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Cheap Outboards: The Beginner's Guide to Making an Old Motor Run Forever Paperback – June 1, 2006
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First, I like the book, I found it entertaining. The chapter on replacing pressurized fuel systems in 1950s OMCs is very nice. The Mikuni fuel pump recommended can be bought for $25 including postage on ebay. You can also use a modern OMC pump in some cases. I checked the OMC parts manual. The 1969 single line pump gasket is the same as for the 1970s-2000 OMC 4, 7.5 and 15, so you can buy that pump ($40 on Ebay). You can buy a deflector for a 1960s model that allows mounting the pump on your 1950s era outboard. Sea Way Marine should carry the parts. However, the male fuel connector for a single line tank is expensive, $50, it's the same on all OMC outboards through 2000.
The author is right that you will not be able to change the waterpump on a slant/weedless model 10-28 hp Mercury without special tools. Even with the right tools it's difficult, I used to own the tools since my parents were a Mercury dealer 1957-61. But I don't agree with the author to avoid all the 1940s era OMC motors. I have a 1947 Johnson 5 and a 1949 Johnson 10. The 5 is of a more primitive design, the 10 is a 'classic'. Parts are readily available for both motors through Sea Way Marine in Seattle, where you can also get parts for older Mercurys. The parts are generally not expensive excepting the coils. The 1949 10 is a very nice motor, it was the first modern Johnson. As advised by the author, the coil insulations on those motors had disintegrated, all coils had to be replaced. A 1950s era Mercury may turn up with good coils. I have a wonderful 1955 Mark 25 with good coils, and I have a 1958 coil for a 4 cyl. 1950s era 4 cyl. Mercury with perfectly good insulation. The external Fairbanks Morse magneto on the 4 cyl. Mercurys was first rate. Furthermore, the powerhead of a Mercury is not harder to work on than an OMC, no special tools are necessary other than (for both OMC and Mercury) a flywheel puller. It's easier to change points and condenser on a 4 or 6 cyl. Mercury than on an OMC because you do not have to pull the flywheel on the former. The 1941- Mercurys were and are very reliable motors, it was OMC propaganda that labeled them as unreliable. You do need a special tool to remove the waterpump of a 1950s-1960s era Mercury. However, when you replace the impeller you should also replace the driveshaft and propshaft seals, and you need a special tool to get the seals out whether Mercury or OMC. I've used a bent screwdriver or chisel to get the driveshaft seals out but it's best to use a special tool, a small slide hammer. I just bought one on Ebay for $50. The author's advice about avoiding repair shops is correct, they see it as unprofitable to work on an old motor or take one on trade. People buy rigs that cost from a few thousand to tens of thousands of Dollars now, and dealers don't want to invest time and money repairing a motor that will sell for anywhere from a few hundred to a thousand Dollars. The old motors are better than the new ones, the new ones (excepting all Evinrude models and the Mercury Optimax) are lumbering, heavy 4 strokes that won't accelerate and will spill oil out if you lay one on its side. Also, check out the price of a Yamaha carb reapir kit before you get sucked into a 4-stroke Yamaha. Some kits cost $125/carb as opposed to $25/carb for an old OMC or Mercury.
I prefer OMC outboards of the 1975-1995 vintage, excepting oil injection models. Those motors will wind up and run like a Mercury, blowing the doors off the older OMCs like the 1950s Mercurys did. I also prefer electronic ignition rather than points and condenser. You can buy an OMC service manual for your model for about $20 on Ebay. How to check the ignition: you check the resistances of the coils, charge coil and sensor coil without removing anything from the motor or pulling the flywheel. You check the wiring and coil insulation visually for cracks. If those parts test ok and the motor doesn't fire, then it's either the kill switch (or key switch) or the powerpack. Powerpacks can often be bought on Ebay for $50. I love not having to mess with points and condensers. Also, do not use any cheap oil. WalMart oil may be better than 1955 Mercury oil, but it's inferior to Evinrude or Mercury oil of today. Use only Evinrude or Mercury TC-W3 or synthetic oil (Evinrude, Mercury, Amsoil) at 50:1 in any full jewleled outboard regardless of age, and use 25:1 or even more oil in any outboard that has at least one bushing in the powerhead. All Mercurys from the 1940s on run at 50:1. The Johnson 10 hp QD models and many other OMC motors of the 1950s and early 1960s were not full jeweled and need more oil, some need 3/8 pint/gal. Also, stick to 93 octane gas, don't use low octane gas. The old motors were built in an era when good grade leaded 98 octane gas was common. If you use any cheap oil, then you may wind up with excessive carbon buildup especially due to running slowly or idling, and the lubrication may not be as good as it could and should be. Two very good classic outboards are the 1976-2001 OMC 15 hp (the 9.9 converts to 15 hp with a carb change) and the 1979-2001 25/30/35. The 25 converts to 35 hp with a carb change, and the 30 is the same as the 35, it's rated 30 hp at the propshaft and 35 hp at the crank. We own and run a 1981 Evinrude 7.5 and a 15 (the 15 is a lovely motor, it turns 6500 RPM), a 1983 Johnson 35 and 1975 Johnson and Evinrude 3 cyl. racing model 75s. A final note: double up on the oil when turning any full-jeweled motor over 6000 RPM. Our 75s turn 6800. The 1976-2001 OMC 15 was rated at 15 ho at 6300-6500 RPM and the proper operating range (stated by OMC) is 6000-7000 RPM. So, they should also have stated "tis is not a 50:1 motor, use 25:). I've inspected many cranks and blocks from 1970s and 1980s era 15s, most have pitted cranks and scored cylinders from too little oil. We've run our 1981 15 for three seasons now at 6500 RPM with Evinrude XD-100 synthetic at 37:1 and the little motor performs wonderfully. Good outboarding!
I have two old Johnson outboards and I liked the story he told about how he could drive, one of the models I have, across the ocean with out missing a beat!
Really enjoy and still enjoying this book!