Archive for the '1956 Johnson Javelin' Category

04
Dec
11

Rhythm is Our Business…Business is doing swell: Captain Jones Vintage Outboard Restoration

Since January 2011 I  have been given the opportunity by three young men from Ramsey Brothers Restorations to move my outboard motor restoration shop into their facility.  The new location would offer me more room than my garage, a pain tbooth, and a large bay with an electric crane with which I could lift big outboards without breaking my back.  Not that I panned to go into business.  It is a hobby for me, but now a self sustaining hobby.  I even started a website at restoredoutboard.com.  Please check it out.  There are photos and info about work being done in the facility.

Big motor, big crane.

12 x 12 paint booth

So now as word has spread that there is a guy who works on old outboard motors as a hobby, many folks with vintage boats have begun to show up for help with their old outboard motors.  Most require a simple tune up, some a major overhaul.  Where is this going lead?  I just don’t know.  But in between working on helping others get their motors going, I have gotten to restore several for myself.  Here’s a few from the months past.

One of the first motors to be restored in my new digs was this 1937 Johnson PO-37 was purchased for 50 bucks on E bay. It was totally locked up...but...

After buying this 1937 Johnson PO-37 22hp outboard on E bay for 50 bucks, I spent twice that to drive from Toledo to Erie, PA to pick it up.  She was tied up and not serviceable.  I wasn’t sure she would be more than just a showpiece for my office at the new shop.  But after my friend Scott Parish came to lend a hand, we were able to use heat and penetrating oil to get her freed up.  We took the block down and everything inside was like new.  She did have a cracked cylinder, but another AOMC member found out I needed a good cylinder and sent me four of them to choose from.  A complete gasket set was purchased and she was rebuilt and repainted.  I still love to just see her on her stand when I walk in my office.  She looks so majestic.  OH!  Yes she does run now!!

After a bit of elbow grease and a full mechanical rebuild, including new piston rings, gaskets and seals and the cosmetic restoration, this old Sea Horse is ready to go for another 70+ years!!

I had the chance to do a little 3hp outboard for a customers grandson.  Very satisfying to see the results below.

This little 1953 Johnson JW 3hp motor was to be used as the first motor for a customers grandson.

Grandfather and Grandson with their restored outboard motor

Perhaps the best part of restoring vintage outboards is summed up in this photo.  A young man getting his rite of passage into freedom and responsibility.

The new Captain with his trusty little Johnson on the maiden voyage for a lifetime of memories.

Ironically, one of the very first jobs I was contracted to do was for a man who was in the Ramsey’s shop the day they met with me to test my interest in partnering with them.  This guy had a rather scrubby little Thompson lapstrake runabout he wanted to use on a no-wake-lake/electric only…no gas motors lake he lived on.  In fact this is a housing development built around and old quarry.  The fellow wanted something more vintage and unique than a pontoon, the prevailing vessel on his lake.  So the Ramsey’s were discussing the project while I stood by quietly.  As I listened…horror or horrors this guy aimed to put a little electric outboard motor on the back of his cute little Thompson.  It was more than I could bear the thought of!!
So being the quiet shy type, I blurted out…”You’re kidding!  why the hell would you do that?  It’ll look stupid!”
Following the eternal deafening silence of me breaking into the Ramsey’s sales pitch…all eyes on me know…me looking for a boat to crawl under…this fellow asked what I thought he should do.
I meekly said ” Well I dunno, but I’d be damned if i’d put some silly looking electric thing on the back of this boat.  Why don’t you gut an old Big Twin and stick an electric golf cart motor under the hood?”  Everyone looked at each other and then back at me.  The guy said “Can you do that?”
“I dunno” says I.
“Well get me some numbers and let me know!” says he!
After conferring with my friend Scott of Fort Wayne again, we both did research and found such things had been done before.  We discussed it over several months.  I had junk parts that were not worthy of a gasoline motor laying around.  So we set out to built an electric motor that was period correct for his boat.  So here tis!

Looks like a big twin on the outside...BUT...

So this was my first foray into vintage outboard restoration.  Making a vintage outboard modern.  Ugh!  Not exactly what I’d hoped for as a vintage outboard job.

Looks like a big twin on the outside...BUT...

So since moving into the new shop and having adequate shop facilities to perform almost any task from major and complete mechanical and cosmetic restorations to simple tune ups on vintage outboard motors, here are a few more pics for your review.

A sea of Johnson Holiday Bronze from 1956 and 1957.

Happy Customer Steve Shaltry with his '56 Johnson Javelin and a matching 7.5hp

One mans box full of trash...

A couple of neighborhood fellows showed up at the door one day I happened to be around holding this box of “parts”!  They offered them to me after finding them in a basement they were cleaning out.  I asked how much and they said “Nuthin’!  We knew you were working on motors in here and thought you might be able to use the parts!”

As luck would have it, I began sifting through the box and realized fairly quickly someone had methodically disassembled this Johnson TD-20 and cleaned it.  After two hours of reassembly, she was back in a bucket of water and running again.

Judging by her condition, not a dent in the tank…etc, I would say she was of very low hours, well taken care of, and maintained.  Lots of compression and she runs pretty well!

is another man's outboard motor. This one given to me by some local men who found it in a box while cleaning out a basement!! Yup! It runs again!

We were asked to set up a display at the Toledo Antique and Classic Boat Show this year.  So many lovely boats of every shape and size.  Many of my motors were hung on the runabouts at the show.  What a thrill and honor it is to see your work being displayed!

We were asked to set up a display at the Toledo Antique and Classic Boat Show this year. The two 1956 Johnson 15hp motors were an eye catching before and after display.

This 1955 Johnson RD-17 was converted to electric start and placed on a 1955 Lyman runabout. The boat and motor won a prize in its class!

Yet another 25hp Johnson, this time an earlier RD-16 with Electric start on its new craft.

Steve Shaltry and Sonny Clark brought this Century Imperial Sportsman back from a crumbling hulk. The 1956 Johnson Javelin was repainted by me and Steve did his own mechanical work.

So this is what has been going on to keep me from updating the blog.  My next post I hope to begin a series on how to do a full restoration from start to finish.  All to often I hear people complain about the price of a full mechanical and cosmetic restoration, but if you look at the balance sheet and the reliability of a properly restored motor as compared with a similar motor of comparable horsepower, the $$ is in my favor.  Besides…these motors have real style!

Stay tuned!

Greg

13
Sep
09

They say a good Helmsman is hard to find…

My wife and I decided to take our Thompson out for a nice evening cruise on Friday night. A beautiful day in Northwest Ohio, and we expected a nice sunset.  So we set out with our trusty little wooden vessel, and cruised to Maumee and Perrysburg, then to downtown.

I don’t really know what my wife knows about boats and outboard motors, other than she gives me a courtesy nod an smile when I speak of either.  “Hey Honey!  I just put a brass 12 pitch prop on the Thompson’s motor.  Boy does it run like crazy now!!!”

The smile and glazed look with a simple “Great?”

Then the unexpected happens.  While out on our journey, she looks over and says “The motor seems to be running hard.”

I listen and yes it sounds like the carb could use a tweak.  We slow to a stop and I tell her I’m going to the back of the boat to adjust the carb.  She asks if I would like her to drive while I’m fiddling around with it.  Seems like a plan.  She’s been through this before.  So off we go!

She runs the motor to wide open throttle, and I adjust the carb high speed needle a bit on our trusty 1956 Johnson 30 hp outboard.  Sure enough…we pick up a few hundred extra RPM’s!  We slow down, and she gets a nice idle for me, and I tweak the low speed carb needle, and everything is great.

Our 1956 Johnson RD-18 running flat out on the Maumee River.

Our 1956 Johnson RD-18 running flat out on the Maumee River.

I ask if she would like me to take over, and next thing I know…I’m displaced from the helm and left sitting in the back seat while she runs the “Fibber McGee” through its paces.  Up to full throttle.  I’m pushed back in the rear seat.  Erin is off and running.

Erin is running "Fibber McGee" like an old pro.

Erin is running "Fibber McGee" like an old pro.

Now I’m not necessarily nervous, but have you ever ridden in the passenger seat of your own car?  It feels weird!  The same feeling was coming over me.  Then along comes the first boat.  I wondered how she would handle the wake coming at us.

Great!  She just turned the wheel a bit and let old “Fibber” roll right through the wake.  I’m thinking “Fantastic…she’s pretty good!”.  Then along comes a nice sized cabin cruiser “plowing” furrows of water because the “Captain” hasn’t the foggiest notion what trimming your trim tabs or outdrive might do to reduce the displacement of water and subsequent ENORMOUS WAKE YOU’RE MAKING BECAUSE YOU ARE STUPID AND UNQUALIFIED to operate any thing over 10 hp.  Money isn’t equal to smarts on the water.  Just ’cause you can buy it, doesn’t mean you should buy it!

Here comes the wake and swells.  This ought to be interesting.  The “new helmsman” showed her prowess by slowing to a reasonable speed and again just rolling right over the swells like a pro.  After the “threat” has gone, back to full throttle, and running all out down the river.  She did a great job!  I was very at ease after a few minutes and was amused slightly at how well she does handle the boat.

My wife is not someone who takes compliment gracefully.  She’s self-effacing.  When she returned control back to the “Master of the boat”…uhem…I told her she really impressed me with her skills.  Of course she just shrugged off the compliment because of her personality.  But she really did a fine job!

Then I remembered a trip a few weeks ago in our Feather Craft Vagabond.  Same scenario with the carb, but the Johnson Javelin has no tiller to steer with, so she had to steer while I adjusted the carb.  Away she went.  When we got to our destination, I asked if she wanted me to dock the boat since she never had done so.  “Nope, just tell me what to do…”

Against a cross current she turns into the dock and made a perfect landing…first try.  PERFECT.  I just sat in the backseat and told her what to do.  She’s amazingly skillful for someone who is new to this work of boating.’

We had a lovely trip, and saw a beautiful sunset and later a full moon as shown below. 

The sun setting in the west over the Mighty Maumee River.  Who knew Toledo could look so beautiful.

The sun setting in the west over the Mighty Maumee River. Who knew Toledo could look so beautiful.

 

The full moon is rising with an incredible twilight beam on the water.

The full moon is rising with an incredible twilight beam on the water.

 

A Moonlight Serenade...

A Moonlight Serenade...

The "Helmsman".  A job well done.

The "Helmsman". A job well done.

12
Jul
09

Feather Craft Vagabond Part Twelve: Across home plate…

As far as I’m concerned the Feather Craft Vagabond is pretty well finished.  I’ve taken it out on a shake down cruise and it leaked a bit.  Added a bilge pump and other necessary electrical equipment.

I was somewhat disappointed that it rode like a stagecoach.  A little chop goes a long way with this boat.  However, while at the AMOCI Constantine Swap meet this past weekend, a fellow was kind enough to set my carb needles on the Johnson Javelin while I drove.  He also decided to trim the motor a bit.  this made a big difference.  The carb was just barely off the “sweet spot”, so correcting this added some extra rpm’s and a bit more speed for planning off.  The trim on the motor also helped add some speed and made the boat ride better.

On Saturday evening my fellow Feather Craft owner Kokoken and I went to his cottage on Klinger Lake and ran our respective boats through the paces.  Ken and I chased each other around the lake for a while, and even snapped a few photos of each other while zipping by one another.  Ken also changed my opinion on this boat.

While we were out “playing”, I realized how fast and responsive these Vagabond’s are.  Very agile!

Here are a few photos from our water ballet.

Boys and their toys.

Boys and their toys.

 

Our aluminum beauties basking in the sun at Klinger Lake.

Our aluminum beauties basking in the sun at Klinger Lake.

 

Kokoken's Evinrude Lark had just a little more speed than my Johnson Javelin.  Ken is taking the lead.

Kokoken's Evinrude Lark had just a little more speed than my Johnson Javelin. Ken is taking the lead.

 

As Ken made a nice tight turn Many of the other boaters looked a bit nervous.  Some had expressions on their faces like a bubble dancer with a slow leak.

As Ken made a nice tight turn Many of the other boaters looked a bit nervous. Some had expressions on their faces like a bubble dancer with a slow leak.

I loved this photo, Ken didn't care for it much.  I love the color with the sun, man and machine, and the water.

I loved this photo, Ken didn't care for it much. I love the color with the sun, man and machine, and the water.

 

My turn to give'er a shot.  The old Vagabond looks like she's ready to take flight here.

My turn to give'er a shot. The old Vagabond looks like she's ready to take flight here. (Photo courtesy of Ken Humphries.)

 

Speeding over the water feels grand.

Speeding over the water feels grand.(Photo courtesy of Ken Humphries.)

 

 

 Gliding to a stop, the smile says it all. A Feather Craft Vagabond will float for another day.

Gliding to a stop, the smile says it all. A Feather Craft Vagabond will float for another day.

I’d like to thank the folks at http://www.feathercraft.net/ for providing insight and advice, as well as their great knowledge to help me complete the project.  Thanks to Ken for the great action photos and his hospitality at Klinger Lake, as well as his kindness in providing a windshield template and for being a good audience and host.

That’s enough about this old bucket of rivets.  I’ll be doing something about the AMOCI Super Swap Meet at Constantine, Michigan soon.  Lots of great old boats and motors.

In the meantime, we return your to our regular programming…

05
Jul
09

Feather Craft Vagabond Part Eleven: Rounding 3rd and heading for home…

Using the great Joe Nuxhall’s phrase, we’re “Rounding 3rd, and heading for home” with the 1955 Feather Craft Vagabond. 

Over the July 4th weekend the decks were finished and some electrical work done.  The decks turned our better than I thought they would.

The Helmsman position.

The Helmsman position.

 

The deck was installed in the passengers compartment.

The deck was installed in the passengers compartment.

As for the electrical system, the spotlight, horn, and navigation lights have also been wired to their respective switches.  The switches were installed on the dash, and the fuse panel installed on a brace hidden under the dash on the port side.
In keeping with the Lounge Lizard cool feel of these craft, I was able to procure a "Jetson Flying Saucer" anchor light for the stern.  Groovy man!

In keeping with the "Lounge Lizard" cool feel of these craft, I was able to procure a "Jetson Flying Saucer" anchor light for the stern. Groovy man!

A wiring harness for the vintage 1956 Johnson RJE-18 C “Javelin” outboard will have to be custom made.  Our Thompson had the wiring harness from the dash Start/Choke controls to the solenoid at the transom, but all of this will be made from scratch this time around.  However, the motor has been mounted and looks pretty swell hanging on the back of this boat!

 

Looking sweet hanging on the transom is my 1956 Johnson Javelin.  Like its sister on our Thompson, this motor was restored inside and out over the winter.  New pistons and rings, gasket set, bearings, seals, and that bronz prop at the bottom was found at a swap meet for 15 bucks. Sweet!

Looking sweet hanging on the transom is my 1956 Johnson Javelin. Like its sister on our Thompson, this motor was restored inside and out over the winter. New pistons and rings, gasket set, bearings, seals, and that bronze prop at the bottom was found at a swap meet for 15 bucks. Sweet!

Nothing can mistaken for the lines of a Feather Craft!  The use of “classic boat designs” from the glory days of boating were transfered into an aluminum vessel.  A sturdy, functional, yet stylish boat.  Many have said we are restoring a piece of art from another era by keeping these old beauties alive and floating.  Maybe, maybe not.  I think so.

The bow shot.  I used,as mentioned earlier posts, a bit of artistic license for the windshield.  The bow light replaced the original, and is a twin to the bow light on our Thompson.  Same is true of the horn which is a vintage Sparton vibrator horn made in Jackson Michigan. A very unique sound...and loud too. The spot light is also a vintage Unity S-6 that was rechromed by Chrome Masters of Nashville, TN.

The bow shot. I used,as mentioned earlier posts, a bit of artistic license for the windshield. The bow light replaced the original, and is a twin to the bow light on our Thompson. Same is true of the horn which is a vintage Sparton vibrator horn made in Jackson Michigan. A very unique sound...and loud too. The spot light is also a vintage Unity S-6 that was rechromed by Chrome Masters of Nashville, TN.

 

Sitting in the sun, she's looking pretty cool.  The trailer is original, made by Piper Brothers.

Sitting in the sun, she's looking pretty cool. The trailer is original, made by Piper Brothers.

Classic lines...indeed.

Classic lines...indeed.

Hopefully, if my jury duty doesn’t get in the way this week, I will be able to get the wiring for the motor done and finish the boat by next weekend.  If I can get a shake down run under our belt this week, I made take her to the AMOCI Super Swap Meet at Constantine, Michigan next weekend.
More to follow.  Stay tuned…
09
May
09

1956 Johnson RJE-18E “Javelin” is finished…

Last summer Ibought a pair of 1956 Johnson 30 HP motors, one that was to be scrapped and is featured in a previous post, and the one featured in this post.  It is a somewhat unusual 1956 Johnson Javelin.

Rare?  Not terribly.  But they were made for one year only and then Johnson saw fit to make this into a “Golden Javelin” which was rated for 35 HP.  When I got these motors, I really had no hope of restoring this beast to original owing to a missing  Javelin logo on the side and the front face plate that covers the carb knobs.  I assumed I would not likely find either of these items.

WRONG!

Within a month I found a fellow selling not one, but a pair of face plates on “that auction site”.  I bought both, sold one… and made most of my money back from the entire purchase.  Then I advertised on the free classified ads of the Antique Outboard Collectors http://www.aomci.org/ website for the missing “Javelin” script for the side.  At best I hoped to find one that was beaten up that would need to be rechromed.

Amazingly these guys from AMOCI are real collectors.  I had 6 calls from collectors offering from their parts bins the “Javelin” script.  Again…a one year only part, as in 1957 the script was changed.  Two of the guys had NEW OLD STOCK scripts in a pair.  I bought both NOS pairs just to have the extras.

All the chrome was sent to Chrome Masters in Nashville, Tennessee http://www.chromemasters.com/.  I spoke to Daryl who promised to do his best with these parts despite them being in rough shape.  Daryl copper dipped and buffed each piece to get rid of scrapes and blemishes, and then put them through the Chrome Master’s 3 step plating process.  I waited eagerly for six weeks, and the results were grand.  Thanks Chrome Masters!!

Here are the photos…

My Johnson Javelin with it's sister as purchased.  Notice the rather stout steel rack that came with the purchase!

My Johnson Javelin with it's sister as purchased. Notice the rather stout steel rack that came with the purchase!

In the close up, you can see the "Javelin" script is missing in the red field below the white trim.  The motor has also been painted a dull red!  Yuck!

In the close up, you can see the "Javelin" script is missing in the red field below the white trim. The motor has also been painted a dull red! Yuck!

Here is the face plate before being sent to Chrome Masters in Nashville, TN. It was beat up and had a rivet holding one of the clips on. This had to be repaired!

Here is the face plate before being sent to Chrome Masters in Nashville, TN. It was beat up and had a rivet holding one of the clips on. This had to be repaired!

The face plate I bought on Ebay had a rivet through the face of it.  This was not attractive at all.  I gave thought to using four brass screws through the front to hold the retaining clips in place.  However, with the face plate being of brass construction, it made sense to silver solder screws to the back and then fill the rivet hole with silver solder and buff and sand it flush.  After all, musical instruments are silver soldered and hold together, why not brass screws for the retaining clips?
It worked very well.
This is the back of the face plate.  You can see the clips that holds the face plate closed.

This is the back of the face plate. You can see the clips that holds the face plate closed.

 
As with its sister motor, this motor received new paint, the cylinders were bored due to scoring and NOS .020 over-sized pistons were installed.  New bearings, seals, and lower unit seals were installed.  The ignition and carb were also rebuilt.
Here’s the finished project…
DSC00436

 More photos you say?

The side shot...

The side shot...A detail photo of the "Sea Horse" that is stamped into each side plate.

Under chover of chrome, the carburator adjustments lie in balck and white.

Under chover of chrome, the carburator adjustments lie in black and white.

And a final photo of the author and his "new baby".  Pass the cigars!  A Javelin is born!

And a final photo of the author and his "new baby". Pass the cigars! A Javelin is born!




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