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dickybrewer5 07-11-2010 02:15 PM

replacing universal atomic in '82 O'day
Hi everyone, I'm new here and hope this is a good place for this post. I have a nice 1982 O'Day center cockpit sloop with a seized motor. It is the original Universal Atomic 4 cylinder, 32 HP, Diesel motor. I found a re-manufactured motor from a supplier who says the replacement is the same footprint. My problem is I can't figure out how O'Day intended for these motors to be removed/replaced??? The obvious way would be for the floor of the cockpit to be removable, but it isn't. It looks like I would have to remove allot of the kitchen area to get the motor to come out through the main cabin and that seems really difficult if not impossible. I talked to another sailor who told me that he knows people who get a good fiberglass pro to cut out the floor of the cockpit and then remount it after the motor work is done - this seems like a good idea if I would not hurt the integrity of the monohull. I am looking into these ideas, but wondered if anyone could offer me information on what the proper procedure is? I appreciate any info and wish you all happy sailing, thanks, Rick

seaspot 07-11-2010 03:06 PM

Well, first off, the Atomic 4 is a gasoline engine not a diesel. But I have to ask, have you though about rebuilding it instead of replacing it?

The A4 is an incredibly reliable engine, easy to work on, parts are still available (, low fuel consumption, quiet, etc.

But getting to your question on how to remove it. If you can get someone to cut out an opening and then redo it, that would probably be you easiest option, although probably not your cheapest.

My friend has a S2 center cockpit with an A4 in it and we removed it by taking the engine apart where it sat and took it out piece by piece. After we got it down to just the block, we used a couple rachet straps to attatch two lengths of pipe on top of the block, and mahandled it through the opening in the cabinates.

dickybrewer5 07-11-2010 03:24 PM

Thanks so much for the reply. I guess quite a few of the A-4 motors were gas, but the fuel cap says diesel only and the owners manual says it is a "Universal model 5432, Atomic 32 HP diesel 4 cylinder". I found a place in Wisconsin that sells re-manufactured motors - the guy says he has one with the same footprint and the cost is $4500, with a discount if I bring the core. When I told him I planned to remove the motor piece by piece and install the new motor that way, he told me that would be a bad idea - upon thinking about it I realize he is right - should not be removing the head from a good new motor (re-manufactured) that has already been tested. In any case I appreciate your reply and I'm considering all options. I wonder what O'day's replacement plan was and how an intact motor could possibly go in there? I will look into the idea of rebuilding it, it was a great motor until it seized while I was motoring. I don't know whats wrong with it yet, but pulling it out piece by piece would tell me that. The motor had plenty of oil, cooling water was working normally, all seemed fine while I was motoring but when it seized it sounded ugly. Thanks again for your reply, happy sailing, Rick

seaspot 07-11-2010 03:37 PM

Wow, you have one of the diesels! Cool beans!

Honestly, they probably never had a "plan" to remove the motor, LOL. Just stuck it in there and built around it.

I guess, you'd have to weigh the options of cutting up the floor or taking apart the cabinets.

I don't think the integrity would be compromised if you cut the flooring out, as long as the guy that reinstalls it knows what he's doing. Plus, you could have him install some reinforcing to make sure.

I'd probably vote for the cutting the floor option. That way you can just lift the motor straight out and call it a day.

SEMIJim 07-11-2010 03:43 PM

I've often wondered about this in relation to our '76 Pearson P30. It seems that the A4 (gasoline version, in our case) can actually fit thru the space where the companionway steps are removed if the alternator and all the other stuff hanging off the engine are first removed.

I hope I never have to find out!


deniseO30 07-11-2010 03:44 PM

Surely you know if your engine is diesel or gas, no? Oday used universal diesels and they were called "atomic" diesels back then, it's a kubota based engine and westerbeake is basically the same engine.

Pictures would help show others how the engine is placed, I've never been inside a Oday center cockpit so I don't know. Now may be the time to set back and think before rushing into tearing things apart.

$4500? get references!

Cockpit floors are commonly cut out and reinstalled to be removable you would need support and water proof gasketing around the perimeter for sure. I've a friend that did it to his endeavor

dickybrewer5 07-11-2010 03:56 PM

Seaspot, rebuilding seems like a great idea. I've come to the conclusion that I should take out the present motor piece by piece and see whats wrong with it.... if it can be rebuilt, then re-installing it piece by piece would be possible and I'd never have the expense and concern of cutting into a perfectly good monohull body. I've just begun to get serious about doing something about this, so I'm looking for any info/tips people can give me. I've done allot of wrenching, but never on a sailboat diesel motor. Thanks very much for your reply's and happy sailing, Rick

dickybrewer5 07-11-2010 04:08 PM

Denise 030, Yes, it is a diesel, most were gas I think but mine is definitely a diesel. Actually, Westerbeake now sells the replacement motors, I called the dealer in Portland and they wanted over $11,000 for a new one! I have been surprised to find that these replacement motors are so expensive, so $4500 with a core credit seemed allot better. I've also been told to look into buying a Kubota motor as a replacement - one sailor told me you can buy them "marine-ized" . Anyway, thanks for the reply and best wishes, Rick

wheelhouse 07-12-2010 06:42 AM


Originally Posted by dickybrewer5 (Post 621461)
I've come to the conclusion that I should take out the present motor piece by piece and see whats wrong with it.... if it can be rebuilt, then re-installing it piece by piece would be possible and I'd never have the expense and concern

That piece-by-piece approach is not gonna work too well. One of the aspects of diesel engines is that they work off of higher pressures than gas, and require close tolerances and specialized tools to achieve them.

I too would be reluctant to cut thru the hull or deck, but some quick research suggests that at least some center cockpit boats are built with a removable the deck. It would not be uncommon to have to disassemble/remove all the boat furniture or steering or something else prior to hauling the engine.

best of luck,

deniseO30 07-12-2010 08:00 AM

rick where is the engine located actually? Pictures would be big help you know.

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