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Good first motor.

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  • Good first motor.

    Hey there, wondering in the 40-50 hp range what is a good classic motor for a novice to rebuild. I have done some outboard work, mainly on a newer fourstroke, adjusting valves, and minor maintenance. I have access to what I think you guys call barn finds. My father in law has a bunch(like 40 plus) old outboards sitting out in a shed. I went and looked over them yesterday, lots of mercs, a couple Mark 55 and 58a's looked promising, and there is a really nice looking evinrude Lark 2 that seems like it is in really good shape. Came on another little runabout he bought from a gentleman getting rid of stuff. But no spares for parts. I thought I had read that Evinrude Johnson was a little easier to work on or requires less specialized tools. Any guidance would be great. Looking to put on a 14 foot hull, any of these pull a skier or tube?


  • #2
    I previously rebuilt my 1965 Merc 1000 using only the standard "marine mechanic tools" I had from years of working on inboards. So the myth that you have to all the fancy Mercury tools is bogus!! Yes, the job would have been much easier and faster if I had them but they are usually hard to find and very expensive...

    I had a 1955 Mark 55 on my first boat (still have the motor) and it would pull an innertube great but the hull was water logged so it was too heavy for any faster activities. I would say that the Mark 55 and the Mark 58A (electric start version I believe) would be fun motors to rebuild and use cause they are vintage and everybody in the classic boat world recognizes those motors.

    I don't know much about the older Evinrudes other than what I have heard over my short boating years and that is that they tend to be gas hogs when compared to the same vintage mercurys.

    Good Luck!!!
    Brian Flaherty

    "How can you discover great lands, with your feet planted in the sand"

    1969 Chris Craft Cavalier 17 Ski Boat "Tupperware"
    1965 Performer Havoc (sold)


    • #3
      Got it, makes sense the Mark 55 is a green sweetie, definitly a great looking motor. I think it'll need some work but looks like everything is there. The Lark is immaculate, really clean. I asked my father in law and he said the guy he bought it from kept it in the garage. Dosent look like it got used much at all. I'm going to see if I can snag both it and the mark 55 somehow.


      • #4
        Lark 2
        Attached Files


        • #5
          Now that Lark does look clean. The only thing on that might need rebilding is the carb and they are easy. Also you might want to replace the water pump inpeller. Which means dorping the lower unit. When you get to the lower unit post again. then can tell you how to do that. I have about 30 motors and some it got were sitting for 40 years but to hear them come back to life is something.
          That motor should pull a skier or a tube.
          Mike aka the pirate
          Red sails at night a sailors delight Red sails in the morn sailors be warned


          • #6
            Awesome! I have some other better pics with the cowling off, but they are too big and I can't seem to convert them. I'll take some at a lower resolution this weekend. I should also replace the fuel hoses, due to additives in our gas right? Maybe I'll dig through the pile for a kicker too. Hard part is getting father in law to seperate with stuff, but it's just rotting away. Slowly he is coming around. It could really help to show him what can be done with some of these gems. I will definitly be back with more Q's.


            • #7
              Ok, so slight change of plans, grabbed a 56 15hp Johnson longshaft as a first motor project. Gonna work/learn on this then move up to the Lark. So far have drained lower unit oil, and found it needs new seals. Gave it a seafoam soak to loosen everything up. Compression test came out good I think, over 90 each cylinder and I think I forgot to open throttle plate all the way. Both cylinders came out exactly the same too.I'm only getting spark on one lead though. Have a carb cleanout kit, new seals and impeller for the lower and couple coils, points and condensers on way. The motor has been worked on in the past, it has clear fuel lines, and I think some touch up paint on the hood, as well as one of the coils has been replaced at least by what I can see through the flywheel window. Been fun so far will post some pics tomorrow.


              • #8
                This thread is nothing without pics
                Attached Files


                • #9
                  Ok so now have installed new points, condensors and coils, waiting for new plug wires and a float for the carb, I just started cleaning the carb and hopefully will then move onto the water pump and lower unit seals. Been fun and have already learned some stuff along the way. Trying to take my time but I'm sure excited to try and fire it up!


                  • #10
                    Super Sportster works on all kinds of those old Johnsons, being that his name IS Johnson helps :BigWink1:

                    I converted him to Bearcats so he has a few of those now too. He knows those better than anyone in my book... I know people can talk tech but he does it.

                    I think I still have a 25hp Johnson that is less the electric starter and maybe a few extra little parts.
                    Huh....Got to hunt down that picture....
                    Attached Files
                    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

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


                    • #11
                      Carb is cleaned and now I'm working on reassembly, need a filter element and nut, and maybe a bushing for one of the needles(not sure yet, but seems like it's missing one on a diagram I was just looking at) So I might have to see if I can find something I can grab a couple components off of, I'm sure my father in law has something that'll work. I've been working on some other engine's I have as well. A super clean little 2.5 HP 4 stroke yami that I picked up for $400 bucks a year or so back that needed a carb cleaning too(hopefully thats it) and an immaculate 5 hp 2 stroke tohatsu, that came with my west wight potter. Its a 97 and has like 20 hours, as the PO broke the fill on the internal tank and never fixed it. When I bought the sailboat, I already had a nice 4 stroke kicker so I use that. Just put the replacement tank on and haven't even fired it up yet. Been keeping busy and having fun. Hope to get the carb finished on the 15HP and move on to the impeller. Also need to put some time in this weekend on the P-14 grinding,sanding and making the transom template. Put the potter and tohatsu up for sale as I'm trying to get rid of some stuff to make room in my carport for whatever comes next.


                      • #12
                        Carb finished and waiting on new float for final assembly. Pulled the lower unit and I am currently working on redoing all the seals since it had water in the oil, got the oil seal out under the water pump and will crack the actual gearcase open today and replace the consumable stuff in there. Once that is done I just have to replace the plug wires and it should be ready to fire....

                        But I just noticed I am getting what I think is too much fluid coming out of the crankcase into the exhaust stack area and just draing out. I sprayed some fogging fluid in the cylinders to keep everything lubed up as it will be moved a bit while I tinker. Seemed Like alot of it just came out, I looked way up in there with a light and it seems like ther is part of a gasket or O ring hanging right in the center around where the drive shaft inserts up at the top. Compression was good when I checked. I'm guessing there is some kind of a seal that gave. Can I try and run it first then pull the head off once confirmed it's a runner? I am going to pose this question in another forum or two as well. I am definitly glad I started with a practice motor instead of the Lark. Also went back to my father in laws outboard shed and found a frozen up johnson 18 HP, that I can use for some parts as I wanted to put a tiller on this, it was setup for remote before.