I picked up a small boat last week with a super clean looking '69 Evinrude 55973A motor on it. It had been stored for over 35 years unused in a barn.
The boat is fine but the motor has major wiring issues. There isn't a single surviving wire with any insulation. They don't look burned, just bare and covered with green corrosion.
The motor has 139 PSI on all three cylinders and looks like a new motor cosmetically. Might anyone have a good used harness or know where I can find one? I don't want to dump a ton of cash in this until I hear it run although I'm pretty confident it will. Its an electric shift motor, the wires going down to the lower unit are fine, but from the plug upward are bare. Every other last wire is totally bare, no sign of insulation. If they were rodent chewed, the little critters didn't miss a spec of insulation. If the burned, there's no sign of burned insulation or melted wire. It just looks like the insulation turned to dust and fell away over the years.
It was stored untouched for all these years, I probably was the first to pull the cover since it was parked there in 1972. It was indoors, but not heated and they had a tarp covering the motor under the cover which was latched over top of a plastic bag which covered the motor. The rest of the boat and motor were covered in a heavy canvas tarp. The boat had it's mooring cover installed and two canvas tarps on top of that.
The rest of the boat's wiring is mint, the controls are good as is the dash. I see no sign of any other wiring damage, just the motor's wiring.
I will need a stator, rectifier, main harness and all other on motor wires.
I may be able to solder new wires to the stator, and but the Rectifier wires are gone all the way to the housing and nearly corroded off.
What got me the most was that this was a freshwater boat from west central PA, its not likely it saw much if any saltwater.
I don't know what is was they used for insulation in that year. I have seen several where if you just touched the insulation, it fell away in crumbs. At one time Rapair sold a wiring harness for these engines', I don't know if they still do.
I have been down the exact same road with the Johnson version of this motor.
This was in 1990 when I realised that increasing running and starting problems with the motor were related to/caused by deteriorating wiring inside the hood ~ insulation turning to powder, and corrosion causing a nightmare re: conductivity.
There was no source that I could find in 1990 for the wiring harness and I looked pretty hard. Could not even find a used one, although the wisdom of installing a used one would have been questionable at best.
If you read the thread below, you will see some comments that I made about these motors and some suggestions on the wiring.
Rewiring yourself is absolutely doable, and with perhaps better results than the original layout. I got another bunch of great years from my 55.
A few suggestions that worked for me :
1) Do not try to reuse the big plug! ~ it is a real source of problems..... instead you should get a terminal strip and make your connections there. Later model engines did just this e.g. 1970 60 HP. You should change the power pack mounting plate on your motor for the next year's (part 0316471 ) and the terminal strip is 0510871 .
There is a guy who runs a shop in Florida who had me just pull my whole mounting plate with diode, coil, and power pack and send them to him. He tested all components and sent back the later model plate all fitted out ready to go. Very cost effective too. If that might interest you, send a PM and I'll flip you his coordinates.
2) Get a service manualand refer to the wiring diagram. You can maintain the exact colour code by scavenging wire from the wiring harness running to the engine. If it is a small boat, there will be lots of excess length.
What you will be doing is cutting that cable as short as practical, bring the end into the engine the way it was previously routed, and make new connections on the terminal strip already mentioned. Then inside the engine, renew any suspect wires (or just do them all ) with the correct colour that you gained from the external cable.
There are only 8-10 connections to make with that cable. If you need to disconnect this cable, it is a bit more effort than just separating a plug, but the improved reliability is well worth it. I took my motor off each fall and reinstalled in spring and never regretted the modification.
3) Get the best crimping tool that you can find, and use good quality ring connectors....the ones without the plastic grommet over the crimping area. Use a small length of heatshrink tubing to cover the crimping area and provide a seal. If you don't have a heat gun, buy one. these two tools should not cost you more than $50-.
If you are really bent on trying to use "Factory wiring" I would suspect, (but can't promise ) that the engine wiring harness for the 1970 60 HP could be adapted fairly readily, and it is still available. If you compare the wiring diagram for the 1969 55HP and the 1970 60 HP you should be able to make a rational decision.
Last edited by Tim Frank; October 15th, 2008 at 02:06 PM.
The black plug on mine is all but rotted off the wiring at this point, there's no way to ever save it. I could rewire direct and cut the controller harness but I hate to ruin a mint original control harness. The wiring from there to the dash is perfect. I have a few terminal strips but no junk motors to strip of wires.
I've been able to get a few new harnesses aftermarket but this one is listed as out of stock everywhere and has been for some time. My guess is that its been dropped. (All pre-73 motor harnesses are listed the same way).
The few places that list the harness in stock want more than list price for them, one place wants over $150 for an aftermarket harness. If I have to put $500 into this in wiring and new parts, it's not worth the trouble. By the time I buy a stator, $312, a rectifier, $90, plus a $150 harness, it would be cheaper to mark it as a parts motor. I just hate parting out a viable motor.
My only option without finding some used parts will be to rewire direct, buy the rectifier, and try to fix the stator wires. I have a few spare amplifiers if needed.
The only problem with wiring direct is that I may move this motor to several boats over the years. Since the controller has only shifter controls in it, the rest of the wiring is in the dash. Making a motor swap even harder. Which ever motor that boat will get from the point of cutting the black plug off forward will be a hassle. If I can find a good motor end black plug the rest would be simple. I just hate to cut a perfect harness plug off.
Its mostly all saltwater where I run, crimp on terminals aren't the way to go. I solder and heat shrink everything. I use the heat shrink with the sealer inside as well. The part that got me was that this motor came from fresh water and the wiring still rotted. The worst part is that the motor, other than the wiring, looks almost new other than some surface rust on the head bolts The paint isn't even worn from the skeg or prop.
It took me a year or so but I was able to find used parts, harness, AMP, strator etc on eBay for not that much. I have seen new harnesses listed in eBay stores for about $143 - couple years ago they were around $112. But I see some motors being parted out sometimes on eBay, so if your not in a big hurry, just keep your eyes open on eBay
I really didn't put that much value on that motor, I hard wired it and have it running but still haven't found it a home on a boat. For what they wanted for a used harness, I bought a newer motor. I was able to pick up a 1985 70hp with controls for $225 on CL. It runs like new and has 145 psi compression on all 3 cylinders. I hung that instead of the 55hp right now. I have a few other boats in line that may be candidates for the 55 though.