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14’ Livingston Runabout

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 We recently got a non running

1988 14’ Livingston Runabout with a 40hp Evinrude outboard from relatives who are moving soon and doesn’t want to take the boat with. They had owned the boat since 1996 and it has hardly been used since they owned it. 398A3813-3315-4B9D-A90F-76C7AE8FB0C1.jpeg.fa7e0ec1dbd4fef7fce3aca9090c2585.jpeg



Upon getting the boat home, I went through the carburetors on the 40hp Evinrude outboard engine, removed the lower unit to inspect the water pump impeller and found a brand new impeller, replaced the spark plugs, hooked up a decent battery and mixed up some fresh fuel, the engine started like it had been in the water yesterday. I put 15-20 minutes of run time on the engine with muffs in the yard and determined it was ready to be lake tested. 

We put the boat in the water and she ran flawlessly for close to 2 hours, going through the motions, full speed to idle, reverse to idle, back up to full speed. Just checking things out, making sure everything was functioning properly. 
1988 40hp Evinrude 
Top speed: 25mph WOT 

Cruising speed: 18-20mph 3/4 throttle 


My 9 year old daughter wanted a go at driving. She did great for her first time as Captain. 



Pulled the boat out of the water, got it home and decided we were done boating for the winter. I “winterized” the engine and threw a tarp over the boat. 

A couple of days later, cruising through Facebook Marketplace, I found a guy selling an old beater boat that had a great looking 1994 Evinrude 48SPL (50hp) on the back. He had it posted for $500.  I sent him a message about the boat and before I could make him an offer in the conversation he told me that he would take $100 and really wanted it gone. So I set up a meeting time and made the 2hr one way trip to go get the boat and trailer. Luckily the tires held air and are actually brand new. Still had the rubber tits on the tires and the rubber is still soft like they hadn’t been sitting for years. The trailer that came with the boat is a significant upgrade from the trailer I have now. Heavy duty 1/4” steel

C channel frame with a surge brake set up installed. Trailer does need work but not much. Will take some creative doing to get the Livingston on there but I’m sure I can do it. 

The new trailer 

New tires 

I got the boat home fairly uneventfully  ( I did run out of gas stupidly but luckily had a can in the back with just enough to get to the next gas station) and started on the process of making her run. Pulled the carburetors off the engine, cleaned the carbs, gave everything a good looking over and added fresh gas. Went to start the boat and it didn’t come with a key! Didn’t even think to check until now. Lol. Luckily the local boat shop had a new ignition in stock for my set up. 

This picture was taken just to note wire orientation before trying to replace the switch. Was a fairly busy ignition switch actually. 




New ignition switch installed, new fuel, and freshly cleaned carbs, the “new” engine fired right up. Almost like it was on the water yesterday. Lol. And again, I put 20-30 minutes of run time on the engine in the yard on muffs and determined she was ready for the water. 

These are the plugs that came in the 48. Looks good to me! Unknown hours 
I have not removed the lower unit on the 48 yet to inspect the impeller but plan to do so before it goes back on the water. Want to have a new one there for replacement and keep the old used impeller as a spare. 

Luckily, the old crappy boat had a decent battery in it that I was able to charge so I didn’t have to use a Comanche battery this time around. +$100 lol 

Went and put the boat back in the water and ran it for about 2 hours with the “new” engine. Same as before, through the motions, full throttle to idle, into reverse, back to idle, check trolling speed, back to full throttle/ cruising speed. Engine ran flawlessly. I removed the top cover after a long full throttle pull and over 30 minutes of continuous running just to feel how hot the cylinder head was running. It wasn’t even hot enough to warm my freezing hands. Was pleased with that finding. 

Beautiful but freezing day. 

Lake Sawyer, Black Diamond, Wa

Mount Rainier in the far background. 



1994 48SPL, Top speed: 30MPH WOT 

Cruising speed: 22-25mph 3/4 throttle 

While loading the boat after testing the 48, I was winching the boat onto the trailer and I ended up breaking the Bow eye. Admittedly I could have had the trailer backed in the water further but I sure wasn’t cranking on the winch THAT hard. Would rather have it break now than when it’s moored up overnight in the ocean! 
I went and bought a new Stainless Steel 3/8” U bolt for the repair. In the back, I reinforced the tie down points a little bit as well while I was at it. Plan on dragging kids behind this boat on a tube and don’t need U bolts pulling through the transom! 

Replaced the washers with a piece of Aluminum flat bar then capped off the stud with an acorn nut. I may cut the studs down but I want to build my crab pot holders first and may use the studs for support. 




Gaining speed was one of my main goals for the swap, plus I can’t ever just leave stuff alone for whatever reason. But one of my pet peeves since I was a kid is a beat up engine cover on a boat engine. Don’t know why, just drives me crazy. Think something so important as a boat engine should have the respect shown it deserves. And if a person can’t keep the cover clean, I can imagine how the rest of the engine has been treated.  The 48SPL was in so much better shape cosmetically than the 40 horse that I had to take a chance for $100. The undamaged propeller on the 48SPL made it worth the $100. Plus whatever other parts I could have scavenged. 



So now that we have another decent running engine on the back of the boat, the rest of the boat needs to be address. The current wiring situation is horrible. The entire boat needs to be re wired. 15AC0D3B-AEE2-4621-B493-0E1E91CA0D7D.jpeg.63ea399e4c4989c2cd7840a2e51cbb49.jpeg

Bad picture but shows the mess. I’m planning on throwing away everything electrical and starting over fresh. 


We will spend hours in this boat at a time so I plan to make it as comfortable and reliable as possible. I want to install a basic sound system with a Bluetooth receiver, cup holders, Crab pot holders, Crab pot puller, Tach and hour meter, get padded seats for the kids in the back, build in a “glove box” in front of the passenger seat and have the Bimini top reupholstered and extended so it covers the back seats. 

I have already found and purchased a Davit, now I just need to get the motor my friend has for me. Plus get the boat mounts too. B23FD6CF-BF63-4697-BB25-80144A266F9F.jpeg.a3b37858d3df039ef65936435fa2e3ff.jpeg


I have until the end of July to get everything ready so I have some time still but it goes fast! I’ll post as the updates happen. 






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I took apart the throttle/gear selector controls and lubricated the control cables. They seemed to be gunked up with old, hard grease. My cable luber wasn’t big enough to work on these so I had to get a little creative. 

Taken apart control box 


Propped the cable up to the sky and found a hose big enough to let the cable move on the inside. Filled it up with WD40  8DC61F9D-218D-4080-9BE8-B95DAAC98941.jpeg.bed8f2219956582f40fe08a9de0d470c.jpeg


Went to the engine side and pumped the disconnected cable end with some pliers and watched the WD40 work it’s way down. 


Finally got bubbles out of the engine side, moved onto the other cable. 


Greased all the moving parts inside the control box, put it all back together and moved onto the next repair. 

These engines have these little plastic rollers that basically have a rubber hose wrapped around them that control the throttle and timing and are pretty precise. 
Over time, the rubber hose rots away and just leaves the little plastic roller and a new, big gap to throw off your timing and throttle control. Both of my little “hoses” were rotted away and I had got new ones down at the local boat shop. Replacement is pretty straight forward. They’re only retained by a washer and O ring. Unfortunately, the rollers can be upwards of $40 ea. 


New roller 


And investigating further, I’m starting to think the wood in the transom is rotted. Not sure how I’m going to go forward with that. I’ve been reading about it and it seems to be a problem with Livingstons. People are saying the Fiberglass is strong enough to plate the Transom inside and out with Aluminum plates but I’m not too sure I like the idea of just letting the wood rot away in there. Don’t know, time will tell. Might just replace the Hull. 
Any input is welcome. 


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