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E32 engine swap Atomic 4 to diesel (Marina Del Rey)

Phoenix

Junior Member
I am considering swapping my Atomic 4 engine for a diesel. Any recommendations on which diesel would work best? (Engine, transmission, etc). Anyone have a solid boat mechanic that could do it?
~Chris
 

Christian Williams

E381 - Los Angeles
Senior Moderator
Blogs Author
What year is your boat? (Do fill out your Signature Line, it makes responding easier).

There can be the inevitable cost/benefit discussion if you're interested, which has been argued out in several historical threads. Or maybe not :).
 

Christian Williams

E381 - Los Angeles
Senior Moderator
Blogs Author
Summarizing previous discussions: a new diesel is expensive and requires new panel and often fuel tank or/and prop shaft issues appear and so on. Beta's comments here. Resale value for 1975 boat unlikely to change much even after such a big upgrade.

The usual options discussed are to repair the Atomic 4, or to install a replacement Atomic 4. Or to go to electric power, for which a dead gas engine presents an opportunity when range isn't important (or if sailing around the world, like P.Gazibera!)

The later 32s had a Universal M25 diesel of 21 or 23 horsepower, so it seems to me than the Beta 16 horsepower model mentioned earlier would be on the small side for the boat.
 

Pete the Cat

Member III
As Christian mentioned, going to diesel is not simple, I have repowered a couple of boats and the complications are more than most folks realize. Engine beds most often need reengineering, new shafts and stuffing boxes, fuel systems, tanks and electrical systems and instrumentation. I also think you will find that your options are becoming limited. Yanmar, who has always been a tech leader of building marine specific diesels, has never been particularly interested in accommodating the money losing business of small recreational sailboats. In anticipation of new pollution rules they are moving to common rail designs and this will likely complicate installation and service in the short term--but will probably be good for their industrial business where engines are heavily used and abused as in the charter and new boat business. You might have less future trouble with them (cars certainly became more reliable when we got rid of mechanical carburetors) but it might make installation and servicing a challenge in the short term. Beta has done a lot of cobbling and aggressive marketing of small tractor blocks with marine cooling systems--these are the systems that seem to most likely fail after a few years, but their customer service is reportedly good and the old technology is what boat yard and back yard mechanics understand. So your choices have evolving issues. After exploring options, a friend with an old Tartan 34C just decided to put in a rebuilt Atomic four after considering the options--at less than half the price. Given that he he not planning an around the world cruise, it seems like a very good choice if he is willing to vent the bilge before each start.
 

Loren Beach

O34 - Portland, OR
Senior Moderator
Blogs Author
Good advice so far. The one other facet I would invoke on is..... time. IF you like your boat and plan to keep it for ten (or more) years, you can amortize out a major upgrade like this in enjoyment.
:)
That was our thought when doing a full repower and then a full re-fit. The E-32-2 is, IMHO, a "large-enough" boat to be a final boat, and we know one couple that did a full re-fit (repaint, recore) on their 32-2 because they had enjoyed it for over 20 years and have no interest in another boat. i.e. it has become their "final" boat. Pretty much the same relationship we have with ours, purchased in 1994.
(I would mildly dissent with Ray, tho. Having lived with a Universal diesel for years, I find that the Betamarine package is technically superior in marinization design/build, by comparison to my cruder Universal. Of course the heart of it is the reliable Kubota diesel.)
 
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frick

Member III
I repowered my 1971 E29 with a yanmar. Why? Every shop I called said when they put in a Yanmar they never come back.
 

K2MSmith

Sustaining Member
I am considering swapping my Atomic 4 engine for a diesel. Any recommendations on which diesel would work best? (Engine, transmission, etc). Anyone have a solid boat mechanic that could do it?
~Chris
If the engine is working, I would wait for electric to evolve over the next few years.
 

steven

Sustaining Member
I'm pretty close to replacing my running but cranky A4 with electric.
The new generation of e pods available from several companies looks easy to install.

--Steve
 

Rebecca Ericson

Junior Member
Ahoy there.

I am considering the same thing, having just purchased an Ericson 34 with a gas engine (with issues). Was there ever a resolution for you Phoenix? Does anyone happen to know a good engine mechanic in Marina Del Rey?

(this is my first post. It's so great to join the community). Thank you!
 

Loren Beach

O34 - Portland, OR
Senior Moderator
Blogs Author
Ahoy there.

I am considering the same thing, having just purchased an Ericson 34 with a gas engine (with issues). Was there ever a resolution for you Phoenix? Does anyone happen to know a good engine mechanic in Marina Del Rey?

(this is my first post. It's so great to join the community). Thank you!
Welcome to the Viking ranks! :egrin:

Perchance, do you have an Ericson 34T or 34R, built in the late 70's with an Atomic 4 gas engine, mated to a V drive? (I have seen one once about a decade ago, but did not get a close look at the engine compartment.)
 

fixntheboat

Member II
Currently I'm refitting a 1974 32. Previous owner built new trailer and installed a new Universal M25xpb. I have his notes and seems he did a bit of research before installing. Boat sat for near 20 yrs in a lot in Albuquerque NM. with less than 1/2 hr on engine, after giving new fluid and check over it started right up.. Every thing else accept cushions is a total redo. presently not a fitting on the deck. cannot what to finish her and get back on the water.
 

Pete the Cat

Member III
Ahoy there.

I am considering the same thing, having just purchased an Ericson 34 with a gas engine (with issues). Was there ever a resolution for you Phoenix? Does anyone happen to know a good engine mechanic in Marina Del Rey?

(this is my first post. It's so great to join the community). Thank you!
You might consider getting a mechanic that will work with you and teach you about what ever engine choice you make. These engines are not really very sophisticated machines and it is really handy not just to be able to trouble shoot your own engine, but to make all the minor repairs. Seems to me that a lot of folks get discouraged with boat ownership when they are not comfortable the auxiliary power source--and this is a shame.
 

Christian Williams

E381 - Los Angeles
Senior Moderator
Blogs Author
A good (meaning available) freelance boat diesel mechanic is hard to find anywhere nowadays, and when you need him next he will have just retired. Alas.

In MDR, CC Marine is a professional outfit with a good rep. At the moment, that's where I'd have to go.

But as Ray says, diesels are typically worked on by owners who gradually learn the simple basics by asking for help--right here. Then just plunging in. It's really hard to make a diesel engine problem worse and 90 percent of problems have simple solutions ( which becomes apparent only in retrospect, of course).

Also, hiring somebody is often unsatisfying because they don't show up, or because they don't want to work in cramped old sailboats with ancient wiring or because they know that you don't want to pay for everything a responsible mechanic thinks needs to be done. But mostly it's unsatisfying because when it gets fixed, you never really know what went wrong, or how it got fixed, and have to live in fear it will happen again. Which is no fun and kills confidence in the boat.

We have old boats and old engines. They need our personal attention.

(Wait--Atomic 4, not diesel. I think the above applies to that gas engine, too. Our Atomic 4 owners will know to what extent)
 

windblown

Member III
Ahoy there.

I am considering the same thing, having just purchased an Ericson 34 with a gas engine (with issues). Was there ever a resolution for you Phoenix? Does anyone happen to know a good engine mechanic in Marina Del Rey?

(this is my first post. It's so great to join the community). Thank you!
Welcome!
 

frick

Member III
There is an old adage which can help ball park the size of engine needed...

4 Horse power per ton.

At 10 tom boat needs around 40 horse power
a 5 ton boat needs around 20 horse power.
 

KevinP

New Member
No experience but I looked it up out of curiosity.
Ericson 32-2 published displacement 8,800lb. Round up to 9000lb. 9000lb divided by 500lb = about 18hp.
Yanmar 2GM20 = 16hp @ 3400rpm 18hp @3600rpm. Can buy used for about $5K on Ebay
Beta 16hp @ 3600rpm.
Beta 20hp @ 3600rpm
E32-3 is 1000lb heavier than E32-2 and came with a 3cyl Universal M25 21hp @3200rpm.
M25XP 23hp@2300rpm
Atomic 4 replacement or parts - Moyermarine dot com
 

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