SailNet Community banner

41 - 57 of 57 Posts

·
Dirt Free
Joined
·
2,654 Posts
The atomic 4 is a sturdy little engine and is not problematic in itself however the vast majority (I really mean .... all) of manufacturers who installed these engines were complete idiots.

In 4,593 surveys I've never seen a single Atomic 4 properly installed.
The issues ...

The back side DC fuse and or breaker panels and AC breaker panels and AC outlets exposed to the engine/fuel compartment.

AC outlets in the engine/fuel compartment.

Solid core copper AC conductors.

AC connections made with wire twist (marrette) connectors ( in the engine/fuel compartment and elsewhere).

Solid copper fuel lines with no means of vibration control.

Non-ignition protected battery chargers or even worse chargers that were marked "protected" but were not.

Solid copper AC conductors.

Failure to bond the DC negative and AC grounds.

AC fuse panels instead of breaker panels.

Battery chargers mounted directly over batteries.

Unfused positive conductors on batteries.

A total disregard for the proper ventilation (intake and output) of a compartment containing gasoline with some models even venting directly into the accommodation spaces.

AC conductors zip tied to DC conductors and in some cases various parts of the engine.

Propane hose and/or solid copper pipe run through an engine compartment unsecured or not protected from vibration.

Gear clamps used to make propane connections.

Multiple propane connections (and in some cases valves) located within the accommodation spaces or engine compartment

I have seen these issues in every brand in North America that installed these engines.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,930 Posts
The atomic 4 is a sturdy little engine and is not problematic in itself however the vast majority (I really mean .... all) of manufacturers who installed these engines were complete idiots.

In 4,593 surveys I've never seen a single Atomic 4 properly installed.
The issues ...

The back side DC fuse and or breaker panels and AC breaker panels and AC outlets exposed to the engine/fuel compartment.

AC outlets in the engine/fuel compartment.

Solid core copper AC conductors.

AC connections made with wire twist (marrette) connectors ( in the engine/fuel compartment and elsewhere).

Solid copper fuel lines with no means of vibration control.

Non-ignition protected battery chargers or even worse chargers that were marked "protected" but were not.

Solid copper AC conductors.

Failure to bond the DC negative and AC grounds.

AC fuse panels instead of breaker panels.

Battery chargers mounted directly over batteries.

Unfused positive conductors on batteries.

A total disregard for the proper ventilation (intake and output) of a compartment containing gasoline with some models even venting directly into the accommodation spaces.

AC conductors zip tied to DC conductors and in some cases various parts of the engine.

Propane hose and/or solid copper pipe run through an engine compartment unsecured or not protected from vibration.

Gear clamps used to make propane connections.

Multiple propane connections (and in some cases valves) located within the accommodation spaces or engine compartment

I have seen these issues in every brand in North America that installed these engines.

With the exception of the the fuel hose and ventilation concerns, I fail to see what these have to do with the installation of an Atomic 4 (or, really, any) engine. These are problems with electrical or propane installations which have little or nothing to do with the motor.
 

·
Dirt Free
Joined
·
2,654 Posts
With the exception of the the fuel hose and ventilation concerns, I fail to see what these have to do with the installation of an Atomic 4 (or, really, any) engine. These are problems with electrical or propane installations which have little or nothing to do with the motor.
The issues are spark and ventilation (fume/CO) issues with gasoline & propane exposure in a closed compartment with high spark potential from the many sources cited. Not only are most of the issues mentioned illegal in Canada (and some in the US) they are a hazard.

I'm not sure where you are taking issue as I said in that post the concerns were the installation and not the motor. The builders are responsible for installing the motor in that environment.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,930 Posts
The issues are spark and ventilation (fume/CO) issues with gasoline & propane exposure in a closed compartment with high spark potential from the many sources cited. Not only are most of the issues mentioned illegal in Canada (and some in the US) they are a hazard.

I'm not sure where you are taking issue as I said in that post the concerns were the installation and not the motor. The builders are responsible for installing the motor in that environment.
My issue is that nearly all of the (very valid) point you are making have nothing to do with what kind of motor is installed. Wouldn't an unsafe propane and/or electric installation be just as unsafe in a boat with any other motor?
 

·
Dirt Free
Joined
·
2,654 Posts
My issue is that nearly all of the (very valid) point you are making have nothing to do with what kind of motor is installed. Wouldn't an unsafe propane and/or electric installation be just as unsafe in a boat with any other motor?
The topic was A4's (gasoline powered) so that was where I aimed my points.
The only other inboard gasoline engine I have seen in a sailboat is the OMC saildrive (thankfully, pretty much extinct). but all the noted points would also apply to those.

If you are referring to diesel engines, ventilation of those compartments is not a safety issue, there is no need for ignition protection or worry about sparks in the engine/fuel compartment and a fuel leak will not blow you up.

A few of the points made would also apply to diesel engines but that was not the topic.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,930 Posts
The topic was A4's (gasoline powered) so that was where I aimed my points.
The only other inboard gasoline engine I have seen in a sailboat is the OMC saildrive (thankfully, pretty much extinct). but all the noted points would also apply to those.

If you are referring to diesel engines, ventilation of those compartments is not a safety issue, there is no need for ignition protection or worry about sparks in the engine/fuel compartment and a fuel leak will not blow you up.

A few of the points made would also apply to diesel engines but that was not the topic.
Well, that is precisely my point, many of the problems you list are not the topic, they have nothing to do with an Atomic 4.
 

·
Dirt Free
Joined
·
2,654 Posts
Well, that is precisely my point, many of the problems you list are not the topic, they have nothing to do with an Atomic 4.
Perhaps you should re-read my post as you seem to have missed the point.
The A4 in a tractor is fine. The boat builders who installed them in sailboats put them in an entirely unsuitable environment.

I thought this was a valid point to make to the OP who was considering a boat known to have all of the problems I cited.

I think you are trolling for an argument so I will not be responding to anymore of your comments.
 

·
Senior Moment Member
Joined
·
13,282 Posts
It's a myth that the A4 was a marinized tractor engine. It and its ancestor were designed and built as marine engines.

The Universal Atomic 4 is a four-cylinder, 64.46 cubic inch, 30 horsepower (22 kW) gasoline engine produced by the Universal Motor Company between 1947 and 1984 for use as auxiliary power on sailboats.

Universal Atomic 4
History and Lineage

The Atomic 4 is descended from an earlier Universal Motor Company design called the Utility Four, which was used extensively in World War II by the United States Navy and allies to power the lifeboats for the ships, barges, and tankers of many navies and merchant marine fleets. The Utility Four model was replaced by the Atomic 4 in 1947.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,930 Posts
Perhaps you should re-read my post as you seem to have missed the point.
The A4 in a tractor is fine. The boat builders who installed them in sailboats put them in an entirely unsuitable environment.

I thought this was a valid point to make to the OP who was considering a boat known to have all of the problems I cited.

I think you are trolling for an argument so I will not be responding to anymore of your comments.
I apologize if I misread your post (and no, I am not trolling). You do make very valid points and I have great respect for your expertise, I just did not see the connection with the topic of this thread. But I am more than willing to concede that I may have overlooked something in your post.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
31 Posts
Yes, the A-4 (unlike the Kubota, Caterpillar, Ford Leaman and other engines which were "marinized") is the second generation of an engine which was used in lifeboats during WW-2 to begin with. It was designed from the oil pan up to be a marine engine.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
525 Posts
I'm not a fan of gasoline engines on boats. Yes, the probability of an accident is low, but it's lower with diesel.

I had a fuel line fail last year that would certainly have led to a fire in a gas engine. Instead I just had a big mess, and a firm appreciation of the shortcuts the previous owner had taken. (re-inspection of the engine resulted in a few other preventative fixes as well.)

But since you have it, and probably don't want to spend $10K repowering it, diligent preventative maintenance is the key. If you have managed to avoid lighting yourself on fire at a gas station your whole life, you have the skills and sense to manage this application too.
 

·
Senior Moment Member
Joined
·
13,282 Posts
$10K to repower with diesel?

Lots of luck. The engine on a pallet will be all that or more unless it is the smallest available.

Just the incidentals will be a big chunk of that. Fuel tank, fuel lines, fuel filter, new or modified engine beds, maybe shaft, prop.......
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2 Posts
I have had 2 boats with A4 engines......my current one is in my Irwin 32....It's a gas engine so run your blower for 10 minutes before you start the engine, no different if you had a sedan with twin chevy big blocks. Most important is to install a combination fire/carbon monoxide detector in you cabin or engine compartment (maybe both). The engine is very reliable and will serve you well if you do your research on maintenance procedures (try Youtube, plenty of posts) your best source of information can be found at Moyer Marine. If you own an Atomic 4 that is your starting point!!!!!! There were over 40,000 of these reliable little engines built for marine power and there are still many of them still in use today.....
 

·
Dirt Free
Joined
·
2,654 Posts
I have had 2 boats with A4 engines......my current one is in my Irwin 32....It's a gas engine so run your blower for 10 minutes before you start the engine, no different if you had a sedan with twin chevy big blocks.
Your chevy sedan does not trap fuel leaks or fumes inside it's hull where a myriad of non-ignition protected sources of sparks lie in wait.
 

·
Dirt Free
Joined
·
2,654 Posts
I have had 2 boats with A4 engines......my current one is in my Irwin 32....It's a gas engine so run your blower for 10 minutes before you start the engine, no different if you had a sedan with twin chevy big blocks.
Your chevy sedan does does not trap fuel leaks or fumes inside it's hull where a myriad of non-ignition protected sources of sparks lie in wait.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,826 Posts
Your chevy sedan does does not trap fuel leaks or fumes inside it's hull where a myriad of non-ignition protected sources of sparks lie in wait.
I think he was referring to a twin Chevy sedan power boat. don't know of very many twin big block chevy car sedans
 
41 - 57 of 57 Posts
Top