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  #1   IP: 64.183.169.46
Old 05-07-2018, 05:22 PM
chrisoelder chrisoelder is offline
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Smile '78 Ericson27 Atomic 4 Universal Overheating

I bought my boat 2.5 weeks ago and it was running great the first weekend. I took her out last Saturday (5/5), she warmed up for about 15-20 mins. While warming up I had it in neutral and little to no throttle, the exhaust looked normal and the raw water flow was going not a lot but more than drops. After pulling out of the slip and motoring down the channel I noted some smoke coming from the engine compartment. I removed the cover and turned off the engine. The exhaust raw water flow was very little at this point. After sailing around the marina for about 30-45 mins I restarted the engine. Let her warm up for a few minutes, then threw her into gear to get us out of the channel, raw water flow seemed normal to what I was used to with the boat. While out in the Santa Monica Bay I used the engine for about 15 mins and again she was running fine with normal raw water flow. When coming back into the marina we decided to do a little harbor cruise. We were motor sailing and the engine started to overheat again. The engine was in neutral for the most part during the harbor cruise and the water flow became very little.

After getting back into the slip I concluded it was most likely the impeller was old and not creating enough suction at the lower RPMs to cool the engine. Sunday (5/6) I took the impeller out and went to West Marine. I had their expert take a look at the impeller and he believes that isn't the issue. The impeller is in good shape, a lot of movement with the arms and not a lot of corrosion. He suggested I take a look at raw water filters, thermostat, the exhaust line, and any possible clogs or blockages. After returning to the boat I looked for a raw water filter but couldn't find one in the line. So I took the housing off the thermostat and there was nothing there, no thermostat, nothing. I took some photos and videos, please use these links to view them.

https://drive.google.com/file/d/1t7c...ew?usp=sharing
https://drive.google.com/file/d/1m7a...ew?usp=sharing
https://drive.google.com/open?id=1cM...g_uXcBwNb52_R_
https://drive.google.com/file/d/1eRP...ew?usp=sharing
https://drive.google.com/open?id=1yw...HiJc8x5AfdGQ0n

I am assuming this is not normal and after doing some research I am noticing that I should have a valve on the cooling line (which I don't, at least between the thermostat and the nameplate - see the images and video above). Could this be the issue of my A4 Universal overheating while idling for a while?

I am looking for any and all suggestions to what is causing this issue. Also is there a way I could "flush out" the system to see if there is a blockage somewhere down the line?

Thanks!
Chris

Location: Marina Del Rey, CA
Boat: Meru - 1978 Ericson 27
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Old 05-07-2018, 09:54 PM
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I just recently brought an A4 back from the dead. One of the issues I had when it got running was overheating within a few minutes of starting.

Tested the water pressure coming out of the water pump.
good.

tested the water coming out of the thermostat cover.
good.

tested the water going into the exhaust manifold.
good.

tested the water coming OUT of the exhaust manifold.
very little and erratic flow.

Removed the outlet water line from the exhaust manifold.
Stuck a screwdriver in the manifold water outlet and swished it around.
Big clod of black goo came out.
Tested water flow out of manifold outlet.
Water gushed out.

Put it back together, has barely gotten warm since then.

Can be simple.
Start at the pump, work your way along the water flow, till you find something that doesn't flow.


Its also important to know whether you have a fresh water cooling system or a seawater cooling system.
Seawater pumps water thru the motor, then out the boat.
Freshwater goes thru a water cooled radiator.

What kind do you think have?

You said there was nothing under the thermostat cover.
That means there is nothing in the motor to slow down the water flow.
but for heat to happen, the water flow has to be blocked someway.
In my case, blockage of the outlet exhaust manifold was the cause.

The valve you speak of is just a method to get water to either go into the motor for full cooling or have some of the water bypass
the motor, so it warms up.
Valve closed = no bypass water, all runs thru the motor. Lots of cooling.
Valve open=some water does not cool the motor and just leaves. More warm.

This is the bypass valve on my engine.
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Last edited by CajunSpike; 05-07-2018 at 10:46 PM.
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Old 05-07-2018, 10:23 PM
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The intermittent over heat is probably caused by something floating in the cooling passages that gets in a position to block water flow. Turn off the engine and it floats out of the way and all is as it should be until you start up the engine again.

Cajun is right with the diagnoses.

I would bet on the exit to the exhaust manifold because the exhaust manifold is large enough that it can have large rust flakes that can swim around and periodically block the exist.

Another place to look is at the T going into the side plate directly after the pump. Bits of impellers of Christmas's past can get caught there.
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Old 05-07-2018, 10:29 PM
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That's very impressive! Congrats on getting her running!

I am very new to this and wanted to apologize for my ignorance

How do you perform these tests? Based off what you are saying it sounds like that could be my issue.


The pump I am referring to is my raw saltwater cooling system.

That would make sense that it might not be the lack of a bypass valve but that water is getting clogged up. If I find out that it isn't my lack of a thermostat do you recommend getting a bypass valve either way?

A blockage in the outlet exhaust manifold would make sense since I am getting a strange flow of water. Just so i know this is the exhaust manifold
Name:  Screen Shot 2018-05-07 at 7.26.55 PM.jpg
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If so, did you just remove one of the pipes and just clear it out?

If my memory serves me, after the water runs from the image above it meets with the exhaust in this big metal thing in a cockpit locker before it exits the boat

Last edited by chrisoelder; 05-07-2018 at 10:32 PM.
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Old 05-07-2018, 10:30 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by zellerj View Post
The intermittent over heat is probably caused by something floating in the cooling passages that gets in a position to block water flow. Turn off the engine and it floats out of the way and all is as it should be until you start up the engine again.

Cajun is right with the diagnoses.

I would bet on the exit to the exhaust manifold because the exhaust manifold is large enough that it can have large rust flakes that can swim around and periodically block the exist.

Another place to look is at the T going into the side plate directly after the pump. Bits of impellers of Christmas's past can get caught there.
Thats a great idea!

How would you suggest testing the "T" out?
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Old 05-07-2018, 10:56 PM
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Yes the part in the pic, above the carburetor, is the manifold.

Specifically this is what I did.

Remove the line from the block to thermostat housing.
Crank the engine over, see if water flows.
yes? that's not the problem.
No...problem is there somewhere. Probably water pump(or T connector clogged as noted, great idea!).

Put line back to thermostat housing in.

Remove the line coming OUT the thermostat housing into the exhaust manifold inlet. I loosened the manifold end.
Crank the engine over, see if water flows out the hose.
Yes? That's not the problem.
No...problem is in there. Clogged housing?

Put the line back to manifold inlet.

Remove the water line exiting the exhaust manifold.
Crank the engine see if water flows.
Here is where i found little to no water flowing...thus revealing the problem. Yes I removed the brass fitting for access to the manifold exit hole to clean it out. A little random digging around was enough to free the clog...so next time I cranked it to check water flow, the water flushed the exhaust manifold outlet clean. Put the fitting and hose back on, and run see if it still heats up. Only other thing after this would be if the main exhaust hose has possibly collapsed internally due to age. This is simple enough to try.

If you want a short cut, just remove the manifold outlet line and crank the motor. Warning lots of water! If you get good water there, look further back. If you get nothing there, start there and work towards the pump.

If you loosen/remove the T inlet line, you can force water backwards in the T to thermostat line and push any trash back toward the water pump.
It wouldn't actually go there if you have removed the pump to T line, but would flush out.

This pic is when I had removed the exhaust manifold Inlet to test flow to that point. On my engine, the 'front' of the manifold is the water inlet. The 'back' of the motor is the water outlet.

You can see the outlet line on the left side, red hose. Where the outlet 90 angle pipe was screwed into the manifold, was my clog area.

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Old 05-07-2018, 11:10 PM
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@CajunSpike

Makes sense. I was nervous to crank the engine without the cooling system 100% connected

Seems like a simple guess and check process. At the moment there is one thing I know when I open the sea valve water comes rushing where the impeller is.

This all makes a lot of sense (the kind of sense where you say "why in the hell didn't I think of that"). I will be getting back onto the boat this weekend and I will let you know what I find!


Thanks!
Chris
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Old 05-07-2018, 11:17 PM
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Honestly I was scared shi_less to touch anything when I first got this boat. Now that I understand it, no big deal. Just always be careful when it comes to water flowing.

I directed the open hoses to a bucket to catch the water from the test.

Don't have to run the motor for long. You just want to see if water flows..then can cut it off quickly before anything gets warm.

Outside water will mostly just get stuck in the pump not causing issues with a temporarily open water line, while testing.
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Old 05-07-2018, 11:32 PM
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Just make sure your thru-hull fitting/seacock is in good working order and actually stops all water.. (no way to check this except to pull the hose..have a backup plan like a tapered plug..which should be on the boat anyway for every seacock fitting.) The old school seacocks in my boat were failing and would not stop water flow, the hoses and clamps were the only thing keeping her afloat. What you really want to do hear is pull the hose off the water pump end that goes to the seacock, and see if the closed seacock holds the water. If you have a hose long enough to extend vertical above the waterline, the water will stop there at the static waterline where the boat floats..but keep in mind that is about at the same level as the settee (seat level) in the boats of our size.

Then, you can proceed to other tests, only the water that is already in the hoses and engine will get in the boat and can be pumped/sponged out. it seems like a lot when it is flying, but usually only a few gallons.
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Last edited by sastanley; 05-07-2018 at 11:42 PM. Reason: trying to be more specific
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Old 05-08-2018, 12:30 AM
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@sastanley From what I could tell when I was working on the pump on Sunday and the thru hull was holding pretty well. No excess water that i could tell

Good looking out though!
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Old 05-08-2018, 06:29 AM
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Chris, as I said on the Ericson site a few minutes ago, since you already know there is no thermostat installed, I think you should stuff a bolt into the bypass hose (the hose running from the tee into the thermostat housing), reattach the hose, and see how she runs.

It is entirely possible that you've got schmutz clogging the manifold, as is being helpfully suggested. But it's as, or more, likely that the problem is really just inconsistent water flow through the head due to the lack of a thermostat, and that's easier to fix with the bolt.

Once the bolt is in, if the problem persists, you can also deal with a lot of schmutz using the "acid flush" process. This is a good idea anyway with a new engine of unknown provenance, and I personally think the acid flush is somewhat easier than screwdriving junk out of the manifold. Plus, it will clean out not just the manifold but all the engine passages.

If the problems persist after the bolt and the acid flush, THEN get out the screwdriver. I'm 90% certain you won't need to.

Last edited by tenders; 05-08-2018 at 08:29 AM.
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Old 05-08-2018, 07:03 AM
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Cooling system troubleshooting

There are almost too many really great troubleshooting suggestions in these recent posts to keep track of!! Thank you Cajun Spike, Tenders, sastanley, to name just a few. Don
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Old 05-08-2018, 08:19 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by chrisoelder View Post
Thats a great idea!

How would you suggest testing the "T" out?
Helps to take off the alternator, then remove the hoses to the T and look for rubber bits of broken-off impeller blades stuck in the restrictions. I don't think this is your problem, because when there is a piece of rubber stuck in the T fitting, cooling issues are not intermittent.
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Old 05-08-2018, 09:16 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tenders View Post
Chris, as I said on the Ericson site a few minutes ago, since you already know there is no thermostat installed, I think you should stuff a bolt into the bypass hose (the hose running from the tee into the thermostat housing), reattach the hose, and see how she runs.

It is entirely possible that you've got schmutz clogging the manifold, as is being helpfully suggested. But it's as, or more, likely that the problem is really just inconsistent water flow through the head due to the lack of a thermostat, and that's easier to fix with the bolt.

Once the bolt is in, if the problem persists, you can also deal with a lot of schmutz using the "acid flush" process. This is a good idea anyway with a new engine of unknown provenance, and I personally think the acid flush is somewhat easier than screwdriving junk out of the manifold. Plus, it will clean out not just the manifold but all the engine passages.

If the problems persist after the bolt and the acid flush, THEN get out the screwdriver. I'm 90% certain you won't need to.
Bonus point for use of provenance.
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Old 05-08-2018, 01:33 PM
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THANK YOU!

This is all great! I have a lot of info and feel confident that I will be able to resolve this issue I am having. I am going to try and test the cooling line one step at a time, starting with tenders suggestion of bolting the bypass and then trying cajunspikes suggestion and remove manifold outlet line and see if any water comes out and working my way to the source

I really like the idea of doing an acid wash. Does anyone happen to have a link to a thread or instructions on how to do this? The idea of starting fresh is nice

As Don said, a lot of great info here. Thank you @tenders @zellerj @sastanley @cajunspike !!!

Cheers,
Chris
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Old 05-08-2018, 05:08 PM
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Instructions for how to do the acid flush, along with a vast amount of other useful information, are in the "Manual" - https://moyermarine.com/product/serv...erhaul-manual/

A must have for an A4 owner.

Peter
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Old 05-09-2018, 01:24 AM
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If it turns out that the manifold is plugged up after acid flushes and the bypass is blocked skip reaming with a screwdriver. Instead run water through the manifold at city water pressure. It will remove any plugs and the manifold water passage will be squeaky clean. You'll be amazed at what comes out.

TRUE GRIT
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Old 05-09-2018, 10:36 AM
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I'll be the first to say that its entirely possible the screwdriver didn't do anything. I included that because it happened. Its also just as possible that the strong volume of water moving thru the exhaust manifold for my test flushed it out since the outlet was completely open and unrestricted.
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Old 05-09-2018, 12:40 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JOHN COOKSON View Post
If it turns out that the manifold is plugged up after acid flushes and the bypass is blocked skip reaming with a screwdriver. Instead run water through the manifold at city water pressure. It will remove any plugs and the manifold water passage will be squeaky clean. You'll be amazed at what comes out.

TRUE GRIT
I like that idea. Are you thinking just a hose and a nozzle?

I think i will do that with the block also. My engine is pretty dirty and could use some cleaning.

Is anything I should be concerned about when doing this?

Thanks!
Chris
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Old 05-09-2018, 04:43 PM
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Instructions for the fresh water flush are, you guessed it, also in the manual.

Basically you make up an adapter that allows you to connect a garden hose to the block drains located below the alternator and the starter.

Amazing what comes out when you do this.

Peter
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Old 05-09-2018, 05:29 PM
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Excellent!

My plan of attack has changed a bit from before

Step 1 - Find the issue of where in the cooling line is clogging OR determine if my pump is bad.
Step 2 - If the pump is good, bolt off the bypass line to the themostat housing
Step 3 - Start the processing of completing an acid bath. It probably hasnt been done in a decade.
Step 4 - After finishing the acid bath, clean out the engine with fresh water.
Step 5 - Run the engine for about a hour to get the raw salt water flowing through

I feel that this plan of attack will help me determine what the issue is and resolve it at the same time.

What do you all think?
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Old 05-09-2018, 06:42 PM
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chrisoelder, good idea skip 4 and just go to 5 the salt water will rinse just fine.

Dave Neptune
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Old 05-10-2018, 01:48 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by chrisoelder View Post
I like that idea. Are you thinking just a hose and a nozzle?
Thanks
Chris
Attach a hose from city water to the manifold inlet or outlet barb. Attach a tube to the other manifold inlet\outlet barb and direct it to the cockpit. When I flushed my manifold I did a reverse flush - that is the opposite to the away the water normally flows. That said I really don't think it makes any difference which end of the of the manifold you use as the inlet because so much water will be forced through it.
It is a good idea to have a valve on the boat near the inlet that you can open gradually as you keep an eye on it. That way if something bad happens, like a hose popping off a barb, it won't be as big of a mess.

TRUE GRIT
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Old 05-10-2018, 09:20 AM
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I think #2 is something you need to do, not a step in the debug process.
If you have no thermostat, you need some restriction in the bypass line to make sure some water is going through the block.

If it were my engine, I'd put a bolt or a valve in the bypass first, then see if the problem went away before doing any of the other things.

Simon

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Originally Posted by chrisoelder View Post
Excellent!

My plan of attack has changed a bit from before

Step 1 - Find the issue of where in the cooling line is clogging OR determine if my pump is bad.
Step 2 - If the pump is good, bolt off the bypass line to the themostat housing
Step 3 - Start the processing of completing an acid bath. It probably hasnt been done in a decade.
Step 4 - After finishing the acid bath, clean out the engine with fresh water.
Step 5 - Run the engine for about a hour to get the raw salt water flowing through

I feel that this plan of attack will help me determine what the issue is and resolve it at the same time.

What do you all think?
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Old 05-13-2018, 09:21 PM
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RESULTS!

On Saturday morning I did the following:

1) Capped off the thermostat bypass

2) Performed the acid bath
2a) For the first 10 gallons the water was BLACK. After running another 2.5 gallons I started to backwash the engine.
Here is an image of the water
https://drive.google.com/open?id=1-c...Vd6VIpFw0NEGRm
2b) I backwashed about 20 gallons of fresh water through the engine until the water was coming out was clear on the water pump end.
2c) After that I flushed out the exhaust line
2d) Ran the engine for an hour with raw salt water and she ran clean and cool with a lot of water coming out the back. Made me very happy.
Here is a video I took
https://drive.google.com/open?id=1uk...aDUctLJU1OywIn
3) Checked the impeller and pump, they seemed to work perfectly.

On Sunday a buddy and I decided to do a 5-6 hour sail through the Santa Monica Bay. The engine started right up and was pumping a lot of water (like Saturday). After warming her up for about 10-15 mins we headed out the slip. We motored around the marina for about 15-20 mins to test out the engine, everything seemed fine. We raised the sails and began to sail around the bay.

About 5 hours later and about 15-20 mins from the breakwater to the marina I decided to turn on the atomic 4 while going about 4.5-5 knots with low swells and with the heeling of the boat on the thru-hull side. I kept the engine in neutral with the lowest amount of RPMS (throttle). I wasn't seeing a lot of water coming out of the exhaust but thought it might have been an illusion from the swell. I kept my eye on it and then right before we hit the breakwater (about 20 mins after starting) I could hear the engine struggling so I turn off the engine. Opened the compartment, and there was some white smoke coming from the oil cap area. Without a doubt overheating again. After sailing for about 30 mins to my basin. Kicked the engine over to get us into the slip and she turned right over with the same water flow I had Saturday and that morning. After getting into the slip I kept the engine running and she was running a lot more even and cool.

I decided to turn off the engine to investigate. While looking around I noticed that my thru-hull comes to a T right after the valve. The line not running to the water pump runs to another valve then up to my deck where I can attach a hose to clear out the exhaust (I'm a dummy and didn't realize what that was while doing the acid bath). Once I found it I attached my hose and cleared out my exhaust line, why not right. But when doing that I realized that valve was open. Could this valve being open cause the pump not to get enough pressure to suck in enough water for the engine while under sail and moving 4.5-5 knots?

Here is a video of my thru-hull set up (black hose runs to the water pump and the clear runs to the fresh water hose line with the valve closed)
https://drive.google.com/open?id=1h3...l6w1tAYX91ZP2G

SIDE QUESTION: Does anyone know what that other thru-hull is with the white hose?

Here is the engine running at different RPMs with the valve closed after washing the exhaust out
https://drive.google.com/open?id=16z...FobY9AMhiviH3f

Could that valve being open be the issue of the overheating in the bay? I am a little perplexed by this situation. Runs great in the marina, has a tough time running in the bay while sailing.

Let me know what you think! Making a lot of rookie mistakes going to learn from them.
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