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Old 08-01-2008, 09:38 AM
Trysail Trysail is offline
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Engine Dies after approx one hour

I have a 1972 raw water cooled A4, electronic ignition, pcv valve, inline fuel filter (no water separator) located between the carb and pump, mechanical fuel pump w/ original bowl.

I have not run my engine for longer than a couple of hours since last year.

Here is my story:

After about two hours of motoring the engine stalls.

I check the fuel filter by blowing through it and it seems clogged. I replace it. I also check the sediment bowl and drain the carb bowl just in case something is floating around in it.

Engine starts right up. Keep in mind that the work took a bit longer than usual as I'm floundering around in small swells with no wind.

About an hour later the engine dies again. This time I'm paying attention and I can hear it starting to struggle and as I try to increase throttle it just sort of chugs along for a few seconds and then stops.

I check the fuel filter again, check the sediment bowl AND drain the carb bowl. Fuel filter is fine. Engine will crank, but not start. Drain the carb bowl again and thinking maybe the float is stuck, gently tap the carb with a rubber screwdriver handle. Engine will still not start. Next I close the water intake and check for spark at the forward most plug wire. AS I'M CHECKING FOR SPARK AGAINST THE THERMOSTAT HOUSING, THE ENGINE FIRES RIGHT UP ON THREE CYLINDERS!! LOL Replace the plug wire, start engine and off we go.

This gets us the last hour into Block Island.

Three days later, on the way home, an hour or so out, no wind, swells again, the engine dies. I check the fuel filter, sediment bowl, drain the carb bowl, tap the carb again. Engine cranks but will not start. I check for spark again and yes there is spark but the engine does not start on three cylinders like on the trip out. Replace spark plug wire and close raw water intake. Try one more time and the engine fires up.

Runs for an hour or so, then dies again. Do the fuel system thing again...this time the ocean is pretty flat so it's done an a couple of minutes. I also check for spark straight away, NO SPARK AT THE PLUG. There is spark at the coil wire. I check the cap and rotor, some wear but looks OK. Since I have it off and I have spare parts, I change the cap and rotor. Check for spark again and everything looks good. Engine starts right up and makes it fine the last hour.

A couple of things I did not mention:
1. It was hot and during this time of year my raw water cooled engine gets up to 145/150 if I run it at over 2000 rpm (indigo 3 blade prop) for long periods. It's always been like this, even after a flush.

2. My engine never had a fuel filter till last year when I got some dirty fuel. My fuel filter is a standard inline NAPA metal filter. I don't think water is a problem because my engine has run on a water/fuel mix with the choke fully out (amazing little engines). However, now I'm wondering if it could be that there is something in the carb bowl that is clogging the jet, then falling out?

3. This process of checking things takes a bit longer because of conditions and me having to take a break to avoid getting sea sick Is 15 minutes long enough for a faulty coil to cool down and start working again. Coil is mounted on the engine.

4. My rotor caps do not have the indent (I just noticed that there are two types for sale on Don's website) for the electronic ignition wires. Could this have caused the cap to not seat properly, causing the cap/rotor to wear. Keep in mind I changed the cap and rotor last season. It was years before that last change and I have never had a problem, ever.

5. I only motor more than a few minutes under load a few times a year. Not good for the engine, I know, but I'm at the mouth of the Mystic River and can sail off my mooring and out into the sound. I use the engine mostly for charging the batteries and getting to the dock once in a while.

I'm gonna check the main jet and see if it's clogged but I don't know if I can even re-create this problem without motoring around in circles for an hour or I'm tempted to just replace the coil, wires, etc. Any input before I start ordering parts and going out to my mooring would be GREAT!

Thanks in advance!

s/v Trysail
1972 C&C 30

Last edited by Trysail; 08-01-2008 at 10:23 AM.
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Old 08-01-2008, 11:36 AM
tenders tenders is offline
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Engine dies after long running times, seems to restart after cooling down, engine mounted coil, coil of unknown age --> high likelihood of this being an old coil in my opinion.
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Old 08-02-2008, 11:14 AM
Trysail Trysail is offline
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Originally Posted by tenders View Post
Engine dies after long running times, seems to restart after cooling down, engine mounted coil, coil of unknown age --> high likelihood of this being an old coil in my opinion.

Thanks for the reply.

I went to the boat last night to remove the coil. I opened the engine compartment and could smell gas. I searched for a leak and checked the carb for standing gas but could not find anything.

I'm hoping that the smell was just left over from when I was repeatedly checking the fuel system two days ago. I vented the boat well and started the engine. Of course it started right up and ran like a top. I let her run for a while and rechecked for leaks and found nothing. I'm gonna go back and check tonight.

I removed the coil and found it had and "Indigo" sticker on it. The PO installed the electronic ignition so the coil is probably 10 -15 yrs old. I'm gonna replace it.

I also found that the connections to the +/- terminals on the coil are suspect. They are cheap auto quality eyes so I'm gonna replace them and some of the wiring if need be.

One question: I have two rolls of high grade marine wire (ancor brand?) on board. I'm not sure of the actual size as it's on the boat, however, it's slightly oversized from the current wiring. I'm not good with electrical but I know I can't go undersized. Is it OK to go one or two sizes up in wiring or will I lose something?
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Old 08-02-2008, 11:56 AM
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Baltimore Sailor Baltimore Sailor is offline
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Not at all. Think of wire as the pipe that electricity runs through, and resistance as the drag the electricity experiences running through the "pipe."

Too small a wire creates too much resistance and will heat -- and possibly melt -- the wire and insulation. A too-big wire lets the electricity run through the wire like a trickle of water through a drainpipe, but might be too bulky for the application.

If you're just a grade or two larger -- a 12 g wire instead of a 14 or 16 g -- you shouldn't run into any bulkiness issues, though. But never fear going larger with a wire.

Just remember, going to a larger number in gauge means a smaller wire: 16 g is much smaller than 10 g.
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Old 08-07-2008, 11:15 AM
Trysail Trysail is offline
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Thumbs up

To finish this thread, I
I replaced the coil and ran the engine at operating temp. for over an hour and things look good. I hope the problem is solved. I did not do any other wiring until I tested with the new coil. Now I will replace some old wire and connecters.

The electronic ignition system turned out to be the Indigo model. I spoke w/ Indigo and I described the coil to them. It turns out this coil (not oil filled)does not last forever and that I should replace it with an oil filled one.

I want to say thanks to those that responded!

I also want to thank the people at both Moyer and Indigo. I have ordered from both of them in the past and their customer service is outstanding.

edit 8/28/08: I motored 6 hrs on monday and 6 hours on wed. All is well with this problem... Now I have two others 1) carb seems to be leaking. 2) egine is running close to 190 after a couple of hours of motoring (time for a acid flush?)

Last edited by Trysail; 08-28-2008 at 11:04 PM.
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