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  #1  
Old 11-12-2009
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A Conundrum, without an Answer

Tally ho .. again .. After my sometimes squabbly Engine-Less
sailing question, I felt a followup was in order. Recently, I
began to look at sailboats; again. I sold my last boat well over
a year ago, and I needed some time off. I looked at a few for sale
postings, the usual. What I found was a number of very worthy
sailboats, boats with quality hulls, sound decks, good rigging and sails,
blah blah .. that the owners are offering but .. the big BUT:: these boats
all have the old Atomic 4 gasoline engine, and the owners all told me
with some prodding that the engines have "issues". So, basically, the
boats do not have working engines. I few calls to repower engine folks,
or boatyards, and to get a general idea of what a repower might cost?
Many thousands of dollars. In every case, the cost of a replacement
engine was much more than the boat was/is worth. Its not the take out
of the old AT4 that is expensive, it is the cost of the new engine, the associated parts such as muffler/exhaust/bed/fuel tank .. and the placing
of the new engine in place, hook ups, etc. I am not a fan of outboard engines, especially on larger boats. So: what is the answer? Short of
spending $12,000 dollars on a boat that is only worth $10,000, is there an answer? It is a shame and very disheartening for the owners of these boats, that they can not sell them. Also, as a potential purchaser, I feel
dirty telling the owner of an otherwise quality sailboat that his boat is not even worth $100 dollars. A marine surveyor I spoke with was blunt "the boat is worthless without a quality diesel engine". How does one tell the seller, without sounding like a total jerk, that the boat he is asking $10,000 dollars for is not worth $100 dollars? I sent an outline of what the surveyor told me to one seller, and I included that I was not trying to steal his boat or come off sounding like a jerk .. but what can one do. Oh.. well.
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Old 11-12-2009
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There are plenty of great boats with good diesels in them and they are not all that expensive. Like a classic car, we don't put money into them based on getting it back.. because it's not gonna happen! We do it because we love the , car, boat, house, etc. if you find one you really love then yes! do a repower! You can save 5-10 k if you do it yourself.
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Old 11-12-2009
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Given how many Atomic 4 engines are out there still, I wouldn't say that the engine itself is a problem. Any engine that is neglected, whether it is diesel or gasoline, is going to be an issue. Re-building an Atomic 4 that hasn't been too badly neglected isn't that big a deal, as they are relatively simple engines.

As for what to tell the owners of these boats... tell them the truth... some will hate you for it, but others will thank you for it and may even agree with you.
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You know what the first rule of sailing is? ...Love. You can learn all the math in the 'verse, but you take
a boat to the sea you don't love, she'll shake you off just as sure as the turning of the worlds. Love keeps
her going when she oughta fall down, tells you she's hurting 'fore she keens. Makes her a home.

—Cpt. Mal Reynolds, Serenity (edited)

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Old 11-12-2009
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Agree with sailingdog, it's not the engine, it's the lack of maintenance.
Regardless of anyone's opinion, you simply can't build and sell 'junk' engines for 40 years.
If you feed it >>FRESH<< clean, dry, gasoline, and keep oil in the crankcase, it will last forever. Run old dirty/watery gas in it, or run chronically low on oil and you WILL have problems.

Ken.
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Old 11-12-2009
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Moyer Marine, the guru of the AT4 charges aprox $4,000 to rebuild an
old Atomic 4. For a short block rebuld, aprox $2500. And there is still the
take out, drop in, and accessories such as exhaust, shaft, cutless, coupling..
If the engine has always been raw water cooled, the engine block may be worn out. So, it adds up to lots of money. What drives me a little nuts, is that the boats, our boats, are SAILBOATS. The whole idea is to use the wonder of wind to send us along. And here are these wonderful, magical sailboats, with very stout hulls, solid decks, good rigging and hardware, multiple sails .. but they are sitting because :: the engine. The engine that is called the AUXILIARY .. Some company needs to come up with a El Cheapo motor, either electric or gas [propane] that can be handle easily, attached to an existing shaft easily, and used just for the harbor area, docking/grabbing the mooring. The motor must be very light. I suspect if one removes the alternator, starter motor, trans, whatevers the engine shouldn't weigh much.. maybe 30-40 lbs. Since the motor would be very light, an attachment to the existing bed should be easy. With maybe a flexable attachment to line up the shaft and coupling.. vola.. This would not be good for a sailor who wants to motor for long distances.. but it would be a good solution to the boats that are presently sitting at docks, on the hard, wherever that can't get sold because on the old bad engine and the expense of replacement. With the electric cars? Couldn't some of that technology be put to use in this application? Tell me where I'm wrong.. I must be missing something.. or, and if the motor is electric.. you would be able to remove the fuel tank, and fuel.. much lighter.. although the added batteries may add weight.. You would not have a huge amount of horse power, just enough to park the yacht.. It would be also/engineless/sailing .hahahah
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Old 11-12-2009
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there is nothing cheap about electric .. priced a hybrid car lately? there's always the good old steam engine! use coal for ballast! lol
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Jasper Windvane,

The electric concept is interesting. There is actually at least 1 company out there that makes a kit to convert your boat to electric propulsion.

Having built 3 electric cars and 1 hybrid, I really like electric propulsion but the design must be carefully weighed. Here is my take:

Motor- There are plenty of powerful AC and DC motors out there. I think that for a 30' boat, you would need at least 10kw (13.5hp) continuous rating. This would put the motor weight around 100lbs plus some mounting. The biggest problem is that most motors in this power range are running between 4k and 10k rpm. Your max shaft rpm should be closer to 1k rpm so you would need to do a lot of gearing or a belt or chain drive. Generally belts/chains are limited to about 5:1 gearing in single stage so you would have to pick your motor carefully.

Controller- Again, there are lots of controllers out on the market both AC and DC. You need to make sure the controller is really well sealed otherwise it will corrode and stop functioning quickly. Also, you need to deal with RF interference from it. If you are interested in charging while sailing, going with an AC unit that has regenerative capabilities could be nice.

Batteries- I would think that the minimum amount of charge should be able to drive the boat for at least 2 hours which is 20kwhrs. This would be 18 of the 6V Trojan T105 batteries which weigh 62lbs each(1116lbs total). If you could essentially replace ballast with the batteries, that might work but it will be expensive and heavy.

Charging- It will be time consuming to fully charge this battery pack. Charging at 12A (the most that is reasonable on a 15A, 110V circuit) you will be charging at 1.65kw. This means that charging will take you 12 hours. If you plug into a 30A circuit, you can charge in around 6 hours.

As a general rule, you want to run the highest voltage system possible. The higher the voltage, the lower the current which means smaller diameter wires and a more efficient system.

Also note that I glossed over all efficiency calculations which should actually be included. You will find that the battery bank needs to be a bit bigger and the charging time will be a bit longer but this should give a general idea.
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Old 11-12-2009
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While Electric hybrids or electric power might be a nice idea for a daysailer... it really doesn't make much sense if you sail longer distances or in heavier weather conditions. The reason I say this is simple... if you need to have a reliable motor/engine.... an electric hybrid or electric motor isn't gonna cut it... if your batteries go flat, you're basically screwed... with a gasoline or diesel engine, if it runs out of fuel, re-fueling is relatively quick and simple to do.
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You know what the first rule of sailing is? ...Love. You can learn all the math in the 'verse, but you take
a boat to the sea you don't love, she'll shake you off just as sure as the turning of the worlds. Love keeps
her going when she oughta fall down, tells you she's hurting 'fore she keens. Makes her a home.

—Cpt. Mal Reynolds, Serenity (edited)

If you're new to the Sailnet Forums... please read this
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Old 11-12-2009
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sailingdog View Post
While Electric hybrids or electric power might be a nice idea for a daysailer... it really doesn't make much sense if you sail longer distances or in heavier weather conditions. The reason I say this is simple... if you need to have a reliable motor/engine.... an electric hybrid or electric motor isn't gonna cut it... if your batteries go flat, you're basically screwed... with a gasoline or diesel engine, if it runs out of fuel, re-fueling is relatively quick and simple to do.
Yeah, I was going to say that charging 18 Trojan 105's is going to take a bigger engine than the OP needs for the boat. If you can't plug into shorepower each time you use the electric motor, the suggestion is a non-starter

And the cost of the conversion to a boat made out of batteries and all the paraphanalia that it will take to make it work probably exceeds the cost of a rebuilt gasoline engine and then it's still unproven and in my view dodgy.

Get the "Atomic whatever" fixed or even better go to a used engine dealer and buy a used 2 or 3 cylinder Kubota diesel and convert it. It'll be less expensive, more durable and probably safer than a gasoline engine.
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Old 11-13-2009
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There is nothing inherently special about a marine diesel...until recently all of them were converted agricultural or truck engines.

Find yourself a good running Isuzu or kubota diesel for 1000 bucks or less out of a piece of construction equipment that went gunny sack for some other reason and build a heat exchanger for it....figure out how to attach your tranny to it and your set.

Iv got a couple good diesels sitting around here..if my Perkins ever gives up the ghost and it being a hard engine to find parts for any more ...I will be doing something very similar...
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