Does your sailboat have an old Atomic 4 gas engine? Is it at the end of its useful life? If so, you may be a candidate for a Beta Marine engine.
Beta Marine is headquartered in the United Kingdom and has several distributors here in the United States. They marinize engines based on the heavy-duty Kubota diesels. Kubota engines have been in use in tractors and industrial or agricultural pumps for years. They have an extensive parts and dealer network throughout the world. How would you like to buy your spare parts at tractor prices instead of marine prices?
I got a chance to inspect these engines first hand at the recent Annapolis Boat Show. One of their most popular engines is a drop-in replacement for the venerable old Atomic 4. It is available in three different horsepower levels, 13.5 hp, 20 hp and 28 hp. Freshwater cooling is standard on these models.
Additional accessories that come with the engine include the fresh and sea water pumps, 12 volt starters, 40 or 65 amp alternators, oil change pump, flexible mounts and a flexible coupling. Available options include larger alternator and control panels with gauges instead of idiot lights. You can also order keel coolers if you desire.
The standard gearbox is a Technodrive TMC 40 with a 2:1 reduction ratio. Other gearbox options are available from PRM or ZF/Hurth. Speaking of gearboxes, Beta Marine will help you pick the right propeller, gear reduction ratio and horsepower rating.
How important is this? It’s critical! I have a friend who had a brand new Yanmar diesel installed in his 31-foot sailboat. The oversized engine would only drive the boat at 3.5 knots. This was not a problem with the Yanmar as the engine ran fine. The problem lay with the dealer who chose the wrong reduction ratio for the size of the prop and weight of the boat.
That dealer went out of business, so my friend contacted Beta Marine for an engine. Beta Marine worked with him to understand how big a propeller he could swing and the right gearbox reduction ratio needed. Once the engine was installed, he has never looked back. Luckily he was able to sell the perfectly fine Yanmar to someone whose boat could swing the proper sized propeller. He was so impressed with the engines he became a manufacturer’s representative.
The three different horsepower engines in this range were specifically developed to replace aging Atomic 4 gasoline engines in sailboats. The special narrow mounting feet and compact dimensions are tailored to make replacement in these boats much simpler and thereby less expensive.
So, if you want to repower your Atomic 4 powered sailboat with a reliable diesel engine with a widespread dealer network and parts supply, consider a Beta Marine small diesel engine.
Beta Marine North Carolina Ltd.
PO Box 5
Arapahoe, NC 28510
Link to a drawing of the Beta replacement for the Atomic 4 gas engine:
Beta replacement engine for the Atomic A4