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Old 07-01-2014, 08:59 PM   #1
polarisman14
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Default Vintage Merc Vs. Chrysler...Thoughts? Suggestions?

Hey,

For starters, please do not answer "skip the merc, sell the chrysler, buy a blah blah blah." Not the answer I am looking for whatsoever.

I currently own a 1972 Chrysler 35hp motor that has been giving me what appears to be an ignition related issue for quite some time now. I have already replaced one of the coils (the old one on one side appeared visually damaged) along with a points/condensers tune-up kit and some new spark plugs. I still have yet to do a carb rebuild kit (single carb) or the fuel pump diaphragm, and was planning on an in-line fuel filter (sediment bowl is the only filtration system for now) install in the very near future.

When trolling craigslist I came across a '62 Mercury 500 50hp engine. It is in gorgeous aesthetic condition and includes the motor stand, controls, and fuel lines for under $200 but the previous owner said he was using it and it lost spark without explanation. This could leave it being the wiring harness ($200 for a NOS one), points and condensors (relatively cheap), or the magneto (rendering this a heavy paperweight). I really have no way of diagnosing what the problem is if it isn't something obvious and I have a knowledgeable family friend telling me to walk away from this.

Put yourself in my shoes. I've got a couple hundred to play with. Should I buy the Merc and try to diagnose it, or buy the tune-up parts I haven't yet purchased for the Chrysler and stay the course trying to fix that? I'm still getting my boating fix when I have the opportunity to go on on my friends' boats, but would really like my own to work as well.

Ideas?
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Old 07-01-2014, 09:30 PM   #2
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Skip the Merc and fix the Chrysler! You'll have money in your pocket to put toward something else your boat needs.

Could be showroom new, but if it doesn't run, it's a waste of funds!
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Old 07-01-2014, 11:28 PM   #3
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Well I've never been a big fan of Chrysler motors, but replacing that with a Merc that is 10 years older to me doesn't make any better sense either.

IF there is a way to convert that Chrysler over to a solid state ignition I'd look at doing that.

In both cases, I can't imagine parts are easy to come by just due to the age of both motors. Also keep in mind the effects of ethanol in the gas - those engines were not designed to run them so unless you can rebuild them at some point with gaskets and other components that are able to handle that stuff either way seems like it's throwing money away. I'd look to spend the least amount as possible to fix what you got (a known quantity even if it has problems) and start thinking about a future re-power with a newer offering. Deals can be had on older 80s and 90s vintage 2 strokes as many people are replacing them for newer 4 strokes.
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Old 07-02-2014, 07:47 AM   #4
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Default more than money

You've also got to consider the significant effort to mount a new engine. Not likely that the mounting holes will line up and you may have to fill and drill new holes in your transom as well as route new controls cables and mount new controls. As other post suggests, I'd try to fix the one you have. Those Chrysler outboards seemed to run better than the Mercs IMHO.
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Old 07-02-2014, 08:57 AM   #5
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Thanks for the reassuring words guys. I had kinda reached that conclusion myself by the end of the day yesterday but just needed a shove in that direction to set it in stone.

I'll be ordering a carb kit, fuel pump diaphragm kit, and having a buddy of mine put some crimp-style plug ends on there instead of the crappy pointed sparkie style ones that make poor connection and generally just don't work that well.

After replacing those things, if it still doesn't seem to want to work right, I'll be looking for a capable outboard mechanic to look at it...Do you guys have any suggestions? I have a friend that works at Fay's and he suggested a guy by the name of Dave as he has experience with old outboards. Hopefully he'll look at the Chrysler as lots of people don't even want to bother with it.
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Old 07-02-2014, 09:57 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by polarisman14 View Post
Thanks for the reassuring words guys. I had kinda reached that conclusion myself by the end of the day yesterday but just needed a shove in that direction to set it in stone.

I'll be ordering a carb kit, fuel pump diaphragm kit, and having a buddy of mine put some crimp-style plug ends on there instead of the crappy pointed sparkie style ones that make poor connection and generally just don't work that well.

After replacing those things, if it still doesn't seem to want to work right, I'll be looking for a capable outboard mechanic to look at it...Do you guys have any suggestions? I have a friend that works at Fay's and he suggested a guy by the name of Dave as he has experience with old outboards. Hopefully he'll look at the Chrysler as lots of people don't even want to bother with it.
Probably Dave's Motorboat Shop is who they are referring you to.

I concur with the others, I would look to fix the Chrysler first. Although parts may be easier to find for a Merc and the extra HP would be nice, there will be added work to remove and mount the new motor and the unknown of what you are buying. If your steering, shift and throttle cables do not mate up that will be more work and expense. Added weight probably as well with the 50hp.
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Old 07-02-2014, 12:27 PM   #7
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Yeah the Chrysler is very, very light by comparison. My 35hp is only 127lbs. I'm kicking myself as I missed out on a great opportunity to pick up a 55hp chrysler (motor is only about 10lbs more) on a 14' runabout and trailer for 500 or 600 bucks. By the time I asked, I was second in line, and the guy who saw it first bought it on the spot. Timing's everything. I would have loved to pick that up and sell mine (which was working fine at the time) and eventually put the 55hp on the wood boat I'm building. That'd have some real get up and go to it on a 13' twin cockpit runabout.

Parts availability actually isn't as bad as I expected for these. For some items they are a bit tough to come by but there's a surprising amount of used items on ebay and online. More importantly, Mercury eventually bought Chrysler/Force so there are parts through them. The trick is finding the correct part numbers (which are usually the same as in the Chrysler manual, but with a "F" in front of them) on ebay or online somewhere.

I guess I have some parts to buy!
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Old 07-04-2014, 03:26 PM   #8
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Default Package value?

When I first read your post and saw the ignition things you had already done, my thought was "What does it do or not do that makes you think it is ignition" especially if it still does it? Like some others my second thought was "Does 'quite some time now' mean ever since ethanol, or shortly thereafter? Then all those questions about fuel additives, frequency of use, etc.

After that, you don't say what sort of boat, but the value of the boat/motor/trailer package is probably greater if it is an original or matched package, at least by model year. There is usually some sort of bragging right to owning something unique like that. Maybe you'll post a picture for us?
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Old 07-10-2014, 08:13 PM   #9
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The Chrysler motor has a random misfire (or so it seems). It will start and run quite easily but will quickly (if not immediately) foul a plug or develop some sort of intermittent issue. If you can get it in gear you can go WOT and it bogs down and is very low on power, if it doesn't stall intermittently. I'm convinced it is something simple and easy--poor connection on a wire or intermittent short somewhere in the system.

Buying the carb rebuild kit and fuel pump diaphragm/gasket kit was more for routine maintenance than anything, to get them crossed off the list.

The boat isn't anything special--just a 1972 Chrysler Cadet. It's a 13'7" boat which came from the manufacturer with the 35hp Chrysler outboard and matched trailer. The trailer I have for it now is a galvanized Sears trailer and the outboard, though not the matching one (I think) is the same kind, year, and size as is correct for that period.



I'll be pulling the controls and motor off of the boat eventually for my wooden boat project and will hopefully be able to find someone who wants to pick it up and give it a good home as a small fishing boat. I've grown quite fond of it but not enough to do a full restoration instead of my plywood boat!
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Old 07-15-2014, 01:01 PM   #10
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The symptoms you posted sound like mixture issues caused by failed crankshaft seals to me. They make the engine run lean and typically get worse when the engine warms up making it run even more lean until it bogs out and dies. I don't think they are terribly challenging to swap. That said, the first step would be to replace any rubber hoses on the engine, then do a carb and fuel pump rebuild, the start looking at the seals. Unlike a 1 cylinder engine, I don't think you can easily pressure test the crankcase to prove the seals are bad.
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Old 07-21-2014, 04:09 PM   #11
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I have already gone through and replaced all of the hoses on the engine with higher quality fuel line grade ones and new worm drive clamps. I have the carb rebuild kit and fuel pump diaphragm to put in (just haven't had any time--2 weeks til' I'm a dad!) and then I'll look into the crank seals if necessary. I know ripping a 2-stroke engine down isn't difficult and if I go that far with it I'll get new rings and whatnot to freshen everything up. I don't know that the crank seals are necessary though, provided a leakdown test would sufficiently check for that. I did a leakdown test and with 100psi in I got 96 out for a 4% leakdown in each cylinder--that's pretty low especially for something that old so I was pleased to see that.
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Old 07-21-2014, 04:47 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by polarisman14 View Post
I have already gone through and replaced all of the hoses on the engine with higher quality fuel line grade ones and new worm drive clamps. I have the carb rebuild kit and fuel pump diaphragm to put in (just haven't had any time--2 weeks til' I'm a dad!) and then I'll look into the crank seals if necessary. I know ripping a 2-stroke engine down isn't difficult and if I go that far with it I'll get new rings and whatnot to freshen everything up. I don't know that the crank seals are necessary though, provided a leakdown test would sufficiently check for that. I did a leakdown test and with 100psi in I got 96 out for a 4% leakdown in each cylinder--that's pretty low especially for something that old so I was pleased to see that.
Cranks seals can't be tested with a normal 2 gauge leakdown tester. They seal the crankcase from drawing excess air in around the crankshaft when the crankcase has a vacuum. You want 100% of the air to come in through the carbs with no other route possible.

A normal leak down test is not very useful on a two stroke as it can only test the rings.

Here's a great link about two stroke pressure testing: http://www.klemmvintage.com/airleaks.htm

Congrats in advance on becoming a dad! I'm approaching empty nest status rapidly...
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Old 08-15-2014, 05:25 PM   #13
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Back to the thread after a few weeks off--I'm now a dad, baby is two weeks old after coming a full week ahead of schedule and sleep is a precious commodity as I'm sure all you parents know.

I had a few minutes here and there to work on my boat--thought I had found the culprit when doing a follow-up compression test but it was not to be. Occasionally I go back and fourth with a retired Chrysler Marine tech to bounce troubleshooting ideas off of him and he actually confirmed for me that 95-105 was the range for compression readings on a NEW motor (talk about low!) so the fact that mine comes in at 105 on my gauge on both cylinders is excellent. This also points to the fact that once it's running well, it won't have lost any power due to lost compression.

Anyway, I hooked one cylinder up to the compression tester and decided to leave the opposite plug and plug wire connected to see if the engine would try and fire on one cylinder. On one test, it did, and on the other, it didn't. The cylinder that didn't fire and run was the one with the original ignition coil (the only original part in the ignition system) so I thought I had isolated the problem to the bad coil. $60 for a NOS coil later, there goes that idea. Runs the exact same that it did before. Sounds like unless something changes in a week or two, this boating season on this boat will be declared a loss .

Here's the message I sent to my marine tech friend--a lot of it is repeated somewhere earlier in this thread but it's a good synopsis of the issues it's been having:

Hoping you may have a couple suggestions. I still need to grab some new spark plugs set at the correct gap to rule that out (I replaced the plugs last year, but they do have a few hours on them) but I've replaced both ignition coils, done a points-and-condenser tune-up, thoroughly cleaned all contacts under the flywheel, and looked over the harness to make sure none of the wires appeared cracked or frayed. Fuel lines and breather hoses on the engine are also new and I had replaced them with better quality line designed to be exposed to e10 gasoline.

I'm having an issue on my '72 350HD outboard--it will start like clockwork within a second or two of cranking but intermittently have full power and otherwise act like it's only running on one cylinder. When it is running what I would consider to be on one cylinder it only propels my 13.5' cadet at headway speed, struggling to do so, and pumping out gray smoke. It often stalls at idle if I'm not playing with the controls to keep it running. When I pull the boat out of the water, water-and-burned-fuel mixture comes out of the weep hole at the front of the lower unit (above fork leg seal) and out the exhaust holes in the cavitation plate. When I was playing with it today, I could get it to deliver reasonable power for a couple seconds at a time by bumping the choke while at full throttle. I was thinking this may point toward a fuel issue? I have a fuel pump diaphragm kit waiting to go in along with a carb rebuild kit and in-line fuel filter but wanted to ask your opinion before I went any further.

So, that's where we're at now. Cheers.

--Matt--
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Old 08-23-2014, 11:39 AM   #14
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OK,

So I replaced a bunch of parts yesterday and gave it the splash down. Yesterday it ran well across half the lake but then ran out of fuel (rookie mistake) so I trolled back to the launch. I knew better than to celebrate, got some fresh fuel in it and took it out again today. The email sent to the Chrysler tech explains things quite well:

"I installed the new diaphragm (you were right, there were cracks all over it and an inch long tear on the larger side of the diaphragm) and that took care of the fueling issue. I also installed crimp-style spark plug ends to ensure good spark plug contacts, a carb rebuild kit, new fuel lines, and an in-line fuel filter. It now runs consistently without smoke and there is no oily mess coming out of the exhaust ports or weep holes when it's shut off. It'll run all day long, which I'm really happy about. I still have a different problem, though, and was wondering if you could shed some light on it.

Once the engine is running and warmed up it runs perfectly about half of the time--idles nicely and feels smooth and powerful across the rpm range. The other half of the time, though, it will appear to cut to one spark plug when you idle down from a WOT pass and will not respond to throttle input when trying to speed back up afterward. Max speed when this happens is about 7mph. If you put the controls in neutral and set to high idle it will rev up slowly and sometimes kick the rpms up to where they should be. If you can get it back in gear quickly enough it will run normally but if not it will still run like crap. I also noticed that when this low power issue happens it will not allow you to shut the motor off with the key and you have to choke it to shut it off. When it's running normally the key works fine to shut it off, so is this a wiring related issue? I work as a test technician at a place that builds cable harness assemblies so I can re-wire the cables/harness if necessary but I would rather not if you think it's something else."

If you guys have any other suggestions for me besides dropping it off the transom to its watery grave please let me know I'm kinda getting to that point, though it was nice riding it around problem-free for a few minutes today.

Matt
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Old 08-23-2014, 10:32 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by polarisman14 View Post
Back to the thread after a few weeks off--I'm now a dad, baby is two weeks old after coming a full week ahead of schedule and sleep is a precious commodity as I'm sure all you parents know.

I had a few minutes here and there to work on my boat--thought I had found the culprit when doing a follow-up compression test but it was not to be. Occasionally I go back and fourth with a retired Chrysler Marine tech to bounce troubleshooting ideas off of him and he actually confirmed for me that 95-105 was the range for compression readings on a NEW motor (talk about low!) so the fact that mine comes in at 105 on my gauge on both cylinders is excellent. This also points to the fact that once it's running well, it won't have lost any power due to lost compression.

Anyway, I hooked one cylinder up to the compression tester and decided to leave the opposite plug and plug wire connected to see if the engine would try and fire on one cylinder. On one test, it did, and on the other, it didn't. The cylinder that didn't fire and run was the one with the original ignition coil (the only original part in the ignition system) so I thought I had isolated the problem to the bad coil. $60 for a NOS coil later, there goes that idea. Runs the exact same that it did before. Sounds like unless something changes in a week or two, this boating season on this boat will be declared a loss .

Here's the message I sent to my marine tech friend--a lot of it is repeated somewhere earlier in this thread but it's a good synopsis of the issues it's been having:

Hoping you may have a couple suggestions. I still need to grab some new spark plugs set at the correct gap to rule that out (I replaced the plugs last year, but they do have a few hours on them) but I've replaced both ignition coils, done a points-and-condenser tune-up, thoroughly cleaned all contacts under the flywheel, and looked over the harness to make sure none of the wires appeared cracked or frayed. Fuel lines and breather hoses on the engine are also new and I had replaced them with better quality line designed to be exposed to e10 gasoline.

I'm having an issue on my '72 350HD outboard--it will start like clockwork within a second or two of cranking but intermittently have full power and otherwise act like it's only running on one cylinder. When it is running what I would consider to be on one cylinder it only propels my 13.5' cadet at headway speed, struggling to do so, and pumping out gray smoke. It often stalls at idle if I'm not playing with the controls to keep it running. When I pull the boat out of the water, water-and-burned-fuel mixture comes out of the weep hole at the front of the lower unit (above fork leg seal) and out the exhaust holes in the cavitation plate. When I was playing with it today, I could get it to deliver reasonable power for a couple seconds at a time by bumping the choke while at full throttle. I was thinking this may point toward a fuel issue? I have a fuel pump diaphragm kit waiting to go in along with a carb rebuild kit and in-line fuel filter but wanted to ask your opinion before I went any further.

So, that's where we're at now. Cheers.

--Matt--
Congratulations, Papa!!
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Old 04-30-2015, 12:24 PM   #16
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Hey guys,

I wanted to update this as I found the solution to the problem toward the end of last season. It seems that the aftermarket points for these available through mercury/quicksilver are junk and sometimes stick open right from the get-go. That was happening in my case and was causing both plugs to fire at the same time. I'm fortunate something else didn't break when this happened, but best I can tell, no harm, no foul. I had to spend about 3x as much on a set of new-old-stock points from Fairbanks Morse, but guess what...No more issues!

I spent a few hours the other day vacuuming and washing the boat, put new tires on the trailer yesterday, and am redoing the bunks on the trailer this weekend...Looking forward to actually enjoying a reliable boat this year!

I'm taking my little lady out for her first small boat ride on Shellcamp Saturday . She already went on the Mount when she was a month old, but this should really give her a taste of what boating is like. I can't wait!
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