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Old 10-01-2017, 08:40 PM
sdemore sdemore is offline
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Troubleshooting Guidance

Took the boat for her maiden voyage today. Knowing nothing about sailing yet and the low winds, wound up motoring for an hour or so. Found a couple of issues that I need to troubleshoot.

At idle, I am getting about 3 1/2 knots (forward). There is a detent in the throttle, a touch above idle, which gives another 500 RPM or so. In the detent position, I am getting about 4.8 knots. If I apply any more throttle, the engine speeds up, but the prop doesn't feel like it is increasing in speed at all (vibration, sound) and the boat speed doesn't increase. Also, anywhere above idle (even in the detent position), water temperature increases significantly. The thermostat climbs from 140-ish to 190 and I start getting steam out of the exhaust.

I'm wondering if it could be an overtight stuffing box? I can't tell for sure, but I haven't been able to see any dripping and I have it pretty loose at this point. Maybe I packed in too much stuffing? Could it be the clutch is slipping and needs to be tightened some more (during the rebuild, I loosened it until the detent could be felt)?

As a reminder, this is a '73 C&C 30, with a freshly rebuilt A4. I just added fresh water cooling and when I moved it from the launch point to the slip a couple of weeks ago, didn't have reverse and blew the coupling seal while moving it. I adjusted the reverse adjusting nut 2 clicks and it seems to be fine, and put in another new seal and coupler.

Any recommendations on a starting point?

Thanks,
Steve
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Old 10-02-2017, 07:05 AM
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To clarify, are you getting a vibration at higher RPM? If you are, check the prop for growth - which raises the question, if this was the maiden voyage, how long has the boat been in the water?

180° is normal for FWC engines.
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Old 10-02-2017, 10:27 AM
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What kind of prop do you have? If you have the Indigo 3 blade, it takes about 2 barnacles to go from best prop ever put on an A4 to the worst
BTW - I am across the Bay from you with a C&C 35. The A4 powered C&C 30 normally has plenty of power too, it is a light boat easily driven.
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Old 10-02-2017, 11:33 AM
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3.5 kn at idle sounds kinda fast. Do you know the idle speed of the engine?
The A4 carb doesn't have a detent, and I doubt if your cable does. The detent is usually in the engine control. With my control, the detent is for idle position - moving the throttle lever either way from the detent will increase engine speed. Sounds like there may be something odd with your control. I'd try putting the control at the detent, then adjust the cable at the carb so the carb lever is against the stop screw.
As for the temps, 190F sounds a bit high. Recommend you pull the thermostat, check it's temperature rating, and reassemble without the thermostat. Let's make sure you can get the engine running cool.
Stuffing box may be warm, but it shouldn't be hot - you should be able to put your hand on it. With the engine in neutral, the shaft should turn easily. With the shaft turning, it's normal to get a few drops a minute leakage.
Hope this helps.
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Old 10-02-2017, 09:06 PM
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Thanks guys, let me add more in answer to your questions.

Neil, the vibration feels like normal engine/prop vibration to me. Not something that feels out of whack. The boat hasn't been in the water for two weeks yet. It is in a creek, off of a river, off of the Chesapeake. 180 seemed to be ok, but 185-190 resulted in steam. All of the exhaust parts are new, as are the hoses and water lift muffler, could that be a contributor?

Joe, prop is a small two blade. While stripping and painting the bottom, I put a couple of coats of ablative paint on the prop as well.

Al, I don't have a tach, but just found an old dwell meter that also functions as a tach, so will check RPM next trip to the boat. I'm pretty sure the detent is in the control. I think it is just a push/pull control (like on a lawn mower), so I'm not sure of how pulling back farther could increase throttle, but I'll check it again when I check the RPM. I thought 3 1/2 knots was a bit high, but that was the GPS reading on the chartplotter for about a half hour straight.

I haven't felt the stuffing box for heat, but will do that after the next test run.
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Old 10-02-2017, 09:32 PM
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If you have a deep pitch on the prop, idle speed can be high with a direct drive A-4. Even one inch of pitch is noticeable.

One check on the stuffing box is if it is dripping water in the slip..Normal is a couple drips per minute. Maybe some more when running. Mine is easy cuz the C-30's stuffing box is at the bottom of the stairs. If your motor is under the stairs, things are a bit more complicated. I have never had mine feel more than "warm" to the touch.
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Old 10-03-2017, 12:57 AM
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Another Thing To Check

Disconnect the cable at the transmission lever and shift into and out of gear with the lever on the transmission by hand.
Sometimes the cable cover can become loose and not well fixed down which can result in weird shifting. Ditto for the throttle cable.

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Old 10-03-2017, 08:30 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sdemore View Post
the vibration feels like normal engine/prop vibration to me. Not something that feels out of whack
Hmmm, mine doesn't vibrate at all, runs as smooth as a sewing machine. I'd still check the prop for growth even if it's only to eliminate the possibility.
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Old 10-03-2017, 08:58 AM
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A lot of things to check.
IMHO it is worth looking at the prop to make SURE nothing is on it.
RPM and *manifold vacuum* are hugely helpful to track this down.
If the shift cable has issues, going into forward will not get past the detent and the transmission will slip.
If you have a high (course) pitch prop, you may well get 3 or 4 knots right off idle in calm water, but the torque will be at max and thus the transmission more likely to slip.
Cooling - I understand this boat is FWC. Please get ahold of a cheap IR gun thermometer from Harbor Freight (across from the MVA in Glen Burnie) or off Amazon. We need to see that the fresh water coolant is flowing well and what the temps of the engine cylinder head and coolant are. Do note FWC engines frequently have a 180 degree thermostat. '
Please check raw water flow and maybe clean the heat exchanger. The common design used on A4s has small passages and is easily clogged on the raw or fresh side. Also tell us if the coolant pump is electrical.
Thanks!
PS - I am not too far away, I could probably come over one day after work and take a look
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Old 10-03-2017, 10:04 PM
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OK, responses and questions.

"going into forward will not get past the detent and the transmission will slip" - is the lever supposed to go past the detent? I adjusted by the manual and though it was supposed to go to the detent, not past it. Perhaps I need some more adjustment.

Yes, FWC engine. Thermostat is one of the original units, with the 3 springs in it. I think it is 180 degrees. Raw water is pumped by the engine pump, fresh water pump is electric (brand new).

I don't think the prop is high pitch, but you guys know more than me. This is the prop (before cleaning/painting).

I'm always game for knowledgeable friends to stop by and educate me. The boat is at White Rocks Marina (Mike's Crabhouse North) and I live 2 minutes away, so am available most any evening or on weekends!

Steve
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Old 10-04-2017, 07:06 AM
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Very first thing to check:
Remove the cable from the shift lever. Shifting into forward, it goes past a detent and stays there. If it is not doing this, the tranny will slip. I have made this mistake when swapping engines, you need to do some cable adjusting. There are adjustments at each end plus you can pick a different hole in the shift lever for more total range of movement.

Re the FWC - In my experience the electrical pump is marginal and 180-190 degrees is about as cold as you can expect at cruise power even with no thermostat at all.

Last edited by joe_db; 10-04-2017 at 07:27 AM.
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Old 10-04-2017, 07:45 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sdemore View Post
FWC engine. Thermostat is one of the original units, with the 3 springs in it. I think it is 180 degrees. Raw water is pumped by the engine pump, fresh water pump is electric (brand new).
If the electric coolant pump is the Johnson CM30 series I'd suggest getting rid of the thermostat and use a bypass valve instead. It is not a positive displacement pump but rather a rotating swizzle stick type and its performance can be greatly affected by restrictions of any kind.

I think removing the stat will make an instant improvement on your running temperature. Wouldn't hurt to do an acid flush either.
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Old 10-04-2017, 09:14 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ndutton View Post
If the electric coolant pump is the Johnson CM30 series I'd suggest getting rid of the thermostat and use a bypass valve instead. It is not a positive displacement pump but rather a rotating swizzle stick type and its performance can be greatly affected by restrictions of any kind.

I think removing the stat will make an instant improvement on your running temperature. Wouldn't hurt to do an acid flush either.
+1
I found the thermostat redundant at best for FWC, it runs hot enough anyway and electric pumps HATE restrictions of any kind.
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Old 10-04-2017, 11:38 AM
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+2 on the t-stat removal for electric FWC .

As for the prop..the next time it is out of the water, look at the markings on the end of the hub..it should be stamped with diameter and pitch...but I agree, that looks like a relatively standard issue 12 x 7 or so.
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Old 10-05-2017, 03:39 AM
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Update - I let it run in the slip for about 15 minutes, prop engaged and just above the detent in the throttle. No dripping from the stuffing box ad pretty warm to the touch. I loosened it up until I just barely had a drip. Engine still got hot enough to make steam (190-ish on the temp gauge).

I'll pull the thermostat this weekend. Was already leaning toward trying that, but with 3 recommendations, it sounds like consensus!
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Old 10-05-2017, 05:18 AM
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Be sure you have the means to block the bypass, it's the hose that comes from the sideplate Tee under the starter to the thermostat housing. Without blocking it, removing the thermostat could make things worse. We found this to be the case on Ryan's boat ( http://www.moyermarine.com/forums/sh...ad.php?t=10407 ). Our quick remedy was to plug the bypass hose by stuffing a yellow wire nut inside it. The primary symptom was an overheating engine for which I'm sure the no stat - no bypass blockage arrangement contributed.
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Old 10-05-2017, 06:01 AM
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Do we know the history of this boat and the cooling system?
When I had electrical FWC, my engine would act as you described when it was air-locked. Even right off idle the engine temperature rapidly increased past 180. This was because there was almost no coolant circulating at all. It is VERY easy to block the flow of coolant with air and VERY hard to bleed the air out of the system sometimes. Any time you open the system to do something like check the thermostat, the system must be bled again. Electric FWC was never standard on any installation, so every one is different. The pumps do not suck at all, so they need to be at a relatively low point in the system. Can we get an idea how everything is laid out?
As for the exhaust steam, this is a bit of a puzzle
Some days you just get "steam" because of the humidity. I get "steam" some days. This is not really water boiling at 212 degrees, more like hot humid air in the exhaust hits cooler humid air. This is different than a badly overheating engine. All that said, FWC is a bit different. Raw water is what goes into the exhaust and that should not be more than maybe 20 degrees hotter than it was coming in, so probably less than 95 degrees in your case. The less cooling being done - i.e. the more heat staying on the fresh water side - the cooler the raw water should be.

Short version -
1. . Get vice grips or a clamp and squeeze the bypass hose shut.
2. Wire the coolant pump to run without the engine being on.
3. Take the cap off the heat exchanger and make sure their is good coolant flow.
4. If not, leave it run and see if that gets the air out.

Here is what I would suggest trying next - long version
1. Get photos of how the FWC system is set up and post them.
2. Make a connection so you can run the coolant pump without the engine being on.
3. Remove the thermostat.
4. Install a valve in the bypass and leave it off for now.
5. Top off with coolant.
6. Bleed system and make SURE it is bled.
7. Try again.
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Old 10-05-2017, 09:25 AM
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Just to add to Joe's excellent description:

Use a pair of thin wood pieces to protect the bypass hose when clamping it with a vice-grip. I find a tongue depressor cut in two works well. Or even a popsicle stick.
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Old 10-05-2017, 11:55 AM
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I use the short version of Joe's description to make sure I can bleed the FW side, and can operate the pump without the engine running. When I had a corroded manifold stud, I was adding a pint or so of antifreeze a couple times per season, so I had to be able to easily bleed the stupid thing.
I have the electric pump mounted low, and just after the HX (so it is exposed to the coolest water possible), and before the side plate. My HX has an integrated "header tank", so I can fill right from there, and since there only about 1" of hose between the pump and HX FW exit, I can see the pump pulling the antifreeze out of the HX easily for filling/bleeding.

Attached is the best picture I have..
The hot antifreeze comes out of the manifold (thatch style) into the top of the HX..the cold antifreeze is then pulled out from the bottom of the HX by the pump (which is along side of the HX next to the motor), and then pumps it into the 3/4" hose up by the flywheel that heads off to the side plate. Also notice, I've completely removed the bypass "system" and plugged the T-stat housing...but I did this after the joe long version, and had a valve in the bypass totally blocked for several seasons anyway.

The raw water is run in the opposite direction...cold water enters the bottom of the HX, and the top is the hot RW exit out to the anti-siphon.

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Old 10-06-2017, 09:57 PM
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Joe, first thing, the history of the cooling system. I picked the boat up last winter as a project boat. The engine was completely disassembled and in boxes. I (never having seen an A4 before, but 30+ years of Harley building), cleaned everything, replaced that which needed replacing, and reassembled. The only questionable thing in the cooling system was the manifold, which was completely solid when I started, but I ran wires, springs, screwdrivers, and anything else I could get in, through it. I even popped out the freeze plugs and went in that way. I finished up with a bath in muriatic acid, so I am reasonably comfortable with it.

For the bypass, I bought an electric solenoid valve, so that I could open and close it without pulling the steps and engine cover.

The original intent was raw water cooling and all was good on the test stand. As I was getting ready to launch the boat (3-ish weeks ago) I got a call from a guy, asking if I was interested in an almost new FWC system. It is the one that Indigo sells (same as the Moyer model?). It came with everything, but I had trouble mounting the auxiliary pump and just didn't trust it, so bought a new Johnson pump. The pump is wired to a breaker on the panel, so it runs before the engine is started and I keep it going after shutdown.

I went down last night and pulled the thermostat. I motored for half an hour or so and found that at idle (3 1/2 knots), I am running about 140 on the gauge. If I kick it up to the detent, I get just under 5 knots and the temp went to 180. If I went any higher on the throttle, the (transmission, clutch. reversing gear?) slipped and my speed went down to less than 2 knots. My handheld tachometer outsmarted me, so I wasn't getting real RPM readings.

Took today off to hit the boat show, but tomorrow morning I'll adjust the forward gear. Kind of a catch 22 right now. I need to get power from the engine to adjust the drive, but need the drive to be working to see if we're still overheating.

Oh, and I was wondering if it was possible to completely eliminate the bypass. You guys make it sound normal, so I'll plan for doing that as well.

Sorry for such a long post, just wanted to provide the details. I think I've done everything you recommended, so will try again this weekend, hopefully with a tight transmission.
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Old 10-07-2017, 07:48 PM
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Update - Adjusted the forward drive today and no more slipping of the clutch. It is a bit tough shifting in and out of forward, but one notch lower is the slipping clutch. As long as the cable holds up, no worries! I get increasing prop speed up to about 6 - 6 1/2 knots, then the engine won't increase in RPM, regardless how much I increase the throttle. I'm assuming this is normal as I get to hull speed?

I had the boat out motoring for about 20 minutes to test the trans. Temperatures ran around 180 the whole time, but jumped to about 190 while I was maxing out the RPMs. A little steam coming out the exhaust, but not much at all. I'm wondering if it isn't just from mixing with the hot exhaust gasses.

In any event, you asked for pictures of the FWC system, so here it is.
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Old 10-08-2017, 10:04 AM
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Steve, thanks for the update. I think things are running pretty good based on your last report!
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Old 10-08-2017, 09:12 PM
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I finally got my handheld tach working today and took some readings.

Initially:
idle - 1,700 RPM
detent - 3,000 RPM
idle in gear - 1,100 RPM
detent in gear - 1,650 RPM

I dialed it down a bit to this:
idle - 1,000 RPM
detent - 1,800 RPM
idle in gear - 750 RPM (runs a bit rough)
detent in gear - 1,300 RPM

I just tested it in the slip and with the reduced RPM, water temp stayed down around 140 degrees.

Thank you all for the help!!!
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Old 10-09-2017, 01:24 AM
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You're close. Here's some ideas for fine tuning.
Service the advance if it hasn't been done this year. The fly weights need to move with no friction.
If you have points check the dwell and be sure it is correct.
Once the ignition is set up correctly play idle speed against idle mixture to find the optimum setting for your engine.
You will be able to get the idle speed down to 800 or 900 RPM and the engine will not stall when you shift into gear at idle.

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Old 10-09-2017, 09:43 AM
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Your max RPM in gear is 1700?
Mine is around 2400 and a reduction gear should have you past 3000.
With your one pump setup, 180 is about as cool as you can expect with significant power, so that part seems good
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