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  • Homelite Reliability

    "did it have anything to do with being one of three boats running Homelites on the last Snohomish River run and being the only one that made it back under its own power?"

    You're scaring me Tim! So is down to Joe and I running these? I did a little tuneup on my 7th one last Saturday, timing was quite retarded, ran it Sunday. It starts much easier and at WOT it's hitting 28mph at 5500rpm. I think I'm propped right with the 12 pitch. Trolling was at 500rpm and 1.36 mph. This one is running great. Rings for the first one came in last week so it will be coming apart soon for it's top end soon. Also in the works is tilt and trim.
    Dick Johnson
    1989 16ft Sylvan
    '57 Evinrude 18hp
    '58 Johnson 5.5hp
    '61 Johnson 5.5hp LS
    '64 Johnson 18hp
    '72 Johnson 6hp
    '61 Homelite 55 Shortshaft
    '65 Homelite 55
    '66 Homelite
    '68 Bearcat 55 (3)
    '70 Bearcat 55 (2)

  • #2
    Hi Dick,

    Don't let my teasing about the Homelites scare you, I'm mostly poking fun at myself, since I'm the only person I know of that spent a lot of time and care doing a completely obsessive cosmetic restoration on an engine that had internal problems from the beginning.

    If I had had any experience running one of these before, or had ridden with someone that had a good one, I would have known from the start that mine wasn't right. But I didn't. It was a mistake to do all that cosmetic work on an engine that I hadn't actually run on a boat, just because an engine idles well, has good compression and pees water doesn't mean that it is ready for reliable service.

    After mine seized up on the last Sno River run, I didn't even consider repairing it, partially because I was just sick of messing with the thing, but mostly because the engine just wasn't suited for my use. Keeping up with the group on outings meant running it at or near full throttle nearly all the time, with a top speed that was an easy cruising speed for most other boats. Even without the mechanical problems it just wasn't a good fit for my boat or the way I wanted to go boating. I think you're the ideal Homelite owner, the use you've described for yours seems to be what they were designed for. As for the ads from the period that show a Homelite planing 20 ft wooden cruisers ... well, yeah, right.

    It was kinda hard to give up on mine, I still think they look awesome and the style of mine ('68) looked like it was designed for my boat, I was always getting comments on how good it looked on it.

    I still would like to ride with someone with a good one, just so I can finally see what they're supposed to run like. Ross's sure seemed to run fine when he towed me and mine in ...

    Tim

    Comment


    • #3
      Bearcat Engines

      I can fix that riding thing.....
      I am still not sure I want to do all that cosmetic stuff on mine. I know they look really nice when you do all of that and as long as Dick has his motors, I would think I could keep mine running too.

      To be honest, I did my go fast time but might be looking for a sacrificial saltwater motor. I know that Lake Cushman is only about 60 miles from me and plan on spending time up there.

      Bearcats Rule :BigHappy1:
      Helmar Joe Johanesen
      1959 Skagit 20ft Offshore, 1959 Skagit 16ft Skimaster,
      1961 17ft Dorsett Catalina.1958 Uniflite 17 ft
      Outboards: 2.5 Bearcats, 3 50hp White shadow Mercs
      2 40hp Johnsons, several smaller Old kickers for a total of 12

      Our Sister club
      http://www.goldenstateglassics.com

      Oh, and Where is Robin Hood when you need him??

      Comment


      • #4
        Truth of the matter is I don't think I am done with mine. I never really had any problems to speak of. For what we use it for they are tough to beat. I am sure I'll be able to come up with a lower unit and I'll use it on somthing else. I went 29 on the gps at WOT of about 5800 rpm. with just the wife and I. Woulnd't recomend running it there for long though! Really enjoyed the performance at the other end of the power band. I try to fish when ever I can but I usually run the electric troller, as it seams the Homlite trolls a little fast on my 16ft Bellboy. Maybe I just need to look for faster fish!
        I have really enjoyed using it and hope to use it some more! I suppose I need another boat. Oh Dang It! - Ross
        Ross Henson

        Comment


        • #5
          Originally posted by Tim McCrain, post: 19758
          Hi Dick,
          As for the ads from the period that show a Homelite planing 20 ft wooden cruisers ... well, yeah, right.

          Tim
          I don't remember if it actually planed or not, but I learned to waterski behind a 20' wooden cruiser powered by a Homelite somewhere around 1966. I probably didn't weigh much more than 130, but it had enough power to pull me out of the water on one ski. Just enough.

          Comment


          • #6
            Originally posted by Yardman, post: 19763
            I suppose I need another boat. Oh Dang It! - Ross
            Just let me know when you'd like to come make your selection. Really. Anytime. Call me! :GoodJob:

            Comment


            • #7
              Originally posted by Stan D, post: 19765
              I don't remember if it actually planed or not, but I learned to waterski behind a 20' wooden cruiser powered by a Homelite somewhere around 1966. I probably didn't weigh much more than 130, but it had enough power to pull me out of the water on one ski. Just enough.
              Well, gas was better then ...

              Comment


              • #8
                Tim, you just had a bad experience with yours is all. It was broken from the date you purchased it..

                You seen mine running at Mason but what you didn't see was all the stuff up in the cabin that was extra weight, extra battery, two tool bags, all my gear, extra fuel ( I have NO idea why I brought extra fuel, never needed it before) and it jumped up on plane and ran the same even with John Nelson aboard with me.

                So just so people don't get the wrong idea about these engines, they are Old engines, just like Any other engine that is a Classic. No one really knows how many hours are on them really...
                I have just as much trust, if not more, with these engines than would with Merc or OMC.

                So folks, these engines are not Hot Rods by any means, but they Are Classics and just fine by me. I might go a little slower than others but the fuel savings alone puts a smile on my face.
                The fact that I don't have to smell the stink of the oil (wife is not to fond of that either) just keeps the smile on my face longer VeryBigSmile
                Helmar Joe Johanesen
                1959 Skagit 20ft Offshore, 1959 Skagit 16ft Skimaster,
                1961 17ft Dorsett Catalina.1958 Uniflite 17 ft
                Outboards: 2.5 Bearcats, 3 50hp White shadow Mercs
                2 40hp Johnsons, several smaller Old kickers for a total of 12

                Our Sister club
                http://www.goldenstateglassics.com

                Oh, and Where is Robin Hood when you need him??

                Comment


                • #9
                  Originally posted by Yardman, post: 19763
                  Truth of the matter is I don't think I am done with mine. I never really had any problems to speak of. For what we use it for they are tough to beat. I am sure I'll be able to come up with a lower unit and I'll use it on somthing else. I went 29 on the gps at WOT of about 5800 rpm. with just the wife and I. Woulnd't recomend running it there for long though! Really enjoyed the performance at the other end of the power band. I try to fish when ever I can but I usually run the electric troller, as it seams the Homlite trolls a little fast on my 16ft Bellboy. Maybe I just need to look for faster fish!
                  I have really enjoyed using it and hope to use it some more! I suppose I need another boat. Oh Dang It! - Ross
                  Ross, there is a lower unit on eBay in AZ right now...
                  Helmar Joe Johanesen
                  1959 Skagit 20ft Offshore, 1959 Skagit 16ft Skimaster,
                  1961 17ft Dorsett Catalina.1958 Uniflite 17 ft
                  Outboards: 2.5 Bearcats, 3 50hp White shadow Mercs
                  2 40hp Johnsons, several smaller Old kickers for a total of 12

                  Our Sister club
                  http://www.goldenstateglassics.com

                  Oh, and Where is Robin Hood when you need him??

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by Tim McCrain, post: 19758
                    Hi Dick,

                    Don't let my teasing about the Homelites scare you, I'm mostly poking fun at myself, since I'm the only person I know of that spent a lot of time and care doing a completely obsessive cosmetic restoration on an engine that had internal problems from the beginning.


                    Tim
                    Hey Tim, I know you're teasing. After now running mine for three seasons, yes there has been some problems but overall I wouldn't be afraid to take mine anywhere. I pretty much know them inside and out. Yes for my needs it's a perfect fit. At the start of the season it had a half tank of fuel (tank is 12 gallon) I've filled it once this year and it's down to about half again. We used it almost every weekend and trolled an average 4 hrs with some WOT runs too. It is very cheap to operate.

                    I understand why you went with the Merc and don't blame you, running my 85hp Bearcat I certainly get a rush with it's performance! It's the only one I've run in the Columbia and it's the one that seems to have the reputation for reliability issues depending on who you talk to.

                    I got to work on a 115 Stack for a co-worker last spring. He had it two different shops for the same problem and after $350 it still would not run right. I spent a couple hrs on it one weekend and it's been running perfect ever since. Pisses me off how they "took" his money but not fixed the problem. Now that it's running good he loves it!!!

                    Yes Joe as long as I'm running one we'll keep yours going too! I still have to send that "care" package to you. It would be nice to see how well the Black Bearcat runs at some point. Glad the other one is running great now and Tim needs to go for a ride in the Uniflite. Ross, those faster fish are out there, I haven't been skunked yet!!!

                    My boat isn't a classic though it's now 22 yrs old. Looks like most of the newer ones so it doesn't really fit here but the vintage iron pushing it does fit. The circle of that vintage 4 cycle iron seems to be growing smaller.
                    Dick Johnson
                    1989 16ft Sylvan
                    '57 Evinrude 18hp
                    '58 Johnson 5.5hp
                    '61 Johnson 5.5hp LS
                    '64 Johnson 18hp
                    '72 Johnson 6hp
                    '61 Homelite 55 Shortshaft
                    '65 Homelite 55
                    '66 Homelite
                    '68 Bearcat 55 (3)
                    '70 Bearcat 55 (2)

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by Helmar, post: 19769

                      So just so people don't get the wrong idea about these engines, they are Old engines, just like Any other engine that is a Classic. No one really knows how many hours are on them really...
                      I have just as much trust, if not more, with these engines than would with Merc or OMC.

                      So folks, these engines are not Hot Rods by any means, but they Are Classics and just fine by me. I might go a little slower than others but the fuel savings alone puts a smile on my face.
                      The fact that I don't have to smell the stink of the oil (wife is not to fond of that either) just keeps the smile on my face longer VeryBigSmile
                      Joe is correct, they are old engines from an era of simple technology. Treated right they will run a long time, abuse them and like anything else you'll have problems. The nice thing about them is parts are easy enough to find, new and used. There always seems to be a guru out there, for these it's Scott Stewart. There was a discussion going on the iboat forum about these engines about two years ago, there were a few slams and they seemed to coming from "someone who knew someone who owned one". Scott chimed in and the slams ceased. Here's his quote:

                      "Hello. I hardly read this stuff anymore, but I knoticed this. Here's 2 cents from a guy that forgot more about these engines than most people knew! I run many 55's. They are as dependable as any car engine...period. I used to have a web page. It is still available as an archived site. The link is below.


                      http://web.archive.org/web/200105172...mtbrand=AOL_US

                      The 85 is a little tricky, but I have restored 2 of them and and they run perfect.

                      All parts are available for the 55. There is Ed Ewing at Economy 4 cycle Marine in Redding CA. Bill Roberts in Coupeville, WA Don at Adventure Bearcat in CA "

                      One more quote from the same discussion, different author:

                      "i was raised on the TX coast & in the company of professional watermen/fishermen & MANY of the Homelite 55 engines are still in daily use after more than 3 decades of commercial fishing.
                      (i worked my way through > 2 years of college on commercial trotlining & my big "line skiff" was powered by a '65 Homelite 55. it ran flawlessly for the whole time with nothing but routine/minimal/operator maintaince. - when i went into the service, i sold my rig to a distant cousin & Dave is still running it. - he's worn out/replaced the first line skiff!)"
                      Dick Johnson
                      1989 16ft Sylvan
                      '57 Evinrude 18hp
                      '58 Johnson 5.5hp
                      '61 Johnson 5.5hp LS
                      '64 Johnson 18hp
                      '72 Johnson 6hp
                      '61 Homelite 55 Shortshaft
                      '65 Homelite 55
                      '66 Homelite
                      '68 Bearcat 55 (3)
                      '70 Bearcat 55 (2)

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by Super Sportster, post: 19771
                        Hey Tim, I know you're teasing. After now running mine for three seasons, yes there has been some problems but overall I wouldn't be afraid to take mine anywhere. I pretty much know them inside and out. Yes for my needs it's a perfect fit. At the start of the season it had a half tank of fuel (tank is 12 gallon) I've filled it once this year and it's down to about half again. We used it almost every weekend and trolled an average 4 hrs with some WOT runs too. It is very cheap to operate.

                        I understand why you went with the Merc and don't blame you, running my 85hp Bearcat I certainly get a rush with it's performance! It's the only one I've run in the Columbia and it's the one that seems to have the reputation for reliability issues depending on who you talk to.

                        I got to work on a 115 Stack for a co-worker last spring. He had it two different shops for the same problem and after $350 it still would not run right. I spent a couple hrs on it one weekend and it's been running perfect ever since. Pisses me off how they "took" his money but not fixed the problem. Now that it's running good he loves it!!!

                        Yes Joe as long as I'm running one we'll keep yours going too! I still have to send that "care" package to you. It would be nice to see how well the Black Bearcat runs at some point. Glad the other one is running great now and Tim needs to go for a ride in the Uniflite. Ross, those faster fish are out there, I haven't been skunked yet!!!

                        My boat isn't a classic though it's now 22 yrs old. Looks like most of the newer ones so it doesn't really fit here but the vintage iron pushing it does fit. The circle of that vintage 4 cycle iron seems to be growing smaller.
                        We have a few people around up here that will do the same thing. Think they are helping you and take your money when really, nothing was done.
                        Hell, I can just start replacing parts but it takes a real mechanic to know what and how to fix them.

                        I mean, you can go to the Napa store and get your tune up parts for a Bearcat !!! It has a Real Automotive coil on it to boot.
                        Helmar Joe Johanesen
                        1959 Skagit 20ft Offshore, 1959 Skagit 16ft Skimaster,
                        1961 17ft Dorsett Catalina.1958 Uniflite 17 ft
                        Outboards: 2.5 Bearcats, 3 50hp White shadow Mercs
                        2 40hp Johnsons, several smaller Old kickers for a total of 12

                        Our Sister club
                        http://www.goldenstateglassics.com

                        Oh, and Where is Robin Hood when you need him??

                        Comment

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