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Restoration CornerJ2 Restoration by Rich Johanson


I took the Oliver J2 to Willie’s and discussed the problems that I had with the little motor. The first thing Willie did was to look at the reed valves. This is something that I had neglected to do. They were somewhat rusty, so he dressed them up and used Loctite on the screws to secure them. In addition, the carburetor (that I thought was so clean) needed a thorough cleaning. He then adapted a new replacement fuel pump, cleaned the rewind mechanism and readjusted the points. After all of this, Willie was able to start the motor, but was not successful getting the motor to run for an extended length of time. When put into gear, it would immediately die. Willie admitted that he had a limited amount of time to spend trying to get it started. Sometimes it takes a while to break in a rebuilt engine. Could that possibly be the problem?

With few other options, I picked up the motor and brought it home. One evening I was browsing a service manual for the Oliver J and K series outboard motors, which I had obtained from The Museum. I noticed the section on adjusting the speed control linkage and timing synchronization. I immediately went to the garage to compare the actual setting on the J2 with the manual. The motor was out of adjustment by more than an inch. I adjusted the cam follower on the carburetor as shown in the manual. The following weekend, I started the motor and ran it in a test barrel for about an hour. I was able to put it in and out of gear and rev it up. To Willie’s credit, he did not have this manual and had set the cam follower to a mark that he assumed was correct.

The motor still does not idle down to low speed like my original Wizard 5 , but I am satisfied. I contribute this to either weak spark or some type of undiagnosed fuel problem. In the interest of keeping the motor original, I reinstalled the Tescher VL-4 fuel pump and it works fine.

Regarding my "What’s Left" list:

  • I still need a shifter detent spring for the J-2 Oliver (part # 496 188JS) and the carburetor adjustment knobs, but have been able to get all of the other parts needed.
  • The pivot tube and new prop shaft bearings have been installed on the Wizard. (She’s ready for fishing!)
  • And yes, I found a 1959 K-5 Oliver 16 hp here in Kennewick, Washington. A report on the K-5 restoration to follow soon.

Thanks for a great series of articles Rich!  The K5 article follows this.

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