New Atomic 4 owner with shifting issues

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  • lchirichigno
    Frequent Contributor
    • Aug 2011
    • 6

    New Atomic 4 owner with shifting issues

    We just recently purchased our '77 C&C 30 and have had about 3 weeks of bliss before things started acting up.

    1) Its REALLY difficult to switch gears, doesn't matter which gear, and its hard to tell that you did in dead switch out of gear...

    2) Engine suddenly turned off at higher RPM on our way back to the dock after a wonderful day of sailing, started up again with no problem, did this twice

    3) next time out she began to act like she was surging or slowing however you want to look at it but it felt like we were riding the waves when none were around

    Any feedback is GREATLY appreciated.
    LC

    Dolce Vita
    C&C 30
  • smosher
    Afourian MVP
    • Jun 2006
    • 489

    #2
    Hi, I would disconnect the shift cable to isolate either the cable or the A4.

    There are many reasons for a shutdown and a restart, since it happened at high rpm and your surging after, you may have fuel related issues and maybe more than 1. There could be ignition problems also

    Search the site as many people have had this issue in the past.

    any fuel filters, pressure gauges ? Last time replaced ? Last tune up ?

    Points or electronic ignition ?

    type of exhaust ? last replaced ?

    Comment

    • sastanley
      Afourian MVP
      • Sep 2008
      • 7034

      #3
      Hi...welcome to the crowd.

      smosher has asked lots of good questions. All three of those things at this time seem unrelated..we should tackle them individually.

      sudden shut down:
      The C-30 (I also have a '77) has a pretty well documented case of issues related to the original ignition wiring...undersized/inadequate/plugs & connections that corrode/long wire runs to the instrument panel since the engine is farther away than most, etc..
      A sudden shut down, and then a re-start could be a short in that circuit somewhere. Don Moyer has documented this pretty well..I recommend a search, I think he has something in his FAQ on the home page. This fix is replacement with adequate wire sizes, and elimination of the problematic connector plugs.

      Shifter cable:
      +1 what smosher said. Remove the cable and see how it shifts..then we know if it is 'reversing gear' related (no actual transmission in an A4) or cable related. On a C-30, the engine end of the shift cable is under the galley counter top just to port of the prop shaft.

      surging:
      Um..we'll have to see..could be electrical related (bad/inconsistent voltage thru the ignition/points), but also possibly fuel related. How fresh is the fuel? It could also be related to the shifting problem, if it was not fully engaged in forward gear & slipping..There should be a noticeable "detent" that you feel when you shift into forward gear..this detent is the gears & clutch plates locking for a direct drive & connection between the prop shaft & engine.


      Do you have any access to the previous owner(s)?? They may help shed some light on any replacements that were or were not done to some of the various systems. Pictures help tremendously, as many of us may be able to recognize any upgrades & repairs.

      Pretty soon, you will be an expert on the auxiliary propulsion system.. - I didn't know anything about C-30's or A4's a couple of years ago myself..

      If you don't already have one with the boat, with your first order of parts from the Moyer site, I would highly recommend the Moyer A4 manual.. It will become your new bed side table reading material for a few weeks.
      Last edited by sastanley; 08-23-2011, 10:46 AM.
      -Shawn
      "Holiday" - '89 Alura 35 #109
      "Twice Around" - '77 C-30, #511 with original A-4 & MMI manifold - SOLD! (no longer a two boat owner!!)
      sigpic

      Comment

      • edwardc
        Afourian MVP
        • Aug 2009
        • 2511

        #4
        Originally posted by lchirichigno View Post
        We just recently purchased our '77 C&C 30 and have had about 3 weeks of bliss before things started acting up.

        1) Its REALLY difficult to switch gears, doesn't matter which gear, and its hard to tell that you did in dead switch out of gear...
        This is almost always caused by corrosion in the shifter cable. Squirting some WD40 into it might help, but usually replacing the cable is required.

        The A4 transmission uses friction clutches, and only has a detent for forward. Reverse has none. This makes "Neutral" kind of a concept, and hard to find. Many people find it by trial & error by observing the prop shaft, and then marking the shifter position to make it easier to find.

        Originally posted by lchirichigno View Post
        2) Engine suddenly turned off at higher RPM on our way back to the dock after a wonderful day of sailing, started up again with no problem, did this twice

        3) next time out she began to act like she was surging or slowing however you want to look at it but it felt like we were riding the waves when none were around

        Any feedback is GREATLY appreciated.
        Sudden shutoff without any sputtering is usually indicative of an ignition problem. Surging up and down can also be caused by points that are worn or out of adjustment. If you have points (vs an electronic ignition) that would be a good place to start looking. Check the gap with a feeler gauge, or check the dwell while running with a dwell meter.
        Last edited by edwardc; 08-26-2011, 08:37 PM.
        @(^.^)@ Ed
        1977 Pearson P-323 "Dolce Vita"
        with rebuilt Atomic-4

        sigpic

        Comment

        • lchirichigno
          Frequent Contributor
          • Aug 2011
          • 6

          #5
          Thank you all for the feedback - I am going to try my best to answer the questions you asked...

          I believe it is an electric ignition

          It was given a tune up/oil change in June by the previous owner

          It has recently had the water pump (I believe) replaced

          I will take some pictures of the engine and post this weekend as I am REALLY new to this - first engine I have ever had to work on - so pardon the complete ignorance on a few of these things.

          I am replacing the fuel pump this weekend as further research led me to believe it was the culprit as we smelt gas just before the shut down and surging and the gas gauge went crazy both times.

          I will also follow your advice on the cable and report back.

          Thank you again for all the feedback - this is a HUGE help - not fumbling around so much in the dark

          LC
          LC

          Dolce Vita
          C&C 30

          Comment

          • sastanley
            Afourian MVP
            • Sep 2008
            • 7034

            #6
            LC, don't get overwhelmed...we are all here to help each other...we'll tackle one problem at a time.
            -Shawn
            "Holiday" - '89 Alura 35 #109
            "Twice Around" - '77 C-30, #511 with original A-4 & MMI manifold - SOLD! (no longer a two boat owner!!)
            sigpic

            Comment

            • Will Jacocks
              Senior Member
              • May 2010
              • 133

              #7
              BTW, where are you located? I am sure we may have a few MMI regulars nearby that will be glad to go over the engine for a couple of beers.

              Comment

              • lchirichigno
                Frequent Contributor
                • Aug 2011
                • 6

                #8
                Manatee County - FL - I would be GLAD to buy the beer for a A4 boot camp session
                LC

                Dolce Vita
                C&C 30

                Comment

                • lchirichigno
                  Frequent Contributor
                  • Aug 2011
                  • 6

                  #9
                  ok - so we have now replaced the fuel pump but haven't had a chance to take her out for a test run due to Irene. But we think we need to go ahead and replace the thermostat as there is a lot of corrosion around it and would rather take care of before there is an issue...

                  Looking through every ones posts and all the different options has left me unsure of what is the preferred way to go... any feedback would be greatly appreciated.

                  LC
                  LC

                  Dolce Vita
                  C&C 30

                  Comment

                  • Mo
                    Afourian MVP
                    • Jun 2007
                    • 4519

                    #10
                    Loose it.

                    If you are salt water cooled I'd loose the T-stat. I have NGK XR4 plugs and she runs "nice". By valve in the line just before the T-stat housing and open about 1/2 way.

                    I lay my hand on the block or the head and can hold it for a time....that means she's not too hot, that's my test and guages can be off too. The plugs keep combustion chamber clean; I am buring about a gallon an hour, so whatever difference there is on fuel economy it's not much.

                    -no head gasket problems
                    -lots of water flow (the ocean is the radiator)
                    -no problems with overheating due to T-stat malfunction...which happens.

                    Muriatic acid flush every 3 years.....Four years no issues....your call.
                    Last edited by Mo; 08-30-2011, 12:55 PM.
                    Mo

                    "Odyssey"
                    1976 C&C 30 MKI

                    The pessimist complains about the wind.
                    The optimist expects it to change.
                    The realist adjusts the sails.
                    ...Sir William Arthur Ward.

                    Comment

                    • lchirichigno
                      Frequent Contributor
                      • Aug 2011
                      • 6

                      #11
                      I believe we are salt water cooled... does that change your suggestions? and how do I confirm that we are salt water cooled?
                      LC

                      Dolce Vita
                      C&C 30

                      Comment

                      • Mo
                        Afourian MVP
                        • Jun 2007
                        • 4519

                        #12
                        Sorry, my mistake...I meant Salt Water Cooled...I'll edit and change that because it does make a difference.

                        Thanks for picking that up.
                        Mo

                        "Odyssey"
                        1976 C&C 30 MKI

                        The pessimist complains about the wind.
                        The optimist expects it to change.
                        The realist adjusts the sails.
                        ...Sir William Arthur Ward.

                        Comment

                        • Bold Rascal
                          Senior Member
                          • Mar 2011
                          • 311

                          #13
                          Fresh water or RAW water?

                          If your engine has (2) water pumps and a heat exchanger your probably fresh water cooled.

                          Where does the hose from your RAW (sea water) intake lead?
                          If it goes directly to a small pump mounted near the base of your distributor then your most (most likely) RAW water cooled.
                          Mike, Slower-Lower Eastern shore, MD
                          1973 Pearson 33
                          1967 Bristol 27
                          sigpic

                          Comment

                          • edwardc
                            Afourian MVP
                            • Aug 2009
                            • 2511

                            #14
                            Originally posted by lchirichigno View Post
                            I believe we are salt water cooled... does that change your suggestions? and how do I confirm that we are salt water cooled?
                            __________________
                            LC

                            Dolce Vita
                            C&C 30
                            Nice name you chose!
                            @(^.^)@ Ed
                            1977 Pearson P-323 "Dolce Vita"
                            with rebuilt Atomic-4

                            sigpic

                            Comment

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