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  #51   IP: 73.229.9.254
Old 07-09-2018, 09:29 PM
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Dang I should've looked harder! That Moeller tank looks nifty. It looks like $185ish would've gotten me a new tank that would never corrode. Shoot. Oh well at least I can say mine is "vintage"
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  #52   IP: 71.178.83.216
Old 07-10-2018, 10:50 PM
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I have had zero problems with that tank in 9 years. I did have to bend the fill hose around the cockpit floor, but no issues other than that.
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"Twice Around" - '77 Catalina 30, #511 with original A-4 & MMI manifold.
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  #53   IP: 63.118.208.2
Old 08-30-2018, 11:11 PM
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So the next installment of my "Operation Learn Everything the Hard Way" came in the form of distributor overhaul. Reading through the various timing/distributor/electronic ignition/ignition-coil-overheating threads, I determined that I had the late model Delco distributor with points. Despite the well-documented coil overheating issues that can arise with electronic ignition setups, I felt the benefits of a simplified ignition system with less moving parts seemed to outweigh the drawbacks and bought the Pertronix kit with the suggested higher resistance MMI ignition coil. (The only pictures I can find in my iPhoto album are of the pre EI install)

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The Pertronix kit installed easily enough. While I had the distributor opened up, I thought the flyweights in the body of the distributor could benefit from some white lithium grease so I smeared a little bit on with my finger. I don't recall what, if any, thread prompted me to do that but I'm not even sure that's advisable. Unfortunately my ignorance when it came to all matters of ignition timing and distributors may have manifested in a much more significant way later on. To be continued....
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An old Airline Pilot proverb: "If we don't help each other nobody else will."
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  #54   IP: 71.178.80.35
Old 08-31-2018, 12:26 AM
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Jonathon, One of the issues we are finding with switching to electronic ignition (because it is low maintenance) is neglect of the advance weights, (which still require regular maintenance.) It is great you decided to clean/lube them up. Also, the higher resistance moyer coil should pair nicely with the Pertronix unit.

edit - I will be curious to hear how the grease does. I personally worry about caking and build-up, but I have no real world basis with this assembly to back that up. I usually use a lightweight oil, so let's compare notes after you've got some time on the engine. Mine seems to still stick on occasion and the motor stumbles here and there after running for a few hours at 2,000 RPM. What I have discovered that is slightly counterintuitive, is when the motor stumbles your brain says to throttle down...I've found it is better to go WOT for a couple minutes to force the weights out even more to break the stickiness (and stumble) that seems to occur during long duration cruise RPM events.
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"Twice Around" - '77 Catalina 30, #511 with original A-4 & MMI manifold.
She is always happy with a clean bottom!

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  #55   IP: 67.176.27.175
Old 11-03-2018, 12:37 AM
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At this point in the process, I started to piece the motor back together. To recap, up to this point I had done the following:
  1. Unnfrozen the rotating assembly by copious amounts of MMO deposited down the spark plug holes combined with brute force/sledge hammer on the flywheel
  2. Rebuilt the carb
  3. Drained the fuel tank of old gas and water
  4. Refilled the tank with fresh gas (ethanol-free 100 octane low lead aka "avgas" for piston-powered aircraft)
  5. Installed a new electric fuel pump
  6. Replaced and rerouted all the fuel lines
  7. Removed, cleaned and re-lapped the valves
  8. Installed new valve springs
  9. Installed new batteries
  10. Installed Pertronix Electronic Ignition in distributor
  11. Took the cylinder head to machine shop to get "Decked" and repaired 3 out of 4 stripped spark plug bosses
  12. Vinegar soaked and painted manifold
  13. Reassembled everything
  14. Drank enough beer to cause an increase in hops commodity prices in the western United States
  15. Philosophized if the internal combustion engine was really just an elaborate Rube Goldberg riddle established by a diabolical secret society with informal ties to the Free Masons in order to promote human suffering.

"At this point, what else could possibly go wrong?" Cough, cough, cough.

With everything pieced together, I hooked up a 6' piece of 1-1/4" black iron pipe as a makeshift exhaust since I hadn't finished replacing the wet exhaust hose from the water lift muffler to the transom yet. I hooked up a remote starter, gave it some gas, and...

+ YouTube Video
ERROR: If you can see this, then YouTube is down or you don't have Flash installed.


You'd think after all that effort and a successful start you'd hear me shouting with joy in the background over the noise of the Atomic dutifully putt-putting away, but you don't. It's difficult to see in the video, but when I cranked and throttled up the engine, I lost my balance and fell over when the boat all the sudden jolted forward. That's when I noticed that despite the fact the shifting lever on the engine (as well as the cockpit lever) were in neutral, the prop shaft was turning and pushing the boat forward in the slip until it pulled tight against the dock lines. Riddle me this Batman: What would cause the prop shaft to turn despite the reversing gear lever in the neutral position!? I'll give you a hint....

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An old Airline Pilot proverb: "If we don't help each other nobody else will."

Last edited by Launchpad McQ; 11-03-2018 at 01:04 AM. Reason: YouTube embed epic fail
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  #56   IP: 73.100.102.161
Old 11-03-2018, 08:13 AM
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Oh man! after your rebuild that's what your tranny looked like? Is that water/antifreeze in there?
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  #57   IP: 67.176.27.175
Old 11-03-2018, 11:44 PM
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Believe it or not, that's what the oil looked like after sitting for 2+ years. There may be more to the story. #@NeilDutton.com/Facebook/Twitter/SnappyChat hypothesized that water may have gotten into this engine and I'd be inclined to agree. My guess is the 'PFO' had difficulties getting it started and had the thru-hull open as he cranked and cranked and flooded the engine. I'm basing this on my pre-buy conversations with him as well as the 'dimpling' I discovered on the block surface described in this thread:Dimpling

To cut to the chase, the problem (as I've yet to see anyone else encounter), was that the reversing gear 'discs' were rusted together from having been left in Forward while the boat sat unused for years. No matter what position the reversing gear lever was in (I had long since disconnected the shifting linkage from the cockpit to help isolate the problem) the entire assembly turned "as one piece of steel" as Don phrases it in his Reversing Gear DVD. I have to admit, this drove me absolutely bonkers. After having gotten the engine running just to discover I couldn't reverse out of my slip, sent me through the roof. "Why the **** did I buy this boat?" was a frequent expression of mine around those days. As with many other "repairs" the ultimate solution proved to be copious MMO treatments squirted onto the top of the discs through the open reversing gear cover followed with gentile tapping against the bronze disc tabs with a punch and small ball peen hammer in addition to prying with an X-acto knife between the discs. Amazingly after almost a month of infrequent tinkering, I was able to loosen up the reversing gear cluster to allow the engine to turn while allowing for a 'neutral.'
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  #58   IP: 73.100.102.161
Old 11-04-2018, 06:51 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Launchpad McQ View Post
Believe it or not, that's what the oil looked like after sitting for 2+ years. There may be more to the story. #@NeilDutton.com/Facebook/Twitter/SnappyChat hypothesized that water may have gotten into this engine and I'd be inclined to agree. My guess is the 'PFO' had difficulties getting it started and had the thru-hull open as he cranked and cranked and flooded the engine. I'm basing this on my pre-buy conversations with him as well as the 'dimpling' I discovered on the block surface described in this thread:Dimpling

To cut to the chase, the problem (as I've yet to see anyone else encounter), was that the reversing gear 'discs' were rusted together from having been left in Forward while the boat sat unused for years. No matter what position the reversing gear lever was in (I had long since disconnected the shifting linkage from the cockpit to help isolate the problem) the entire assembly turned "as one piece of steel" as Don phrases it in his Reversing Gear DVD. I have to admit, this drove me absolutely bonkers. After having gotten the engine running just to discover I couldn't reverse out of my slip, sent me through the roof. "Why the **** did I buy this boat?" was a frequent expression of mine around those days. As with many other "repairs" the ultimate solution proved to be copious MMO treatments squirted onto the top of the discs through the open reversing gear cover followed with gentile tapping against the bronze disc tabs with a punch and small ball peen hammer in addition to prying with an X-acto knife between the discs. Amazingly after almost a month of infrequent tinkering, I was able to loosen up the reversing gear cluster to allow the engine to turn while allowing for a 'neutral.'
WOW...yeah, that is a lot of rust in there...you must've had to take apart the tranny bits to clean them up as well then (a scary task to me when I took apart my tranny bits)...
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  #59   IP: 166.151.214.194
Old 02-20-2019, 05:45 PM
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And spoil all the fun?! Sorry guys this isn't going to wrap up any time soon. Believe it or not I'm still in the rebuilding process so there's much more to come. According to iPhoto, here we go back to 2015...

+ YouTube Video
ERROR: If you can see this, then YouTube is down or you don't have Flash installed.


In the video description I typed up in 2015 you can see just how off base I was. My thought at the time was "sticking valve lifter, incorrect valve/lifter spacing, or 'burned valve.' Will update when cause is diagnosed." I can just see you ol' guys shaking your heads at the computer screen but keep in mind my background from post #25. I didn't have the wise Grandpa or mechanically inclined Dad to say "son, thats called 'detonation' and you've just gotta twist 'dat there distributor to set the timing right." So I didn't. And I ran the engine. Hard. For hours. I pulled the plugs to see if they offered any clues as to the noise but nothing incredibly conspicuous appeared:

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So back to the drawing board I went.
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An old Airline Pilot proverb: "If we don't help each other nobody else will."
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  #60   IP: 50.206.105.34
Old 02-26-2019, 11:45 PM
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Once I realized the knocking noise was ignition related, I watched Don's ignition DVD again and took notes this time. I read through some of the threads on "power timing" the ignition, the significance of 'Top Dead Center,' the relationship between the advance weights and the springs in the distributor. I excitedly hurried out and bought a timing light and watched every YouTube video on the subject. It was then I realized without any timing marks on the flywheel, I didn't have anything to really aim it at. I know some people have used the accessory pulley to set the timing but I found that a Dremel, a Bic white-out pen, and a protractor was the right solution for me:

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BTW, the small teak door and frame were off of a smaller Catalina that happened to be in my local Pick-n-Pull junkyard in Denver. How that thing ended up in a Colorado junkyard is anyone's guess:

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  #61   IP: 206.125.176.3
Old 02-27-2019, 02:17 PM
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That is certainly one way to do it McQ! Nice job on the door. All of my doors of that style had weakened frames. I used a simple flat "L" bracket at each corner and a little wood glue to stiffen them up.

The window pattern indicates that is a Catalina 25 of similar vintage to our late 70's early 80's boats.
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"Twice Around" - '77 Catalina 30, #511 with original A-4 & MMI manifold.
She is always happy with a clean bottom!

http://www.moyermarine.com/forums/signaturepics/sigpic3231_6.gif

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  #62   IP: 67.136.128.119
Old 02-27-2019, 11:57 PM
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I don't really have any pictures to include in this post of "the longest ongoing A-4 rebuild thread ever" because the next chain of events were mostly intangible.

After correcting the timing (detonation) issue, and running the engine with a mechanical oil pressure gauge hooked up to eliminate any potential electric gauge inconsistencies, I discovered that I had insufficient oil pressure. Like, very insufficient. It would start out around 20-ish psi and then rapidly decline to around 5 psi when the Cole Hersee low pressure/high temp switch I had installed earlier would kill the engine. I read every thread on this website involving oil pressure issues, oil type choices, etc. I purchased the fancy oil pressure regulating valve seat tool from Moyer, replaced the 'ball type' regulating valve with the 'cone type' valve, changed the oil to 15W-40 Rotella, dumped in bottles of Lucas Oil Stabilizer, all to no avail. After all of this effort, time, and money spent, the reality of the situation was that the motor needed to be rebuilt. The bottom end was just worn out. I'm not sure if running the engine as hard as I did with the timing so hideously off contributed to the bearings/crankshaft getting prematurely worn out but either way, this motor needed to come out of the boat. However I had another problem: I had scheduled our first haul-out for bottom paint etc 6 months prior with the expectation that I would have a running A-4 by this point. (April 2017) Without the motor running, I would have to get towed up to the boatyard (about 10 miles) and then back to my marina again after the haul-out was complete.

What followed was the most epic miscalculation of a project since the Boston 'Big Dig.' What I thought would take 4 days, took almost a month. What I thought would be around $1000, instead had my wife and I considering cutting our losses and abandoning the boat. The forthcoming post will be a little bit of a tangent from the specifically A-4 rebuild thread but I hope you'll indulge me so that I can show how such a seemingly straightforward task as doing a 'bottom job' could insidiously morph into such a boondoggle that a person would question their life choices. Give me a little time to edit the pictures and type the narrative but in the meantime, here was the beginning of haul-out nightmare 2017:

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P.S. In case it takes me a little bit to type up the next post I'll quickly say that Berkeley Marine Center (as inferred from the Travel-lift) had nothing to do with our headaches. The folks there were great, and whenever we sober up enough from this first haul-out experience, we'll happily give them our business again...if they'll have us.
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An old Airline Pilot proverb: "If we don't help each other nobody else will."

Last edited by Launchpad McQ; 02-28-2019 at 12:01 AM. Reason: Typo
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  #63   IP: 192.186.122.174
Old 02-28-2019, 08:42 AM
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This IS all being published as a softcover book soon I hope; you're a natural at story telling, pathos, humour, and sympathy
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  #64   IP: 173.244.44.99
Old 04-10-2019, 08:37 PM
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Oh Greg you can bet will be. I think there's likely something buried in the user agreement of this website where I surrendered all (unfathomably non)intellectual property over to Moyer Marine so Don's probably printing the "Anti-Atomic 4 Manual Volume 1: Don't Do What This Guy Did" He'll probably sell as many copies as the original Atomic 4 Manual.
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An old Airline Pilot proverb: "If we don't help each other nobody else will."
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Old 04-10-2019, 11:37 PM
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Haul Out Chapter 1

Remember back in post #2 where I thought a 'haul-out' was sailing slang for "partying on a boat for 2 days straight?" I can now say unequivocally it is the opposite of that. I promise if you make it to the end of this tangent, you'll see how a haul-out became the final straw to remove and rebuild the motor.

The Background:

The boat hadn't been hauled out in years and was in dire need of bottom paint. For the climate the boat was berthed in, (San Francisco Bay) and our usage pattern, (infrequent) our diver strongly recommended we switch from the ablative paint the PO used, to a copper-based 'hard' paint like Trinidad SR. Without the boat moving through the water frequently enough, the bottom growth built up quickly and he'd inadvertently remove too much paint with the quarterly bottom scrubbings. Switching paint types meant removing all the previous coatings back to bare gelcoat, and starting fresh with at least 2 coats of barrier coat, and 2 coats of bottom paint. The good news was, there were "no blisters and the hull is in good shape."cough cough

My date with the travel lift had been scheduled months in advance. While doing my due diligence on the project, I had called around to multiple Bay Area boatyards (most of whom had good reputations) to discuss pricing and the reply was always the same; "We'll see once we get the boat out of the water." Even when I pressed the issue for a 'ballpark' figure 'within a couple grand,' nobody would give me a straight answer. I became highly skeptical and formulated a complicated conspiracy theory that the Bay Area boatyards must be in cahoots with the State Of California and a seedy underworld of boat manufacturers to prevent people from maintaining their vessels thereby ensuring they must pay the California scrap fee and purchase new six-figure boats, generating massive registration tax revenue, which was then used to pay off the boatyards into complicity. It was a vicious cycle I had unwittingly stumbled upon. Well, there actually may be a small shred of truth lurking somewhere in that last sentence. Without getting political, I'll say the State of California has a significant amount of regulation on the books when it comes to bottom maintenance or vessel disposal. I came to realize the only way I would have any control over the cost of this project, was to D.I.Y it. Unfortunately that left me with only 2 options of boatyards who allowed DIY work. Even then, I was obligated to tarp the area under the boat, rent and use their sanding equipment exclusively, (one of those Gucci $2000 Festool HEPA vacuum powered sanding units) purchase consumables from the yard, and capture "95%" of the sanding dust. I selected Berkeley Marine Center because of their friendly, straight forward demeanor on the phone, as well as their proximity to my home port. I put a plan in motion. I'd have my wife and parents come out from Colorado to help with the sanding. My folks could stay at the nearby hotel while my wife and I would crash on the boat in the yard. With the 4 of us sanding all day Saturday and Sunday, we could be sipping wine by Sunday evening when I'd send them back home and finish up the priming and painting on Monday/Tuesday. Well, I got the Saturday part right I was just 26 days off on the prime/paint part.

The Haul-Out Begins:

Before we began, the plan started to unravel. In the months between scheduling the haul-out and the boat finally in the travel-lift slings, my wife and I found out we were expecting our first child. During the first ultrasound appointment, I had begun to ask the Doctor "Would it still be ok for a pregnant woman to operate aggressive power sanding equip...." and was immediately cut off. Like, Ned Stark in Season 1 of Game of Thrones head cut off, cut off. I'm pretty sure I'm lucky I got out of that Doctor's office with my head. My wife agreed to still come out for moral support but wouldn't be participating in any sanding of potentially noxious bottom paint. That left my seventy-something parents and I to the sanding.

We got the boat into the slings, but within minutes of getting the boat out of the water while the yard staff pressure washed off the barnacles, the owner of the yard supervising the lift operation said casually "Wow, look at all those blisters. Are you going to deal with those on this haul-out?" "Whhhhhhhatttt?" I replied in disbelief. "My diver said I didn't have any blisters!" As I tried to convince myself this guy who's spent 50+ years of his life around boats didn't know what he was talking about, I saw the telltale bumps begin to swell.

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It was a rough start but there was no turning back now. I suited up my parents in some brand new Tyvek suits and respirators, rented 3 of the Festool sanders for the day, gave them a quick tutorial about "keeping the sander flat against the hull" and let 'em loose. It was as comical as it was predictable. The industrial strength sanders immediately overpowered them as they tried to control the rogue tools that whipped around like possessed spinning demons. Imagine Wylie coyote getting spun around an axle and you have the mental image.

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Within an hour they were spent. I felt terrible for flying them all the way out to California for such an unpleasant project to begin with, and the realization they just weren't physically strong enough for the task was deflating for everyone. I tried to keep morale up by saying "just take a break, I'll keep going" but it quickly sank in this project just went from 4 laborers to 1. I could extrapolate from the day's (lack of) progress that I was facing many, many days of sanding before I could even think about tackling the blister repairs. In an effort to get a 'quick win' I turned to the cutlass bearing replacement. With the shaft out, I carefully hacksawed through the old worn bearing, applied my homemade press-tool, and went to town:

+ YouTube Video
ERROR: If you can see this, then YouTube is down or you don't have Flash installed.


The next day was an even larger fail than the previous. You'd think a holiday as significant as Easter would've registered on our collective radars but in commotion of getting the boat towed up, hoisted, and launching into the project, we completely forgot the yard was closed and we wouldn't be able to do any work. On top of that, it had rained heavily the during the night and my tarp was now floating under the boat. We made a trip to Home Depot, kicked around Berkeley a little, had a cup of coffee at the original Pete's Coffee, and pretty much called it a day.

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As we sat down for Easter dinner in the hotel that night, I tried to assure everyone that after I drove everyone back to the airport, I'd get the project back on track. I'd re-double my sanding efforts and have the boat back in the water by "maybe Thursday or Friday" now. I could sense the mixed looks of concern and doubt on my wife and parents' faces as I drank my wine as fast as possible to numb my sore arms. Their doubt was warranted.

To be continued...
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An old Airline Pilot proverb: "If we don't help each other nobody else will."

Last edited by Launchpad McQ; 04-11-2019 at 04:06 PM. Reason: Brevity, grammer, YouTube shennanigans
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