[omc-boats] Introduction (new owner of 1970 Evinrude Explorer 16)

From: Ethan Brodsky <brodskye@...>
Date: Mon, 25 Apr 2005 15:01:33 -0500 (CDT)

I'd like to start out by thanking Phil, Lee, and everyone on this list for
providing such an outstanding resource for OMC boaters. I've been reading
the list for a few weeks now and I thought I'd post to introduce myself.

I'm a relatively new owner of a 1970 Evinrude Explorer 16. It's my first
boat (I'm a grad student) and I've been having a great time with it - in
and out of the water. I purchased it last fall, but only managed to use it
a few times before stripping out the ball gears.

I fixed it up over the winter and we've been out four times now without
anything breaking, so I'm feeling a little more confident about it. We've
mostly been using it for watersports (wakeboarding and tubing), and scuba
diving on local lakes in Madison, WI.

So far, the work I've done on it:
  - new starter motor (died last fall)
  - replaced lots of wires
  - new outdrive water pump, housing, and shaft
  - new ball gears, intermediate shaft, and bearing
  - new prop
  - installed new bilge pump and blower (missing when I bought it)
  - rewired trailer, replaced tongue ball lock, and extended chains

Stuff I still want to do this summer:
  - recalibrate tach (it reads 5500 at 4400)
  - fix speedometer and ammeter
  - install water temp and oil pressure gauge
  - perhaps redo the dashboard switch panel with modern waterproof switches
  - more rewiring
  - disassemble tilt gear housing to remove broken bolts and make new seal
  - remove bolt I broke off in top of exhaust housing during reassembly
  - LED lights on trailers
  - build a stern platform for diving

The boat seems to be in nearly stock form - it came with what appears to be
its original trailer, canvas top (shruken too much to fit), and ladders.
It's been fun working on it, though a bit nerve-wracking. I'm an
electrical engineer and this is my first real mechanical repair project -
whenever I build anything I worry about it falling apart.

I have a few pictures of the boat online:
My favorite is boat_diving.jpg in that directory - that's one of the first
times we took it out last fall. If you'd like to see the internals of the
outdrive, there's some pictures in the parts directory from when I had it
taken apart.

There's a few things I've been wondering about - perhaps folks on this list
might have some suggestions.

1. What are the threads and depth on the engine oil drain? I'd like to
make an adaptor with a valve and hose barb to simplify oil changes (the
first time I did it I made a huge mess), but I don't want to drain the
oil to find out. Perhaps someone knows of a aftermarket supplier for
drain plugs that fit this engine - I could easily adapt one.

2. Where is the engine oil dipstick? The engine is the 155 hp V-6
(Buick/Kaiser 225/3.8 L) engine. I've looked in all the obvious spots and
even looked on a few modern 3.8 L engines (easy to find), but I just don't
see it. I'm wondering if someone broke it off or plugged it some time in
the past. I just looked carefully at the photo on Lee's website and see
what looks like a dipstick handle just to the right of the oil fill cap -
I've looked there before, but I'll take another look tonight.

3. How much grease should go in the chamber between the upper and lower
unit? I greased it with a gun after reassembly, but now I'm worried I put
too much in. I'm assuming any excess will leak out into the surrounding
water passage (possibly blowing the shaft seals?). Does anyone have
experience with this?

4. What are people doing about running in shallow water? When I bought
the boat, we didn't know about the ball gear wear issue, so we often ran
with the outdrive tilted up - I'm guessing that accelerated ball gear wear
quite a bit. However, the water is pretty shallow around some of the
launches here and I'm nervous about whacking a rock. Is it ok to idle in
forward with the drive partially tilted up, or will that cause rapid ball
gear wear. Or should I just pull it up entirely, kill the engine, and pole
with oars?

5. My trailer comes with the optional surge disc brakes. I pulled the
brake fluid reservoir cap last weekend and the reservoir was entirely dry
and rusty inside. I'm guessing that means that the master cylinder, the
lines, and the calipers are all probably rusted beyond repair. I thought
about trying to fill it up and see if they work, but I'm guessing that
would be a waste of time. I'm not sure what to do at this point, whether I
should attempt to fix or replace the disc brakes, install new spindles with
modern surge brakes, leave the non-functional brakes as is, just remove the
brakes entirely, or just try to find a new trailer. Wisconsin law allows
trailers without brakes for weights below 3000 lbs, we can stop acceptably
without brakes (we live in a flat area), and the trailer is mainly used in
the city, but I'd still rather have brakes if possible. I'm inclined to
leave them as-is, but I'd be interested in suggestions. There's a
information plate next to the master cylinder with information on the
braking system, but it's too faded for me to read much of it.

6. I'm very confused about trailer wheel bearings. Can someone suggest a
wheel bearing that will fit the disc brake spindles? I'd prefer something
that would fit wheels with a smaller center hole, since it is difficult to
find modern wheels with a 3.25" center hole, but I think that requires
modifying the spindles as well. I'm willing to modify wheels to fit, if
necessary, though I haven't figured out if trailer wheels are hubcentric or

7. I've been closely following the discussion about trailers and tires.
I've currently got the 9" wheels with tube tires, but they're in pretty bad
shape - the tread is ok, but my neighbors have slashed the tires several
times and I'm nervous to take it around, especially without a spare. I'd
like to move to larger tires - it looks like there's enough room to raise
the fenders 3-4" to accomodate them. Since we mostly tow at low speeds
around the city, I've been thinking about using P-rated tires on automotive
rims (which I can get for free), until I can find a decent deal on trailer
wheels and tires. Ranger pickups have wheels with the right bolt pattern
and use tires with an adequate load roading. I've read the discussion and
linked articles on the reaons for using ST tires over P, but at 30 mph on
city streets I don't think it should matter too much.

8. Has anyone installed oil pressure gauges on this engine? Did you
replace the transducer for the warning light, or put a sender in another
port? Same for water temp. I haven't really looked into either of these
yet, but it's something I'd like to do this summer.

There's also a few parts I'm looking for:
  - spare prop "spinner" nut
  - spare prop drive pin (might make my own)
  - prop washer (does anyone use these?)
  - "front plug" for outdrive, to cover the port used to access the
    grease fitting between the upper and lower unit
  - combo ammeter/voltmeter gauge

Thanks again to everyone for this list,

Ethan Brodsky

<A HREF="http://www.pobox.com/~ebrodsky/"> Ethan Brodsky </A>
UW FutureCar Team Paradigm: Two-Year FutureCar Challenge Winner
UW-Madison Clean Snowmobile Team: Winner of the 2004 SAE CSC
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Received on Monday, 25 April 2005

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