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Old 09-05-2022, 10:47   #31
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Re: General questions about sailboat maintenance/DIY repair?

I had a quick glance at the thread you sent you about the Atomic engine you have.

Read this post that was written 12 years ago very carefully. FWC stands for fresh water cooling. This is a cooling system where the cooling water passes through the engine using radiator coolant. Then there is a separate heat exchanger that cools the coolant using seawater.

If your engine is not already FWC then you likely should think very long and hard about converting the engine from seawater cooling.

Aaron - I think there will always be discussion about cooling systems on this forum until every Atomic 4 is converted to FWC, or resleeved, or dead since the cooling system is the "Achilles Heel" of our engines. You cannot blast the innards of a cast iron device with hot salt water indefinitely without consequences. That said, I think the decision to go to FWC is closely related to how one uses a boat. If you just use your engine to get in and out of the marina, don't venture too far from home port, have good towing insurance, and are prepared to deal with the consequences of sudden and potentially fatal block compromise, then raw water cooling is cool for you. But if, like me, you make long trips away from home, use the engine as primary power, and rely on it to provide heat, electrical energy and etc, then you should convert to antifreeze cooling (FWC). Then there is the philosophical consideratrion. We are the collective guardians of a delicate and esoteric technology. Think of the conversion to FWC as a personal challenge to your engineering and mechanical skills. Regards, Hanley


Of course there was the other side of the coin. This was written in reply.

Flushing every time with fresh water sounds like a very very good idea.


In defense of raw water cooling, if you are absolutely strapped for cash, go ahead and keep it. For my first few years of sailing I kept mine raw water cooled and sailed around the Chesapeake and even offshore to the Virgin Islands and back. Don't sweat it too much if you can't convert. Its lasted this long, and it'll probably last for years to go. The cast iron itself is quite durable. Not invincible, though. Throw a tee in the strainer and you can flush with fresh after each use. This is a great way to prolong the engine and it costs almost nothing other than your time and commitment to the procedure.

If you feel like throwing some bucks at it, the Electric FWC system seems to be a great solution to many who have mounting issues. Heck, I've got great access on my engine and I chose it over the other types because I thought it gave the cleanest installation.
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Old 09-05-2022, 12:21   #32
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Re: General questions about sailboat maintenance/DIY repair?

Buy a shop manual for your engine.
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Old 09-05-2022, 17:21   #33
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Re: General questions about sailboat maintenance/DIY repair?

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Originally Posted by seandepagnier View Post
depending on your intended use, the Catalina may not be a very good boat in heavy weather.
There was a guy who circumnavigated in one. Would I do it? hell no but he did.
As for heavy weather, they do get a bit tender, and IMHO the standing rigging could use a little beefing up.
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Old 09-05-2022, 17:24   #34
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Re: General questions about sailboat maintenance/DIY repair?

I have had 3 C27s good boats. I think you'll find that it will be a good learning platform but if I were looking into a small liveaboard you might be better off with the 30 instead of the 27.
the biggest advantage to Catalina's is the support you can get is far beyond any other brand, and they have Catalina Direct where you can get almost any part you will ever need. Both the 27 and the 30 have their own owner associations with posting sites so you might want to ask them their thoughts.
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Old 09-05-2022, 20:33   #35
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Re: General questions about sailboat maintenance/DIY repair?

Hi, witty,

The Atomic four, when my husband had one, was pretty reliable, and a simple gas engine to work on. It will have ignition points, so you'll want to gap them. There are sets of feeler gauges for that, and also you'll want them for checking spark plug gap. Maybe someone will chime in with "bush" ways to do this, too.

As to sails, here is a thread about used sail purchases. https://www.cruisersforum.com/forums...-to-98192.html

Good luck with your new home.

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Old 10-05-2022, 14:48   #36
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Re: General questions about sailboat maintenance/DIY repair?

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Step 1.
Don't buy a boat with a gas engine.
Step 2 DONíT buy a boat with a gas engine!!!
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Old 11-05-2022, 09:07   #37
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Re: General questions about sailboat maintenance/DIY repair?

Catalina has huge online support and will probably give you the best model specific info for maintenance and repair. Otherwise, Street's book is good and Calder's better. The first thing I would check is anything that could sink the boat.

My .02 on the A4. Nothing wrong with the A4 and gas if in good repair. The danger is way over hyped and generally caused by user error. Gas fumes from leaks is the problem but easily identified and repaired. The threat is mainly on start up when fumes have accumulated...the carb is low and has easy access so when running continually purges the engine room and helps keep surprise leak fumes at a lower explosion risk. Nothing magical here but parts are expensive from Moyer. Not my first choice but the best part of an A4 is it greatly lowers boat value and makes for good deals.
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Old 11-05-2022, 09:24   #38
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Re: General questions about sailboat maintenance/DIY repair?

I've never owned an inboard gas engine, but plenty of gas engines in a variety of places. The best change was when electronic ignition came in. If there's one thing I'd do on any Atomic 4 is to install an electronic ignition: Electronic Ignition--Now available in a Complete Do-It-Yourself Retrofit Kit


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Old 11-05-2022, 09:33   #39
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Re: General questions about sailboat maintenance/DIY repair?

My sailing "mentor" had a C&C 34 sailboat with an Atomic A4 engine. He liked it. He had upgraded to the Moyer marine electronic ignition which eliminated the "points" in the distributor.

The positives of the gasoline engine is it starts easier and has less vibration than a diesel (and less weight).

The downside is that it uses more fuel so its range is much less per gallon of fuel. (which makes it more expensive to operate with $5 per gallon fuel today), and of course the difficulty of selling a sailboat with a gas engine.

Also, I did NOT like the reverse on the A4 engine. Very strange.

Betamarine sells a drop in diesel replacement engine for the A4 Atomic :
https://betamarineusa.com/portfolio/...4-replacement/

cheers
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Old 11-05-2022, 09:37   #40
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Re: General questions about sailboat maintenance/DIY repair?

Quote:
Originally Posted by BBill View Post
Catalina has huge online support and will probably give you the best model specific info for maintenance and repair. Otherwise, Street's book is good and Calder's better. The first thing I would check is anything that could sink the boat.

My .02 on the A4. Nothing wrong with the A4 and gas if in good repair. The danger is way over hyped and generally caused by user error. Gas fumes from leaks is the problem but easily identified and repaired. The threat is mainly on start up when fumes have accumulated...the carb is low and has easy access so when running continually purges the engine room and helps keep surprise leak fumes at a lower explosion risk. Nothing magical here but parts are expensive from Moyer. Not my first choice but the best part of an A4 is it greatly lowers boat value and makes for good deals.
Dangerous, yes but a lot of stuff is if not understood.

As far as gasoline fumes are concerned, lucky for the A4 the spark issues are up pretty high, and these would be the spark that fumes need to ignite.

So, by all means convert to electronic ignition, be sure you put that little paper gasket on your distributor cap to help seal it, replace plug wires.

And MOST importantly, be sure your bilge blower works, and pulls fumes out of the boat, have the inlet hose down in the bilge.
All the GO BOOM videos this is usually the reason, NO bilge Blower!
It's required by law in those old boats.
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