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1997 Johnson 15HP reed installation question

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  • 1997 Johnson 15HP reed installation question

    Just did a complete rebuild (first one) on my motor. I've really taken my time and researched the operation step by step. Everything has gone well so far, but now I'm at the step to attach the reed plate/intake manifold. When I took it off, it looked fine with no gaps. After examining it today, I noticed a couple small gaps in the reed valves. I took them off to clean and re-assemble, but no matter what I do I cant seem to get rid of the gaps. Tried flipping them over, but the same problem.

    I tried laying them on a flat 1/4" glass desktop, and they are perfectly flat. The problem becomes apparent when tightening the mounting brackets. Prior to that, they seem OK. Any tips?

    Since this is my first post, I'd like to add that I worked as a machinist/toolmaker for 12 years, so I'm pretty familiar with general shop protocols. No doubt that I'll probably have quite a few more questions before this project is over. Putting things back together is never as easy as taking them apart...at least for me.

  • #2
    I am no mechanic but I have rebuilt several 2-cylinder Johnson/Evinrude engines like yours over the years. I always noticed small gaps in the reeds and never had any issues.
    Mariah Shabah Z202 5.7L Mercruiser B3
    Jensen Marine 1972 Cal 21 cabin sloop
    Retired EE of 45 years


    • #3
      Do you have the factory manual? Are you using the correct torque? It can be normal for there to be a small gap in the reeds. The factory manual will have that information. Over torqing the reed plate will also cause that to happen. That is a bigger issue because you warp the reed plate and or cage. You also want to use loctite on those screws preferably nothing stronger than medium strength.


      • #4
        Thanks guys. The gaps are very small, I'd guess maybe about .005-.008. I can just slip a sheet of 20# copy paper in the largest one. I have a SELOC manual and they don't mention torque at all. Only OMC Locquic primer and OMC screw Lock. I'm using Permatex threadlocker blue (medium strength) up to 300 degrees F. I'm not tightening them that much at all compared to the force needed to loosen them. I guess that's the Locktite factor before setting up...I haven't used it in years. I guess I succumbed to the You Tube videos that said that there shouldn't be ANY light visible. I can get them almost gap free with less force on the screws. I'll try it that way tomorrow.


        • #5
          Get a factory manual and throw the seloc away.


          • #6
            I almost always see gaps, in operation the back-force closes them completely


            • #7
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              yes. back preasure will just push reed valves to the plate