Join Date: Nov 2009
Thanked 126 Times in 114 Posts
Rep Power: 8
Re: Husband fell in love with an 1978 Ericson Mark II 35.5
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.
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.
Alacrity, 1981 Tartan 33 #168