View Full Version : ESKA Outboard Motors?

05-06-2013, 09:10 AM
A coworker of mine clearly recognized that I needed a project to work on, so he asked me to renovate his 1979 Puch Magnum moped so his grandson could ride it while visiting. I really don't enjoy 2-strokes, but how could I say no to a 12 year old?

I brought my motorcycle trailer to work to pick up the Puch. My coworker then gave me a surprise 'payment' for my services - an old outboard motor. Great - another 2 stroke :) .


I've been around the water and boats all my life, but I have to admit that I never heard of a "Ted Williams" outboard motor. Wasn't he a baseball player? After some research, I was reminded that Sears sold a line of Ted Williams outboards in the '60s and early '70s, and that the motor was really made by ESKA. I hadn't heard of ESKA, so I had more research to do. Turns out that ESKA purchased Tecumseh 2-stroke engines and built outboard motors with them from '61 until around '87. At least I've heard of Tecumseh.

My coworker told me that the engine was used only a few times, since it was 'hard to start'. Great, I thought - I already have a few ancient outboards in the garage that prefer not to run. Some on-line research of the serial number revealed this to be a 1973 model - 40 years old. I tore the Ted Williams 5.5 HP outboard apart for an autopsy.


First to go were the fuel lines, cracked and rock-hard from age. Interestingly, this was an air-cooled unit - apparently a budget line of outboard engines. I checked for spark and - nothing. I pulled the recoil starter and air shroud, then yanked the flywheel off to dig deeper. Everything was clean, almost like new. I pulled the spark plug, since I planned to swap it for a new one anyway, and it was nearly new, too.

I spun the crankshaft by hand and noticed that the points could barely pivot. I lubricated the pivot point and the points then moved nicely against the cam. I cleaned the electrical connections then installed the flywheel, shroud and recoil starter. A quick tug of the rope produced a strong spark - good news.

The carb was treated the the usual bath in mineral spirits followed by an ultrasonic massage. The carb was reassembled and installed on the motor, followed by the fuel lines.

I fueled it up, pulled the choke out, and tugged at the rope. It took only 2 pulls before the engine banged to life. It starts now on 1 or 2 pulls. Ted Williams would be pleased (I think). So, this motor may see occasional use on my grandfather's aluminum boat, maybe once or twice a year at the most. It just may outlive me.

05-16-2013, 05:19 PM
Such a simple and great engine. Gotta love the classics. Now throw it on a little dingy and wait for the fog to roll to take it for a spin. It will be just like the old scary movies from the 70s and 80s!