SailNet Community - View Single Post - Atomic Four Enigne Bad Idea?
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post #8 of Old 05-18-2007
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"1. Gasoline and spark - bad combination in a space that has no natural air flow."
Actually, no, if there is no air flow there is no explosion from gasoline. While gasoline is more flammable than diesel, the tradeoffs are that you are not in constant fear of bleeding the fuel system (a diesel problem) having the tanks clog the system from algae growing in them (another diesel problem) and having the fuel gel in cold weather (another diesel problem).

"2. Generally considered simple to maintain by people who understand gas engines. In reality they are more difficult to maintain than a diesel which is dirt simple. They will break down more often also because more things can fail."
Well, all I can say is that the ignition system and components on a gasoline engine have generally been easier to deal with than the high-pressure high sensitivity fuel system on diesels. No $700 high pressure fuel pump to clog or fail, no risk of high pressure fuel injecting itself into someone.
Maintaining EITHER engine is simple if you are familiar with it. And while carbureuted systems in general have some differences from fuel injection, they are also easier to self-maintain than high pressure pumps and injectors. Not "easy" but "possible" as opposed to "you'll have to send that out".

"3. A gas engine burns at least 4 times more fuel that a diesel, cost is not really an issue but range is a big issue." Yeah, 2-4x more fuel but in fact range is often not an issue in the coastal US, where it is often easier to find gasoline than diesel. Especially if you prefer to buy it from a station while you are driving to/from the boat, at less than 3/4 of the "marina" price. Especially with tighter EPA regulations, many marinas and boat clubs just don't have fuel docks. Sailing around the world and crossing the high seas? OK, then diesel makes a bigger difference.

And in a 70's vintage boat, a diesel engine not only adds to the sale price (and your buying price) it also adds size and weight in the boat. Diesels were big monsters back then! Noisy and rough, too. The off-watch will sleep much easier if there's an A4 aboard.
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