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Old 03-04-2014, 07:38   #1
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Outboard rebuild

Hey everybody,

I'm looking into getting a second hand outboard motor to go with an inflatable dinghy. Plan is to get anything from 4-6hp, and I've found a fairly good-looking 6hp evinrude online.

I don't want to get into a discussion on what brand is best or how much hp I need, but I'm just wondering how easy it is to do work on this type of engines yourself and how easy/expensive it is to source parts. I want to "get to know" my outboard first hand so I can fix any problems I encounter when underway, but I'm unsure how steep this learning curve will be .

I have worked on mopeds extensively, and I've heard the 2_stroke engines are really basic/simple motors that often share a lot of parts with, say, chainsaws/lawnmowers/... Is this true? And are there manuals/guides out there that can help you with the process?

Thanks a bunch!
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Old 03-04-2014, 08:05   #2
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Re: Outboard rebuild

Evinrude or Johnson are great little motors, easy to work on they will run and run if you take care of them. A 6 hp Johnson was my 1st my dad gave me a new one in 1969.
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Old 03-04-2014, 08:18   #3
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Re: Outboard rebuild

If you have basic engine repair and maintenance knowledge you'll be fine. I would suggest buying the service / repair / maintenance manual. I'm kind of a dork when it comes to that stuff and like to read them all the way through. Well at least the maintenance one anyways.

What I would say is when you get it go through the biggest maintenance procedure it has so you know everything is new. I.e. fuel filter, spark plug, water pump/impeller, thermostat, fuel pump etc..... There really isn't a lot to those small motors. If all of those basics are covered anything else that breaks under way wouldn't be spares you'd carry anyways. For example if your ignition coil (or its variant depending on the year engine) lets go your not going to have a spare and will need to wait till you get to port anyways.
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Old 03-04-2014, 08:37   #4
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Re: Outboard rebuild

There are some similarities in all small two strokes, but outboards are quite a bit different, they alter timing and are water cooled etc. best to buy the book, but engine maintenance is engine maintenance pretty much.
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Old 03-04-2014, 11:22   #5
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Re: Outboard rebuild

Real easy, especially the OMC brands. The biggest issue I have had with the old motors is corrosion. Heat is the best solution for frozen fasteners I have found with outboards. Also stripped out spark plug holes are fairly common.
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Old 03-04-2014, 13:37   #6
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Re: Outboard rebuild

Any particularly expensive fixes that would make buying second hand a bad financial decision? When working on mopeds everything broken was fairly easily fixed with fairly inexpensive parts, but I've learned the hard way that a very tiny problem/fault in fixing boats can very quickly lead to a VERY expensive fix...

Wouldn't want to find out that new piston rings on an outboard cost 7874445 times the price of "non-marine grade" piston rings .
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Old 03-04-2014, 14:08   #7
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Re: Outboard rebuild

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Originally Posted by Orchidius View Post
Any particularly expensive fixes that would make buying second hand a bad financial decision? When working on mopeds everything broken was fairly easily fixed with fairly inexpensive parts, but I've learned the hard way that a very tiny problem/fault in fixing boats can very quickly lead to a VERY expensive fix...

Wouldn't want to find out that new piston rings on an outboard cost 7874445 times the price of "non-marine grade" piston rings .
Anything is possible but it really depends on how it has been taken care of. There's always unknowns and even if you did a compression test it doesn't mean there may not be other problems that creep up later. All you can do is inspect it for overall condition when you get there and see if you can take it for a test run.
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Old 03-04-2014, 15:30   #8
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Re: Outboard rebuild

There is no non-marine grade for outboard parts. I think the Honda 90 uses the same engine as their Accord model car, but for small outboards, I don't think so. boats.net sells parts.

According to that site a ring set for an '85 6HP Evinrude is 18 bucks or so. Of course you will need 2 sets, one for each piston. In my case, a ring and bearing set for my Volvo is $4500.
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Old 03-04-2014, 15:55   #9
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Re: Outboard rebuild

Thanks for the input!

In this particular case I know the engine starts alright, but stalls sometimes. Could be a host of things, but I'm hoping taking it all apart and giving it some TLC can take care of it.

Just hope I don't run into some expensive problems along the rebuild, be it this particular one or a different one.
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Old 03-04-2014, 18:00   #10
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Re: Outboard rebuild

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Thanks for the input!

In this particular case I know the engine starts alright, but stalls sometimes. Could be a host of things, but I'm hoping taking it all apart and giving it some TLC can take care of it.
I had that problem. I did not know you had to loosen the gasoline tank vent on my little 1.2 horsepower internal tank. For your outboard, separate tank I am sure so maybe water in the fuel, or plugged gasoline filter. When it quits, pull the spark plug wire and bend the wire so it is about a quarter inch from some metal part, then give it a spin and have someone watch for a spark just to make sure it is a gasoline problem. Do not hang onto the wire as it can be lethal if you have a heart problem.
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Old 03-04-2014, 18:27   #11
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Re: Outboard rebuild

The JohnyRude 6HP early 70ís to mid 80ís are my favorite engines. If itís a fresh water engine Buy It. Iíve been an Evinrude dealer since 1971 and used to knock $10.00 off the price if it didnít start right out of the box on the second pull. Never gave away the $10.00.

If itís a freshwater engine and youíre going to use it salt. Take the 4, ľ inch bolts holding the lower unit on, put slight downward pressure on it until you feel it drop slightly as you turn the flywheel. At that point disconnect the shift rod and remove the L/U.

Coat the driveshaft spines with Molly lube and coat the screws with non-hard permitex.

If it needs carb work give me a PM and Iíll give you some secrets for making it easy.
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Old 03-04-2014, 19:14   #12
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Re: Outboard rebuild

I take apart the carburetors on all the outboards I work on. Almost all have junk in them. Here's a great website about OMC outboards:

OMC outboard related articles

Specifically this page about 6-8 HP models.

New Page 1
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Old 03-04-2014, 19:59   #13
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Re: Outboard rebuild

my two cents.

when buying a used outboard, try to find one that's only been used in fresh water, preferably not used anywhere near saltwater.

the really old outboards have breaker point ignition. troublesome and needs lots of maintenance and parts may be hard to get. cdi ignition as used in all current and nearly all recent outboards require practically no maintenance and provide a hotter spark.

one day when you're truly bored with nothing to do, back out every nut/screw/bolt (or at least the external ones) and coat with never seize, then reseat it.

stick to 2 strokes if you can. much simpler to fix and maintain. parts still widely available but who knows for how long (at least in the USA).
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Old 03-04-2014, 21:16   #14
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Re: Outboard rebuild

Evinrude Parts & Johnson Outboard Parts at MarineEngine.com
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Old 03-04-2014, 22:34   #15
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Re: Outboard rebuild

1989 E4RLCEC Evinrude GEARCASE Diagram and Parts is a schematic of the engine I've been working on lately. If you scroll down a bit you can check prices.
This has been a good company for me to order parts from so I recommend it.
Good luck in your choice. I like the old Johnson and Evinrude 2 strokes and have worked on quite a few. Make certain the cooling water pump is working and the engine starts before buying and you can't go too wrong. Don't run them when their leg is not submerged in water or you'll damage the water pump impeller and it will overheat.
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