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Thread: Starting that "Barn Find"

  1. #1
    Supporting Member Supporting Member Super Sportster's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2009
    Sylvan 16ft Super Sportster
    Before even attempting to fire off a Bearcat that has been sitting many years you need to prepare it to minimize any damage. This is what I've done to the forgotten ones.

    Drain the oil in the crankcase and the gearcase and refill with fresh. If you have water in the gearcase you're going to have to deal with this at sometime in the future. Spin the propshaft with the gearcase in neutral and check for smoothness, this will give you an idea of bearing condition of the prop shaft bearings but you will have no indication of the condition of the drive shaft bearings or gears, for that you'll need to remove the lower unit. With the lower unit off put it in gear and spin the drive shaft CCW and check for smoothness if it shifts from fwd to reverse and is smooth it's probably okay to go. While this is off you can also check the impeller condition.

    Next is the power head. Remove the carbs for cleaning. When removing the float bowl keep the carb upright, pull the bowl down and before turning upside down watch for the plastic needle accelerator check valve and spring so you don't lose it when it falls out!

    Remove the plugs and squirt some oil (not a lot) into all cylinders, I use ATF. Remove the oil sending unit and replace with an oil gauge. After changing the crankcase oil with fresh you are now ready to prime the lubrication system. Turn the crankshaft by hand CCW a few times to be sure it rotates freely and smoothly, if not don't go any further until you've corrected the problem. You'll need to hook up a battery, a remote starter switch and proceed to crank the engine over (with the plugs out), watch the oil gauge, when it builds oil pressure you've now primed the lubrication system. You may at this point want to due a compression check, but make sure the oil in the cylinders is at a minimum. My first Bearcat had two cylinders with low compression, engine was stuck with rust in these cylinders. After freeing it up, I did get it to start and ran it quite sometime hoping the rings might free up. They wouldn't so it needs to come apart.

    You've now prepped it to reduce mechanical damage at startup, assuming it was in good mechanical condition when it was last used many years ago. From here it's your basic tuneup procedures from manual. Don't forget to have a flush attachment on the lower unit in water before lighting it off!
    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. #2
    Member Craig Aho's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2013
    Glen-L Sea Knight
    Mountlake Terrace
    Great Info.

  3. #3
    Supporting Member Supporting Member McSkagit Tim Jones's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
    Skagit 31 Saratogan
    Friday Harbor
    Blog Entries
    Good info! I couldn't have said it better...

    Captain Tim (McSkagit) Jones 1959 Skagit 31 Saratogan

    Pay it forward.......take a kid for a boat ride

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