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Go Back   SailNet Community > On Board > Gear & Maintenance > Engines > Gas > Atomic 4
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  #1  
Old 08-02-2009
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Swamped Atomic 4

I just picked up an Ericson 30 with an Atomic 4. The boat has seen a good deal of neglect, the cockpit drains were all clogged when I got it which flooded the engine up to the bolt on the flywheel housing at one time. There is evidence it has been higher. I am expecting the worse, but has anyone experienced this and seen the engine survive?





I figure i'll spend some time trying to nurse it back to health in the boat, if that doesn't work i'll take it out, bring it to my shop and get to work. If that doesn't work i'll find a unit in better shape and put it in.

I do not plan to repower the boat unless a complete engine and all the necessary components fall in my lap for cheap.

Questions:

1: Anybody got one in any condition better than mine? I don't care if it runs or not, just that it makes good compression.

2: How have you all removed the engine from the boat? I have heard you can winch it out with the boom, but I am hesitant to put a few hundred pounds on my rigging. Is this OK to do?

3: Has anybody devised a freshwater "flush" you could do when leaving the engine after a weekend of sailing? Also, has anyone done a homebrew freshwater cooling setup?

Thanks!
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Old 08-02-2009
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Oh yeah, here's the boat!

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Old 08-02-2009
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i brought one back that was 75 % under water and locked up. i drained the oil, refilled to the top, pulled the spark plugs filled the cylinders to the top with oil. then let it sit for a few weeks, then i pulled the starter and used a crow bar to get the motor turning. then it got turned every day for 2 weeks, after that it got drained and started with a new starter, plugs, etc. it smoked like a 2 dollar hooker for an hour, then it get a oil change again.

it got rusty on the out side but it did run just fine after the oil soak
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Old 08-02-2009
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Well shoot, that's at least worth a try. The worst that happens is it doesn't work.

Did you lift the engine out of the boat? I'm still considering this since the boat is an hour and a half away.
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Old 08-02-2009
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A4 = a simple engine that is hard to kill.
We flooded our cabin about that high with a leaky stuffing box once. Caught it quickly and after several oil changes the engine seems to have forgotten about this incident. Also repacked the stuffing box.
Do check out the forum at: Moyer Marine Atomic 4 Community - Powered by vBulletin
I can't say enough good things about the guys/gals over there that work on their own engines.
Check this forum for ideas on hauling the engine out.
Good luck.

Marvel Mystery Oil is your friend.
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Old 08-03-2009
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Before I gave it up for a diesel ( I liked working on it , but I liked sailing more) I would attach a hose to the A-4's water pump intake fillit with water and dip it in the fresh water tank inspection port. Running the engine 2 minutes would clear out the salt.
Moyer Marine sells a heat exchanger and it doesn't look to hard to put in, if you have the space. If you put in a heat exchanger you must be absolutely sure that the engine is not leaking cooling water. On my engine it leaked a few dorps a minute from the bolt that held the alternator tensioning arm to the waterjacket inspection plate on the starboard side of the engine. That is tolerable when the sea provides unlimited water but if the fresh water coolant leaks out you've got trouble.

The big advantage in a heat exchanger is not corrosion but that it allows you to run the engine more efficiently at 170 rather than 140. Good luck with the project.
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Old 08-03-2009
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Thanks for all the help! I am going to bring all my tools, some mineral spirits, RTV and some fresh fluids down to the boat for a Saturday, it'll run!
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Well I spent the day fooling with the motor, I sucked out quite a bit of nasty oil and water then I filled the engine with 12 qts of SAE 30 and shot lots of PB blaster in the spark plug holes. After much motivating it broke free. The engine turns over very well and seems to be making decent compression on all cylinders. I pullled a plug out of the side and antifreeze came out so it looks like it was preserved properly, the cooling system may be OK! I also got the ignition system firing. I tried a few times to get it to run on ether, but I couldn't turn it over very fast with the crank. The starter is missing, the boatyard manager says he pulled it off a few months ago and will try to find it.

I had a good scare, the minute I turned the engine over the transmission moved and the packing started leaking like crazy (i've never dealt with a packing before.) I snugged it up until it stopped leaking, but I may need to replace it. Can this be done in the water?

I did not have a tube small enough to suck the oil out the dipstick so I pulled the gearbox cover and sucked the oil out through there. Is there supposed to be SAE 30 in there rather than gear oil?

Anybody have a starter? Thanks!
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Old 08-10-2009
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Quote:
Originally Posted by PatrickMcHugh View Post
Well I spent the day fooling with the motor, I sucked out quite a bit of nasty oil and water then I filled the engine with 12 qts of SAE 30
12 quarts?!?! That engine takes only 4 quarts of oil!

Quote:
Originally Posted by PatrickMcHugh View Post
Can this be done in the water?
It can. You'll want a length of bicycle inner tube, slit open, to partially seal-up the one side of the packing gland while you work on the other.

Quote:
Originally Posted by PatrickMcHugh View Post
I did not have a tube small enough to suck the oil out the dipstick so I pulled the gearbox cover and sucked the oil out through there. Is there supposed to be SAE 30 in there rather than gear oil?
The reversing gear and engine share oil, so yes.

Get yourself the oil change kit from Moyer Marine and the Moeller Fluid Extraction Kit from West Marine. You'll be glad you did.

Quote:
Originally Posted by PatrickMcHugh View Post
Anybody have a starter?
Moyer Marine.

Jim
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Old 08-10-2009
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SEMIJim View Post
12 quarts?!?! That engine takes only 4 quarts of oil!

It can. You'll want a length of bicycle inner tube, slit open, to partially seal-up the one side of the packing gland while you work on the other.

The reversing gear and engine share oil, so yes.

Get yourself the oil change kit from Moyer Marine and the Moeller Fluid Extraction Kit from West Marine. You'll be glad you did.

Moyer Marine.

Jim
I bought a starter today, and yes I put in 12 quarts of cheap oil to make sure all the parts were totally lubed up. I lowered it to 4 quarts before I attempted to start of course. I'll change the oil a few more times if I can get it running.

I've been fuddling around with this cheap oil pump I got at NAPA and it's a piece of crap. I'll have to buy one of those good ones.

Can you explain a bit more how to do that bicycle tube trick?

Thanks for all the tips!
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