Sunday, March 30, 2014

63 years young

No, not me; I’ve passed that particular milestone already.
Pretty much anyone who lives on the North American continent knows what a miserable and seemingly endless winter it’s been. The bike has been ready to go with new goodies, an oil change, and needed repairs done for a month now, yet when I look out the window I still see this:
DSC_7460 (2)
So what to do? Well, another project of course.
Our little lake is only about a mile long and 1/2 mile across so my 12’ aluminum boat is just fine with a small electric motor. And the loons like it that way as well – nice and quiet. But I wanted to be able to go out on much bigger White Lake for some decent walleye fishing so I needed an outboard motor. Not willing to pay a king’s ransom for a new (or even relatively new) one, I had been keeping an eye on Kijiji for something older and, most important, cheap. Then a week ago I found this:
2014-03-25 11.04.37
A 1951/52 Evinrude Fleetwin 7.5 hp. It looked a bit rough but it’s the kind of motor I grew up with so the pull of nostalgia was strong. And while the current owner wasn’t giving it away I could live with the price, knowing full well it would also probably need a lot of work.
“Should just have to put gas in it and go” he said. “It was running fine when we put it away.” I didn’t believe a word, and even if it had been running fine, putting it away years ago with a full tank of gas was likely not the smartest thing he’d ever done. It’s a 2-stroke, 24:1 gas:oil mix, so that full tank of oil-mixed fuel eventually degraded and completely clogged the fuel line and carburetor with tar, which is slowly being dissolved as I write this.
I also don’t expect it saw too many professional motor mechanics in its time. Stripped slot screw heads abound (praise be for an impact driver), and there are not a few small parts (non too critical fortunately) that appear to be missing from previous dismantlings and reassemblies – you know, when you tighten everything up only find an extra piece or two on the bench, at which point you say screw it and toss it in the trash? That kind of stuff. 
But it’s mostly all there and not too badly beaten up from years of bouncing around in the back of a pickup. The compression is good and, surprisingly, many parts are still available. So now it’s time to try some serious CPR and see if I can bring the old girl back to life while I wait… and wait… and wait for the snow to finally leave us.

13 comments:

  1. Years ago, some friends bought a cabin and a bunch of us went over to help clean it up. After clearing out a shed, we found an old lake boat with a similar vintage engine that hadn't been run in 30 years. Drained the carbs, rinsed them off with gas, cleaned the plugs, connected a fresh gas source. After a squirt of starting fluid it cranked right up and it was on the lake that afternoon. Not much to go wrong with a 2-cycle engine! Good luck with your new project.

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    1. Thanks Richard. It'll be fun, whatever the outcome. But you're right - these old 2-strokes are pretty well bulletproof.

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  2. Sounds like a fun project, David. Looking forward to a video of you out on the lake catching those big ones!

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  3. It looks like a good project to keep your mind off the snow.

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    1. Trobairitz - So far it's working. Instead of staring out at snowbanks I'm poring over pages of eBay listing and on-line catalogues looking for the bits I need.

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  4. A good late winter/early spring project, maybe if everyone who is living in snowy parts started doing spring projects Old Man Winter might get the hint and scram.

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    1. Dar - We've now had a couple of above-freezing days in a row so perhaps I should claim credit.

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  5. Canajun glad you've found something to take your mind off the snow ... I think I have an old motor hanging about in the shed from days gone by but that's where it will stay ... My lake is still the colour of cold, my driveway now the colour of mud. Here's hoping for spring.

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    1. VStar Lady - Driveway still the colour of ice here, as is the lake. Hopefully we'll get to the mud stage in a week or so. As for that old motor, I'm sure you could find it a caring home.

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    2. Now you're making me think I should clean the shed ... luckily it was a fleeting thought!

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  6. Canajun:

    I'm thinking that wouldn't it be better to have a snowmobile engine rather than a boat engine. You need some winter toys so that you can enjoy the whole year instead of putting all your eggs into the Summer months

    bob
    A weekend photographer or Riding the Wet Coast

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    1. Bob - But then I'd be working on it in the summer when I'd rather be riding or golfing.

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