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Starling Jet P-500 Outboard
Years ago someone gave me an old Sears sailboat and a unique jet drive outboard motor. My parent's have a cabin at a lake that I've kept it at and I get it out occasionally and run my kids around in it without worries about a propeller hurting anyone (although I bet I worry the neighbors that haven't seen it up close).
I've collected some information about it over the years on my own and from various forum postings made by others when these things surface from time to time from the depths of someone's garage/shed/basement.
Here is an excerpt from The Old Outboard Book that gives some information on the motor.
Clinton Engines is no longer in business, however there is a website with some history about the company. http://www.clintonengines.com/
Starling Jet - The Old Outboard Book
"From Propulsion Research, Inc. in Minneapolis, heart of outboard country, came Americas' first production line jet propelled outboard." So stated the 1965 introductory brochure for the Model P-500 Starling Jet "complete fishing motor."
Actually, other US companies (such as Lancaster Pump) had similar products predates the Starling Jet, but this firms Marine Jet Division was probably aiming at wider distribution. The 5-hp, air-cooled, single-cylinder powerhead was built by Clinton Engines Corporation of Maquoketa, Iowa, and looked identical to Clinton's own outboard power plant. The jet lower unit was all Propulsion Research's design and drew water through a grill into a small turbine. This internal turbine created "super hydro thrust" and pushed a jet stream through slots where a propeller would be on a regular outboard. the 29-pound, 2 cycle rig was marketed to fishermen wanting to maneuver in weedy, shallow waters. Safety-minded swimmers and skin divers were also targeted in ads stressing "prop-less" action.
At 6,800 rpm (a lot of revs for the lawn-mower-style powerhead), the Starling Jet gave 82 pounds of push. The company, however, suggested an operating range of 3,900 to 5,000 rpm.
This novel little motor came with a 3-gallon remote fuel tank and was available in "Jet White" for fishermen or "Olive Drab" for duck hunters. Neither group really responded to the thrust of Propulsion Research's message, and the Starling Jet was grounded a few years later.
I found a copy of a Clinton service manual on eBay and found some more information on the engine itself. It is a model J9-1103. This particular model code has a note in the document that these were sold to Propulsion Research Inc and Clinton supplied the Powerhead and handle assemblies only.
While the engine is air cooled, the exhaust is not. There is a water pump, according to the manual:
Although the outboard has an air cooled engine, a water pump is provided to cool the column and condense exhaust gases. When the pump is working properly a fine spray of water will come out of the small holes on rear of the column just below the reverse lug. If the water inlet holes are plugged or the pump should fail, stop at once and correct the source of trouble. Do not run the outboard out of water for more than one minute as this may damage the water pump.Magneto & Ignition System from the manual:
Inspect spark plug every fifty hours of operation. If the engine fails to start or hard to start, check gasoline supply, carburetion and spark plug. To test magneto for spark, remove high tenstion wire from spark plug and hold about 1/8" from any metal part of motor and pull starter cord. If a spark bridges the gap the magneto is in good operating condition. If no spark, have the condenser and soil checked at an authorized Clinton Service Center. The setting for breaker points is .020 and spark plug gap is .025. The correct spark plug is a Champion J12J. (CJ8 in another manual)Starting, stopping, flooding and carb adjustment from the manual:
With controls of the motor located on the front panel, slide choke lever to the left, full limit.
Slide throttle lever to start position.
Pull started handle slowly until you feel starter engage, then pull rapid motion and allow the starter cord to retract slowly.
When engine starts, slide choke to right to about center position and leave at this position until engine warms up sufficiently, then slide choke all the way to the right.
To stop engine, raise throttle lever upward. This shorts out engine regardless of position of throttle. It is best to slow engine before stopping.
Flooding is usually caused by over-choking the engine. To remedy this condition turn carburetor high speed adjusting needle counter-clockwise to lean out fuel mixture. Crank engine several times to remove excess raw fuel from engine. When the engine starts, readjust the high speed adjusting needle to its original setting or in accordance with instructions on carburetor adjustment.
The high speed and idle adjustment settings are pre-set at the factory. It should not be necessary to remove knobs for adjusting until engine is well broken in. When a greater adjustment is necessary (more than one turn of the knob) the following steps should be followed:
- Remove high speed and idle speed adjustment knobs by loosening set screw, then slip knob from shaft. Use a 5/64 Allen wrench to remove knobs.
- The shafts have a slotted end to insert screw driver. By turning the shaft screws clockwise the mixture is richer, counter-clockwise leans the mixture.
- Engine should start with idle needle and high speed needles 3/4 turn open.
- With engine at operating temperature, slide throttle to full speed position. If the engine back-fires the mixture is too lean. If the engine smokes excessively the mixture is too rich. Turn high speed shaft clockwise or counter-clockwise until engine runs smoothly. Replace high speed knob on shaft with pointer at #4 position and tighten set screw. To set idle setting move throttle lever to full left (idle position). Turn idle shaft clockwise or counter-clockwise until engine idles smoothly. Replace idle knob upon completion of these settings, accelerate engine several times, the engine should respond rapidly.
Bore and Stroke - 2 1/8 x 1 5/8Aside from the name Propulsion Research and the "82 pounds of push" from the book above, I don't have any information on the jet drive lower unit. Here are some additional pictures for anyone that hasn't had a chance to see one up close.
Displacement (Cu. In.) - 5.76
Ignition - High Tension Magneto
Magneto point setting - .020
Spark Plug - J12J Champion (CJ8 Champion in another manual)
Spark Plug setting - .025
Carburetor - Float (Tillotson)
Crankshaft - Forged
Bearings (Engine) - Needle and Ball
Bearings (Gear housing) - Oilite Bronze
Starter - Recoil
Fuel System - Fuel Pump
Steering - 180* Pivot-Reverse
Fuel Mixture - 1/4 Pint Motor Oil to one Gallon of Regular Gasoline
Idle Speed - 800 RPM
Recommended Full Throttle Operation Range - 4000 - 5000 RPM
Peak Horsepower - At 6800 RPM Sea Level, Barometer at 60*F.