I wasn’t planning on a boat trailer this early in the Tango 17 build but the opportunity presented itself. I picked up a “project boat” for $200 bucks which includes a serviceable trailer, a loveless 15’boat and a 50 HP Mercury 2 stroke outboard. My main interest is the boat trailer but with any luck, I’ll manage to recover a bit more from my small expenditure.
Boat Trailer Condition
It’s a little rough but nothing that a small investment in parts and labor can’t address. I haven’t had a chance to check the wiring out but that’s not a huge effort. But at a minimum, I’ve identified the following repairs or updates:
- Replace the bow roller with an Attwood Rubber Bow Roller.
- Replace the front keel roller and bracket with an Adjustable Keel Roller Bracket Assembly. The current one is in pretty bad shape.
- Replace the rear keel roller and bracket with a Galvanized Roller Bracket Assembly.
- Galvanized paint – general cleanup.
- Inspect and repack wheel bearings.
- Repair driver’s side fender – it was poorly repaired at some point but otherwise appears intact.
- Replace leaf spring rebound clips – these have rusted right through.
- Install an Attwood U-Bolt Style Tire Carrier.
A Sad Little Boat
The boat itself is a 1973 Imperial bow rider tri hull which has seen better days. There may be a part or two I can use but otherwise, I’ll be donating it to charity or finding it a final resting place somewhere.
The jury is out on the condition of the Mercury outboard although the seller claimed it ran at some point. Honestly, if it works, it’s icing on the cake. Its remote controlled but the Mercontrol side- mount remote controls and cables were sitting on the cockpit floor in a pile. The insulation on the electrical cables is badly worn but I think some electrical tape will allow me to at least attempt a test fire. If that succeeds, then I’ll take it from there.
I decided to pick up a copy of Cheap Outboards – The Beginner’s Guide to Making an Old Outboard Run Forever by Max Wawrzyniak. Max doesn’t pretend that you’re going to take a derelict outboard and turn it into a shining jewel. What he does is this. First, he helps the beginner through identifying the right brands of outboards to look for. Second, he covers basic repairs and tuning that could turn a cheap yard sale buy into a serviceable and inexpensive engine.
Worst case, I sell the outboard and buy something else either used or new. Based on one of Max’s recommendations, I’d look into a used Johnson 35 hp two cylinder outboard. If that doesn’t pan out, I’ll go with my original intent – to buy a new outboard. The lightweight Yamaha 25 hp 4 stroke looks quite attractive but I’ll save any further analysis for a separate post.
But for now, the next step is to pull the motor which means I need an outboard stand. I should be able to build something out of scraps of lumber and plywood.