looking to re-power the runabout

About inboard or outboard motors.

Moderator: Bill Edmundson

hydroguy2
Posts: 11
Joined: Thu Aug 25, 2011 11:09 am
Location: montana
Contact:

looking to re-power the runabout

Post by hydroguy2 » Thu Sep 01, 2011 10:32 am

While our Evinrude Starlfite runs ok, it needs freshened up. Combine this along with it is very heavy for 50hp, we are planning on a diffrent power plant. I like the looks of the older Merc's, so am on the lookout for a good one.

If I can't locate a Merc 500 short shaft, I am thinking of buying a refurbished one from someone like this guy:
http://classicmercuryoutboards.com/home

Anyone know him or someone like this they would recommend?
it's just one Dam job after another

dcrummett
Posts: 8
Joined: Thu Sep 01, 2011 10:14 am

Re: looking to re-power the runabout

Post by dcrummett » Thu Sep 01, 2011 2:12 pm

This vendor produces a very nice "new" old Merc!! Any of the 4-cylinder Mk58 to Classic 50 Mercurys would be a good replacement for the Starflite. You might also want to look at a Tohatsu M50D2 three cylinder... 42.5 cubic inches, loop charged and very similar in performance to the older Mercs without the hassle of the sometimes tempermental magnetoes that go with the 40 and 44-inch Merc 4-cylinders.

Dan

Oyster
Posts: 4422
Joined: Sun Jul 02, 2006 7:10 pm
Location: North Carolina

Re: looking to re-power the runabout

Post by Oyster » Thu Sep 01, 2011 2:22 pm

hydroguy2 wrote:While our Evinrude Starlfite runs ok, it needs freshened up. Combine this along with it is very heavy for 50hp, we are planning on a diffrent power plant. I like the looks of the older Merc's, so am on the lookout for a good one.

If I can't locate a Merc 500 short shaft, I am thinking of buying a refurbished one from someone like this guy:
http://classicmercuryoutboards.com/home

Anyone know him or someone like this they would recommend?
upspirate will go bonkers on that site. He has a lot of knowledge on the ins and outs of those antiques.

upspirate

Re: looking to re-power the runabout

Post by upspirate » Thu Sep 01, 2011 3:38 pm

I just looked at it....cool site.
I passed it along to one of my fellow Mercury junkie's

dcrummett
Posts: 8
Joined: Thu Sep 01, 2011 10:14 am

Re: looking to re-power the runabout

Post by dcrummett » Thu Sep 01, 2011 6:14 pm

Another good site to learn more about the Mercs (best power to weight ratio of your choices) is www.oldmercs.com. Lists the K-Series, Mark Series, Merc Series etc... with hp., weights, parts availability etc. A handy site for when you find a merc and want to know the power it was rated...model numbers can be quite confusing.

dan

Oyster
Posts: 4422
Joined: Sun Jul 02, 2006 7:10 pm
Location: North Carolina

Re: looking to re-power the runabout

Post by Oyster » Thu Sep 01, 2011 6:24 pm

dcrummett wrote:Another good site to learn more about the Mercs (best power to weight ratio of your choices) is http://www.oldmercs.com. Lists the K-Series, Mark Series, Merc Series etc... with hp., weights, parts availability etc. A handy site for when you find a merc and want to know the power it was rated...model numbers can be quite confusing.

dan
warning, may come off a bit harsh or blunt, but here goes....
What I have learned about mercury is that no two mercurys are the same. While they may look really cool, I need an engine that does not require godzilla to start if its pull rope or a set of 8D batteries to carry around so that I will not run out of power before the dang things spit and sputter when attempting to start and run.

Further more while we have lots of big skeeters in the swamplands, I don't like running a fogging machine while boating either. Now seriously one of the main issues for me in particular to steer away from the mercs these days is that the only place that you can buy them is online or from some marine gear outlets. When doing so attempting to find someone to service one much less to deal with any warranty issues is basically zero.

User avatar
Caber-Feidh
Posts: 828
Joined: Mon May 07, 2007 7:50 pm
Location: Battle Point, Leech Lake... tundrasota

Re: looking to re-power the runabout

Post by Caber-Feidh » Thu Sep 01, 2011 6:59 pm

I'm going to have to agree with Oyster.

I have a few, and have learned to lovehate them... but then I also own a buch of sucky junk I have learned to lovehate. I have gotten pretty good with dealing with some of the quirks. Parts are getting strange to find. Brunswick, and the mystery part numbers will drive you guano in a second. Only Dodge and merc see a need to label identical parts with a plethora of different numbers that seemingly don't have anything in common. Leaving you at the mercy of internet forums for cross references. Ugh.

Parts cast out of some alloy about the hardness of dried sculpy just waiting to crack into pieces/strip/shatter/disintegrate.

Early flash chromed jugs are a disaster to replate-leaving you to wonder what the heck they used that hour of that day. Strip and re-nikasil is about all there is. I have seen 6 cyls with 3 different "stock" piston sizes in the same engine. Now if that won't leave you looking for a hammer, nothing will. If one works, feed it 40:1 dino oil, and don't do anything that may upset the boat.

If it's a thunderbolt ignition buy some good paddles. Glued on magneto magnets, and nylon timing components-who thought that was a good idea?????

Carbs that were designed by a frustrated plumber with a fetish for tiny orifices, capably of running on any two; top, mid or low speed. The trick is that you don't get to pick which two, and the combination varies by the day.

Every rebuild kit includes more gaskets to throw in the trash than you use, usually by at least 3:1 Don't you love matching the new one to the one that is 1/3rd in your hand, and 1/3rd stuck to each half of the case?
Some plan to stroll through Saint Peter's Gates, I plan to go through them at 150mph... backwards... in a screaming ball of flame, with a glimmer belt wrapped around my head, and a NOx button in my hand.

User avatar
darthplywood
Posts: 591
Joined: Tue Dec 29, 2009 12:53 pm
Location: Erie, PA

Re: looking to re-power the runabout

Post by darthplywood » Fri Sep 02, 2011 5:04 am

yeah....i pondered a really long time about buying a vintage...1961 Evinrude starflite III 75 hp (exactly like the one that was on the boat i am replicating) but i decided, in the end, i wanted somthing a little newer and (hopefully) more reliable.

However, having said that....those vintage outboards look REALLY good! Please post a couple pics of your Evinrude Starflite...I would love to see it!
Attachments
155.jpg
Built the 17' Glen-L "Sea Knight"
yet to come...11' Glen-L "Utility"

hydroguy2
Posts: 11
Joined: Thu Aug 25, 2011 11:09 am
Location: montana
Contact:

Re: looking to re-power the runabout

Post by hydroguy2 » Fri Sep 02, 2011 7:55 am

Here's a couple pics of the Evinrude. It's actually a good motor, but at over 205lbs it's a bit heavy and a gas hog for 50hp. the aft end of the boat sits low when parked.
Image

Image
it's just one Dam job after another

fergal butler
Posts: 1292
Joined: Sun Sep 06, 2009 2:55 am
Location: Co.Dublin, Ireland.

Re: looking to re-power the runabout

Post by fergal butler » Fri Sep 02, 2011 8:29 am

I wen't with a newer merc and an older cowling, best of boat worlds :D
Image

User avatar
darthplywood
Posts: 591
Joined: Tue Dec 29, 2009 12:53 pm
Location: Erie, PA

Re: looking to re-power the runabout

Post by darthplywood » Fri Sep 02, 2011 10:55 am

fergal butler wrote:I wen't with a newer merc and an older cowling, best of boat worlds :D
how did you pull that off? Do you have more pictures? I am would love to see how you did it!
Built the 17' Glen-L "Sea Knight"
yet to come...11' Glen-L "Utility"

hydroguy2
Posts: 11
Joined: Thu Aug 25, 2011 11:09 am
Location: montana
Contact:

Re: looking to re-power the runabout

Post by hydroguy2 » Fri Sep 02, 2011 11:34 am

darthplywood wrote:
fergal butler wrote:I wen't with a newer merc and an older cowling, best of boat worlds :D
how did you pull that off? Do you have more pictures? I am would love to see how you did it!

+1 ya how does that get done
it's just one Dam job after another

fergal butler
Posts: 1292
Joined: Sun Sep 06, 2009 2:55 am
Location: Co.Dublin, Ireland.

Re: looking to re-power the runabout

Post by fergal butler » Fri Sep 02, 2011 12:23 pm

It's just an electric start Blue band,or red band I'm not sure if you have the same colours in the US and I just put the older raparound cowling and the aluminium strip on top of the lid and the chrome band around the bottom of it, I also polished the aluminium around the bottom pan.

Image
Image


I also have a set ready for a 70hp engine that I have with a clam shell cowl but I will have to add a frame from an older one to hold the lid and the face plate lock. Then I'll have to build another boat to to put it on :D
Image

User avatar
darthplywood
Posts: 591
Joined: Tue Dec 29, 2009 12:53 pm
Location: Erie, PA

Re: looking to re-power the runabout

Post by darthplywood » Fri Sep 02, 2011 12:51 pm

thats awesome!
Built the 17' Glen-L "Sea Knight"
yet to come...11' Glen-L "Utility"

wright6627
Posts: 53
Joined: Fri Sep 30, 2011 9:42 am
Location: Sacramento River Delta

Re: looking to re-power the runabout

Post by wright6627 » Sun Oct 09, 2011 1:14 am

Time for another Merc nut to jump in here. However, I'm also a Johnson/Evinrude, McCulloch, and even West Bend nut. I spent 40 years as a professional outboard mechanic. I soloed with Grandpa's 3 hp powered rowboat when I was 6 years old in 1950. I've owned close to a thousand outboard motors (I provided my own parts inventory). I can repair virtually any U.S. manufactured outboard motor made since since WWII and many of the genuine antiques. I love 'em all. Every manufacturer made good, solid, state of the art motors (including McCulloch and West Bend). Only Chrysler, who bought out West Bend can be accused of using inferior grades of steel and aluminum. Both of the smaller manufacturers had quality control issues during periods of their manufacture. The big guys had no such issues, but they definetly had some lemons.

The old Starflight we've been discussing here is one. It was a gashog. It could (and often did) suck down a 6 gallon tank in 1/2 hour. However, it was a torque monster. It had an easy running 66 cu in powerhead running through a great big lower unit that spun a respectable prop. It never was good for much speed, but it was, and still is (I'll betcha) the hottest 50 in a dragrace to 30 MPH

Mercury had a couple of lemons back in the old days. The old Mark 30 was always one of my favorite outboards in its HP range but its 20 horse sized driveshaft snapped all the time. And of course, how about those direct drive Mark 75-78, early 600-800. Ever tried to get one of those to run backwords so you could get into reverse? Those of us who can get one to work are a rare commodity these days. It took me a couple of years to figure out that entire wierd system. Once I did, I loved the DR set-up, but nobody else did at that time. They've gone completely classic now.

All American outboard manufactures made reliable motors. Mercs and McCullochs take more tuning finesse to get syncronized and dialed in. That is the only reason many people hate them. On the other hand, those who have capable mechanics or are really into the motors and do their own tuning love 'em to death. Johnsons and Evinrudes from the 50s and 60s are much easier to set up for the average shade tree mechanic. They'll also run pretty well when the tune-up isn't up to snuff. They are reliable as the day is long. Mercury definetly had the edge in technology and were more economical to run when set up correctly.

Oyster said that Merc Mags (either Fairbanks or Kiekhaefer) sucked. Wrong! Put a new set of bearings in there along with decent coil, condenser, and points and a Merc Mag will run for another 50-60 trouble free years with very little upkeep.

If you want reliability in a classic outboard, you can find it with all the brands. Take your compression guage along when shopping and don't settle for less than 100 psi (more is better for continuous slow running) or more than 10 psi variation unless the price is great and you don't mind paying for a ring job or overhaul. Take a big screwdriver along to loosen the drain bolt on the lower unit. You'll be able to see if there's water in there. If you're looking at an old Merc, check the wiring carefully. Mercury's wiring, if it's more than 20 years old, is probably junk. It's the main reason an old Merc won't run (or if it does run, won't stop)

Believe it or not, one of the first things I look for in an old outboard is good original paint on the powerhead. Shiney paint means the powerhead never overheated enough to burn the paint. Motors that run a bit too hot a bit too long have paint that is all dried out looking or powdery. This also happens from overexposure to the elements.

Even though these motors are 40, 50, or even 60 years old, there are plenty of them out there that are fully capable of delivering up to date performance. If given the choice, I'll take one that's never been apart over one that just been "gone through." We have no idea what caused it to be "gone through" and I don't want a block that suffered a melt down because of lack of oil or water.

If you want advice on any particular classic outboard, feel free to contact me.

Randy

Post Reply

Return to “Boat Power”