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Boat died while motoring in the channel. Gas smells in cabin. Won't start again.

Jun 20, 2018
5
Cataline 30 Marina Del Rey
My sail was going fine from Long Beach to Marina Del Rey. Only motored briefly when the wind died down. Sailed into the marina and then turned on the motor to navigate towards my slip. The engine did not like the slow speed and eventually just died on me. I tried to restart with no luck. So, I drifted into the slip. I tried to restart the engine again after 20 minutes with no luck. It sounded like it wasn't getting gas. But, I had plenty of gas in the tank. The inside cabin had a strong smell of gas afterward.

Any suggestions about where I can start my search for answers?
 
Oct 22, 2014
13,458
CAL 35 Cruiser moored EVERETT WA
First.. Welcome to the forum. See you joined today. This is a great site.

Gas or Diesel?
If Gas... Stop and vent the boat.:yikes: A boat filled with the smell of gas is a time bomb.:yikes::yikes:

If diesel... First check your filters. Diesel engines are pretty simple systems. :thumbup:
They need Diesel fuel, air and an engine that compresses the mixture. Bang... It will take off and keep running until your starve it of fuel or air.

So make sure you are getting fuel to the engine injectors... Most fuel starvation occurs at the Primary Filter. It gets clogged and fuel stops flowing.

Next...up is the exhaust. It is water cooled. You scare me to think you were trying to start the engine for 20 minutes...

Are you a DIY type of guy or is this mostly new and sounds like a foreign language when someone starts talking about fuel systems filters, injectors...?"
 
Oct 22, 2014
13,458
CAL 35 Cruiser moored EVERETT WA
That was my thought @Meriachee. That is why I asked. While I was ducking under my desk waiting for the fumes to dissipate.
Say how are the trains up there.
 
Aug 1, 2011
3,908
Catalina 270 255 Wabamun. Welcome to the marina
@jssailem , It's good, BC is not on fire. We've had a solid week of clear skies and decent kite weather. Decadent.
The CN main is more busy than you can image. It seems that some leasing company bought up all the CSX cast-offs and rented then out, there's a huge diversity of smoky old GE's plying the rails these days!
 
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Mar 26, 2011
2,695
Corsair F-24 MK I Deale, MD
Sounds flooded (too much gas). Should start after a 30 minute rest. Ventilate first and look for leaks, just in case.
  • Left choke on (or hanging up)?
  • Idle too low.
  • Needle valve not sealing (or float sticking--closely related).
 
Last edited:
Oct 22, 2014
13,458
CAL 35 Cruiser moored EVERETT WA
Lets hope the Catalina 30 owner "Remotely Odd" responds... For all we know he tried to keep starting the Atomic 4 and there was a big fire in the Marina. You see any Marina Del Rey "Breaking News" announcements on Canadian telee?
 

Rick D

.
Jun 14, 2008
6,914
Hunter Legend 40.5 Shoreline Marina Long Beach CA
If it was (is I hope!) an A4, it may be the float sticking. I had one that did that with stale fuel; stuck. Regardless, I hope he finds it and lets us know.
 
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Aug 1, 2011
3,908
Catalina 270 255 Wabamun. Welcome to the marina
Lets hope the Catalina 30 owner "Remotely Odd" responds... For all we know he tried to keep starting the Atomic 4 and there was a big fire in the Marina. You see any Marina Del Rey "Breaking News" announcements on Canadian telee?
Not here. I hope the discussion never devolves beyond shoes.
 
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Jun 20, 2018
5
Cataline 30 Marina Del Rey
First.. Welcome to the forum. See you joined today. This is a great site.

Gas or Diesel?
If Gas... Stop and vent the boat.:yikes: A boat filled with the smell of gas is a time bomb.:yikes::yikes:

If diesel... First check your filters. Diesel engines are pretty simple systems. :thumbup:
They need Diesel fuel, air and an engine that compresses the mixture. Bang... It will take off and keep running until your starve it of fuel or air.

So make sure you are getting fuel to the engine injectors... Most fuel starvation occurs at the Primary Filter. It gets clogged and fuel stops flowing.

Next...up is the exhaust. It is water cooled. You scare me to think you were trying to start the engine for 20 minutes...

Are you a DIY type of guy or is this mostly new and sounds like a foreign language when someone starts talking about fuel systems filters, injectors...?"
Yes. It is a gas engine. I did leave the boat to vent. did not want the "bomb" to go off with me on it! Tee-Hee!
 
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Jun 20, 2018
5
Cataline 30 Marina Del Rey
Thank you for the welcome! Glad to be here. I am new to sailing. It has been on my bucket list for years. And, this is my second sailboat. My first was a Columbia 28. It had more issues than I cared to fix. Ouch! I am hoping that the Catalina will be smooth sailing and easier to fix.
 
Aug 1, 2011
3,908
Catalina 270 255 Wabamun. Welcome to the marina
One rule, gas is not your friend. Respect that and get out on the water!
 
Jun 20, 2018
5
Cataline 30 Marina Del Rey
Not here. I hope the discussion never devolves beyond shoes.
Sorry! I was working and couldn't get away to check the posts. The boat and I are fine. I haven't started her up since the incident. My buddy did mention something about the float sticking or hoses as a possible cause. But, I might have flooded it. so, I will check when I get back to the boat.
Thanks for the humor!
 
Jun 20, 2018
5
Cataline 30 Marina Del Rey
If it was (is I hope!) an A4, it may be the float sticking. I had one that did that with stale fuel; stuck. Regardless, I hope he finds it and lets us know.
Float sticking and stale fuel? That could be possible. I just bought the boat and it had been sitting for a few months.
What would you recommend?
 
Jan 18, 2016
531
Shopping... 387 Dana Point
Ok, we've established it's an A4. Good engines.
Here's what I'd check:

#1 - float sticking - you can pull the spark arrestor (kinda air cleaner thing) off and if it drains gas out - it's a sticky float. Easy fix - take it apart and clean it or order a new carb from Moyer. It's a 1930's technology carb, they're easy to work on. Make sure the 'scavange tube' from the bottom of the carb is connected to the intake manifold correctly.

#2 - I doubt stale fuel if you smell it below - you've got gas coming out from somewhere. Once vented, you can hook up a outboard fuel tank and try to run from that to prove/disprove old gas. But you should also check your filters. I had water in my fuel a while ago - resulted in a no run situation but didn't smell like gas.

#3 - Mechanical fuel pump gasket leak. If you have the mech pump (it's on the port side of the motor in a C30) when the gasket leaks, it leaks fuel into the oil and/or into the bilge. Will smell alot. Is dangerous. Solution is an electric pump and a block-off panel from Moyer. Look (and smell) your oil and look at the bottom of the mech pump.

Moyer marine is the source for all things A4. I'm kinda local, pm me if you want help.
 

SG

.
Feb 11, 2017
1,670
J/Boat J/160 Annapolis
The other thought is a fuel hose leak. Might be a clamp or an deteriorated hose.

Years ago, before I knew better, thT lead to a 10 hour sail back in no wind and current before we reached the marina and ghosrlted into a slip.

The electric fuel pump might be the issue. I’d be surprised by the float. Do you have a manual choke?
 
Jan 18, 2016
531
Shopping... 387 Dana Point
I'd expect all A4's to have a manual choke. Choke doesn't cause severe gas smell inside, maybe that "rich burn" smell outside.

If it has an electric pump, it may be a leaking line from the pump to the carb. If it has the mechanical pump (what they all came with way back when) - it may be the gasket - which is a pretty serious problem in a gas engine. That's the reason that an electric pump is a great upgrade to an A4 - removes the mech gasket leak issue.
 
Jan 1, 2006
5,292
Slickcraft 26 Greenport, NY
If A4, the needle valve can stick or not seat and if the gas tank is above the carb it can leak out as has been said above. I had the problem of stalling and it wasn't finally solved until I removed the gas tank and had it cleaned out at a radiator place. Test the tank debris theory by hooking up a temporary fuel tank - a few gallon outboard gas tank - and use fresh gas.