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Go Back   SailNet Community > General Interest Forums > Gear & Maintenance > Engines > Gas > Atomic 4
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  #1  
Old 10-31-2011
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Read my dipstick!

Has anyone else been totally frustrated with the round Atomic 4 dipsticks, with the rings on them? (mine's a '68) I'm 56 years old and I've been reading dipsticks most of my life, but to me these round buggers seem tricky to see the oil on, even with dirty oil! I finally got a good look at the level after sailing all summer and realized that I have had too much oil in it. (a big no, no)

I've had people suggest I paint the dipstick, but I'm not real crazy about that idea. I'm thinking maybe better lighting would make a difference. Or could it be that having too high of an oil level was the problem. Any ideas?

Thanks!
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Old 10-31-2011
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Two words: paper towels.
When you remove the dipstick the first time wipe it down with a paper towel and re-insert it. Upon removal the 2nd time place immediately on a clean piece of paper towel in a horizontal plane. The oil will transfer to the towel showing you exactly what ring level your oil is at on the stick.
I don't see so well either so don't feel bad. I'm not sure why Universal made a round dipstick for this engine but I'm not sure I would see a flat one any better without using paper towels.
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Old 10-31-2011
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Old 11-01-2011
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Moyer sells a flat dipstick that they say can be used on early and late model engines. $61.00 + S&H.
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Old 11-01-2011
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Try roughing it up with a little course-grit sandpaper.
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Old 11-01-2011
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Great ideas!

Thanks to all of you for your input. I think I'll try sanding it and the paper towel. To replace it seems a bit pricey if I can avoid it, but it's good to know they have them, if all else fails.

Thanks again!
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Old 11-01-2011
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Charlie B View Post
I finally got a good look at the level after sailing all summer and realized that I have had too much oil in it. (a big no, no)
I wouldn't worry about the oil level having been a bit high in an A4. The problem with over-filling an engine is primarily that the level will rise into the crankshaft throws and will become aerated by the spinning counterweights.

An A4 generally turns pretty slow so it shouldn't whip things up too much, if at all. I've experienced high revving V8's with a quart overfill and there was no foaming. It should be avoided but it's far from as big a problem as too LITTLE oil.

Try using a little fine emery paper or wet-dry sandpaper on the tip of the dipstick - it will shine up the high parts but leave the recessed parts untouched so the markings will stand out more.
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Last edited by SloopJonB; 11-02-2011 at 11:10 PM.
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Old 11-01-2011
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Hi Sloop JonB,

First of all, what a cool picture! Is there a story behind it? I'm thinking the ole "Jon B" sail got a little more than she bargained for.

Second, thanks for your reassurance. My worry was that it might develop an oil leak as a result, as mentioned in the manual. But I too was thinking, better too much than too little. One other thing that helped me worry less is, I run the motor as little as possible. I'm the only guy in our harbor who regularly sails in and out of it. I've just recently started to motor out to sea to hoist the sails, many times sailing straight from the dock.

A few weeks ago I did break my rule though. I had sailed the furthest from our harbor yet and decided to book it back, partly for the setting sun and partly for my German Shepherd to relieve herself. So, with a lot of wind behind me, I gull winged and fired up the A4. I've never had the boat moving so fast. We had to be topping out her hull speed, because we flew back. And that's with the season's end bottom growth! The engine ran beautifully as always.
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Old 11-02-2011
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Charlie B View Post
Hi Sloop JonB, First of all, what a cool picture! Is there a story behind it? I'm thinking the ole "Jon B" sail got a little more than she bargained for.
It wasn't me, honest! I've crashed & burned a few times but never anything nearly that spectacular.

Actually it's one of a series taken by Beken of Cowes. The boat is named Silk and it's a famous crash & burn in the Solent. Beken got lucky as he was heading back home when he saw Silk flying along and his gut told him something was about to happen. He sped towards it just as they sailed it under - the bow was very depressed by the chute and they dove into the back of a wave with the results you see. There was a crewman on the bow when it happened. The bow went under to the mast with him going about 14' under. It stopped in its tracks and rolled on its port side, bringing the bow up. No-one was hurt although the bow man ended up in the water.

You should be able to find the sequence of photos on the web - search for "Silk crash". Its also been used in at least one calendar.

Just as an aside, apparently this same thing happened a few times to the old China Tea Clippers (Flying Cloud etc.) They would have so much canvas up that they literally dug such a deep hole in the ocean that their bow went under and the rest of the ship followed - without the Silk ending.
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Old 11-04-2011
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WOW! That's amazing!

I've always wondered how some of those large ships got away with so much sail up. I guess they didn't always.
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