Archive for the 'Ramsey Brothers Restorations' Category

29
Dec
11

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

Ten and one-quarter hours spent working on this little motor so it can run…hopefully…another 50 years.  So far we have torn down the power head, the motor leg, repacked the lower unit, replaced the clutch dog (shift member), stripped all parts and primed and painted them…as well as decaling the hood.  Now the power head is going to be rebuilt and the final assembly of the motor finished.

Let’s get underway!

Power head components....EVERYWHERE!

This piston is pretty scratched from carbon getting stuck in the cylinder between the piston and cylinder wall.

Crankshaft bearings must be looked over with a critical eye. O-rings should always be replaced. These o-rings had given their all a long time ago!

Using a sharpie marker, I like to mark each connecting rod and related cap.

The motor block has been honed and all carbon must be cleaned from the block as well. Leaving excess carbon around cylinders and ports can cause heat issues.

As a matter of routine when a power head is over-hauled, at minimum new (or good) piston rings should be installed, and the cylinders honed to break the "glaze" or smooth surface of the cylinder walls. In this photo you can see the scratches from the honing process.

Used care placing the pistons in the cylinders. You must compress the piston rings so the engage the small dowel in the ring groove into a notch that is cut in the piston ring. Do not force the ring into the cylinder or breakage of the ring may occur.

Using needle bearing grease...or in this case Vaseline...we can now lay the 29 needle bearings into the connecting rods and rod caps. COUNT THEM! These bearings are not caged...there is no cage for the bearings to lay in, so they must be laid in the Vaseline to hold them in place until assembly is complete.

Half of the the needle bearings are in place on the connecting rods.

Once the bearings are install...all 29 of them...you may place the rod caps back on the matched connecting rod. Be sure to torque the connecting rod cap screws to the proper specs.

A low grade lacquer thinner is used to clean grime off all nuts, bolts, and hardware.

All original hardware is cleaned in solvent and readied for installation.

Using a new-old-stock gasket kit the crank case halves are mated beck together using 3M Scotch-grip 847 to seal it. This material is also used on all screw threads.

Final coat of paint has been applied to the lower-unit and transom clamp assembly.

This area was blemished with a drip. It is un-noticable now.

The exhaust leg has been installed prior to installation of the power-head.

Magneto ignitions use magnetic force to derive their power. No batteries needed.

I always clean the magneto plate to make sure it is spotless. This will allow you to quickly see if gasses or oil are coming out of a crankshaft seal later on down the road.

The coils and condensers checked good, so new plug wires were added, and the mag plate cleaned. The magneto is ready for installation.

A front shot showing the shifter and carb. The magneto has been installed.

New ends are attached to the spark plug wires. Neon spark testers are used in-line with the plugs to check for good ignition spark.

The flywheel and recoil have been installed.

The paint on the I.D. tag has faded or flaked off. This needs to be touched up too.

First lightly paint the I.D. tag with paint, then use a razor blade to lightly etch the paint off the raised areas.

With installation of the hood, this old Sea-Horse is ready for action again!

So after an additional two hours we have just under 13 hours of time in to making this old motor ready for action again.  Upon bucket testing and setting the carb jets, she seems ready to run.  Looking forward to spring to let ‘er rip on the river.

 

Hopefully this six part blog will inspire others to take on a challenge and give life to an old outboard motor.  Thanks for reading!

Greg

21
Dec
11

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

On Day five, we’re waiting on one piston that needs replacing and new rings, as well as some o-ring seals that are required for the water pump housing, the crankshaft journal bearings, and crankshaft seals.  The piston was ordered from Sea-Way Marine, but turned out the superceded part was not correct for this motor.  The original piston is scratched a bit, but can probably be reused.  However if possible, since the power-head is torn down, I’d just assume replace anything that is remotely questionable.  On this motor, almost every single rubber part was hard as rock!  Al the seals needed replacement to be sure, but even the water tube grommet was hard. (Odd!!)

So while we sit and wait on the mailman to show with the new parts, and the search for a new or used good piston is underway, let’s take a look at decals!

Decals seem to be another of those mystical, and magical thing that really can set a motor apart from the pack.  Remember being a kid and building that prized model car or truck?  Remember putting the finishing touch on?  THE DECALS!  You would soak them in water…waiting for ever, it seemed, for them to be ready to release from the backing paper and placed OH SO GINGERLY on the side of that wonderful model!! But somehow they just didn’t look as perfect as the box the kit came in?  How disappointing!  The “secret” will be shown later in this post!!

For now let’s start with self-sticking decals.  Most of my decals come from Peter McDowell of North York Marine.  His line of products has expanded over the last few years.  He also has made very subtle improvements to some of the decals that make working with them a snap!  Peter also works tirelessly to make the decals as authentic as they can be.  Am I endorsing or promoting his product you ask?  Damned right!  Peter is invaluable as a source for the classic outboard market.  He’s knowledgeable and willing to be helpful by sharing his wisdom.

So here is where we are…a green and silver hood that needs decals.  I should mention that even though this motor was given to me, I was fortunate it was a QD-12.  The decals on this motor are slightly different than the preceding years.  This was very attractive to me for that reason alone!

Here is our hood and our decals. I love that "crazy" Johnson script with the "Sea-Horse 10" logo. Slightly different than previous years!

To keep the decal from sticking entirely so it can be pulled up if need be for repositioning, a spray bottle with a mix of 75% distilled water, 25% alcohol and a DROP of dish soap is used to mist the area where the decal is to be applied.

Once the decal is laid in place and you are happy with it, use a plastic squeegee to squeeze the water from behind the decal. The vinyl decals can be stretched around compound curves somewhat. Make sure there is no grit of dirt on the squeegee as this could scratch the decal when rubbing it into place. To be safe you should actually use the backing paper laid smooth side down and run the squeegee over that so the decal will not be damaged in any way.

In about 15 minutes time, our hood has been decal-ed and is ready for use.

If you remember during a previous post I painted a 1956 Johnson 5.5hp hood with Johnson Cream while I was painting some other parts for our subject motor.  Now we’ll decal that hood with the same type of decals.  In my experience I have found it helpful to trim close along the decal in a straight line so there is nothing to get in the way of positioning the decals correctly.  Also your eyes tend to be accurate within a few degrees when “eyeballing” parallel and perpendicular surfaces.

Decals are paper backed vinyl with a self-adhesive. These masked decals are easy to line up and press into place. BUT! once they are applied, they're stuck! Care must be taken in their application.

PREP...PREP...PREP! Again preparation is everything! Clean all surfaces with denatured alcohol to get rid of any and all dirt, grease, or other filth that may affect adhesion. Make sure that the alcohol is evaporated before applying the decals though...or they may never stick again.

Using a spray bottle to mist a mix of distilled water with a DROP of soap added, and maybe a bit of alcohol, mist the area where the decal will be laid in place. This will allow you to move the decal if you get it mis-aligned.

Here our faceplate has the decal and masking applied.

Once laid in place, squeegee the water from behind the decal and smooth it out to make a permanent stick.

These decals are paper backed and after peeling the backing paper you are left with a mask over the printing that allows you to lay the decal in position and burnish it down with the squeegee.

This is the finished faceplate.

Our vinyl decals are masked in front and have a paper backing on the back to protect them while being stored. The backing paper must be peeled away to expose the adhesive side of the decal.

The area of the hood that is to be decaled is misted with water to allow repositioning of the decal if needed. With practice, you will get better and better at getting it right the first time!

In this photo and the next, the decal is showing though the paper mask that allows a perfect alignment of all the letters. Imagine if you had to place each letter independent of one-another!!

The Sea-Horse logo is made up of many smaller decals to make the one big logo! I strongly encourage clear coating these decals to avoid damage during use.

After the masking is remove, this is what has been left behind.

This motor is now ready for service. It's sure to be a conversation starter at the launch ramp.

Looks like new!!

So after 15 minutes to a half hour, this is how the decals are applied and look when done.  Tough part is to get things straight, but practice and patience will do wonders in this regard.

There is still one other type of decal to discuss and that is lacquer/water-slide decals.  These decals are printed on a very thin film, usually clear, then printed or silk screened with each color individually.  The more colors…the more fragile the decal can become.  As the layers of ink dry, on some decals up to half-dozen colors, the thickness of the decal is now much more than the original film.  When applying these decals I use fairly warm, not hot, but warm water in a long wallpaper pan.  The warm water softens the decal and its ink somewhat to make it my pliable.  After soaking for 15 seconds at a time, the decal will eventually lift.  Leaving it on the backing paper, it should be positioned in the area where you want it, then carefully slide the paper out from underneath the decal.

This medium sized decal must wrap around the tank on a Firestone motor. It will have to contour to compound curves of the tank. Here it is soaking in warem water and beginning to unroll indicating the decal is almost ready to be removed from the paper...IN PLACE...onto the tank. These decals have at least three colors, so they are fairly thick...and thus can fracture.

If the decal fractures into large pieces, use a spray bottle with slightly soapy water to wet the area around the decal and push everything together very carefully.  If you need to reposition a decal, especially large decals, use the same method and wet the decal before trying to move it.

WRINKLES!!! Arggh!! No big deal really, but to be expected on compound curves.

Okay…so now we have applied and positioned the water-slide decal on the side of the motor.  But, we also have wrinkles in the decal owing to the compound curves of the tank.  How to move forward?  Follow along closely.

First and foremost…WAIT until all the water has dried out under the decal.  I usually wait anywhere from 24hours to several days before proceeding.  However it is imperative not to touch the decal after it has dried as it has now returned to a fairly rigid state owing to the warm waters absence.  Remember the warm water made the decal soft and pliable.  Now it is back to its natural state.  Touching the wrinkle could cause the decal to crack or flake off.

To get the decal to lay down there are many products available from local hobby shops that sell model train, planes, and automobiles.  Products such as Micro-Set from Microscale Industries or Solvaset from Walther’s Hobbies are chemicals that are made to soften the decal and drive air-bubbles out from under the decal, then allowing it to snuggle down to the surface underneath.  These products will cause the decal to wrinkle usually and during this process you absolutely must not touch the decal!  If you do, you run the risk of the decal tearing, stretching, or being torn.  These decal setting solutions will INITIALLY CAUSE WRINKLES…but they should lay back down over several hours.

I find the Walther’s Solvaset to be slower, yet more powerful.  It also take much longer to let the decal lay down.  The Micro-Sol from Microscale seems to do the job fairly fast but if the decal has many layers of ink, it does not penetrate as well as the Solvaset.  With that said, you will develop your own preference over time.

I should also mention that once the decal lays down, if any additional wrinkles or air bubbles are left behind you can prick them with a fresh #11 knife blade and reapply the solution to allow additional setting to occur.  At any rate…several applications are usually necessary anyway to make the decals lay down completely.  Once the decals are set, the are not going to be able to be moved again, so make sure BEFORE applying the solution you are completely happy with the decal placement!!

The final outcome is quite satisfying. This little Firestone is ready for fun again!

So that is a look at the application of decals that are commonly used in our hobby.  As for our subject motor…we spent about 15 minutes putting decals on our hood.  So we’re sitting around 10 1/4 hours of labor to get the old Sea-Horse ready for summer.  Soon the parts will be in-stock now for rebuilding the power head, so in the next post we’ll give the lower leg a final coat of Sea-Mist Green and reassemble our old girl…and hopefully draw this project to a close.

Hope you drop by for a final chapter found here: Beyond the Sea..horse!: Outboard motor restoration step by step…Day Six!

Greg

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

13
Dec
11

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

Painting using good quality paint can really make a final product stand out.  Peter McDowell explains the issues with using spray paint, which never really gets hard, on any product that will see hard service and or exposure to fuel.  You can read more on his website at North York Marine.  Peter also sells paint that is painstakingly matched to the original colors of our vintage outboards.  He’s a helluva nice guy, and very knowledgeable.

The main issue in painting a motor is preparation!!!  ALL parts must be totally free of all grease and grime, fuel, oil, and dirt.  To do this I use various stiff and soft bristle brushes and generic parts washer to get loose debris off each part after dis-assembly of the motor.

The old saying is "Cleanliness is next to Godliness!" "Tis true in this case. All parts must be degreased completely BEFORE using blasting media to get rid of paint.

Low grade lacquer thinner is used  to clean off the crud that is very stubborn or caked on.  Be sure to get up into nooks-n-cranies.  There are a lot of them on these old outboards.

For final prepping of parts, a clean bowl and clean lacquer thinner is used. I get my lacquer thinner in 5 gallon pails from the paint supply house.

Using a brush and lacquer thinner a final degreasing is underway. All grease must be removed before blasting parts to remove paint. Failure to do so will result in the blasting media just sticking in the remaining grease and potentially getting blown into the media and clogging your gun

In my post about Day One of this project, I suggested being into forensics is helpful.  This motor was suspected of being repainted somewhere along in it’s life.  It was painted a “correct” color of Johnson Sea-Horse Green which is darker than the 1946 to 1951 Sea-Mist Green.

Upon application of lacquer thinner to clean the main steering tube, this old Sea-Horses true colors were beginning to show.  The Sea-Horse green was wrinkling up and leaving behind the original color as seen below.

Here is where forensics that was mentioned in the Day One blog plays into the project. After application of lacquer thinner, the "second coat" of paint...Sea Horse Green is peeling like crazy...revealing this motors true colors.

The old dirty thinner used in the first cleaning can be reused to clean hardware used to put the motor back together. I use the original hardware always if possible.

After thoroughly cleaning ALL crud and filth off each part, blasting was done to rid each parts of it’s old paint and primer.  For this I use a generic blast cabinet and slag blasting media.  If a part is delicate, I may use soda-blasting as the media of choice.  The problem with soda-blasting is it works well, but the media is only able to be used once.  It also must be done outside of the shop.  The good thing is it is environmentally friendly in that it uses baking soda with is water soluble and thus easily disposed of with water.  Soda-blasting also does not dig into or etch the metal being blasted.  Additionally, unlike sand-blasting it does not heat, and potentially warp the metal being blasted.

All parts have been blasted in an inexpensive blast cabinet from Harbor Freight tools. Next it's time to prep for primer.

The power-head has also been cleaned and is stored in a tote until the cylinder block is finished being honed at the local marina.

Following paint removal, all parts must be cleaned again to remove dust and residue from the blast media.  Again, any impurities left behind will likely cause issues with primer adhering to the aluminum or could even cause paint to “fish-eye” when sprayed over those particles of impurities.  This will appear as an area that paint will spread out AROUND the particle or impurity.

Once the lacquer thinner has been used to clean all parts, they are hung up and allowed to air dry...or they can be blown dry with compressed air.

As always, when any motor is disassembled, mechanical issues arise.  A common issue found after a lower unit has been rebuilt is shown below.  A small dowel is inserted into a hole in the lower unit castings at the front and rear of the prop shaft.  The purpose is to “index” the bearing on the leading end of the prop shaft so it will not turn in the housing while under power, and the dowel at the rear (Prop-end) keeps the prop shaft seal housing from falling out of the lower unit.  Our front dowel has been pushed all the way down into the lower unit housing.  This must be removed and repaired as follows below.

Lousy photo...but in the area near the round edge you can see a little pin that is used to index the bearing on the prop shaft. This must be pulled out and replaced to keep the bearing from turning in the housing while under power.

Using a drill bit that is smaller than the dowel pin, drill a straight hole in the dead center of the dowel.

After drilling a small hole in the dowel, an easy-out removal tool, or even a sheet metal screw can be inserted in the hole to pull the dowel out of the housing.

The dowel is sufficently long enough that once it has been pulled out, it can be turned 180 degrees and re-inserted in the lower unit housing.

Here we see the dowel sticking out of the lower unit housing so it can now do the job it was intended to do by holding the bearings on the prop shaft in place.

Normally BEFORE priming and painting a lower unit, I would first rebuild and reassemble in to a sub-assembly.  However, upon further examination the weakest point of all lower units appears to be worn out.  The shift “sliding member” (OMC term) or “clutch dog” has had its ears worn by improper shifting.  Thus it will need replacement.  All OMC motors are designed to be “snapped” into gear!  “Easing” them into get creates premature wear of the clutch dog which engages the forward and reverse gears as shifted.

If in doubt...replace it. The clutch dog has seen its best days behind it.

The final preparation is to tape off, mask, or plug any holes that you don’t want paint to get into.  Despite primer and paint being only microns thick, it is enough thickness to complicate reassembly or create wear if clearances in drive shaft bearings are allowed to decreased even slightly.

To keep primer and paint out of the bronze bearings for the drive shaft, I use neoprene stoppers in the holes.

Any bearing surface within the steering tubes must be taped off to avoid being coated by primer or paint.

After a thorough cleaning with solvent, the parts are ready to be primed.  I use a PPG product from their Shop Line that is mixed with a primer hardener made specifically for this application.  Epoxy based primers are not of the self-etching type used on aluminum, but it does have some etching properties and seems to do well on a properly prepared aluminum surface.  It is touted to be good for most applications, and is commonly used in the automotive repair industry.

Primer used on most of my projects is an epoxy primer and hardener.

Per instructions, the primer is mixed 2 parts primer to 1 part hardener.

Using a mixing cup from the paint supply house makes mixing easy.

DP Epoxy Primers must be allowed to cataliyze with the hardener for 30 minutes after mixing.  This gives a bit of time for organizing parts to be sprayed in a logical sequence and any last minute cleaning that needs to be accomplished.

The clock is running!

During the 30 minutes we have waiting on the primer to do its thing, let’s discuss technique using an paint gun.  First and foremost…READ the instructions.  Each gun may vary.  The most basic features are a nozzle that allows a change in spray pattern by rotating the nozzle on the front of the gun.  There should be a knob to control with of the spray pattern, and finally a way to adjust the needle to control the amount of material/paint that can come out of the gun tip by pressing the trigger.

The gun! This is an inexpensive HVLP gun from Harbor Freight tools.

The business end of the gun! This nozzle can be turned 360 degrees to adjust the horizontal and vertical pattern of the spray gun.

This knob rotates to change the width of the pattern being delievered from the gun to the target.

This knob acts as a stop for the needle. Backing it out allows much more paint to flow from the nozzle, screwing it in restricts flow. There is also a stop nut that keeps the stop-nut from adjusting on its own.

Get used to this view! This is the disassembled gun. L to R: Gun, paint cup, needle, filter, nozzle, and needle stop nut.

So that is the basics of the HVLP gun.  This is a gun designed to put maximum material where it is supposed to go…on the part being painted.  This makes for less waste and better use of material than older styled paint guns.

After the clock has ticked off 30 minutes, we're ready to shoot the parts.

I use a stand for painting the underside of parts, then hang them to complete the job.

With parts hanging, primer is sprayed using and HVLP spray gun. Requires little air, and delivers plenty of material. Make sure you use no more pressure than needed...usually in the 20 to 40 psi range.

All these parts are now primed. Make sure all sides are covered with primer for paint to adhere properly.

Since I have some excess primer, I decided to prime so other parts that were prepped previously for other projects.

Okay, so now all the pieces and parts of the motor that need to be primed…are…well…primed!  What’s left?  Not much.  This primer requires you to paint the with the color coat within three hours to three days.  That is a pretty nice window of opportunity.  However, if your window slams shut, you will need to scuff-sand all surfaces to be painted with some 800 or 1000 grit wet dry sand paper or better yet a scotch-brite pad.

So that is it for Day 2!  Next we will paint the first color coat.  No doubt there will be the inevitable touch up and repair of a sag, drip or run!  So this is where the “artistry” will come in…along with patience, finesse, and a light touch!

All this work took 3.5 hours, so we now have about 7 hrs in our motor.

Hope you’ll join us for the next edition here:  Beyond the Sea…horse!:  Outboard motor restoration step by step…Day Three!

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!