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  #1   IP: 206.107.116.198
Old 08-07-2017, 02:19 PM
Neuse River Sailor Neuse River Sailor is offline
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Engine starts, runs a few seconds and quits

I am having problems getting my Atomic 4 to keep running after it starts. It is a Moyer rebuild from about ten years ago, got very little use until I bought the boat last fall. I had a lot of issues for a while that I attribute to the long layup but since this spring the engine has run well.

In late June I changed the fuel filter, new Racor style 10 micron, just like the one that it replaced.

I didn't use the boat in July, back to the boat a couple of days ago. The engine started on ether and immediately quit. I traced through the fuel lines, starting by blowing back through the line upstream of the filter to prove there was no blockage at the tank. Then I ran a wire through the petcock so I know that there is at least some opening there. I jumped the facet to the coil and confirmed that gas is coming out the downstream side of the facet - but it is more like a dribble than a stream.

At this point the engine would start easily without ether, run for a few seconds and die.

I tried keeping the engine alive with ether. If I kept spraying ether into the intake, it would run indefinitely.

With the facet hot-wired, I could run it for a few seconds, the engine would then start easily, run for a few seconds and die. The longer I let the facet run between starts, the longer the engine would run before dying.

At this point I removed the carburetor - no easy task as the engine compartment is horribly cramped. I removed the plugs in the bottom and soaked the whole carb in clean fresh gas for a couple of hours. Then I hosed it down with carb cleaner and left it to dry overnight. I didn't dig all the way into the carb as I don't trust my own mechanical ability to get it back together.

I cleaned the air filter in gas and carb cleaner.

In the morning I reassembled things and tried starting the engine. Same drill - it started easily without ether, ran for a few seconds and died.

I am up the Albemarle Sound in Edenton and am having trouble finding an A4 mechanic in the area, so I would like to keep pursuing this repair if anyone can give me guidance as to what to do next. I am thinking of bypassing the fuel filter and see if that gives better output from the facet. I have read that there is an internal filter in the facet and maybe that is clogged - I hope not, because getting to the nut on the bottom or even removing the facet from the engine appears to be impossible with the engine in place. It looks like a situation where the local installer shoehorned the assembled engine with all its accessories into place without thinking about future maintenance.

One more thing, the local sources of gas are sketchy. The nearest source that I would really trust is the distributor in Elizabeth City, about thirty miles from here. But if bad fuel could be the issue, I could drive over there and bring ten gallons back.

So after this longwinded post, first, how much volume should come out of the facet? And if the dribble I see is too little, what next?

thanks all.
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Old 08-07-2017, 04:42 PM
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Welcome to the forum!

Couple of questions...

• When you hot wired the Facet, did it make a clicking noise?
• Do you think there is a way to gain better access to that side of the engine?
(i.e. cut an access port cleanly. Come at it from aft of the engine)
• What boat do you have?


I'm leaning to the Facet being your issue.
A simple test would be to get an AUX tank (5 gal) and run a hose directly to the carb using a gravity feed. (Get the tank higher than the carb)
If the engine will keep running with this rig, we can start working back from there.

Hang in there. You can do this.
You don't need to be a mechanic to keep these simple engines running.
Very few of us on this site are.
The combined wisdom here will guide you through and besides saving boat buck$ you'll feel really good about yerself!
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Last edited by roadnsky; 08-07-2017 at 04:44 PM.
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Old 08-07-2017, 07:11 PM
Dave Neptune Dave Neptune is offline
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A simple fuel pressure gage inline would let you know how the Facet is working and be very handy for any future diagnosis.

Recheck the fittings and clamps down stream, if just a bit of air get in you will have fuel delivery issues.

Dave Neptune
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Old 08-07-2017, 08:04 PM
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prime the racor?

in my experience, a racor has to be "primed" when changed. otherwise there is an air vacuum and wont suck fuel. some posts elsewhere how to do that
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Old 08-07-2017, 08:27 PM
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What changed since the engine last ran well: fuel filter
Simplest explanation for the problem: fuel filter
Item to rule OK before blaming other components: fuel filter

I agree that you would be very well-served with an inline fuel pressure gauge right after the Facet pump but I think you should first take that fuel filter off and make positively sure its gasket is intact and in place to rule out an air leak, which would account for these symptoms.

When I last replaced my filter I was surprised by how readily the Facet pump pulled fuel through it without priming, or doing anything else special, and went merrily about its business. I think I had smeared oil or gas on both sides of the gasket before installing to get a good seal.

Last edited by tenders; 08-08-2017 at 06:02 AM.
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  #6   IP: 72.194.218.136
Old 08-08-2017, 12:07 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Neuse River Sailor View Post
I jumped the facet to the coil and confirmed that gas is coming out the downstream side of the facet - but it is more like a dribble than a stream.
thanks all.
Agree with Tenders. The engine will not stare or run until there is adequate fuel pressure. There is a problem upstream from the fuel pump. The filter is #1 suspect. After you get the filter squared away if there are still problems there could be a blockage in the tank. Did you try blowing back into the tank and listening for bubbles?

TRUE GRIT
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Old 08-08-2017, 09:20 AM
Neuse River Sailor Neuse River Sailor is offline
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Thanks for the ideas

Starting last first, yes, I blew through the fuel line to the tank and heard it bubbling in the tank. With the facet hotwired I can hear a distinct clicking of the pump working,, I have had the fuel filter off and on a couple of times and filled it with gas before I screwed it on, but maybe the next step will be to isolate the fuel filter, run a hose straight from the tank to the facet and see if that fixes things. If that doesn't work I will try gravity feeding the facet and see if that works. I will also check all fittings downstream of the facet to make sure they are tight.

I'm taking it that my facet output should be more of a squirt than a dribble. If I gravity feed the facet and the engine runs fine does will that suggest a problem with the facet itself?
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Old 08-08-2017, 10:37 AM
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Please buy a fuel pressure gauge. You can drive yourself crazy trying to guess issues by extrapolating from the problem back to likely causes when a good measurement tells you right then and there if you have fuel (or whatever).
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  #9   IP: 206.107.116.198
Old 08-08-2017, 12:29 PM
Neuse River Sailor Neuse River Sailor is offline
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Off to get a fuel pressure gauge

OK, I'll pick up an inline fuel pressure gauge and put it just downstream from the facet.

I tried putting the intake line for the facet into a can of fresh, clean fuel, taking the fuel filter out of the picture. I disconnected the output line and ran it into a cup. I disconnected the distributor wire so the engine wouldn't start and hotwired the facet. After a few seconds a dribble of gas came through and then I started timing. After three minutes I had about an ounce of fuel in the cup. So that extrapolates to 20 ounces an hour, probably not nearly enough.

My batteries are not in the best of condition, but have had enough voltage to turn over and start the engine about 30 times in the last two days. Is the facet fuel pump extremely sensitive to low voltage? It clicks along just fine and delivers a small amount of fuel, but maybe it should be clicking much faster and louder. I don't know, I never listened to a known good facet run.

Off to the auto parts place to pick up a fuel pressure gauge.
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Old 08-08-2017, 01:30 PM
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Here is a short video of what type of flow you can expect from the Facet. This was after replacing all hoses and filters which is why it took a while for the fuel to get to the pan.
https://www.dropbox.com/s/y5mqkm80m2...04.21.mov?dl=0
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Old 08-08-2017, 02:12 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Neuse River Sailor View Post
So that extrapolates to 20 ounces an hour, probably not nearly enough.
For a 2.0-3.5 PSI cube Facet pump, the free flow rate is listed at 15 gallons per hour.

See https://www.aircraftspruce.ca/catalo...hp?recfer=4141

Peter
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Old 08-08-2017, 02:20 PM
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Have we determined there is no issue on the intake side of the fuel pump? Any restriction, clog or air leak there can produce the same symptom. I suggest trying to pump from one bucket to another eliminating the boat's fuel system from the test. If you have the same poor volume, the pump is the problem. If the volume is much improved, the boat's fuel system is the problem.
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Old 08-08-2017, 03:12 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Neuse River Sailor View Post
OK, I'll pick up an inline fuel pressure gauge and put it just downstream from the facet.

I tried putting the intake line for the facet into a can of fresh, clean fuel, taking the fuel filter out of the picture. I disconnected the output line and ran it into a cup. I disconnected the distributor wire so the engine wouldn't start and hotwired the facet. After a few seconds a dribble of gas came through and then I started timing. After three minutes I had about an ounce of fuel in the cup. So that extrapolates to 20 ounces an hour, probably not nearly enough.

My batteries are not in the best of condition, but have had enough voltage to turn over and start the engine about 30 times in the last two days. Is the facet fuel pump extremely sensitive to low voltage? It clicks along just fine and delivers a small amount of fuel, but maybe it should be clicking much faster and louder. I don't know, I never listened to a known good facet run.

Off to the auto parts place to pick up a fuel pressure gauge.
Now you need a voltmeter!
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Old 08-08-2017, 03:13 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ndutton View Post
Have we determined there is no issue on the intake side of the fuel pump? Any restriction, clog or air leak there can produce the same symptom. I suggest trying to pump from one bucket to another eliminating the boat's fuel system from the test. If you have the same poor volume, the pump is the problem. If the volume is much improved, the boat's fuel system is the problem.
And a vacuum gauge too
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Old 08-08-2017, 03:53 PM
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Originally Posted by joe_db View Post
And a vacuum gauge too
Joe, can you explain the vacuum gauge as it relates to the A4. I'm not clear where or what we should be measuring.
Thanks
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Old 08-08-2017, 04:38 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ndutton View Post
Have we determined there is no issue on the intake side of the fuel pump? Any restriction, clog or air leak there can produce the same symptom. I suggest trying to pump from one bucket to another eliminating the boat's fuel system from the test. If you have the same poor volume, the pump is the problem. If the volume is much improved, the boat's fuel system is the problem.
Divide and conquer.
This is the first thing I would do.

TRUE GRIT
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Old 08-09-2017, 10:56 AM
Neuse River Sailor Neuse River Sailor is offline
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I'm getting certain that it is the fuel pump

I have tried pumping from one container to another, bypassing the fuel system - that's when I got the ounce in three minutes - so that's clear that the pump is not delivering. Everything upstream of the pump is clear, I have added a squeeze ball so I can pressurize the system, and gas pours out of the intake hose when I pump it up. But once the hose is back on the pump, little or nothing comes out of the outlet.

My A4 guru who is well known and liked on this board told me to check out a thread about a stuck ball joint on a facet, and that sounds to me like what may be happening. My issue is that the position of the facet has made it impossible for me to remove the pump or get to the hex nut on the bottom that would let me remove the bottom and clear the ball joint. I just might be able to get a ratcheting box wrench on the nut, if I can determine the right size I will go out and buy one.

Joe_db, your point on the fuel pressure gauge is well taken. From earlier posts, I was looking for an "inline" gauge, but in fact do you mean a gauge on a t-fitting cut into the line between the facet and the carb? Nobody in this small town has any kind of cheap inline gauge, just rather expensive, large gauges that require a t-fitting. For this project, I already know what the output pressure of the facet is - approaching zero.

If I cannot get the bottom off the facet to clear the ball valve, the next step is to buy a new facet and mount it in an accessible place. I'll leave that for another post, if after searching the site I can't find information as to the proper location for a remote pump.

Thanks all for you help and encouragement.
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Old 08-09-2017, 11:28 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Oldlaxer1 View Post
Joe, can you explain the vacuum gauge as it relates to the A4. I'm not clear where or what we should be measuring.
Thanks
If you hook it up between the fuel pump and filter, it will tell you if there is a restriction in the filter or the tank. If you hook it up between the filter and the tank, it will tell you if there is a restriction in the tank.


Last edited by joe_db; 08-09-2017 at 11:32 AM.
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Old 08-09-2017, 12:41 PM
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Quote:
I have tried pumping from one container to another, bypassing the fuel system - that's when I got the ounce in three minutes - so that's clear that the pump is not delivering.
It's time to replace the pump . . . .
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Old 08-09-2017, 02:56 PM
Neuse River Sailor Neuse River Sailor is offline
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It was the ball valve...

After struggling with it for a while, I got the bottom cap off the facet, cleaned out the trash, worked the ball joint against the spring for a minute, hosed it out with carb cleaner and then after another lesser struggle got the cap back on. The engine started easily and I ran it for about 20 minutes in the slip against the spring lines at about 1700 rpms. Once it cools I will go back over all the hoses and clamps one more time and tomorrow maybe I'll go sailing.

And yes, after seeing what came out of the bottom of the pump, I'd say it's time for a new one. I'll order one this weekend and bring it down next time I visit the boat.

For anyone else who has to get the cap off a facet without actually being able to see it, the knob on mine took a 7/8th inch box end.

Thanks all for the instructions and encouragement.
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  #21   IP: 24.152.132.65
Old 08-09-2017, 04:05 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Neuse River Sailor View Post
And yes, after seeing what came out of the bottom of the pump, I'd say it's time for a new one
Good on ya . . . . if the little ball valve is full of krap it's a certainty the entire pump is too. Now, where did the krap come from? It didn't create itself inside the pump, had to come from somewhere (hint: tank). You don't want to subject the new pump to the same swill as the old one. You've solved the symptom, not necessarily the cause.
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Old 08-09-2017, 04:14 PM
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If you do decide to replace the pump, this would be an excellent time to consider mounting it on a bulkhead or someplace it is easier to get to.
If you do mount it on a bulkhead, be aware you'll need to run a ground to the mount of the pump. (See pic)

Also attached is a pic of the inside of the pump showing the filter and ball.
Attached Images
  
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Old 08-10-2017, 04:11 PM
Neuse River Sailor Neuse River Sailor is offline
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Mount

Thanks for the picture of the external mount, that is exactly what I have in mind doing.
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Old 08-11-2017, 03:33 PM
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Great picture Jerry. This sure would improve access to stuff on that side of the engine as well as access to the fuel system parts. Maybe I'll do this before I add the O2 sensor. 😊
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Old 08-11-2017, 05:57 PM
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Thanks Jim.
I'm very blessed to have great access to all areas of the engine on my vessel.
Even so, I like having key components as easily reachable as possible.
As we like to say on this forum, "If it's easier to do, you're more likely to do it."
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