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  1. #1

    Default 85ESL69S Base Plate Assembly Binding

    Hello to all. I have a 1969 Johnson 85 HP Model 85ESL69S and having a problem with the base plate assembly sticking or binding and making the throttle not return correctly. I have taken this all apart cleaned and re greased and at the time did not see anything I thought was wrong with any of the parts that would cause this binding issue. If I just work the throttle back and forth with it sitting in the driveway it works great and have even run it but was unable to get it to bind at that time. When taken to the water and run for a while it does it now every time. Anyone else experience this dilemma with this particular motor or another? Its almost as if something is getting hot and expanding causing it not to return as it should. When you push the advance lever back by hand to the idle return position it is very hard to push back by hand. Could it be binding on the distributor cap assembly maybe where it fits down over the base plate? Not so sure what else to do or replace at this time to help correct this issue. Once it sits in the garage overnight and you go back and work the throttle it works just as easy and moves the advance lever back and forth as it should.

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  2. #2
    Join Date
    Nov 2011

    Default Re: 85ESL69S Base Plate Assembly Binding

    Clean it well enough to eat off of, then don't use grease, only a drop of oil on the bushing and a bit on the retainer.

    EDIT: Do I see grease in the groove? Don't do that.
    Last edited by fdrgator; 03-30-2020 at 10:00 PM.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Sep 2010

    Default Re: 85ESL69S Base Plate Assembly Binding

    Perhaps the plastic ring was not installed properly.----Show it installed on the base plate.

  4. #4

    Default Re: 85ESL69S Base Plate Assembly Binding

    Well I know it has been a little over a year but things happen and you know how it goes. Anyway a little update on this problem here. I have since taken it apart about 3 or so times now and I do still have the issue. I have since removed all the grease that I had previously put on it which did not help but did not make it any worse either. Once all that was cleaned off I put some oil on it like mentioned above and also as stated in the manual. Run it for about 30 minutes in the driveway and it started binding again so I decided to start talking it back apart right then I see if I could find the exact part that was binding me up. Moved the spark advance lever to the forward position and it stayed there as it usually does when it binds up. Pulled the flywheel off and started loosening the three screws slowly that hold the distributor down and when I did the lever returned to the idle position. I did go on ahead and remove it completely and the moved the base plate with everything else still intact and it moved just as easy and free as it could. So I then put the distributor back down on the motor and started tightening the three screws playing with the lever and if you get them tight and torqued like the book states it binds it up. I noticed snugging them up but not tight seem to help as the lever would still be free. Thinking I had done something I went put the boat in the water and run about 6 gallons through it and at first seem to be working but as time went on you know it binding up and maybe even worse than before as now it even has a time pulling the lever forward what less pushing it back. This lever should be spring return as I understand it from messing with it now so much. So what gives here new distributor or something else I am not seeing. Thought about shimming it up ever so slightly to see if that would help but I know you have the stator under the flywheel and not sure how many thousandths I could possibly shim it up before it hits or rubs. The groove in the bottom of the distributor and the part on the base plate that fits into it look perfect but something is amiss that is causing it to bind up. Something to seems to be moving or swelling up when the motor gets to a good warm working temp. When I pulled it out of the water I tried moving the advance lever by hand and it was very tight you really had to push on it hard to even move it at all and there was no returning to any position by itself as it was very tight through the whole range now. By the time I had gotten home grab a bite to eat and went back to take a look at it what do you know it was just as free as it could be. You could push it forward and it would return on its own. I seem to know now exactly where and what is binding it up but still unsure of the remedy. Any experts run into this on the older motors. I hate to just buy parts and throw at it when mine look like brand new but just not sure what else to try.
    Last edited by Eddie327; 04-19-2021 at 10:30 PM.

  5. #5

    Default Re: 85ESL69S Base Plate Assembly Binding

    So while trying to solve my base plate binding issue I noticed the wiring on my amplifier and wiring to the points was just brittle and was no hope for saving it it so ordered a brand new amplifier kit part no. 0777647. Also had a friend give me a 72 model Johnson 85 and after some research found the distributor to be the same part number as mine. So I went about making sure that motor would run and it did. So just thinking there is not much else that could bind up the base plate other than the distributor I decided to pull it off the 72 and put it on mine just to try. Along the way I noticed my original to my motor distributor had a really burnt smell and also noticed the bottom of the fly wheel the part that sits right oh top of the distributor has been rubbing ever so slightly like its expanding which would also explain my base plate binding issue. So this past Friday I removed the old amplifier, coil, and associated points wiring and replaced with the new parts and wiring. All went well easy to wire no issues. I replaced the distributor with the one from the 72 all fit well no problems. Buttoned everything up double checked everything and all connections and decided to give it a try this past Saturday in the driveway. Motor cranked and ran like brand new made sure it shifted and it did ran for about 30 minutes water coming out was nice and warm turned it on and off probably 5 to 6 times would fire right up with the slightest touch of the key to crank. After the 30 minutes or so of running no binding what so ever of the base plate and feeling pretty good about it now. So today knowing what I experienced Saturday and how well it performed lets head to the water and see how it does. After getting boat in the water it did not want to crank as it did Saturday but I did manage to get it started and idled away from launch about a 100 yards or so and it died not to crank again. Same tank of gas that it ran on Saturday for 30 minutes without a single problem. I spent the rest of today trying to figure out this new issue and did manage to get it to start a few times only to run a few seconds and die and then not start at all again. Things I have tried today cleaning points checking points with a ohm meter to make sure of low resistance, checking setting on points to make sure they are with the .010 spec as in the shop manual. Reverified all my wiring on new parts, unhooked new amplifier and coil and wired back up with original amplifier and coil no go. Put original distributor back on just to try no go. Pulled all plugs cleaned and verified spark on each plug with the new amplifier. The two or three times I did manage to get it to fire off I was messing with the fast idle start lever and it cranked running faster and would just die like it was starving for gas. Turning my attention to gas now I pulled the filter housing to see what it looked like and was clean as it has ever been. I had another tank with gas in it so tried that also. When you pump the bulb it does get stiff. So should I just unbolt motor from transom and let it sink to the bottom or is there something I am missing here from Saturday when it ran like a champ to today when it will not run for nothing. It has never give issues like this in the 40 years or so I have been around this motor. Has always run like brand new. Air, fuel, spark and it should be running but not today. Any ideas, advice, or something to try that I have not so far?

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Sep 2010

    Default Re: 85ESL69S Base Plate Assembly Binding

    Has water pump impeller been replaced recently ?-----Overheat warning light tested ?------How much end play on the crankshaft ?-----Or can you lift flywheel up and down ?----Dial indicator on it ?------I always like to see compression numbers on 50 year old motors.------I use thin grease on these timer bases and never an issue with that.-----Have you replaced those boots on the distributor cap ?-----Most folks say cranking as meaning what happens with starter turning the flywheel.-----When you say ---CRANK----Do you mean starter does not work or motor will not run ???
    Last edited by racerone; 06-28-2022 at 05:41 AM.

  7. #7

    Default Re: 85ESL69S Base Plate Assembly Binding

    Water pump replaced sometime ago.------ Overheat light has been checked but not as of the past few days maybe I need to make sure it is working just to be sure.------ I have not checked end play on crankshaft.------I do not believe flywheel moves up and down but will defiantly check that next time I get it out to look into this.------I had carbs gone through a few years back and the guy that did the work said first thing he was going to do was check compression before preforming any work to make sure motor was in good shape. He told me the compression look really good.------I have not replaced the boots on the distributor cap but they look like brand new and are still very pliable and soft not hard and brittle at all.------When I say crank the starter is turning the motor just not able to get it running at this time. Like I said it ran great just two days ago and now nothing?? just seems strange. It did run several times for a very short time when adjusting the high idle lever back and forth.------ Leaning toward more of a fuel issue but just not sure. When it ran so nicely Saturday the exhaust out the prop was clean as could be. Yesterday was black and oily from the cranking and assuming the unburnt gas and oil. Just hard to understand how it could run so perfect one day and then two days later nothing...

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