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  #76   IP: 75.147.56.13
Old 09-11-2018, 10:33 AM
GEM555 GEM555 is offline
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Originally Posted by joe_db View Post
Am I correct in thinking you take the cylinder head off and work on the valves every time you go out?
I don't. I have to $$$ to get a mechanic to get the valves to valve. Been through two cans of "Sea Foam" with no joy. The pattern is that the engine refuses to start after sitting idle for more than 1 or 2 days. Run it on Sunday and I can be assured that by Friday night, I can crank all I want and that engine will. not. start. That blows the weekend, then the mechanic during the following week, the bills and then MAYBE, i'll have an engine the following weekend. Maybe.
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Old 09-11-2018, 10:58 AM
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Did you see my questions?
First off, why did you buy a manifold?
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Old 09-11-2018, 11:21 AM
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When you come back to the boat and it won't start, do you squirt a little starting fluid down the carb to see if it will kick over that way? I'd highly suggest it. One of 3 things will happen:

1. It will kick over enough to get things moving then run on it's own.

2. It will kick over, then stop when the spray is gone. This means you've got a fuel problem somewhere from the carb back.

3. It won't kick over at all. This means you've got a spark/ignition problem.

If nothing else, this will at least narrow down the issue.
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  #79   IP: 75.147.56.13
Old 09-11-2018, 11:25 AM
GEM555 GEM555 is offline
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Originally Posted by joe_db View Post
Did you see my questions?
First off, why did you buy a manifold?
The old one was leaking (dripping) out what I was told was a winterization port and the leak could not be stopped. The sea water was landing on the top of the fuel pump.
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Old 09-11-2018, 11:32 AM
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Originally Posted by joe_db View Post
It is possible that engine just needs replacing.
It is also possible it is a $5 repair you all have not found yet.
You would have been well served to live-blog your repair efforts on this thread. The collective knowledge base here far exceeds almost any other engine you could name.
Let us start from the very basic premise that the engine needs to have compression and not have water in the cylinders for it to have a chance of functioning.
Did you pressure test the block? Results?
>>>Me? "Pressure test the block"? Surely, you jest. What's a "block"?

Did you pressure test the manifold? Results?
>>>It's new. With a new gasket.

Why did you buy a new manifold? What was wrong with the last one?
>>>Water leak with a winterization port. Could not be glued shut.

Did you do a compression test? Results?
>>> See "Pressure test the "Block"" above.
See my answers above. Thanks.
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Old 09-11-2018, 12:01 PM
Marty Levenson Marty Levenson is offline
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move on?

No disrespect, but my impression is that you don't want to learn how to keep these old engines running and instead want it all fixed and reliable as a kitchen appliance.

Without mindful preventive attention, you will continue to have problems - mostly minor and easily repairable. Most of us on this forum get a feeling of self-reliance and satisfaction from expanding our knowledge, heading off problems, and fixing issues.

I don't know about your aptitude, but your attitude seems incompatible with A4 ownership. Rather than continued resentment that these engines need care, I would suggest you get a boat with a new outboard for ease of service. Problems will still happen, but knowledgeable service will be easier to find.
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Old 09-11-2018, 12:24 PM
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Originally Posted by GEM555 View Post
The old one was leaking (dripping) out what I was told was a winterization port and the leak could not be stopped. The sea water was landing on the top of the fuel pump.
Well THAT would have been a good point to consult us. If the freeze plugs are leaking, that certainly doesn't require a whole new manifold if the manifold itself is intact. If the drain plug was leaking and/or the freeze plugs because the manifold was cracked, that can indicate the engine was allowed to freeze at some point and you may have one or more cracks in the block as well. Which is also why you need to pressure test the block. The symptoms seem similar to what I had with an A4 that had leaks into the cylinders.
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Old 09-11-2018, 12:27 PM
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Originally Posted by Marty Levenson View Post
No disrespect, but my impression is that you don't want to learn how to keep these old engines running and instead want it all fixed and reliable as a kitchen appliance.

Without mindful preventive attention, you will continue to have problems - mostly minor and easily repairable. Most of us on this forum get a feeling of self-reliance and satisfaction from expanding our knowledge, heading off problems, and fixing issues.

I don't know about your aptitude, but your attitude seems incompatible with A4 ownership. Rather than continued resentment that these engines need care, I would suggest you get a boat with a new outboard for ease of service. Problems will still happen, but knowledgeable service will be easier to find.
My A4 is as reliable as a kitchen appliance right now, but it took some doing to get there!
I agree, I don't think the OP is well suited for old boat maintenance. Something like a J-22 with almost no systems and an outboard that can be hauled to a shop or replaced would probably get him a lot more sailing with a lot less hassle.
The other idea is just buy a new Moyer engine and get a local yard to install it. YMMV on if that is worthwhile to you.
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Old 09-11-2018, 08:03 PM
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Marty, that's exactly what I observed three months ago.
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Old 09-12-2018, 10:20 AM
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Quote:
Fuel and spark delivered to the cylinders and compression. A properly functioning choke and correctly adjusted timing.
>>>Engine ran fine 5 short days previously. Typically will not start after sitting idle for more than one/two days.
This is typical behavior for sticking valves.

Quote:
Fuel: Do the cylinders smell of unburned fuel after a period of no start cranking?
>>>How to check? I have to rely on a mechanic for that.
To check, remove a spark-plug wire, remove the spark-plug using a deep-well socket wrench, and smell the end of the spark-plug.

Quote:
Is fuel collecting in the throat of the carburetor after a period of no start cranking? Is the fuel clean (no water in it)?
>>>How to check? I have to rely on a mechanic for that.
This one's easy. There will be a STRONG small of gas in the engine compartment, and gas will be dripping out of the bottom of the carb, from the joint between the carb and the flame arrestor.


Quote:
Spark: Hold a screw driver in a spark plug boot and see if you can jump an arc to a spark plug while cranking. Are the wires on the spark plugs in the correct firing order?
>>>Yes. I know that stuff is correct, because the engine ran fine 5 days ago.
But we're looking for the cause of an intermittant failure. What it did 5 days ago isn't nearly as important as what it's doing now. We need to check it when the engine wont start.

Quote:
Compression: Do a compression test.
>>>I have to rely on a mechanic for that.
To test, disconnect all spark plugs (keep track of which wire goes where), remove all the spark plugs, and for each cylinder one at a time screw-in a compression gauge in place of a spark-plug, crank the engine with the starter for a couple of seconds, and read the value off of the gauge.

Quote:
Choke: Is the choke closing all the way?
>>>Yes.
Its not enough to just check the choke knob, you have to remove the flame arrestor from the carb and look into it to see if the choke plate is actually closing.

Quote:
Timing:Is the rotor pointing to number 1 wire position on the distributor when #1 is at TDC
compression.
>>>I have to rely on a mechanic for that. Just out of curiosity, how in God's name can you see into the engine to determine where anything "is" at any given point in the combustion cycle?
You remove the distributor cap (the thing with all the spark-plug wires coming off of it) and check which direction the rotor indide the distributor is pointing. As for the engine, there is a timing mark (usually a V shaped notch) on the flywheel cover. A small pin thru the end of the shaft serves as a pointer. Using the starter, or a hand crank, uou rotate the engine until the pin lines up with the notch.


I know you're not mechanically inclined, but as you can see, these procedures are pretty simple. And even if you don't do them, this info can be passed on to whoever does work on the engine.
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Last edited by edwardc; 09-12-2018 at 10:25 AM.
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Old 09-12-2018, 07:14 PM
JOHN COOKSON JOHN COOKSON is offline
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Originally Posted by JOHN COOKSON View Post
Let's get back to basics. What does the engine need to start and run?
Fuel and spark delivered to the cylinders and compression. A properly functioning choke and correctly adjusted timing.

Fuel: Do the cylinders smell of unburned fuel after a period of no start cranking?
Is fuel collecting in the throat of the carburetor after a period of no start cranking? Is the fuel clean (no water in it)?
Spark: Hold a screw driver in a spark plug boot and see if you can jump an arc to a spark plug while cranking. Are the wires on the spark plugs in the correct firing order?
Compression: Do a compression test.
Choke: Is the choke closing all the way?
Timing:Is the rotor pointing to number 1 wire position on the distributor when #1 is at TDC compression.
Let us know which system is not working so we can get it fixed.

TRUE GRIT
Step #1: Get rid of the "mechanic".
This is basic troubleshooting. Any "mechanic" should know how to do these procedures. Either the "mechanic" is not to skilled or is taking you for a money grabbing ride.

TRUE GRIT
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Old 09-12-2018, 08:31 PM
GEM555 GEM555 is offline
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Originally Posted by Marty Levenson View Post
No disrespect, but my impression is that you don't want to learn how to keep these old engines running and instead want it all fixed and reliable as a kitchen appliance.

Without mindful preventive attention, you will continue to have problems - mostly minor and easily repairable. Most of us on this forum get a feeling of self-reliance and satisfaction from expanding our knowledge, heading off problems, and fixing issues.

I don't know about your aptitude, but your attitude seems incompatible with A4 ownership. Rather than continued resentment that these engines need care, I would suggest you get a boat with a new outboard for ease of service. Problems will still happen, but knowledgeable service will be easier to find.
I'm not retired and so have limited time at the boat. Don't want to spend the time I do have hinking with a bulky engine for two days. Understand routine maintenance but flat out unreliability is a different matter. The guy I hired has invested a bunch of his own time, unpaid, trying to keep this thing running. Got almost no time on the water the entire season. I'd sell it but no market for a Cat with an A4. What to do?
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Old 09-12-2018, 09:48 PM
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I understand you've decided the engine is beyond hope or otherwise possessed but for the mechanics you've hired to be unable to figure out what is essentially a lawn mower engine with a few more cylinders is more of a comment on the mechanics than the engine. Please realize that there were somewhere around 40,000 of these engines made with approximately 20,000 still in service many decades later. I appreciate these mechanics are professional but all that means is they charge for their services, not that they have the necessary experience or skills and frankly judging by the information you have provided, they don't. It's my opinion and I dare say an opinion shared by others on this forum that they've taken advantage of the situation. Too bad they don't charge on the basis of results instead of unskilled hours.

The mechanic(s) removed the head multiple times? That's ridiculous. If it truly needed to be removed a second time it means they didn't do the job right the first time.

As for no market for a C30 with an A4, consider that the boat is 35 ~ 40 years old so there was no market when you bought it. No surprise there. As an example, I bought my C30 thirteen years ago in sailing condition (meaning complete) with a running engine for $5K. There's your market. What I get out of the purchase and subsequent years of ownership is pleasure equity, not $$.

What I want for you
Either find the skilled local support you so desperately need to be able to enjoy this boat or rid yourself of the aggravation. This is supposed to be fun.
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Old 09-13-2018, 02:38 AM
JOHN COOKSON JOHN COOKSON is offline
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Originally Posted by GEM555 View Post
I don't. I have to $$$ to get a mechanic to get the valves to valve. Been through two cans of "Sea Foam" with no joy. The pattern is that the engine refuses to start after sitting idle for more than 1 or 2 days. Run it on Sunday and I can be assured that by Friday night, I can crank all I want and that engine will. not. start. That blows the weekend, then the mechanic during the following week, the bills and then MAYBE, i'll have an engine the following weekend. Maybe.
I'm not 100% convinced the engine has a problem. This post leads me to think the engine runs normally. IMO that is.
The ignition system and the fuel system have two parts. The boat's part and the engine's part.
If the boat's part of the system is not working correctly the engine will not start or run.
For example if there is an intermittent short circuit in the key or wiring to the coil the engine will not start sometimes.

TRUE GRIT
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Old 09-13-2018, 08:19 AM
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OTOH my wag right now is it froze over the winter and water seeps into the engine when it sits.
Or it could be something totally different
The basic issue is the OP is not enjoying his boat. This is not his job, it is hobby and he seems to have not realized what owning a cruising sailboat entails.

* this reminds me of a friend with a Model A Ford. He quickly learned that if he wanted a reliable car to drive, he either needed to learn to work on it or get a new car because the local shops were not good with cars from 1930 and he couldn't afford the time or money to get the car to a specialist shop that knew the car.

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Old 09-13-2018, 10:21 AM
GEM555 GEM555 is offline
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Originally Posted by ndutton View Post
I understand you've decided the engine is beyond hope or otherwise possessed but for the mechanics you've hired to be unable to figure out what is essentially a lawn mower engine with a few more cylinders is more of a comment on the mechanics than the engine. Please realize that there were somewhere around 40,000 of these engines made with approximately 20,000 still in service many decades later. I appreciate these mechanics are professional but all that means is they charge for their services, not that they have the necessary experience or skills and frankly judging by the information you have provided, they don't. It's my opinion and I dare say an opinion shared by others on this forum that they've taken advantage of the situation. Too bad they don't charge on the basis of results instead of unskilled hours.

The mechanic(s) removed the head multiple times? That's ridiculous. If it truly needed to be removed a second time it means they didn't do the job right the first time.

As for no market for a C30 with an A4, consider that the boat is 35 ~ 40 years old so there was no market when you bought it. No surprise there. As an example, I bought my C30 thirteen years ago in sailing condition (meaning complete) with a running engine for $5K. There's your market. What I get out of the purchase and subsequent years of ownership is pleasure equity, not $$.

What I want for you
Either find the skilled local support you so desperately need to be able to enjoy this boat or rid yourself of the aggravation. This is supposed to be fun.
There IS NO support for this engine ANYWHERE along the Maine coast. Period. NO marina will touch it.

It's just that I don't know what to do with what amounts to a 30' paperweight.
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Old 09-13-2018, 10:29 AM
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OTOH my wag right now is it froze over the winter and water seeps into the engine when it sits.
Or it could be something totally different
The basic issue is the OP is not enjoying his boat. This is not his job, it is hobby and he seems to have not realized what owning a cruising sailboat entails.

* this reminds me of a friend with a Model A Ford. He quickly learned that if he wanted a reliable car to drive, he either needed to learn to work on it or get a new car because the local shops were not good with cars from 1930 and he couldn't afford the time or money to get the car to a specialist shop that knew the car.
I know several people with cruising sailboats. They all spend minimal time maintaining their engines. All diesel, of course.
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Old 09-13-2018, 10:43 AM
Dave Neptune Dave Neptune is offline
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Question

Gem555, I bought an A-4 that was seized while inside an E35 MkII. It took a week to get it running again and it did not fail me once in 34 years and is now serving the new owner.

Not a dis on you however if you settled down and learned to do a couple of diagnostics and possibly post a pic of the engine so it's condition can be seen.

You have seen all sorts of suggestions and we have seen little in actual information. These checks are very simple and once performed an understanding of the beastie will manifest and the use can begin.

I feel if you spent the time you are wasting on mechanics trying to understand the basics you would be up and running.

Get the BOOK, start from scratch and you will be way ahead financially and on the water with "self confidence" one of the greatest values afloat!

The forum is about assistance and learning because it can work.

I suggest another go at it.

Dave Neptune
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Old 09-13-2018, 10:55 AM
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I know several people with cruising sailboats. They all spend minimal time maintaining their engines. All diesel, of course.
Diesel engines require maintenance too - done enough of it myself, having owned a diesel powered boat and worked on a ton of others.

If you want a new diesel installed, go for it. If the installation is done right and the routine maintenance is done correctly, the engine should be trouble free for a long time.

If you want a new Atomic 4 installed, go for it. If the installation is done right and the routine maintenance is done correctly, the engine should be trouble free for a long time.

Right now you have an antique boat with an antique engine that has had what seems like poor or no maintenance for a long time. No marina will want to touch it because they assume two things:
1. You won't be willing to pay to fix it right.
2. If they do a band-aid fix to get you going, you'll be back when the engine malfunctions again blaming them.
And this assumes they even have a mechanic that knows anything about these engines, which they may not.

You have some choices here:
1. Come up with somewhere between about $8,000 and $15,000 for a new engine, installed.
2. Continue to pay slips and storage for an unusable boat.
3. Donate boat to charity.
4. Cut the boat up and sell the rig and lead. The keel is worth about $1/pound.
5. Just quit paying the slip fee and ignore all calls from the marina and they'll do #4 for you.

If you don't pick 1 or 2, now your choices are:
A - Pay a lot more money for a much newer boat with a *supported engine*. Old diesels can be all the trouble you have, times 2, plus no parts available and no forums and STILL no mechanic will touch it.
B- Join a sailing club with boats for you to use if such a thing exists there.
C - Buy a much simpler boat like an Ensign or J-80 or similar and sail instead of fix.
D - Find a new hobby that makes you happy instead of frustrated*

* don't choose "buy an old airplane" though. You thing you have expensive issues now
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Old 09-13-2018, 11:14 AM
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Gem, if the boat were a few thousand miles to the left, I'd be all over that Cat 30 of yours. I'd offer you $4K for it, you'd probably take it out of frustration, I'd rebuild that engine for ~$1500 and pop it back in, and sell the boat for $12K (going rate for a decent Cat30 with good A4 around here). You need to find a "me" in Maine!
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Old 09-13-2018, 11:22 AM
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"The mechanic(s) removed the head multiple times? That's ridiculous. If it truly needed to be removed a second time it means they didn't do the job right the first time."

We found the valves kept sticking and could not be unstuck even with can(s) of sea foam/MMO in the gas. Basically discovered it's a problem with A4 engines.

Thus the multi removal.

I shut off the water before i shut off the engine, replaced the little purge/siphon valve under the sink and fog the engine after each use.

Hope this helps.
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Old 09-13-2018, 11:28 AM
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We found the valves kept sticking and could not be unstuck even with can(s) of sea foam/MMO in the gas. Basically discovered it's a problem with A4 engines.
No its not. Who told you that? And didn't we already make it clear adding MMO to the fuel was not a remedy for sticking valves? Yet here we are covering it again.

Instead of continually blaming the engine, consider that sticking valves are the result of a water incursion (not the engine's fault) and sticking after repair indicates a poor repair (also not the engine's fault). Have a water incursion in your new diesel and see what happens.
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Last edited by ndutton; 09-13-2018 at 12:15 PM.
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Old 09-13-2018, 11:34 AM
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Originally Posted by wristwister View Post
Gem, if the boat were a few thousand miles to the left, I'd be all over that Cat 30 of yours. I'd offer you $4K for it, you'd probably take it out of frustration, I'd rebuild that engine for ~$1500 and pop it back in, and sell the boat for $12K (going rate for a decent Cat30 with good A4 around here). You need to find a "me" in Maine!
So far, I've had 5 fraudulent offers and 2 fraudulent cashiers checks for the boat. 3 of them from people in Maine.
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Old 09-13-2018, 11:36 AM
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So the boat is for sale?
Are you trying to kluge the engine to run enough to sell her? I think that is probably how you GOT the boat
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Old 09-13-2018, 11:38 AM
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No its not. Who told you that? And didn't we already make it clear adding MMO to the fuel was not a remedy for sticking valves? Yet here we are covering it again.

Instead of continually blaming the engine, consider that sticking valves are the result of a water incursion (not the engine's fault) and sticking after repair indicates a poor repair (also not the engine's fault). Have a water incursion in your new diesel and see what happens.
This. When my old A4 had sticking valves it was salt-water rotted and on its last legs. My current engine has never had a stuck valve and neither did the original for the first 2 or 3 thousand hours.

I still think this engine was allowed to freeze and leaks water into the cylinders somehow.
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