Atomic 4 - Water in Cylinders!!! - Page 3 - SailNet Community
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post #21 of 28 Old 01-18-2010
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The "thumb test" as described by Don Moyer:

"If there is no compression gauge available, you can remove all the plugs and hold your thumb over each spark plug hole while someone runs the starter for a few seconds at each hole. As long as the compression is sufficient to blow past your thumb no matter how hard you press, it is quite normal."

S/V Free Spirit

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post #22 of 28 Old 03-06-2010
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Well guys, I have news. I ordered a new set of head gaskets and a couple other gaskets and my father and I decided to tackle the head this weekend. All signs pointed to a blown head. We tried to check the compression before hand, but both gauges we were using registered at zero compression on all four cylinders. It seems like we should have read something on the dial since all four cylinders were puffing on the towel when we cranked her over to get out any more water...

So with little hope that the compression was where it was supposed to be, we took off the head. There were two studs that came off with the head that had been broken at a previous date(known from the carbonation around the break)

The head came off w/o very much trouble, surprisingly. My dad started to clean engine side... and I started on the head, scraping off the old gasket and rust. We couldn't really tell if the head had failed anywhere, but it likely had.

The big news: As I had cleaned all the combustion areas leaving the one under the thermostat housing till last, I saw it. The metal between the combustion area and the thermostat housing/water jacket... had been compromised. There was a small hole the size and shape of a flathead screw driver that had eroded away. So that explains the water in the cylinders! It was coming straight in from the water cooling in the head itself.

Though not the best news ever.. it is nice to know exactly why the water showed up.

The next step: fix the head. Any suggestions on how? Should I get it welded/repaired at a local shop? Sent off to Moyer Marine? Or buy a new one all together for fear that the other combustion areas are probably at the verge of failing as well...?

Just wanted to update you all who have been helping me w/ the progress and give a solution/idea to anyone else wondering why there could be water in their cylinders...
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post #23 of 28 Old 03-06-2010
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I know I’m getting in late here and you have some good MMI folks helping. So bear with me if I am missing something. In reading the post you mention water in the carb. If water is in the cylinder as the piston comes up the intake valve should be closed. I wonder if there is a leak in the manifold allowing water back to the carb. Is that possible? Dan S/V Marian Claire GO PACK
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post #24 of 28 Old 03-06-2010
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Correct me if I'm wrong, but I think what could make since, and for wishful thinking that there isn't another problem...

Wouldn't the water from the water jacket inside the head pour back into the first cylinder when the engine was off.. and if the intake valve was open, then it would fill up the cylinder's volume and pour back into the intake valve?

It seems normal for ownersm on this forum to be instructed to drain the carb to let the water out after water is found in the cylinders.. correct?
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post #25 of 28 Old 03-06-2010
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Your first post said +- it started, ran for 200 yards, and died as you returned. That to me is the difference in your situation and the “over cranking” issues we have seen. You’re A-4 filled with water while running not cranking. I sure don’t understand all this stuff, so I tend to throw out ideas and those that do know chime in. Good luck and keep us posted. Dan S/V Marian Claire
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post #26 of 28 Old 03-15-2010
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Great Success!! Just in time for the warmer weather. I'm very pleased to say that after installing the new head w/ new head gaskets and replacing the thermostat gasket... it worked! It took a lot of cranking.. and eventually some help from a couple sprays of started fluid, but in the end she cranked right up!

My alternator is a little loose, and I think a bit out of line, so she didn't sound like the kitten she as before, but I'm going to tighten/align everything when the weather clears up again.

I ran her for about 15-20 min after I could put the choke all the way in. The only thing is.. I think the throttle handle at the helm is a little non responsive. I have a feeling/hope it's just a simple mechanical fix on the cables, but that will be for another day as well. I can handle some simple mechanics now that the science of combustion/pressure has been dealt with!

You can't kill these A-4's!
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post #27 of 28 Old 03-15-2010
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Glad I was wrong. Manifolds are expensive. Enjoy. Dan S/V Marian Claire
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post #28 of 28 Old 03-15-2010
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nc-
Old throttle cables frequently need adjustment, and eventually replacement. The hardest part is trying to get a new cable that is a similar size and length if it does need replacement. Eyeball the cable, if it is rusty and strands have failed, time to replace it.
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