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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  
jimh--Nice job [on the Reference section article] on this subject! I would encourage everybody to visit Scott Stewart's Homelite site as well [but that site is now a dead link; see alternative links below--jimh]

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 or 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 amateur's club that owned a war surplus generator. It was powered by a small four-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. Have any of you seen that outboard? I had two Homelite and 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 engine. 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 two years. It was based on an 1100-cc 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 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 an dBearcat engines had a spin on oil filter. Check out Scott`s homepage (on page 2 you can read which types that had the "spin on filter")

The Homelite control has a horn oil and high temp lamp. I don't know if it is possible to use a OMC control box with a Homelite or Bearcat. I recall the electrical connection on the engine side was a simple terminal you put the wire into and turned a screw for each wire.

whalernut posted 03-25-2001 04:09 PM ET (US)     Profile for whalernut  Send Email to whalernut     
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.
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? [Yes--the website information is in the article that is the topic of this discussion. It might be helpful to read the article before joining a discussion about the article--jimh] I recall my Homelite and Bearcat engine getting a lot of attention in habours in the begining of the 1980`s as nobody had ever seen a 4 stoke that size. 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 New Jersey paper for a 55-HP Homelite for $500. Condition and year are not stated.
lhg posted 03-29-2001 10:49 PM ET (US)     Profile for lhg    
Regarding the salt water corrosion in the block, I wonder what the difference is in the other cast-iron automotive blocks being used in the Mercruiser or Chevy 350 and 454 sterndrives? Even back in 1965 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 and thinner construction than most inboard engines. There are no zincs to protest against galvanic corosion on the Bearcat and Homelite engines, as far as I recall, but adding some may be a good idea.

I recently made an overhaul of a Chevrolet 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. There were two for $500. Both were in very good shape, one a 1964 and the other a 1971 or 1972.
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. I got hold of one of the 85-HP Bearcats and have been very happy. They are very hard to find. I know of only seven in the USA. Only three 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 four-cycle engines. 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 three 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 55-HP 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 55-HP 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 re-done electrical work was very poor. I have a lot of experience rigging these motors to Boston WHale rboats and can send pictures.
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 comes to mind. 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.


DS_SUNBIRD posted 04-10-2015 04:27 PM ET (US)     Profile for DS_SUNBIRD  Send Email to DS_SUNBIRD     
[This author revived this thread after it had been dormant for 13 years.--jimh]

Good article, even after so many years since it was posted. However, I think there is a mistake in the HONDA reference. They started with small motors, not "Mid-Size". [The article does not say anything about what sort of outboard engines Honda made when it first produced them. Please read the article more carefully--jimh] not sure what the first one was, think it was a 5hp that was a complicated contraption in the late 1960's or early 70's. The original, commercially successful HONDA outboards that I remember were a 7.5 HP and 10 HP from the mid 1970's, I think they first appeared in the US around 1973 or so. After a few years, a 5hp and 2 hp (air-cooled) models came out.

Sometime in the 1980's the larger outboards were introduced to the US. [Yes--that is exactly what I said. I agree with your recollection. Your recollection is the same as mine--jimh]

HONDA may have had mid-size outboards in the Japanese market before the 7.5 and 10 hp models came to the US, but I am pretty sure the 7.5 and 10 were first on US market. Actually, now I'm thinking that the 7.5 might have started as a 6hp.

jimh posted 04-11-2015 07:01 AM ET (US)     Profile for jimh  Send Email to jimh     
If you have an authoritative reference that shows that Honda produced outboard engines of more than 150-HP in the 1980's, please give a pointer to it. Otherwise, I don't see any error in the article related to anything to do with Honda. The article is a history of Bearcat, not Honda. The article does not make the statements you seem to think it does.
seahorse posted 04-11-2015 03:26 PM ET (US)     Profile for seahorse    
This is a very old thread to be resurrected but anyone wanting a current internet address for parts and info, go to

jimh posted 04-12-2015 09:10 AM ET (US)     Profile for jimh  Send Email to jimh     
There is mention of and a hyperlink to the same dealer, his website, and the same URL in the original article posted 14-years ago as has just been appended to the end of this 14-year-old thread.

The other website mentioned above (that was originally hosted by AOL.COM as an AOL-user homepage) with information about Homelite engines is no longer available. Some portions of that information are preserved by the WEB.ARCHIVE.ORG website. See homelite55/

and home4cycle/index.html

Please note the CONTINUOUSWAVE website has been on-line since c.1998. In the 17-years since then, all the content of the website has been preserved and has been available, at the same URLs, during that entire time period. Prior to c.1998, beginning in c.1994, the website was hosted under a different domain name. All of the content from that period is also still available on the present-day website.

jharrell posted 04-12-2015 04:30 PM ET (US)     Profile for jharrell    
If you have an authoritative reference that shows that Honda produced outboard engines of more than 150-HP in the 1980's, please give a pointer to it. Otherwise, I don't see any error in the article related to anything to do with Honda. The article is a history of Bearcat, not Honda. The article does not make the statements you seem to think it does.

The four-cycle outboard was pretty much forgotten for more than a decade until another small car automaker, Honda, adapted their four-cycle car engine to marine use in the 1980's. dq=honda+gb30&source=bl&ots=BGlWJWnEuK&sig=gvGSr0Hza1Kox5IG2Mu1pKJsPmk& hl=en&sa=X&ei=cNQqVcfrCqT9sATgpYHIAg&ved=0CEEQ6AEwBw#v=onepage& q=honda%20gb30&f=false

The Honda GB30 4-stroke was introduced in 1964.

jharrell posted 04-12-2015 04:32 PM ET (US)     Profile for jharrell    
The popular mechanic article link was to the incorrect page: dq=honda%20gb30&pg=PA146#v=onepage&q=honda%20gb30&f=false

jimh posted 04-12-2015 11:24 PM ET (US)     Profile for jimh  Send Email to jimh     
I look forward to reading your history of Honda outboards. Let me know when you publish it. The Honda company website (linked above) confirms my statement in the 14-year-old article, and thanks for pointing that out. You seem to suffer from the same misreading of the article as the other critic who is also 14-year late to this thread.
jharrell posted 04-15-2015 01:29 AM ET (US)     Profile for jharrell    
Sorry it is a good reference article, it simply has inaccurate information regarding Honda outboards. Honda has only produced 4-stroke outboards and has done so since 1964, many of them not based on a car engine including the first one they made up through the 1990's

To say that the 4-stroke engine was forgotten until Honda adapted a car engine in the 1980's and make no mention of thier previous models while discussing the history of the first 4-stroke outboards is inaccurate and should be corrected. Honda certainly hadn't forgotten about the 4-stroke!

Mr Soichiro Honda in 1964: “Two things are most important: If they are not reliable, people’s lives can be endangered. Second – water cleanliness. What will happen to our oceans, lakes and rivers if all that exhaust gas mixed with oil gets pumped into the water? I don’t care if everyone else is making two-strokes – Honda has to make four strokes.”

If your intention was not to discuss Honda at all in the article perhaps all references should be removed. This would be better than an inaccurate timeline, although it would be omitting some interesting history regarding 4-strokes considering Honda has always been a strong advocate of the technology.

jimh posted 04-15-2015 08:45 AM ET (US)     Profile for jimh  Send Email to jimh     
The mention of Honda and their four-cycle outboards does not say that Honda never made any before 1980. The article says that the boaters of the USA forgot about the four-cycle outboard engine in the mid-range power segment after the Homelite and Bearcat engines left the market, and that was because no one made outboard engines in the 50-HP to 150-HP range--the mid-range--from the time the Homelite and Bearcat production ceased until c.1980, as far as I can tell. If I have overlooked some 50-HP to 150-HP four-cycle outboard engine sold in any sort of quantity in the USA prior to the 1980's and made by Honda, please pass along this information. Honda themselves says they didn't have a "full line" of outboard engines until 1985. Other than the Bearcat or Homelite engines, I have never seen any 50-HP to 150-HP four-cycle outboard engines on boats in the USA prior to c.1980. I am sure that somewhere in the world there was some boater with a 5-HP four-cycle outboard made by some manufacturer, but this hardly means that in the USA there was any use, certainly not any widespread use, of four-cycle engines of 50-HP or 85-HP or more than 85-HP made by anyone between the period when Bearcat stopped making their 55-HP and 85-HP engines and Honda began to make some engines in that power range, and those four-cycle outbaords of 50-HP or more did not appear until the 1980's--according to Honda's own timeline. Using GOOGLE to search out some posting of some image of a magazine article from the 1960's (which, by the way, says the engine was not sold in the USA) does not make anything I said wrong. My article simply says the four-cycle engine was "pretty much forgotten" by boaters in the time between the demise of the Bearcat and the modern Honda outboard era of the 1980's. According to my recollection, that is what happened. Maybe you lived in a different world of boating and outboard engines than I did. Please follow up with me via email if you have some further evidence that there were all sorts of choices in the 50-HP to 150-HP mid-range engine market in the USA in the late 1960's through c.1985. I am not particularly interested in researching in greater detail the history of the Honda outboard engine in the USA nor writing about it. The mention of Honda in my article about the Bearcat was really only to point out the correlation between two small car manufacturers, Crosley and Honda, and their four-cycle car engines being used as outboard engines. If it just happens that you did not forget about the four-cycle engine as a viable outboard engine in the period from c.1972 to c.1980, that does not mean that it was the first thing on everyone's mind.

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