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Old 11-10-2016, 06:37 PM
1960CROD 1960CROD is offline
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Unhappy No Neutral?

Can someone help me? I'm not sure where to post. And I'm sorry to be the new on the forum. :/

I did a search and found three results . This seemed to be the best

My atomic 4 runs great in forward or reverse. But when left in neutral slips into a grinding sound and stalls out the motor. Shifting is easy with the same force it's always took. Runs great in gear at all rpm ranges. No vibration in gear. A little whine in reverse. Just won't give me neutral.

I have ordered a book but it hasn't arrived yet and Google's for day . It doesn't seem like anyone else has had this issue and I'm honestly a bit lost. Would be nice to talk to someone who knows these power units.

Thanks.

Last edited by Administrator; 11-12-2016 at 11:13 AM.
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Old 11-12-2016, 09:11 AM
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1960..
This should be a new thread. Perhaps we can get our admin to move it??
Hopefully the book you ordered is the Moyer Manual. Its instructions for transmission adjustment should help.
Sounds like your fwd and reverse are fighting each other. What you have to do is loosen your reverse adjustment until you have a neutral position. This may also require adjusting your shift cable so you can get reverse to engage fully.

Last edited by Administrator; 11-12-2016 at 11:11 AM. Reason: New thread...
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Old 11-12-2016, 11:13 AM
JOHN COOKSON JOHN COOKSON is online now
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1960
Welcome to the forum. Hope you stick around. You will learn about your engine, boat, and even a few things about life itself. We're pretty much full service.
Al has a couple of good ideas. Try disconnecting the control cable at the transmission and shifting the transmission by hand with the control lever. If the problem persists the trany needs attention. If the problem goes away the cable is at fault.
To start a new thread scroll down to "discussion topics" on the forum home page and click on the appropriate topic. As I recall there is a reversing gear or transmission topic. Click on the start a new thread in the upper left.
As mentioned be sure and obtain a copy of the Moyer Manuel.
Best of luck to you.

TRUE GRIT
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Old 11-13-2016, 08:44 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 1960CROD View Post
My atomic 4 runs great in forward or reverse. But when left in neutral slips into a grinding sound and stalls out the motor. Shifting is easy with the same force it's always took. Runs great in gear at all rpm ranges. No vibration in gear. A little whine in reverse. Just won't give me neutral.
Thanks.
Have you checked the advance? It sounds as if the distributor advance is stuck in the advance position.

TRUE GRIT
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Old 11-14-2016, 11:26 AM
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Sounds like the clutch plates are frozen together.
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Old 11-14-2016, 11:21 PM
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I don't think it would run great in reverse if that were the case...
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Old 04-21-2017, 12:19 PM
sallyjane823 sallyjane823 is offline
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No Neutral

I am having the same problem getting into neutral with my Atomic 4. I have the documentation from Moyer Marine showing how to adjust the reversing gear but my mechanic is still having difficulty. We can manually put it into neutral but when the engine is running it pops out of neutral.
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Old 04-23-2017, 08:07 PM
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Sally,
You say you shift manually, but it pops out of neutral? Is your external shift linkage pushing things out of neutral?
Disconnect the external linkage from the transmission lever, then try shifting the transmission just using the lever on the transmission. What happens?
The way to get the linkage and the transmission working together is not difficult, but requires a certain sequence. First step is to disconnect the linkage from the transmission and shift the transmission into fwd. Then move the linkage to the fwd position and see how the holes align. The linkage must be adjusted to give just a bit more stroke than needed going into forward. This adjustment may be as simple as a few turns on the yoke on the end of the core of the cable, or it may require moving the point where the end of the jacket is anchored near the transmission. This will get fwd where it should be. Attach the linkage to the transmission lever.
Next, reverse. First, open the transmission and loosen the reverse adjustment. Then use the linkage to shift to the full reverse position. With the linkage there, tighten the reverse adjustment until you can't turn the shaft by hand. Then move the linkage toward the neutral position and tighten the reverse adjustment another 3 flats.
Doing this should give you a good forward and a good reverse - everything in between is neutral.
In my experience, most shifting problems are due to the external linkage being adjusted improperly. Let's say both transmission and linkage want to move 4", or +/- 2". When you put the transmission in fwd, let's say that's the +2" position. If the linkage is in the +2" position, fine. If the linkage is in the +1" position, that's when problems start. It will shift fine into fwd (linkage still has another 1" to go but never gets there). But when the linkage goes the other way, problems start. Linkage goes to -2", but transmission only goes to -1" (3" from full fwd). Operator doesn't get any reverse response from the transmission, so he tightens the reverse adjustment. When he tightens enough to get reverse, there's little or no neutral - or perhaps reverse and fwd are engaged at the same time.

Last edited by Al Schober; 04-23-2017 at 08:08 PM. Reason: typo
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Old 04-23-2017, 08:25 PM
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Sally,
Another thought (gee, two in one day??)
I've also seen cases where the shift cable wasn't moving +/- 2". Turns out the attachment for the jacket had come loose at one end or the other (usually in the bilge). Cable might move +/- 2" with no load on it, but once loaded would only move +/- 1" - the jacket was moving the rest of the distance.
This happened on my Tartan 30. Engine end of the jacket is anchored to a wood block bonded to the hull. Block had come unbonded, so things were just sort of floating (and definitely not shifting properly). Had to rebond the block and replace the shift cable.
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Old 04-28-2017, 09:13 AM
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That all sounds like great advice, but I am not mechanically inclined enough to tackle these instructions. I was hoping to find someone in Northeast Florida who is even familiar with the Atomic 4, but no luck yet...
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Old 04-28-2017, 10:41 AM
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Originally Posted by sallyjane823 View Post
That all sounds like great advice, but I am not mechanically inclined enough to tackle these instructions. I was hoping to find someone in Northeast Florida who is even familiar with the Atomic 4, but no luck yet...
823
Al gave some great and comprehensive advice in posts #8 & 9.
I can understand how it might be a bit overwhelming to the uninitiated. The entire shift mechanism consists of two parts: The boats part (the shift lever and cabling to the transmission) and the transmission itself. A large number of shift problems are caused by cable maladjustment. This is easy to fix. So the first step is to figure out if the problem is caused cable maladjustment or some problem in the transmission itself.
So what I would like you to do is disconnect the shift cable from the transmission and shift by using the lever on the side of the transmission and report back whether or not you are getting normal shift function. We'll go from there and let you know what to do next.

TRUE GRIT

Last edited by JOHN COOKSON; 04-28-2017 at 06:03 PM.
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Old 04-28-2017, 10:51 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JOHN COOKSON View Post
823
Al gave some great and comprehensive advice in posts #8 & 9.
I can understand how it might be a bit overwhelming to the uninitiated. The entire shift mechanism consists of two parts: The boats part (the shift lever and cabling to the transmission) and the transmission itself. A large number of shift problems are caused by cable maladjustment. This is easy to fix. So the first step is to figure out if the problem is caused cable maladjustment of some problem in the transmission itself.
So what I would like you to do is disconnect the shift cable from the transmission (lever) and shift by using the lever on the side of the transmission and report back whether or not you are getting normal shift function. We'll go from there and let you know what to do next.

TRUE GRIT
This is really good advice.
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Old 04-28-2017, 11:39 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JOHN COOKSON View Post
823
Al gave some great and comprehensive advice in posts #8 & 9.
I can understand how it might be a bit overwhelming to the uninitiated. The entire shift mechanism consists of two parts: The boats part (the shift lever and cabling to the transmission) and the transmission itself. A large number of shift problems are caused by cable maladjustment. This is easy to fix. So the first step is to figure out if the problem is caused cable maladjustment of some problem in the transmission itself.
So what I would like you to do is disconnect the shift cable from the transmission and shift by using the lever on the side of the transmission and report back whether or not you are getting normal shift function. We'll go from there and let you know what to do next.

TRUE GRIT
OK, I am going to try it. Thanks for the encouragement you guys; it really helps. I had a local mechanic attempt to fix the problem, and he told me the cable was not the problem. He then disconnected it and tried to adjust the reversing gear using the information I showed him from my Atomic 4 manual from Moyer Marine. After he tried the adjustment, he started the engine but the lever would not stay in reverse. He said he put everything back the way it was, but the next day we left that marina and noticed we now couldn't get all the way into forward either! It will move forward, but stays at high RPM. So they made it worse than before. I don't want to go back to them (Camachee Cove Boat Yard). I have asked to talk to that mechanic again, to find out exactly what problem he encountered. And then will try your suggestions.
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Old 04-28-2017, 11:53 AM
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SJ: Note that the reverse part is normal - the transmission doesn't have a detent for reverse - you usually have to hold it there.

Reading your description the problem may be inside, but for the purposes of troubleshooting, try John's linkage isolation idea first to confirm.
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Old 04-28-2017, 12:11 PM
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Originally Posted by sallyjane823 View Post
OK, I am going to try it. Thanks for the encouragement you guys; it really helps. I had a local mechanic attempt to fix the problem, and he told me the cable was not the problem. He then disconnected it and tried to adjust the reversing gear using the information I showed him from my Atomic 4 manual from Moyer Marine. After he tried the adjustment, he started the engine but the lever would not stay in reverse. He said he put everything back the way it was, but the next day we left that marina and noticed we now couldn't get all the way into forward either! It will move forward, but stays at high RPM. So they made it worse than before. I don't want to go back to them (Camachee Cove Boat Yard). I have asked to talk to that mechanic again, to find out exactly what problem he encountered. And then will try your suggestions.
Bold. Italic. Underline.
Ditch the mechanic. Go with us.
This forum is a national treasure. Well not quite not quite but you catch my drift. You will learn much, much about your boat and engine and build confidence in yourself and your abilities. Nobody was born knowing anything about boats or A4s. You can learn it also just like we all did.

TRUE GRIT
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Old 04-30-2017, 01:34 PM
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Allright, I am trying to adjust forward first, since the mechanic messed that up trying to find neutral and get reverse to work better. So Don Moyer sent me instructions which say to loosen the retaining pin. I have taken off thecover, think I found neutral, but the retaining pin WILL NOT BUDGE!! I I'm afraid to force it because I might break something why would it be so tight?
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Old 05-09-2017, 10:20 AM
sallyjane823 sallyjane823 is offline
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[QUOTE=Al Schober;105411]Sally,
Al Schober said: Engine end of the jacket is anchored to a wood block bonded to the hull.

I think my engine end of the jacket is anchored to a metal brace which is held in place and connected to the cover of the transmission housing, using bolts that go through both the metal brace and the cover. When you remove the four bolts on the square plate covering the transmission housing, it also releases this brace, and the other end appears to be attached to the cable which is attached to the transmission lever on the engine. Problem is that I can't see where it attaches to the cable because there is only a small opening beyond the engine into which both the brace and the cable are connected, I suppose.
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Old 05-09-2017, 10:22 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sallyjane823 View Post
Allright, I am trying to adjust forward first, since the mechanic messed that up trying to find neutral and get reverse to work better. So Don Moyer sent me instructions which say to loosen the retaining pin. I have taken off thecover, think I found neutral, but the retaining pin WILL NOT BUDGE!! I I'm afraid to force it because I might break something why would it be so tight?
I got it released with the right tool: a socket wrench and 1/2" socket - thank you Don Moyer!!
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Old 05-09-2017, 10:29 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JOHN COOKSON View Post
Bold. Italic. Underline.
Ditch the mechanic. Go with us.
This forum is a national treasure. Well not quite not quite but you catch my drift. You will learn much, much about your boat and engine and build confidence in yourself and your abilities. Nobody was born knowing anything about boats or A4s. You can learn it also just like we all did.

TRUE GRIT
So true, thank you again. I have adjusted the forward gear and it really is a simple thing. I am now working on electronics and properly wiring the battery bank, and have been told to find the grounding core or bonding of the boat? Haven't found that yet, but noticed a green wire in the engine compartment; is it possible that electrical is grounded to the engine?
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Old 05-09-2017, 11:11 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sallyjane823 View Post
So true, thank you again. I have adjusted the forward gear and it really is a simple thing. I am now working on electronics and properly wiring the battery bank, and have been told to find the grounding core or bonding of the boat? Haven't found that yet, but noticed a green wire in the engine compartment; is it possible that electrical is grounded to the engine?
Nice work!

Almost by definition, electrical systems are grounded to the engine block. For the Atomic 4, the ground wire from the engine back to the starting battery or ground bus should at least match the size of the positive or red wire going to the starter motor. The alternator, water temp and oil pressure gauges use the engine ground as well.

Beyond that, grounding can be done a number of ways depending on your requirements, but on smaller boats it's usually a ground bus bar somewhere, hopefully not a bunch of wires dangling off the battery negative terminal.

You may be interested in the Nigel Calder book - Boat Owners Mechanical and Electrical Manual. This is an excellent reference to boat electrical systems and design - it's available by Kindle as well, although I prefer the hardcopy.

https://www.amazon.com/dp/B0147TM944...ng=UTF8&btkr=1
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Old 05-09-2017, 11:14 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sallyjane823 View Post
So true, thank you again. I have adjusted the forward gear and it really is a simple thing. I am now working on electronics and properly wiring the battery bank, and have been told to find the grounding core or bonding of the boat? Haven't found that yet, but noticed a green wire in the engine compartment; is it possible that electrical is grounded to the engine?
The green wire is probably not a ground.
You probably know this already but I'll go through it real quick.
The boat wiring does not have a ground in the sense that a tool is grounded. The circuit is to the battery and back. The battery supplies the voltage that drives the electricity around the circuit. (this ignores the alternator for now) The "ground" side of the circuit is wired in black. All grounds to the devices are electrically connected and not switched. The "hot" side is wired in red or white and is switched.
This having been said who knows what a previous owner did.
Hope this helps.

TRUE GRIT

Last edited by JOHN COOKSON; 05-09-2017 at 03:54 PM.
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Old 08-21-2021, 12:34 PM
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I have the same problem with my atomic 4 of unknown vintage. I bought this engine from an acquaintance that is a marine mechanic, but I haven't been able to get ahold of him to ask him about this issue. The shift cables are not hooked up yet so I don't need advice on that at this time and I have read this thread through a couple of times. It seems to find the neutral position according to how the detent engages, I am told this should be neutral but if I turn the shaft, or rather put a large pair of channel locks on the coupling and turn it, the whole engine turns through the gearbox. It seems to have forward and reverse but no neutral. I'm wondering if something could be seized up inside the gearbox. One member mentioned loosening up the 3/4 inch not for the reverse gear. I will try that and see if that alleviates the problem.
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