Will these controls work on my 1985 15 hp Evinrude motor?
July 20, 2010 12:09 PM   Subscribe

old outboard motor controls question

I just purchased a boat which came with a 1985 15hp Evinrude motor.

I'm doing some upgrades to the boat (floor, paint, etc) and am considering adding controls and a steering wheel console.

I've got a lead on a set of Evinrude Simplex controls & steering wheel with console and am unsure if it will all work with my motor. My primary concern is that the motor does not have electric start.

Here's a link to the controls:Evinrude Simplex controls

My question, will it work and will it be a big hassle?

posted by bricksNmortar to Sports, Hobbies, & Recreation (5 answers total)
Well, from what I have seen of those they are mechanical in control (ie throttle and steering are from push/pull cables rather than electrical) and the pictures suggest the same thing. So the function of your motor once it is started would be fine, but anything other than that should be ok. You could wire a means to stop the engine into the system relatively easily as well (dead easy, in fact) so only starting it would be manual. I have no clue if that is something that could be retro fitted to your motor, but that sounds like the hard bit to me.

If it is mechanical cables, then installation would be relatively easy assuming sufficient clearance and structure to route the cables properly (nice straight runs, no kinks or sharp turns) You can use bent steel tubes for routing to prevent kinks or crimping if you need to. Perhaps you can check with the manufacturer minimum bend radii and the like. After that, it should be relatively straightforward, but do make sure you do your homework for that kind of issue.
posted by Brockles at 12:56 PM on July 20, 2010

I can't speak to the mechanical controls as I am not familiar with them. But I do have experience converting a manual start outboard to electric start.

If you want an electric start, you need to look for the specific electric start kit for your motor. Evinrude almost certainly offered one at one time, and it may still be available, but you need to look by the model number of the motor as it will be specific to your motor. And brace yourself because it won't be cheap.

For reference, I have a standard 13' aluminum fishing boat, for which I purchased a used 2003 15hp 4 stroke Honda outboard via CL. Great motor at a great price, but the manual start really sucked!! I did a couple of fishing trips with it and just couldn't stand it -- it bugged me much more than I thought it would, to the point where I felt it sucked a lot of the fun from the overall boating and fishing experience. I sourced the electric start kit for the motor (~$450/shipped, IIRC), and have not looked back -- best addition to the boat, period. As a bonus the electric start kit also converted the motor's flywheel to an alternator, so running the motor now also charges the battery, which extends my trolling motor time. Win/win!

Having used both methods on the same boat there's no way I would willingly go back to a manual start outboard. It was a relatively expensive addition, but very well worth the money, IMHO.
posted by mosk at 1:37 PM on July 20, 2010

On re-reading your question, I see that you aren't really asking about converting your motor to electric start, just if these controls will work.

Consider that to start an outboard, you need to put it in neutral, start it, let it idle for a few seconds, then put it in gear, dial up the throttle, and motor away.

With an electric start and those cable controls, you can do all of this from the console: put it in neutral, start it, put it in gear, and open the throttle.

With a manual start, you can put it in neutral from the console (and position the throttle to the "Start" position), but then you need to step back to the transom and start the motor, then step back to the console, put it in gear, and motor away. On my boat -- which didn't even have remote throttle and steering controls -- I found this quickly became a chore. If you can live with it, then the remote throttle and steering controls are a good idea. But I'll tell you that I couldn't stand the constant get up/pull-pull-pull-start/sit down routine, and if I had to walk half way across the boat to do it would have hated it even more. Your mileage may vary, but that was my experience.
posted by mosk at 1:49 PM on July 20, 2010

It will almost certainly work, and getting it installed will be a hassle but probably quite worth it. Do take care and don't cut corner with the cable runs, a kinked cable will be unpleasant at some point. Use good stainless on any pulleys or connectors, rust is a bitch.
posted by sammyo at 7:13 PM on July 20, 2010

I'm not totally convinced that that particular kit will work. You should obtain the part number or serial number of the kit that is for sale, and then call Evinrude and ask them. It would be a shame to get a kit for the wrong motor.
posted by Sukiari at 7:34 PM on July 20, 2010

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