How much for an Atomic 4? - SailNet Community
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post #1 of 21 Old 07-30-2008 Thread Starter
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How much for an Atomic 4?

Hi All...

If I had an Atomic 4 that I wanted to replace with another or a rebuilt, what would I expect to pay for the engine and installation? I am thinking of buying a cal 29 but the engine is suspect so I am trying to figure out the worse case scenario costwise...

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post #2 of 21 Old 07-31-2008
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Gas on a sailboat is an unnecessary risk, go diesel, less headache, less hazard. Installation will cost about the same.

If you can afford somewhat more, and don't mind being the first on your block, and it fits your boating style, consider electric. Takes a lot less space, ultra quiet, but doesn't have the stamina of diesel.
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post #3 of 21 Old 07-31-2008
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Good replacement for an atomic 4 is the small diesel engine Beta 20 from Beta Marine. Should fit right into the same spot. I haven’t done mine yet, but when I’m ready that will be the ticket.

Check them out they have local dealers everywhere.


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post #4 of 21 Old 07-31-2008
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Moyer marine sells Atomic rebuilts for around $4500 or they will rebuild yours. Lots of info in the forum part of thier website.
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post #5 of 21 Old 07-31-2008
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Angry Atomic 4- MOYER

An experience sailor I know bought a rebuilt (??? supposedly) Atomic 4 from MOYER. While the initial cost was low (compared to a name brand diesel), he spent 'a bunch' getting MOYER's motor to perform. For a motor that is supposed to be so simple, he really had trouble finding mechanics who could keep in running properly. He had some horror stories.
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post #6 of 21 Old 08-01-2008 Thread Starter
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Thanks guys, this is very helpfull.
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post #7 of 21 Old 08-01-2008
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Jarcher, I'm afraid the above posters gave you some bad information. Atomic 4's are always subject to debate. especially by those who have never owned one. A late model (post 1970) A-4 in running condition goes for around $1500. Rebuilt ones are higher. My 1976 model served me well for 20 years. I had it rebuilt in 2001 and it still runs strong to this day. These engines are pretty simple, low compression, and designed for a marine environment. The direct drive models have a reversing gear for a transmission which is built like a tank.
Some would have you believe that these engines are dangerous. Simple precautions that every power boater routinely takes with an inboard gas engine are pretty easy to do.

My advice- look for a running take out of an A-4 from the Great Lakes. Buy a rebuilt carb as a spare (easy to install) and you are good to go. Change the gas filter annually and the oil at the end of the season and the beginning of the season and the engine will last for a long time. Of course you can repower with a Beta diesel for 8-9,000 installed which is a large part of the boat cost of a Cal 29. Or electric- just don't take any long trips. These guys are all nuts who really don't understand the economics of owning an old sailboat.
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post #8 of 21 Old 08-02-2008
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I second Sandusky's opinion. The A4 has been a great engine in my boat and everything I have heard and experienced regarding Don Moyer is good. I believe he stands behind his rebuilds and parts. If you can't find a good used running A4 you might want to have Don rebuild yours or buy one of his rebuilds. If you want to go cheap but reliable slap a four stroke 9.9 on there. It will look awkward, but they do have there benefits. Unless the boat is going to be a lifetime boat for you I wouldn't suggest a diesel repower. The safety argument against gas is silly to my way of thinking as most of those that argue against it carry dinghy gas or propane aboard. To my knowledge no one has ever died as a result of an exploding Atomic 4, use your head and the gas will never be a problem.
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post #9 of 21 Old 08-02-2008
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A buddy of mine just replace his good running A4 with a Yanmar diesel . The A4 was rebuilt 5 yrs. ago and had electronic ignition installed. Probably has about 700 hrs. or so on it. I would bet he is willing to let it go cheap,cheap just to get it out of his garage. Guessing around $500, location FL.
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post #10 of 21 Old 08-02-2008
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I'm an A4 believer.
They are dumb struck stupid (simple) little flathead motors that will run forever with very little care. (change the oil, keep the fuel clean, a coil every couple of years, file the points, and go sailing!)

before you consider replacing or rebuilding, have it checked out. Unless something is going clank-clank internally, It can be fixed to run reliably for years.

We are not primarily on earth to see through one another, but to see one another through

Some people are like slinkies: not really good for anything... but you can't help laughing when you push them down the stairs
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