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post #1 of Old 07-03-2006 Thread Starter
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salt water in cylinder 3

It appears Iím going to spend my first summer with our R33 Solitude getting her ready for winter sailing. At least Iím in S. California.

We finally got our first sail. After several weeks catching up on years of deferred mast and rigging maintenance we moved Solitude to her new berth in San Pedro at Cabrillo. It was very light air so we did motor sail the last couple miles. At one point the A4 just quit, and restarted on her own. Ruling out demonic possession, I put a tune up on the top of the TODO list. I have seen several good things said about electronic ignition so I ordered the kit and carved out a day for installation.

The installation instructions were very easy to follow, as were the trouble shooting tips. I could not get the engine to start, or even fire. I used the screwdriver in firing circuit test to verify I had spark, ouch. It had to be timing. So I went through the original A4 maintenance book I found online and the installation instructions. Nothing worked. After 5 hours of doing and undoing I gave up and removed the Electronic Ignition kit. I kept the new rotor cap and wires on. No she did not start. The last thing I did was to put the old spark plugs in. She started and ran smooth as silk. The question here is the A4 just too old and cranky for modern systems or is it me?

The real question is about what I discovered in the course of crawling all over this engine. RUST, lots of rust. The PO had over heated her once and just left the charred paint un attended. Fishing around for dropped distributor parts and screw drive heads I found chunks of rust in the engine bilge. Before I pulled the old spark plugs I attacked the Spark plug wells with a small wire brush and screw driver and vacuumed the area clean. I also vacuumed the spark plug wells before I put the new plugs in as a precaution. The vacuum drew salt water out of cylinder three. Itís a raw cooled engine.

Question; do I have a head gasket problem, a head problem or am I in need of a new engine? Is it time to become a purist and sail in and out of the slip?

Your suggestions will be appreciated and thanks for bearing with the monologue.

Chief engineer Solitude
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