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Go Back   SailNet Community > On Board > Gear & Maintenance > Engines > Gas > Atomic 4
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  #1  
Old 09-04-2006
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jhampton is on a distinguished road
Question Split Head

When I purchased my Ericson 32-2 5 years ago, the inspection revealed epoxy on the head of the engine just under the alternators bracket.

The owner said a small crack was appearing and he applied this patch since the head was not under pressure, I should not worry.

For most of the life of this 34 year old engine was in brackish water, but now is berthed in salt water. I only motor 30 minutes max prior to being under sail, but I have under windy occasions (being in San Francisco) have had to motor back to save the poor souls stomachs joining me.

The problem has worsened and I have applied many high temperature epoxies to help stop this steady stream of salt water working its way into the spark plug wells. I have asked advise if I should replace the head or live with the annoyance from several boaters and mechanics. All mechanics say they don't want to touch the head, since they may cause more damage by breaking off one or more of the studs. I imagine really needing this engine and having major issues out at sea if I leave as is.

It starts right away and runs smooth; it has several hours left in it.

What risks do I suffer if I just ignore this leak and try to channel the drip to the aft? Should I bite the bullet and work on it this winter and just pay the $500+ for the new head and hope the best?

I found a good article at http://www.geocities.com/atomfour/A4Tips.html#IND%20HEAD but it sounds far too easy since three well respected mechanics will not work on my engine.

Any help would greatly be appreciated. I wanted to become a sailor not a mechanic

Jim
Nido Del Mare

Any help on prop selection would be appreciated too. I pull to the port when backing and have a very difficult time getting out of my slip.

Last edited by jhampton; 09-04-2006 at 10:27 PM.
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Old 09-05-2006
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cardiacpaul is a jewel in the rough cardiacpaul is a jewel in the rough cardiacpaul is a jewel in the rough
The cyl. head on any internal combustion engine is certainly "under pressure"
If you have a leak in a water jacket, you may be able to repair it with JBWeld on a temporary basis, but I wouldn't do it.

The head will need to be replaced.

You can try WD40, or PBBlaster as a penetrant to loosen the rusted nuts. Apply liberally and often over a period of time (days). Use an electric impact and proper socket... you may have to heat the nuts gently with a torch(don't over do it).
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Old 09-05-2006
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I recall Don Moyer, of moyermarine.com, saying something about hiring Amish welders to do this kind of work. Believe it or not they are very skilled at precision welding. How you find them is another matter; perhaps Don would be able to broker you some arrangement although I doubt he'd reveal his source. (He used to live in the middle of Amish country in Pennsylvania.)

If I were you I would bite the bullet, take the head off, and get the real story about what's happening under there. You might be surprised at how good the studs are, and if they turn out to be bad, you might as well replace them while the head is off intentionally.
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Old 09-12-2006
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Rockter will become famous soon enough
It is very, very difficult indeed to weld a casting. Presumably it's cast iron?

It really will not be that difficult to lift that cylinder head, assuming you can find another one.
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