Archive for the 'Goodyear Sea-Bee Outboard' 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

03
Jul
11

It was a very Good Year!: Call in the Sea Bees!!

Okay…I must say it has been a very long time, too long in fact to have posted a new blog.  Many exciting things are going on around me since Christmas time 2010 that have kept me occupied.  One has been that I was invited to move my restoration work into a real live professional setting with Ramsey Brothers Restorations.  These guys have an amazing ability to bring vintage boats back to life, but also thought my interest in restoring vintage outboards would be a good match for their facility.

So…that brings us to our title.  A tune sung with sensitivity by Frank Sinatra, “It Was A Very Good Year”…except in our case we are dealing with a GOODYEAR!  AND…this motor was most certainly not treated with sensitivity!

Not too may folks out side of the outboard motor hobby know the following about the Outboard Motor Corporation and their three divisions that made outboard motors.  Did I say THREE?  I did indeed.

Most folks are familiar with the fabled names of Evinrude and Johnson, but how many know about the Gale Division of Galesburg, Illinois is questionable.  The Gale Division made a third “price point” brand of motors under their own banner of the Gale Buccaneer, but they also made outboards for “house brands” such as Atlas Royal (Atlas Tire stores), Spiegle Department Stores under the Brooklure name, and many other.  In his case another Goodyear Sea-Bee.  Gale-built motors also featured a fuel pump, whereas the “flagship brand” motors still used pressurized fuel tanks.  Otherwise this motor is very much a typical OMC Big Twin outboard and shares many parts with its Evinrude/Johnson sisters.

I have a great fondness for America’s great trademark names such as Coca-Cola, Pepsi Cola, Firestone, Auto-Lite, and Goodyear.  As the matter of fact I have flown in almost every mode of flight EXCEPT the Goodyear Blimp.  I hope to do so some day.  (Hint hint!)

About three years ago I found this old motor languishing away in retirement at John Fisher Marina in Erie, MI.  I’d been keeping an eye on it for some time as I thought it was a plain, but lovely motor.  It had these lovely, simple lines and silver trim.  Of course there was a Goodyear logo emblazoned on the front of the hood.  But what really caught my eye was the HUGE billboard speed lettering down the sides.  In grand pure white with a yellow 3 dimensional outline was the words “SEA BEE” and “Electro Start 25″.  It screams of a company who was proud of their product.  How often do we see that today.

HELLO MARKETING DEPARTMENTS!  A little pride please…but only if your product deserves it!!

How fantastic is that "speed lettering"!?!?

Notice the “Electro Start 25″ is different on each side The 25 stay put leaving a bit of a crisis as to what to market this thing as. Is it an “Electro Start 25″ or a “25 Electro Start”?
What she needed most was determination from someone to see her run again.  what she had going for her was a motor block that was not seized up and showed no signs of overheat, her magneto ignition had been updated too.  So other than time and effort, a full mechanical and cosmetic restoration was possible.

Okay! She was hanging on a rack when I bought her. She is a bit tattered, more than I thought actually as you will see!

Her flanks had been though a pretty bad run-in with a dock or another boat.  Those lovely silver trim “swooshes” on he side…one was busted and missing pieces.  The lower unit was shot, and her tiller handle was long gone by scavengers.  One transom clamp handle was missing and her paint was badly faded.  In fact great quantities of labor went into figuring out what she should look like through some amateur forensic work during her restoration.

Here are some photos with descriptions of her during triage.

When I found her, I thought just the starboard "swoosh" was cracked. Not quite! The whole starboard cowling was busted in two pieces.

The cowling was broken right along the line of the "swoosh". In fact the fiberglass "swoosh" is what was holding the entire side in one piece!

The last two inches of her silver "swoosh" was sent to Davy Jones' Locker upon impact I suspect.

Here is the rear starboard cowl bracket...cracked in two. Ugh! What did this motor hit!?

Both starboard brackets that hold the side cowls on were broken. They had to be welded back together since I had none on hand.

This motor must have really struck a dock or been in a pretty serious crash to have cracked the cast aluminum cowls and bracket in such a manner.  All you can do is find replacement parts used or have the old parts fixed.  I am fortunate to have a local welder who is very confident, and patient with my little projects!

Now we’ll continue to take a look at more of the motors surprises as we check her over.

The power-head appears to be in reasonable shape. No signs of overheat which would show in the way of burned paint on the cylinder head.

Things ain't always as they seem though. Both spark plug holes had been stripped out. One had a Heli-coil and the other some kind of Rube Goldberg fix was made. Oy!

After pulling the Cylinder head, I was grateful that I hadn't tried to start her up. I could have ended up with Granny Clampett's Corn Squeezins!

Some good news was that her magneto ignition had been update to modern coils. Usually the 50's vintage OMC coils crack and give sporadic or worse than hoped for performance, necessitating replacement.

And the big news that affects most old outboard that were improperly stored, mice get inside (IE: the corn in the cylinders!) and urinate on stuff. This can cause things to be stuck or even the acid in their urine to eat aluminum parts. The manifold is a mild example.

So what we now know at this point is that she has a pretty good chance of survivability on the mechanical front.  Her power head will get a complete tear down to make sure our furry little friends have not destroyed the bearings, all gaskets will get replaced, new seals on her upper and lower crankshaft bearings, new pistons and rings, and the cylinders will need to be honed before rebuilding and repainting.

So the tear down of the entire motor begins as does a search for parts.

The lower unit had been left submerged for most of her life and water had infiltrated here gear case, thus a new lower unit was the way to go on this.  My buddy Scott Parrish from AOMCI offered up a freshly rebuilt lower unit from his supply, so now after tearing down the power head the short block was sent out for machining.

When you park your boat at the end of a run, if you don't pull it out of the water, you should generally tilt the motor up out of the water to avoid such issues as we see here. This is a fresh-water motor. imagine what salt-water would do to the aluminum housings.

Now since the short block will be at the marina machine shop for a while, the time has come to assess the cosmetic needs of this old Sea-Bee.

Clearly paint and decals will need to be redone, but what color of paint!?!  It’s a metallic blue, but what shade?  The decals are uncertain too!  After searching the web and checking in with members of AOMCI, no one had any really info or photos of this model year.  So…what to do!

Sand the paint and look at the layers, just like peeling an onion or counting rings on a tree limb.  As you sand down, the story unfolds.

Upon pulling the motor apart and giving it a good bath, the original, unfaded color was found on the lower shroud pan. It looked a lot like good old Evinrude polychromatic blue to me. The pan is from the Sea-Bee, while the throttle knob laying in the pan is from and Evinrude of the same vintage. We have a match!

It would appear from this photo that the Sea-Bee logo was blue with a yellow outline. Not so! It was white at one time, but the sun had faded the while lettering back to the blue background. We can tell this because the blue within the yellow outline is much "richer" than the blue elsewhere on the hood, thus it was not exposed to the sun's UV rays for the same length of time as the rest of the hood.

The "Electro Start 25" letters are white with a yellow/gold outline, so it would be safe to assume this is proper for the entire motors lettering. Also note the Evinrude Polychromatic Blue that is preserved where the "swoosh" on the side was.

So after a visit to Clear Image Graphics in downtown Toledo, I met with Erin and Frank who said they could do the work on the graphics for a reasonable price.  They took photos I sent them and did a great job as you will see later!

Now with the motor disassembled, work can begin in earnest.

Here again is the starboard cowling. It is completely cracked in two! I sent this out to Diversified Welding of Toledo to have it welded. The big problem is that when it was broken, it also distorted the cowl. I spent about and hour heating it and pounding it back into shape.

The fellows at Diversified do some pretty odd jobs for me. I was pleased with the end results, but there will still need to be some work done to "fair" the cowling so it looks correct.

Following a good scuffing with a 40 grit sanding disc and an angle grinder, I poured a blob of JB Weld on the cowling in the low areas. Why JB Weld? It tends to be somewhat self-leveling and leaves a smooth surface to work with when dry.

Next my attention turned to the silver “swoosh” that is prominent on each side of the lower cowlings.  Other Gale-built motors had their own styles of trim, but this one speaks of speed!  Unfortunately, during the crash that damaged this motor, the “swoosh”was busted into some number of pieces.  Part of it was missing as we saw earlier, and the corner was cracked and damaged.  Sometimes the best way to fix something is to break it.

At this point the three or so pieces that were holding on by fiberglass strands were pulled loose and again JB Weld was used to put everything back together…and fill in the gaps.

Three pieces were broken aways and hanging by a thread, so using JB Weld they were put back in place.

Grinding away the bulk of the JB Weld with a die grinder, sanding was done to finish up the process. The corner will be filled with JB Weld as well.

Fortunately the port side was largely unscathed. This left the "swoosh" in tact and able to be used as a template. The trim pieces are mirror images of each other, so by making a template of the port side trim and flipping it over 180 degrees it will make a good template for the starboard side trim.

Wax paper was used to hold PC-7 epoxy in place as seen in the photo above. This left us with a block of epoxy to work with and shape as needed for the Starboard "swoosh". The template made from the port side trim was traced on the back of the starboard side and then a sander was used to shape the epoxy as needed.

One of the ways OMC's Gale Division cut costs to keep the "House Brand" motors a bit less expensive than their "marquee brands" was to skimp by not painting parts like the recoil pull starter, hood brackets, and in this case, even using a plastic propeller! This one is nicked and chewed, but salvageable.

By placing a bit of tape under the damaged area, a dab of JB Weld can be used to fill in the void. Please note: This propeller will never see regular service, but will be used only for show owing to the fact it appeared to be original to the motor. Do not ACTIVELY use a prop that has been damaged and repaired in this way.

Now while all that epoxy is drying, the fun begins!  After soda blasting the paint from all of the parts, prepping and DP Epoxy Primer was used to get all the pieces ready for a fresh coat of Polychromatic Blue.  The paint is available through NY Marine of Canada.  Peter McDowell has done extensive research to match this paint to its proper colors for most major manufacturers of outboard motors from the 50’s.

Parts is parts...

Motor pans and shock mounts in the paint booth.

I am fortunate to have a 12 x 12 foot paint booth with a monstrous exhaust system to rid the booth of fumes.  However, it still requires changing filter and cleaning regularly to keep debris from getting in the paint.

A bit of extra attention was given to the Goodyear decal on the front of the hood. It was in very good original shape. It also showed some wonderful patina and a scratch or two. If possible it is nice to leave a reminder of how far the motor has come after being restored, so this would be a way of doing that. The decal was clear coated first, then masked off to preserve it from the new blue paint as seen in this photo.

Again using a sander, the propeller was profiled and readied for painting. Notice the JB Weld filled the chips very nicely

The starboard "swoosh" still had some issues after being sanded, so a skim coat of JB Weld was laid over the PC-7 to smooth things out a bit. After re-sanding, it too will be ready for primer and paint.

So now after a lot of fuss and feather, the final assembly is underway.  The paint is applied, as are some of the decals.  The trim and propeller need a fresh coat of silver paint too.

One other detail that had to be recreated on the new section of the "swoosh" was the area that receives the countersunk pan-head screw. This was done simply by placing a washer into a gob of JB Weld, then sanding to profile.

Following sanding and profiling the plastic propeller, it was primed and painted

The old Sea-Bee's starboard side cowling still did not want to fit, so a bit of blacksmith-ing had to take pace with a torch and so careful bending to make a better fit! Thus it is missing in this photo.

Following masking and painting the hood and side cowls reassembly begins.

This is the same starboard cowling that was cracked in to two pieces. Not really noticeable at all now.

From her port side, she is starting to look like a motor again.I still just really dig those big, huge sweeping letters down the side. The same for the vintage Johnson outboards. The Evinrude outboards had that big "billboard logo" sporadically over the years too, but never struck my fancy so much!

And so now following application of decals, trim and control knobs…this Sea-Bee is ready for action!

Front view. I'm really glad that I was able to save the original Goodyear decal on the front top of the hood.

A view of her starboard flank...where all the damage was from an unfortunate "incident" sometime in her life.

And her port side.

She is a real beauty. I'm lucky to have bought this motor for 50 bucks and got her back to where she should be. I'm looking forward to giving her some action soon along the river.

In closing I need to thank Scott Parrish of the Michiana Chapter of AOMCI for his donation of a good lower unit, a donor cylinder head, and decals for the operating instructions, as well as little odds and ends where needed.  I have not seen many of these old OMC-built Goodyear motors around.  I can only surmise that if you were seriously considering “high horsepower”, a Goodyear dealership would have been low on the list of places to buy.  I’m sure there are more out there, but probably only a handful by OMC standards.

Coming up soon we’ll share a very special project for a customer who lives at a residential development built on an old quarry.  The problem is he has a vintage Thompson lapstrake boat and cannot run gasoline motors.  Tune in to see how Scott Parrish and I tackle his problem.  It’s coming soon!

05
Jan
10

When Sunny Get’s Blue: bands, boats, and outboards…

I always try to think of a nice old musical standard to use as a title for each post.  Or at least paraphrase a lyric or title.  In the case of this post…”When Sunny Gets Blue” has multiple thoughts that are conjured up.

Firstly, my wife recently bought me a nice set of Music Minus One Play-a-long music books that includes this old gem.  However, I can’t help but to think of the version the Count Basie Orchestra recorded around 1969 or 1970 with the great trombonist Buddy Morrow filling in on the record date.  Mr. Morrow was called upon to play the ballad.  Indeed he did…with great style…and the Basie Band was oh-so briefly featuring a trombone sound never heard with that band before or since.

The great Buddy Morrow still leads the Tommy Dorsey Orchestra in 2010 at age 91. Buddy played in the great T.D. band of 1938...the band that produced many hits for Dorsey!

Oddly, that dovetails with the fact that word is the Count Basie Orchestra is under “new management”.  It is a wonderful orchestra that has continued to carry on since its leaders passing in 1984.  Currently under the leadership of William Henry “Bill” Hughes, the band has fortunately made a handful of recordings but traveled very little.  The management has apparently fallen down on the job.  Mr. Hughes has done a good job of leading the orchestra, but bookings are slim in this economy.  With the new management in place perhaps the band will get back to travelling 30 or so weeks a year…like they used to.

Bill Hughes with the Count Basie Orchestra during rehersal in Flint, Michigan.

And that dovetails with boating.  Not only does Sunny Get Blue…but so do I during the winter months.  It too cold for many of the activities I enjoy the most.  Working on the boats and outboards are suspended until warmer weather comes about.  Thus I’m getting a little stir crazy.  Cabin fever…ya’ know!?!

This being the first part of January, it dawned on me that as of this writing I am slightly less than 90 days away from shipping season on the Great Lakes.  Also, weather permitting, launching a vessel of my own.  However, much work must be done to get ready.

Our 1949 Thompson Lake TVT has its interior stripped of her varnish and sits covered in the garage under a blue tarp.  I need to get to work sanding, sealing with CPES (Clear Penetrating Epoxy Sealer) and laying down several coats of varnish, revarnishing and installing the seats and the steering and controls.  This is a good solid month of work.

The Alumacraft “FDR sits on saw horses awaiting much-needed sanding, buffing, and polishing.  Then seats will need fabricating, electrical and steering installed, and a motor placed on her restored transom.

And that brings us to the next dilemma.  Outboard motors.  So many motors and so little time.

1957 35hp Evinrude Big Twin

 The 1957 Evinrude “Big Twin” is a nice 35 horsepower outboard that was given to me for services rendered on another outboard.  This motor has “kicked” throughout the restoration.  Broken bolts, nasty mouse nests, and house paint on the entire motor.  YUCK!

Seems as if every 3rd bolt broke off upon efforts to remove them.  The power head is in the shop to have the cylinders honed…and new rings and one new piston will need to be installed.  The lower unit has some issues that will necessitate replacement as well.  Suffice to say, this was not a motor that had been cared for.  But I do believe it will run again.

Next up is this little gem that was obtained via a trade for a Martin 200 I bought for 25 bucks.  I didn’t realize at the time what I had bought, but the Martin…turns out…is fairly sought after by outboard enthusiasts.  I had no intentions of doing anything with it, and had a nice offer to trade for a 1957 Johnson Golden Javelin 35 hp outboard.

1957 35hp Johnson "Golden Javelin"

Perhaps considered one of the most attractive Johnson’s of the 1950’s, this motor came with much-needed controls and electrical connections that will be used on the 1959 Alumacraft.

This motor is in very good shape and needs really just a basic tune up and some cosmetic work, including re-chroming the shiny parts, some of which need gold plating.

All-in-all, this should be a fairly straight forward restoration.

Unfortunately, the week of New Years brought about a late “Christmas Gift” from the local boat restoration guru’s, Ramsay Brother’s Restorations.  I was summoned to the restoration shop, and shown a 1959 Evinrude Lark 35hp outboard.  It too is basically complete, but dirty as hell, and will need more effort to make it serviceable.

1959 35hp Evinrude Lark.

This motor puts fear into the hearts of many postal employees owing to its mailbox styled cowling.  More than one of these hoods has ended up on of post in front of an outboard enthusiasts home.

Open front and insert mail?!?!?

This motor is the same motor for the most part as a standard 35hp Big Twin, but the lower unit and hood are designed for noise reduction.  This too is a good candidate for restoration with some new paint, and tune up.  It seems to have good compression and likely will see service as primary power on our Alumacraft since they are the same year.  This also has created the need to do a “proper restoration” of the Alumacraft FDR, and to be as faithful to it as possible.  This 1959 boat and motor combo would be a real “period piece” or slice of family outboarding history.

Included with the Evinrude Lark was a real gift.  The “brothers” also threw in a 1950 vintage Goodyear Sea-Bee 5hp outboard I had been desiring for a while. 

1950 Goodyear Sea-Bee 5hp outboard1949 Gambles Hiawatha 5hp outboard.

1949 Gamble's Hiawatha 5hp motor.

You’ll notice a similarity in the two outboards above.  Yes they are the same motor.  The Gale Division of OMC created many department store or “house brand” outboards.  You could walk into a Gambles store, a Goodyear Tire store, or any number of department stores and get one of these little motors.  They share very little with the Johnson and Evinrude OMC brands, but are still fine little motors.  Both of these will get full cosmetic restorations and mechanical tune-up and work as needed.

So once the weather gets a bit nicer, work can resume on these projects…and I won’t be so blue anymore.

 So until warmer weather…stand by.




Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 31 other followers