A member of the Antique Outboard Collectors group offered me this little gem, knowing I have a love of these old Johnson’s. They’re easy to work on and fun to run, plenty of parts that are relatively cheap too.
This motor was behind one of the man’s two pole barns that are filled with every kind of outboard imaginable. He just didn’t have interest in resurrecting “another old Johnson”.
I wanted to bead-blast and repaint this old girl, but not sure I’d care to now. The motor has had all the usual stuff done for a major tune up. IE; new coils, condensers, points, a new water pump impeller, head gasket, and the lower unit was rebuilt.
After finishing it up and testing it in a 55 gallon lake, I really wanted to sell it. I dragged it all the way to the AMOCI meet in Constantine, MI…and never got a nibble. Too bad such a fine motor isn’t in demand.
As it didn’t sell, she was placed on my 1955 Feather Craft Vagabond for sea trials, and performed quite well…for a while.
The carb linkage was stiff, she belched and burped at anything less than idle…regardless of how the carb needles were set, and the throttle linkage kept coming apart…leaving the motor to idle down and stop running.
After climbing over the divider of the Vagabond to get to the motor for on-the-spot repairs a dozen times, I couldn’t understand why Johnson would make a “friction fit” linkage for the throttle. Well…it didn’t used to be that way!
Upon arriving home and consulting the manual, this linkage should have had a clip to hold the linkage parts together. A trip to John Fisher’s Marina was in order, and sure enough an old Evinrude Big Twin was laying in the weeds and had the exact clip that was needed. Mr. Fisher was kind enough to “donate” it to the cause.
When I arrived home and installed the clip, and looked things over, I found the cam follower roller that follows the cam on the ignition plate had been broken in half and disentigrated. A new one was installed, and we went back out to sea.
The old girl ran great all day long!
After running down river to Toledo’s waterfront, I headed back toward Perrysburg and Maumee where I found a few jet skis who were eager to play in my wake. The tables were turned…much to their surprise.
The Feather Craft is very agile, and with the addition of Smart Tabs from Nauticus (http://www.nauticusinc.com/smart_tabsSX.htm) the Vagabond is also very smooth in the water. So I started chasing the jet skis. Jumping over their wake and spinning in tight circles, following (not too closely) and generally the 3 of us performed a nice Water Ballet. The jet ski crowd seemed surprised to see a big old aluminum boat playing with them at their own game.
I will have more to say about Nauticus Smart Tabs later, but I want to make sure I’ve got a real grasp of them.
However, back to the motor…I suppose I’ll sell it as there is too much “big iron” in our storage now. Still, it’s very nice to see a 54 year old motor run again. And run well.