Ted Williams – Hall of Fame … Fisherman?

Up North

A coworker of mine clearly recognized that I needed another project to work on, so he asked me if I’d refurbish a 1979 Puch moped that’s been sitting in his garden shed for 20 years.  His grandson wanted to ride it when visiting.  How could I say no to a 12 year old?  I took the motorcycle trailer to work last Friday to pick up the patient.  After loading the bike on the trailer, I was given an old outboard motor as payment for my services yet to be rendered.  The motor was a 5.5 HP “Ted Williams” brand outboard.  Ted Williams – wasn’t he a baseball player?

Thank goodness for the Internet, otherwise these sorts of mysteries would never be solved.  A quick check on Wikipedia revealed that Ted Williams was not only a Hall of Fame member of the Boston Red Sox, but was also an inductee of the International Game Fish Association Hall of Fame.  Who knew?  Anyway, Williams cut a lucrative endorsement deal with Sears, which put the “Ted Williams” name on a full line of fishing, hunting, and baseball equipment.  The manufacturer of my outboard motor was a company named ESKA, which built outboard motors using Tecumseh engines from 1961 until 1987.  Using ESKA’s serial number cross reference, I was able to confirm that my motor is a 1973 model.

I was told that the motor was hard to start.  I pulled the spark plug, which appeared almost new, and tugged the starter rope to check for a spark.  Nothing.  I then proceeded with the autopsy, removing the recoil starter, engine shroud, and flywheel.  The fuel lines were rock-hard from age, so I cut them away and replaced them.  The carburetor was disassembled and cleaned, washing away 40 years of grime from the parts.  I noticed that the ignition points barely moved on their pivot – likely the cause of the spark problem.  I lubricated the points and they moved nicely.  Electrical connections were cleaned of oxidation, and everything was reassembled.  Another tug of the starter rope produced a strong spark, so that issue was fixed.

I added the 24:1 premix that this engine called for, pulled the choke, and tugged the rope.  On the second pull, the engine popped to life and settled into a nice idle.  This motor is not hard to start!  I put it on Grandpa’s old aluminum boat and took Enzo for a ride around Thayer Lake.  Ted Williams would be pleased.