Archive for the 'Evinrude Big Twin' Category

16
Dec
11

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

Nine hours into our project and were sitting waiting on paint to dry.  This is where a project can really slow down to a crawl…WAITING!  Since we have some time to kill, let’s look at masking for multicolor painting.

First there are many kinds of tape that can be used.  Some are not suitable for this type of work due to their adhesive being too strong.  We also discussed proper preparation, and now will get into some reasons you must prepare your surface correctly.

Let’s start there…WHY so much prep?  Failure to prep each part by thoroughly cleaning will not allow the primer and paint to adhere correctly.  That is a very essential elements to keeping the paint where it belongs…your motor.  The bigger issue will come into play, and a lack of proper prep will be obvious when you mask for a second color.  After you have masked and shot the second color…and begin removing the masking tape, if the surface had any impurities that did not allow the primer and paint to stick to the surface, the paint will likely peel off with the tape.  There are ways to fix these issues, but it is best to simply take your time and properly prep the surface.

The sticky business of tape enters into the situation as well.  Yellow making tape is pretty aggressive in how well it sticks to a surface.  Fortunately we now have many options.  Any paint supply house will have green tape, blue tape, and even fine-line vinyl tape for really odd curves.

Green masking tape or the 3M blue tape from the hardware store are suited to masking for this purpose.  I prefer the green since it can be somewhat stretched and snugged down around odd turns and shapes.  It also adheres well to keep paint from bleeding underneath.  Blue tape is cheap and does the same job, but is less flexible, so often it must be trimmed to contours with a knife.

Fine-line tape is used in the auto body business, but has application in our hobby as well.  It is a vinyl based product that comes in a variety of widths.  1/4 inch is easy to work with and will easily go around most compound curves we would deal with.  The blue fine-line tape is for curves, but there also is a green or yellow fine-line tape that can be used for more straight masking and it is no as flexible as blue fine-line tape.  However this type of tape is fairly pricey and I rarely use it anymore for outboards.  (I do use it for model railroad painting though!!)

Now let’s take a look at masking our project…

Our hood has now been painted Sea-Mist Green. It is ready to be masked off and the dull-aluminum painted on the "wings" of the sides.

First while shooting the hood Sea-Mist Green, I made up some sub-assemblies that needed touching up. This is the leg of our motor with transom clamps and tiller handle in place. Most agree that OMC simply assembled their outboards and painted them while hanging from the crankshaft. This is evident from the paint patterns seen when disassembling these motors.  It is my preference to paint everything in pieces first, then sub-assemblies second, and fully assembled if need be as a last coat. (Often I won’t bother because of the risk of getting “shadows” on areas otherwise covered by parts that are in the “line of fire”.)

This lower unit shell had some sags that were objectionable. They were fixed by wet sanding and a quick re-shoot.

Same for the water pump housing. No more drips.

If you have a small dent or ding in a motor, the time to fix that is before painting with the color coat. After the epoxy primer is sprayed, you can use JB Weld on areas exposed to high heat or fuel, or in this case body filler. When it has dried, sand it down and re-prime, then paint.

First step: Place tape along the edges of the area to be shot with another color. Don't worry about overlap in the area to be painted. We'll trim in a minute. However...make sure there are absolutely no gaps where the paint can get through the masking tape.

Using a fresh #11 knife blade, lightly let the blade follow the natural groove of the shape or the hood. Use only enough pressure to go through the tape...A light hand is needed here. You're certainly not required to press so hard as to cut the aluminum! Take it easy and slow.

After trimming the masking tape, burnish the edge of the tape down firmly along the area to be painted to avoid paint running under the tape. A fingernail, un-sharpened pencil, or other similar object may be used for this procedure Cover the rest of the hood, again being sure there are no gaps where paint can get through the masking. Check it thoroughly before painting.

Our hood has had the second color, dull aluminum, added now. While in the booth the other dull aluminum parts were also shot. You can see the exhaust housing hanging in the background.

The other half of our hood and two small knobs hangin up on the rack behind.

And after carefully removing the masking tape, we are left with our finished hood.

So that takes care of painting a fairly simple hood!  Now it is ready for decals!  Clear-coat follows if you wish, but make sure you scuff sand the hood before decal-ing and clear-coating!

So we have about another hour in masking and painting the hood and a few other parts.  This brings our time to a total of 10 hrs to bring this old Sea-Horse around to like new!

Next installment will be decal the hood and discuss methods of application and types of decals.

There’s still lots of work ahead including rebuilding the power-head and some finish work.  I have run into an issue with getting a good piston to replace one that is slightly scratched, also a few o-rings for the power-head and crankshaft seals.  They should be along in the mail soon though!

Hopefully you’ll keep sticking around!  Part Five can be found here: Beyond the Sea…horse!: Outboard motor restoration step by step…Day Four!

Greg

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14
Dec
11

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

When we parted company in our last post, 7 hours have been spent restoring our old Sea-Horse so far.  There is still much to do!  Paint, decals, rebuild the lower unit and power-head.  We had cleaned and degreased all parts, blasted the paint off all the parts, and cleaned everything to perfection before priming each part with DP epoxy primer.  Now the time has come to do the work that everyone seemingly is afraid to try.  Apply the color coat…the one that will be seen by everyone in the world.

Fear not!  You will make mistakes, but the advantages of using a hardened acrylic enamel is you can wet sand and file drips, runs, and sags to make touch up and a near perfect finish on your motor.  This however is something of an art, and requires patience, and time to do properly.  Of course, since I “always” get the paint to apply perfectly…I will make a few “mistakes” on purpose for the educational value of those reading.

Okay…that’s a lot of bull.  I always make mistakes!  It is inevitable!  However the real fun is in learning to fix those mistakes!  So in this blog post we will no doubt have some opportunity to explore various options on fixing these blemishes.

Let’s go to work!

Just like the primer, the paint gets mixed in a mixing cup.  Each brand has it’s own mixing ratios.  Unlike the DP primer, our Limco 1 acrylic enamel requires three elements to be mixed together.  First there is the paint, which is of fairly thick consistency.  Added to paint is a hardener that will chemically harden the paint within about three hours.  This is the element that is missing from spray paint, therefore the paint from a spray can never really hardens.  Last is a reducer that is added to the mix to thin the paint enough to allow it to flow out of the gun, onto your project, and lay down flat before drying.

This is the Limco 1 Sea-Mist Green from North York Marine. Also seen is the reducer and hardener, which is manufacturer specific.

Mixing cups have many graduations for various manufacturer's paints Limco 1 uses and 8 (Paint) to 1 (Hardener) to 4 (Reducer). This mixture is not represented on this cup, but a ratio that is close to the same is in a 4-1-2 ratio as shown. You can also just measure in ounces.

Next hardener and reducer (thinner) is added.

The paint will now be fairly thin in consistency. Stir well and slowly. Don't worry if the metallic type paints have "swirls" in it after stirring. It will spray out of the gun correctly.

Proper technique is simple really.  First set the pattern and amount you want to shoot by spraying paint from the gun on a piece of paper.  Adjust all those knobs we discussed in Part 2 to get the right amount, vertical or horizontal, and width of pattern.  Once you’re satisfied with the paint pattern…you’re ready to do the real thing on your parts.

Remember you need to stand back about three feet to allow paint to properly atomize with the air before hitting the part being painted.  You’ll need to have paint flowing BEFORE you get to the part.  In other words have paint coming from the gun before approaching the part, and after leaving the trailing edge of the part.  Keep your gun at a 90 degree angle to the part being sprayed.  Take your time!  Learning to allow the right amount of paint to flow onto the part is only achieved by doing this and getting a feel by making mistakes.  Practice on some junk parts if possible.  You can always add another coat, so when starting out you may wish to err on the side of too little…after all…too much becomes a mess quickly.

I shoot paint at about 30psi, standing three feet away and moving side to side at a moderate pace, allowing the paint to give good coverage to all parts.  Always be on the lookout for areas that are too thinly covered.  Undersides of parts are tough to get at…so you may need to hang parts high, then low to shoot all areas.  Turning the part as needed to get paint on every plane of the part is a must.  Be aware that if you have just painted a nearby area, you are adding more paint to that portion of the parts at the same time you’re painting the un-painted area.

You can shoot each part lightly and then wait a few minutes to allow the paint to set, then go back to a part and shoot it again.  Several light coats are better than ONE HEAVY COAT!  But remember, once the hardener is added to the paint, the chemical process of hardening is under way, so you must use the paint.  You cannot save it for a half hour…or use down the road in a few days.

The first coat is applied on all surfaces. Be careful not to spray too heavy or too close to the parts to avoid sags.

Small parts are hanging to dry.

All parts are sprayed Sea-Mist Green.

In this photo, if you look closely at the water pump housing near the middle of these parts, you can see runs forming from too much paint. We'll have to re-visit this and correct those drips later.

These parts were hung at the end of the rack as they will all be sprayed either dull aluminum or Johnson Cream.

Drips and runs…or sags used to make my temper flare, my heart race, and my day go to heck!  Not so much anymore.  After experimenting and consulting some experts, and mostly just doing fixes on my mistakes, I’ve learned this is part of the process.  Besides, after I have not worked on the motor for a couple of weeks, I generally forget the whole drip ever existed.  We have to make mistakes to improve our skills, and this is part of the learning process when doing a full restoration.

So without further adieu, lets fix some drips!!

Drips are a way of life on most old motors owing to the many, many surfaces that must be covered. These can be fixed with some effort.

Again, drip and sags that will be evident and must be removed and wet sanded to flatten the surface out so a touch up coat can be applied.

The bottom shell of the lower unit will often get a run or two owing to the odd shape and screw recesses that can collect paint, then release it to run wild.

Here are parts that pass the drip test.

The propeller was shot with Johnson Cream from Peter McDowell at NY Marine. Since it is tough to mix a very small portion needed for one propeller, I usually keep several spare props in a bucket to shoot with other parts of similar color. In this case I shot four props and a 1956 5.5hp hood.

I shot this hood along with the propeller, but we'll address it later in the blog regarding masking for two color paint work.

This housing will be the first part we will try to get ready for touch up.

This handy tool is a miniature file attached to a wood block that will gently file down the drip until it is flush with the surface. These tools can be purchased at your local paint supply house.

Holding the tool between two fingers, you gently, with nearly no pressure, run it over the drip in ONLY ONE DIRECTION. This will take a few minutes and some patience. Should the tool become clogged with paint dust, simply clean with a wire brush.

After filing the drip down, now we're left with the discolored area where the paint pigments have collected. To prepare for a touch up I usually wet sand the area using water with a drop of dish detergent, and 600 to 1500 wet dry paper.

The water is straight from the tap, but distilled water is better. Also I add a drop of soap just to keep things slippery! However the soap must be completely rinsed and the part totally dry before applying the next coat of paint for touch up.

The wet-dry paper is wrapped around a small hardwood block. Very little pressure is used in sanding the remains of the drip out. Allow the grit on the sandpaper to do the work for you. This will again take some time and patience!!

All of these parts have now had their drips, runs or sags removed. They have been thoroughly washed and will be allowed to dry before painting with another coat of Sea-Mist Green.

Unless there is a good reason to touch up separately, I usually will assemble sub-assemblies to shoot in their entirety...from all angles...with a second coat of color. This part has some thin spots on the back of the steering tube and the port transom clamp. This will get covered by a second and final coat of Sea-Mist Green.

It has been my personal preference to shoot the hoods separately from the rest of the motor.  Reason: I can mix one more batch of paint and give the rest of the motor a good finish coat to fix those drips and thin spots while shooting the hood.

This hood will not be difficult to shoot with paint owning to it’s mostly flat surfaces.  Hoods such as the mid-50’s Johnson hoods can be a challenge because they have so many angles and planes that must be painted.  We’ll discuss that in some detail later.  However this hood is very simple in styling and will be shot quickly and allowed to dry for a day or so before masking for the dull aluminum paint on the trim.

The hood is now prepped and ready for DP epoxy primer. The it will get a coat of Sea-Mist Green with the other sub-assemblies. After the Green has dried, we will have to mask off and paint the dull aluminum trim on each half.

Total time for this work was about 2 hours.  This leaves us with about 9 hours in this motor so far.

The next several steps are what I call the “Hurry-up-n-wait-stage”!  This is where you’ll walk in the shop, shoot some paint, and you can’t do anything else with the motor until the paint has REALLY dried.  In other words, the next day.  That is why I usually keep two projects going at one time…and sometimes a third to do minor work on such as a tune up.

Next time, we’ll have the hood painted and ready for masking and shooting a second color.  We’ll address in some detail the different tapes used for masking and procedures used in Day Four of our full restoration of this 1951 Johnson QD-12.

You can check out part four here: Beyond the Sea…horse!: Outboard motor restoration step by step…Day Four!

Greg

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

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.