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Old 15-08-2010, 06:27   #1
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Atomic 4

Gordon and I wrote "the book" on Atomic 4 maintenance for Motor Boating & Sailing magazine some years back. Universal liked the piece so much they bought reprints to give away with each motor. Anyone still have an Atomic 4?
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Old 15-08-2010, 08:01   #2
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Janet,

I've got one in my Catalina 30 and love it. Smoother and quieter than a diesel and for local cruising I don't need the range. Also dead simple and easy to work on. We have had our issues over the decades but we have made our peace.

Mike
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Old 15-08-2010, 08:16   #3
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Are you in fresh or salt water? Our boat had been outfitted for fresh water by the original owner but we want right to sea and ran ours 10 great years in sea water, thanks to Gordon's maintenance. We don't know what happened to the boat after we sold her.
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Old 23-08-2010, 09:51   #4
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When I was working in a boatyard in Bermuda I bought a half sunk Pearson 28..I removed the engine..which was just a lump of rust. Being from the UK I had never heard of an Atomic 4 before...it reminded me of Reliant engine or one of the 93a Fords that were in every scrapyard when I was young..
Having no money and free use of the workshop after hours I stripped the rusty lump, re cut the valve seats, re shelled the bottom end, re ringed the pistons..re installed it..and wow!!..it went really well. I know most people throw old motors away. I have a 42 year old Mercedes engine in my boat right now!..I can get any spares I need...it is totally reliable... My last boat had a 38 year old ....never a problem...If you have the skills...no need to re power..Rebuild!...Ok thats easy to say...but it works for me...
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Old 23-08-2010, 11:22   #5
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Jerry, you're our kinda guy. I call my husband the St. Jude of mechanical objects but I think you outdid even him in resurrecting that engine from the dead. We also have a 1969 Hanomag diesel and a 1981 Mercedes diesel.


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When I was working in a boatyard in Bermuda I bought a half sunk Pearson 28..I removed the engine..which was just a lump of rust. Being from the UK I had never heard of an Atomic 4 before...it reminded me of Reliant engine or one of the 93a Fords that were in every scrapyard when I was young..
Having no money and free use of the workshop after hours I stripped the rusty lump, re cut the valve seats, re shelled the bottom end, re ringed the pistons..re installed it..and wow!!..it went really well. I know most people throw old motors away. I have a 42 year old Mercedes engine in my boat right now!..I can get any spares I need...it is totally reliable... My last boat had a 38 year old ....never a problem...If you have the skills...no need to re power..Rebuild!...Ok thats easy to say...but it works for me...
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Old 23-08-2010, 12:31   #6
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I had one on my last boat, and your book. If I had the motivation and skill I'm sure I could have made it work but honestly with half the motivation and skill I make our Yanmar work and it works really well. The best I ever got out of my Atomic 4 was that it was generally reliable most of the time.
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Old 23-08-2010, 13:31   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jerry Cox View Post
When I was working in a boatyard in Bermuda I bought a half sunk Pearson 28..I removed the engine..which was just a lump of rust. Being from the UK I had never heard of an Atomic 4 before...it reminded me of Reliant engine or one of the 93a Fords that were in every scrapyard when I was young..
Having no money and free use of the workshop after hours I stripped the rusty lump, re cut the valve seats, re shelled the bottom end, re ringed the pistons..re installed it..and wow!!..it went really well. I know most people throw old motors away. I have a 42 year old Mercedes engine in my boat right now!..I can get any spares I need...it is totally reliable... My last boat had a 38 year old ....never a problem...If you have the skills...no need to re power..Rebuild!...Ok thats easy to say...but it works for me...
Hey Gerry,

Where the hell are you!! Been trying to find you, for days. Craig, Mel, Capt Loader and all the crew say hello.
How is Lex.
Talk to me man

Maurice.
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Old 24-10-2010, 19:15   #8
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Anybody out there have any experience with an electronic ignition conversion?
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Old 24-10-2010, 20:34   #9
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Atomic 4 upgrades

I have heard of a number of upgrades for the A4

1.fresh water cooling
2.crankcase ventilation kit
3.electric fuel pump
4. in-line fuel filter
5. electronic ignition
6. oil filter system
7. wet exhaust

What are people's opinions about these. The concensus I have heard for each is:

1. Worthwhile, extends life of engine
2. Conditional, worthwhile if you have an oil smell problem when underway.
3. No feedback, but seems to me that it allows you to put fuel tank below engine preventing siphoning of excess fuel into various engine parts while sailing.
4. Minimal feedback but filtering fuel seems like a good idea generally but not absolutely required as with diesel.
5. Mixed. Generally worthwhile as less maintenance of the ignition system is required.
6. No feedback. Seems like a good idea, but wasn't designed in to begin with. Was there some rationale passed on by the original designers or was it just an upfront economics issue?
7. Generally worthwhile. Quieter and no really hot mainfolds running long distances thru the boat. Problems with back flooding if engine doesn't start in the first several trys.

Any feedback from this group?
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Old 24-10-2010, 22:03   #10
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I work on a lot of A-4s. Generally speaking the upgrades are good if done properly. I have some good and shoddy Fresh water systems.

I have yet to see a remote filter mounted......The Oil is 12 bucks for a gallon.
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Old 25-10-2010, 11:04   #11
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I have an Atomic 4 in my 1968 Pearson Wanderer 30. It was installed as a new engine in 1983.

The absolutely best resource I have found on the web for Atomic 4 info is Moyer Marine and the companion forum. You can find pretty much everything you could possibly want to know about maintaining and servicing the A4, including doing a complete overhaul. Don Moyer publishes and sells an overhaul manual that shows you how to do everything.

They also rebuild A4s and sell all kinds of A4 parts that you pretty much can't get anywhere else.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Adelie View Post
I have heard of a number of upgrades for the A4

1.fresh water cooling
2.crankcase ventilation kit
3.electric fuel pump
4. in-line fuel filter
5. electronic ignition
6. oil filter system
7. wet exhaust

What are people's opinions about these. The concensus I have heard for each is:

1. Worthwhile, extends life of engine
2. Conditional, worthwhile if you have an oil smell problem when underway.
3. No feedback, but seems to me that it allows you to put fuel tank below engine preventing siphoning of excess fuel into various engine parts while sailing.
4. Minimal feedback but filtering fuel seems like a good idea generally but not absolutely required as with diesel.
5. Mixed. Generally worthwhile as less maintenance of the ignition system is required.
6. No feedback. Seems like a good idea, but wasn't designed in to begin with. Was there some rationale passed on by the original designers or was it just an upfront economics issue?
7. Generally worthwhile. Quieter and no really hot mainfolds running long distances thru the boat. Problems with back flooding if engine doesn't start in the first several trys.

Any feedback from this group?
I agree with all of the above. Fortunately for me, the previous owner of my boat did several of these already. He did the following:

Electric fuel pump - not only is this a benefit as you can locate it where you want, but it does away with the leaking and failing mechanical pumps.

Electronic ignition. I think this is a huge positive. No longer have to worry about points and condensor.

In-line fuel filter - it is a carburetted engine, so this is a good idea anyhow to prevent clogged jets.

It has a Vetus water-lift exhaust; I don't know when it was installed, but it works just fine.

I don't know about the crankcase ventilation; I'll have to look into that.

But for sure, the next thing I would like to do to it is to install fresh water cooling.
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Old 25-10-2010, 11:11   #12
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Quote:
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Anybody out there have any experience with an electronic ignition conversion?
I converted my about 10 years ago. I can tell you that this is a required change. Got rid of the constant battle with the points and moisture.

In Lake Superior with my installation the carb ices up in the spring until the water warms up. It doesn't have a heat exchanger.

Also, I have seen two Atomic 4s with broken cranks. The crankshaft flexes because it is not adequately suspended . It needs another main bearing. As a consequence I try not to run my hard.
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Old 25-10-2010, 12:37   #13
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Thanks for all the help so far. I've been considering converting over for a while. Not sure why I haven't done it yet, but it will happen soon.
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Old 22-11-2010, 17:46   #14
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Oil for the old girl

Hello all you A4 owners

Would any of you or have you used synthetic oil in these oil engins.
I think mine is the oridginal in my 1970 Hughes 29. I am going to change
the oil for the first time after sailing her only one summer. I don't know
when it was changed last by the p.o.

Dave
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Old 22-11-2010, 17:55   #15
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Just use regular oil.....Synthetic is a waste of money IMHumbleO
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