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  #1   IP: 184.0.176.66
Old 04-01-2012, 07:25 PM
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Head Removal

As I mentioned earlier I began taking water into the crankcase. After a long hard run using my outboard and wind, I've made it to Whittaker Point Marina in Oriental, South Carolina, from Florida. It has become imminent that the head has to be removed and the A4 has to be fixed, some crossings are just too hard with wind on the nose and fighting currents.

We were very lucky to have winds and currents in our favor to make it the distance we've gone so far, but with that said I've begun removing the head bolts and I noticed that when I too out 2 of the rear head bolts on the left rear side of the motor (when looking straight on the motor) One bolt was very loose and had water on the threads, the other the stud came out completely and there was water and oil under pressure as the stud came out with the nut. As for the other nuts, some came off easily and others were really hard, not sure if this is due to the head being possibly warped or if the nuts were improperly torqued when installed.

Should head bolts be checked periodically to make sure they are properly torqued - a regular maintenance thing?

Any suggestions on how to remove the head with minimal damage because it looks as though it's been on there for some time, would be greatly appreciated. Also, does the manifold need to come off or can it stay in place?

Any suggestions to this newbie would be greatly appreciated.

Thanks,
Paul
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  #2   IP: 98.101.210.6
Old 04-01-2012, 07:53 PM
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hanleyclifford hanleyclifford is offline
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There are a number of possible scenarios here, some simple and at least one deadly. The fact that one or more of the studs came out too easily and water and oil with it suggests either leaking along the threads or nuts loose enough to allow lateral movement of water where the head gasket is supposed to be sealing. This could imply a warped head but I would not jump to that conclusion. Since you have already begun disassembly a compression test is not possible. Once the head is off you will be able to inspect the cylinders to look for a breach into the water jacket to the lower extent of the piston travel. A breach below that level will not be detectable from the top and I would ignore that possibility for now. It is not necessary to remove the manifold to remove the head but not so doing will make cleaning/preparation of the block surface slightly more tedious. If you intend to do this job at Whittaker Creek you can get a lot of help from the forum members here. Post us pics of the block once you have the head off. IIRC the top of your engine is difficult to access so taking pics might be tricky. See PM reply.

Last edited by hanleyclifford; 04-01-2012 at 08:08 PM.
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Old 04-01-2012, 08:17 PM
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Marian Claire Marian Claire is offline
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PT: If you have very good access to the engine you can remove the head without removing the manifold. I use a putty knife first then a hive tool to separate the head and block and then a flat bar to raise the head over the studs. Go slowly and be patient. Gently tap and "cut" the joint with the putty knife and then slowly, gently tap tap pry, move a inch or so tap tap pry, etc with the hive tool. Do not drive the tool/knife very far in on the valve/manifold side. Patience.
Dan S/V Marian Claire
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Old 04-01-2012, 08:30 PM
Sony2000 Sony2000 is offline
 
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To reseat the two loose head studs there a number of products to add to the threads to hold the stud in place and seal it. As well, some people add a sealer around the bolt hole in the gaskets. Possibly the previous installer didn't use the two bolt method to install the stud!
Two remove the old head, I cranked over the engine a few times to loosen up the head. Let 12 volts work for you.
Because of the double head gaskets, forum members have recommended retorqing up to three times over all.
Your job should go well.
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  #5   IP: 184.0.176.66
Old 04-01-2012, 08:32 PM
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Thanks for the help, it's greatly appreciated I can now fully understand what you mean by "Patience" I think this head has been in here since the beginning of time and it will definitely be a slow process... with a putty knife in hand I have started the head removal.

When I took the thermostat housing off and removed the thermostat, in looking inside it's pretty nasty. I took a photo of it, you can see lots of oil and gunk inside.

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I will upload more photos as I go along.

Thanks again,
Paul
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  #6   IP: 98.101.210.6
Old 04-01-2012, 08:54 PM
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Paul - Keep in mind those two thermostat studs are in fact head studs and will cause you the most trouble when the time comes to remove the head. Start now with a PB Blaster or Kroil treatment of those studs. A little plumber's style emory cloth treatment doesn't hurt either. Try to remember which nuts come off easy and have oil/water on them. Also, the studs are of variable length so keep track of which one comes from which hole.
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Old 04-01-2012, 09:03 PM
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I figured that might be the case with the studs so when I started I labeled everything as I removed it.

The head is actually loose but I havn't tried prying on it or anything yet. So far so good, taking my time no need to rush. In fact, where the loose studs with the oil/water issue were, the head didn't have to be tapped on, it was already loose there.

Thank you for the heads up about the thermostat studs, Hanley.

Paul
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  #8   IP: 98.101.210.6
Old 04-01-2012, 09:20 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by PT26 View Post
... where the loose studs with the oil/water issue were, the head didn't have to be tapped on, it was already loose there.
This could be good news, suggesting a head gasket issue.
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  #9   IP: 184.0.176.66
Old 04-01-2012, 11:49 PM
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Well, I successfully removed the head.

Upon inspection of the gaskets, they did not appear to have any issues.

#3 cylinder had a lot of signs of water and the valves had some surface water rust. The cylinder wall felt pitted but I noticed that by cleaning it, it came out. While cleaning the cylinder, my fingers brushed a hole in the side of the cylinder wall closest to the #2 cylinder. I was able to get a camera inside the cylinder and take a few photos.

I guess my diagnosis would be that I didn't have a gasket or head problem, I had a hole in the cylinder wall and that must be where water runs through the block (I'm guessing) and that's where the breach is.

I'm not sure if this can be fixed (ie J B weld) but at this point I'm not sure what to do.

Take a look at the photos - one of the head, one of the #3 cylinder and one of the hole in the side wall of the #3 cylinder.

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  #10   IP: 98.101.210.6
Old 04-02-2012, 07:35 AM
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Unhappy The Deadly Scenario

Paul - The pictures reveal the worst possible situation. The block is compromised in the way of all salt water cooled A4 engines - in exactly the spot where the hot salt water blasts the cylinders from the back side. The engine will have to be pulled and rebuilt/replaced. Now you need to decide whether to do the job in Oriental or use the outboard to get you home. This will take some thought and you know your options best. If you are still in Oriental when I get there of course I will help. Sorry about this, Hanley
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  #11   IP: 24.231.99.102
Old 04-02-2012, 08:12 AM
Sony2000 Sony2000 is offline
 
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Too bad. There is no way around the situation. Since you are at a better marine facility, removing the engine, and trailering it home maybe the first step.
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  #12   IP: 98.101.210.6
Old 04-02-2012, 08:20 AM
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Oriental is a hotbed of sailboat activity with more boats than people (yup). I had a guy offer me a complete engine for peanuts there once. And there is a consignment store with many contacts. Check out the Whittaker Creek yards and compare to options at your home.
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  #13   IP: 184.0.176.66
Old 04-02-2012, 08:25 AM
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So am I reading this right, the block can be rebuilt? How would this be fixed? Do they sleeve the cylinders or does the block have to be replaced?

Thanks everyone for all your help,
Paul
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  #14   IP: 98.101.210.6
Old 04-02-2012, 08:33 AM
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The block can be re-sleeved for about $500-$600 worth of machine work but there are other costs and considerations. Look at the short block option from Moyer Marine on this site. Also, check that consignment store right nearby. Of course you need to have a ready and willing yard for a work site.
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  #15   IP: 108.23.219.10
Old 04-02-2012, 08:46 AM
Dave Neptune Dave Neptune is online now
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Lightbulb Doqaable!

Paul, bummer to say the least! Yes the block is redoable for a price. You know you will need at least one cylinder "sleeved", not at all an uncommon practicel. The other cylinders as well as the rest of the block will need to be inspected very well as they too may be very thin and ready to fail. I'd start looking at finding a block too as it may be about the same cost and a bit easier to do. A rebuildable block has some value depending on how bad it is rusted out. You are having the same problem I'm worried about with my 42 year SWC old beastie.

Dave Neptune
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  #16   IP: 173.10.186.220
Old 04-02-2012, 10:19 AM
Jesse Delanoy Jesse Delanoy is offline
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Oriental NC is a good place - it's a sailing mecca. I was on a cruise years ago when I developed a water problem and discovered a bad bearing in my A4. Fortunately, we were at Solomons, MD, which is another sailing mecca. We parked the boat at Zahniser's yacht yard, and ordered a Moyer rebuilt engine to be shipped down and installed. We took land transportation home. They had the boat for 2 weeks, and the whole thing was done. I'm sure you can get similar service in Oriental, although maybe not that fast this time of year. Consider the cost and time of replacing with a Moyer engine against the cost and time involved in pulling your engine and having it rebuilt.
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Old 04-02-2012, 12:12 PM
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Salt water pierced one cylinder, so the others aren't far behind.
Changing the block for $650 (Ebay) requires new rings on the pistons, and gaskets galore.
Ebay has a good working engine in N.H. for $500 to $1000 plus shipping. No gaskets! Put in a bid.
Shop for a used engine near the sailboat. Someone may have ''partially'' rebuilt one over the winter, and will sell it installed or not.
These suggestions are at the lower price levels. Just match the repowering to the value of the boat it is giong into.

Last edited by Sony2000; 04-02-2012 at 12:15 PM.
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  #18   IP: 184.0.176.66
Old 04-02-2012, 12:24 PM
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Off to scout out and start looking for a new engine or block, whatever wight be available in the area. Looks like I'll be here for a little bit getting things together, but if I had to be broken down somewhere this is definitely the place I would want it to happen. Everyone is so helpful and friendly!

Paul
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Old 04-02-2012, 02:57 PM
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I had an engine problem once and managed to get to Oriental where I rented a car and drove the engine up to PA where the Amish person who does the A4 rebuilds fixed my issue that afternoon (I needed a new reversing gear installed). The local boat yard was too busy to get to help in a timely fashion with the repair, but they did pull the boat out and a day or so later hoisted out the motor once I had disconnected everything.

You'll want to find a balance between how much time you want to be stuck vs. how much money you want to spend getting a replacement motor.

-Jonathan
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Old 04-02-2012, 05:14 PM
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I pulled the smelly old head out of my boat this weekend. I opened this thread hoping to find someone to commiserate with, but in comparison my toilet woes don't seem so bad anymore...
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Old 04-02-2012, 07:05 PM
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At this point I wish a stinky old toilet was the issue LOL

In my searches today, I'm going to look at a complete motor that's for sale (to the right person) about 50 miles from here. It's an "early model" not a "late model" and I'm not sure what I should look for to tell what version this motor is.

But it is completely rebuilt motor with everything including the heat exchanger and extra parts, it's a "take it all" situation.

Paul
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Old 04-02-2012, 07:35 PM
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A rebuilt engine sounds like a real deal. I hope it works out for you.

The easiest to spot difference between early and later model motors is the thermostat location. The early model has a cross over tube instead of the T-stat housing. The fly wheel cover on the latest model motors is sheet metal instead of cast iron and the oil fill is above the flywheel. There are a few other cosmetic differences, like the shape of the transmission cover.

Some important differences for you when going forward are: distributor, starter, carb, t-stat and gaskets. The distributor and starters on the early models are prestolite (not delco). You can use the late model parts with minor modifications (e.g. you must use a different flywheel with the delco starter and modify the flywheel cover. The distributor hold down is slightly different). Prestolite distributors are smaller with the condenser on the outside of the distributor cap. The Carb on the early models was cast iron not aluminum and requires different rebuild parts. You can use either carb with either engine. Thermostats are completely different for early and late model motors. With different parts, you would need different gaskets so be aware when you order.

To make life more interesting, lots of motors have a combination of early and late parts. This is partly because changes were gradual and partly because owners could and sometimes did put later parts on earlier engines. My own motors are 1. late model entirely 2. Early model with some late parts and 3. Partialy disassembled : )

Speaking of number 3, too bad we are not closer, I have spare block up here in Michigan with some bad internal parts. You have working internals with a bad block....

Good luck, Mike

Last edited by marthur; 04-02-2012 at 07:49 PM.
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Old 04-03-2012, 07:48 PM
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Hi, Thanks for the info.

One just came up for sale here on the forum.
It is not to far to drive and go buy it so it looks like This one is better than the other I looked at today.
I called John and am in the process of finding a rental car to go get it.

Things may just work out fine

Paul
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Old 04-04-2012, 07:52 AM
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I was hoping you'd see that ad pop up! Good luck!
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Old 04-04-2012, 10:47 AM
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PT26,

Check this out at Moyer's website...http://moyermarine.com/faq/11.14.html

That FAQ will give you things to look for to tell early or late model.

The casting date of the block is a 6 digit number stamped into the block just aft of the typical oil pressure sending unit location & just under the valve cover. It is partially hidden by the carb, unless you look at the correct angle.

Mine is 041976 (April 19, 1976) - You can see it just above the flame arrestor in this dark pic.

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