by Rich Johanson
Another great restoration project from Rich...now we
need to find him a 35!!
|Some may question my wisdom when it comes
to investing time and resources restoring old Oliver outboard motors, for example, my
wife, my kids
my dog. However, I find it quite rewarding and I was fortunate enough
to find another project recently. While visiting a local sportsmen show during January
99, I stopped by an antique outboard motor display organized by Carl Pedersen, AOMC
member. On display were models such as Sea Kings, Elgins, Evinrudes, and the like. There
were no Olivers among the display. While discussing my Oliver J2 restoration with Carl, he
said that he thought he had an Oliver in storage at his shop. We made arrangements to get
together to look at the motor. Carl operates an orchard in
Kennewick, WA and has a lot of equipment and a large outbuilding at his place. When I
arrived, he had the motor out and ready to view. It turned out to be an Oliver 16 HP K-5
manufactured in 1959. Carl had obtained this motor from an individual on the coast of
Washington and we both suspected it had been used in salt water. Carl agreed to sell the
motor to me and I brought it home for an initial evaluation. I was pleased that the motor
pulled through freely and the transmission worked, but upon further analysis, I discovered
that I was facing yet another challenge.
A test for compression revealed only 5-10 pounds in the bottom cylinder and none in the top. There was also no spark. I removed the cylinder head and discovered that the head was warped. A previous owner had repaired stripped out boltholes by drilling and tapping out larger holes into the head and block. I know this because I found a broken tap in the block. Some of these enlarged boltholes breached the water jacket that surrounds the cylinders. It gets worse. The carburetor body was busted where it bolts to the engine. I was becoming discouraged.
Well, I would like to report that I performed a miracle and made this engine work. However, once I found out that Russ Larson, of Mead Nebraska, had an original new factory power head sitting in his warehouse, I decided that it would probably be cheaper and a whole lot easier to simply replace the power head. As long as I was at it, I replaced the Tillotson carburetor as well. The carburetor that came on the K-5 was model # MD-103A, which I replaced with a model # MD-105A from a later 16 hp model. The only difference between these two models is the length of the needle valve shafts. This is probably due to a different shroud configuration on the later Oliver.
With the power head and carburetor taken care of, I was left only with the lower unit and magneto. Most of the bolts on this outboard were rusted and stuck. Many of the bolts broke when attempting to remove them. All of the shock mount bumpers on the lower unit were in need of replacement. Each and every one of them broke when I tried to remove them. This required a lot of drilling and tapping to make new bumper installation possible. Fortunately, the gear case seemed to be in good condition except for a broken bearing cover plate, which I was able to get from Paul Moneski, Pasadena, MD. The water pump impeller appeared to be in good shape, so I did not replace it. I did replace the water tube grommet on the positive pressure side of the water pump.
A visual inspection of the ignition coils showed that the epoxy covering had cracked and allowed a voltage leak directly to the magneto plate. I heard about a material called "Liquid Electrical Tape", manufactured by Star Brite, which I was able to procure at the local NAPA store. This material is a dielectric goop that is designed to seal and protect electrical connections. I used it to fill in the cracks and eliminate the voltage leaks. Next, I dressed up the points, put the ignition system back together and obtained new spark plugs (Champion H8C).
Mechanically, the only remaining task was to refurbish the fuel pump. Two out of the four bolts in the fuel pump broke. Because the housing of the fuel pump is much softer than the bolts, drilling out the bolts without enlarging the holes was difficult. In fact, down right impossible. I finally managed to extract the stuck bolts and repaired the fuel pump housing with J-B Weld.
Now, I was ready to spiff up the dingy looking motor. I went back to Tri-City Paints in Pasco, WA, whom I had used during an Oliver J-2 restoration and had good results. Again, they did a great job matching the K-5 copper brown paint. I painted the engine, lower shroud, front shield and lower unit. At the hardware store, I found a good, if not perfect, match for both the white upper shroud cover and the dark brown nameplates. These spray paints are Krylon Ivory #1504 and Krylon Leather Brown # 2501 respectively. To further enhance the appearance, Russ Larson provided a missing carburetor adjustment knob.
The restoration was complete and I was ready for the Memorial Day weekend maiden voyage. My family and friends traveled three hours to Northern Idaho and set up camp at Farragut State Park on Pend Oreille (pronounced pond-or-ray). We took my fathers aluminum fishing boat and the old Fiberform with the Ollie. On the second day we launched the Fiberform with the K-5 Oliver on back. Because this was a "new" engine, it needed a break in period. My plan was to run it slow for several hours. The motor started right up, just like in the test tank. I put her in gear and revved the motor up to about half throttle. I was underway. The motor ran very strong and I was surprised with the amount of power that this motor generated. When I reached the middle of the lake, the motor died and would not start. My friends came to the rescue and towed me in. I noticed that the fuel pump was leaking. My repair job with the JB-Weld was not adequate.
Due to other commitments, I have not yet completed the necessary repair to get the Oliver back into service, but I doubt it will take much effort. I have thoroughly enjoyed working on these motors and would like to thank Carl Pedersen for selling me the motor, Russ Larson and Paul Moneski for supplying needed parts and Dick Gorz for providing this forum to share the experience.