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Old 04-27-2018, 01:49 PM
bcbristoll bcbristoll is offline
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New owner here...and some seemingly embarrassing questions

First, how neat to find a community dealing with the Atomic 4

I just purchased an old 1966 Columbia 31 with an Atomic 4

The old owner told me in the fall he drained the oil (Is this normal ?)

Next and this seems silly....Where do you put the oil in ? No breather or cap ??
also, is there a dip stick ? or how to you check how much oil the engine has ?

thanks in advance for any advice
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Old 04-27-2018, 06:16 PM
Ram41662 Ram41662 is offline
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BC,

For the dip stick, take a look at the far end of the engine.

As for the filler, it should be right above the flywheel cover,

If you're not familar with older engines the oil filler cover doesn't look quite right. It more of a cupped cap than the contemporary flat caps.

I've attached a couple of pictures of Moyer's "perfect A4" to help you better identify these parts.

Rick
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Old 04-27-2018, 06:22 PM
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If it's a 1966 engine in a 1966 boat it's an early model configuration for which I know very little personally. For the oil fill, look for a hinged lid below the distributor. As for the dipstick, someone with early model knowledge will be along soon I'm sure.
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Old 04-27-2018, 06:50 PM
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Early model oil fill. http://www.moyermarineforum.com/foru...&pictureid=613
Dan S/V Marian Claire
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Old 04-27-2018, 06:51 PM
Ram41662 Ram41662 is offline
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I keep forgetting my 1969 is considered a "late model"

Neil is right, if it is a 1966 vintage "older model" the the oil filler should be a hinged cover outboard of the distributor.

As for your dip stick, it is possible you might not have one, at least according to this thread: http://www.moyermarineforum.com/foru...ead.php?t=1020

Even here, it sounds like the dipstick, if it was present, should be at the back of the engine.
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Old 04-27-2018, 07:22 PM
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Marian Claire Marian Claire is offline
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Yes. The dip stick is in the red circle on the pic I posted.
Dan S/V Marian Claire
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Old 04-27-2018, 07:34 PM
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The early dip stick as four "zones" 1 / 2 / 3 / 4. The proper level depends on the angle at which the A-4 is installed.
Dan S/V Marian Claire
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Old 04-30-2018, 03:46 AM
bcbristoll bcbristoll is offline
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Hey everyone,
thanks for the quick responses.
Ram, I wish my engine looked like that....that picture makes sense, but I don't have a breather cap there.
Marian the first time I looked at the link you supplied I looked on my motor for the area you had circled. I couldn't find it so I wanted to look again at the picture and I get that it's an invalid album ?? Could you resend that link? Wow, never thought such a simple thing would be so difficult.

thanks again for responding
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Old 04-30-2018, 10:22 AM
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This may help. Post # 3 http://www.moyermarineforum.com/foru...ead.php?t=4010
Dan S/V Marian Claire

And welcome to the forum.

Last edited by Marian Claire; 04-30-2018 at 10:24 AM.
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Old 04-30-2018, 01:57 PM
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Lets keep it simple - on my 1966 early model A4 dip stick is little 1/2 inch round cap just behind distributor in a little "well" on block - easy to overlook if you do not know its there. Best way to change oil is to extract through the rectangular flip lid just right of the distributor. Caution that it fills slowly using a funnel. Just behind and below the carb you have a 1/2 inch oil drain screw cap which is really too low to drain the about 4 qts. There is a small lever connected to a built in hand pump next to it. If you have the room, can angle your wrist in there around the carb to work the pump and place a narrow container [I use a small disposable aluminum "loaf" container] to catch the oil out of the drain you can get the last 3/4 qt of oil out of the pan. I assure you it is worth it since it is much dirtier than the rest. You can pump all the oil out using the hand pump but it is very awkward and slow [easier when the motor was mounted on a tractor]. good luck
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Old 04-30-2018, 03:09 PM
bcbristoll bcbristoll is offline
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Hi guys,

Yea, success !! I found both the oil filler and the dip stick .....geeez, good thing there is an entry panal on the side. Thanks so very much.

Next I guess check the plugs, points ( wow when was the last time I played with points?) and people here seem to think it's a good idea to change the water pump impeller(s).

So, here is another odd question. There is no radiator so I assume the motor continually run fresh water thru the engine ?? If so how does it ever get warm ?
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Old 04-30-2018, 03:14 PM
bcbristoll bcbristoll is offline
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Hey Sam,
On a tractor ?? I have an electric pump I use on an old BMW to remove the oil (too hard to get underneath)....Will That be able to remove all 4 qts ?? Glad to see I'm not the only one with an old Atomic4. I here good things about this motor...guess I'll find out.
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Old 04-30-2018, 03:45 PM
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I bought a cheap amazon oil transfer pump/kit to get all the old oil out.
The intake line went thru the dipstick hole.
Pretty much got everything out the engine.

Worked great.
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Old 04-30-2018, 04:12 PM
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bc: Now that you have found the dipstick you can see how small the opening is on the early model. About the size of a pencil. I use the hand pump near the carb for oil changes. By adding a short piece of hose to the hand pump you can make things much less awkward.
Yes. As best as I can tell the early models did not have a T-stat so "raw" water, what ever the boat is sitting in be it salt/fresh/polluted fresh/brackish, ran freely thru the A-4. Some folks used a recirculating loop to route some of the hot water back thru the engine. This valve gives you some control over the operating temp but must be adjusted manually. Then the Dole T stat was offered as a aftermarket upgrade and allowed for hands off temp control. You can see what it looks like on the pictures sent earlier.
Check and see if you have the Dole housing and we can go from there.
Dan S/V Marian Claire

Edit: +1 on what Sam said about refilling the oil slowly.

Last edited by Marian Claire; 04-30-2018 at 04:18 PM.
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Old 04-30-2018, 08:32 PM
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My tractor comment was referring to A4 variants which were previously used on jeeps and small farm tractors etc. When the engine is mounted up on a frame a "drain plug" at the very bottom and side of the pan is accessible but on a boat it is not unless you want oil al over the bilge/engine compartment etc. I use a 12 volt electric pump and sometime a vacuum pump through the dipstick tube to change oil [couple times a season, especially for winter layup]. Regardless how far down I play with the change intake tube I still get about an additional 1/2 qt of pretty dirty oil using the low right side hand pump. Probably no problem if it was left in since it gets mixed with new oil but if I can get it out I do. I remember as a young engineering student 50 yrs ago reviewing some SAE "wear" charts and became fastidious about changing oil especially when there is no filter. I
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Old 04-30-2018, 08:43 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sam View Post
My tractor comment was referring to A4 variants which were previously used on jeeps and small farm tractors etc. When the engine is mounted up on a frame a "drain plug" at the very bottom and side of the pan is accessible but on a boat it is not unless you want oil al over the bilge/engine compartment etc. I use a 12 volt electric pump and sometime a vacuum pump through the dipstick tube to change oil [couple times a season, especially for winter layup]. Regardless how far down I play with the change intake tube I still get about an additional 1/2 qt of pretty dirty oil using the low right side hand pump. Probably no problem if it was left in since it gets mixed with new oil but if I can get it out I do. I remember as a young engineering student 50 yrs ago reviewing some SAE "wear" charts and became fastidious about changing oil especially when there is no filter. I
Sam, the guys here have always said that the Atomic Four was only a marine engine and was not used on tractors or Jeeps. Do you have any info that says otherwise. Always good to learn more Atomic Four history...
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Old 04-30-2018, 09:59 PM
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I wouldn't take it as gospel, but the Atomic 4 block sure looks a lot like a Willy's L134.

As for me, working on my A4 reminded me VERY much of working on the small 1960's era gasoline powered air compressors of my youth. Some of them were only 30 to 60 HP.
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Old 04-30-2018, 10:03 PM
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I think Don covers this somewhere on his website, but the A4 flathead four-cylinder engine is marine-only. There are several tractor and forklift engines out there with similar designs, after all there are not too many ways of getting the job done with four cylinders and a flat head, but they don't have the exact shape of the A4 mounts, nor are they cast out of the same high-nickel, rust resistant steel. Some of the ignition and fuel components are usable across many such engines (for example I don't think the Zenith carb is A4-specific).
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Old 04-30-2018, 10:29 PM
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From the Old Marine Engine discussion board

Quote:
In 1947 the Atomic Four was introduced. It was a 4 cylinder inline / 1 litre (64.46 cu. in.) / 30 hp engine, Model UJ - 5101 (direct drive) / UJR - 5102 (2:1 reduction gear) / UJVD - 5103 (V drive, 1:1, 1.29:1, 1.67:1, 2:1 reduction gear options) L head (flat head) engine incorporating an integral reverse gear, with roots stretching back to the earliest Universal 4 cylinder engines. It was not a modified Jeep or Farmall tractor engine (the early military and civilian Jeep engine was a 4 cylinder, L head design like the Atomic Four, but it was twice the size of the Atomic Four at 2.2 litres (134 cu. in.) and had 3 main bearings - the Atomic Four has 2. In 1953 Jeep switched to an F head engine) and if anything was based on the successful Utility Four life boat engine. Sales of the Atomic Four grew strongly after 1955 as the recreational sailboat market expanded.
To add to Tenders post, as far as I know the industrial engines that were marinized (Palmer, Gray Marine) had center main bearings. The Atomic 4 does not, never did. However, I can cite a single instance I know of where an Atomic 4 was used in an industrial application. At Islander Yachts one of our forklifts needed a heart transplant and we had maybe 20 A-4's on the shop floor. Our maintenance mechanic/tool repair guy was quite a craftsman and very resourceful so in about a week there was one less A-4 on the shop floor and a forklift back in service.
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Old 05-02-2018, 09:55 AM
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I have to say, the people I'm meeting here are very much like the people I'm meeting at the boat storage yard. Good group of people. My reference to the tractor was just old memories I have of an old IH H I bought when I had a small farmette. Working on the motor was just pulling up a chair, getting comfortable and messing around. I see the boat isn't quite that way. Only thing I used the tractor for was to drive the kids around and on occasion drive into town and have a beer. Boat mission today is to change the plugs..look for the hand pump and see if i can remove any more oil and fill it up. Gets launched 5/17. Not sure if I'll change the points. I will take a look and see how hard it will be. Of course the distributor is in the back also. Do they make electronic points for this ?? Also going to look into replacing all the interior lights with LEDs. Any more suggestions ?

and again, thanks everyone!!
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Old 05-02-2018, 10:55 AM
JOHN COOKSON JOHN COOKSON is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bcbristoll View Post
. Not sure if I'll change the points. I will take a look and see how hard it will be. Of course the distributor is in the back also. Do they make electronic points for this ??
!!
Yes, there is an electronic ignition module for the A4. MMI sells them.
If changing\servicing the points is difficult an electronic ignition module is a very good idea. You will never have to fool with points again.

TRUE GRIT
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Old 05-02-2018, 11:37 AM
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I think the electronic ignition upgrade is the second best headache/headscratch reducer per dollar that you can get. No more gapping points, wondering if the points are bad, questioning the condenser, dealing with the electrical contacts....

The first best is the fuel pressure gauge, but if you're already going to be monkeying with the ignition system why not just upgrade it now.
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Old 05-04-2018, 12:13 PM
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Hi again,
Oil change and plug replacement went fine. Also connected the batteries.

Question 1 (photo 1) There are 2 additional wires connecting the pos and negs together (connected in parallel). I thought one battery was for electronics and one for the motor. Doesn't hooking them together kind of negate this idea ?? Is this a good idea ??

2. 2 valves here. I assume one is for the fuel, what's the red handled one?
3. The engine compartment is filthy....I'd like to steam clean this but is there a better solution?

4. Here are 2 valves connected together any ideas ? (photo 3)

5. And of course there is this valve way in the back of the engine.(photo 4)

6. And finally, what is this ? (photo 5)

All right now I'm sure you want a consultants fee...

Didn't get a chance to pull of the distributor cap to take a look underneath...with any luck it'll have electronice points but somehow I don't think so.
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Old 05-04-2018, 02:16 PM
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1)Both batteries are just hooked together daisy chain. They are not separate. For true separation there has to be a battery selection switch. With a switch you can tell the system to use battery1, battery2, or both. With a switch the batteries are not connected directly. The way yours is if something drains the battery, both will be dead. Nothing wrong doing this just don't have a 'backup' battery with this setup.

2)Just guessing...but it looks like a thruhull connection to the outside of the boat. Perhaps thats where water comes in to cool the engine. Trace the line from that valve. If it goes to the water pump on the back of the motor, you have your answer.
The small brass valve is connected to the oil pressure system. You probably have an oil pressure gauge somewhere.

3)not sure

4)I'd want to look real close to see if they are both actually connected to the same line or just are close enough but are on different lines. Another guess, but that looks like a raw water strainer, that the valves connect to.

5)that looks like a fuel valve of some sort, from the type of the green line and the fact its real close to the fuel tank. I just had to replace the fuel tank due to rusting through.

6)Most likely its a fuel filter.
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Old 05-04-2018, 05:35 PM
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Following up on (1), it is typical for the negative (black) terminals to be connected together, and to the boat, as a "common ground." This will still allow separation of the battery power because the positive (red) terminals are usually kept separate by the battery selector switch. The potential issue with your setup is that anything that goes wrong with one battery (failed cell resulting in low voltage, device left on, overcharging, whatever) will bring the other battery along with it.

Photo (2), the brass T-valve is by my estimation most likely attached to plumbing intended to expedite the use of an oil changing device - some kind of vacuum pump. A nice feature. The red handled valve is a seacock for either the engine raw water intake, or (more likely by my guess) for a cockpit drain. You'll need to follow the hose.

Photo (3), I agree with Cajun, that's a bit of a mystery! The bronze canister part is a raw water strainer (you can see one side of it labeled IN). The two valves are stem valves and are not suited for marine use, although tens of thousands of them were installed in the '60s and '70s, even in brand new boats. The ball valve, like in photo 2, is the right way to go. It is likely that those are different lines. But if they happen to be the same line, there might be a fitting between those two valves allowing winterizing antifreeze to be poured into the raw water line into the engine without accidentally leaking the other direction and out of the boat (the valve closest to the water supply would be closed; the other valve, open).

Photo (4), my money is on this being the engine raw water intake valve.

Photo (5) is a nice spin-on fuel filter. Replace this filter every few years. I always write the date of installation in a few prominent places on the filter, although when you take it off, fuel might drip on the writing and obliterate it. Note, they're called "spin-on" filters and not "spin-off" filters. They can be super difficult to remove. Even with a strap wrench, which in my engine room is hard to put on and hard to activate, I always seem to end up mangling mine no matter how conscientious I was when putting the new one on. We often suggest installing a small in-line "polishing filter" between the fuel pump and the carburetor as extra insurance.
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