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post #11 of 24 Old 10-01-2017
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Re: Palmer P60 - sink or swim?

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Stuck valves means sending the head out for service or, at worst, a new head. No big deal. A head gasket and a torque wench and you're back in business.
If everything else on the engine is OK this might hold you until you sell the boat, or find a super deal on another engine. However, if you haven't solved the water in the head issue for certain, it won't matter what engine is in there, you will always have trouble, as I'm sure you realize. I'd call in a professional to look over the exhaust system before I did anything else. A hundred or so up front could save you thousands down the road.
Thanks. Are you saying that stuck valves (almost) conclusively stem from water in the engine head? I'll ask about that when I see the boat, but I was operating on the premise that getting water in the head could result in stuck valves, but that the problem could be due to another cause.

Thanks-

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post #12 of 24 Old 10-01-2017
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Re: Palmer P60 - sink or swim?

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Thanks. Are you saying that stuck valves (almost) conclusively stem from water in the engine head? I'll ask about that when I see the boat, but I was operating on the premise that getting water in the head could result in stuck valves, but that the problem could be due to another cause.Thanks- aenlic
Most often. If a gas engine sits for a very long time, in an unusually wet/humid climate, the valves can get stuck. An oily rag in the intake (carb) can help. But, if they have been stuck once, and the valves aren't lapped, you may have an inconsistent seal, which may allow the engine to operate, though not at it's best, and make for hard starting.

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“Believe me, my young friend, there is nothing - absolutely nothing - half so much worth doing as simply messing about in boats.” ― Kenneth Grahame, The Wind in the Willows

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post #13 of 24 Old 10-01-2017 Thread Starter
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Re: Palmer P60 - sink or swim?

Hi aenlic,
I should have posted this as a follow up on this thread, but I went through and pulled the engine and re-built it. Some pictures over here: Old Marine Engine: P60 Water in Oil & Stuck Valve - Bad exhaust design, bad exhaust manifold, or what? and a full album over here: https://www.flickr.com/photos/kronic...57679586805264

All in all it was maybe 40-60 hours of work, a lot of which were spent disconnecting the wiring and hoses, and then grinding off all the old paint before re-painting. Very little technical skill required-- just a lot of elbow grease. I had the time and space to do it, and at about $500 of materials it was 100% worth it. Now I know the engine inside and out, should anything go wrong in the future. The engine runs strong again and I love the Islander 30 Mk II it's powering.

Things to check:
- Check the oil. If it's milky or gray at all, you're getting water in the crank case. This will definitely cause stuck valves. This could be because of a leak in the head gasket, or water backed up through the exhaust (due to over cranking with a water lift muffler or a faulty exhaust design.) If you have water in the oil and it's been sitting for years, I recommend you pull the engine, clean out all the emulsified oil, and rebuild it. That gunk sticks everywhere and won't be easy to flush out while the engine is in the boat (trust me-- I tried many times).
- Check if/how many valves are stuck-- pull the spark plugs (you'll need a non-standard 7/8" spark plug socket, or a 7/8" combination wrench. Then turn the flywheel (the big circular part facing foreward) while putting your thumb over each spark plug hole. If you don't feel pressure after 2 complete turns on each plug, you have a stuck valve.
- Take pictures of the exhaust. Very unlikely that it's original on a boat this age, and if you're unlucky like I was, the PO's repair may have made things worse. Not a lot of room to do a proper exhaust riser on this boat.
- If the exhaust checks out and there is no water in the oil, the problem could just be corrosion on the valve stems due to sitting too long in a marine atmosphere. In this case, you may be able to un-stick the valves by pushing them down through the spark plug hole and if the corrosion isn't too bad this might fix the problem for good. I used a tool shaped like this that worked well for a while: https://www.amazon.com/Great-Neck-TL...ds=tack+puller Be careful not to hit them too hard this way or you might bend a valve stem (honestly I hit them pretty hard and didn't manage to bend anything, but consider this a standard disclaimer)

Those are the things you can check without tearing into the engine. Here are the next steps if the above doesn't work:
- If the valves are stuck solid, you will need to remove the head and try tapping them down that way. If the valves still stick after freeing them, you may need to do a valve job. This is a flathead engine with the valves in the block, so you will be doing this with very little space on the boat, but it is possible with this valve spring compressor tool: Sears.com . You will also need a magnet on a stick and a mirror on a stick.
- If you have water in the oil, but the head and gasket look ok (no blown through spots) and the exhaust design checks out, you may have a hole in the exhaust manifold. You can check this by pulling the manifold and hooking a garden hose up to the water inlet and plugging all the normal water flow holes with your other fingers. No water should leak into the intake/exhaust passages.
- If you pull the head, you will need a new head gasket. If you're salt water cooled, you will need a new copper one from Gasketstogo.com -- not the regular steel ones. Order these 2 at a time as they take a few weeks for delivery.
- If you remove the engine to rebuild it, you will have to take the manifold and the head off to get it out of this boat. Then you can slide it up and out (see my pictures for how I did this). Take your time and it's less scary than it sounds.

Hope that helps and everything checks out-- depending on your ability to put time into this boat, it could be totally worth it-- as for me, it's a beautiful afternoon here on the San Francisco Bay and I'm about to head out for a sunset sail...!
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post #14 of 24 Old 10-05-2017
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Re: Palmer P60 - sink or swim?

Thanks again, capta. I did go ahead and purchase Inspiration, and will be addressing the non-starting P60 shortly when time permits.

For general reference, I discovered this resource in my search:

davids yacht service

If the engine does need a head/valve job, I may well send it down to David. I spoke to him on the phone, and he sounds like a really straight shooter and expert in his trade. His fully rebuilt motors are... wait for it... $3500.

It's worth noting that in his opinion the P60 is a far better engine than the Atomic 4 in a number of ways (I won't recite the litany here). My guess is that boat builders changed their preference based on cost or some such business reason.

Since the exhaust manifold is one of the Palmer (not IHC) parts, I was glad to see that David is offering new, freshly cast manifolds.

Glad to have found this forum, and glad that I've also found something which I can contribute. ;-)

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Re: Palmer P60 - sink or swim?

One thing the A4 has going for it, is ubiquity. There are a lot of them out there. Lots of aftermarket parts and help.

Thanks so much kronick for the follow-up. It is good to see how problems turn out.

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Re: Palmer P60 - sink or swim?

I think $3500 may be a bit steep for a gas engine. I just got a Kubota agent rebuilt 3 cylinder Kubota diesel for $3100.
I'd go online and search for long blocks for your engine before you decide. I'm guessing they'd be a lot closer to $1200 and you swap the external bits yourself. Of course, that includes returning your engine as a core, just like they do for batteries.

"Any idiot can make a boat go; it takes a sailor to stop one." Spike Africa aboard the schooner Wanderer in Sausalito, Ca. 1964.
“Believe me, my young friend, there is nothing - absolutely nothing - half so much worth doing as simply messing about in boats.” ― Kenneth Grahame, The Wind in the Willows

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post #17 of 24 Old 10-06-2017
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Re: Palmer P60 - sink or swim?

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Originally Posted by capta View Post
I think $3500 may be a bit steep for a gas engine. I just got a Kubota agent rebuilt 3 cylinder Kubota diesel for $3100.
I'd go online and search for long blocks for your engine before you decide. I'm guessing they'd be a lot closer to $1200 and you swap the external bits yourself. Of course, that includes returning your engine as a core, just like they do for batteries.
No doubt, the price is steep. I'm guessing that David manages to sustain that kind of cost by virtue of being one of the few people (perhaps the only person?) with specific expertise on the Palmer 60 and A4.

My first step is to see if I can wrangle the bits needed to get my P60 running, and to maintain it in that condition. My fallback is a local mechanic referral from Svendsen's boatyard (I'm in Alameda, CA). I've bookmarked David's site in case I need his expertise for some reason.

(I haven't done my own car work since a wrench dropped in the engine compartment would hit the ground, and you could see where. ;-) As long as it's modest, I'll enjoy putting some time in as a grease monkey.)

Thanks-

Bob
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post #18 of 24 Old 10-06-2017
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Re: Palmer P60 - sink or swim?

Quote:
Originally Posted by capta View Post
I think $3500 may be a bit steep for a gas engine. I just got a Kubota agent rebuilt 3 cylinder Kubota diesel for $3100.
I'd go online and search for long blocks for your engine before you decide. I'm guessing they'd be a lot closer to $1200 and you swap the external bits yourself. Of course, that includes returning your engine as a core, just like they do for batteries.
No doubt, the price is steep. I'm guessing that David manages to sustain that kind of cost by virtue of being one of the few people (perhaps the only person?) with specific expertise on the Palmer 60 and A4.

My first step is to see if I can wrangle the bits needed to get my P60 running, and to maintain it in that condition. My fallback is a local mechanic referral from Svendsen's boatyard (I'm in Alameda, CA). I've bookmarked David's site in case I need his expertise for some reason.

(I haven't done my own car work since a wrench dropped in the engine compartment would hit the ground, and you could see where. ;-) As long as it's modest, I'll enjoy putting some time in as a grease monkey.)

Thanks-

Bob
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Re: Palmer P60 - sink or swim?

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Originally Posted by aenlic View Post
My first step is to see if I can wrangle the bits needed to get my P60 running, and to maintain it in that condition. My fallback is a local mechanic referral from Svendsen's boatyard (I'm in Alameda, CA). I've bookmarked David's site in case I need his expertise for some reason.
Hey Bob-- Congrats on the new boat! I'm just down the road in Oakland with my Islander in Berkeley if you ever want a second pair of eyes on what you're looking at as you dive in. Also have the service manual (much more detailed than the owner's manual) for this engine (and dare I say it-- a couple of tools, like the valve spring compressor) that I'm happy to lend you-- here's hoping I won't need it again for a while ;-) Feel free to send me a PM if you want to connect.
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post #20 of 24 Old 10-18-2017
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Re: Palmer P60 - sink or swim?

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Hey Bob-- Congrats on the new boat! I'm just down the road in Oakland with my Islander in Berkeley if you ever want a second pair of eyes on what you're looking at as you dive in. Also have the service manual (much more detailed than the owner's manual) for this engine (and dare I say it-- a couple of tools, like the valve spring compressor) that I'm happy to lend you-- here's hoping I won't need it again for a while ;-) Feel free to send me a PM if you want to connect.
Greatly appreciated, kronick... PM imminent. ;-)

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