried to start it immediately. I did not want to empty the battery so I did not turn if over a lot but I gave it an honest try. It did not start.

Next morning, it started immediately, without the slightest hesitation (as it has done for years).
Reply With Quote
  #6   IP: 24.53.89.131
Old 06-12-2019, 08:17 AM
Peter's Avatar
Peter Peter is online now
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Jul 2016
Location: Nova Scotia, Canada
Posts: 170
Thanks: 51
Thanked 68 Times in 50 Posts
Quote:
Originally Posted by ernst View Post
When I was done with it, it should have been filled to the brim.
Is it possible that you did not get it filled to the brim? I have read many posts abut the challenges of getting all the air out of these FWC systems.

Did you measure how much coolant you added? Others with experience with these systems may have some idea of the system volume.

Peter
Reply With Quote
  #7   IP: 71.38.87.228
Old 06-12-2019, 09:45 AM
roadnsky's Avatar
roadnsky roadnsky is online now
Afourian MVP
 
Join Date: Dec 2008
Location: Boulder City, NV
Posts: 2,802
Thanks: 14
Thanked 195 Times in 144 Posts
Quote:
Originally Posted by ernst View Post
I tried to start it immediately. I did not want to empty the battery so I did not turn if over a lot but I gave it an honest try. It did not start.

Next morning, it started immediately, without the slightest hesitation (as it has done for years).
Quote:
...the motor stopped! No hesitation, just stopped.
Are you points or EI?
(Maybe you see where I'm going?)
__________________
-Jerry

'Lone Ranger'

1978 RANGER 30
Reply With Quote
  #8   IP: 128.220.159.8
Old 06-12-2019, 02:05 PM
ernst ernst is online now
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Dec 2009
Posts: 69
Thanks: 1
Thanked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Quote:
Originally Posted by Peter View Post
Is it possible that you did not get it filled to the brim? I have read many posts abut the challenges of getting all the air out of these FWC systems.

Did you measure how much coolant you added? Others with experience with these systems may have some idea of the system volume.

Peter
Yes, that thought did cross my mind. I tried to follow the instructions from Indigo but it is possible that I missed something.

I know how much I added, about 3 quarts. But I don't really know how much I lost in the bilge when checking the impeller. You make an excellent point.
Reply With Quote
  #9   IP: 128.220.159.8
Old 06-12-2019, 02:06 PM
ernst ernst is online now
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Dec 2009
Posts: 69
Thanks: 1
Thanked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Quote:
Originally Posted by roadnsky View Post
Are you points or EI?
(Maybe you see where I'm going?)
Points.

(actually I am not sure where you are going. What does my answer tell you?)
Reply With Quote
  #10   IP: 97.93.70.7
Old 06-12-2019, 06:08 PM
Dave Neptune Dave Neptune is offline
Afourian MVP
 
Join Date: Jan 2007
Location: Lake Arrowhead Ca.
Posts: 3,937
Thanks: 394
Thanked 335 Times in 232 Posts
I suspect both a breech in the manifold AND an intermittent coil, they fail when they get hot and "cook" if the key is left on.

Dave Neptune
Reply With Quote
  #11   IP: 71.38.87.228
Old 06-12-2019, 07:10 PM
roadnsky's Avatar
roadnsky roadnsky is online now
Afourian MVP
 
Join Date: Dec 2008
Location: Boulder City, NV
Posts: 2,802
Thanks: 14
Thanked 195 Times in 144 Posts
Quote:
Originally Posted by ernst View Post
actually I am not sure where you are going....
Quote:
an intermittent coil, they fail when they get hot and "cook" if the key is left on.
What Dave said
__________________
-Jerry

'Lone Ranger'

1978 RANGER 30
Reply With Quote
  #12   IP: 73.133.67.239
Old 06-12-2019, 09:34 PM
ernst ernst is online now
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Dec 2009
Posts: 69
Thanks: 1
Thanked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Quote:
Originally Posted by roadnsky View Post
What Dave said
I don't understand what is cause and effect. The motor was running and it then stopped. Why would the coil get cooked then? I turned it off immediately, within maybe 10 seconds. I have a pretty annoying low oil pressure alarm so the ignition is never on for more than a few seconds without the motor turning.
Reply With Quote
  #13   IP: 24.152.132.140
Old 06-12-2019, 09:47 PM
ndutton's Avatar
ndutton ndutton is offline
Afourian MVP
 
Join Date: May 2009
Location: Torrance, CA
Posts: 8,485
Thanks: 135
Thanked 1,183 Times in 794 Posts
I think the guys are correlating the symptoms as presented to a common conclusion often repeated in the past. A coil overheated to the point of damage will fail but somewhat miraculously appear to temporarily heal itself when it cools down. Their suggestion is not conclusive but rather something to explore. With the new information that you have an oil pressure alarm that provides a reliable reminder to switch off the ignition when the engine is not running, the overheated coil possibility, although not entirely off the table, is less likely.

We don't even know for sure yet if the shut down was fuel or spark related.
__________________
Neil
1977 Catalina 30
San Pedro, California
prior boats 1987 Westsail 32, 1970 Catalina 22
Had my hands in a few others

Last edited by ndutton; 06-12-2019 at 10:44 PM.
Reply With Quote
  #14   IP: 128.220.159.8
Old 06-13-2019, 12:56 PM
ernst ernst is online now
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Dec 2009
Posts: 69
Thanks: 1
Thanked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Ah, that makes sense!

And I agree that there is not enough information. I am planning for the weekend to

(a) purchase the equipment for an exhaust manifold pressure check and do the test

(b) make sure the coolant system is full, at least the main reservoir and overflow container

(c) run the motor for a while (an hour?) under load in the slip and take a series of temperature measurements at different locations: at the coolant pump, hose from motor block (head) to exhaust manifold, hose exiting exhaust manifold

(d) after running the motor, check coolant level again.

That should provide some data, right? Anything else I should do?
Reply With Quote
  #15   IP: 97.93.70.7
Old 06-13-2019, 02:47 PM
Dave Neptune Dave Neptune is offline
Afourian MVP
 
Join Date: Jan 2007
Location: Lake Arrowhead Ca.
Posts: 3,937
Thanks: 394
Thanked 335 Times in 232 Posts
Ernst, when you shut it down check the spark again to be sure it is still the "snappy blue" spark you started with. Check it cold and keep the stuff around so you can again immediately after running.
RE the running duplicate it as much as possible by keeping the engine hatch closed except for "momentary" monitoring.

Dave Neptune
Reply With Quote
  #16   IP: 73.133.67.239
Old 06-14-2019, 07:35 AM
ernst ernst is online now
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Dec 2009
Posts: 69
Thanks: 1
Thanked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dave Neptune View Post
Ernst, when you shut it down check the spark again to be sure it is still the "snappy blue" spark you started with. Check it cold and keep the stuff around so you can again immediately after running.
RE the running duplicate it as much as possible by keeping the engine hatch closed except for "momentary" monitoring.

Dave Neptune
Sounds like a good idea.

RE testing the spark, how do I do that? Start the motor with one of the plugs removed, put it on the motor block and look at the spark?

Or: remove one of the spark plugs, turn on ignition, turn the motor over? I have a push-button in the motor room to switch on the starter.

And I suppose the 'snappy blue spark' will be kind of obvious, and easily distinguished from a weak non-blue spark?

Sorry, I am pretty new to this diagnostics things. As I said the A-4 ran smoothly for years and years....

tx
Reply With Quote
  #17   IP: 99.30.185.198
Old 06-14-2019, 10:30 AM
thatch thatch is online now
Afourian MVP
 
Join Date: Dec 2009
Location: Santa clarita, Ca.
Posts: 1,023
Thanks: 85
Thanked 152 Times in 94 Posts
The easiest way that I know of to check for spark, is to simply use a "fifth" spark plug, laying on top of the motor. Just connect any of the four plug wires to it, and with the ignition on, crank the engine over. If there is a spark, it would indicate that the ignition system is working. If there is a spark and the engine won't run, then you either have a fuel problem, or the engine is flooded. Even though this fifth spark plug is just laying on the cylinder head, there is enough "contact" to complete the connection.
Tom
Reply With Quote
  #18   IP: 71.38.87.228
Old 06-14-2019, 10:37 AM
roadnsky's Avatar
roadnsky roadnsky is online now
Afourian MVP
 
Join Date: Dec 2008
Location: Boulder City, NV
Posts: 2,802
Thanks: 14
Thanked 195 Times in 144 Posts
One additional step to add...

BEFORE checking for spark, smell for gas and I suggest running the blower for a couple of minutes.

I know this is a pretty basic warning but around here we'd rather be safe and state the obvious.
__________________
-Jerry

'Lone Ranger'

1978 RANGER 30
Reply With Quote
The Following 2 Users Say Thank You to roadnsky For This Useful Post:
GregH (06-17-2019), thatch (06-14-2019)
  #19   IP: 128.220.159.8
Old 06-14-2019, 10:39 AM
ernst ernst is online now
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Dec 2009
Posts: 69
Thanks: 1
Thanked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Quote:
Originally Posted by thatch View Post
The easiest way that I know of to check for spark, is to simply use a "fifth" spark plug, laying on top of the motor. Just connect any of the four plug wires to it, and with the ignition on, crank the engine over. If there is a spark, it would indicate that the ignition system is working. If there is a spark and the engine won't run, then you either have a fuel problem, or the engine is flooded. Even though this fifth spark plug is just laying on the cylinder head, there is enough "contact" to complete the connection.
Tom
Pure genius!

One of the things where you slap your forehead and say 'why didn't I think of that?'
Reply With Quote
  #20   IP: 128.220.159.8
Old 06-14-2019, 10:40 AM
ernst ernst is online now
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Dec 2009
Posts: 69
Thanks: 1
Thanked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Quote:
Originally Posted by roadnsky View Post
One additional step to add...

BEFORE checking for spark, smell for gas and I suggest running the blower for a couple of minutes.

I know this is a pretty basic warning but around here we'd rather be safe and state the obvious.
Duly noted.

I always run the blower and I also have a gas alarm installed in the engine compartment.
Reply With Quote
  #21   IP: 70.185.132.167
Old 06-14-2019, 10:56 AM
JOHN COOKSON JOHN COOKSON is online now
Afourian MVP
 
Join Date: Nov 2008
Posts: 3,051
Thanks: 36
Thanked 519 Times in 398 Posts
Quote:
Originally Posted by ernst View Post
Sounds like a good idea.
Or: remove one of the spark plugs, turn on ignition, turn the motor over? I have a push-button in the motor room to switch on the starter.
tx
Don't leave the key in the on position to long when the engine is not running when you do the testing or the coil will over heat and be damaged. I don't know what the "official" guideline is. I get antsy when the key is on and the engine is't running after ~ 45 seconds.

On another subject, do you have the Moyer manual? It is a treasure trove of information on the A4. I didn't reread the thread. Maybe it has been mentioned already.

TRUE GRIT
Reply With Quote
The Following User Says Thank You to JOHN COOKSON For This Useful Post:
thatch (06-14-2019)
  #22   IP: 100.36.65.17
Old 06-14-2019, 11:12 AM
edwardc's Avatar
edwardc edwardc is offline
Afourian MVP
 
Join Date: Aug 2009
Location: Laurel, MD
Posts: 2,155
Thanks: 50
Thanked 240 Times in 168 Posts
Quote:
Originally Posted by ernst View Post
... I know how much I added, about 3 quarts. But I don't really know how much I lost in the bilge when checking the impeller. ...
Go to your local Harbor Freight and pick up one of these fluid line clamp kits. Cheap ($8), easy to use, and keeps your coolant loss to about half a cup when changing impellers.
Attached Images
 
__________________
@(^.^)@ Ed
1977 Pearson P-323 "Dolce Vita"
with rebuilt Atomic-4

Reply With Quote
Old 06-14-2019, 11:34 AM
ernst
This message has been deleted by Administrator.
  #23   IP: 128.220.159.8
Old 06-14-2019, 11:39 AM
ernst ernst is online now
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Dec 2009
Posts: 69
Thanks: 1
Thanked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Quote:
Originally Posted by JOHN COOKSON View Post
Don't leave the key in the on position to long when the engine is not running when you do the testing or the coil will over heat and be damaged. I don't know what the "official" guideline is. I get antsy when the key is on and the engine is't running after ~ 45 seconds.
Thank you, will keep that in mind.

BTW, do you know if electronic ignition avoids this problem? Maybe I should think about it. But that leads us a little away from the main topic of this thread.

Quote:
Originally Posted by JOHN COOKSON View Post
On another subject, do you have the Moyer manual? It is a treasure trove of information on the A4. I didn't reread the thread. Maybe it has been mentioned already.

TRUE GRIT
Has not been mentioned in this thread. But yes, I have the Moyer 'bible'.
Reply With Quote
  #24   IP: 128.220.159.8
Old 06-14-2019, 01:13 PM
ernst ernst is online now
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Dec 2009
Posts: 69
Thanks: 1
Thanked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Quote:
Originally Posted by edwardc View Post
Go to your local Harbor Freight and pick up one of these fluid line clamp kits. Cheap ($8), easy to use, and keeps your coolant loss to about half a cup when changing impellers.
Thank you! I had no idea such a thing exists and I will definitely pick up a set.

After I lost all the coolant in the first place, I emailed Tom Stevens (Indigo) and he suggested I use visegrips on the hoses. I did that and it worked but I am a bit concerned about damage to the hoses. These clamps looks a bit more gentle.
Reply With Quote
  #25   IP: 138.207.175.58
Old 06-14-2019, 04:14 PM
Administrator's Avatar
Administrator Administrator is online now
MMI Webmaster
 
Join Date: Oct 2004
Location: Chestertown, MD (Langford Creek)
Posts: 1,983
Thanks: 1,101
Thanked 211 Times in 110 Posts
Maybe we need to start a new category for neat toys from Harbor Freight.

Bill
Reply With Quote
Reply

Tags
circlip, coolant, snap ring, water pump

Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off

Forum Jump

Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
New impeller won't prime. Ajax Cooling System 26 06-13-2016 01:05 PM
Weep Hole Leaking After Impeller Replacement Bob Moriarty Cooling System 2 04-28-2014 02:15 PM
Replacment impeller for Oberdorfer not making the grade Baltimore Sailor Cooling System 17 06-28-2013 11:57 AM
Changing the impeller Unregistered Cooling System 10 12-03-2009 02:43 PM


All times are GMT -4. The time now is 12:21 AM.


Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.9
Copyright ©2000 - 2019, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.


Universal® is a registered trademark of Westerbeke Corporation

Copyright © 2004-2019 Moyer Marine Inc.

All Rights Reserved