Return to the home page...

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

Thread Tools Display Modes
  #1   IP:
Old 02-05-2005, 01:07 PM
shenanagins shenanagins is offline
Join Date: Feb 2005
Posts: 2
Thanks: 0
Thanked 0 Times in 0 Posts
start won,t start

can anyone out there help me as I cannot figure out what is going on with my motor.when I bought the boat, it would have periodic shutdown,s but would start again right away. this would only happen once in awhile,very seldom. Idecided to give it a tune up and replaced spark plugs wire,s roter cap and the coil. went on holiday,s and the motor ran very well. came into the slip and shifted into nuetral and the motor died and we ran into the dock. the atomic 4 would not start again. this was last august and since then havereplaced the head gasket timed the motor while the head was off.then I replaced all the wire from the ignition switch with tinned 14 ga. wire with new terminal end,s and solder each individual end with shrink wrap. I have even ran a wire from the battery positive side to the positive terminal of the coil. No GO. I can get power to the coil and to the points but it won,t go all the way to the plug,s. What am I doing wrong??? Now this is the best part, last weekend the motor started right up and ran wonderfully.took it out for afew hours, got back to the dock shut it down and then periodically tried starting it all day long.this weekend it won,t start again!!! HELP HELP!!
Reply With Quote
  #2   IP:
Old 02-06-2005, 02:28 PM
Davis Modlin Davis Modlin is offline
Senior Member
Join Date: Oct 2004
Location: Palmdale,Ca.
Posts: 11
Thanks: 0
Thanked 0 Times in 0 Posts
I had somewhat the same problem when I bought my ericson 29 a few years back. I would go out for a while and it would shut down, I would drop anchor or would pull up to an empty end tie, Pull the engine cover check for spark and low and behold I would have spark. As it turned out, the previous owner had put an external resistor coil on instead of an internal resistor one. What was happening was the coil would heat up and break down. By the time I would get the cover off the coil would cool down enough to start the engine.

I replaced the coil with an internal resistor one and have not had any problems since.

Reply With Quote
  #3   IP:
Old 02-06-2005, 04:36 PM
Don Moyer's Avatar
Don Moyer Don Moyer is offline
Join Date: Oct 2004
Posts: 2,784
Thanks: 0
Thanked 82 Times in 43 Posts

Here is a small guide for troubleshooting no spark. As long as you have your jumper wire connected between the positive battery cable and the positive terminal of the coil, you should be able to go directly to step 2. It's critically important to remove the jumper wire whenever you are not actually trying to start the engine. Having the jumper wire installed is exactly the same thing as letting the ignition switch on, and the coil will burn out quite quickly.

In most cases, complete absence of spark is caused by a break down within the primary circuit. This is the circuit which starts at the large battery terminal on the starter solenoid, runs to the ignition switch, and back to the positive terminal of the coil.

1) Take a volt/ohm meter and check for the presence of 12 volts between the positive terminal of the coil and ground (with the ignition switch on). It is best to continue checking voltage at the positive terminal of the coil while cranking the starter. The voltage may fluctuate between 9 and 12 volts as the points open and close. If you have normal voltage at the positive terminal of the coil, go to step two. If you do not have power there, troubleshoot the primary ignition circuit within your boat's electrical system.

2) Rotate the engine until the points are closed. Remove the secondary lead from the center of the distributor cap, and hold it approximately 1/4" from the cylinder head (leaving the other end of the lead installed in the top of the coil). Take a pencil or other pointed (non-electrical) tool, and open and close the points. Each time you open the points, you should see a secondary discharge between the end of the coil lead, and the head. If this is the case, go to next step. If there is no secondary discharge, your problem must be in the secondary part of the system: coil, distributor cap, and/or the secondary wiring harness.

3) If you had a good spark in the preceding step, you have checked everything but the actual timing of the engine. If the engine will still not start, go to step 4.

4) Rotate engine to bring the first cylinder to TDC.

5) Loosen the hold-down bracket on the base of the distributor.

6) Connect a 12 volt timing light across the primary terminals of the coil.

6) Rotate the distributor until the points (or the electronic ignition system) is just opening the primary circuit. This position will be indicated by the timing light going out.

8) Lock the distributor back in place by tightening the hold-down bracket.

Best regards,

Don Moyer
Reply With Quote
The Following User Says Thank You to Don Moyer For This Useful Post:
GregH (11-09-2017)
  #4   IP:
Old 02-06-2005, 09:29 PM
shenanagins shenanagins is offline
Join Date: Feb 2005
Posts: 2
Thanks: 0
Thanked 0 Times in 0 Posts
start no start

Don Thank,s for your reply, as this problem has being driving me a little crazy. What is bothering me is why would the motor run well one weekend very well and the next not run at all.OR HAVE NO SPARK AT THE plug,s. The timeing is prettywell on,asit ran very well last weekend. The oil pressure was at 40 psi. The temp was right on at 180 to 190.There was lot,s of power and no smoke out the exhaust the compression is 120 120 120 115. I appreciate any and all sugestions and will try all the steps you have given me. Tom Marcus
Reply With Quote
  #5   IP:
Old 03-07-2005, 03:15 PM
Jack Gilman Jack Gilman is offline
Join Date: Mar 2005
Posts: 1
Thanks: 0
Thanked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Question suggestion

Suggest you to have your carbuerator removed, and checked by a reputable
carbuerator shop. Had similar problems and purchased a new rebuilt and problem was resolved.
Reply With Quote
  #6   IP:
Old 10-14-2017, 08:59 AM is offline
New Member
Join Date: Aug 2016
Posts: 1
Thanks: 0
Thanked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Failure to start

I found my ignition coil secondary was prone to opening up (thus no spark) after the primary sees 12 volts for varying periods of time. There is 12 volts at the primary when the engine is cranking and I would find a spark when I first tried to start but after cranking for any extended period of time I would lose the spark.

The one ohm ballast resistor is a must as it reduces primary voltage by a couple of volts while the engine is running. Power at the coil is I squared times R so running coil power draw (and thus heating) is very much reduced with the resistor in series with the primary.

Basic problem was the choke not being fully closed and attempting to set the throttle too high while trying to start.

I have done a valve job on the engine while it was in the boat. Biggest problem was getting the valve spring retainers back in place upon completion!

Boat is a 30' Catalina.
Reply With Quote

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
Blue smoke on start up keithmatwichuk Troubleshooting 1 01-27-2005 08:43 AM

All times are GMT -4. The time now is 10:34 PM.

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