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Go Back   SailNet Community > On Board > Gear & Maintenance > Engines > Gas > Atomic 4
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  #1  
Old 11-29-2008
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Replacement - Heresy?

Ok, I have owned the same Pearson 10M with an A-4 since 1975 (thats 33 years with same boat), and while the A-4 is still chugging along, thinking about a diesel replacement. Looked at new at the Boat Show, and it seemed that it was 12k minimum to replace with a Beta Marine replacement. Since this is probably 50% to 75% of the value of the boat it doesn't make sense. Does anyone have advice about how to do this if I would like to keep the boat (it really is like one of the kids).
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Old 11-30-2008
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If you're planning on keeping the boat... bite the bullet and spring for the A4 drop-in replacement diesel that Beta makes. If you're planning on keeping the boat, don't bother, since you'll never re-coup the cost selling it.
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Old 11-30-2008
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mgraham49 View Post
... while the A-4 is still chugging along, thinking about a diesel replacement ...
Why? Can you summarize the rationale?
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I admit it may be crazy. But it is really the reverse, I don't plan to get rid of the boat after 33 years. But about every 8 to 10 years, I do as complete a refit as i can. This year was new stove (Origio - boat didn't come with propane), moving forward bulkhead and having a 30 gallon holding tank fabricated, last year it was mermaid reverse cycle heat and air. Next is an autopilot (tiller steered) and perhaps the self tailing converstion for my Barient 28s. But I have this feeling that the boat is virtually not resellable for any price with the A-4. And I suppose I am thinking about if the A-4 dies (as they all do eventually), do I continue to have Don Moyer as my best friend, (I don't really know him, but I swear they have my address memorized), or do I bite the bullet.

Plus the Pearson tends to be badly underpowered with an A-4. Will do 5+ knots in no wind and smooth seas, but don't plan on motoring against 20 knots of wind. Maybe the diesel would be just the same.
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Old 11-30-2008
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My only experience with that engine was on a chartered C&C 27. While it always started it certainly seemed feeble, even on a 27 footer. Only thing I liked about it was the quiet vibration free operation. If you got 12 grand... And you are going to keep the boat... And you plan on refitting everything anyway... May as well do it. Think not only about your engine, but the drive line too. Cutlass bearing, prop shaft, engine controls, propeller. All that stuff is wearing away... That A-4 and it's associated friends are going to nickle and dime you forever. Might as well spend the money on an entirely new package and be done with it.
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Old 11-30-2008
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I think the A4 makes 30 hp at 3,000 RPM.

If it won't push your boat over 5 knots, then something else is wrong, for example a mis-matched propeller.

You're likely to see significantly LESS horsepower on a diesel drop-in for the A4.

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Quote:
Originally Posted by mgraham49 View Post
But I have this feeling that the boat is virtually not resellable for any price with the A-4.
What leads you to believe that? Personally, I would rather have the A4 than a diesel. And, btw, had we been able to afford it and one was nearby, a 10M is what we'd have right now.

Quote:
Originally Posted by mgraham49 View Post
And I suppose I am thinking about if the A-4 dies (as they all do eventually), do I continue to have Don Moyer as my best friend, (I don't really know him, but I swear they have my address memorized), or do I bite the bullet.
If our A4 dies, it's getting replaced with a rebuilt A4 from Don. Changing to diesel never even entered my mind.

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Originally Posted by mgraham49 View Post
Plus the Pearson tends to be badly underpowered with an A-4. Will do 5+ knots in no wind and smooth seas, ...
Is that typical for an A4-powered 10M? We get 6.5 kts plus on smooth water in calm air on our P30 with the original 2-blade fixed prop. We got close to that under similar conditions with the Martec folding prop. Under more typical conditions, some chop/waves, wind on the nose or from some forward quarter, we get "around" 6 kts w/o pushing the A4 hard. You're 3' longer, 1.5' wider, 4k lbs heavier and have about 1' more draft.

Jim
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Old 11-30-2008
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If it works, I would leave it alone.
If your gasoline vapour safety is good, and it starts, and moves the ship reasonably, I would leave it.
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Old 11-30-2008
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A4 bomb

I've surveyed dozens of boat with A4's and don't understand why they have not all blown up ! Every one I have seen has at least 2 or 3 of the following issues.

1.) Improperly installed engine compartment ventilation systems (per ABYC).
2.) Engine compartment not vapour proof to the accomodation spaces.
3.) Non-ignition proof battery (auto type)chargers in the fuel/engine
compartment.
4.) AC outlets in the fuel/engine compartment.
5.) Ungrounded fuel fill/tank.

Actual selling price of a diesel vs. gas in this category is usually 2-4k more.

Ahhhh ! diesel fumes ....mothers milk
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Old 11-30-2008
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Quote:
Originally Posted by boatpoker View Post
I've surveyed dozens of boat with A4's and don't understand why they have not all blown up ! Every one I have seen has at least 2 or 3 of the following issues.

1.) Improperly installed engine compartment ventilation systems (per ABYC).
2.) Engine compartment not vapour proof to the accomodation spaces.
3.) Non-ignition proof battery (auto type)chargers in the fuel/engine
compartment.
4.) AC outlets in the fuel/engine compartment.
5.) Ungrounded fuel fill/tank.

Actual selling price of a diesel vs. gas in this category is usually 2-4k more.

Ahhhh ! diesel fumes ....mothers milk
How many diesel boats with a propane system had similar faults? Engine compartment vapor proof? I'd like to see that on any small boat!
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