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Old 04-09-2012, 09:47   #16
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Re: Universal Engine, Gas vs Diesel etc.

Didn't see it mentioned anywhere but www.moyermarine is an excellent source for A4 parts, manual's, etc etc. The Forum itself is probably the best forum I've ever had experience with.
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Old 04-09-2012, 16:06   #17
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Re: Universal Engine, Gas vs Diesel etc.

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Originally Posted by Bold Rascal View Post
Didn't see it mentioned anywhere but www.moyermarine is an excellent source for A4 parts, manual's, etc etc. The Forum itself is probably the best forum I've ever had experience with.
Thanks for the reference and link.
-Bruce
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Old 04-09-2012, 16:57   #18
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Re: Universal Engine, Gas vs Diesel etc.

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Originally Posted by S/V Alchemy View Post
I own a self-rebuilt Atomic 4 in a '73 Viking 33 I use in Lake Ontario. Short-haul, head to wind stuff. It's great for that, because it isn't affected by ten minute run-times.
G'Day Alchemy,

From distant memory, I have the idea that the Anemic 4 has only two main bearings. You have had yours apart for rebuilding... is my memory correct?

Thanks

Jim
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Old 04-09-2012, 18:05   #19
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Re: Universal Engine, Gas vs Diesel etc.

The A4 is a very reliable engine for a gasoline engine. Ignition problems, as with anything electrical in a boat, is it's achilles heal. These problems are easily handled with a little experience however. The A4 also had a tendency for the valves to stick if not properly serviced before they were put away for the winter. No big thing to cure if you don't mind digging into the engine.

The real issue with the A4/diesel is the cost of replacement. A new diesel will set you back $7,000 plus and nearly that much to have it installed. That's two years of cruising if you are the frugal type. If you have the bucks, are the type that turns on the engine every time speed drops below 4k, and don't want to have to mess with an engine except to change the oil, then dumping the A4 is a good idea. Personally, I'd stick with the A4 if it's got good compression and oil pressure. The A4 is actually a much nicer engine to run with than a diesel. Way less vibration and noise and no diesel exhaust to put up with.
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Old 04-09-2012, 18:56   #20
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Re: Universal Engine, Gas vs Diesel etc.

Depends on how your skills are with minor jobs like adjusting valve lash, replacing spark plugs, adjusting timing (rarely needed), adjusting points, or not if it has an electronic ignition. The other jobs are common to any engine like water impellers, belts, charging systems, fuel filters, and pumps. Do you know if it is a reduction or direct drive type ? Makes a huge difference in engine life. The reduction drive engines are helped with gearing to spin the prop where the direct drive rely on more prop size and pitch to keep from over loading the engine. Both work fine just have to know what you are working with. The flat head 4 cylinder gas engine is not a very refined mechanical engine -- that is good as it is more forgiving with sub par fuel. Gas and diesel fuel prices are almost the same so it usually boils down to how much are you really going to use the engine. I ran one for over 20 years and it never let me down, it DID talk to me a time or two just to let me know who the boss is though. This type of engine can be found all over the world as most small constant demand industrial engines are this type.
I would run it and save your money.
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Old 04-09-2012, 19:09   #21
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Re: Universal Engine, Gas vs Diesel etc.

Installed a Universal diesel in My 36 ft C&C 23 yeares ago replaced the Atomic 4,In 23 years the new diesel never gave me a problem period.Several Bahama trips.The old Atomic 4 I,sold,, it was installed in an Ericson 27 still going strong.
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Old 04-09-2012, 19:16   #22
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Re: Universal Engine, Gas vs Diesel etc.

If I was starting from scratch I would probably choose diesel, but if I had a perfectly good Atomic 4 in there I would probably stick with it until it dies. Gas does have certain advantages. The ignition systems, as has been mentioned, are prone to moisture related and other problems, but on the other hand you can almost always easily fix these problems anywhere in the world with relatively inexpensive parts. Every place has gasoline engines in cars and trucks, and a lot of the parts are swappable and the concepts are simple. While diesels tend to run a long time without needing anything major, when they do break down the repairs are more difficult and not always easily done in out of the way places. For example, getting something like an injector pump serviced or replacing injectors is not something done everywhere. Certain diesel problems, like air leaks in the fuel system, can be very troublesome to troubleshoot. Gas engines tend to be much quieter and smoother than diesels. However, the safer fuel and better fuel mileage are very desirable with diesel.
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Old 04-09-2012, 19:30   #23
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Re: Universal Engine, Gas vs Diesel etc.

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My direct experience is that the Universal marinizations of Kubota engines are to be avoided. The Kubota portions are fine. The Universal work is shoddy and parts expensive.

Many better engines are avaiable: Beta, Yanmar, others.
5000 hours and 28 years now on my Universal 5424. Needed the injection pump rebuilt, and a new heat exchanger, 10 years ago. New alternator last year. Starts instantly, no smoke, no oil consumption.

Yep, I'd stay away for sure
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Old 05-09-2012, 06:21   #24
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Re: Universal Engine, Gas vs Diesel etc.

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I also currently have a boat with an Atomic 4 in it. It was rebuilt in 2009. However, I am planning a long cruise with the boat and would also like to know if I should replace it with a diesel. I was thinking either a Yanmar or Westerbeke. Which would you guys recomend? Both from a power standpoint, maitanece standpoint and fuel consumption standpoint.
Since you are planning to cruise the Atlantic, I would recommend getting rid of the Atomic Four... The hastle of parts in Europe, the gas mileage and of course the possible dangers of carrying gas is enough to consider swicthing it out for a deisel engine.

We have a YANMAR deisel and love it!

The Yanmar parts and service people are available worldwide.

What ever you choose, make sure you size the engine to your boat.

With the age of your boat, I would guess a few sisterships have had their engines replaced.

So insted of re-inventing the wheel, talk to other sistership owners and see what they have done as far as Horse Power and Prop sizes.
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Old 05-09-2012, 07:18   #25
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Re: Universal Engine, Gas vs Diesel etc.

There's no question that a diesal is more fuel efficient. If you truly are going to be doing extended "offshore" cruising and have the money to spend then I too would be leaning towards a diesal.

If your cruising is going to be coastal or intracoastal then your freshly rebuilt and "paid for" A4 should do you just fine.

I do not know what type of boat your's is installed in. They are rated at approx. 20hp. and IMHO are a tad undersized for anything over 5 tons of displacement, especially if motorring head to wind in heavy chop like we experience here on the Chesapeake Bay. Otherwise it's a solid, reliable engine.
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Old 05-09-2012, 19:41   #26
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Re: Universal Engine, Gas vs Diesel etc.

Its in an Alberg 35. I was planning on installing something in the 27-35 HP range. From what I've read, it appears that the A4 thats currently installed is 30hp.
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Old 06-09-2012, 06:31   #27
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Re: Universal Engine, Gas vs Diesel etc.

Hi Kevin.
Is your A4 a direct drive or does it have the 2-1 gear reduction?
To help you to answer your questions I have 2 suggestions for you:

1) Spend some time reviewing some of the related conversations over at the Moyer Marine forum. If you can't find your answer's just ask, That's a great bunch of folks there and extremely helpful.

2) Run your Alberg with the A4 in varying conditions, get some experience with it such as how well the lil beastie pushes her, operating RPM, engine temp, fuel consumption.

There are also options as far as some alternative prop configurations you could try, again check with the Moyer Forum. Gain from the experience of other's. The best decision is an informed one.
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Old 07-09-2012, 09:24   #28
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Re: Universal Engine, Gas vs Diesel etc.

I'm not sure if its direct drive or not. Right now, it seems to REALLY enjoy its gas. Of course, my boat seriously needs her bottom cleaned. I've only owned her about 2months and the previous owner neglected getting it cleaned regularly so it is covered in growth. I just scrapped her water line yesterday, but there is still a lot left. So thats throwing it off. I don't mind the A4 just around the harbor, since I can have my sails up 10mins after leaving the dock, but for long range, I'm not real sure about it.
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Old 07-09-2012, 10:08   #29
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Re: Universal Engine, Gas vs Diesel etc.

Having a clean bottom is imperative for optimum fuel efficiency. Even if only your prop is fouled (and it doesn't take much) your performance is going to be seriously effected.

Only needing to motor for about 10 min's to and from the mooring/slip is fairly typical and for the A4, not really an issue allthough all motor's appreciatte a little warm-up. Diesal's however, from what I have heard and read, do not like short runs.
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