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Old 10-04-2020, 09:20 AM
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Engine clanks and quits

Well folks, I finally went on my shakedown cruise in my new to me Cal 34. Recently I have rebuilt the carb and gave her a tune up (points type ignition). Anyway, after the work the engine ran fine. I never really goosed it. Maybe 1400rpm tops. Well, heading out of the harbor everything was going fine. When I entered the lake, I advanced the throttle and she knocked a few times and killed. I was thinking transmission issues, but she started right back up and ran great as long as I kept the RPM's low. Then, I tested it in neutral and the same thing happened. I'm thinking timing? I'm going to the marina today to play around with the timing. Any ideas would be greatly appreciated!
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Old 10-04-2020, 11:17 AM
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Take off the distributor cap and dust cover underneath there. There's a mechanism called the centrifugal advance...it advances the timing as rpms increase. Look closely and ensure it is all together and if so lubricate it with a shot of penetrating oil then a shot of lubricant.

Another thought would be something going on with the coil, maybe getting weak. Sometimes when a coil starts to fail it will cause a miss that will reverberate right through the shaft and feel like a transmission issue (reversing gear issue).

Those are two easy checks you might be able to check right away. Let us know how it works out.
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  #3   IP: 47.38.39.220
Old 10-04-2020, 12:00 PM
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Thanks

Thanks Mo. I'll check it out this morning.
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Old 10-04-2020, 12:05 PM
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What Mo said. When checking the C-advance all you need to do is give the "rotor a twist" and it should "spring back" smoothly. A drop or 2 of oil right down the inside of the shaft under the rotor will lube the "counter shaft" it twists on. The factory felt may still be in there that is intended to get oil periodically. The springs and weights are under the plate.

I strongly suggest that if you need to remove the plate to free up the weights that you replace the springs with the new "lighter tension" for faster response and better performance for the A-4. These springs are available from our host.

Dave Neptune
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Old 10-04-2020, 04:21 PM
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+1 to the above. A few days ago I decided I wasn't happy with the way the engine was running. It started and ran ok, but the vacuum was lower, and I could not get as high rpms as before in gear. Acceleration was slower. So I opened up the distributor cap, and I couldn't' even twist the rotor. Sure enough, the c- advance was dry and rusty. After removing the weights, sanding them bright, oiling and reinstalling them, engine sounded much better, and vacuum was back up. I must have gone a few years without oiling the c-advance weights. It would have been easy to remove the rotor and put oil down the shaft. That should be a regular routine. I saw no felt on the shaft under the rotor.
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Old 11-08-2020, 09:53 AM
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The answer was in the twilight zone!!

Grab a beer or a glass of wine, because this is a little detailed and a lot on the "NO WAY" side. First I want to thank all of the folks that replied to my original thread. I checked the centrifugal advance and it was working fine. Then I borrowed a dwell/tach meter and adjusted the points and timing. But the problem was still there. She would start right up and run smooth but no high end power. So after a few beers and a little cruising the Afourinan forum I decided to pull my plug wires off of the distributor one at a time. I pulled #1 and nothing happened. So I put it back on and pulled #2 and nothing happened again. Engine ran exactly the same. When I pulled #3 the engine killed. When I pulled #4 the engine killed. So, I checked for spark at the plugs and all 4 had great spark. Next, I guessed no compression in 1 and 2. Probably stuck valves. So I took out the spark plugs one at a time and held my thumb over the hole and rotated the engine and the compression blew my thumb off every time. Now hmmmmm? So, I grabbed another beer and just sat on my stool looking at the engine. I started looking at the pretty new spark plug wires that I had recently installed (One at a time of course!). And when I started following the wires I looked at their order and they were installed to fire 1-2-3-4. Yes 1-2-3-4, NOT 1-2-4-3. I talked with the PO who had owned the boat for 10 years and had all of his work done at the same local boat yard. He always figured that the engine was just a little underpowered for a 34 ft boat. Well, I ordered an engine rotating tool from Ken at Moyer to reset the timing. It was about 110 deg off. We discussed it and he said that yes, an A4 will run on 2 cylinders, but will have no top end power. This boat has been running on 2 cylinders for over 10 years. Just WOW? Final result? I adjusted the timing and cranked her up and she sounds like an entirely new engine. I am heading out this afternoon to set the final timing at cruise power. I feel sooo much safer now knowing that if i need to get back into the harbor real quick and in a hurry I can do it. Thanks again for all the feedback and have a great day. Fair Winds!
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Old 11-08-2020, 01:02 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bayou Sailor View Post
And when I started following the wires I looked at their order and they were installed to fire 1-2-3-4. Yes 1-2-3-4, NOT 1-2-4-3. I talked with the PO who had owned the boat for 10 years and had all of his work done at the same local boat yard. He always figured that the engine was just a little underpowered for a 34 ft boat. Well, I ordered an engine rotating tool from Ken at Moyer to reset the timing. It was about 110 deg off. We discussed it and he said that yes, an A4 will run on 2 cylinders, but will have no top end power. This boat has been running on 2 cylinders for over 10 years. Just WOW? Final result? I adjusted the timing and cranked her up and she sounds like an entirely new engine. Fair Winds!
Oh, the advantages of being a DIY mechanic.

The person I purchased my boat from in 1983 it was from the first owner after the boat was built in 1980. When I asked to look at the dipstick when I bought the boat the bozo didn't know where the dipstick was! I can say with confidence that I was the only person that touched the engine since the boat left the factory until I sold the boat year ago. No forum in those days. I was pretty much on my own.

ex TRUE GRIT

Last edited by JOHN COOKSON; 11-08-2020 at 01:42 PM.
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Old 11-08-2020, 01:35 PM
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Now the bad news

So I went to the boat this morning and cranked her up and she ran beautifully, but.... I heard a new sound and smoke coming into the cabin. I removed the steps and looked and my exhaust had a severe leak. I assume the extra pressure from all 4 cylinders popping identified a weak spot. I turned her off and unwrapped the heat tape and sure enough i had a hole around the size of a quarter. So, I removed the pipe going from the manifold to the muffler. It is about 2 1/2 ft long. It is the old black iron pipe. I had to cut it off and used heat to unscrew the fittings. So, this week I will be off to the local plumbing supply house to replace. I will replace with 304SS. Oh well, at least I won't keep wondering what kind of shape my exhaust is in!
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  #9   IP: 38.27.109.137
Old 11-08-2020, 02:54 PM
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One could argue that, in this particular situation, a big hole is better than a small one, as it would be less likely to go unnoticed.

Bill

Last edited by W2ET; 11-09-2020 at 08:00 AM.
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Old 11-08-2020, 04:58 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bayou Sailor View Post
this week I will be off to the local plumbing supply house to replace. I will replace with 304SS.
FYI, the ABYC standards specifies 316L (low carbon) stainless for dry (hot section) exhaust. You can find it in ABYC Article P-1, Table 1, footnote (8) on page 4 of the standard found on this forum here. Also please remember for a threaded assembly (as opposed to welded or 1 piece bent), Schedule 80 is specified.
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Old 11-08-2020, 11:11 PM
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316L is overkill. The L grade of 316 is to reduce cracking when it's welded, but you're threading it rather than welding it, so...
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Old 11-09-2020, 03:55 AM
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.... And when I started following the wires I looked at their order and they were installed to fire 1-2-3-4. Yes 1-2-3-4, NOT 1-2-4-3. !
this is pretty impressive.. I failed the 1-2-3-4 after my overhaul, and found it after a few hours. But being able to have 2 cylinders running being 110° off is quite an achievement... Well done correcting that. for sure 4 cylinders are going to make a hell of a difference compared to 2! And I am sue your confidence in your engine is increasing!
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Last edited by W2ET; 11-09-2020 at 12:18 PM.
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Old 11-16-2020, 12:55 PM
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Fait Accompli

Thanks to all for the help. I rebuilt the dry section last week with sch80 black pipe. That was hard enough to find on it's own. I asked about 316ss and nobody had any in stock or quickly available and one guy said I would probably come out cheaper just buying a new boat. Oh well, it is installed and working perfectly. I ran it for a few hours on Saturday and absolutely no fumes or smoke in the cabin. I wrapped with fiber tape Sunday morning and battened up the engine compartment and life is good. The weather down here is getting perfect for sailing and Margarita is ready!!
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Old 11-16-2020, 07:16 PM
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Thumbs up

If you used black iron, it should likely last at least 5 years. I have had my boat since 2008, and just re-did the hot stack a second time.

Nice sleuthing on the firing order.
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