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Go Back   SailNet Community > On Board > Gear & Maintenance > Engines > Gas > Atomic 4
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Old 06-17-2013
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Becoming a Fan of the A-4!

Not really a question, more of a rave on the Atomic 4. We splashed the boat the week before last, and had to motor up the ICW for three and a half hours before going under sail alone. I was really nervous, because it started to run hot.
I went down this past weekend to work on it. Long story short, the thermostat was just STUCK, and thanks to my complete inability to get the housing off, I ended up trying to lightly tap it off with a hammer. IT WOULD NOT COME OFF, so I gave up and tried a test run anyway. I must have freed it up by tapping on the housing, because it ran at 180 degrees and no higher. And with no loss of coolant or oil!
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Old 06-17-2013
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Re: Becoming a Fan of the A-4!

Does this have a fresh water cooling system? Most A4s are raw water cooled. If raw water cooled, 180F is much too high - 140F is normal. And in either case you need to get that thermostat cover loose since at some point it will have to be changed.

Good luck with the boat and the A4. It's a solid and reliable engine if maintained with lots of support still available.
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Old 06-17-2013
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Re: Becoming a Fan of the A-4!

Thanks. It is fresh water cooled. Someone along the line took really good care of it. 1050 hours, 36 years old.
Definitely going to get that cover off. Can't wait to check the compression!
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Old 06-17-2013
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Re: Becoming a Fan of the A-4!

Yep. Our A4 is 45 years old with unknown engine hours. Still runs nicely but does not like being ignored.
PB Blaster is your friend and will help loosen up that thermostat housing.
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Old 06-17-2013
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Re: Becoming a Fan of the A-4!

When you do replace that thermostat replace it with a fail-safe type.
When a fail-safe thermostat fails it will fail in the open position and you will not bake your engine.
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Old 06-17-2013
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43 years and still tickin

Just added electronic ignition. After 43 years a little slow to start but once going purrs right along. Looks like PO cracked the exhaust manifold and JB welded it but I painted over it and the A4 doesn't care... As long as he looks good! Change the oil, take care winterizing and talk nice. He'll last a long time
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Old 06-18-2013
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Re: Becoming a Fan of the A-4!

Great tips, thanks again.
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Old 06-18-2013
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Re: Becoming a Fan of the A-4!

Despite the 'poor marketability' of the venerable A-4, there are 10s of thousands of them out there, they are quite, powerful and smooth. Once you solve the cooling issues (FWC is a bonus) I think they are a good engine for the sailboat application - technically probably better than any diesel as far as the workload/duty cycle figures into things.
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