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Old 14-01-2015, 08:07   #31
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Re: Always run don't walk from gasoline inboards....?

I'm surprised no one figured out how to make a lead keel act as an electric battery charged by solar cell sails. CF engineers, what say you?
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Old 14-01-2015, 08:33   #32
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Re: Always run don't walk from gasoline inboards....?

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Originally Posted by marty9876 View Post
Looking at an early 80's Catalina and just love the price of it...until I noticed the Universal 29 HP Gas Engine. Oops....

So, in theory, being this boat is a 1982 vintage, technically being that all the previous owners have managed not to blow up the boat or themselves is gas inboards really that bad?

I know that are.... it's cheap!!! Yea, when time comes I'd be killed on the resale anyways.

Just tell me it's a bad idea please.

It's a fine idea. Diesel or gas, both have their advantages and disadvantages. For that boat, if you're only going to run the engine @ 200 hours a year or less, I would go with gas. Your cost of maintenance is going to be significantly less.

Certainly you want to practice some common sense safety procedures. But a boat requires that in many other different respects as well.

The whole fire issue is a bunch of baloney. Powerboats outnumber sailboats by a huge margin in this country and most of them run on gasoline, a huge percentage of them with inboard engines and fixed tanks. If fire was an outsized issue, you'd know about it.

Anecdotal "I know a guy" stories about a gas powered boat blowing up are just that, anecdotal stories, which have no bearing on the facts. It's a sample size of one which is no basis for making an educated decision about anything.

Boat value down the road? It's already factored into the price you're paying now. It's not like depreciation on a 80's Catalina is going to accelerate in future because of what engine it has.
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Old 14-01-2015, 09:12   #33
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Re: Always run don't walk from gasoline inboards....?

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Originally Posted by Island Time O25 View Post
I'm surprised no one figured out how to make a lead keel act as an electric battery charged by solar cell sails. CF engineers, what say you?
I'd be surpriced if someone would.. Lets see, lead acid batteries for a 35 footer instead of a lead keel aprox 2000kg make about 6000Ah battery bank , to load them with solar cell sails (if somebody could invent such) about 60sqm produces at best, 100W/sqm/attitude to sun/12V=50A. that for daylight hours so loading 50% drained battery bank could take a week, that is if there's no consumtion and sun shines
And why on earth somedy would need a 6000Ah battery bank

BR Teddy
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Old 14-01-2015, 10:15   #34
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Re: Always run don't walk from gasoline inboards....?

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One other quick thing for those that are against long distance cruising with an Atomic 4 or any other gas engine.

The reality is that good diesel mechanics are rare, but everywhere in the world, I have found knowledgeable gas mechanics.
Not to mention, the Atomic 4 has been around for almost a hundred years, and is often seen in cars and other vehicles in many parts of the world.

Early Willys Jeeps utilized a version of the Atomic 4.
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Old 14-01-2015, 12:29   #35
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Re: Always run don't walk from gasoline inboards....?

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I had an Atomic 4 powered boat for 7 years, I loved that engine, because I could do everything on it....you have to be careful.....

1982 boat...2010....28 years....it's hasn't blown up yet...but maybe it's tired?
Quote:
My last boat had its original 1974 Atomic 4. The engine was fairly reliable, but needed quite a bit of fiddling.
Then I got my current boat with a Perkins and thought I was in heaven. More power, better fuel economy, better range. Everything was better.
Until I got my first repair bill...
I thought those old A4's were raw water cooled - and yet they last 28 - 30 - 40 years?? If so, why are we fiddling with heat exchangers? Or does petrol somehow deter rust?
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Old 14-01-2015, 12:36   #36
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Re: Always run don't walk from gasoline inboards....?

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Oh yes it definitely does bias me, but my point was if it had been a diesel it never would have happened. From the fire pattern we assume that the bilge kicked on, shorted and created a spark that ignited the gas fumes. If it had been diesel it never would have happened. Now the boat might have sunk, but it wouldn't have burnt. The lesser of two evils I guess. LOL
There's so much information missing from this post. What do you mean "the gas fumes", as if it's perfectly normal to have a bilge filled with fumes?

If we accept that there's no possible way to predict a fire like this, we also have to accept that it's normal for fuel to be leaking into the bilge. It isn't.

You can get detectors for gasoline fumes, placed in the bilge, that sound an alarm. So you could also say if he'd had an alarm, it wouldn't have happened.

You could also say that if the boat had been maintained and operated properly, it wouldn't have happened.

"If it had been diesel it never would have happened." True, you'd just have been pumping diesel into the water through the bilge pump.
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Old 14-01-2015, 13:11   #37
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Re: Always run don't walk from gasoline inboards....?

THe Atomic 4 was used in a large number of boats over a couple decades and there didn't seem to be a large spike in boat fires during that time.
If properly maintained they are no more dangerous than any other gasoline motor in a boat, power boats vastly outnumber sailboats and there doesn't seem to be a large number of boats blowing up an a regular basis.
Proper starting procedures like those used on the majority of power boats, which means running the bilge blower for 5 minutes before starting will drastically reduce the possibility of an explosion. I've sailed on several boats with Atomic fours and found no issues with them. I've also rebuilt one for a friend and found it to be a robust, heavily built engine for it's meager output, we're talking 1930's tractor motor technology, it's a flathead! Which is why they last so long, they're vastly under-stressed.
No doubt gasoline is much more reactive than diesel, you can toss a match into a bucket full of diesel and it won't light, diesel has to be turned into a fine mist to ignite well, but gasoline will convert to a vapor by itself at any reasonable temperature, don't ask me how I know that.
I would however check any hard fuel lines for corrosion or abrasion damage and would definitely check the rubber lines for age and type. Some older rubber hose is not compatible with the newer alcohol infused crap gasoline sold in the US these days and can cause the hose to deteriorate to an unsafe state. Just as a precaution you should just replace it with the proper grade marine fuel line, it's a $15.00 dollar upgrade that will give you peace of mind. As a practice I try to keep the amount of flexible line to a minimum in any fuel system to minimize the possibility of a cracked hose whether it's diesel or gas.
You also may want to buy a carburetor rebuild kit for the same reason, it's the other main contributor to fuel leaks, the carbs on those engines are as simple a piece as you can get and are easy to rebuild, just make sure you do it on a clean bench and DON'T LOSE THE SMALL PARTS. The parts are available through several sources.
Yes you will get a lower resale on a gas powered boat but then again your getting a lower purchase price for the same reason.
DO I prefer diesel over gas? You betcha, for too many reasons to list here, but if I have the choice between having a boat with a gasoline engine and not having any boat at all I choose the one with the gasoline engine! Just make sure to run the bilge blower before starting!
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Old 14-01-2015, 13:26   #38
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Re: Always run don't walk from gasoline inboards....?

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I thought those old A4's were raw water cooled - and yet they last 28 - 30 - 40 years?? If so, why are we fiddling with heat exchangers? Or does petrol somehow deter rust?
They were raw water cooled but the blocks were so heavily cast you could loose half the iron in them and still have plenty left. The problem is that when you run raw water the engine has to run at a lower temperature to avoid getting mineral buildup in the cooling passages.
That has the unfortunate side effect of never really getting the engine up to a high enough temperature to burn the moisture and impurities out of the oil in the engine. On the one I rebuilt we converted it to closed loop fresh water cooling. When I disassembled the block I found that the water passages around the cylinders were filled halfway up with minerals and muck, I had to first clean it out as much as possible physically then dip the block in muriatic acid for several hours to get the rest of the buildup cleaned out, then flush the block thouroughly.
When converted I used a heat exchanger bought at a local resale shop, a raw water pump kit and a bit of hose, which required replumbing a bit. It was relatively cheap to do, all told about $350.00, mostly for the raw water pump. This allowed the use of a higher temperature thermostat on the motor and no more worries about raw water cooling in the block.
That was 18 years ago and that boat is still out in the local area running the same motor. I saw it go up for sale last year and the original motor is still in it.
I don't think anyone sells boats with raw water cooling these days, the motors these days have much thinner castings, they're not built like those old converted farm tractor motors.
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Old 14-01-2015, 15:25   #39
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Re: Always run don't walk from gasoline inboards....?

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Originally Posted by td0tz View Post
I thought those old A4's were raw water cooled - and yet they last 28 - 30 - 40 years?? If so, why are we fiddling with heat exchangers? Or does petrol somehow deter rust?
I'm not sure I understand the question. Mine was raw water cooled. Always in fresh water, still had original paint. No real rust problems. In fact considering how leaky a 1974 Grampian 30 is- it was in fantastic condition.
The messing around I had to to was with the carburetor and the timing.
Fuel and spark- in no way related to heat exchangers.

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Old 15-01-2015, 09:38   #40
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Re: Always run don't walk from gasoline inboards....?

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I'm not sure I understand the question. Mine was raw water cooled. Always in fresh water, still had original paint. No real rust problems. In fact considering how leaky a 1974 Grampian 30 is- it was in fantastic condition.
The messing around I had to to was with the carburetor and the timing.
Fuel and spark- in no way related to heat exchangers.

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In raw water cooled engines, even when used in fresh water there will be corrosion and mineral/goop (from organic material in the water) that builds up in the cooling passages, this will eventually cause problems.
Those motors had such heavy castings that they can sacrifice a lot of metal before becoming an issue. Still, blockage from minerals and organic material in the water which starts to fill the cooling passages in the block can eventually become a problem.
Closed loop cooling systems if properly filled and maintained will have a corrosion inhibitor/ antifreeze which should prevent those kinds of issues. Of course you should still change your coolant mix from time to time to make sure it remains effective. Usually about every 5 years on most recreational boats. The other added benefit is being able to run the engine with ah hotter thermostat to help burn off moisture and impurities in the oil. Raw water engines are run with a colder thermostat to avoid too much mineral buildup in the block.
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Old 15-01-2015, 11:46   #41
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Re: Always run don't walk from gasoline inboards....?

Thanks for the precise answer. What prompted my tongue in cheek comment was reading some rather discouraging tales on this forum of the issues that can arise, and the hideous expense, when the heat exchanger on a diesel gets clogged with goop.

It seems that one expense (time doing it yourself, or money to outsource) could approach the equivalent (time or money) expense to rebuild a raw water Atomic4.
Perhaps some larger gas engines use heat exchangers and fresh water/coolant systems too. I'm only familiar with the A4's, which always reminded me of the Model A 4 banger my buddy and me rebuilt in high school.

While I was automatically eliminating gas auxiliaries from consideration, this thread has opened me to considering them again, for my planned uses. The deal breaker, all things considered, is whether long offshore passages are planned. The greater range seems to be one advantage diesels offer that gas can't. The other advantage is for larger vessels, perhaps >40 feet where a gasser just has to work too hard.

Risk can be offset with prudence, at least to a sufficient extent for me, YMMV. Given the complexity and resulting maintenance costs of the modern diesel and the fuel price differential, long term cost seems to actually be more in the favor of gas(!) for use in a moderate size displacement hull.

And I like simple, "as simple as possible, but no simpler" as the man said.
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Old 15-01-2015, 11:55   #42
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Re: Always run don't walk from gasoline inboards....?

Oh, and the old Cal I sailed on with an Atomic 4? Yeah, we had a fire.

Not the gasoline, though.

It was the dang alcohol stove. Fortunately it happened that there wasn't much fuel pressurized, and it only scorched the galley area. And cabin roof. Oh, some upholstery. Portlights. But mostly cleaning fixed it all.
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Old 15-01-2015, 14:46   #43
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Re: Always run don't walk from gasoline inboards....?

My boat had gasoline engines for the first 40 yrs of her life. I repowered to diesel for some of the reasons listed previously. Mainly, I wanted the fuel economy.

With gas motors, safety systems and following procedures are a must.

Before starting the motor, I always did the following and it saved me from going boom more than once over the years.

1) poke your head in the engine room for a sniff test. If you smell gas, carefully rectify it. Gas engines require ignition protected accessories. One commonly overlooked item are light switches that may be located near the engine room door. I'd always sniff before turning on the lights.

2) use a chemical sniffer to determine if it finds explosive vapors. Mine detected low fume levels that I could not smell on two occasions and led to the discovery of a failed fuel pump diaphram.

3) run the blower for 10 mins prior to cranking, during operation, and for 10 mins after operation.

4) maintain your fuel system and inspect weekly. A minor weeping of diesel at a fitting while sitting dockside may be something you can put off till the weekend to tackle, but not gasoline.


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Old 15-01-2015, 15:22   #44
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Re: Always run don't walk from gasoline inboards....?

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Originally Posted by lifeofreilly57 View Post
In raw water cooled engines, even when used in fresh water there will be corrosion and mineral/goop (from organic material in the water) that builds up in the cooling passages, this will eventually cause problems.
Those motors had such heavy castings that they can sacrifice a lot of metal before becoming an issue. Still, blockage from minerals and organic material in the water which starts to fill the cooling passages in the block can eventually become a problem.
Closed loop cooling systems if properly filled and maintained will have a corrosion inhibitor/ antifreeze which should prevent those kinds of issues. Of course you should still change your coolant mix from time to time to make sure it remains effective. Usually about every 5 years on most recreational boats. The other added benefit is being able to run the engine with ah hotter thermostat to help burn off moisture and impurities in the oil. Raw water engines are run with a colder thermostat to avoid too much mineral buildup in the block.
Interesting. I sold the boat a couple of years ago to a friend who still sails her regularly- 41 years and still going strong.

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Old 15-01-2015, 15:50   #45
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Re: Always run don't walk from gasoline inboards....?

There are thousands of gas powered powerboats used every summer by people who really don't know much about being on the water safety wise. Yes, there are a few fires...... but a lot out there... not that I dont prefer diesel.
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