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  #26   IP: 76.7.117.24
Old 07-11-2008, 10:26 AM
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Marian Claire Marian Claire is offline
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Rebuild ?s

I just finished my rebuild so thought I would jump in with some info. I bought new pistons .010 over, rings, valves, valve springs, keepers, main bearings .010, rod bearings .010, cam bearings, wrist pin bushings, gasket set, and manual. The machine shop cleaned, surfaced, bored and honed the block, ground the crank, surfaced the head, reface seats and lifters and recondition rods. Also had them balance the crank assembly. Due to my intended use I chose to error on the safe side.
All the disassembly and reassembly I did myself. I had a mechanic friend who showed me some tricks, ring installation, proper torque technique, etc. Also used the forum and Don on the tech line.
Enjoyed the whole experience. Some advice.

1 Learn the language. I made mistakes in ordering and with the machine shop due to my lack of vocabulary.

2 Clean Clean Clean Even after cooking the head, block and manifold I pressure washed, use a washer with HOT water, cooking only does so much.

3 The manual is great. Go slow and reread.

I pulled the gas tank while the engine was out and cleaned it but that’s another story.
Dan
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  #27   IP: 192.35.35.35
Old 07-11-2008, 10:28 AM
LarryBud LarryBud is offline
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Advice worth the price

We just bought a 1974 Ericson 35-2 after going through the standard years of thinking and dreaming, months of looking at boats, and months of asking experienced sailors for advice on what to avoid in buying a used boat. I have to admit I was looking for a diesel, and that was based on all the free advice from all sources, but we still ended up with an Atomic 4 because I liked the boat so much.

After reading this forum I have to wonder where all the advisors are getting their intelligence. I've spent many hours on a friend's Seidleman 37 and when that diesel starts up it is very noisy, and smelly. What a difference with my Atomic 4; and mine is in the middle of the cabin. In my younger days I never took my car to a mechanic for repairs - did them myself. Now days the car is way to complicated, but that Atomic 4 sure looks a lot like that flat head in a 1949 Ford.

Through dumb luck, I think I ended up with the best engine for my needs and my boat. I wish I had seen this thread before I when shopping, would have saved me some anxiety. Next time I have a friend shopping for a sailboat I'll send them to this forum.
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  #28   IP: 24.130.65.124
Old 02-28-2009, 04:01 PM
tony s. tony s. is offline
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Propane?

Sorry Folks,

This is a little off topic.

I am sure that there is a reason why I haven't heard anything about converting A-4s from gasoline to propane burning but can someone fill me in?

Thanks,

Tony s.
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  #29   IP: 75.164.166.187
Old 08-26-2009, 03:17 AM
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gas / diesel

Hey guys,
thanks for all the replies. I have a 1976 Pearson 35 with an A4. At 750 hrs on the rebuild, I'm thinking this is a mid time engine, so I'm going through the gas vs diesel repower mental exercise. From what I'm reading on this thread, its thumbs up on staying with the A4 and performing whatever major maintenance is needed, if any. It will sure save me a lot of money staying with the A4.

BTW, for serious blue water crusing, whats the problem with gas, other than storing a suficient quantity between ports of call? From what I've read I can't find any. Anyone want to chime in with their two cents worth?

Regarding the safety of gas vs diesel, well I'm more concerned about propane fuel used in cooking than gasoline used in vessel propulsion. Saftey records seem to bear this conclusion out.

Jeff
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  #30   IP: 75.164.166.187
Old 08-26-2009, 03:29 AM
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Propane conversion

Quote:
Originally Posted by tony s. View Post
Sorry Folks,

This is a little off topic.

I am sure that there is a reason why I haven't heard anything about converting A-4s from gasoline to propane burning but can someone fill me in?

Thanks,

Tony s.
Tony, I'll answer your question with an honest question I have. Why would you want to convert from gasoline to propane in light of the following statements?

Propane has less BTU's per unit of measure (91,500 vs 115,000 per gallon).

Propane has more safety concerns, requiring more techno gizmo's for monitoring, thus adding more points of possible failure than gasoline.

Finally, Propane can cheat on the ultimate safety test of all, the sniff test, using our standard issue olfactory organ -- the nose!

Jeff.
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  #31   IP: 206.40.166.218
Old 08-26-2009, 04:23 PM
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Jeff,

Quote:
Originally Posted by jeffgerritsen View Post
I have a 1976 Pearson 35 with an A4. At 750 hrs on the rebuild, I'm thinking this is a mid time engine, so I'm going through the gas vs diesel repower mental exercise. From what I'm reading on this thread, its thumbs up on staying with the A4 and performing whatever major maintenance is needed, if any. It will sure save me a lot of money staying with the A4.
We have a 1969 Pearson 35 with an A4 said to be from 1980 rebuilt in the 1990's with probably more hours on it than yours, although the POs' documentation lacks specifics. The problems you and I face with our boats being powered by A4's are two, value and power.

As to value, the market prefers diesel and when we bought last year we were able to take advantage of that by paying a low purchase price. I figure the cost to go to diesel, were I so inclined, would probably be roughly the same as whatever increase in value we might experience on resale. We aren't selling any time soon, so I'm content to keep the A4 and spend my boat bucks elsewhere.

As to power, our P35s are probably the most boat the A4 can be expected to push. I'm trying to find ways to increase RPM to get into the A4's real power band which is definitely above the 1500 to 1700 RPM I'm able to reach now. We did quite well downeast this year with the OEM two blade, but I'd feel more comfortable at some higher RPM. To start, I'm going to install an Indigo next spring. What prop do you use?

Mark S
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  #32   IP: 75.164.166.187
Old 08-26-2009, 08:42 PM
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Mark,
as to the power / value discussion my experience mirror's yours and thanks for your input on that issue.

Regarding props, yea, 1500 - 1700 is pretty low in the power band. I have the CDI prop and RPM's top out at 1950 - just getting into the usable range of the HP / torque powerband. The opinion and observations I've seen, point to using the Indigo prop as the preferred option.

I've noticed the need to repack the rudder post and stuffing box. When the boat is hauled out for those, I'm planning on installing the Indigo prop. Reports indicate max rpm in the 2200 - 2400 range - just where you'll need to be to get the most out of the A4.

We might find at 2200 - 2400 rpm the A4 is well suited for the P-35 application. A bounus we didn't originally expect - I hope!

Jeff

Quote:
Originally Posted by Mark S View Post
Jeff,

We have a 1969 Pearson 35 with an A4 said to be from 1980 rebuilt in the 1990's with probably more hours on it than yours, although the POs' documentation lacks specifics. The problems you and I face with our boats being powered by A4's are two, value and power.

As to value, the market prefers diesel and when we bought last year we were able to take advantage of that by paying a low purchase price. I figure the cost to go to diesel, were I so inclined, would probably be roughly the same as whatever increase in value we might experience on resale. We aren't selling any time soon, so I'm content to keep the A4 and spend my boat bucks elsewhere.

As to power, our P35s are probably the most boat the A4 can be expected to push. I'm trying to find ways to increase RPM to get into the A4's real power band which is definitely above the 1500 to 1700 RPM I'm able to reach now. We did quite well downeast this year with the OEM two blade, but I'd feel more comfortable at some higher RPM. To start, I'm going to install an Indigo next spring. What prop do you use?

Mark S
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  #33   IP: 64.231.100.246
Old 08-28-2009, 02:45 AM
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67c&ccorv 67c&ccorv is offline
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I drive diesals for a living...4,400HP diesal locomotives that is, but when it comes to my 1967 C&C Corvette sailboat with the original early model A-4 I will stick with gasoline.
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  #34   IP: 66.8.210.168
Old 09-26-2009, 08:30 PM
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I own a 1969 Cal 2-30 with an Atomic 4 which has been in the vessel for 40 years now with very few problems. I had to switch to premium gas but the extra cost is not a problem. This engine was overhauled once in 1979 by the previous owner. It runs OK but rust around the right engine mounts and oil leaking from the thrust bearing are concerns. A local repairman wants to replace it with a diesel but I am not convinced it is the right choice after reading other user inputs. I will check with Don Moyer. Since I am in Hawaii it is not as easy to get things done. Extra shipping costs installation etc.
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  #35   IP: 64.231.125.40
Old 09-27-2009, 02:25 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hgriff25 View Post
I own a 1969 Cal 2-30 with an Atomic 4 which has been in the vessel for 40 years now with very few problems. I had to switch to premium gas but the extra cost is not a problem...
Ok, I'll bite...why is it neccessary for you to use premium fuel in a gasoline powered motor that has a 6.35 to 1 compression ratio?
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  #36   IP: 98.115.33.238
Old 03-19-2010, 10:18 PM
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Talking You couldn't payme enough to own a diesel

You can hear them coming and smell them going...Diesels have higher torque at low RPM than gasoline engines of equal size, they seem to get better fuel economy while they are running. They are completely different animal from gasoline engines because they require very high compression to burn fuel. (A diesel engine operates more like a compressor in that heat of compression ignites the fuel.) That means high potential for breakdown. The worst part is that "we" have been mis-directed to think to the engine as the imortant part of a diesel engine when actually the fuel pump is the major head ache (and expense).

Have you noticed how many small shops exist only to repair diesel fuel pumps? That is because this expensive little gem has to operate at an even higher pressure than the already extreme pressure in the cylinder to inject fuel in there to burn!

Want to rebuild your own diesel fuel pump? Good Luck! Pay $20 for a gasoline pump and compare. Rebuild your carbeurator with a $20 kit. Change spark plugs for 75 cents. Gasoline Fumes? Rebuid the above parts and use common sense in maintenance and simply use your exhuast fan as on every boat.

So, save a few bucks on fuel consumption? Diesel costs more per gallon. Then after a few short years of messing with critters in the fuel and spend $1000 bucks to replace / Rebuild fuel pump, engine.... No way. Give me a 30 year old A 4 in any case. If I were to purchase a new 50 footer I would want an A4 change out and sell the diesle to someone who is too lazy to think it out.
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  #37   IP: 24.224.206.117
Old 10-15-2010, 07:36 PM
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Wink

Well, I like my diesels. My truck and car are both diesel. My boat has an atomic 4 in it and I have my spare in my garage. No matter what you have it has to be looked after. I have towed home 3 diesel powered boats this year due to fuel problems and 1 that had water back up and damage the valves (yanmar) Catalina 30. Had a fuel problem myself but the engine didn't quit...I didn't have all my horsies, but a few stayed up and running and we made it to our destination.

The biggest problem that I see with diesels is that most underpower their boat. I can walk away from most of them as soon a chop or wind comes up. Not because the diesels are bad....they put 20 hp in a boat that need 40 hp. This happens fequently.

I know enough about engines to be comfrotable with my Atomic 4 and if I had to take her out in a bit of weather tonight to get one of the boys I know those horsies will get up and at it. That's TRUST!
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  #38   IP: 71.168.64.154
Old 10-16-2010, 09:09 AM
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It may well be true that they under power Diesel boats, but my understanding
is that a lesser horsepower diesel is supposed to be the equivalent of
a larger horsepower gasoline engine. Something to do with the stroke etc. Perhaps some of engine experts here can add more to this.


Regards

Art
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  #39   IP: 71.90.49.175
Old 10-16-2010, 09:20 AM
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"Some of the sailors mentioned that the Atomic 4 was not a good engine."

Good thing that we are connected only by the internet rather than standing together in a bar...!
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  #40   IP: 173.166.26.241
Old 10-16-2010, 09:44 AM
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No shake, rattle, or roll

Destiny came with a tired early A4 and I got a lot of free advice about "drop-in" diesel conversions. But driving the Crosby launches around and listening to the deck hatches coupled with advice from other wooden boat owners put me off the idea. I don't know if it's really true but they claimed a diesel can shake fasteners loose and might have to have soft engine mounts which can complicate drive line alignment. Besides, I was already a gasoline engine mechanic. What really nailed it for me was helping the distraught captains of million dollar yachts standing off Edgartown harbor ferry jug after jug of useless diesel ashore so they could pay someone to dispose of it.
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  #41   IP: 71.168.64.154
Old 10-16-2010, 09:45 AM
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Hanley
Just curious, where is your home port?

Art
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  #42   IP: 173.166.26.241
Old 10-16-2010, 09:48 AM
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Edgartown, Martha's Vineyard
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  #43   IP: 71.168.64.154
Old 10-16-2010, 09:57 AM
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Hanley

I used to keep my boat in Mattapoisett. I loved going to MV and anchoring
in Katama Bay, aside from the occasional idiot, power and sail included,
who anchored poorly in the entrance and dragged anchor, it was a
great place. Then the "environmentalists " got the town to permanently
close anchoring in there due to potential pollution, even though a pump
out boat patrolled and was used by nearly everyone. Since then,
you have to either pay several months ahead whether you actually use a downtown
mooring or not.( If you don't show, they leave it vacant.)

That leaves only mooring and anchoring outside the harbor with the
heavy chop from Vineyard sound and steamships heading for "amity".

Don't know if this policy has changed a little, I would hope so. It was
my favorite destination. I am sure people wouldn't have minded paying
a landing fee to support the services.

Regards

Art
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  #44   IP: 24.224.206.117
Old 10-16-2010, 10:39 AM
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Most people like what they have, because that is what they know. Diesels are larger in comparison to their gas counter part. Some boats that require a 30hp don't have the room to install it without ripping the boat apart. They settle for the smaller engine...and my atomic 4 will keep up with a 15-20hp diesel no problem...when it gets rough I punch through...they don't. I know this because my friends (2) have diesels in C&C 30's also. They all scoffed at the A4 initially. After a few cruises, and a couple of tows, these guy are are pretty quiet about how good their diesels are.
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  #45   IP: 142.68.251.70
Old 10-16-2010, 06:11 PM
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Sold on the Atomic 4 gas engine.

Always thought I had to have diesel in a sailboat, and always associated diesel odour in boats with "the sea", but our latest boat came with an A4 three years ago, and I'm a convert now, at least for our day trip/coastal cruising lifestyle. Clean, reliable, simple, cheap, safe (if kept shipshape).
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  #46   IP: 24.224.206.117
Old 10-16-2010, 07:43 PM
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Rigspelt;

Mine has run well also. 1925 nautical miles on Odyssey this season, over 1800 of those solo. I love to leave Halifax Hbr in the morning and head out on the Atlantic. Occassionally wind comes out of the NW and I have to fire up the engine and motor back in through Eastern Passage to bring her home. 35 knts steady on the nose through the passage a couple of weeks ago. 3 blade non folding prop and the atomic 4 did fine. There are boats that don't have enough power to get safely out of their slips and away from the marina in a modest blow. Odyssey is not one of them.
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  #47   IP: 206.125.176.3
Old 10-18-2010, 12:33 PM
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Thumbs up

Maurice, 1925 miles! Wow, I am envious of the time you make available to spend on your vessel.

The only cruise we've managed out into the Chesapeake this year was to Oxford (boat on the hard too much due to other issues this year ) ...we left Solomons at 1730 local time on a Friday evening and it was snotty and blowing out of the East about 15-20. We had no problem punching thru the waves out of the Patuxent. We saw only one other sailboat and one tug & one ship during our evening trip. Talk about needing to rely on your equipment with no one around to help you!

We made it fine...As dusk approached and we are screaming across the Bay, I started checking out the lights I'd need later on (knew running lights were good.) The only problem was my brand new steaming light didn't work..a trip up the stick revealed the (new!) bulb was no good...so I figured if the Coast Guard/Natural Resources Police/etc. wanted to pull me over as we quietly motored into Oxford harbor at 2330, they were welcome to!

I haven't been out on the Bay in a long time with that few boats around...but the conditions weren't exactly 'champagne sailing' either.
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"Twice Around" - '77 Catalina 30, #511 with original A-4 & MMI manifold - for sale - PM me if interested
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Last edited by sastanley; 10-18-2010 at 12:40 PM.
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  #48   IP: 65.95.51.216
Old 03-09-2011, 04:39 PM
big bob big bob is offline
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My Canadian Northern 35 was built in 1961 and came equiped with an A4 engine. In the 30 years I have owned the boat I have had no problems that wern't easily solved.

I only had one boat with a deisel engine, I hated the shake, rattle and stink of the thing and was glad to see the boat go over the horzion with its new owner.

Have been around A4s for over 40 years and still prefer them over deisel. Beofre messing around in boats I messed around with British cars, I find the
A4 simple to operate and maintain compared to those quirkie engines.
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  #49   IP: 71.118.13.238
Old 03-09-2011, 07:32 PM
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Smile Problems??

I bought my boat 26 years ago and got a great deal because the A-4 was shot and frozen to boot. I saved enough money on the boat to pay for a diesel but since I needed to move it down the coast I decided to see if I could get her broke loose and running enough to get her south. Well that was 26 years ago and the same A-4 is still running. It has not left me stranded once. My lil beastie ticks a bit and uses a bit of oil but it has been in the boat now for 41 years and the only real work was done when I bought it. I removed the head and repleced one exhaust valve and did a valve job. I have implemented most of the upgrades and as I say, "I have never had a problem that left me stuck at the Island or the dock".

Dave Neptune
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  #50   IP: 68.173.38.216
Old 03-09-2011, 10:32 PM
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Lucas, the King of Darkness

Quote:
Originally Posted by big bob View Post
...snip...
Have been around A4s for over 40 years and still prefer them over deisel. Beofre messing around in boats I messed around with British cars, I find the
A4 simple to operate and maintain compared to those quirkie engines.
big bob,
Welcome to the MM forums. If you messed around with British cars you might (or might not) appreciate this link: http://www.mez.co.uk/lucas.html
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