The Old Outboard Book

by Peter Hunn

Old Outboard Motor Service Manual: 
Covers Motors Below 30 Horsepower

Review by Max Wawrzyniak

Since writing the "Primer on Old Outboards" for Duckworks about a year ago, I have received LOTS of e-mails from people seeking sources of information on old outboard motors.  Following are (2) books that I personally would recommend to anyone considering buying an outboard motor manufactured prior to 1969.

Back in 1992, when I decided that I was too cheap and/ or poor to buy new outboard motors,  I started looking for alternatives. Always one to do "my homework," and not jump into something without some smidgeon of knowledge, I went looking for books.

I saw an advertisement for a book entitled, "The Old Outboard Book," by Peter Hunn, the latest version copyright 1994. It was advertised as the book to buy if one wanted to buy a cheap, old outboard and "fix it up."  I bought a copy and discovered that the advertising was a little off-base, in that the book was aimed more at collectors of outboards than "cheap power" seekers.  Never the less, It is a very interesting book that lead to my  collecting of old outboards that I previously did not even know existed.  And it is a very good resource for the cheap-power seeker because of model-number and serial-number listings that help one identify just what one is looking at.  There are sections on the history of specific outboard companies and their relations to one another that can be of great value when one is looking for parts for an obscure outboard. For the first three years or so that I was buying old outboards, I always had this book with me so that I could identify just what I was looking at.

Of course, knowing what kind of outboard one has does not put him in a position to repair it and get it running.  I will admit, back in 1992, to taking my father's old 1949 Johnson model TD-20 5 hp outboard apart to change the water pump impeller, and not being able to find the water pump .  So the next purchase for the bookshelf was a copy of "The Old Outboard Motor Service Manual," Volume 1 (for motors under 30 hp.)  This manual, although not of the scope of a factory service manual, provides in-depth info on the service and repair of 36 brands of outboard motors, from the mid '50s until 1969.  It is the only source of info, that I am aware of, that provides this much information on that many different brands of outboards.

With "The Old Outboard Motor Service Manual" at hand, I began my journey from being a helpless outboard idiot to a seasoned outboard motorhead.  And although I have spend several years collecting repair manuals and parts catalogs on those brands and models I am most interested in, the Old Outboard Service Manual is still my sole source of service information on many, many old outboards.

Now, after almost exactly 10 years of collecting and repairing old outboards, I still have my copies of "The Old Outboard Book" and the "Old Outboard Service Manual."  In fact, when I go to work on an old OMC motor, I will often grab the "Old Outboard Service Manual" to make a quick-check of information, rather than go to my OMC factory Parts Manuals, Service Manuals, and Service Bulletins, which cover nearly all models from 1953 to 1973, and which occupy about 10 linear feet of shelf space. 

My copy of "The Old Outboard Book" receives less use, since I am now able to recognize most old outboards, but I will still drag it out to verify an exact year of manufacture, or for the occasional oddity that comes along.  Although most of the information in the book is available through other sources, this is the only source that combines it all together in one book.  I have found it to be an invaluable reference. 

Spending a little money on these two books, before one goes out and buys an old outboard, is money well spent in my opinion.