Archive for the '35 hp Big Twin' Category

12
Dec
11

Beyond the Sea…horse!: Outboard motor restoration step by step…Day one!

All to often members of our Antique Outboard Collectors Club seem apprehensive, or at least mystified by all the things that are involved in full outboard restoration.  To fully restore an outboard motor properly you have to be librarian, historian, technology buff, technician, sleuth, wheeler-dealer, mechanic, blacksmith, artiste, body shop tech, electrician, cable rigger, forensics expert (novice), and a host of many more talents come in very handy.

Most of our members are amazing at some or all of these aspects of the hobby.  We have many who are simply amazing in their ability to resurrect the “remains” of an old detachable rowboat motor into an operational museum piece.  Some restore motors for display, and some simply return them to operating condition without all the pretty-business being a concern.  Some of our members also are very particular to purchase for their collection only old motors in amazing original condition.  You’d be amazed how many old survivors are out there hiding in garages and basements.

Either way, AOMC is an amazing array of folks to get hooked up with if you are getting into the hobby or just wish to get your old outboard running again.

I am not by nature a “motor-head”!  However seeing an old motor come back to “like new” condition is an amazing experience.  It is my personal preference not to care much about the cosmetic condition of an old outboard when buying one.  My concern is whether it is complete with all parts, and if now are parts able to be procured?

So with this blog post I hope to be able to take you through the basics of how the restoration process have developed for me and the sequence of events I use.  With that said, there are too many outboard motors to show every little nuance of dis-assembly and repair/restoration in it’s entirety.  Instead we will look at basic steps with accents on parts of the project I get the most questions about.  We will address basics of dis-assembly, parts storage for ease of location, cleaning, paint removal, re-assembly, prepping for primer and paint, priming and painting, and decal-ing using vinyl and water-slide decals and clear coating for their protection.  We also take a look at examination of the motor for repair and creating a checklist to keep us on track throughout the project.  (Authors note: I would add this is the system that works for me.  Everyone has their own system.  I’m no expert…so take what you can from this and use it at your own risk!!!)

The project featured in this series will be an OMC outboard, but one that is slightly irregular from the “modern OMC” of the 50’s when Johnson Evinrude and the “bastard step-child of OMC”…the Gale Div. motors began to be standardized, sharing most parts and designs.  This “standardization” began in the mid 1950’s, and parts are still readily available for most of those motors.  Fortunately, some of our AOMC members have started “Cottage industries” supplying parts for some of the outboard of earlier vintage with hard to find parts.

Lets take a quick look at some vintage OMC-style motors.

This 1937 Johnson PO is a motor that was fairly simple and reliable. The basic design was spread out both pre and post-war under different designation and variations.

The PO was around many years before and following WWII.  This motor chimed in with a “whopping” 22HP.  The design had deviation, but largely all that changed was the color.

This is a late 40's Johnson TD-20. The basic power-head design again was used pre-war and post-war. The designs were likely held over owing to manufacturing being for war production, therefore not allowing many new advancements in outboard motor technology...a luxury.

This is a 1954 Johnson RDE-16. This motor design first made its appearance in 1951 as an RD-10, and the basic design of the power-head would remain a staple of the OMC design for many years. With increases in horsepower using advances in piston size, crankshaft and carburetion, these motors reached 40hp by 1960. This particular motor was the first year the "Big Twin" was available with electric starting!!

Our "Chief of the Boat" Remy Marco Jones enjoying the quiet advances of the OMC "Super Silent" exhaust leg on a 1959 Evinrude 35hp Lark!

While we now have a basis on the OMC design, our motor is a “transitional motor” in that it has a non-standard carburetor and lower unit, but does have the “universal magneto ignition” that survived for decades on many, many OMC models!  Our project is a 1951 Johnson QD-12 rated at 10hp at 4000 rpm.  She will, when finished, be the primary power for our 1948 galvanized steel Star Tank & Boat Company rowboat.  In fact this motor is ideal for our little vessel to push us leisurely along for a relaxing trip on protect waterways.

Now without further adieu…here is our specimen!

Looking rather worn, this outboard is in fact in pretty good shape at first look. We'll see how she looks after further triage.

The hood on the early "QD" series was very cool and streamlined! The one on our motor was cracked on the port side, so a replacement was found at a swap meet for 10 bucks. (Pictured here.) However, it was also a pain in the rear since it took almost one dozen screws to hold it on the motor. The later easy-flip open hoods were much easier to deal with...especially at sea! Believe me I know!!

Upon examination of this photo you can see the throttle is more crude than the well known twist-grip throttle that came later. This motor has a synchronized spark advance and carburetor controlled by the sliding lever under the pull start.

The first sign of potential trouble shown by way of damage that has broken through the casting of the exhaust housing on the leg of the motor. This would take a fairly serious impact to create such damage.

The next sign of potential problems is the cowl (hood) bracket on the port side is also cracked and welded back into place. This would indicate to me that this motor has had a collision somewhere in its long life. This would fall in-line with the other damage found above. Outboard battle scars!

Something seen less often is inflicted by dealers who sold these motors, or owner who had to have the most latest-greatest motor. This fuel connector shows the original Sea-mist Green paint. BUT...look at the next photo!

The throttle lever has Sea-mist Green...but the body and the flywheel have shades of the later Sea-horse Green. Sometimes dealers or owners would "update" the color of "last years model" to move it out of inventory when the color change with a model year. The dilemma now is paint as manufactured or as found? For me it is a no-brainer. But I'm not saying which way we'll go with the project yet!

Using a flywheel puller from the local auto parts store, and three grade 8 hardened bolts, the flywheel must be removed to get to the magneto ignition. This can require considerable force to break the flywheel free from the crankshaft. An occasional "whack" with a rubber mallet on the side of the flywheel while under pressure can assist in this operation. NEVER...NEVER smack the flywheel on the top or bottom sides...as this could damage the crank or bearings!

The magneto has been update somewhere along the way. New coils would point to this. The original OMC coils of this era ALWAYS crack and fail and require replacement. These coils are readily available. at any OMC Dealer.

With the cylinder head removed, the pistons seem to be in pretty good shape. There is less carbon build-up than I thought a motor of this vintage would have. This again would bear out the initial thought that this motor has had little run time. The cylinders show little wear and no serious scoring or scuffing.

This view of the power-head shows the handy-dandy shift handle sticking out in front of the motor. This is very handy and a great feature on these older "QD" motors. However, to remove the power-head, the shift linkage must be removed.

After removing the power-head and other parts, the steering shaft is ready for disassembly for ease of cleaning and eventual cosmetic work.

This prop shaft has so much twine wrapped around the shaft, it has gotten between the rubber seal and the brass casing and actually caused the brass to bend out.

Fortunately the prop shaft was not ruined by being groove from the fishing line. The seal will be replaced anyway, but it is amazing the force that has been put on the seal!

Fishing line is a death knell for lower unit seals.

This motor has probably been used, per manufactures directions, with 30wt motor oil mixed into the gasoline. The carbon build up in the exhaust side is evident.

So after Day One, we have a pretty good grasp of what service will be performed on out motor. Now it is time to clean up parts and strip all the old paint off, We'll save that for Day Two!

So after 3 1/2 hours of work the motor has been disassembled and placed in storage containers for safe-keeping until Day Two when cleaning of each part, nut, bolt, screw, and all paint will be removed after degreasing.

Hope you’ll check back in with part 2 here: Beyond the Sea…horse!: Outboard motor restoration step by step…Day Two.

Greg

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

01
Sep
10

The “New Deal”: An Alumacraft “FDR” restoration part four: Just in time…

Work stalled on the Aluma Craft “FDR” for a good part of the summer months.  She was used as a test bed for motors that were repaired or restored.  But a vision came by looking through the windshield I acquired at an AMOC Swap Meet in Constantine, Michigan.

I was wandering around the swap meet, hoping to find a windshield, but with little hope of finding one the correct with.  This Aluma Craft was to have a typical late 1950’s Taylor-Made plexiglas windshield.  Taylor-Made has stopped production on these vintage windshields…and they were expensive anyway.

After walking around the for a bit, I saw a windshield in good shape sitting next to a trailer.  It was too wide, but generally could be bent slightly to reduce the width and should fit the boat.  I asked the price and was shocked the vendor only wanted 20 bucks for it.  Whata deal!

With the Taylor-Made windshield, the boat no longer looked like a fishing boat.

 Other hardware came by way of a derelict old Shell Lake fiberglass boat that I scrapped out due to the hull being cracked. 

Now with a new view through the windshield, I had a vision for finishing the boat before the Toledo Antique Boat Show on August 27th, 2010.  So the work commenced in earnest.

My neighbor contributed a bundle of teak strips from her father who had passed away.  Upon getting this little gift, I decided wood slat floors would look nice, and it would be easier to walk on.

After cutting to length, the teak floors were screwed and epoxied together, then routed with a round-over bit on all edges. Sanding and varnishing followed.

Seats were next!  My local fine wood dealer was kind enough to glue up some choice mahogany planks for me.  I then used a wood strip to create and trace an arc on the wood that would compliment the lines of the boat.  Then cut out the middle of the front seat to replicate the original design of the seats.  Then as always…more sanding and eight coats of varnish.

The depth of the mahogany is really brought out by the varnish.

While each coat of varnish was drying, I had time to sand, buff, and polish the hull.  YES…SAND!  Starting with 220 grit and working my way down to 1500 grit, the sides of the hull were sanded to get rid of the “dock rash” from years of use.  Also those pesky little aluminum warts at the end of scratches were sanded away.

The tools for the job are a variable speed angle grinder/buffer, 3M heavy-duty buffing compound, 3M polishing compound, and coarse and fine wool bonnets, foam bonnets, and microfiber cloths.

The power plants for this vessel will be twin 1954 Johnson QD-14 10hp outboard.

These two outboards will provide the power to drive the "FDR".

The seats were installed following varnishing and wiring the boat.

A view from the rear.

The teak floors were installed in the cockpit. Also note at the bottom of the photo the dual Johnson Shipmaster Throttle to control the twin outboards.

In honor of my lover of jazz, and my working on the railroad as a bridge tender, a name came to me while working on buffing her out.  I wanted a musical name, but then the idea of reflecting my job just seemed natural.

The Aluma Craft "FDR was christened "Swing Bridge"...combining two musical terms, and the type of railroad bridge I work on was a natural.

At 4pm on Friday August 27th, 2010 the “Swing Bridge was finished just in time for the Toledo Antique Boat Show.  I pressed my 1957 Johnson Javelin into service due to not having time to test the 10hp Johnson’s beforehand.

She was unveiled for public view on Saturday August 28th, 2010 at the Toledo Municipal Marina.

Basking in the sun, the "Swing Bridge" sits at the Toledo Antique Boat Show.

Aside from having some chrome hardware refinished on the 1957 Johnson Javelin and the deck hardware, the “Swing Bridge” is a fast and fun running boat.  She rides well and doesn’t leak…and attracts looks as she travels up and down the river.

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.