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  #41  
Old 03-05-2012
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Re: Which engines would you think twice about

I also love my Atomic 4 but I'm not sure I'd suggest it for everyone. Heck, I'd probably enjoy having an old Palmer with the visible flywheel too. Old engines are easier to work on - and that is the key. These older gasoline engines are good for folks who don't mind getting some dirt in their fingernails (DIY) and who may think they know something about spark ignition gas engines or car engines. There is a certain amount of confidence that comes from knowing you can tweak your own engine while underway if it is needed as well.
There are very few good Atomic 4 mechanics as far as I know so it is somewhat incumbent on the owner of one to do most (or all) of their engine work themselves. I have learned a lot about both gas and diesel engine installations in the process of learning about my Atomic 4. Neither type of engine scares me now and I never took 'Auto Shop' in high school - kinda' wish I did now though.
Diesel mechanics are a dime a dozen at about $80/hour for those who choose to let someone else do it.
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  #42  
Old 03-06-2012
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Re: Which engines would you think twice about

I had an atomic 4 is my first sailboat an Island 28. Was a great motor and never had a problem'

I have had a Yanmar GMF30 in my C&C 35 MKIII with no problem also. Simple engine...just make sure you keep the fuel pure as in all diesels.

Given the choice on repowering I would go with anouther Yanmar and certainly choose deisel over gasoline. The safety of deisel is the number opne reason. Especially for cuisers who have stored jerry cans on deck. I would feel safer with 50 galons of deisel on my deck vs gasoline.

Just saying

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  #43  
Old 03-06-2012
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Re: Which engines would you think twice about

A lot is said about the high price of older Volvo parts, and there are certainly examples of heart stopping quotes. The alternative though with many other brands is that those 20+ year old new parts are simply not available. It's a pick your poison type of situation in that regard. That being said, the engines I would prefer in a prospective boat would be the most common and generally recognized in the industry: Kubota (Beta), Yanmar, Volvo, in that order. The ones I would shy away from would be anything 20 years old or older. Engines can be changed out so I've never let that dictate whether to consider a boat or not, if the price is right. What do I have now: 24 year old Volvo:-))
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  #44  
Old 03-06-2012
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Re: Which engines would you think twice about

I've owned two boats with Universal Atomic 4s, but engines were fantastic. The first had been sitting for 6 years with water lapping around the engine block for at least three years. After changing the oil, points, plugs, condenser, distributor cap, rotor, then leaning and adjusting the carburetor that engine started right up and ran like a fine-tuned Swiss watch for the next 6 years. The only thing I had to do was change the spark plugs every spring and be sure to treat the gasoline with Marvel Mystery Oil every time gas was added to the tank. This engine was raw-water cooled and eventually, a small inspection plate sprung a pinhole leak on the side of the block and the plate was replaced with no problems since.

My current engine is a Universal Atomic4, runs great, has been updated by Moyer Marine, fresh-water cooled, and provides me with 12 to 15 MPG fuel economy, depending upon the weather conditions. That translates to 600 to 750 miles of cruising range in a single tank of gas--not bad for a 37-year-old engine. Maintenance is about the same, change the oil regularly, change the plugs and filters once a year, and use Marvel Mystery Oil with the fuel. The Universal Atomic4 has a great reputation for longevity and durability--that's why they were so popular in military vehicles. Most WW-II vets I've talked with said you had to shoot the A4 in order to kill it, but it always took more than a single shot to do it in.

As for transporting diesel V/S gasoline in jerry cans on deck, I'm not too concerned. The cans will be tightly strapped down to the deck, similar to the way a marine battery is strapped down--not bungee corded to stanchions like so many that I've seen. Even in a knockdown situation those strapped down cans would still be in place.

I suspect that if you had a lot of fuel vapor in an enclosed area, gasoline, being far more volatile, would be easier to ignite with a small spark. Keep in mind, though that both gasoline and diesel fumes are only explosive when the correct amount of oxygen is available. One of the neat things I learned many years ago while being schooled at Exxon in Seattle, WA was gasoline vapor can be too rich to ignite. The instructor proved his point by tossing a lit match down the above ground vent of a 20,000-gallon, underground gasoline storage tank. The match immediately went out--the vapors were too rich to burn. He did the same trick with diesel. (I'm pretty sure there were students there that thought they were going to die that day. )

Last summer I discovered something about jerry cans that scares the crap out of me, though. The feds, in their infinite wisdom, came out with new regulations for plastic jerry cans. They have been fitted with a new, leakproof spout that has a valvular ring attached to the outside. You must press the spring-loaded valve down in order for fuel to flow from the spout, which seems like a good thing. Unfortunately, there have been some major problems with the valves, some stick open, while others stay tightly closed--even when you try to open them. The black plastic that the spout assembly must be fairly tasty too. Squirrels, mice, chipmunks and other critters love to eat that black plastic and completely ignore the associated fumes. I watched a squirrel at our marina climb across a nearby boat's docklines, hopped on the red, plastic jerry can and proceeded to eat the top cap just like he was enjoying a peanut snack. The squirrel also ate part of the spout as well. With that in mind, I think I'll try to find some old, military style jerry cans for by trip to the south--just to be on the safe side.

Cheers,

Gary
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  #45  
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Re: Which engines would you think twice about

I thought I had a problem with my Yanmar once, but I was mistaken"
(bottom being cleaned every 2 weeks but not prop)

Going on 27 years now, Yanmar 3GMC raw water cooled with saildrive SD20
(saildrive still being made) roughly 2500 hours+/- no hour meter.
I change oil, filters, zincs, and clean raw water passage every few years.
When I ask Mack Boring what else I can do...they say change the oil and
run her hard!
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  #46  
Old 03-06-2012
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Re: Which engines would you think twice about

I have owned boats with the following engines:

Universal Atomic A4
Universal M25xp
Yanmar 4JH2E

The Atomic was a work horse and had oodles of power. Not a lot of maintenance on it and it just kept running. It is still running for the current owner. Parts reasonable but may not be easy to find in foreign countries.

The Universal was a great diesel but you had to know the engine and how to bleed the fuel lines, change the pump filter, etc. It ran well and was strong. Cheap parts at Kubota dealers.

The Yanmar is by far the best of the lot. It seems to have been designed from the ground up to be a tough marine engine. Parts are expensive but very high quality. Worldwide distribution.
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  #47  
Old 04-03-2012
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Where would you put Beta?

So far my experience with Stanley at Beta has been stellar

Last edited by T37Chef; 04-03-2012 at 02:59 PM.
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  #48  
Old 04-03-2012
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Re: Which engines would you think twice about

I think that beta are very good engines. They are simple and reliable which is the most important and they are reasonably quiet as well. The base kubota engines are very good little engines and you can buy most parts direct from kubota.

If you are planning on world cruising, it might be worth looking at the availability of the beta specific components. Otherwise, I would not have any reservations.
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Old 04-05-2012
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Re: Which engines would you think twice about

What about sail drives?
I'm not sure I would know what to do with a 20+ year old boat with a sail drive that was on the way out. An engine swap is not as easy as with a stern drive is it?
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  #50  
Old 04-05-2012
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Re: Which engines would you think twice about

I'd say an engine swap with a saildrive would be easier as long as you've got the right adaptor to the sail drive.. the alignment issue is easier with a more stable receiving end (sail drive input rather than a relatively sloppy shaft in stuffing box hose..)
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