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Old 05-12-2018, 07:07 PM
smosh smosh is offline
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UPDATE not so running. Or starting.

Hello all!

I've searched and come up short and am at, as so many here have said, nearly at my wit's end!

So. Toward the end of last season, my A4 quit. Wouldn’t start. Sailed back to the mooring (slooooooowly) and left. The next day, went back out to it, and broke the key off trying to start it. Replaced the ignition switch. Actually got it started. A few weeks later, in late October, it died again. Thought it might be bad gas….water in the fuel, etc. Put it on a slip for the winter, and just this weekend am trying to get it back up and running.


I pumped out all the fuel and ran fresh fuel through the line up to the inlet to the motor. I attempted to let the fuel out of the (glass?) bowl just after the inlet, but i’m not sure how…don’t want to force what seems like a spring because possible breaking. I put a bulb in line so i could prime it…if i apply strong pressure with it, fuel can leak out the bottom of the bowl.

There is spark. The plugs were fouled, but i replaced. Even after the new plugs, the plug toward the stern (the lowest one) has oil on it. I note the engine oil is over full….previous owner (i bought it last September) had overfilled it, i guess, on splashing in September. I will extract some tomorrow.

The distributor cap is new last year. The points are old.

When trying to start, if the throttle is all the way up, exhaust comes out the side of the boat, but it doesn’t fully catch. Choke in, out, halfway…same thing. Starting fluid in the air intake…no start.

i really, really, really…really…don’t want to mess with the carb right now. In the Tartan, that side of the motor is up pretty tight to the battery tray. Not much visibility or room to work. Don’t want to start tearing things apart without a plan.

Any ideas?

i have pictures of some things…i will see if i can upload.

thank you so much...so happy this forum is here!


(by the way, i came from a Catalina 25 with an outboard...right now i am soooooo missing it. But when the Tartan is finally out again, i probably won't care at all.)

Last edited by smosh; 05-22-2018 at 06:27 AM. Reason: for update
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Old 05-12-2018, 07:35 PM
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Hi Smosh,
Could be a number of things, it's just a matter of where to start. I don't have allot of time these days to be on the forum...certainly not like I'm used to. If you'd like to give me a shout tonight go for it. My number is
nine oh two 461 1 two two 8 I'm in NS. It could be a combination of things but if I could pick your brain on how it was running previously perhaps we could zero in on the issue. Then if we figure it out and you get it running to throw in an entry to say what we talked about and what you did to fix your issue.

Mo.
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Old 05-12-2018, 08:27 PM
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Quote:
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Hi Smosh,
Could be a number of things, it's just a matter of where to start. I don't have allot of time these days to be on the forum...certainly not like I'm used to. If you'd like to give me a shout tonight go for it. My number is
nine oh two 461 1 two two 8 I'm in NS. It could be a combination of things but if I could pick your brain on how it was running previously perhaps we could zero in on the issue. Then if we figure it out and you get it running to throw in an entry to say what we talked about and what you did to fix your issue.

Mo.
Hey Mo! thanks so much for your offer! I appreciate it. i can't call tonight...how about in the morning? I'm just in Maine, so an hour behind you. I think...i forgot how DST/non-DST affects the Eastern to Atlantic relationship.
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Old 05-12-2018, 09:00 PM
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Smosh, a few quick thoughts to consider in your conversation with Mo. Heed his advice, he knows what's what.
  1. If your tank is contaminated, pumping out the old fuel and putting in fresh contaminates the fresh because there's no way you can pump ALL the old fuel out and there's the issue of residue. You really need to pump some fuel into a glass container and examine it carefully. Shawn Stanley on this forum provided a pearl of wisdom years ago from his father: Adding 5 gallons of good gas to 1 gallon of bad gas gives you 6 gallons of bad gas
  2. Oil level too high? Smell the dipstick for gas fumes. Your description indicates you have a mechanical fuel pump so a diaphragm breach pumps fuel into the crankcase.
  3. Follow the advice you will receive from this forum rather than a chasing preconceived idea. I know you don't want to get into the carb but if it's indicated (see #1), don't dally around. It'll have to be done sooner or later, why not sooner?
  4. Someone will mention a fuel pressure gauge I'm sure.
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Old 05-12-2018, 09:11 PM
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Smosher,
I'm off to the boat early in the am...checked mast and painted this week and put it up tonight ... going hard to get her rigged tomorrow. You can call tomorrow night though. You can email me a number to call you as well and I'll call you when I get home. Either way, your call.

All the Best
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Old 05-12-2018, 11:13 PM
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Curious how you pumped out the old fuel - using the pickup tube or from the very bottom of the tank? The pickup tube doesn't go to the bottom of the tank! You need to get to the bottom, as that's where the gunk collects. What did you find when you pumped it out?
Primer bulbs are NG for inboard engines. If the primer bulb is pumping gas into the carb inlet, you have a bad float valve - needs replacing.
If the engine doesn't roar for a moment with starting fluid, you have a spark issue.
Listen to Mo.
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Old 05-12-2018, 11:20 PM
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thanks for your feedback!

I'm not convinced the fuel is bad. Boat was on the hard, winterized in fall of 2016, then splashed in Sep 2017 when i bought it. New fuel was added, used about a half tank on the delivery sail/motorsail. Added five gallons in late September. It worked fine until it just....wouldn't start after a sail.

i got the fuel out by draining out the line (at the motor) into receptacles until i couldn't get any more...the priming bulb gave me a good flow.

the gas smelled and looked fine, and i put a couple of gallons in my car. Ran fine, so i added more. The mix in the car is now about 50/50 boatgas and gas that was already there. It's running normally.
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Old 05-12-2018, 11:37 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Al Schober View Post
Curious how you pumped out the old fuel - using the pickup tube or from the very bottom of the tank? The pickup tube doesn't go to the bottom of the tank! You need to get to the bottom, as that's where the gunk collects. What did you find when you pumped it out?
Primer bulbs are NG for inboard engines. If the primer bulb is pumping gas into the carb inlet, you have a bad float valve - needs replacing.
If the engine doesn't roar for a moment with starting fluid, you have a spark issue.
Listen to Mo.
i guess it was from the pickup tube. Mistakenly thought it was as low as it needed to be.

Read a thread earlier...about water separators, i think...that said putting a bulb in line was good to prime the empty system after changing a filter, etc. Looking through more threads, it seems unnecessary. I'll take it out and go directly to the inlet that leads to the bowl.

how does one empty the bowl? There's wire around that sort of seems like a retaining clip...but i don't want to put a lot of force on it to retract it.

We tested for a spark, and there was one....and i am seeing the exhaust.


Starting fluid...just aim in the intake that's under the metal filter? (that's what i did, but no start)
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Old 05-13-2018, 08:19 AM
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Two cents, mine just did a very similar thing, intermittent starting, running a little rough, etc. I found two intake valves stuck open. Cleaned them up and she ran great. Easy to find simply by doing a compression check. Easy to clean through the side cover.
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Old 05-13-2018, 10:28 AM
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smosh,

I too went from a Catalina 25 with a Merc outboard to a Tartan 30. I loved that Catalina 25, but the only thing I miss about it is the swing keel. And Catalina Direct.

As sdemore stated, definitely check for compression. Even a simple "thumb test" would tell you if you had a stuck valve or two.

Due to a poorly done replacement fuel deck fill by a previous owner, I had water in the tank when I first got the boat. It was vexing to figure out (the water was entering the tank from where the out of sight barb of the deck fill inserted in the fuel filler hose), so I went straight to an outboard tank for troubleshooting. This alone narrowed down a lot of problems.

We know the engine was running and I'm assuming the timing hasn't been changed. We know you have a spark. We know we need two other items to run - good, clean fuel, and compression. A compression check closes the loop there. All that's left is fuel. I would make certain the choke is fully closing and opening. If it is, I would temporarily hook up an outboard tank to the carb. If that didn't get her going, I'd check the fuel pump for output (someone, Neil maybe) mentioned a fuel pressure gauge, but just running the pump or bail if it's mechanical will close this loop. If your fuel pump is working, now most of the fingers are pointing at the carb.

As you know, the accessory side of the A-4 is a joy to work on in the T-30. The tradeoff is the manifold/carb side. The good news, removing the carb is a simple affair. One set screw holds the choke, one cotter pin holds the throttle linkage, and two nuts secure the carb. My go-to choice for removing the carb is stubby box end wrench. Usually the hardest part for me is getting the fuel line off the barb.

Definitely check compression first (because it's so easy to do), and then rule out fuel. If you feel pretty confident about the fuel quality (and it sounds like you are), check the choke. If it were me and all the above checked out, I wouldn't hesitate to remove and clean (and possibly rebuild) the carb.
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Old 05-13-2018, 06:21 PM
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My $.02.

For draining the fuel tanks for sludge on the bottom I pumped the fuel out of my fuel filler tube, so I could "suck" from the bottom. On the Tartan 27' the fuel fill tube to the tank is a straight shot down maybe 5". Not sure if you could do this on the T30 or how the fuel tank fill is plumbed.

A trick I learned here on this forum has saved my bacon a number of times. It is draining the carb by the main passage plug. I did this procedure after layup this spring on my A4 to get it started (also new plugs). Draining the gas out of the carb can help clear the float needle seat too if there is any particulate or gunk in the fuel which spent the winter in there. Catch the fuel in a clear glass container, let sit and observe for water on the bottom.
To get fuel back into the carb you can prime your gas pump by that retaining clip looking device (assuming mechanical fuel pump).
Another old timers trick is to tap the carb bowl gently to free up the float which may dislodge any gunk.

She will start up.
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Old 05-22-2018, 06:24 AM
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An update on my issue - still not running.

A member has been an incredible (and calming) direct help, but i wanted to give an update of symptoms and see what everyone thinks.

I've installed the electric fuel pump upgrade. THAT was fun. The plugs, after cranking, have a fuel smell now. I don't think they did before. The motor has good compression...from back to front 100, 110, 100, 100. A mechanic friend and I tested for spark (before the fuel pump install) and he said it was blue, but small...but pronounced it good spark.

Shooting ether into the intake does not fire it up...i guess it sounds like it's trying, but does not 'run'. (this is with me shooting it in, racing up to the cockpit, and cranking...does it evaporate that quickly?

Smoke does come out of the exhaust port. i noticed the exhaust pipe right by the engine gets warm.

I -think- there's a bit of fuel coming out the bottom of the carb. There's a half-inch bolt in a vertical orientation i'm told should be the main jet? The thought was that a bad seal may be introducing air into the system. It does not move when trying to tighten.

My next thing to try is removing that bolt to drain the bowl.

Ultimately, i guess i may have to overnight a carburetor. The rebuild kit is 90, and a replacement is 320. Time is of the essence, so i'd just get the replacement. Before doing so, i'm hoping there's another way!

Thoughts?
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Old 05-22-2018, 10:26 AM
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smosh,

You have compression. That's good.

You have a spark. That is also good.

If the timing is correct, that really only leaves fuel.

If the engine WAS running and the distributor and plug leads haven't been messed with, timing should be very close.

If it tries to fire with ether, then that's good too. With just a spray into the intake, I would guess you'd get a couple of RPM before the engine had consumed all the ether. You really need two people to use starting fluid, IMHO (one to spray while the other cranks. You could also get a remote start switch.)

If you haven't at least drained the carb, that would be my first order of business. If it were me and these symptoms presented, I would remove the carb and clean it really well. These updraft carbs really need the idle port and a fully closed choke to start and run. The idle and main ports are easily clogged and also easily cleaned.

I wouldn't hesitate to drain the carb and then immediately remove and clean the idle and main jets and passages.
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Old 05-22-2018, 10:40 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TomG View Post
smosh,

You have compression. That's good.

You have a spark. That is also good.

If the timing is correct, that really only leaves fuel.

If the engine WAS running and the distributor and plug leads haven't been messed with, timing should be very close.

If it tries to fire with ether, then that's good too. With just a spray into the intake, I would guess you'd get a couple of RPM before the engine had consumed all the ether. You really need two people to use starting fluid, IMHO (one to spray while the other cranks. You could also get a remote start switch.)

If you haven't at least drained the carb, that would be my first order of business. If it were me and these symptoms presented, I would remove the carb and clean it really well. These updraft carbs really need the idle port and a fully closed choke to start and run. The idle and main ports are easily clogged and also easily cleaned.

I wouldn't hesitate to drain the carb and then immediately remove and clean the idle and main jets and passages.
Draining the carb is my next step - headed down to the boat soon. To clarify, to clean the jets and passages, one must remove the carb? I would assume so...

thanks for the feedback on the ether...yeah, it is a few seconds before i can get to the key. That stuff is...ethereal. So the fact it doesn't 'run' on the ether doesn't indicate anything about anything.
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Old 05-22-2018, 11:00 AM
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Quote:
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Draining the carb is my next step - headed down to the boat soon. To clarify, to clean the jets and passages, one must remove the carb? I would assume so...
Yes, the carb needs to be off to clean the jets and passages. It seems more mysterious than it really is. As you are well aware, the carb is a hassle to get to on our T30s. Actually getting the carb off the manifold is the hardest part of cleaning the carb. Remove the carb, remove the fuel bowl and the whole innards of the carb's passages are visible. Carb Cleaner spray, a fine wire, and a wooden dowel tapered to a point are really all you need (other than your common tools) to do the job. Compressed air also helps. The MMI Manual has all the steps laid out.

Quote:
thanks for the feedback on the ether...yeah, it is a few seconds before i can get to the key. That stuff is...ethereal. So the fact it doesn't 'run' on the ether doesn't indicate anything about anything.
Starting fluid dissipates rapidly. It's basically an aersolized fuel. In fact, I think starting fluid is actually heptane and not ether as ether was often abused. If you hear the engine fire or sputter with starting fluid, this is a good sign. You just need a constant supply of fluid going in since you are using it so quickly.
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Old 05-22-2018, 11:25 AM
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I'm in agreement with Tom that at minimum a carb cleaning is needed.

Are you sure that the CHOKE is closing when you try to start?
You need to remove the Flame Arrester to actually see if it's closed.

Also, have you tried adjusting the fuel mixture?
An over lean mixture could cause a hard or no start.

Lastly, on that Main Passage Plug, there should be a washer (see pic)
IF that's missing, you would have found your air leak I'd think.
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Old 05-22-2018, 12:30 PM
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Trying to pics...not easy from an iPhone...

The bolt does not have a rubber washer. Looks like someone put some sealant around the threads that’s falling apart now.
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Old 05-23-2018, 11:03 PM
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Time to play this fiddle again - if it doesn't roar for a few seconds with starting fluid, you have a spark issue. You say you have spark. Check the timing.
You're chasing fuel - I think you're beating the wrong horse.
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Old 06-11-2018, 08:37 AM
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Hello again, all -

I've made some progress, but still no starting/running.

Basically, at this point the new electric fuel pump is not receiving power from the ignition coil. It will operate when connected directly to the battery. I bypassed the 'new' wiring, fuse, and OPSS with a test lead, connecting the pump directly to the positive of the ignition coil, does not work.

I did replace the coil, and there is spark. If I fire up the pump and fill the carburetor, the motor will combust, just has no fuel supply to fully fire up.

A few weeks ago, i DID get it running by jumping the coil to constant power. Ran great for 45 minutes, but would not restart later that day.


Thoughts on why the fuel pump isn't getting power from the coil?
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Old 06-11-2018, 09:52 AM
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Smosh, if there is sealer around the "jet plug" there could easily be some floating around inside or lodged in the carb. Sealers of any kind are not recommended on carbs for that reason!

Since you say it makes some temp in the exhaust but won't run also sounds like ignition and I don't mean spark. Check again for proper plug wiring and are you SURE the timing has not been moved? The heat should be in the cylinders and not in the exhaust. If the timing is lazy it can be firing just before the E valve opens not just after it closes.

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Old 06-11-2018, 04:13 PM
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thanks, Dave - if the fuel pump is not even operating when powered from the coil, isn't the problem even earlier in the process?
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Old 06-11-2018, 04:16 PM
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Dave, i'm thinking maybe you saw my 5/22 post above and thought it might be the corroding seal.

Since that post (and i mistakenly thought i'd already added to the thread) I ordered and installed a new carburetor from Moyer Marine. So now it's got the electric fuel pump and a new carburetor.
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Old 06-11-2018, 06:38 PM
Dave Neptune Dave Neptune is offline
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Smosh, I can't recommend a CHEAP inline fuel pressure gage mounted just before the carb.

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Old 06-12-2018, 09:59 AM
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smosh,

Just to clarify, with the fuse and OPSS bypassed and the pump connected directly to the coil, the pump doesn't work (with the ignition switch ON, obviously)?

What's your start switch set up? Twist key? Pushbutton with separate master?
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Old 06-12-2018, 10:51 AM
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Yes, Tom, ignition on, pump direct to coil.

It’s a key...three posts three positions. There’s an ammeter, water temp, and an oil pressure gauge in the panel so the wiring to the key isn’t simple.
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