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  #1   IP: 137.103.82.194
Old 11-11-2018, 12:15 PM
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Winter 2018-19 projects

For those of us north of the Carolinas it is that time of the year when the next gas fill-up is probably the last until 2019 and the remaining cruises few in number.
So.....what have you for this winter? I keep failing at my vow to just turn the heat on until spring and not take things apart and then more things and then more things
Possibles:
1. Put in a new impeller. The old one is many years old. I did a scavenger hunt and found 5 new ones all over the boat hidden in corners () I don't recall buying, but they are all ancient in their boxes. Might have to buy one.
2. Maybe do electronic ignition. Now I can get an EI with adaptive dwell I want to see how this does. Counterargument is the scavenger hunt also turned up 3 sets points and condensers and a distributor cap new in boxes.
3. Set up a valve and line for fuel return.
4. Maybe revisit my FWC ideas.
5. Maybe add an electric choke. I do not like the cable choke.
6. New engine start battery. The start battery will no longer do a cold-iron start. That battery is over a decade old, so no complaints really.
7. Teak clean up and oil/varnish.
8. Finally get around to getting my amazing cool looking white painted super custom better than any other type Balmar alternator fixed that died. Glad I paid about $60 for it vs. a few hundred it listed for new
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Old 11-11-2018, 12:47 PM
Dave Neptune Dave Neptune is online now
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Joe, I too have found old impellers laying around in the past. The last couple of changes I bought 2 new ones and discarded the rest. When it is time to "rebuild" do to time not a calamity I discard the spare and buy 2 new ones and repeat. The spare was for "trash and/or calamity" only.

Go for the EI, I ran it for over 30 years and not a single failure!!!! Pay attention to voltages and use a resistor. I like the Indigo better only for the indicator lite that lets you know it is "switching".

Why do you want a return line? If it is for polishing I would just add a separate pump, filter and lines. The A-4 does not need a lot of pressure or volume and so should be separated IMHO.

I have seen a few electric chokes adapted and they were a PIA to get right if they used a "heater". The plain ole OFF/ON solenoid type do not add any richness like you can add with a mechanical choke and the ole mechanical may just keep you running and out of trouble sometime. Go mechanical and keep it simple.

Dave Neptune
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Old 11-11-2018, 01:47 PM
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compression

I had no compression on number 4 cylinder due to stuck exhaust valve.Took off the head, freed up the valve and ground all valves.Replaced head with new gaskets.Without spark plugs turned over engine by hand and felt slight compression at all cylinders.Gave each cylinder a shot of lube oil and turned engine over by hand.Now no compression at all on any cylinder. Shouldn't lube oil have helped increase compression? Would be grateful for any opinions.
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Old 11-11-2018, 02:49 PM
Dave Neptune Dave Neptune is online now
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Rick, did you adjust the valves? I would check clearances before doing anything else.

Dave Neptune
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Old 11-11-2018, 02:51 PM
Dave Neptune Dave Neptune is online now
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Ric ptII

Ric, are the plugs screwed in?

Dave Neptune
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Old 11-11-2018, 04:37 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dave Neptune View Post
Joe, I too have found old impellers laying around in the past. The last couple of changes I bought 2 new ones and discarded the rest. When it is time to "rebuild" do to time not a calamity I discard the spare and buy 2 new ones and repeat. The spare was for "trash and/or calamity" only.

Go for the EI, I ran it for over 30 years and not a single failure!!!! Pay attention to voltages and use a resistor. I like the Indigo better only for the indicator lite that lets you know it is "switching".

Why do you want a return line? If it is for polishing I would just add a separate pump, filter and lines. The A-4 does not need a lot of pressure or volume and so should be separated IMHO.

I have seen a few electric chokes adapted and they were a PIA to get right if they used a "heater". The plain ole OFF/ON solenoid type do not add any richness like you can add with a mechanical choke and the ole mechanical may just keep you running and out of trouble sometime. Go mechanical and keep it simple.

Dave Neptune
Here is the deal with the return line- My aborted FWC experiments had the engine hitting 180-190 on a hot day at cruise power or above. This is not too hot for the engine, but it was for the fuel system. After 2-3 hours of heatsoak, the fuel pressure would get erratic. At first it would drop and quickly return, and then progress to longer drops and more time at 0. Eventually it would be bad enough the engine could quit. This never happens with RWC and a much cooler engine. I rigged an experimental return line once and bleeding some gas back to the tank would solve this issue.
So if I ever want to run FWC again, I can either figure out a better system that can hold about 120-130 degrees on a hot day at full power or have a way to bleed some gas back.
Third choice would I guess be find out exactly what is up with this, but it has defied easy fixes. Getting rid of my dual fuel pump assembly was a big help, less metal mass to soak up heat maybe???
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Old 11-11-2018, 05:34 PM
Dave Neptune Dave Neptune is online now
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Joe, I agree that the heat is no big deal. It is the temp of the box that is the concern. You probably were in the early stages of "vapor lock" conditions. Vapor in the pump will not pump thus the zero.

Do you have any idea how hot the engine compartment was? Do you run the blower to keep the box ventilated?

I assume you are running in fresh water.

I did a re-plumb of the bypass line and had far more consistent control of engine temp and I could trust the gage much more. I posted some pics a few years back I think. I did this all without any t'stat. In fact when I bought the boat with the seized engine I removed the t'stat while getting it running. Just might work for your experiments as far as temp control and accurate reading are concerned.

Dave Neptune
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Old 11-11-2018, 06:09 PM
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Joe, it sounds to me like your heat exchanger is/was insufficient to do the job. I speak from experience, the best thing I ever did for my FWC was to replace my eBay 2 pass Sendure HX with a new Seakamp 4 pass as big as available space would allow. The improvement was huge right out of the box, enough to allow the new MMI thermostat take control (bypass restriction valve still installed but fully open). Now with electric FWC I am steady at 150°~160° running hard.

Before, with the old HX, no stat and bypass valve fully closed (max cooling) hard running was at 190°+ approaching 200°.
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Old 11-12-2018, 06:48 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dave Neptune View Post
Joe, I agree that the heat is no big deal. It is the temp of the box that is the concern. You probably were in the early stages of "vapor lock" conditions. Vapor in the pump will not pump thus the zero.

Do you have any idea how hot the engine compartment was? Do you run the blower to keep the box ventilated?

I assume you are running in fresh water.

I did a re-plumb of the bypass line and had far more consistent control of engine temp and I could trust the gage much more. I posted some pics a few years back I think. I did this all without any t'stat. In fact when I bought the boat with the seized engine I removed the t'stat while getting it running. Just might work for your experiments as far as temp control and accurate reading are concerned.

Dave Neptune
I also removed the thermostat and have a bypass valve. In RWC mode it works great, i can keep the engine below 120 if desired even on the hottest day unless I run 100% power. I might creep up to 130.
In FWC mode not so much. It will be at 160 even at moderate cruise and head right for 180 or more at full blast.
The engine "room" is not roomy and gets quite hot if the engine is at 180. I agree vapor lock is the issue and it would have been next to impossible to find out without a fuel pressure gauge.
* not sure about the boat being in fresh water. This year kind of we got so much rain but usually it is salt water here. The dolphins that jumped around me on the 4th of July died from some fresh water issue about a month later
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Old 11-12-2018, 06:49 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ndutton View Post
Joe, it sounds to me like your heat exchanger is/was insufficient to do the job. I speak from experience, the best thing I ever did for my FWC was to replace my eBay 2 pass Sendure HX with a new Seakamp 4 pass as big as available space would allow. The improvement was huge right out of the box, enough to allow the new MMI thermostat take control (bypass restriction valve still installed but fully open). Now with electric FWC I am steady at 150°~160° running hard.

Before, with the old HX, no stat and bypass valve fully closed (max cooling) hard running was at 190°+ approaching 200°.
I think you are correct. The common A4 HX is just not big enough to do what I want. It is "two-blocked" in the summer.
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Old 11-16-2018, 11:45 AM
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I am going for EI, I will order it soon. I am going to use the Indigo with the variable dwell unit. I am contemplating trying to do my dual ignition idea I have been kicking around for ages. I have the spark combiner already.
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Old 11-16-2018, 02:43 PM
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Advice

Hello - I am a new Atomic 4 owner on a 1977 Colombia 8.7

I have the original manual, and the moyer maintenance catalogue. Both serve basic purposes, however they read as if the reader has some prior knowledge.And I am not a mechanic, I am certainly able to learn/understand basic parts, but need the 'beginner' version..

My question is, are there ANY other resources out there that I could read or watch to get me from "terrified Atomic 4 engine owner" to "more confident Atomic 4 engine owner"?

Any help is appreciated.

ToddMJ
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Old 11-16-2018, 03:32 PM
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I hauled the boat this year and have it sitting next to the workshop for the winter. Since I don't do this very often, the plan is to prioritize things best done with the bottom dry and the mast down. I can't really think of any engine-related things in this category. ? Although immediate access to the workshop could make many things go more smoothly. Having to climb a 12-foot ladder to get into the boat makes some things go less smoothly. One possibility is to replace the 1/2" engine intake with a larger through-hull that could act as a "sea chest" for multiple applications. (Galley foot-pump, water maker, AC heat pump.) I could use the head intake for some of these but it is maybe a little too close to the waterline.

I had wanted to install some reinforcing bulkheads beneath the cabin liner and to form a watertight crash bulkhead forward of the rudder post. (There are NO bulkheads aft of the mast on the starboard side.) But because of this very thing, the hull is so distorted when sitting in the cradle that I guess I have to wait until it is floating again.

Already stripped and repainted the bottom and am working on stripping the deck as weather permits. Have some track and steps to install on the mast. Beyond that, the potential list is long but not critical to do while hauled.
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Old 11-16-2018, 04:07 PM
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If the hull is distorted, you need a better cradle! Might want to look into that. 99% of the weight should be on the keel and the side supports just keep the boat from falling over.
I do like the watertight bulkhead idea. A crash bulkhead forward is a good idea too if there is a way to do it.
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Old 11-16-2018, 09:49 PM
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The boat was designed with a forward crash bulkhead under the vee-berth, but I think the spade rudder ought to be contained within one as well.

There is no place at all on the starboard side where the hull has transverse support below the waterline. Well,except at the vee-berth. Although the port side has three bulkheads tabbed to the hull, the starboard has only the settee acting as three long stringers at the waterline, close to the keel, and the bookshelf. You can stick your head down there (or more likely, your phone camera) and it's wide open from transom to the front. And there is currently no way to even reach the rudder post because it's hidden under the liner and beneath the fuel tank. If it took a high-five from a whale or something, the boat would sink. On the other hand, I suppose you could argue that the port side is short on stringers, aft.

It's weird. Especially since just a few years later, Ericson started bragging about their "tri-axial force grid." (Just don't look closely at any of our older boats...) No matter where you put a jack pad, the hull is going to oil-can on starboard. So I use eleven of them. I guess I'm sort of proposing to retrofit a "force grid" into there.
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Old 11-17-2018, 12:20 AM
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For ToddMJ,
Go to the library and get a book (or two) on small engine repair. Basic lawn mower engine stuff. The Atomic 4 is basically a big lawnmower engine. Yeah, it's got 4 cylinders and they're a bit bigger - so what. The technology is the same except for the cooling. Mowers are air cooled, the Atomic 4 is water cooled. It's a place to start.
Perhaps go on Craigslist, get an old junker lawnmower, remove the engine, and go at it. You'll find out what tools you need, and learn how to use them before you touch the Atomic 4. Take it apart and put it back together again.
You'll also learn what tubes of goop you need seal things, but this varies depending on the individual. Which goop to use, and whether to do one side of the gasket, both sides, or no goop at all.
You'll learn how to clean parts. DO NOT use gasoline (goes BOOM to easily)! Kerosene, diesel fuel, numerous water base cleaners are all good. Careful with aluminum parts - some water base cleaners will eat them.
Try things - you'll learn. Questions? - ask us. We'll give answers - sometimes several different ones.
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Old 11-17-2018, 02:50 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ToddMJ View Post
Hello - I am a new Atomic 4 owner on a 1977 Colombia 8.7
I have the original manual, and the moyer maintenance catalogue. Both serve basic purposes, however they read as if the reader has some prior knowledge.And I am not a mechanic, I am certainly able to learn/understand basic parts, but need the 'beginner' version..
My question is, are there ANY other resources out there that I could read or watch to get me from "terrified Atomic 4 engine owner" to "more confident Atomic 4 engine owner"?
Any help is appreciated.
ToddMJ
First off welcome to the forum.

You will get more responses if you start a new thread. Scroll down on the forum home page and you will see "forms" and "discussion topics". Select one - probably introductions. The "new thread" button is at the upper left.
Tell us your experience, if any, with points based ignition systems and carburetor fuel systems. There are on line resources. Search by points based ignition systems and carburetor fuel systems. Let us know if you have any questions.

The easiest way to start would be to learn how to tune up your engine.

Remember none of us were born knowing anything about an A4. We all had to learn it. Bet you can too!

TRUE GRIT

Last edited by JOHN COOKSON; 11-17-2018 at 02:54 AM.
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Old 11-17-2018, 12:43 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ToddMJ View Post
...are there ANY other resources out there that I could read or watch to get me from "terrified Atomic 4 engine owner" to "more confident Atomic 4 engine owner"?
ToddMJ-
Welcome to the forum.

As John said, posting a new thread will get you some more replies and advice.
As Al said, ask questions.

I would suggest just browsing around the different threads on this site and reading. You'll find a wealth of knowledge at your fingertips.
You might also benefit from watching some of the "How To" videos... here
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Old 11-17-2018, 01:10 PM
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One little tidbit:

Don't lose sight of the fact that a lot of "engine" problems have little or nothing to do with the engine. As you read and learn, you'll find issues eventually traced to contaminated fuel, corrosion, battery problems, dirty props, etc.

Disciplined problem analysis will go a long way towards boosting your confidence, and there are more experts here just itching to help than you could ever have imagined.

Again, welcome!

Bill
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Old 11-17-2018, 01:27 PM
Dave Neptune Dave Neptune is online now
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Thumbs up A good engine is a maintenence CHOICE

Most all marine engines are great what is not so great with these engines is how they were maintained not who built them.

Proper maintenance equals longevity!!!!

Dave Neptune
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Old 11-17-2018, 06:55 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ToddMJ View Post
Hello - I am a new Atomic 4 owner on a 1977 Colombia 8.7

I have the original manual, and the moyer maintenance catalogue. Both serve basic purposes, however they read as if the reader has some prior knowledge.And I am not a mechanic, I am certainly able to learn/understand basic parts, but need the 'beginner' version..

My question is, are there ANY other resources out there that I could read or watch to get me from "terrified Atomic 4 engine owner" to "more confident Atomic 4 engine owner"?

Any help is appreciated.

ToddMJ
https://moyermarine.com/product-category/videosdvds/

Besides for that, this forum is amazing. For your education, look up OLD engine repair books. Fixing an A4 is very much like fixing an old tractor engine or a 1930s era car. You are mostly doing things that were common on cars through the 50s and maybe mid 60s. The only parts of an A4 that would confuse a mechanic in 1930 are the alternator and electronic ignition if you have it.
You can probably find a beat up A4 for $500 or less. Even if you don't succeed in restoring it, you can still take it apart and see what does what and practice on it.
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