A4 starting issue - SailNet Community

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Go Back   SailNet Community > On Board > Gear & Maintenance > Engines > Gas > Atomic 4
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Old 03-24-2009
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Cool A4 starting issue

I have a problem with the A4 starting after a period of sailing. Background on engine. New coil, new plugs, new carburetor,new fuel filter(racor), new electronic ignition. When at the dock it fires up in 2-3 revolutions, I keep it choked until it starts to get a little rough and then choke off and it smoothes out beautifully. When we hoist the sails and get out to sailing area I shut it off. On several occasions I have not been able to restart. On one inspection I found the racor empty so I installed a squeeze bulb between the tank and the racor. I thought when sailing and bouncing I may be losing prime with air getting back to to the fuel line on a heel. Last time it did it (last weekend) I could not start it even the next day, after priming the filter with the bulb.
After a long time of cranking finally got a little sputtering but would not go. After longer wait and more cranking finally it started and ran well. Another hypothesis: maybe it is flooded but this does not explain the empty fuel filter. I turned the fuel valve off at the tank and ran the engine for 2-3 minutes before shutting down. The squeeze bulb was flat from suction on the fuel line. After an hour I turned fuel back on and watched the bulb inflate. The engine started fine. I repeated this 2X with same result. The test will come when I do the same procedure and then sail for the afternoon, with fingers crossed. Sometimes the wind does not allow sailing to the slip!!
If turning the valve off works, is there a check valve of somekind I can put in the line? Oh, I also thought the tank vent might be stopped up. I dismantled the cabinets to get the tank, disconected the vent line and blew on it and it was clear. The boat is a Tartan 30. Tank on Stbd side amidship and racor and A4 on port side just left of keel. Could fuel siphon back to tank. I jumped the fuel pump to check if it was working and I got the tic tic tic tic of the pump so know it is ok and when it starts it runs fine.
I am at wits end. I need to get this solved......no one wants to go sail if we have to call Tow Boat US. Been there done that.

If anyone had had similar problem I'd love to know your solution.

Thanks, Scott from Pensacola, FL
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Old 03-25-2009
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Disclaimer first... I'm not a mechanic. Did you have the problem before the new carb, electronic ignition, racor, etc? Do you have a fuel tank solenoid valve? If yes, it may not be functioning properly or was inadvertently disconnected. If no, that might help -- I'm certain someone else will chime in either refuting or confirming my hunch My A4 has a fuel tank solenoid valve that acts as a fuel shut-off. Just an educated guess.
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Old 03-25-2009
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A4 starting #@*&!!+!!#

Thanks guys, I do have a good spark. The engine is very dependable except for when the boat has sailed, usually heeling which makes me think there is a air leak allowing fuel to drain back or conversely the carb is flooding.

There is a manual fuel **** on the line from the tank, no solenoid. I hope to sail on Sunday if predicted weather is good, clear and mid 70's. If so I will try the fuel "off" while sailing theory and turn it back on when I want to run the engine. I am also thinking I should go ahead and replace the fuel line from tank to Racor while I have access to tank.

Thanks again.
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Old 03-25-2009
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Noticed on the post that it was censored. The full form of the word I used was petcock. Thought you'd like to know what the asterisks were, nothing naughty!
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Old 03-25-2009
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It is difficult to "flood" an A4 it has an updraft carburetor. But I think you are on the right track thinking fuel. If the fuel filter really is empty after having run the engine for a while could there be a leak that is allowing it to suck air rather than fuel? Is the seal at the top of the Racor tight? A check of the Moyer Marine site may give you some insight. Moyer Marine Atomic 4 Engine Rebuilding and Parts

They are likely to know more

Oh Yeah. We don't care what you have for a pet

Last edited by RanAweigh; 03-25-2009 at 07:47 PM. Reason: dumb spelling errrrror
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Old 03-25-2009
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One Other thing

I just might be the float in the carb. sticking closed. There is a rubber tip on the needle inside the float. With alcohol being added to fuel nowdays the rubber tip can swell and stick in the seat. It took me 3 weeks to find the problem on an A-4 I was working on at the marina.

Fair Winds

Dave
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Old 03-25-2009
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A4 problem

Thanks for the comment Dave. I have been trying to avoid taking the carb off...... but you might be right on the float. I was wondering too about that inasmuch as it might get compounded by the heeling although since the carb is new I would not expect it. Did not know that about the ethanol in the gas. It does indeed sound like a stuck float. Will fuel treatment help?
I am pretty sure the Racor is tight because otherwise it leaks and I am very careful about that for obvious reasons!
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Old 03-25-2009
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One thing to consider is the condition of the batteries.
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Old 03-26-2009
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Smile Promise to let us know

what you end up finding, Scott.

Taking the carb apart is no biggie. If you can get it off you can fix it. I don't think fuel additives would work in your case. Nothing I know of will restore that rubber tip on the needle.
I think you might be on to the heeling thing also. It ain't gonna help.

One thing you might try before taking the carb apart, is to take the boat out and get the engine to cut off like it tends to, and then tap on the bowl with an 8 pound sledge hammed. NO NO just kidding, use a screwdriver handle or somthing like that. If the float is stuck it just might dislodge it. Another place to check, is the bowl itself. there is a screw on the bottom of the bowl loosen it and see if gas comes out. If it does we know we have gas all the way to the Carb.

Good luck and please let us know what you find

Fair Winds

Dave
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Old 03-26-2009
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A4 problem

Just a quick note....batterys are new in January. I won't get a crack at the issue til sunday afternoon. Lot of rain/tornados in forecast thru saturday. The engine runs great and it never quits on me, just can't start it after I shut it down to sail.
To be sure I'll get back to you. If wind is out of north or south, just not west, I can get back to slip without it if needbe.
FYI, my last episode with this required Tow Boat US, thank goodness I had unlimited towing. Got the copy of the bill submitted.....$828.00. I'd say we were less than 5 miles from the slip. Ouch!
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