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Go Back   SailNet Community > On Board > Gear & Maintenance > Engines > Gas > Atomic 4
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  #1  
Old 03-22-2010
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Inherited previously submerged engine -- where do we start?

(I also posted this over at Moyer Marine forums)

Sometime in my new-to-me Tartan 27's past, the interior flooded to about the height of the quarter berths, which put the A4 (previous condition unknown) in water for some amount of time. The water is since gone and I have no way of knowing how long it sat in water, but it looks to be in a sorry state and is frozen up from what we can currently tell.

I've read some other posts in here where the engine was recently submerged and I gather that one needs to get it running ASAP after those immersions, but obviously the horse has long since left the barn. Several things that had been wet (cushions and what not) smelled and felt oily so clearly oil had drifted about while the cabin was flooded; however, the finished wood in the cabin doesn't really have much by way of water marks so I don't have the sense the water sat there for a long enough time to ruin the woodwork.

BTW, this is a boat that's been up on stands (uncovered at least some of the time) for 3-6 years or so, so the water was almost certainly rain water or snow melt.

Simply pulling and buying a new engine is not financially feasible at the moment, so if we *can* salvage this one, we'd prefer to.

Is there anything we should do other than begin disassembling things/having it pulled out? Is there something in particular we should be attentive to right away?
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This won't be much help - if it were me, I would probably have to get to know that engine really well, and I'd start with the simple stuff like draining whatever oil was in it to see what it looked like, trying to make sure there wasn't water in the cylinders, checking the belts and that kind of thing to see what state everything was in, etc. I'd get a book on that engine and at some point I'd probably put a breaker bar on it and try to turn it and see if it would break free, but I probably wouldn't do that until I knew what I was doing, and then only after pouring penetrating oil into the motor to let the pistons soak for a while. I'd consider pulling the engine to take it apart.
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Old 03-22-2010
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Follow above advice.Refill base with diesel mixed with penetrating oil or cheaper use transmission fluid with diesel.A4 assume atomic 4,pull plugs all pen oil pb blaster & wait,hope pray.Every few days use breaker bar back & forth.Ck distributor,starter most likely nfg.Ck/drain & refill trans.Think would start looking for replacement.Best of luck.marc
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I would also spray whatever nut or bolt you can get to several times with a good penetrating oil. Could prevent some headaches and snapped bolts.
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Old 03-22-2010
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Daydreamer—

The main concern is how long the engine was sitting with water inside it. If the water caused the cylinders and pistons to corrode, there's a very good chance the engine is DOA without a lot of work. One issue with submersed engines, especially if it was salt water, is how quickly corrosion sets in.

The first step you will need to take is to disassemble the engine and get a good look at how it has fared. If water did get into the block itself, it will not be pretty.
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Old 03-22-2010
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I saw the pictures, and IMO you can waste a whole bunch of time, effort and money attempting to break it free with penetrating oil, diesel in the cylinders, hope, time and a big-arse breaker bar, and ultimately four things are going to happen:
1. You are going to waste at least two weeks.
2. You are going to break tools.
3. You are going to round off nuts, break studs, bust bolts.
4. You will have to disassemble the engine to figure out how to fix it.

Skip to #4 NOW.
Pull the head and the dipstick. A quick look at the cylinders and the valves will tell you whether the engine CAN be saved, and the condition of the fluids in the crankcase will tell you whether it is WORTH saving. If the engine looks salvageable, then you can dump a gallon of kroil and brake fluid directly into the cylinders and break it free directly with a five pound sledge and a chunk of oak as a drift.

Good luck. I'm rooting for you.
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Old 03-22-2010
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I have to motors one i saved and is fine



BUT #2 is stuck with two pistons stuck at bottom dead center and the head is OFF and it has been soaking for MONTHS and is NOT moving and even IF it did i see no way around taking the motor apart

Abusing the crankshaft to free it up is only going to casue more dammage
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Old 03-22-2010
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Bummer.

I did my first engine rebuild at age 13. If I could do it then, you can do it also. I suspect the biggest deal will be having a place you can take the engine apart down to the very basics. Aside from waiting for parts to ship, you should be able to do a complete tear-down and rebuild in a couple of days.

I haven't ever done an A4. Do I recall correctly that it is carb'ed? You really have to get that right.
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Old 03-23-2010
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The A4 is a bit harder to take apart then most motors because the tranny is part of the motor and the oil pan is the motor mount
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Old 03-23-2010
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Thanks everyone for the tips. I got more info here than I did at Moyer Marine's forums.

We're ordering the manual from there and our plan, such as it has had time to form, is to have the yard use their lift to pull the engine (the manager already offered so I think that's good), since some of the things we need to tend to are behind the engine anyway, like the gas tank.

Again, appreciate all the advice. This forum is great.

p.s. When looking at that video TomMays posted, you can see other A4 videos; there's one with a gent and his wife using the boom to lift out his A4 from a Catalina 27 and swing it onto the dock. Clever (and it works).
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Last edited by daydreamer92; 03-23-2010 at 11:59 AM. Reason: adding p.s.
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