New to me 1953 Elgin 2hp


New member
Hi folks, I recently bought a 1953 Elgin 2hp outboard that I want to use with a 16' aluminium square back canoe.

It is not running just yet. All I have done to it so far is to put in fresh fuel (16/1 gas/oil), take a look at and clean the spark plug (newer looking, not sure of what the gap ought to be), and ensure that the piston is moving.

It turns easily, but does not start. I need a new gasket for the glass fuel bowl (it leaks steadily). I'm not sure of compression (no tester for that), and not sure if it's getting a spark.

Any suggestions as to how to proceed with this?

you can use the plugs to check for spark (uninstalled)....not a good as a spark tester but better than what you have...just make sure the plug's shell is grounded.

you can buy a compression tester fairly cheap...some of the larger auto parts stores will 'loan' them out.

you need fuel, spark (at the right time) and compression to get any engine to run...
Make yourself a spark tester. The cost is probably 0$, they can be made out of a few scraps around the garage.
You can probably borrow, or rent a compression tester at Autozone or Reilly’s. That would be my 1st step. If it has poor/no compression, don’t waste any,ore money on it, unless you’re into the antique mode & rally want that motor.
A great resource is Google, then attend Antique Outboard Club in your area, there will be someone who knows that motor inside out.
Here is a zero cost spark tester I made. The 1/4” bolt on one lead makes it easy to screw into the spark plug boot & get a good connection. You can just bend the bare wire to go into the spark plug hole, so that the weight of the tester holds it firmly enough for the test.
It should jump at least a 1/4” gap, with a blue spark.
I rubbed some dark stain on the board, just to make the spark easier to see. The yellow thingy is just something I had & used to secure the two wires, you could use practically anything.


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Nice....just like mine. My unit has a flexible wire with alligator clip to go to ground. The board is about the same size so it can be placed along side your motor....possibly tucked in somewhere close so it can stay in place on it's own. Use it all the time. Often, on the OMC magneto, with new points and coils, I can get a 3/8" crackling blue arc.
No way do you need 16:1 mix. I have a collection of these and run 50:1 with Amsoil Saber oil and non oxy fuel.
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Well, the biggest impediment to getting this motor to run was the age of the decals on it! Once I found pictures of the decals for the throttle control, I was able to (with fresh gas and a new fuel bowl gasket) get it running, snd pretty easily. The decal issue was this- I couldn't make out the lettering for throttle positions, so the position that i thought was "start" was actually "stop".