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Go Back   SailNet Community > On Board > Gear & Maintenance
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  #11  
Old 08-28-2008
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Does your fuel line run close to hot engine parts?If so put some fireproof insulation on it.You could be getting vapour lock.
Phil
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Before replacing anything, I'd again recommend you post over in the Moyer Marine forums. The Atomic-4 is what Don Moyer does for a living. He just might have some insights into your problem.

Jim
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Old 08-28-2008
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KRC,
I'm thinking the problem is fuel-related. If this is the case, I think there's a reasonable chance that it has to do with either the fuel "stratifying" or that some crude is coming loose and mixing with your fuel after a long sail or motor sail. With the boat heeling, or just boucing through wave action, the stirred-up fuel could cause it to burn differently in the carb. The ethanol in the fuel could also be a contributing factor. I've had luck adding regular fuel stablizer. It takes a while for it to really improve the performance, as I've had to burn through all the old fuel first.
Good luck.
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Old 08-28-2008
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I will check the other forum for assistance, thanks.

The fuel line doesn't really run past anything that is really hot. Not to mention that allowing the motor to cool, overnight, doesn't always solve the issue.

I doubt the problem is crud in the tank related. Over this past winter we replaced the fuel tank with a brand new one. The problem existed before and after the change. I will admit, although we replaced the tank and the filter, we didn't replace the fuel line itself. It looked in good shape, and no gunk came out when we blew it out with compressed air.

If it was a fuel additive or such causing the problem, wouldn't it have issues all the time? And without changing fuels, what would then make the issue go away?

I'm not trying to discount anyone's ideas. We have been working at this problem for a long time and are quite frustrated. Thanks for the help.
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Old 08-28-2008
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If the tank is new, then it could be stratified fuel. The new ethanol gasoline has a shelf life of approximately two months, and then it begins to "separate" in tiers. I'm not an expert on this, but I've been investigating a similar problem on my A-4, and read some helpful articles in Boat U.S. about the ethanol problem. Fuel stabilizer helps, as it extends the life of your fuel to a full year. This is important for sailboat owners, as we often just use a gallon or two at a time. Old fuel that has no stabilizer additive will begin to degrade much soon. I know I'm not explaining this all that well, as I'm in a hurry, but I think you can get my drift... If you refill after every sail in order to lessen the effects of condensation, then you are barely dilluting the fuel in the tank. A motorboat, on the other hand, can blast through 3/4 of a tank in a single afternoon, and then refill with new fuel. Stale ethanol fuel can lead to varnish build up, and it can also lead to symptoms similar to what you're experiencing.
Good luck.
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I would not want to venture a opnion on why the engine is quitting, but having had three A-4 two with elec fuel pumps I can say installing a elec fuel pump is easy. I purchased my elec fuel pumps from the local NAPA dealer, noting fancy needed just thier basic 12 pump, it was easy to install and wire in. If I remember right I just took a small piecie of mild steel (or maybe it was aluminum) made a cover with a paper gasket where the mech pump installed. In any case intalling a elec pump was a simple inexpensive matter. I know it has been mentioned before, but contacting Moyer Marine is a excellent idea. If anybody knows the fix they would. If you expect to hang onto the A-4 look at Moyers A-4 manual. The manual is well worth the money. Best of luck on finding the specfic fix
Ocean31
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Old 08-29-2008
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Only an intuition here, but you might wish to swap out the coil. It has been known to overheat when mounted on the block and to cause starting problems thereby.

The solution (beyond getting a new coil, checking the timing and replacing the wires) is to mount the coil on the bulkhead away from the block. This allows cooler air to keep the coil at a functional temperature.

That said, the layering or cruddy gas is a possibility, and you might wish to check out your tank vent for partial obstruction from insect activity. Spider goo killed my engine once, and it was very frustrating because the engine would die gradually over 10 minutes or so, wouldn't start for five minutes and then would start...only to die again. Switching up to a 5/8th inch vent hose and replacing the screens did the trick.

Good luck.
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Old 08-29-2008
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Another reason to replace the fuel pump is the failure mode of the diaphram. If it's perforated it will fill the oil pan with gas. Had it happen on our A4 and it was a disconcerting, to say the least, to have gas and oil squirting out the oil breather and into the bilge.
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Old 08-29-2008
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You night want to

Check the fuel tank vent. If the vent gets clogged, it will cause a vaccuum in the tank stopping the fuel flow. Take the fuel filler cap off when it happens again and see if that works. WOnt cost you snything.
I am more inclined to go with the fuel pump.

Fair WInds
Cap'n Dave
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Old 08-29-2008
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I don't have any experience with an A4, but had similar problem with my previous boat. I had two 350 Chevrolet engines. One would never idle after a long, offshore run. Filters, electric fuel pumps, points, wires, everything that everyone is mentioning. Turned out to be a defective (or perhaps overlooked on tune up) condenser. It was fine cold or on eight or ten mile trips down the river. For what its worth, when it is difficult to start, have you checked to see if you are getting a strong and CONSISTENT spark? Coils and condensers sometimes break down with heat, not stopping altogether, but making a weak, inconsistent spark. Clearly - the fuel problem is getting the most votes. The condenser still may be worth another look.
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