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Old 11-13-2017, 09:28 AM
blairm87 blairm87 is offline
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'68 Columbia 36ft w/ Atomic Marine 4

New to the forum and have loved reading all the informative posts!

I live in Newport Beach, CA. Deciding on a novice diagnosis, my head gasket has failed. I do not feel comfortable fixing this on my own.

I'm writing this post to ask if anyone is/knows a reliable mechanic near Newport Beach, CA or Orange County.

Mitchell B.
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Old 11-13-2017, 06:08 PM
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alcodiesel alcodiesel is offline
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Welcome to the forum Mitchell. Like many before you, sailors feel they can't do the jobs they are talking about. Me too.
The folks on the site are amazingly willing to help every step of the way. I've done several jobs on my A4 with their guidance.
This has left me feeling much more confident with the engine which is especially important when I am not in the slip.
Bill McLean
'76 Ericson 27
Norfolk, VA
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Old 11-13-2017, 09:44 PM
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ndutton ndutton is online now
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I'd like to hear how the conclusion was drawn of a failed head gasket. As for a referral, try David Grosse, David's Yacht Service, he's local to you
1977 Catalina 30
San Pedro, California
prior boats 1987 Westsail 32, 1970 Catalina 22
Had my hands in a few others
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Old 11-14-2017, 01:32 AM
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Originally Posted by ndutton View Post
I'd like to hear how the conclusion was drawn of a failed head gasket.
If a compression test was done please post the compression readings for each cylinder.
In post #1 you said it was a "novice diagnosis". What do you mean by that? I would take no action until you have a diagnosis you feel 100% confident about.

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Old 11-14-2017, 09:53 AM
tenders tenders is offline
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The time you spend tracking down and attending to a mechanic can much more productively be spent by you directly fixing the issue. Many mechanics you speak to wonít come to your boat on your schedule. Some wonít show up at all. Suffering through this is a huge waste of time for you and an unnecessary additional opportunity cost of boat enjoyment. (Never mind the actual cash expense.)

Head gaskets donít fail too often these days, although they are eminently repairable by an amateur especially if you have decent access to the engine.

Valves stick all the time, on the other hand, and are also very addressable by an amateur. There are thousands of posts and photos on this forum showing how the tough cases are done - and most cases arenít tough.

It does not take any particular skill whatsoever to get a $40 compression tester from Harbor Freight or eBay and measure the cylinder compression in the spark plug holes.

Iíd also argue that a $15 USB inspection port camera would be a good thing to own to have a direct look at the valves and cylinders via the spark plug holes.

That $55 is probably what the mechanic would charge you just to appear at your boat on his time, not yours. Iím guessing you have a valve issue, not a head gasket problem, and that an hour, an Allen wrench, and some oil in a spray can will fix your sticking valves and youíll be on your way.
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Old 11-14-2017, 01:29 PM
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lat 64 lat 64 is offline
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Hey Mitchell, nice boat!:

I can't add much to what the gang already said. With the advice you get here, you can at least do a proper diagnosis and end up with a cool pressure tester and borescope too. Then if can't do the work yourself, you are still ahead of any dockside beer holding "helpers" that chance by to "fix" it for you.

The old Columbia 36 has AWESOME room to work on the engine in comparison to most classic plastics. I modified the access hatch with little doors on either side so I can look in on the engine without having to move the steps.

We should chat C-36. But, it may bore the rest to tears. PM me if want to see pics and stuff.


Russ Mitchell
Whiskeyjack a '68 Columbia 36 rebuilt A-4 with 2:1

"Since when is napping doing nothing?"
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