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I recently took possesion of a one owner 1968 Columbia 28 with an Atomic 4 gas engine. Not been in the water in 4+ years, sketchy maintenance prior to that. Ran garden hose to water pump. Soon after, discovered water exiting via all four cylinders (thru spark plug holes). Isolated the block cooling from the exhaust cooling. No water exiting the spark plugs when connected to block only (thru bell housing with thermostat removed). From this I assume the head gasket is ok.

Connected to the exhaust cooling and got water out of the cylinders again. From this I assume the "pipe in a pipe" rusted thru so the water inside the exhaust manifold is leaking out of the pipe and filling the manifold.

I am guessing that I may not be the first Atommic 4 owner to see this.

So... Where do I go next?

Can I run safely with the cooling to the exhaust manifold itself bypassed?

Since we plan to sail in Naragansett Bay (where the water is cold), I'm told the Atomic 4 will benefit from a little less cooling (I understand there are aftermarket kits which reduce the water flow thru the engine just to increase engine temp).

For those who may not be familiar with the Columbia design, the engine compartment was designed by a sailor who assumed that the engine would never need maintenance and, therefore, you only needed access to the top side of the engine.

Many humble thanks for any guidance.
 

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Sounds like bad news! BTW, most of us never directly connect the water pump to the garden hose. we put the intake in a bucket and run the hose water into it. Moyer is the Guru of the A4 and best source for all your parts and rebuilds.
Good luck!

Moyer Marine Atomic 4 Engine Rebuilding and Parts
 

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Don Moyer has a simple method for checking cooling systems with a bicycle pump and a pair of schrader valves. go to Moyer Marine and ask. A great resource for Atomic Four owners.
 
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