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Go Back   SailNet Community > General Interest Forums > Gear & Maintenance
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  #1  
Old 06-10-2003
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atomic 4

SOS
I am a woman and have been stranded dockside due to non-running 1976 ericson with an old faithfull atomic 4. It starts, idles rough then dies when the throttle handle is moved. I have checked the fuel pump(which is clear), changed the plugs (which was coated with black stuff) and fuel filter. The choke works (moves back and forth like it should). Checked for sparks between the plugs and the wires and stared at it for many hours hoping it will start and even fiddled with the idle needle valve. Is there any hope but to remove the carb?
I am having serious withdrawal symptoms from not sailing! any help would be apppreciated.
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Old 06-10-2003
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atomic 4

If you''ve got spark, and you know she''s pumping fuel, then the next thing is the carb. How long has it been since it was last taken off and cleaned? Over the winters and idle times, gasoline breaks down and evaporates, yet leaves a residue or tar behind.

I don''t know how handy you are, but if you feel comfortable, it''s not too hard fix. In fact you have a couple of choices here.

The easiest and most expensive, call the mechanic in and he''ll hand you a bill that will make you seem like you bought a brand new engine.

Next, your options are more do-it-yourself. You can try a spray carb cleaner, but the engine has to at least run for this to work. Remove the air cleaner and any hoses or ductwork to reveal the carb. If you get it to idle, you can then spray the carb cleaner down the throat of the carb. This may make it stall, so be gentle at first, not too much. Then if it starts to run better you know you are on the right track. Once it starts to accept throttle, you can spray more and clean things up pretty well. I''d then put a can of injector/carb cleaner in the fuel tank. It will also make things run rough, so you only want to do that once in a while.

If the spray approach does not work, you may have to remove the carb and either clean it yourself or have it done at a shop. I would not attempt this if you are at all internal combustionally challenged. A simple fix is to take it down to a marine engine parts shop and get a rebuilt unit. You will get a core return for your old carb and get a factory reconditioned unit in return. The core return fee is only pennies on the dollar, but it keeps the parts supply for rebuilds moving along.

Good luck.

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Old 06-10-2003
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atomic 4

Symptoms sound similar to a dirty emulsion tube in the carb ... or fouled jet.
The emulsion tube is VERY sensitive to any amount of debris/dirt and give symptoms as you describe. When was the last time you changed your fuel filter???????
For further ''problems'' suggest you get a copy of Don Moyer''s "Atomic-4 Maintenance & Repair Manual" www.moyermarine.com --- best manual ever written for the A4. Its pricey; but, one ''episode solved'' by consulting the manual will pay for the book.
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Old 06-11-2003
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atomic 4

I have owned 2 boats wiht A4s. I had one with the very symptoms you discribe. It turned out to be carburator ice. I ran a foil tube from a warm place on the exhaust to the carb intake. Never had the problem again. Might not be your problem but would be worth checking out. Hang an electic blow drier in front of the intake and see if the problem goes away. Good Luck in any case.
P.S. I think the A4 is a great engine!!!
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Old 06-12-2003
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atomic 4

yes. it sounda like a carb problem. try your fuel/air mixture. the other ideas are excellent also. you''re not getting enough fuel somehow.
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Old 06-26-2003
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atomic 4

Try something simpler than the carb.

Make sure that the spark plug wires from the distributor are going to the correct spark plugs.

The symptoms you describe (starts, idles rough, dies when throttle advanced) match "crossed plug wires", as well as some carburetor- and fuelline-dirt problems.

Especially if someone was working on the engine, this is a likely condition -- and a real confusing one, because everything _looks_ OK.
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Old 06-27-2003
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atomic 4

Well, what was the fix? The original post was on June 10, is it still broke? There should be a law that the originator has to come back.

I was going to vote for the fuel pump. She said it was "clear" but is it operational? Will it idle roughly indefinitely or only with some choke or ? ? ? If the pump is bad it will idle but die when it gets too much air(when the throttle opens). Just like a clogged filter or fuel line.
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Old 06-30-2003
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atomic 4

So Sorry. Only so much time to work on this monster and email too.
Thanks for all the advice.

I have purchased and installed from don moyer a new carb. rebuilt original and have for emergency throw toy.
Installed a new electronic ignition.
New plugs, twice gapped (checked 3 times)
New rotor, points (set gap 4 times) and condensor (twice)
Checked and recheck distributer wires.
Get spark between coil and block,
Get spark between spark plugs and block
Rechecked fuel pump. Plenty in bilge now.
Ohm tested coil (ok)
replaced marine batteries x2
spayed wd40, and engine starter ether into flame arrestor and spark plug holes.
Thumb tested compression (plenty of puffed air there)
have read 3 origional atomic 4 manuels (can make copies if desired)
Have read don moyer manuel twice.
Changed fuel filter once.
Added water treatment to gas tank
Checked exhaust for blockage
Checked plugs for water and other fouling (none noted)
Check, Checked and rechecked. Everyone I
talk to says it should run, now it just spurts.

Am fed up and have called in the gutters.

FOR SALE AND REMOVAL ONE ATOMIC 4
Docked sadly corpus christi texas

Plan on taking to the bankers and seeing about putting an electric motor in from solomon technologies.

PS I have looked at others atomic 4 engines in similar boats that run which you would not want to show your mothers. Mine is so clean you would be proud to show your mother in law.

arrgh, The choke makes it not run at all.



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Old 07-01-2003
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atomic 4

How much for the monster?
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Old 07-01-2003
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atomic 4

I am probably risking my life jumping in at this point, but if it were me I would beg, borrow, or steal a carb off of a working engine and put it on and see what happens. It is not a tough job on this engine.

You did not list a rebuild of the carb - and carbs can actually wear out. In addition, a proper rebuild requires compressed air to really clean out the jets.

If this failied I would then get a compression guage - acheapy from Pet Boys - and do a real test.

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