New Guy! First motor!

Home Forum Ask A Member New Guy! First motor!

This topic contains 40 replies, has 15 voices, and was last updated by kevinrude kevinrude 2 weeks, 6 days ago.

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    Yellowstone
    US Member - 1 Year
    Replies: 21
    Topics: 3
    #181616

    Hello, My name is Chuck and I just joined AOMIC today. Anyway, my son and I just bought our first antique outboard – a 3 hp 1954 Johnson Seahorse. We actually bought it for our little 12 duck boat but had so much fun tinkering with it that I know I want to collect more! I annoyed my kids by watching YouTube videos on the subject and ordering a few books related to collecting last night. BTW, I believe its a 54, because I did some research and it looks like the jw-10 model was made between 52-54 and then I looked up what the decals looked like each of those years.

    Anyway, I didn’t join to ask technical questions but that is a benefit I guess. Not sure I really have a question but more so sharing my experience. We bought this little motor after the older gentleman who sold it to us for $125 told us it ran great and demonstrated it doing so. The problem was, it didn’t start that great when I got home. Ha. It took me awhile to figure out if you pulled out the rope a foot and let is snap back in, you could get a solid pull and it would fire up 1 out of 2 times. That wasn’t good enough for me so I took the top off and as I was gingerly tinkering, the recoil spring came out. So I watched some videos online and tried to put it back in and did what I thought was successfully, but the rope was loose and not much retraction.

    I finally decided to bring in to the local marine shop I trust and has always treated me fairly in the past. We’ll see what they say. They’ll probably get to it this week yet to tell me what they think is wrong. Which is why I brought it in. Not confident I can diagnose that yet. May just need a simple spring replaced. I see you can buy entirely new starter units for this motor online for less than $50 and my neighbor has some of these old motors he says I could use for parts so I may go that route if the shop says the price to fix will be more than I paid for the motor. I thought what I paid was a good price btw, but I will learn if so eventually.

    Sorry for the long story. And thanks for any insight. But it’s kind of fun figuring out the problems too I guess. Anyway, great site and organization from what I’ve seen so far and looking forward to being a member and attending some events. I am going to also sign up for the Minnesota chapter as that’s where I am from.

    • This topic was modified 1 month ago by Mumbles Mumbles.
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    Mumbles
    Mumbles
    Canada Member - 2 Years
    Replies: 4185
    Topics: 424
    #181624

    Howdy Chuck, welcome aboard and congratulations on obtaining your first vintage, classic outboard motor! I’m sure it is only the first of many!

    The JW is a good choice as they are simple and very easy to work on and maintain. With shop rates around here at two dollars a minute, learning how to work on and maintain an old motor is mandatory. There are many manuals available online and supplied here by asking to help you along. One manual which every Johnson owner should have is the 1964 Johnson Service Manual which covers all previous years and explains how to repair them, including the starters. If you PM me your email address, I’ll gladly send you a digital copy.

    One thing you are going to discover quickly is the coils used in the magnetos on any of these older motor will be deteriorated and be cracked from age requiring replacement. Sprucing up the ignition system with new coils, points, plugs, and condensers will help it spark while a carb kit and impeller will help it run smoothly and keep cool. One thing which should be done before spending any money on a motor is to take a compression test with a reliable compression tester. The numbers obtained will give a good indication of the motors health.

    Here’s what bad coils look like.

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    Yellowstone
    US Member - 1 Year
    Replies: 21
    Topics: 3
    #181627

    Thanks! And yes, I agree, bringing it to the shop isn’t a long-term option and I wouldn’t have if I didn’t feel they were a fair outfit. Recently for instance, they found a nice $100 used prop in their warehouse for my 115 hp Yamaha on my bowrider and asked if it was OK if they just put it on at no charge since I had the boat with me. Anyway, thanks again and I will PM you for that manual. I’d love to start working on it more myself once we get it back. I will also look into getting a compression tester and how to do that on older outboards. Most of the YouTube videos show it being done on newer ones.

    squierka39
    squierka39
    US Member - 2 Years
    Replies: 315
    Topics: 21
    #181635

    Welcome to the club. Free advise for the future, don’t pull the rope out and let it snap back, that’s not really good for it. You should always let it rewind slowly while still holding the pull knob. Parts motor are a great source for repairing, the JW is a great motor to start with and parts motors are plentiful.

    David Bartlett
    David Bartlett
    US Member - 1 Year
    Replies: 151
    Topics: 7
    #181636

    Welcome! The JW is a great motor to learn with. Make sure you heed Mumble’s advice, and also use plenty of oil in the gas. This motor needs 16:1 as it has plain bearings throughout.

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    Yellowstone
    US Member - 1 Year
    Replies: 21
    Topics: 3
    #181641

    Thanks all. I will refrain from the snap pull! Seems stupid now that I think about it but loving this learning piece. Still no word from the shop though it’s been just over 24 hours. Usually they get to stuff in a few days. I may just see if they have a diagnosis and then do the work myself, paying them for their time. David, on the gas mix, I mixed a small tank of 25:1 as that’s what the previous owner said he’d used the past 50 years or so. I will try the 16:1 too to see if that makes a difference as you say.

    bobw
    bobw
    US Member - 1 Year
    Replies: 605
    Topics: 28
    #181649

    Chuck, welcome to the club. You will find a lot of very knowledgeable folks here that are always willing to help out. I’ve only been a member and starting a classic outboard collection for a couple years now and I’ve learned a lot by following this forum. And as you’ve found, once you start working on a motor you immediately want to start collecting more! The JW is a good motor to start with. The first one I started with was my ’58 Johnson QD-19 and now I’m totally hooked on the mid to late 50’s Johnson classics. Like the other guys here have already noted be sure to use the 16:1 oil mix on your motor.

    Bob

    1954 Johnson CD-11
    1956 Johnson RD-18
    1958 Johnson QD-19
    1959 Johnson QD-20

    Avatar
    1-old-outboard
    US Member - 1 Year
    Replies: 40
    Topics: 10
    #181688

    The JW is one of the simplest, best-running engines ever built. It far exceeds the run-quality of anything it’s size built today. You will not be disappointed.

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    steveh
    US Member - 2 Years
    Replies: 115
    Topics: 23
    #181712

    Ditto on the welcomes to the club Chuck. Feel free to ask lots of questions…you’ll find tons of helpful folks. Best of luck on your JW…fun, easy, reliable motor!

    phil
    phil
    US Member - 2 Years
    Replies: 98
    Topics: 14
    #181737

    The articles (republished as a book) that got me started:
    http://www.omc-boats.org/maxw.html
    he was writing for boat-builders looking for cheap, easy to work on engines, like yours.

    Having to re-wind a recoil spring was one of my first lessons too!

    http://www.omc-boats.org
    http://www.aerocraft-boats.org

    Avatar
    Yellowstone
    US Member - 1 Year
    Replies: 21
    Topics: 3
    #181791

    Got it back from the shop this morning and it runs great. In fact, the owner said, “yeah, they couldn’t believe how well that thing runs for its age. It really hums.” I don’t have a compression tester yet but I started the motor on the first pull and it idles down nice the lowest point of the slow scale and just keeps going. I had my son practice starting it to and he got impatient and tried to pull twice once it got going and it made a quick grinding noise. I let out a bit of yell on that one. lol. And instructed him not to do that again. Keeps starting and running well though. The shop said they reassembled the ignition system correctly, installed some missing springs within it (the little dog ones). They also installed new plugs and checked the gear lube, found it was bad, and changed it. It was $100 for the labor and $20 for parts. But been doing research since I dropped it off and can’t wait to work on stuff like the coils and water pump myself. Thanks for all the welcomes and advice!

    Mumbles
    Mumbles
    Canada Member - 2 Years
    Replies: 4185
    Topics: 424
    #181794

    When you decide to get another outboard, I have lots here you can have!

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    Yellowstone
    US Member - 1 Year
    Replies: 21
    Topics: 3
    #181796

    I just may have to do to see what you have for sale sometime soon. I forgot they also put a new rope on it and I was thinking I sure hope they didn’t toss the original handle! They didn’t. Anyway, I started reading the Old Outboard book last night and the history of Johnson and Evinrude, which are fascinating.

    squierka39
    squierka39
    US Member - 2 Years
    Replies: 315
    Topics: 21
    #181836

    That’s great, and not to expensive considering the labor involved. Now it’s time to find another JW and try it yourself. You’ll find it’s not that hard, make take a while but you’ll save money and have fun learning. No fancy tools are really needed but some of them do make things easier and you’ can add those as you go along, happy motoring.

    Avatar
    Yellowstone
    US Member - 1 Year
    Replies: 21
    Topics: 3
    #181844

    Thanks! I am already to buy another. lol. But I still have some work on this one to do too, though. I am going to replace the coils, points and condensers and impeller as Mumbles suggested. Also ordered a missing clamp for $7 (right now using a screwdriver to twist the one bolt in.

    Cosmetically, I took all that ugly duck tape off the handle and used goo gone to get the residue off. There’s a big crack about 1/3 the way down one side so I taped it up with masking tape on the outside and applied aquaseal (I use on my waders) to the crack from the inside of the handle. Will see if that is a good semi-permanent fix once its hardened by tomorrow. I was also thinking about trying to remove some of the big dents from the tank. I am doing some research but any suggestions welcome. Then, this winter, if I get a bug up my behind, I may sand, prime, paint and apply new decals. I like it now too but there’s a lot of bare metal in spots.

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