Stuck Valve after installing rebuilt A4 - SailNet Community

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Go Back   SailNet Community > On Board > Gear & Maintenance > Engines > Gas > Atomic 4
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  #1  
Old 08-22-2008
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Stuck Valve after installing rebuilt A4

Hello everyone,
Well it's been three years since I've written. I had my A4 rebuilt on the top end (rings were fine) by a machine shop in San Diego about two years ago.
The engine sat in my cabin for a year before being installed. After several months I can't get the last cylinder to fire because of a stuck valve.
I tried putting piston to top dead center and soaking in diesel and Myrical Mystery oil through the spark plug hole.
I tried putting Gunk Valve detergent solution in the oil and running it.
These didn't work. I'm attemting to avoid cutting an access hole in my Newport 28 to get to the side plate, as there is little room to work.
The alternative is to take the engine out of the cave again, I don't want to do that again.... whew!
So, any suggestions to get this valve that may be an exhaust unstuck.
Mechanic says he wants to cut an access hole in the cockpit which the later Newport 28's have, but I really don't want that.
Napa counter person says run transmission oil in crankcase (1 quart).
Any other suggestions, I hear this is common but the valves were ground and some replaced to spec, I just let it sit too long before installing and didn't start it outside the boat...
Well, I'll check back in a few days...
Thanking you in advance,
John E.
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Old 08-22-2008
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Dont know a thing about them....dont they have a valve cover?...take it off ...remove rocker arm and tap top of valve stem with brass hammer.
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Old 08-22-2008
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I had a sticky valve on a Westerbeke diesel on a previous boat. Engine would run great for a hundred hours then one day it wouldn't start, no compression on one cylinder. I popped the valve cover off like Stillraining suggested and worked the valve with a pry bar, prying it down (open) and then letting it snap up (closed). That would do the trick and I'd be good for another couple hundred hours. In my case, I think I was getting a little carbon chip caught between the valve and valve seat.

Double check your valve lash to make sure it's not tight and then try Stillrainings trick. If that doesn't do it, it's probably going to require the head being pulled off to find out "why she no work no more".
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Old 08-24-2008
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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
no, no rocker cover... no rockers... its a flathead, cam & valves are in the block.

ok, I'm assuming that the problem child valve is stuck open, on the cylinder closest to the rear of the boat, making it almost impossible to access.

The "access" hole the mechanic wants to cut may not be all that bad of an idea, unless you feel real comfy pulling the motor.

Depending on the availablity of space and patience, you might want to try these...

Buy a head gasket set and remove the head. Tap the offending valve on the head with a soft hammer (or a hard one and a wooden block), rinse and repeat. (spin the motor over till its free)

The valve train access is under the intake and exhaust manifolds. If you have long enough arms, you might be able to remove those and use a screwdriver to pop the valve down.

Sounds like you've got at least one weak valve spring. I dunno, the mechanic in me says replace it, the sailor in me says, If I can get it free enough, it'll loosen up just fine, remember, you're not building an engine to take you at breakneck rpms around the brickyard.

The ATF and marvel oil are great ideas, but you gotta get it unstuck first.
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Old 08-26-2008
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Thank you Paul... and others.
You're right about access being tight, that's why he wants to cut an access hole. I don't want to comprimise the integrity of the cockpit and it's
struckure and I don't know how it will look asthedically. He wants to have a
wood cover.
The springs on the valves are new... so this baffles me. I think we just let it sit to long and something is stopping the valve. Originally we thought there were two valves stuck but things got better sounding...
After checking it out, we know the valves closest to the rear are not working.
The mechanic doesn't have the patience to proceed with taking the cover
off the side plate. This is the way, I think, but I need a small armed mechanic to fit in the Newport 28 cave to try this.
So, I was hoping for a quick fix without taking the head off.
I guess I can live on three cylinders.... maybe it will shake loose eventually. Somebody told me about Mickey's Valve Free or something like that. I found something by Gunk and tried it unsuccessfully...
Thank you all for your time...
John E.
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Old 08-27-2008
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Stillraining is a jewel in the rough Stillraining is a jewel in the rough Stillraining is a jewel in the rough
Ya and you know a hole in the cockpit will leak too...unless you spend big bucks for a proper hatch...But Im sure your not thrilled with the idea of pulling it again..
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Old 08-27-2008
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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
I'll bet its the exhaust valve on the last cyl. (does it backfire a lot? if so, its the intake valve, thats gotta be fixed first, danger of fire)

If you can get it running, use 10wt oil and some marvel mystery oil in the crankcase and it *might shake free after it heats up a bit. (the heat isn't going to be much from that cyl, no compression, no heat) hey, its worth a shot.

I don't remember what the spring rate is on the valves, I'd wager its around 100psi, thats a lot to want to bring the valve closed, so its stuck pretty good(bad)...
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Last edited by cardiacpaul; 08-27-2008 at 08:22 AM.
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Old 09-03-2008
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Exhaust Valve...

Paul,
My mechanic thinks it's the exhaust valve also. It runs fine and doesn't backfire. This is why I'm just going to live with it. I'll try some 10w and marvel mystery but my friend in Mo (Macgyver) says the oil does have the chemical needed to affecturate the disolve of the substance that makes the valve stick. I'll keep trying.... it starts up right away but runs hot at 165 then drops to 150 at idle...
Thanks again,
John E.
AKA upnatit
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Old 09-04-2008
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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
I don't think its stuck because of some "goo".
Most likely its "stuck" due to...

a) a bit of carbon dropped off and is holding it open (unlikely, the engine was just rebuilt)

b) alas, rust. I don't think the valve giudes are 'ranger rick secret dimolybendum/silicone/titanium' alloy. I think they're plain ol' steel. not much is gonna help, other than hopefully time, love, tenderness, and livin' with it until and if it frees up on its own. (other than disassembly)

the "risk" is that over time, water vapor/humidity will raise its ugly head and get into the combustion chamber, and wreak havoc on the walls, (ruining rings, pistion skirts and all sorts of expensive bits)
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Old 09-05-2008
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If there is enough room to pull the head off the studs. Then there is enough room to work. I agree with cardiacpaul with trying to work it loose. I had the same problem with mine from setting too......BEST WISHES......i2f
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