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Old 08-27-2014
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Husband fell in love with an 1978 Ericson Mark II 35.5

Oh, boy. We are new sailors, just learning, and at first we wanted a Pearson Ensign, but they are not too easy to find. Then we rented a boat for a night, just hanging out in the bay, and it was heaven!! We loved it, and are wanting to get a boat big enough to spend a weekend on. What complicates this is that my husband is 6ft 7 in, so the Catalina 22s we thought we might buy when we started our search are way too small for him. Just me, they would be great, but this guy needs a bigger boat.

I also liked this Ericson, it is gorgeous and in good shape, but it has a gas engine in it, and I have read many people saying NEVER get a gas engine. The engine is supposed to be good, it's an Atomic, but still...I have heard too much advice against the engine. The price seems reasonable for the boat, it is in good shape, the sails are practically brand new, everything is good except for that gas engine.

Do any of you have experience with this boat, and/or a gas engine? Any information would be greatly appreciated. Thank you!!
Nancy


http://www.yachtworld.com/core/listi...0&photo=0&url=


The other boat we liked is a 1974 34 foot Tartan.
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Last edited by Nancyleeny; 08-27-2014 at 06:22 AM.
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Old 08-27-2014
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Re: Husband fell in love with an 1978 Ericson Mark II 35.5

Here's the thing. People use gas engines all the time, you just have to be (very) careful. If you like the boat, the fact that it is not diesel should not be a deal stopper. What is a deal stopper is THE Condition of the Boat! If you are new to owning this type of boat, you need to get expert advice. Look the boat over with a very critical eye. Keep lists of what needs to be done, and an estimate of the time and price involved. Get a professional mechanic to look over the engine with great attention. If you are still serious, have a professional surveyer look at it to nail down what needs to be fixed. Old boats can be money (and time) pits. They can also be absolutly great. The Erickson is a fine boat, and if it passes your tests, it might be a great boat for you.
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Re: Husband fell in love with an 1978 Ericson Mark II 35.5

Hi Scotty,
Thanks for the great advice. We had planned on getting a marine survey, but not the mechanic. Since we are such newbies, we will definitely do that. The asking price is in the low 20s, it seems very clean and cared for, but what do I know?? Nothing. So thank you.
Nancy
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Re: Husband fell in love with an 1978 Ericson Mark II 35.5

The atomic 4 is a fantastic engine. Very reliable and easy to work on. They are also very common so it isn't too hard to find someone to work on it if you aren't handy yourself. I have an Ericson E32 and love it. I bought this boat to flip but ended up falling in love and have no plans on getting rid of it any time soon. My boat hadn't seen water in over 14 years when I bought it and I was very concerned about the engine. It had old gas in and the carb was a mess gummed up. After putting fresh gas in and cleaning out the carb it fired right up and needed very little additional work. It purrs like a kitten, not bad for a 43 year old engine!! I do not see any evidence that the motor has been rebuilt in any way so as far as I can tell it is all original. Parts are very cheap and can be found all over. Check out the links below for more info.


Moyer Marine Atomic 4 Engine Rebuilding and Parts
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Last edited by krazzz; 08-27-2014 at 03:43 AM.
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Re: Husband fell in love with an 1978 Ericson Mark II 35.5

Love is fun! I sail every week with gas in my boat, no choice with an outboard. If gas was an auto fail then lots of boats wouldn't be out there making people happy. Now having said that...

THIS THREAD IS WORTHLESS WITHOUT PICS
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Re: Husband fell in love with an 1978 Ericson Mark II 35.5

Thank you all for your advice! Here's my Neurotic Nancy question.

With our SeaRay, we have to put the blower on for a few minutes before firing up the engine and I understand this is the same. That takes a few minutes. Is there ever a situation when sailing that a few minute delay in getting the engine on would be very dangerous? Like, do you ever have to get that engine on ASAP?

Thanks for all of your generous advice,
Best,
Nancy
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Old 08-27-2014
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Re: Husband fell in love with an 1978 Ericson Mark II 35.5

Sigh.

If you have developed a prejudice against gasoline engines or the Atomic-4, I'll never change your mind, but since you asked...

1. Yes, running the blower for a couple of minutes prior to use is normal, and the same as done on your SeaRay.

2. Usually, Atomic-powered boats have a vent facing forward and another facing aft. One forces air in, and the other draws air out while the boat is moving (even under sail). For this reason, you are often safe to start the engine with only a short moment on the blower in an emergency situation.

3. If your fuel system is tight, with no leaks, and the tank is vented outside of the engine space, there should never be combustible fumes in the engine compartment. The blower is a "just in case" preventative measure.

I have nothing against diesel engines. If my boat had been equipped with a diesel engine, I'd be just fine with that but it wasn't. It has an Atomic-4, so I studied the engine with an open mind before trashing it.

My A-4 starts immediately whenever called upon to do so. It idles and runs under load perfectly. It consumes .7 gallons per hour at 1/2 throttle, where a similar diesel will consume .5 gallons per hour. It's not as efficient as a diesel, but that's not a big enough difference to warrant a re-power. I'm on my third year with this boat and engine.

In summary:
If the Ericson's Atomic-4 is healthy and running smoothly, enjoy the boat and leave the engine the hell alone. If the engine has problems such as low compression or steam in the exhaust, walk away or re-power with a Beta diesel, if you really love the boat.

Don't do a re-power just for the sake of doing a re-power, and don't be afraid of the Atomic-4 just because it's a gasoline engine. They are strongly supported with advice, service and parts.
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Re: Husband fell in love with an 1978 Ericson Mark II 35.5

I have never had a situation where I needed the motor running ASAP. The issue with the exploding gas is really over-hyped and a lot of people have an irrational fear of gas. Yes, it does happen and it always makes the news when it does because exploding boats is headline news but it isn't as common as some people would like you to believe. Millions of gas boats are started every day without exploding. If you factor in all of the fishing an pleasure boats the number of gas far exceeds the number of diesels (at least here on the Great Lakes.) In my home port it is easily 5 gas to one diesel. You just have to take normal precautions and be strict with your maintenance. Keep your fuel lines up to date, make sure there are no gas leaks around your carb or filters, be careful when fueling, etc. My engine compartment also has passive vent so it always has some airflow (especially while sailing) and it is never sealed up tight. If you are overly concerned you can get a fuel vapor detector for about $150. If you had to fire up the motor right away in a MOB or similar emergency I would not hesitate to do it without first running the blower but I am also confident that my fuel system is in perfect working order and I inspect it often. You really don't have anything to worry about.
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Re: Husband fell in love with an 1978 Ericson Mark II 35.5

I see Bubblehead beat me to it while I was typing my post. I agree with everything that was said in their post.
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Re: Husband fell in love with an 1978 Ericson Mark II 35.5

that atomic 4 looks to be in nice shape...x2 on bh advice

for info and parts moyer marine...they also have a huge following and advice and info can always be had...not the same can be said for many old unsupprted diesels.

dont get sucked into the hearsay fear game...

ps. they are smooth as heck, clean and very quiet compared to a rattly old diesel

just so you know

per that 1 pic I can tell you that the heat exhchanger hasnt suffered a common issue which is a hot spot right at the circle in front...this happens when the internal passages are clogged...the wiring and alternator look well installed and the carb intake is nice and clean with the hose correctly installed over it...

there is an interesting wire to the flywheel but I BETCHA its a nice new tachometer that read off the flywheel

looks good

decent compression should be hovering around 110psi...with 5psi diff max between cylinders...my old atomic had 100 all round with number 3 I belive at a slightly low 95...

however these engines can run as low as 60 and still be fine...

anywhoo
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Last edited by christian.hess; 08-27-2014 at 11:32 AM.
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