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View Poll Results: How old is your Atomic 4 engine block?
1945 - 1950 0 0%
1951 - 1955 0 0%
1956 - 1960 5 1.48%
1961 - 1965 23 6.82%
1966 - 1970 53 15.73%
1971 - 1975 122 36.20%
1976 - 1980 116 34.42%
1981 - 1985 11 3.26%
1986 - present 4 1.19%
Don't know 3 0.89%
Voters: 337. You may not vote on this poll

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  #1   IP: 68.173.38.216
Old 07-25-2011, 08:14 PM
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How old is your Atomic 4 engine? Poll by decade.

I just looked up some info on the 'pedigree' of the Universal Atomic 4 engine and found out that the A4 was produced from 1947 - 1984. Here is a link about the A4's history: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Universal_Atomic_4
My engine is pretty old but I am curious how many older A4 engines are even older. I also wonder about the distribution of newer A4s.
It may take some time for a meaningful amount of data to build up but I've got some time - I hope!

Last edited by CalebD; 07-25-2011 at 08:21 PM.
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  #2   IP: 76.7.129.100
Old 07-25-2011, 08:53 PM
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Two 1965's # 77345 and # 77414. Dan S/V Marian Claire
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  #3   IP: 24.152.131.220
Old 07-25-2011, 08:54 PM
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My research shows that Universal ceased production of the A-4 in 1980 but continued to ship engines until 1984.
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1977 Catalina 30
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prior boats 1987 Westsail 32, 1970 Catalina 22
Had my hands in a few others

Last edited by ndutton; 07-25-2011 at 11:08 PM.
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  #4   IP: 24.136.67.99
Old 07-25-2011, 09:28 PM
Dave Neptune Dave Neptune is offline
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Talking 4 decades

My lil' beastie is going on it's 42nd year and it's original except for a new #4 exhaust valve installed 26+ years ago. I've had 2 exhaust manifolds and replaced the head gasket when I did the valves (valve job) and got the siezed A-4 I'd just purchased cheap because it needed an "engine". I also installed a new oberdorfer water pump about 7 or 8 years ago. Other than that just standard good maintenance practices.
It's never left me stranded yet!!!

Dave Neptune
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  #5   IP: 75.175.114.198
Old 07-25-2011, 11:32 PM
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I don't know for sure but since the boat was built in 1964 and its an early model I'm sticking with that, although there have been obvious upgrades like electric ignition, fresh water cooling, oil filter, and carb.
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  #6   IP: 68.173.38.216
Old 07-26-2011, 12:57 AM
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It's an atomic 4

Quote:
Originally Posted by ndutton View Post
My research shows that Universal ceased production of the A-4 in 1980 but continued to ship engines until 1984.
I'm sure you are correct about that Neil. They had parts enough to keep going for nearly 4 years until 1984 when they introduced the Atomic diesel (likely a 5434, 3 cylinder combustion chamber engine).

Marketing is everything.
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  #7   IP: 71.222.192.40
Old 07-26-2011, 01:53 AM
Jlmatt Jlmatt is offline
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On my engine the block is a late model. But it works with the original head and the generator from 1961.

Jean-Luc
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  #8   IP: 66.190.33.58
Old 07-26-2011, 05:53 AM
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072077 , a bit younger than the craft propelled .
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  #9   IP: 206.125.176.3
Old 07-26-2011, 07:48 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ndutton View Post
My research shows that Universal ceased production of the A-4 in 1980 but continued to ship engines until 1984.
Hi Neil, I have spoken with an old salt (at the bar, where else ) that said he worked for Westerbeke in 1980 when they went into the Oshkosh plant & shut it down when Westerbeke 'bought out' Universal. This I would consider a reliable source, except I think his liver has seen a lot of use in the last 30 years. His memory still seems to be intact. I would take this information to mean that Westerbeke didn't like the Atomic4 and wanted to stop production to remove any competition from the market & allow diesels to take over...too bad.

The rumor I've heard is that Catalina continued to put A-4's into their boats until 1982 due to a large stockpile they had purchased prior. I might have heard this from Max Munger or read it on the Catalina30 class website.

Caleb, since you started the poll, here is the data I have. The casting date stamped on my engine block in my '77 model year boat is April 1976. I have the serial number floating around somewhere.. - edit, it is #197258 .
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"Twice Around" - '77 Catalina 30, #511 with original A-4 & MMI manifold.
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Last edited by sastanley; 08-02-2011 at 10:10 AM. Reason: proper serial number
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  #10   IP: 24.224.206.117
Old 07-26-2011, 08:24 AM
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I have a 76 and a 79. The 79 is a drop in spare in the garage.
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The pessimist complains about the wind.
The optimist expects it to change.
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  #11   IP: 148.170.241.1
Old 07-26-2011, 08:37 AM
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Although my boat was made in 1968 and came from the Pearson plant with an A4, the A4 that was in it when I bought it last year was made and installed in 1983. Well, at least it was marketed as a 1983, whether it actually was "made" in that year, I dunno. But I have the receipt from 1983 and the original owner's manual in among the paperwork that came with the boat.

So mine is one of the last...
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  #12   IP: 69.156.0.200
Old 07-27-2011, 06:30 AM
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How old is your Atomic 4 Engine

Does anyone have a picture or ad showing what the original A4's looked like.
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Old 07-27-2011, 07:37 AM
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I don't know if this is the "original" style, but it definitely is an older style:



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  #14   IP: 71.253.203.30
Old 07-27-2011, 01:30 PM
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What part of the serial number gives you the build date?
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  #15   IP: 206.125.176.3
Old 07-27-2011, 01:39 PM
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I have a separate stamping on the block...it is just aft of the oil pressure sending unit hole & under the valve side plate..I didn't see it until last spring.

edit - here is a better pic, showing the casting date.

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"Twice Around" - '77 Catalina 30, #511 with original A-4 & MMI manifold.
Great fall sailing!!

http://www.moyermarine.com/forums/signaturepics/sigpic3231_6.gif

Last edited by sastanley; 08-02-2011 at 11:04 AM.
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  #16   IP: 148.170.241.1
Old 07-27-2011, 01:44 PM
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Here is what I have found on the web about the serial number:

Pre 1969: serial number is stamped on right, forward side of block above starter motor.

Post 1968: serial number is stamped on block above flywheel housing, and on an id tag glued to top of manifold.

Post 1977: serial number is stamped on block above flywheel housing, on an id tag glued to top of manifold, and on an id tag glued to front of the flywheel housing cover.

I know I had seen a page with more detail on dating your A4, but now I can't find it. Some of the links I had bookmarked less than a year ago are now dead. I plan on seeking out all the info I can find and saving it in case those sites vanish too.
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  #17   IP: 74.108.39.167
Old 07-27-2011, 08:59 PM
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I don't know how old it is.

My s/n is 195476.

Block casting #s are 050 775 A and 295 369.

Can someone decode those?
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  #18   IP: 71.90.52.210
Old 07-28-2011, 05:57 AM
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Loki ,

Your block was cast on May 7 , 1975.

MM DD YR ; 05/07/75

(Decoding thanks to Edward c.)
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  #19   IP: 161.213.49.1
Old 07-29-2011, 01:55 PM
JOHN COOKSON JOHN COOKSON is online now
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New style serial # 204047 in a 1980 boat.
Where do I find the block casting date numbers?

TRUE GRIT
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  #20   IP: 128.183.140.38
Old 08-01-2011, 05:24 PM
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My Moyer-rebuilt engine used a block with an 8/22/66 stamp, with an SN of 79034 . This is an early model block, but assembled with all late-model parts for all the other castings.

My original engine was a late-model. The block was stamped 051376 (May 13, 1976), with an SN of 197869. This date makes sense, as the boat, a Pearson 323, was built in December of 1976.
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Last edited by edwardc; 08-02-2011 at 01:58 PM.
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  #21   IP: 98.248.12.160
Old 08-09-2011, 05:36 PM
tartansailboat tartansailboat is offline
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new thread, carb mixture setting

Sorry if this message is hooked onto an existing thread but I cannot find the "new thread" button, somebody please help me here. Anyway, my message is: I changed spark plugs and see that they are slightly sooty, not a nice grey as they should be. Looks like I am running a little rich, all I can see on my carb is the idle setting knob, no main jet adjustment, how do you adjust the mixture?
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Old 08-09-2011, 06:11 PM
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Tartansailboat,

Shawn Stanley has a pic in post #15; if you look at his throttle cable there is a black piece of plastic on it. Look just below and slightly rearward of that little black piece and you will see an adjustment screw with a spring on it. That is the adjustment for your mixture.

Screw it in all the way the back it off 1 and 1/4 turns. Start the engine and let it warm up a bit. Try to smell the rich running engine. Back the screw off about 1/4 turn at a time until you don't smell it anymore....once or twice might do it.

After that you will want to ensure the engine starts well COLD with choke then stays running when you push the choke cable back in. This might take trial and error but you will get it set up. Just use some caution not to back that screw out all the way initially.

Hope that helps. ...by the way, just by looking at the plugs you are using I don't see them being "hot" running plugs. The hotter running plugs have a larger base. Your carb adjustment might be fine if you don't smell the richness... Hotter running plugs are capable of burning more in the combustion chamber as the plug fires....

To start a thread you click on a subject....ie "troubleshooting" and up in the corner will be a tab for "start a new thread"
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...Sir William Arthur Ward.

Last edited by Mo; 08-09-2011 at 06:18 PM.
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  #23   IP: 98.248.12.160
Old 08-09-2011, 06:51 PM
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Maurice, thanks for the help. My plugs are the RJ12C that Don sells, is there a hotter plug? Also, I see the adjustment screw but I thought that adjustment is for idle speed, is there another adjust for that? Screwing it in makes the mixture richer or leaner?

thanks for the help in finding a "new thread" link for us computer disadvantaged folks.
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  #24   IP: 68.173.38.216
Old 08-09-2011, 07:17 PM
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Tartansailboat,
To start a new thread you need to be within a forum or sub forum. In this case the 'Ignition' forum would make sense. Then the 'new thread' button appears above the thread list.
No harm, no foul though.

To answer your question about sparks, I've begun using Autolite 437 spark plugs which are supposed to be hotter and have been impressed with how little they seem to soot up the way the Champion RJ12C plugs did in my old engine.

Which Tartan do you have?
I'm in a T27 from 1967.
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  #25   IP: 98.248.12.160
Old 08-09-2011, 11:15 PM
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Caleb, thanks for the directions on starting a new thread, I think I finally got it. I have T30, hull 127 circa 1972 and sail out of SF bay, lots and lots of wind. I just put in the new RJ12C from Moyer, engine runs very well just noticed more black soot on the electrodes than I recall seeing when I last changed the plugs in 2008. I think I will try to lean out the mixture to see if that cures the problem before I spring for the new plugs. I remember when plugs were $1 each, not any more.

My water pump just sprung a leak at one of the seals, water drips out of the weep slot. When I changed the impeller and saw just a little scoring of the shaft and was going to get a new shaft and seals but Ken suggested that the water pump which was 39 years old may be worn out as well. After 39 years, that pump doesn't owe anyone anything, so $250 later this week, I hope to get that fixed.
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