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Discussion Starter #1
I have a problem with the A4 starting after a period of sailing. Background on engine. New coil, new plugs, new carburetor,new fuel filter(racor), new electronic ignition. When at the dock it fires up in 2-3 revolutions, I keep it choked until it starts to get a little rough and then choke off and it smoothes out beautifully. When we hoist the sails and get out to sailing area I shut it off. On several occasions I have not been able to restart. On one inspection I found the racor empty so I installed a squeeze bulb between the tank and the racor. I thought when sailing and bouncing I may be losing prime with air getting back to to the fuel line on a heel. Last time it did it (last weekend) I could not start it even the next day, after priming the filter with the bulb.
After a long time of cranking finally got a little sputtering but would not go. After longer wait and more cranking finally it started and ran well. Another hypothesis: maybe it is flooded but this does not explain the empty fuel filter. I turned the fuel valve off at the tank and ran the engine for 2-3 minutes before shutting down. The squeeze bulb was flat from suction on the fuel line. After an hour I turned fuel back on and watched the bulb inflate. The engine started fine. I repeated this 2X with same result. The test will come when I do the same procedure and then sail for the afternoon, with fingers crossed. Sometimes the wind does not allow sailing to the slip!!
If turning the valve off works, is there a check valve of somekind I can put in the line? Oh, I also thought the tank vent might be stopped up. I dismantled the cabinets to get the tank, disconected the vent line and blew on it and it was clear. The boat is a Tartan 30. Tank on Stbd side amidship and racor and A4 on port side just left of keel. Could fuel siphon back to tank. I jumped the fuel pump to check if it was working and I got the tic tic tic tic of the pump so know it is ok and when it starts it runs fine.
I am at wits end. I need to get this solved......no one wants to go sail if we have to call Tow Boat US. Been there done that.

If anyone had had similar problem I'd love to know your solution.

Thanks, Scott from Pensacola, FL
 

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Disclaimer first... I'm not a mechanic. Did you have the problem before the new carb, electronic ignition, racor, etc? Do you have a fuel tank solenoid valve? If yes, it may not be functioning properly or was inadvertently disconnected. If no, that might help -- I'm certain someone else will chime in either refuting or confirming my hunch :) My A4 has a fuel tank solenoid valve that acts as a fuel shut-off. Just an educated guess.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
A4 starting #@*&!!+!!#

Thanks guys, I do have a good spark. The engine is very dependable except for when the boat has sailed, usually heeling which makes me think there is a air leak allowing fuel to drain back or conversely the carb is flooding.

There is a manual fuel **** on the line from the tank, no solenoid. I hope to sail on Sunday if predicted weather is good, clear and mid 70's. If so I will try the fuel "off" while sailing theory and turn it back on when I want to run the engine. I am also thinking I should go ahead and replace the fuel line from tank to Racor while I have access to tank.

Thanks again.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Noticed on the post that it was censored. The full form of the word I used was petcock. Thought you'd like to know what the asterisks were, nothing naughty!
 

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Sea Dweeb
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It is difficult to "flood" an A4 it has an updraft carburetor. But I think you are on the right track thinking fuel. If the fuel filter really is empty after having run the engine for a while could there be a leak that is allowing it to suck air rather than fuel? Is the seal at the top of the Racor tight? A check of the Moyer Marine site may give you some insight. Moyer Marine Atomic 4 Engine Rebuilding and Parts

They are likely to know more

Oh Yeah. We don't care what you have for a pet
 

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One Other thing

I just might be the float in the carb. sticking closed. There is a rubber tip on the needle inside the float. With alcohol being added to fuel nowdays the rubber tip can swell and stick in the seat. It took me 3 weeks to find the problem on an A-4 I was working on at the marina.

Fair Winds

Dave
 

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Discussion Starter #7
A4 problem

Thanks for the comment Dave. I have been trying to avoid taking the carb off...... but you might be right on the float. I was wondering too about that inasmuch as it might get compounded by the heeling although since the carb is new I would not expect it. Did not know that about the ethanol in the gas. It does indeed sound like a stuck float. Will fuel treatment help?
I am pretty sure the Racor is tight because otherwise it leaks and I am very careful about that for obvious reasons!
 

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Promise to let us know

what you end up finding, Scott.

Taking the carb apart is no biggie. If you can get it off you can fix it. I don't think fuel additives would work in your case. Nothing I know of will restore that rubber tip on the needle.
I think you might be on to the heeling thing also. It ain't gonna help.

One thing you might try before taking the carb apart, is to take the boat out and get the engine to cut off like it tends to, and then tap on the bowl with an 8 pound sledge hammed. NO NO just kidding, use a screwdriver handle or somthing like that. If the float is stuck it just might dislodge it. Another place to check, is the bowl itself. there is a screw on the bottom of the bowl loosen it and see if gas comes out. If it does we know we have gas all the way to the Carb.

Good luck and please let us know what you find

Fair Winds

Dave
 

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Discussion Starter #10
A4 problem

Just a quick note....batterys are new in January. I won't get a crack at the issue til sunday afternoon. Lot of rain/tornados in forecast thru saturday. The engine runs great and it never quits on me, just can't start it after I shut it down to sail.
To be sure I'll get back to you. If wind is out of north or south, just not west, I can get back to slip without it if needbe.
FYI, my last episode with this required Tow Boat US, thank goodness I had unlimited towing. Got the copy of the bill submitted.....$828.00. I'd say we were less than 5 miles from the slip. Ouch!
 

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It sure sounds like a fuel problem, but that still leaves an awful lot to look at. Carbs and their critical parts have always been problematic on boats because of the heeling and pitching motions and if the needle valve IS sticking...that would be a stopper.

I'd hate to say take apart a newly rebuilt carb (and risk making more problems or needing new gaskets in it) but from experience, a lot of rebuild shops just work too fast and don't do a good job. Of course, you really can't tell anything UNLESS you have a rebuild manual and you can check for the correct alignment and clearance, not just eyeball the valve. So if you plan to open it up--get the numbers and tools on hand to make sure you can check and measure.

When you say the fuel filter is empty, to me that says no fuel is being pumped into the carb, so the carb itself wouldn't be the culprit. Unless perhaps something was jamming open and allowing all the fuel to drain OUT of the carb, incidentally flooding the engine. (Which should leave a heavy fuel smell.)

"What's wrong with this picture?" can be a long slow game but if you start with the fuel tank and work your way to the cylinders...something IS going to be visibly wrong, in some way.

Console yourself by saying "It would be so much worse if I had to rebuild a diesel high pressure fuel pump." At least with an A4, a mortal with an ordinary tool box CAN fix it all.
 

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Discussion Starter #13
A4 starting

Beasutiful weekend.Cold fron came through Saturday. Did not get out as winds would have been "uncomfortable" according to the wife. For me I'd just as soon reef down and go but there was plenty to do on teh boat in the slip. Engine is faithful everytime I start it. I was wondering about putting a solenoid valve in the fuel line. This would do the same thing as manually shutting off the tank valve except it might be better aas I could put it in farther down the line. Ideas of where to put it? Between the racor and the tank? Between the Racor and the fuel pump. Between the fuel pum and the carb?If there is a tendency for the boat to "leak back" to the tank while sailing(one theory) where would be the best place? Aftwer work today might be a chance to get out for a short sail as wether is supposed to be nice and wind is supposed to be out of SW which will allow for ssailing back to slip if engine does present a problem. If so, I will sail with fuel valve off and see if that helps.

Any ideas what to do for posting photos. I tried and even after the resize it will not upload.
 

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Solenoid valve in a gasoline fuel line?

Personally I wouldn't. The valve has two more fittings (inlet and discharge) that can leak or bleed, plus the electrical parts to fail, plus the "plug" itself to leak.

More reliable just to have an unbroken fuel line going back to the petcock on the fuel tank.
 

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Hi again Scott

You shouldn't need to put another valve between the tank and the engine. Thinking of that and you mentioning the fuel has a tendency to go back to the tank. Is your tank vent working? Make sure it is not plugged. That could cause the fuel to go back to the tank. If the engine wont start today, remove the fuel fill cap and listen for a hissing sound. If you hear that, you could have a vent plugged. Usually mud dobbers are great at plugging up small holes

Fair Winds

Dave
 

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Discussion Starter #16
A4 problem

Yes, the vent is clear. I have dismanteled the cabinet on the stbd side to get to the tank. I disconnected the vent line and blew through it. It was pretty clear except for a little water which may have been at the bottom of loop.I put it back.Next I will take the tank out to inspect and clean. I am suspect of what might be in the bottom so I want to eliminate that too. I may replace lines while I am at it. The fuel line actually looks pretty good. It is fairly stiff and it is a rubber line with braided cover.
I'll cross these bridges first and see if there is improvement. Thanks for your help and interest.
 

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I would suggest using a small amount of starting fluid to determine if the problem is fuel or electrical in nature. That way you can narrow down the possible issues, and work on the right problem
 

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Discussion Starter #19
A4 starting

Hope everyone had a good easter. Beautiful weather here but could not get to th boat.Previous weekend I got out. The engine started at the slip, motoring no problem. Wind was good to allow sailintg back if needed so we were off.
After 2 hours sailing in 15 -18 with 3' to 4' seas we headed in. I had the fuel valve off while sailing. The engine started and ran for about 5 minutes. It stopped as if i had turned the key off. Just about into the channel coming in with shallows on both sides. Oh crap! The engine resatarted after a a few minutes. I think now that the issue of fuel to the racor and carb is solved but now i think there must be some junk in the bottom of the tank. Previously I had to remove the fuel fill hose from deck to tank to remove the countertop over the tank. In the process I found the hose to be dried and brittle, to the point literally of crumbling as I twisted it to take off. Now I am thinking there must be some of that and/or other debris in the tank that the pickup sucks up. If the engine stops the suction stops and it can fall off once again freeing the pickup. Job for this week is to remove tankl and clean/flush. I am anxious to see what comes out of it. At this point i don't know what else it could be. I may chane the fuel line while I am at it since it is such a pain to get to to do later. More on this later after tI find out what is in the tank other than fuel.
 

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cap'n chronic
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Spark plugs will tell the story of why its not starting, the proof will be in what the plug looks like.
If you still are running a mechanical fuel pump you might want to check the diaphragm.if not replaced, they tend to break down after long engine running and cause restart issues.
if you go on moyer marine'e site you can buy a repair kit or go electric.
Moyer Marine Online Store
 
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