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Elgin 16

1952 Elgin 16hp (as found)

The Elgin 16hp was offered from 1951 (some sources say 1950) through 1954. Weighing in at a whopping 92lbs it is a real bruiser! The casting and (in my opinion) engineering is not up to the same quality as the other West Bend-made Elgins. This motor must have been a rush effort or something that they just didn't do all their homework on.

Based on my experience, it is one of the least common Elgins from this era. This is either because it wasn't popular with the buying public, it received a pretty poor evaluation in the 1954 Consumer reports (covering motors from 1953 & 54) or was in limited production due to Korean War material allocations - at 92lbs, it is one big hunk of aluminum!

I had my eye open for one of these outboards for many years, but all the examples I encountered were missing important components and essentially parts motors. I had the opportunity to try out one of these motors in the summer of 2015 and really liked how it ran, so it popped to the top of my wanted list. A short time later, the same member who let me run his motor found another complete example and offered it to me. This is the outboard seen below.

1952 Elgin (made by West Bend) 571.58822 16 hp

1952 Elgin 16 hp (as found - not even cleaned up)

Year & Model:
1952 Elgin 571.58822
Horsepower: 16 @ 4000 rpm

Bore: 2 9/16 "
Stroke: 2 21/64"
CID: 24

Ignition: Fairbanks Morse
Point Gap:.020
Cooling: Water by impeller pump
Condition: Unrestored
Retail price when new: $310.00
Weight: 92 lbs.
Oil/Gas Mix: 1/2 pt TCW-3 per gallon of gas
Spark Plug: Champion J-12J (Sears A4-85)


Elgin 16 - Thoughts on Water Pump Repair & Service

As mentioned above, in my opinion, this motor is not up to the same standard of engineering as the other West Bend-made outboards sold under the Elgin name by Sears. The casting work is very crude and, while the over-all engineering is pretty simple, many things were not thought out for either long-term reliability or service. (Heaven help you if run in salt water!) I happened to have the 1951-52 Elgin Service Manual that has an entire section covering the 16hp. Unfortunately, the section on servicing the 16hp water pump is very poorly written, it jumps around so much that R&R steps are simply a jumble, many important items are either lost in the text or completely overlooked.

While servicing the unusual Fairbanks Morse flywheel magneto and Tillotson carb were relatively intuitive and the manual provided the basic specifications, disassembly of the waterpump was not easy to figure out. As noted above, the section covering it in the manual was of little to no help, the parts manual proved to be a clearer and better resource. Here is my take on the job, hopefully a bit clearer and better organized than in the manual. Steps as follows with discussion and photos below.

For reference, here is a link to the parts manual for the leg and lower unit: 1952 Elgin 16hp Parts Manual/Stern & Swivel Bracket and Lower Unit - Pages 12-16 Print this out, where appropriate I've referenced the illustration #s on pages 13 and 15 in the write up below.

1) Remove powerhead
2) Undo lower unit fastening nuts, one forward just under swivel bracket (p. 15 #3) the other on the bottom of the anti-cavitation plate (p. 13 #41)
3) Drop the Motor Leg Lower (p.13 #42) and Upper and Lower of lower unit/gear housing (p. 15 #s 9&13) intact
4) Disconnect the lower drive shaft (p. 15 #11) at coupler (p. 13 #39) and unscrew shift rod (p.15 #24) making note of how many turns from seated so you can obtain the same position upon reassembly
4-B) MAY BE REQUIRED: remove water tube (p. 13 #38) and forward gear housing stud/fastener rod (p. 15 # 7) - the water tube is in the way of any access to the coupler - the forward stud or fastening rod may be corroded and prevent you from sliding the upper part of the lower unit/gear housing up to gain access to the waterpump
5) Separate the Motor Leg Lower
(p. 13 #42) from the Upper and Lower Gear Housing (p.15 #s 9 & 13) to access the waterpump
6) If you want to access the gearcase, it is held onto the Upper Gear Housing by the front stud/fastener rod (p. 15 # 7)
and a 5/16'-18 fillister head screw (p. 15 # 2) down inside the Upper Gear Housing toward the rear
7) Disassembly of gear housing: Drain lubricant. (grease) Remove propeller and shear pin. Undo Waldes/Snap ring (p. 15 # 41) that retains the bearing cap/Propeller Shaft Bearing Cage (p. 15 # 38). Insert two 1/4"-20 machine screws in the carrier bearing face in holes provided. Using screws for leverage, twist and pull
carrier bearing out - it is only retained by the o-ring. Gear shift fork yolk (p. 15 #s 19-22) is retained by pin through side of skeg (p. 15 #17) - note head on one side of the pin appears larger, drive out with punch from small side

Discussion On Steps 1 to 5 Above
#1) As is typical of many 1950s outboards, the powerhead must be removed first to access the gearshift linkage. There are five large fillister head screws retaining it. Of course we encountered the typical stuck fastener under the exhaust manifold that broke and needed to be drilled and tapped. The other 4 fasteners came out with a little heat, penetrating oil and persuasion. The powerhead, once everything is disconnected that holds it to the motor, (throttle wires & linkage, fuel lines, shift rod, etc...), lifted off no problem. The shift linkage is simply held together with a cotter pin.

#2&3 (Reference photos 5 and 9 below) The lower unit is held on by two long rods or studs (Forward one p. 15 # 7 and the aft one p. 13 # 40), one has a nut just under the swivel bracket mount, the other is on the bottom aft-side of the anti-cavitation plate. The nuts also came off with no issue and the complete lower unit, drive shaft, shift rod and water tube dropped out with no more than typical aggravation. The forward rod/stud (p. 15 # 7) goes all the way down the front of the entire lower unit and into the gearcase - it holds the Motor Leg Lower (p. 13 #42), Gear Housing Upper and Gear Housing Lower (p.15 #s 9 & 13) all together in the front. (As noted in #4-B "MAY BE REQUIRED", I needed to remove it and really thought it was going to break off. However it did come out with lots of heat, penetrating oil and prayer.) The aft rod/stud (p. 13 #40) stays on the Motor Leg Upper (p. 13 # 33) so it wasn't an issue. With the two studs/rods disconnected only the Shift shaft (p. 15# 24) and Drive shafts (p. 13 # 36 and p. 15 # 11) keep you from accessing the parts of the waterpump. As noted above, the gearcase (p15. #13) is also held on by the forward stud/rod. Per step #6, it also has a 5/16"-18 screw (p. 15 # 2) that you access from the inside of Gear Housing Upper (p. 15 # 9) fastening to the back of the Gear Housing Lower. (p. 15 # 13)

#4 & 4-B) (Reference photos 1 and 9 below) First the easy stuff! The Gearshift Rod (p. 15 # 24) simply unscrews. (The shift rod on my motor was 1/2 turn from gently seated - I will return it to the same position on re-assembly) You may not need to remove the water tube/Inlet Water Line (p. 13 #38) if everything else comes apart, However, if you do, it is simply pressed into the top of the waterpump housing - that housing is cast into the Motor Leg Lower. (p. 13 # 42) Heat and penetrating oil got it out fairly easily.

The last step is to disconnect the Lower Drive Shaft (p. 15 #11) from the Drive Shaft Coupler (p. 13 # 39) - that was a real Doozy.... (Reference photos 1, 3 and 9 below) After 64 years this job turned out to be just horrible - the biggest issue was the coupler between the upper and lower drive shafts is located well down inside the Motor Leg Lower (p. 13 # 42) and almost impossible to access. Scott Atwater was also known to incorporate a similar coupled drive shaft design that also fused together, though the ones I've encountered were not buried down inside a casting.   You must pull the Lower Drive Shaft through the Motor Leg Lower (p. 13 # 42) to service the impeller, it won't come apart with the Drive Shaft Coupler (p. 13 # 39) attached

While this design may have looked good on paper back when they designed this beast, 66+ years later it proved to be simply miserable.  (Reference photos 2, 3 and 8 below) The coupling was totally fused to each of the drive shafts and there was very minimal accessibility.  I disassembled the lower unit hoping I could get the pinion gear off (it is only shown coupled to the lower drive shaft p. 15 # 11) and pull it apart from the bottom up.  No luck, the pin through the gear just wouldn't budge and, if I used a "bigger hammer", I know I would have broken something. I cleaned the rust off the drive shafts and coupler the best I could, then liberally doused it in PB Blaster penetrating oil and heat several times.  After I thought I had some penetration of the oil, I quickly attached a clamp-style puller (and a steel base for the puller to push against so as to not burr anything) to pull the drive shaft up, praying it would uncouple from the bottom not the top.  Well, you guessed it, the top shaft (p. 13 # 36) pulled out first leaving the damn coupler (p. 13 # 39) way down inside. 

Bummed at the outcome I continued on....  (Reference photos 3, 9 and 10 below) I did not want to rest the coupler on top of the waterpump casting and try to drive the Lower Drive Shaft (p. 15 # 11) downward and out - the waterpump top casting is aluminum and pretty thin and I'm sure it would have broken. I cleaned up the inside of the coupler and let it sit several days with penetrating oil and a dab of heat from time to time.  A few days later I found a partial bottle of ATF in the garage, so I switched from PB Blaster to a 50/50 ATF and Acetone solution since that is reported by some to be the best penetrant going.  I only had one small puller that would fit inside the housing and used a bolt (actually 2 bolts, a longer one was needed once it started moving) that fit snugly inside the coupler. The head of the bolts were dimpled with a drill so the point on the end of the puller screw wouldn't walk off the head.  This provided a push-pull action - with the penetrating oil, heat and several tries with the puller, (the puller arms occasionally bent and needed to be straightened out), I finally got it apart.  I'm now a believer that the ATF/Acetone mix is the way to go over the PB Blaster!

#5) (Reference photo 4 below) Once apart, you separate the Motor Leg Lower (p. 13 # 42) and the Gear Housing Upper and Lower (p. 15 #s 9&13) and will see the impeller and associated parts on the bottom of the Motor Leg Lower, i.e. under the anti-cavitation plate. The waterpump consists of a top plate of stainless (not shown in the parts manual), impeller and drive pin (p. 13 # 47&48) cam and cam screw (p. 13 # 45&43) and Bottom Plate/cover (p. 13 # 49) The bottom cover is made from aluminum, why it isn't stainless like the top plate is beyond me! The cam (p. 13 # 45) is held in place by a small #6 brass screw (p. 13 # 43) accessible from the outside of the Motor Leg Lower (p. 13 # 42). I am amazed it didn't break off but all the errant heat and penetrating oil must have helped!

The impeller's diameter and height are the same as one I have on-hand for a 12hp West Bend/Elgin, however the brass center hub and drive shaft hole is a lot bigger. (Reference photo 11 below)   I will go through my box of impellers to see if some later West Bend or Chrysler/Force impeller is the same - the dimensions on many are similar to the 12hp.  If not, I will send it out to Bob Long to see if he can re-cast a new one for me on the old hub.  The irony of the whole debacle: the original impeller looked pretty good (Even after all the errant heat it was subjected to from removing the coupler.) and probably would have worked, was still supple and the hub firmly attached! 

Here are a few photos of everything essentially working from the top down - you can click on each for a larger photo:

PHOTO 1) Here's what the upper part of the lower unit looks like. (photo taken after I got it all apart and cleaned up) From L to R: shift-rod, water tube, drive shaft with coupler visible at bottom, front mounting rod. The hole on the far left is for the other mounting rod/fastener, it stays with the mid-section.
PHOTO 2) To pull the drive shaft (or at least the upper drive shaft) I resorted to this clamp style puller - the Vice Grips ensured it didn't slide up the drive shaft. To provide a better base and keep it from scarring the casting, a plate of steel with a hole for the drive shaft to go through was used for the puller to push against.
PHOTO 3) This shot shows the miserable coupler that is fused to the lower drive shaft. (Note shift shaft, water tube and the forward stud are all removed to allow additional room to heat and pull the coupler.) Not a lot of room to work in there!
PHOTO 4) Here is what the waterpump looks like now that it is accessible! Key here (L to R) are the lower drive shaft, bottom aluminum (pitted) water pump cover, impeller, impeller drive pin, top stainless waterpump cover (not noted in parts diagram) the cam and small screw that holds the cam in place. You also can see the stud that holds everything together in the top of the photo.
PHOTO 5) Herewith a shot of the Gear Housing Lower and all associated parts and guts.
PHOTO 6) Close up of the gears, clutch, prop-shaft, clutch fork, shift yolk and spacer.
PHOTO 7) Prop shaft bearing cap, bearing, o-ring and Waldes snap ring. On the other side from this photo (facing out) there are two holes for 1/4"-20 bolts to assist with pulling this out of the gearcase. (They are visible in Photo 5 above) I just used a set of channel locks, rotated and pulled on it to remove. Lubrication also helped.
PHOTO 8) Interior shot of the Gear Housing, I'm holding the drive shaft so you can see the pinion gear. On top of the pinion is a bearing for the lower drive shaft - there is also another smaller bearing in the Upper Gear Housing. BTW, I have no idea how you would remove the lower drive shaft and bearing, that pinion gear is permanently pinned! (Probably why it is shown in the parts manual as one part with the lower drive shaft) Way in the back the other prop shaft bearing is partially visible.
PHOTO 9) According to the manual, the coupler (center of photo) was supposed to just slide apart.... Here it is all cleaned up and ready for re-assembly. Front stud, water tube and shift rod are also visible.
PHOTO 10) The little puller that could! It took several tries and those arms bent two or three times, but eventually it did work and pulled the damn coupler off the lower drive shaft. The bolts were used as pushers inside the coupler, each had a divot drilled in the top so the point on the puller screw wouldn't walk off the head. If this tool hadn't worked, I don't know how I would have ever gotten the coupler off....
PHOTO 11) On the left is one of Bob Long's remade impellers from a 1955-60 Elgin/West Bend 12hp. The Elgin 16's impeller on the right is the same over-all dimensions save a larger diameter hole for the shaft in the center hub. Despite looking a little bedraggled from being 66 years old and recently subjected to a lot of heat and penetrating oil, I think the Elgin 16s o.e. impeller would have pumped water!!!
Early 1950s Elgin 16hp ad. This shows the retail $33 less than my reference material - must have been a special sale to try and move some of these beasts!

Here's a short video of the first run of the Big Green Toad:


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