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Old 03-23-2010, 04:36 PM
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No Power and no RPMs

I have a older C&C Invader that I've recently purchased. I've sailed for years but this is my first ownership of a boat with an inboard engine. I've only had the old gal for a few weeks and haven't pulled her yet as the yards are still full of winter storage for a few more weeks.

My problem is that I can't develop RPMs nor power. We delivered the boat 160 miles to my slip and she would not go over 3.9 knots. Yes, it was a long trip. We assumed that the prop was fouled and that the bottom was a shag carpet.

Today I had a guy use a fancy underwater video camera to take a look. The 3-blade prop looked perfect. There were no barnacles and nothing was wrapped around the shaft. The bottom was bumpy but not overgrown.

What could be causing this? Since I'm ignorant, is there a shaft bearing that could be frozen and causing extreme friction? Could the cotter pin of the prop be sheared and the prop is spinning on the shaft?

My engine will REV up very nicely in neutral so I know it's running fine and capable. However, when in gear, as I throttle up I can barely hear an RPM change and the engine is just lugging. It doesn't quit but it's just never REVs up.

Any ideas?

Regards,

Rob
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Old 03-23-2010, 05:18 PM
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Rob,

The first thing I'd try is with the engine in gear and lugging, pull each spark plug wire one at a time, and see if there is any difference. This will tell us if each cylinder is pulling its share of the work (load)..if you pull a plug wire and notice no change, we then have a symptom to work with. This trick is sorta cheating between a compression check (stuck valve/ring) and ignition (bad plug or wire), but no change may indicate one of the cylinders is not firing correctly.

Here is a link to a FAQ from Moyer's site..you've already done one of these. (check prop)
http://www.moyermarine.com/faq/11.9.html

This engine will often sound great in neutral, but when you put load on it, other problems may surface..

I am sure others will chime in too.
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Old 03-23-2010, 06:16 PM
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Thanks Shawn. I will do that test and report back.
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Old 03-23-2010, 06:47 PM
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Could this be the old clogged exhaust problem? Try running it with the exhaust disconnected from the manifold. Dan S/V Marian Claire
http://www.moyermarine.com/faq/1.1.html

Last edited by Marian Claire; 03-23-2010 at 06:51 PM.
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Old 03-23-2010, 07:40 PM
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My first guess: a lean condition. Take out the main jet plug and pump a cup of gas through there and see if anything comes out. Be careful not to lose any parts when you take out the plug.

I had a similar event with my engine last year after it sat for a month getting work done at another marina. She started right up and revved fine in neutral, but just died when I put her in gear. I finally limped her home (just down the creek, thankfully) by pulling the choke nearly all the way out. After I got her home and could tinker a bit, I opened up the adjustable main jet a bit more and she was back to her old self.

You probably have the fixed main jet and not the adjustable, so removing yours and flushing it a bit is your only option. It's an easy thing to check and may pay off.
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Old 03-23-2010, 08:45 PM
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Another thing to check

Rob,
It is possible that the advance mechanism in your distributor is frozen. If this is the case your engine will start normally and seem fine but will develope very little power under load. Since I see from one of your photos that you have good access to your distributor, the easiest way to check it's centrifical advance is to remove the distributor cap and see if you can rotate the rotor slightly in a clockwise direction (approx. 3/8 inch at the tip). It should spring back to it's 0 degree position after this test. If your fuel and ignition tests all check out okay it might be worth doing a "power tuning session" where one person rotates the distributor while the helmsman checks for maximum speed.
If you don't already have one it might be a good time to buy Moyer's service and overhaul manual.
Tom
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Old 03-24-2010, 12:39 AM
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Fuel

Are you running fuel from your tank?? Do you have an electric pump?? Fuel left in a boat tank fouls, left for years it is useless. I run fuel from an outboard tank to the electric pump and to the polishing filter(new) then to the carb. test the flow of fuel into a glass jar to make sure you are pumping. If this doesnt help remove and clean the carb then try again. All the answers are good and mine is run good clean fresh fuel!!!
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Old 03-24-2010, 08:22 AM
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Wow, lots of good suggestions. This is a lively forum. I like the participation here and appreciate the input.

Responses:

--Fuel is OK. We used 50 gallons bringing here to my slip so it's flushed and fresh. Flow and filter OK as I've tested that.

--We ran without a water lift muffler as it had a crack in it that we discovered during the delivery. Once here we installed a new muffler and the lugging is identical.

--Main jet is OK as I've removed, disassembled, cleaned and reinstalled the carb twice now.

My next step is to check the distributor for a crack, check the proper wiring of the plugs, check the advance mechanism and check the compression with my finger for a stuck valve.

Thanks everyone...
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Old 03-24-2010, 09:18 AM
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another thing to check

We had your symptoms once, and it turned out to be a cracked set of points. The little pad that makes contact at the end of the arm was still hanging on, but was hinging when it was pulled away from contact. You couldn't see it without close examination. In fact, we didn't figure this out until we changed the points just for the heck of it (we'd tried lots of other things, and had spare points anyway) and vroom. Power.
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Old 03-24-2010, 09:25 AM
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If there is a blockage in the exhaust it will probable be before the water lift. The wet/dry connection could be the problem or the hose between the wet/dry and the muffler can separate and the inner lining collapse. The hot section needs to be removed from the manifold to really check. Good luck. Dan S/V Marian Claire
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Old 03-24-2010, 09:38 AM
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Rob-
As Dan just said, try disconnecting the entire exhaust.
At the EXHAUST FLANGE (see pic)

It'll be noisy, but if the engine runs better, you'll know to get into that exhaust.
As Dan said, start where the cooling water is injected and work backwards.
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  #12   IP: 69.138.231.172
Old 03-24-2010, 05:36 PM
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Ok, I have some info to report.

"sastanley" suggested that I pull each spark plug wire individually to see if all the cylinders are behaving. When I pull the wires on either cylinder 1 or 2 there is NO change in RPM or sound of the engine. When I pull 3 or 4 the RMPs drop significantly and it's obvious that something is missing. So cylinders 1 and 2 are malfunctioning it appears.

So "sastanley" you said "...if you pull a plug wire and notice no change, we then have a symptom to work with."

FYI, to be proactive I installed a new distributor cap, points, condenser, spark plugs and spark plug wires. That eliminates those from the mix.

Now that I have the "symptom" what do I do next? Are my valves stuck?
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Old 03-24-2010, 06:04 PM
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Ok, I'm getting better with this forum. I'm reading about stuck valves and exhaust blockages in more detail. I'll check those out tomorrow.

Thanks again for pointing me in the right directions.

Rob
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Old 03-24-2010, 06:22 PM
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If your engine is suffering from increased exhaust backpressure (exhaust blockage) you will notice reduced RMPs both under load/in gear and in neutral. You mentioned that you can rev the engine up to normal rpms in neutral, but no in gear. If that is the case, I would bet against elevated exhaust backpressure as causing your significant issues under load.
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Old 03-24-2010, 06:36 PM
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V-drive or direct drive?

Rob,
Is your A4 a direct or V-drive engine? The reason I ask the question is that most of the time cylinders #3 and 4 are the ones which tend to have valves stick. This is no doubt because of (in a direct drive motor) their closer proximity to the water inlet in the exhaust system. On the other hand in a V-drive version cylinders #1 and 2 are the nearest to the water inlet and might exhibit the stuck valve syndrome sooner. It certainly does sound like you are headed in the right direction with your troubleshooting.
Tom
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Old 03-24-2010, 06:56 PM
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Firing order check 1 2 4 3. I screwed up when I first purchased my boat. It ran but no power. Did your surveyor check the compression? If not get a gauge and test. You want to know the base line anyway. Good Luck Bob and keep the info coming.
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Old 03-24-2010, 07:09 PM
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I'll pull the exhaust anyway to check.

My engine is direct drive...I think. This is my first Atomic so I'm still getting up to speed but the shaft comes straight out of the transmission. I'll attach a photo and you can verify that for me.

The boat was surveyed before I bought it and I don't have access to that report. However, I'll pick up a gauge and check it myself.

Finally, is there a way to start the engine at the engine so I don't have to keep climbing (with the stairs pulled out) up to the starter switch?

Rob

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Old 03-24-2010, 07:41 PM
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You have plenty of room at your shaft, out of gear you should be able to hand spin to confirm no binding.
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Old 03-24-2010, 07:45 PM
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Yes, I checked that today. The shaft spun very easily by hand. Slowly I'm eliminating components. I think it's valves. I'll be going down tomorrow to check that.
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Old 03-24-2010, 09:14 PM
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hotwire technique

Rob,
To actually start your engine "at" your engine you will need 2 jumper wires, preferably with alligator clips on each end. If you just want to turn the engine over for compression testing you only need one jumper wire. To engage just the starter connect one end of the jumper to the terminal marked "S" on the starter solenoid and then touch the other end to the battery terminal on the the same solenoid. This will engage the starter as long as the connection is maintained. To actually start the engine you will have to first connect a second jumper wire from the + terminal on the ignition coil and then connect the other end to the large battery terminal on the starter solenoid. Then momentarily connect the "S" terminal jumper as I described before to start the engine. Bear in mind that when you hotwire the coil you are also backfeeding any guages or other accessories that come on when you turn on the ignition switch normally.
I hope that I've described the process clearly enough, if you have any questions i'll try clear them up.
Tom
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Old 03-24-2010, 11:37 PM
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Ok Tom. I think I have it. Thanks...
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Old 03-25-2010, 12:12 AM
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You can purchase a remote starter switch for about $10 or $12 at any auto parts store. I keep one in my "engine spares" box. It works great for compression testing, setting points, etc. I used it for several days when my wiring to and from the ignition switch was messed up as well.

Mark
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Old 03-25-2010, 09:14 AM
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a picture just to make sure

Hi Rob,
When I first started tinkering with A-4s, I noticed something odd to me..the cylinders & distributor & wires are not oriented the same way I am used to seeing. With the different configurations of A-4s this confusion can be exacerbated, especially when discussion ensues on an Internet forum, or when new owners jump on a boat and may not know how it is supposed to be set up

I made this diagram last year when some confusion came up as to firing order and distributor orientation in another thread - additionally, things like V-drives (which completely turn the engine around) or having the engine under the steps as opposed to the middle of the boat, can bring up different interpretations as to front/back/top/3 o'clock position/9 o'clock, etc..

This diagram (borrowing one of the Moyer engine pics from their website) notes the plug wires, cylinder #s, wire orientation on the distributor & rotor position at TDC. Incidentally, I understand the early models might be different, but I have never seen one.

As someone else noted, it is odd that cyls 1 & 2 are the current culprit..normally 3 & 4 have problems, and it is not a rare occurrence to accidentally swap the #3 & #4 wires..hence the exact reason I made this picture.
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Last edited by sastanley; 03-25-2010 at 09:19 AM.
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Old 03-25-2010, 10:18 AM
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Your symptoms sound to me like a blown head gasket between cylinders #1 and #2, or stuck valves in both cylinders. The cylinder adjacency strongly suggests head gasket to me.

Older styles of paper head gaskets (post-asbestos, pre-graphite) are very susceptible to failure, and with an engine that's new to you I'd want to make sure that your gasket is one of the modern, dark grey graphite ones that will hold through thick and thin rather than one of the paper gaskets, which are either green or manila brown in color and are a ticking time bomb.

Your work so far has been good, you've ruled out a lot of stuff and haven't made the problem worse, so the changes you've made will all be for the better once you get this figured out. Once you get the compression tool and confirm no compression in those cylinders, I see little risk to pulling the head, checking out the valve situation, and replacing the gasket with a modern Moyer gasket. There's a lot on this site describing the procedure, but assuming the nuts come off the studs relatively easily, it's an afternoon's job even if you've never done it before.
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Old 03-25-2010, 06:15 PM
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Tenders,

I'm afraid that you may be correct. I've diligently followed everyone's suggestions here and they have been great.

Here's what I did today:

1. I pulled the exhaust pipe off of the manifold for a look. The bolts are new and the pipe (which was wrapped) turned out to also be new. It was absolutely clean and shiny. So I've now eliminated the exhaust.

2. I pulled the valve cover and set all the valve clearances. I was a bit encouraged when I found that cyl 1 and cyl 2 had no clearance. Once set I figured I'd found the issue...that the valves weren't able to close all the way.

3. I rotated the crankshaft and watched all the valves moving very nicely up and down. All the springs were intact and looked fine.

So, I put my new compression gauge on cyl 1 and cranked the engine. No compression at all. Disappointment led to despair when I put the gauge on cyl 2...no compression. I then hooked the coil back up actually started the engine testing all the cylinders. My results are below:

Test 1 (turning engine over with starter only - no starting):
Compression -- 1=0, 2=0, 3=100, 4=110.

Test 2 (start and run engine):
Compression -- 1=60, 2=95, 3=95, 4=100.

Turning the engine over with the starter gave me no compression in cyl 1 or cyl 2 but firing the engine up did. I did realize that the initial compression on cyl 1 and cyl 2 were false for sustained compression. Upon fire-up they peaked at 60 and 95 respectively but if I purged the gauge while running they dropped and settled in at 30 and 45 at 800RPM. At 2800 RPM they showed 60 and 70.

I think I'm getting some overheating too. I have a laser thermometer and it showed the temp in the center of the head between cyl 2 and cyl 3 at 197 degrees.

So what do you guys think? Is my head gasket blown between cyl 1 and cyl 2? I'll go read about that task now but look forward to your diagnoses after you read my tests.

Thanks,

Rob
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