Project Log – Rebuilding a Johnson 200 Outboard

Several years ago, I picked up an ’84 Wellcraft for next to nothing. It had a solid hull, a strong running Johnson 200 outboard, and several other nifty features. The trailer was not great, but that wasn’t a problem because my plan was to drop the boat in the water and leave it at a marina.

Flash forward to now, it’s been almost a year since I did any work on the boat. I haven’t even taken it out on the water since August of last year. Between joining Automattic and moving the family to PSL, I simply haven’t had the time.

So over the past week, I’ve spent some time getting intimate with the boat again – cleaning it up, fixing some wiring, and addressing some engine issues. During the time I’ve owned it, the engine has always run strong and it hasn’t had any issues. But I have noticed the performance has decreased slightly with use. So I ran a compression test. I almost didn’t believe the results. 65-70 PSI on every cylinder! So I bought another compression gauge. The new one reads 55-60 PSI on every cylinder!

Now that’s incredibly low for any internal combustion engine, so it’s definitely cause for worry. As low as it is, the engine still runs very very well, and seems relatively strong on the water. Nonetheless, I’m going to take some action here. It’s time for a rebuild. Given the state of the steel trailer, which is slowly degrading as the weeks slip by, I must act now.

I’ve done some preliminary investigation by purchasing the service manual and repair guides for the engine. I’ve spent some time just looking at the powerhead and familiarizing myself with it. I’ve gotten my garage in order for a project such as this. It’s time to start gearing up to dig in get dirty.

I’ll be posting updates here with some companion videos on YouTube as I go forward in the process.