Tyler Karaszewski

The Boat's First Outing

So I spent some more time on the boat this Sunday. Not only did I have the engine running, but I had it all cleaned up and running reliably. It actually wasn't as hard as you might think. I pulled the engine off the boat, which may have been the hardest part. The engine is held on by two screws that compress up against the transom and hold the engine in place. These screws had been sitting so long, underwater (since the drain hole that drains the engine mounting area was plugged), that they'd frozen in place. The only thing I could do to get them to turn at all was grab the adjustment tabs with a vice grip, and use a wrench hooked over the vice grip handle as a breaker bar. This turned the bolts slightly, but soon just broke off the tabs that I had clamped the vice grips to. I was able to get the motor off the boat, but it was mostly due to the fact that a peice of foam rubber between the transom and the boat had compressed over time, leaving the motor slightly loose.

Once the motor was off the boat, I scrubbed all the growth off the bottom end, and removed the prop to scrub it, too. I went to Svendsen's Marine, which is the chandlery adjacent to the marina where the boat's being kept. They've been very helpful so far. I showed them the prop and asked what they thought of its condition. They said they could get me a new one for $52 but the one I have, despite the paint all peeling off, was still just fine and would work with no problems if I kept it. So, I bought a few items to tune up the engine, and kept my old prop and headed back to the boat. I pulled the cylinder head off the motor, which is really simple, since it's right on top, and there are only five bolts holding it in place over the single piston. I was careful not to tear the head gasket, as Svendsen's warned me that replacement gaskets for old outbards can be hard to find. I scrubbed the salt build-up out of the cooling channel in the cylinder head, as I was told this is a common problem with old outboards used in salt water, and bolted it back in place. It was a lot easier than trying to get the cylinder heads off and back on my old mustang.

With the cylinder head back on, I replaced the spark plug, fuel filter, and bolted the newly-cleaned prop back in place. The problem now was that I couldn't put the motor back on the boat, as I couldn't turn the mounting bolts. Earlier at the chandlery I had picked up some PB Blaster, which is a "Liquid Wrench"-like product for loosening stuck bolts, so I sprayed that on there and let it sit for a while. After a few minutes, I was able to get the bolts to turn a bit with my vice-grip/box wrench ghetto-breaker-bar setup, and then I sprayed it again and let it sit again. After a few applications to each bolt, I had them both turning freely, such that I could screw them all the way from one end of the bolt to the other by hand. I then greased the bolts before putting putting the motor back on the boat.

Now all that was left for the motor was putting gas in it. The old gas had been sitting for years, and I didn't want to use that, so I bought a separate gas can to store the old fuel in, poured out the boat's gas tank into that one, and refilled the boat's tank with new fuel, mixed in the neccessary two-stroke oil, and put the tank back in place. I still don't know what I'm going to do with that tank full of old gas. I guess I have to take it to a hazardous materials recycling center somewhere. Either that or light it on fire and see if it still burns. But now, with my tuneup complete, and new gas in the motor, it was time to start it... And it ran great! It smoked for a few seconds, presumably burning otu the old fuel and whatever crud had built up in the engine over time, but then after that it ran remarkably clean for an old two-stroke. Not even that loud, either. Well, while it was idling, at least.

In the meantime, mostly while I'd been waiting for the PB Blaster to soak in on the engine mounting bolts, I'd also been doing some scrubbing to get the boat clean. Well, at least as clean as it'll get. It's an old boat and it's a bit stained. Still though, you can definitely see a difference in the before and after pictures of her below, before are on the left, after are on the right, and like always, you can click each picture to see it bigger.

After all the scrubbing, and with the engine running rather well, what was left? Well, to take her out for a spin, of course. I didn't want to go too far or too fast, given that she really hasn't earned my confidence yet, and most of the bottom is still covered in six inches of growth, but I took her out of the marina and into the Alameda-Oakland Estuary and drove down to the end of the marina, and around in a few circles, and back to her berth. She works! She's an actual boat, moving under her own power after sitting neglected all these years! So what's next? Well, first off, a bottom job -- and while I'm at it, some sanding and polishing for her topsides too, but maybe more urgent than that is that she still doesn't have a name! She needs a name soon.

Not the fanciest boat in the world, but there are worse things I could be doing with my sunday evening, no?


  1. 2013-08-02 A Few Years Later
  2. 2009-12-20 Final Update
  3. 2009-08-21 Summer Update
  4. 2009-05-06 April Update
  5. 2009-03-30 March Update
  6. 2008-12-30 Prepping for the New Rigging
  7. 2008-12-18 Taking Down the Mast
  8. 2008-12-01 Small Project Update
  9. 2008-11-19 Back in the Water
  10. 2008-11-18 Ready to Go Back in the Water
  11. 2008-11-12 Haul-Out
  12. 2008-11-10 The Boat's First Outing
  13. 2008-11-07 It Runs!
  14. 2008-11-02 The Once-Over