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Old 02-05-2015, 15:56   #16
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Re: Oil analysis Atomic 4, high copper and lead?

Not being at all familiar with an atomic 4 I would guess a conrod big end bearing on the way out ( well gone actually) from the oil analysis. As others have said check oil pressure&compression test it. In my experience the advice about a worn out old motor is probably true, i.e that old there's a high probability it's knackered. Only boats I've seen that old with good engines have replacement engines
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Old 02-05-2015, 16:56   #17
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Re: Oil analysis Atomic 4, high copper and lead?

some questions....what were the conditions of the analysis....was engine run for 15-20 minutes before the test...was test run after a winter lay up.....oil analysis can be thrown off when taken after a winter lay up or if engine is cold...how old was the oil.

oil analysis should be taken over a long period...ie several years to spot trends....I would not depend or make a decision on one analysis.

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Old 02-05-2015, 17:07   #18
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Re: Oil analysis Atomic 4, high copper and lead?

Seems like most areas are covered in the preceding posts, so just a couple comments from my ten year relationship w/ the A4.
Except for running out of oil you can patch them up with minimal tools, sorta like the WWll jeeps, HOWEVER you'll need more than just a basic knowledge internal combustion engines, if not you'll have to call in the profession calvary which then would not make economic sense to keep it.
Also,this is NOT the engine for offshore sailing or even coastal of any distance.
I sailed mine in S.F. Bay and no further than twenty nm coastal and always kept at least one sail up- just in case.
So my opin is to temper your decision by your sailing and mechanical skills.
BTW, when I sold my boat, Newport 30 ll, the A4 had almost as much JB Weld™ as it did iron - yes, the new owner was aware.
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Old 02-05-2015, 18:02   #19
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Re: Oil analysis Atomic 4, high copper and lead?

If the seller had changed the oil you'd never know.

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Old 03-05-2015, 11:17   #20
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Re: Oil analysis Atomic 4, high copper and lead?

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Originally Posted by Badsanta View Post
If the seller had changed the oil you'd never know.

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And if he never changed it, it may have hundreds of hours of "crap" in it.
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Old 03-05-2015, 15:23   #21
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Re: Oil analysis Atomic 4, high copper and lead?

Absolutely

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Old 13-05-2015, 11:48   #22
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Re: Oil analysis Atomic 4, high copper and lead?

A couple of important questions: Is this a fresh water cooled engine or raw water cooled? Has this boat spent it's life in non-salt water? Has this boat spent its life in northern climes where it is only used for 5-6 months out of the year. When I sold my A-4 equipped 1973 Ericson 27 non-salt water boat but raw water cooled, the engine was in excellent shape. It had always been a northern clime boat so the engine saw a fraction of the use expected on a southern or western salt water boat. I believe that a compression test will give you a good indication of the health of the engine.
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Old 13-05-2015, 12:12   #23
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Re: Oil analysis Atomic 4, high copper and lead?

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Absolutely

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Badsanta, I guess another question he should ask, what kind of oil? Or what type has been used and how often?
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Old 13-05-2015, 13:33   #24
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Re: Oil analysis Atomic 4, high copper and lead?

The question I was trying to infer is if you change the oil on a really bad engine then test it with little or no run time there would be little to no contaminants and check out fine.

So I think he was lucky that the oil had not been changed as it showed contamination . I've heard that a single test gives little help.
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Old 13-05-2015, 13:42   #25
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Re: Oil analysis Atomic 4, high copper and lead?

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This. And what is a nearly 40-year-old Atomic 4 worth?
Moyer says $700. That's how much they charge for the core on a rebuilt.

A Moyer rebuild is around $5K. With a brand new block it's around $6K. So if the OP can change an engine without a yard bill, that's the extent of the risk.

The A4 is decent engine. For a non-ocean going boat they're fine. They're easy to fix, dead simple, and generally run and run and run. They were in tens of thousands of boats.
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Old 13-05-2015, 13:53   #26
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Re: Oil analysis Atomic 4, high copper and lead?

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Originally Posted by Badsanta View Post
The question I was trying to infer is if you change the oil on a really bad engine then test it with little or no run time there would be little to no contaminants and check out fine.

So I think he was lucky that the oil had not been changed as it showed contamination . I've heard that a single test gives little help.
I'd have to agree. He has no base line. I wish him well. Sounds as though a rebuild may be as much as the vessel is worth. But then again a boat's worth is not always in dollars and cents?
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Old 13-05-2015, 14:19   #27

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Re: Oil analysis Atomic 4, high copper and lead?

Ryan-
The A4, aka "Stevedore" engine, was built as a low compression reliable 24x7 workhorse. So it may be a bit crude and simple but that can also mean very reliable and easy to keep running, compared to more "sophisticated" engines.
There's no oil filter, unless someone added one. There's a COIL and ignition wires, which need to be replaced from time to time, but that's cheap and simple, you just have to make a point of doing it. There's supposed to be a "restrictor plate" under the carb on some of them, just like many race cars, to cut down the max horsepower. Less hp = less tariffs in some places, so if you've got the plate, unbolting it gives you more power.
The carburetor, like all carbs, should be rebuilt every 5 years, and that means an afternoon spent with a bucket of gumout and some needles and brushes. But rebuilding a fuel injector pump is something you just can't do yourself.


So, plusses and minuses. And no "dirty diesel fuel, critters growing the tank" problems.<G>


Moyer Marine ARE the experts. A really good oil analysis shop should also be able to put the numbers in context for this engine, but start with Moyer and the contacts they'll give you. Fuel in the oil can mean someone just ran the engine for short periods (i.e. 10 minutes to and from the dock) and the fuel and moisture never cooked off. Or it can mean you need a ring and cylinder job, the compression test will say more about that.
But as other have said, this is a negotiating point. Any competent auto shop (well, that's hard enough to find) can rebuild these engines because they are so damned simple. Moyer can tell you what to improve while that is being done, and then you can expect the engine to keep running quite merrily for another 20 years.
Unless you NEED the extra fuel density from a diesel engine...no reason to throw all that money at it. A4's may not be the most intelligent servants in the world, but they are humble, faithful, and loyal ones.
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Old 13-05-2015, 14:58   #28
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Re: Oil analysis Atomic 4, high copper and lead?

You forgot to mention potentially explosive.
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Old 27-09-2016, 07:16   #29
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Re: Oil analysis Atomic 4, high copper and lead?

I owned and rebuilt two over the course of my ownership. Look, A4 is in a category of its own. its not a precision engine. Low compression, low RPM, once I blew a 1/4" hole in the head and raw water was pouring into #1 cylinder. And the thing still started and drove me back to the dock. About 3 hours of runtime at full speed. The only way i noticed something was up is that starting took 45 seconds. No wonder, fuel gas mixture had to overcome the seawater in the cylinders before ignition would take place. So it's oil analysis interpretation should be on its own curve. You cannot compare oil content to any other result. And the test house does not know that. Damn thing does not even have an oil filter. You could add an aftermarket kit for it. It would prolong its life. But don't dwell on results. Also when I was rebuilding my first one, engine machine shop insisted I shave the head to level the surface convincing me had gasket wont seal properly. Well what they didn't know is raw water passages are not very far and in shaving the head they eventually caused the hole I mentioned earlier. They treated it like they do car engines. And as far as gasoline and explosions, all I have to say is ignorant owners should not be allowed to own gasoline inboard. If you stick your head in the engine room daily or at least every time you start the engine, you're in no more risk of explosion then any other common sense boat owner.
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