Ted Williams – Hall of Fame … Fisherman?

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.

About Kevin Forth

Always learning, Kevin is an IT professional that likes to tinker with electronics, motorcycles, and whatever he can take apart.

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