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Jim H 04-10-2006 09:04 PM

First Challenge and Success-- Temp Sender
I've owned my Atomic 4 only a short time, but I've faced down my first real challenge. So far, I've done basic things like winterizing and retensioning the alternator/water pump belt, but my first real challenge was the water temperature sender.

The guage worked during the test sail, and the guage itself was brand new last year. On my second sail as owner, of course, it swung up to 220 to 240 from the get-go, and never dropped. The wiring all checked out, but the sender was the original from '73.

At first, I thought finding a sender to match the new guage would be hard, but the local West Marine had it for about $18 in exactly the right size. Also, the old one is right on the front of the block, probably the easiest part to access. A breeze to replace, right?

Wrong. I made three separate trips to the boat with wrenches, pipe extenders, pipe wrenches, and propane torch, and it would simply not budge. The soft brass so was shredded, and the sender was rapiding shrinking in diameter.

Since I'm new with this engine, I wanted to be careful, so I resigned myself to a couple hundred bucks going to a local shop for its replacement. Two shops I contacted were booked for weeks, but one was kind enough to talk me into doing it myself, and answered my questions about how to do it.

So, for two hours last Saturday, I wrenched, drilled, hacksawed and finally chiseled the brass sender into oblivion. It finally came out of the threads cleanly, but in three parts. I used a stick with some grease on it to get shavings out of the head (there's a flat area behind the threaded hole in the head), and then my little finger to get more of the junk out. I had scored the threads pretty well with the hacksaw, but the new sender went in fine. On a 20 minute test run, the temp guage seemed to work perfectly, rolling up to around 120 before I shut down. No leaks from the threads.

So, a fun project. I've seen others who've had to do the same, and I'm glad to have it done. We had to pass on a 40 mile cruise last weekend because I didn't want to go with no temp guage, but now we're ready.

Jim H

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