Return to the home page...

Go Back   Moyer Marine Atomic 4 Community - Home of the Afourians > Discussion Topics > General Interest

Thread Tools Display Modes
  #1   IP:
Old 04-21-2010, 11:22 AM
mike7a10's Avatar
mike7a10 mike7a10 is offline
Senior Member
Join Date: Apr 2005
Location: Punta Gorda, FL
Posts: 117
Thanks: 0
Thanked 4 Times in 4 Posts
Proud Rebuild

Warning: This is a bit of a long post...sorry!

Let me first by saying that when I bought my Irwin sailboat 5 years ago I did not know what a Universal Atomic 4 marine engine was. I can now say that I am intimately knowledgeable about the A4...

So some of you may remember last November (2009) I started posting a few questions about water in my oil. It appeared that I had sucked in seawater on an exhaust system rebuild.

After ensuring the exhaust rebuild was correct I returned from a vacation and found the engine oil had turned to a milkshake. It took me hours to get the mess out of the engine.

After some more posts I was convinced that I had blown the head gaskets, but was concerned that there was a hole in the block. With that I decided to pull the engine for a real look (as the engine is very difficult to access in my boat).

Pulled the engine and got her home (that was an experience all in itself!) I then began disassembling the engine in my condominium one-car garage with no experience in rebuilding any type of engine although I am a great "parts changer"! I am VERY fortunate to have a friend who is a mechanic and used to work for Caterpillar Marine.

It took me about a month to totally tear down the engine and I discovered that the head gasket had blown and had turned to mush at cylinder #2. Ah ha! It was the head gasket.

Took the block and head to a local machine shop and it took 3 months for me to get the engine back. I ordered every conceivable part from Ken at Moyer Marine and they arrived without delay. I lined up my mechanic friend and we went to work rebuilding the engine. All went well until we were placing the pistons into the cylinders and we found that the #1 piston rod was bent from water intrusion into the cylinder before shut down of the engine. Ordered another piston rod from Ken and the next weekend we picked up where we left off.

After 2 more weekends of rebuilding and tweaking the engine it was ready for a test run on blocks in the garage. It fired up and ran perfectly! And five minutes later we found a large amount of water intrusion back into the oil. I thought I was going to be sick...

My friend and his brother-in-law who is a marine mechanic and helping us that day as well looked at me and said that the water must be coming from a pinhole in the block.

After about 5 minutes I really pressed them for ANY other possible way water could get into the block. They scratched their heads and said that it could be a water pump.

I then relayed to them that right before all of these problems had started with water in the block (exhaust system, head gaskets) that I had seen water dripping from the weep holes in the water pump and that during the rebuild the pump was frozen but I had loosened it up with penetrating oil, etc. They gave me a (dirty) look and closely examined the water pump that was all shiny from my refurbishing of the water pump. The weep holes were corroded shut. They then pulled the water pump and we bypassed it with an AC electric pump and pumped water through the engine (after changing out the oil a couple of times). Presto. The engine ran great and with absolutely no water intrusion into the sump.

After calling Ken (again) and ordering a new pump, we slapped it on and ran it again and it ran perfectly!!! So all this time it was not the exhaust system and it was not the head gasket (although it had failed due to the water in the cylinder coming from the water pump).

I know that this is a short novel but I am writing this with the hope that someone out there who doesn't know that if water is dripping from the weep holes in the water pump, that the seals have failed and you are putting water into your system with a bad pump. Who knew? I know now by God.

I am sure many of you are surprised I didn't know this but I bet there are other novice boat owners who may not know this either.

So now I have a beautiful rebuilt engine that I am planning on putting in the boat this weekend. I bet I know more about this engine now than I ever wanted to know! But hey...if I ever have a problem I now have a thorough understading of this engine due to the rebuild.

When you see the photos I am sure you will agree that it was time to rebuild this 35 year old engine anyway. The only bummer is that I could not order the Univeral A4 bronze paint as MM was out of paint when I placed my order so I went with a marine grey color.

I hope this information is useful to someone out there. And many, many thanks to Don and Ken and all of you as well who have patiently answered my questions over the past 5 years. My hope is that I don't have to ask any more questions for a long time!
Attached Images
Reply With Quote
  #2   IP:
Old 04-21-2010, 11:33 AM
ndutton's Avatar
ndutton ndutton is offline
Afourian MVP
Join Date: May 2009
Location: Torrance, CA
Posts: 9,082
Thanks: 169
Thanked 1,613 Times in 1,080 Posts
Beautiful, pinup quality.

But what's that little speck of discoloration behind the fuel pump in the second to last picture?? QUICK, get out the touch-up paint!

Seriously, nice job.
1977 Catalina 30
San Pedro, California
prior boats 1987 Westsail 32, 1970 Catalina 22
Had my hands in a few others

Last edited by ndutton; 04-21-2010 at 11:52 AM.
Reply With Quote
  #3   IP:
Old 04-21-2010, 01:20 PM
lat 64's Avatar
lat 64 lat 64 is offline
Afourian MVP
Join Date: Oct 2008
Location: Fairbanks, Alaska
Posts: 1,940
Thanks: 36
Thanked 214 Times in 141 Posts
Thumbs up nice!

Originally Posted by mike7a10 View Post
I bet I know more about this engine now than I ever wanted to know!
You don't send astronauts into space without training them about all the systems. Now you can go to sea more confident.

I like the gray color—very shippy

My newpump is on the way too!

BTW, Your photos were so big thy went outside my 20-in monitor. Great detail tho

Whiskeyjack a '68 Columbia 36 rebuilt A-4 with 2:1

"Since when is napping doing nothing?"
Reply With Quote
  #4   IP:
Old 04-21-2010, 02:32 PM
sastanley's Avatar
sastanley sastanley is offline
Afourian MVP
Join Date: Sep 2008
Location: Solomons, MD
Posts: 6,747
Thanks: 748
Thanked 426 Times in 320 Posts
Russ, me too.

I have a dual monitor system and it is halfway across the 2nd one.

I agree with Neil. After you touch up the stuff back there by the coil, get it in the boat and take more pics..then we'll have the first motor to resurrect the A-4 pin-up of the month thread!

Great work Mike!
"Twice Around" - '77 Catalina 30, #511 with original A-4 & MMI manifold.
She is even happier with fresh paint on the topsides!
Reply With Quote
  #5   IP:
Old 04-21-2010, 06:38 PM
rigspelt's Avatar
rigspelt rigspelt is offline
Afourian MVP
Join Date: May 2008
Posts: 1,187
Thanks: 0
Thanked 12 Times in 11 Posts
Yowser!! Well done!
1974 C&C 27
Reply With Quote

Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off

Forum Jump

Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
Mechanical fuel pump rebuild services Don Moyer Fuel System 40 01-14-2013 12:17 PM
To Rebuild or Not To Rebuild (That is the Question) jkenan General Interest 13 02-07-2011 04:29 PM
low oil pressure after rebuild skhorleb Overhaul 12 05-28-2007 11:07 PM
Rebuild Tips hd78half Overhaul 4 05-12-2007 10:24 AM
Rebuild, Engine Rebuilder, Or PA ???? JasperWindvane Overhaul 1 01-22-2006 10:22 AM

All times are GMT -4. The time now is 09:03 AM.

Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.9
Copyright ©2000 - 2021, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.

Universal® is a registered trademark of Westerbeke Corporation

Copyright © 2004-2021 Moyer Marine Inc.

All Rights Reserved