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  #1   IP: 50.153.105.88
Old 09-06-2015, 11:22 AM
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Sudden very ragged running problem

Happy Labor Day Weekend! I did everything I could think of to get ready to motor / sail from Fort Lauderdale to Miami this weekend. Yesterday morning, the engine started just fine and ran great for about on hour, then suddenly quit. I could restart the engine, but it would run very roughly at very high RPM, and not at all at low RPM, as if a cylinder or two were not firing. I tested for spark, and found good spark. I tested for fuel flow to the carb, and found good fuel flow. I'm kind of stumped. Is the carb clogged? Are valves stuck? Plug wires shot all of a sudden?

Here is some more data:

The engine was running very hot, since we were trying to make it through the bridges on time. The gauge was reading about 190. I know I have to flush the exhaust manifold, but I did make sure there was flow of water in the exhaust out the transom.

I changed the oil last week, and verified the right amount of oil was in the engine before starting it yesterday.

I filled the gas tank full with mid-grade fuel and added some MMO. There was no label at the fuel pump that mentioned ethanol, but I don't know if they do that here in Florida.

I installed new spark plugs, rotor, and distributor cap on Friday night, and verified the engine started and ran smoothly afterward. The Ignitor electronic ignition was installed last year. The coil is mounted off the engine, and I have a ballast resistor attached. At the time of failure, the temperature of the coil was 140 F. The temperature of the fuel pump was 120.

The fuel filter is about a month old, and I have a vacuum gauge installed to verify it is not clogged. The carburetor is one year old.

Any help would be appreciated.
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Old 09-06-2015, 11:38 AM
hanleyclifford hanleyclifford is offline
 
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Please (not the coil)

This does sound like a fuel issue. Please verify that you have a "fuel pressure" gauge (you mentioned "vacuum gauge"). A vacuum gauge will not help much here. You mentioned a fuel fill up. Have you verified that your fuel tank vent is clear?
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Old 09-06-2015, 11:52 AM
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Gauges

Yes, I have a vacuum gauge for the line off the fuel filter, and another pressure gauge after the fuel pump going to the carb. I'll check the fuel tank vent.

http://www.cruisingworld.com/how/fue...uge?page=0%2C1

Last edited by pdecker; 09-06-2015 at 11:55 AM.
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Old 09-06-2015, 12:00 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pdecker View Post
Yes, I have a vacuum gauge for the line off the fuel filter, and another pressure gauge after the fuel pump going to the carb.
That's impressive. OK, if you have fuel pressure delivered right to the carb the problem is in the carb itself. A good place to start is the main jet accessed under the bowl. The fact that the carb is relatively new is irrelevant. The odds are stacked big time against clean fuel delivery for us. The boats and tanks can be old. We use the engines (most of us) only to get in and out of marinas. The delivery paths themselves can be torturous, and then to top it off the government puts moonshine into the gasoline. Check that main jet.
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Old 09-06-2015, 12:18 PM
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Does it run any better if you partially close the choke?
Dan S/V Marian Claire
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Old 09-06-2015, 12:51 PM
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I'd check the racor for water sooner rather than later. When I had a water in fuel (yes, from a gas station) the boat wouldn't idle and sputtered to beat all with rpms up. Reverbations went through the drive train as well... Once I sucked the tank bottom and changed filters (twice) it sorted out and didn't have an issue following that.
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Old 09-06-2015, 12:57 PM
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A blocked fuel tank vent is easy to diagnose. Just loosen the fill cap and see if the engine runs better\normally. If you want to shotgun the troubleshooting loosen the fill cap before the next start. If the engine runs normally then tighten the fill cap and see if the problem reoccures or if tightening the cap makes no difference.

Lots of times (but not always) when there is a fuel\carb problem the engine sort of sputters to a stop like it ran out of fuel. Was your shutdown sudden like someone turned off the key or more of a "soft" shutdown like you ran out of fuel? Did you try closing the choke a bit? If closing the choke helps the engine to run better it pretty much locks in the carb\fuel system problem. (In your case the carb)

Are you sure there is not something wrapped around the prop?
Also has the packing not gone to hell in a hand basket and binding the shaft somehow.

You can check for spark by pulling a wire off a plug, putting a screwdriver in the boot and see if you can jump an arc to the plug while someone turns the engine with the starter. Remember to keep the raw water valve closed anytime you are testing a no start engine.

In summary I agree it sounds as if you have a carb problem. These are just some other ideas for your consideration.
Best of luck to you.

TRUE GRIT
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Old 09-06-2015, 01:04 PM
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Good point to check prop John. Rather than carb I'd be looking to Water....water in fuel...he described exactly what occurs. Just because a fuel filter went on last month doesn't mean there is no water in that tank now. Check for water before you pull the carb off.
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The pessimist complains about the wind.
The optimist expects it to change.
The realist adjusts the sails.
...Sir William Arthur Ward.
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Old 09-06-2015, 02:07 PM
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No water in the fuel, and loosening the gas cap doesn't improve running

I started it up today and the ragged running starts within a few seconds. I removed the gas cap while it was running poorly, and that did not improve the engine, so I don't think it's the vent.

I could not remove the bolt from the bottom of the Racor since I put it on too tight. But I removed the whole filter and dumped the entire contents into coffee cups. (Don't tell the Mrs!) I did not see any signs of water.

When the engine shut down yesterday, it was a soft shut down like it was starved for fuel. Same today.

I do not think the problem is a fouled prop since the symptoms readily happen in neutral gear. But, I'll jump in and check it tomorrow to be sure.

So, I think the signs are pointing to the carburetor. I have the Moyer overhaul manual, and Don's video on carburetor troubleshooting. I also happen to have a carb rebuild kit in my spares inventory if need be. I'll probably attack that tomorrow.

Thanks for all your help!

http://www.moyermarine.com/cgi-bin/s...ey=CLIP_01_551
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Old 09-06-2015, 02:29 PM
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If it turns out there are contaminants in the main jet, idle circuit ports or wherever else, the question shifts to 'where did it come from?' A thorough repair goes beyond addressing the symptom, it resolves the cause.
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Old 09-06-2015, 02:34 PM
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Talking

Sounds like you've zeroed in on the problem. Still, before going for the full rebuild I would do a quick inspection of the main jet. Just remove the cover plug and then extract the jet with a screwdriver that is big enough to fill the slot in the jet but narrow enough on the shank to not mess up the threads going in. Be careful not to drop the small gasket ring into the bilge. BTW, since switching to the adjustable main jet I have been able to clear this kind of problem several times by just twisting the jet open a couple turns and then returning to normal position. Of course if you have a bowl full of junk removing the carb is the only option.
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Old 09-06-2015, 08:47 PM
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Would also suggest taking off the distributor cap and checking for cleanliness thereunder, an intact rotor, and solid connections to the wires.
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Old 09-06-2015, 11:17 PM
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Sounds to me like the first thing to eliminate is water in the fuel. Dumping 6oz into a coffee cup isn't telling you anything. What you need is a gallon from the very bottom of your tank into a clear jug. Then you'll be able to see what's there.
I don't know your tank arrangement - in my case I'm able to get to the very bottom through the fill using a 6' piece of PEX tubing. A Jabsco hand pump moves the fuel into the jug. Easy to see what you have. If your tank bottom is not accessible from the fill, you'll have to add a port in the top of the tank. Make it easy to get to, as you'll probably want to check your tank annually.
I'm guessing you'll find two layers. The top layer is fuel - put it back into the tank. The bottom layer is a mix of water, alcohol, and crud - dispose of it. Side benefit of this effort is that your gas tank is now alcohol free - you've dumped it with the water!
I've been preaching this sermon a lot in the last year - based on my own experience. I don't want to count the sailing days I've lost due to water in the gas, clogged main jets, clogged float valves, and overflowing carbs. The clogs due to corrosion products from the water. Even a marine Racor filter has steel in it that will corrode and send crud downstream to the carb.
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Old 09-06-2015, 11:41 PM
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The original post says that it was running at very high RPM, right?

I would suspect a vacuum leak right away.
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Old 09-07-2015, 04:51 PM
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Same problem

I had similar problem this weekend. Emptied my racor, cleaned my carb, sucked out the bottom gallon of gas, re fueled and it ran great
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Old 09-07-2015, 09:09 PM
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Similar problem w/ Vid and story.

Hello all!

I'm new to the community as I just acquired a 1975 C&C 30 from my step father.

The boat was not maintained for 5+ years until my twin and I decided to take it off his hand this season. Its been 4 months worth of weekend work on BlueChip with, steady, visible progress - Except for the engine.

The engine has been a problem child on this project. here is a short story that leads to my post today.

4 months ago my brother and I came down from NY to Solomans Island, MD. to take a look at BlueChip. We fell in love and wanted to take on the project of restoring her. She wasn't in bad shape, but she was neglected for 5+ Years.

We started with the engine, as we didn't know how much money the engine will need to start and make reliable again. after a survey of the engine and 2 weekends worth of work; Fuel tank empty/clean , fuel system check, Carb cleaning, Oil and other regular tune up tasks.

It ran! we were surprised. Even the marina mechanic was somewhat surprised.

Fast forward 2 weeks. We come back down from NY and the engine wouldn't start. It would turn over, starter motor worked and it was getting fuel. after a quick weekend of tinkering... Nothing! it just wouldn't start. (No real work was done on the engine)

2 Weeks ago we come down from NY again, with the only task on our list being the engine - During the long period between we had the boat hauled, bottom cleaned and painted, full rig inspection, replacement of all running rigging.

Work started at 6AM that Friday. the fuel was again syphoned out and we put in new gasoline (Checked the tank and it was still clean). checked the fuel lines and carb with nothing notable to show for it. I decided to clean the Carb one more time, and the engine started.

We left the engine on for 20 - 30 mins and it ran smoothly on low to mid RPM. No coughing or anything. as the engine ran my brother and I were checking all water lines, gas lines, exhaust, etc to make all was in order.

We found that the water pump was leaking profusely and the exhaust system was pretty much made of dust. THAT didn't phase us, as the engine was now running and running smoothly.

Fast forward to Labor Day weekend. It was a busy couple of weeks in NY but we managed to rebuild a new exhaust (W/ MMI purchased Flange, brass fittings, wrap, heat paint, etc.) and we purchased a new MMI water pump (It looks so nice and clean... love it.) The time had finally come... we left a smoothly running engine with minor problems and now we are back with the solutions.

We started work at 6AM on the Friday before Labor Day. It was a great day. Pump went on with no problems (other than a thru hull valve that snapped clean in half BUT it was replaced.) The exhaust was also installed with no problems to mention, other than it was a tight fit.

We held our breath and started the engine. Just like two weeks back, it started immidiialtey and ran smoothly. We decided to do a 'reliability' test. The test lasted an hr and 20 mins. During this test we did the following.

- Adjusted the idle speed. (No Tachometer)
- Made sure that with forward/ reverse were engaged, the engine didn't stall. (it stalled once due to a low idle speed)
- Ran in forward, on the dock, for 30 mins and reverse for 30 mins.
- No leaks to speak of
- No exhaust or gas smell.

It would be good to mention that in the first 20 mins the engine was started and stopped 5-7 times. All the restarts were immediate and smooth. the following hr was used to run the engine under load and to check the transmission forward and reverse gears. All checked out other than a drip leak at the stuffing box (This will get fixed soon.)

Sept 6th was the day we walked up to our boat and said " Lets take her out on motor and enjoy our boat on the water and away from the dock for the first time."

We get to BlueChip at 7AM on sept 6th full of hope and excitement.

Started the engine as we prepared an anchor (just incase) and prepared the jib and main just incase things went so smooth we decide to actually sail.

Engine ran for about 20 mins then sputtered ever so smoothly and slowly to a stop. We didn't think much of it until we tried to start it again. The engine wouldn't start, It would run for 2-5 seconds then sputter slowly to a stop. The engine would also start, run for 10 secs but didn't seem to respond to the throttle lever at all (both from helm and the carb.) We tried to run it 5 times with the same thing happening. There were no loud sounds or abrupt engine stopping.

The day ended with the engine NOT running.

Labor Day. Yet again all the projects on the boat come to a halt due to the engine.

after a few tests, there was no luck with the engine. So i took this Video to show you what i mean with "the engine sputters slowly to a stop" when we try to run it. Apologies on the long video but it shows the times we tried to start the engine and the sputtering of the engine.

at the end of this video, as my brother says " are you sure its getting gas... Does that sound like its getting gas to you?" I thought of looking at the gas lines again. I tracked it yet again from the tank. all checked out until I reached the carb.

The fuel pump was pushing fuel into the carb (Tested this by disconnecting the inlet and trying to start the engine.) Then removed the gas line entering to the engine from the carb and ran the engine again. This time there was no gas at the inlet of the engine. So I went one step further by checking the outlet of the carb (on the bottom). ran the engine again, there was no gas coming out of the carb.

The few questions i have are.

- How can it run for over an hr the day before and just not want to start again?
- The Carb was cleaned just this morning. Can it be the jets?
- Carb is spanking clean (although it can probably use a rebuild.) Should i rebuild or buy a new one ( keep in mind that the cost of a new one is not stopping me from buying one.)
- What other problems could i be facing other than the carb at this point?
- Does anyone else hear anything unusual in the video as the engine is trying to start?

I apologize for the long post. Just want to make sure you guys have a clear idea of what has been going on. I've read many posts and it seems like the community is really knowledgable and helpful.

I will be back in Solomans next week to work on the engine. Any input/test/parts that you would suggest can/ will happen then.

Thank you all again for your time.

B.
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Old 09-07-2015, 09:22 PM
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Golfdad75.
So what was the problem?
Overwhelmed filter.
Crud in the carb.
Water/crud at the bottom of the tank.
Out of gas.

What did the liquid in the filter look like?
Did you see any blockages in the carb?
What did the bottom gallon look like?
What was the fuel level?

Dan S/V Marian Claire
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Old 09-08-2015, 08:57 AM
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Bluechip. Welcome to the forum.
"Then removed the gas line entering to the engine from the carb and ran the engine again. This time there was no gas at the inlet of the engine."
This has me confused. Are you talking about the scavenge tube?
What type of fuel pump do you have?
" Fuel tank empty/clean" How was the tank cleaned?
Dan S/V Marian Claire

Last edited by Marian Claire; 09-08-2015 at 09:16 AM. Reason: More ?s
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Old 09-08-2015, 09:08 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BlueChip View Post
Hello all!

I'm new to the community as I just acquired a 1975 C&C 30 from my step father.

The boat was not maintained for 5+ years until my twin and I decided to take it off his hand this season. Its been 4 months worth of weekend work on BlueChip with, steady, visible progress - Except for the engine.

The engine has been a problem child on this project. here is a short story that leads to my post today.

4 months ago my brother and I came down from NY to Solomans Island, MD. to take a look at BlueChip. We fell in love and wanted to take on the project of restoring her. She wasn't in bad shape, but she was neglected for 5+ Years.

We started with the engine, as we didn't know how much money the engine will need to start and make reliable again. after a survey of the engine and 2 weekends worth of work; Fuel tank empty/clean , fuel system check, Carb cleaning, Oil and other regular tune up tasks.

It ran! we were surprised. Even the marina mechanic was somewhat surprised.

Fast forward 2 weeks. We come back down from NY and the engine wouldn't start. It would turn over, starter motor worked and it was getting fuel. after a quick weekend of tinkering... Nothing! it just wouldn't start. (No real work was done on the engine)

2 Weeks ago we come down from NY again, with the only task on our list being the engine - During the long period between we had the boat hauled, bottom cleaned and painted, full rig inspection, replacement of all running rigging.

Work started at 6AM that Friday. the fuel was again syphoned out and we put in new gasoline (Checked the tank and it was still clean). checked the fuel lines and carb with nothing notable to show for it. I decided to clean the Carb one more time, and the engine started.

We left the engine on for 20 - 30 mins and it ran smoothly on low to mid RPM. No coughing or anything. as the engine ran my brother and I were checking all water lines, gas lines, exhaust, etc to make all was in order.

We found that the water pump was leaking profusely and the exhaust system was pretty much made of dust. THAT didn't phase us, as the engine was now running and running smoothly.

Fast forward to Labor Day weekend. It was a busy couple of weeks in NY but we managed to rebuild a new exhaust (W/ MMI purchased Flange, brass fittings, wrap, heat paint, etc.) and we purchased a new MMI water pump (It looks so nice and clean... love it.) The time had finally come... we left a smoothly running engine with minor problems and now we are back with the solutions.

We started work at 6AM on the Friday before Labor Day. It was a great day. Pump went on with no problems (other than a thru hull valve that snapped clean in half BUT it was replaced.) The exhaust was also installed with no problems to mention, other than it was a tight fit.

We held our breath and started the engine. Just like two weeks back, it started immidiialtey and ran smoothly. We decided to do a 'reliability' test. The test lasted an hr and 20 mins. During this test we did the following.

- Adjusted the idle speed. (No Tachometer)
- Made sure that with forward/ reverse were engaged, the engine didn't stall. (it stalled once due to a low idle speed)
- Ran in forward, on the dock, for 30 mins and reverse for 30 mins.
- No leaks to speak of
- No exhaust or gas smell.

It would be good to mention that in the first 20 mins the engine was started and stopped 5-7 times. All the restarts were immediate and smooth. the following hr was used to run the engine under load and to check the transmission forward and reverse gears. All checked out other than a drip leak at the stuffing box (This will get fixed soon.)

Sept 6th was the day we walked up to our boat and said " Lets take her out on motor and enjoy our boat on the water and away from the dock for the first time."

We get to BlueChip at 7AM on sept 6th full of hope and excitement.

Started the engine as we prepared an anchor (just incase) and prepared the jib and main just incase things went so smooth we decide to actually sail.

Engine ran for about 20 mins then sputtered ever so smoothly and slowly to a stop. We didn't think much of it until we tried to start it again. The engine wouldn't start, It would run for 2-5 seconds then sputter slowly to a stop. The engine would also start, run for 10 secs but didn't seem to respond to the throttle lever at all (both from helm and the carb.) We tried to run it 5 times with the same thing happening. There were no loud sounds or abrupt engine stopping.

The day ended with the engine NOT running.

Labor Day. Yet again all the projects on the boat come to a halt due to the engine.

after a few tests, there was no luck with the engine. So i took this Video to show you what i mean with "the engine sputters slowly to a stop" when we try to run it. Apologies on the long video but it shows the times we tried to start the engine and the sputtering of the engine.

at the end of this video, as my brother says " are you sure its getting gas... Does that sound like its getting gas to you?" I thought of looking at the gas lines again. I tracked it yet again from the tank. all checked out until I reached the carb.

The fuel pump was pushing fuel into the carb (Tested this by disconnecting the inlet and trying to start the engine.) Then removed the gas line entering to the engine from the carb and ran the engine again. This time there was no gas at the inlet of the engine. So I went one step further by checking the outlet of the carb (on the bottom). ran the engine again, there was no gas coming out of the carb.

The few questions i have are.

- How can it run for over an hr the day before and just not want to start again?
- The Carb was cleaned just this morning. Can it be the jets?
- Carb is spanking clean (although it can probably use a rebuild.) Should i rebuild or buy a new one ( keep in mind that the cost of a new one is not stopping me from buying one.)
- What other problems could i be facing other than the carb at this point?
- Does anyone else hear anything unusual in the video as the engine is trying to start?

I apologize for the long post. Just want to make sure you guys have a clear idea of what has been going on. I've read many posts and it seems like the community is really knowledgable and helpful.

I will be back in Solomans next week to work on the engine. Any input/test/parts that you would suggest can/ will happen then.

Thank you all again for your time.

B.
Sure sounds like she's starving for fuel...and likely due to a blockage, bad fuel or a combination of both.

The boat is new to you and sounds like it's been not as actively used as it could have been...so here's what I'd do:
-pump all fuel from the tank. Use hose and try to rock the boat doing so...it will mix up water to be extracted and dirt as well. Hopefully you will get it pretty clean....I know you did this already....your call on doing it again.
-next change all filters.
-install a polishing filter as well near the carb...an auto in-line filter is fine.
-take the carb off and clean it up again.
-all rubber lines need to be ethanol resistant.
-check all gaskets and seals on filters and carb when it starts...you have played with your fuel supply so ensure not air leaks or frank gas leaks from tank to carb.
NOTE:Since you are new to the A4 I'll put this in. Do not under estimate the explosive power of gas fumes in your boat. Once you open the system ensure there are no ignition sources...power and key off. Keep the boat well ventilated. Once done and ready to start, walk away from the boat and go for beer...come back and if there's a strong smell of gas refrain from starting. Sun on a boat creates ideal dangerous conditions so please be carefull.

Just curious did the shut happen after you got into a few waves and the boat was moving???...if so it could be dirt from the tank or old lines.
__________________
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.

Last edited by Mo; 09-08-2015 at 11:43 AM.
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Old 09-08-2015, 12:20 PM
JOHN COOKSON JOHN COOKSON is online now
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Divide And Conquer

BC
As you have noticed in the comments so far there can be many causes of fuel starvation.
Here's how to speed up the diagnosis a bit. Get the carb as clean as possible and the fuel pump working as well as possible then attach an auxiliary tank with clean fuel to the fuel pump and see what happens. This will tell you if the problem is before or after the fuel pump.
Word of warning: Serial cleaning of the carb will not solve the problem.

TRUE GRIT
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Bratina (09-08-2015)
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Old 09-08-2015, 01:24 PM
Bratina Bratina is offline
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BC
As you have noticed in the comments so far there can be many causes of fuel starvation.
Here's how to speed up the diagnosis a bit. Get the carb as clean as possible and the fuel pump working as well as possible then attach an auxiliary tank with clean fuel to the fuel pump and see what happens. This will tell you if the problem is before or after the fuel pump.
Word of warning: Serial cleaning of the carb will not solve the problem.

TRUE GRIT
I'll second this; I spent countless hours with my fuel system - including a full carb rebuild and six or seven 'serial cleanings', until I stopped guessing, ran beautifully from an auxiliary tank, and found out I had water in my gas, which was overwhelming the separator...
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hanleyclifford (09-08-2015)
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Old 09-08-2015, 02:54 PM
Golfdad75 Golfdad75 is offline
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I don't know

Engine ran great Sunday and Monday. I check the bottom 2 gallons of gas by pouring it into a mason jar. Saw no water. Emptied the racor into a jar, saw no water. So I guess I had gotten some trash in the carburetor. Cleaning the carburetor did the trick. Put in 5 gallons of marine fuel and added 2 oz of MMO. I highly recommend the Moyer Marine video on carb. I am running a little rich right now but it purrs.
One thing I have come to the conclusion is Atomic Fours are not for the people who don't want to work on them. However I find it highly rewarding to fix my own problems with the help of this forum and Ken at Moyer Marine.
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Old 09-08-2015, 03:53 PM
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Marian Claire Marian Claire is offline
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Golfdad75. Thanks for the additional info. Sounds like a logical process based on your finding.
Dan S/V Marian Claire
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Old 09-08-2015, 04:12 PM
Dave Neptune Dave Neptune is online now
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Sounds possibly like a sticky float to me. Pressure at the carb and a dry bowl is pretty much the only thing to cause that.

Dave Neptune
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Old 09-08-2015, 05:30 PM
hanleyclifford hanleyclifford is offline
 
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Sounds possibly like a sticky float to me. Pressure at the carb and a dry bowl is pretty much the only thing to cause that.

Dave Neptune
Hmmm...could the little rubbery thingy on the end of the needle be getting itself intermittently stuck in the seat?
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