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Bali Hai
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Discussion Starter #1
Ok, I have owned the same Pearson 10M with an A-4 since 1975 (thats 33 years with same boat), and while the A-4 is still chugging along, thinking about a diesel replacement. Looked at new at the Boat Show, and it seemed that it was 12k minimum to replace with a Beta Marine replacement. Since this is probably 50% to 75% of the value of the boat it doesn't make sense. Does anyone have advice about how to do this if I would like to keep the boat (it really is like one of the kids).
 

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Telstar 28
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If you're planning on keeping the boat... bite the bullet and spring for the A4 drop-in replacement diesel that Beta makes. If you're planning on keeping the boat, don't bother, since you'll never re-coup the cost selling it.
 

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Bali Hai
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Discussion Starter #4
I admit it may be crazy. But it is really the reverse, I don't plan to get rid of the boat after 33 years. But about every 8 to 10 years, I do as complete a refit as i can. This year was new stove (Origio - boat didn't come with propane), moving forward bulkhead and having a 30 gallon holding tank fabricated, last year it was mermaid reverse cycle heat and air. Next is an autopilot (tiller steered) and perhaps the self tailing converstion for my Barient 28s. But I have this feeling that the boat is virtually not resellable for any price with the A-4. And I suppose I am thinking about if the A-4 dies (as they all do eventually), do I continue to have Don Moyer as my best friend, (I don't really know him, but I swear they have my address memorized), or do I bite the bullet.

Plus the Pearson tends to be badly underpowered with an A-4. Will do 5+ knots in no wind and smooth seas, but don't plan on motoring against 20 knots of wind. Maybe the diesel would be just the same.
 

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My only experience with that engine was on a chartered C&C 27. While it always started it certainly seemed feeble, even on a 27 footer. Only thing I liked about it was the quiet vibration free operation. If you got 12 grand... And you are going to keep the boat... And you plan on refitting everything anyway... May as well do it. Think not only about your engine, but the drive line too. Cutlass bearing, prop shaft, engine controls, propeller. All that stuff is wearing away... That A-4 and it's associated friends are going to nickle and dime you forever. Might as well spend the money on an entirely new package and be done with it.
 

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I think the A4 makes 30 hp at 3,000 RPM.

If it won't push your boat over 5 knots, then something else is wrong, for example a mis-matched propeller.

You're likely to see significantly LESS horsepower on a diesel drop-in for the A4.

David
 

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But I have this feeling that the boat is virtually not resellable for any price with the A-4.
What leads you to believe that? Personally, I would rather have the A4 than a diesel. And, btw, had we been able to afford it and one was nearby, a 10M is what we'd have right now.

And I suppose I am thinking about if the A-4 dies (as they all do eventually), do I continue to have Don Moyer as my best friend, (I don't really know him, but I swear they have my address memorized), or do I bite the bullet.
If our A4 dies, it's getting replaced with a rebuilt A4 from Don. Changing to diesel never even entered my mind.

Plus the Pearson tends to be badly underpowered with an A-4. Will do 5+ knots in no wind and smooth seas, ...
Is that typical for an A4-powered 10M? We get 6.5 kts plus on smooth water in calm air on our P30 with the original 2-blade fixed prop. We got close to that under similar conditions with the Martec folding prop. Under more typical conditions, some chop/waves, wind on the nose or from some forward quarter, we get "around" 6 kts w/o pushing the A4 hard. You're 3' longer, 1.5' wider, 4k lbs heavier and have about 1' more draft.

Jim
 

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If it works, I would leave it alone.
If your gasoline vapour safety is good, and it starts, and moves the ship reasonably, I would leave it.
 

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A4 bomb

I've surveyed dozens of boat with A4's and don't understand why they have not all blown up ! Every one I have seen has at least 2 or 3 of the following issues.

1.) Improperly installed engine compartment ventilation systems (per ABYC).
2.) Engine compartment not vapour proof to the accomodation spaces.
3.) Non-ignition proof battery (auto type)chargers in the fuel/engine
compartment.
4.) AC outlets in the fuel/engine compartment.
5.) Ungrounded fuel fill/tank.

Actual selling price of a diesel vs. gas in this category is usually 2-4k more.

Ahhhh ! diesel fumes ....mothers milk :)
 

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I've surveyed dozens of boat with A4's and don't understand why they have not all blown up ! Every one I have seen has at least 2 or 3 of the following issues.

1.) Improperly installed engine compartment ventilation systems (per ABYC).
2.) Engine compartment not vapour proof to the accomodation spaces.
3.) Non-ignition proof battery (auto type)chargers in the fuel/engine
compartment.
4.) AC outlets in the fuel/engine compartment.
5.) Ungrounded fuel fill/tank.

Actual selling price of a diesel vs. gas in this category is usually 2-4k more.

Ahhhh ! diesel fumes ....mothers milk :)
How many diesel boats with a propane system had similar faults? Engine compartment vapor proof? I'd like to see that on any small boat!
 

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A4 bomb

Paul:

I have no numbers, as I said I don't understand why they don't blow up but they scare me enough that I would not want one next to my boat.
As to propane, that's an entirely different topic. This is about A4's

It is extremely rare to have a fixed propane system in this class of boats as very few have room for a tank.
 

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Telstar 28
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Atomic A4s are fairly reliable, and the whole "gasoline engine=floating bomb" is pretty much BS IMHO.

Most of the boat explosion cases due to gasoline as a fuel have had a fairly large USER ERROR human component from what I've seen. Common sense and using your built-in Mark I gasoline fume detector go a long, long way to preventing problems.
 

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A4 bomb

I never did make any statement about numbers, just that I'd never seen an
A4 installation that did not scare me. After what I have seen you'd be hard pressed to change my mind on that.

I am a diesel guy and always will be cause' diesel fumes don't explode and while they may make you sick they won't kill you nearly as fast as gas fumes.
Suggest you check the BoatUS stats on CO fatalities on gas vs. diesel.
 

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Diesel produces roughly 10 percent (too many variables to be more precise) of that produced by gasoline although the effect on your blood is cumulative. Where an exhaust leak from a diesel may kill you in 9hrs. a similar leak from a gasoline engine could kill in 1hr.

Most of the questionable A4 installations I have seen were factory installs ie. Non-ignition protected domestic single pole breakers without polarity indicator in the engine/fuel compartment. Solid copper conductors, No AC/DC bond, AC outlets in the engine/fuel compartment.

I do agree that these issues have been compunded by owners who think that wiring a boat is just like wiring your rec room.
 

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Bali Hai
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Discussion Starter #15
You guys make me feel silly for thinking about it. And a lot better. Now to install the cool new extended dip stick that lets me check oil from the front of the engine.

On the speed deal, I changed out the prop for the Indigo Electronics 3 blade (the one in the back of good old boat that says, "repower your Atomic-4". Before that, had a 2 blade fixed, and before that a 2 blade folding. I will say that the boat handles well in reverse once I get it moving, and is easily backed into the slip.

I know that I need to check my compression, that may be the issue, And I may be unreasonable to expect any power against a headwind and waves.

All my best, thanks.
 

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Glad to help. :)
 

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I am a diesel guy and always will be cause' diesel fumes don't explode and while they may make you sick they won't kill you nearly as fast as gas fumes.
Oh boy: You've turned a perfectly reasonable thread into a gasoline vs. diesel religious war! Can I play? Let's see: I am a gasoline guy and always will be cause' [sic] gasoline engines tend not to stink the place up so much, gasoline engines tend to start and run more reliably (in my experience), gasoline engines run more smoothly and are much quieter, gasoline isn't quite as susceptible to fungus and turning to jelly as is diesel, and, last but not least, I understand and am completely comfortable with gasoline engines--diesel not so much.

Jim
 

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SemiJim-

You forgot to add that the marine fuel dock price for gasoline is considerably less than that for diesel. :)

Ideally, since this is a sailboat we're talking about, the increased fuel efficiency of the diesel engine shouldn't matter too much...since I'm generally sailing rather than motoring. :)
 

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A4 bomb

37' trawler, 22000lbs. displacement, 7.6 knots at 1500RPM, 779 gallons from Toroonto to Bahamas and back at 1.2 GPH.
Which is cheaper gasoline or diesel ?
 

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Telstar 28
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If the two engines got the same gallons-per-mile... the gasoline engine would still be far less expensive, both initially, since diesel engines are generally more costly than gasoline ones, and over the long term, since the gasoline prices are generally considerably lower than the diesel ones. It takes a lot of miles to make up the price difference between a diesel installation and a gasoline one.

Please note, I never said that diesel wasn't better suited for power boats under certain conditions... however, for smaller sailboats, diesel really doesn't make much sense... you're beating a dead horse, and you've lost the argument already, but just can't seem to face the fact.
37' trawler, 22000lbs. displacement, 7.6 knots at 1500RPM, 779 gallons from Toroonto to Bahamas and back at 1.2 GPH.
Which is cheaper gasoline or diesel ?
 
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