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Old 13-07-2009, 08:03   #16
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Old 13-07-2009, 09:03   #17
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I was figuring about two times the cost of the engine. Great info, thanks.

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Old 13-07-2009, 11:25   #18
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I'm with Gord. If it ain't broke, don't fix it. If I were starting from scratch, I'd go diesel without hesitation, but A4s seem like good engines.
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Old 13-07-2009, 12:30   #19
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I also think Gord has it right. Unless the rest of the boat is near perfection I would tend to say dump the boat as someone else will think the A4 is fine since it runs as is.

You then can get a better boat saving time doing a full engine refit. If it was only the engine that was an issue and nothing else in the boat was worth changing then I probably would still agree with Gord because you have no problem. That big a change on that old a boat just can't have the bang for the money that another boat could. I don't see how you can make out ahead financially. A working engine in a boat could sell for a decent price then you add the money for the re powering (to include the whole works as noted above) and see what that can buy you. Then add anything you really like about the boat and subtract all the negatives and things needed replacemnt just around the corner.

The money needs to add up even if some of it is a bit subjective.
Paul Blais
s/v Bright Eyes Gozzard 36
37 15.7 N 76 28.9 W
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Old 14-07-2009, 08:03   #20
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Great advice. Great Forum. Thanks
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Old 26-07-2009, 14:33   #21
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We looked at a wonderful Erickson 30 and it had a very dead Atomic4/Universal on it. In researching what would be involved in repairing or replacing it we discovered, from a number of salty sources, that the original gaskets were auto grade, not marine, and that marinas are littered with them, head gaskets blown and no replacements available...

As long as it runs, that's great, but I guess if that head ever goes your are pretty much screwed...

ain't what ya do, it's the way that ya do it...
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Old 26-07-2009, 15:10   #22
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Please read this about Gas vs. Diesel. My vote is to find another A4 in good shape or rebuild the existing. Unless you're going cruising.

Marine Engines : Power Options - Gas Versus Diesel

Power Options: Gas -vs- Diesel Part II - by David Pascoe, Marine Surveyor on Marine Engines
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Old 26-07-2009, 20:32   #23
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sarafina, I think someone is yanking your chain. There are regular gaskets, metal gaskets, and specialty gaskets etc, but I have never heard of a marine gasket for an engine. Diesels have high compression, and most auto gas engines have a much higher compression than an old Atomic 4, so no marine gasket was required for the a-4. As a mater of fact, I am not familiar with any special head problems with that engine. Head gaskets if blown can be easily hand made from gasket stock by any good mechanic. The engine's weakest feature is its 2 bearing main crankshaft with no intermediate bearings, and that has not been known to be a problem.

Have fun

Joe S

The A-4 can still be found and are easily rebuilt, and a number of shops specialize in that. The engine was used everywhere because it was cheap and reliable, and today there are several diesels that are a straight drop ins as a replacement. Universal makes one themselves from a kabota diesel.
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Old 30-07-2009, 21:27   #24
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The articles by David Pascoe are very interesting and give another and thoughtful perspective on the issue. Thanks nightOwl.
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Old 07-08-2009, 15:25   #25
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I repowered my Tartan 30 from an A-4 to a Yanmar 3ym30 and have no regrets. I worked alot on the A-4 and bonded with it, but my family thought we ought to actually sail the boat. When the head gasket blew I could 1)repair, 2) replace with a rebuild or 3) repower with a diesel. Since I was planning long cruises I decided to go with a diesel. I looked at the so-called Universal "drop in" replacements but they only share the A-4 footprint. The fuel system, exhaust system and engine cover would all have to be replaced whichever diesel I chose, so I went with my mechanic's recommendation of the Yanmar. It was not quite twice the cost of the engine when installed. Perhaps It would have been financially smarter to have bought a new boat already diesel powered, but none of us have our boat because they are great investments.

If you stick with the A-4 get the service manual from Moyer Marine. Don Moyer knows more about the engine than anyone.

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