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Old 25-06-2013, 18:45   #1
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pirate Atomic Four .......Could You?

Am boat shopping. A boat I really like has an AF. I'd prefer a diesel but this is a v-e-r-y clean setup with access. Not what you think of with an inboard.
I like clean. I can maintain clean. And the price is fine. I've been around many. I think I could live with it as a liveaboard cruiser.

Thoughts beyond the explosive possibility? I doubt heading to the South Seas.

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Old 25-06-2013, 19:03   #2

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Re: Atomic Four .......Could You?

Diesel fuel stinks.

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Old 25-06-2013, 19:17   #3
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If the boat checks all the boxes except the engine- how important is diesel to you???

AF's are supposed to be reliable, and from what I read when I was boat shopping, parts are still available. Big plus------ you have an unlimited supply of fuel for your dinghy!
" requires a strong moral principle to prevent me from deliberately stepping into the street, and methodically knocking people's hats off- then, I account it high time to get to sea..." Ishmael
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Old 25-06-2013, 20:04   #4
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Re: Atomic Four .......Could You?

With a few mods from Moyer Marine AF's are very dependable and safe. I have one and I can at least keep it running w/ a small amount of equipment. Just get a re-build manuel from Moyer, well worth the cost... Michael..
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Old 25-06-2013, 20:07   #5
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Re: Atomic Four .......Could You?

There are hundreds of thousands of boats with gas engines that fail to explode on a regular basis. Every ski boat and small fishing boat I've ever owned was gas. Just a modicum of care and caution should keep you alive.

As long as you avoid dumping gas into the bilge and lighting it up the main downside to a gas engine is generally shorter cruising range under power. Since you aren't planning to sail to the South Seas the range probably won't be an issue.

As a bonus, the AF is much quieter and smoother than 99% of the similar sized diesels.
The water is always bluer on the other side of the ocean.
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Old 25-06-2013, 20:34   #6
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Re: Atomic Four .......Could You?

Yes you can live with an Atomic4. I have delivered a few boats with them, and they run like a well oiled sewing machine. While an A4 would not be my first choice(if money were no object), I would not consider a well maintained one as a deal breaker. Get at least a compression test, and watch the oil pressure at warm idle after the sea trial. One thing I have been told, but have not done, is that they are very easy to hand crank if you run your batteries low(not completely dead). Of course that would depend on the installation.____Good Luck_____Grant.
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Old 25-06-2013, 22:31   #7
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Re: Atomic Four .......Could You?

low oil pressure could be as simple as a misadjusted oil regulator. if so its an easy adjustment.
my A4 is going on nearly 40 years and still banging along fine.
S/V Voyager
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Old 25-06-2013, 23:25   #8
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Re: Atomic Four .......Could You?

My old A4 really helped my sailing skills develop.
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Old 26-06-2013, 02:14   #9
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Re: Atomic Four .......Could You?

They're actually great engines, simpler and easier to maintain and repair than a diesel.

Diesel power has a shed load of advantages for sailboat propulsion, but if we're talking about bay and coastal sailing on a smaller boat used for mostly short sails for the fun of sailing where you can almost always choose not to do a long motor, then the advantages are somewhat academic.

No one mentioned the other huge advantage of petrol power -- dramatically fewer fuel problems, no diesel bug, etc. This is a really big advantage especially for a boat where the engine is not used much except to get on and off the dock.

Yet another advantage - no one wants them, so boats with A4's will be cheap (or free).
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Old 26-06-2013, 03:58   #10
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Re: Atomic Four .......Could You?

Blue Crab

No experience with AF but, it would eliminate having multiple types of fuels on board. Since you could use gas for both the AF and your outboard. On the other hand if it ever dies you might want to consider electric propulsion access and maintenance would be even better.
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Old 26-06-2013, 04:12   #11
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Re: Atomic Four .......Could You?

Nothing to worry about with a well maintained A4. I had one in my last boat that finally required replacement after45 years. It was raw water cooled too.

Hopefully it is a later model with the thermostats in the head. The older ones had smaller externally mounted thermostats that were problematic at times and not even available anymore(I think).

Also the electric fuel pump and electronic ignition mods make the engine much more
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Old 26-06-2013, 04:35   #12
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Re: Atomic Four .......Could You?

Good stuff. I can start over looking at boats I once passed over. Thanks, guys. I wouldn't mind the reduced noise at all.
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Old 26-06-2013, 04:44   #13
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Re: Atomic Four .......Could You?

Don't know your age, but if an older motor, it may be worried about your dependability. . I say go for it.
so many projects--so little time !!
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Old 26-06-2013, 05:16   #14
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Re: Atomic Four .......Could You?

I wouldn't unless a fresh water boat. I did a partial rebuild on a salt water A4 2 years ago for a customer and was shocked at the cost of parts. You're far better off finding a boat someone has paid to repower in the last 10 years with diesel. This is pretty much the sage advice, but is totally accurate.
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Old 26-06-2013, 06:59   #15
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Re: Atomic Four .......Could You?

Atomic 4's are great little engines. Easy to work on and they are very smooth running. Like someone else said, there are probably a million boats out there with gas engines that simply fail to explode as predicted.
The only down side is that Atomic 4's burn a gallon or more of fuel per hour so you motoring range is limited.

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