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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I am laboring over engine problems in my 1978 Cal 2-27 and would like any thoughts or advice.

I have a dead Atomic 4 with serious compression issues (3 cylinders in the sub-40 range, one at zero), with salt water in the cylinders. The water may be the result of cranking the engine with the seacock open. I am unaware if the engine has ever been rebuilt.

My dilemma is choosing between repairing/rebuilding the existing A4, replacing it with some else (e.g., Gray Marine gas engine or diesel), or mounting an outboard. Issues I am mulling over:

The boat is Hawaii, making parts and shipping a significant issue. Access to the engine compartment is very tight, and there is talk of having to remove the interior cabinetry to get enough room to make repairs or replace.

I have absolutely not time or inclination to do the repair myself, even with the encouragement of very helpful A4 sites like Moyer Marine.

I hear diesel replacement is expensive, and any replacement, gas or diesel, other than an A4 will require tricky readjustment of mounting and propeller shaft.

Controlling the outboard speed and transmission will be tricky while managing the boat tiller.

Any helpful thoughts are welcome.

Hinckley Bermuda 40
87 Posts
I know you’ll get a lot of encouragement about the Atomic Bomb- I’ve had them myself. Though you can find many parts for them, at this stage of the A-4’s life I can’t help but wonder ” how long.”
On mine ( raw water cooled in salt water) rust scale clogged the manifold to the point that impellers would last 15 minutes. Got that rodded out and flushed, and water flowed normally. But then leaks in the water jacket around the block allowed sea water to invade the carburetor. The engine had been in salt for 20 years, and by that point, I could read the writing on the wall.
In reality, an A-4 is a lot of power for a 27 ft boat weighing, what, 9,000 lbs? The economics on a 42 year old boat don’t make sense for a new engine, but if you could find a used 2 cyl. Yanmar or something similar that seems like the way to go.
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