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Author Topic:   Bearcat Outboard Reference Article
Tom W Clark posted 03-24-2001 12:41 AM ET (US)   Profile for Tom W Clark   Send Email to Tom W Clark  

Nice job on this subject! I would encourage everybody to visit Scott Stewart's Homelite site as well (be sure to check out both pages):

I can remember seeing one of these motors back in the 70's on a 16' Whaler and thinking it was just the goofiest thing, but the fact is: it was way ahead of its time.

I have toyed with the idea of finding an old Homelite or Bearcat and restoring it but now that I know about Ed Ewing @ Economy 4 Cycle Marine, I may just go buy one from him. Jim, are you sure he said only $1800?!

jimh posted 03-24-2001 08:50 AM ET (US)     Profile for jimh  Send Email to jimh     
Yes, Ed sells them for $1,800, and less if you have one to trade in. I think he encourages trade-in's because he likes to keep re-cycling these engines. If you have a Homelite/Bearcat to trade in he will give you a "core return" credit. Contact information for Economy 4 Cycle Marine is at the end of the article

I was surprised to find how much information there was available on the Crosley engine, yet how little there was on the Homelite/Bearcat except for Scott's website, which I have referenced with some hyperlinks.

As a boy I recall my father being involved with a radio amateurs club that owned a war surplus generator. It was powered by a small 4-cylinder engine. I am sure, now, that it must have been a Crosley COBRA gen-set. We used it every June during "Field Day".

enn posted 03-24-2001 12:18 PM ET (US)     Profile for enn  Send Email to enn     
BearCat also made a 85 hp version - hawe any of you seen that OB?

I had 2 Homelite/BearCat engines but both "died" from corosion in the engine block - the cast iron block cannot withstand salt water.

Bisides that it was a fine engines - on fresh water lakes it will perform fine.

Macman posted 03-24-2001 01:59 PM ET (US)     Profile for Macman  Send Email to Macman     
I am very impressed with the depth of information in this newest article. Excellent job!
jimh posted 03-24-2001 03:50 PM ET (US)     Profile for jimh  Send Email to jimh     
I think that 85-HP model is rare, even among devotees of Bearcats. It was only made for 2 years. It was based on an 1100cc Coventry Climax auto block, I believe.

As for salt water causing corrosion of the cast iron block: what stops salt water from corroding aluminum blocks?

enn posted 03-24-2001 04:49 PM ET (US)     Profile for enn  Send Email to enn     
Aluminium blocks are much more resistent to salt water corosion I have newer experienced any of my alu OB that had a hole in the cyl.block because of corrosion.

My Homelites often gave a lot of rusty water when starting them up - and after 5 years the top cylinder was coroded so much that cooling water could enter the cumbustion chamber - only cure was a new block.
This was a common problem for the Homelite/Bearcats runing in Saltwater

whalernut posted 03-25-2001 11:52 AM ET (US)     Profile for whalernut  Send Email to whalernut     
Man, those Bearcats are cool looking! I want one for my `16 Currituck. Does anyone know if my older(1975) OMC controls will work with these engines? I want too keep the controls, but sell my engine(1975 85h.p. Johnson-no power tilt/trim). I like the one without the winged hood better for looks, but that is trivial. Does the Bearcat have a spin-on Oil-Filter? Any info would be greatfully appreciated! Regards-Jack Graner.
enn posted 03-25-2001 04:07 PM ET (US)     Profile for enn  Send Email to enn     
Some of the Homelite/Bearcat engines had a spin on oil filter - check out Scott`s homepage (on page 2 you can read whithc types that had the "spin on filter")

The Homelite control has a horn oil/high temp lamp etc. dont know if it is possible to use a OMC control box with a Homelite/Bearcat as i recall the electrical connection on the engine side was a simple terminal you put the wire into and turned a screw for eatch wire.

whalernut posted 03-25-2001 04:09 PM ET (US)     Profile for whalernut  Send Email to whalernut     
Thanks Enn-Jack! I`ll check inot it, I would think with a filter it would run better and last longer?
jimh posted 03-26-2001 09:02 AM ET (US)     Profile for jimh  Send Email to jimh     
When Homelite made the engines there was an oil filter, but Fisher Pierce removed it.

Dick Fisher's thinking was "There is no dust on the ocean."

enn posted 03-26-2001 12:03 PM ET (US)     Profile for enn  Send Email to enn     
Does Ed have a web side or an e-mail adress?

I recal my Homelite/bearcats getting a lot of attention in habours - in the begining of the 1980`s as nobody had ever seen a 4 stoke that size - and the smooth runing and idling of the Homelite caught a lot of attention

RMS posted 03-27-2001 09:36 AM ET (US)     Profile for RMS  Send Email to RMS     
If any one is interested, I happened across an ad in the local (NJ) paper for a 55hp Homelite for $500. Condition and year are not stated. I haven't contacted the seller, as I have no interest myself. The number is (201) 451-2160, call between 5-8.
lhg posted 03-29-2001 10:49 PM ET (US)     Profile for lhg    
Regarding the salt water corrosion issue in the block, I wonder what the difference is in the other cast-iron automotive blocks being used in the Mercruiser/Chevy 350, 454, etc sterndrives? Even back in 65, there were cast iron inboard engines being run in salt water. Must be the particular alloys being used. Maybe some sort of galvanic reaction was occuring between dissimiliar metals.
enn posted 03-30-2001 02:41 PM ET (US)     Profile for enn  Send Email to enn     
Corosion is well known in raw water cooled engines - the Homelite block is however a lighter (thinner) construction than most IB engines.

There are no zinck to protest against galvanic corosion on the Bearcat/Homelite OB as far as i recall - but adding some may be a good idea.

I recently made an owerhaul of a Chev. 350 that was raw water cooled - and it had corosion in the cooling jacket too - it comes in any raw cooled engine runing in SaltWater - only some metals are less exposed than others.

A Li Volsi posted 04-02-2001 02:31 PM ET (US)     Profile for A Li Volsi  Send Email to A Li Volsi     
RMS-thanks for the tip on the homelite for sale in NJ.
it turns out that there were two for $500.
both were in very good shape, one a 1964 and the other a 1971 or 2.
RMS posted 04-02-2001 04:15 PM ET (US)     Profile for RMS  Send Email to RMS     
A Li Volsi, you're quite welcome. Did you buy the engines, or go see them? Two for $500 sounds like a deal.
A Li Volsi posted 04-03-2001 09:06 AM ET (US)     Profile for A Li Volsi  Send Email to A Li Volsi     
I bought both, which included the stands, two extra props, the original safety controls for each and two gas tanks! Oh, and all of the original paper work-parts list, owner manuals etc.
Ed Z posted 02-16-2002 05:23 AM ET (US)     Profile for Ed Z  Send Email to Ed Z     
I had the 55hp Bearcat on a 17 Whaler... Got ahold of one of the 85hp Bearcats and have been very happy... They are very hard to find (I know of only 7 in the USA)... Only 3 of these are currently in running condition... The Coventry Climax FWB (1498 cc) engine was used in a few sports cars during the era... This makes it possible to obtain parts for the power head... I rebuilt mine from the ground up (bearings, rings, valves, guides,timing chain, and seals... I should be set for years to come... These engines still out do the new 4 strokes... They are close to 100 lbs lighter, idle at 600 RPM, and can run for 40 minutes (trolling) on a quart of gas... I went sking and tubing and then fishing for the whole day and used only 3 gallons of gas.!!!
Steve Leone posted 02-16-2002 02:31 PM ET (US)     Profile for Steve Leone  Send Email to Steve Leone     
whalernut, the 55hp homlite shifts opposite. you will need aftermarket or homelite controls and cable end adapters. i have a homelite control box if your interested. i bought a 55hp from ed ewing a couple of years ago. i had to bring it back because it failed in a week. he gave me another but i had to travel 300 miles to get it straight. it was my opinion the redone electrical work was very poor. i have alot of experience rigging these motors to whalers. can send pics.
triblet posted 02-17-2002 09:59 AM ET (US)     Profile for triblet  Send Email to triblet     
Aluminum doesn't corrode like iron or steel
because the outlayer of corrosion protects
the metal under it, unlike rust, which
actually encourages the metal beneath to
corrode through some (electrolytic?) effect.

There are some steels that will do this also.
Corten (sp?) comes to mind. We (IBM) used
to have a building in Bethesda MD made of it
that was called "the rusty bucket". I
suspect it got sold to Loral with Federal
Systems division and now has a
Lockheed-Martin sign on it.


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