Going after two free boats and motors?

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hoarder

Active member
Joined
Jan 18, 2024
Messages
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LOCATION
NJ
First post here,
I've been reading here for a few months or so but finally signed up.

I'm getting close to retirement age and have been looking to get me a small boat to use in the river and back bays here.
Most of what I find locally in my price range has been pretty rough or a complete mess.

I'm considering making a 5 hour drive (each way) to pickup two free 14ft aluminum boats each with 15hp Johnson motors on them which have been hanging in a loft since 1978ish.
They belonged to a buddy of mine who showed me a few tiny pics on his flip phone.
He says he was there in August and both motors turn over, but they didn't lower them down or try to run them.
There's also a new or minty clean 1959 or 60 40hp tiller motor too that goes with them.
Neither have a trailer, but he's got the old registrations, which should get me a NJ title.
If not, they would get me a fresh PA registration that will get me titles.
The guy who owned them passed away some time ago, but the wife just went in a home and they want to clear out the house and garage.

I have a trailer, and I'd be on my own once I got there, my buddy is 70 and can't take a long drive if he can help it. He'd be giving me the keys and a copy showing he's the executor of the estate.

The motors are a gamble but I'm really not that interested in the motors, I'll likely just sell them and buy a new four stroke 20hp. I'd likely sell one of the boats too, but with not trailer that may be tough. The trailer I have is old but in decent shape, I had a 12ft boat on it in the 70's, and its been in the barn ever since. I'd toss two new tires on it and pack the bearings and go.

The big if is two fold, first is IF the motors are good, second is he's not sure if there's a car parked under the one boat.
I'm sure I can push the car out but not if the driveway is snow covered when I get there. I may have to lower the boat with the car there and use some blankets to slide the boat over the car. Its not ideal but I doubt if a 14ft boat weighs more than maybe 200 lbs or so without the motor. (The motors are on stands). The place is an old post and beam carriage house so I'll have plenty to lift from if I have to.
Another big 'IF' would be there being so much snow my car can't back up the driveway which he says is on a fairly steep angle uphill from the road.

From what I can see online, that area does have snow on the ground, but its hard tell how much. And I'd be doing this the following weekend if the weather permits.
 
I was thinking it would be cheaper to just stack the two boats, I've stored boats that way in the past, I don't see why it wouldn't work for hauling them?
I can't pull a heavier trailer with the car, nor would I want too. A light boat trailer won't tax the car or burn up a ton of fuel.
Weight wise coming back I'd be roughly 400lbs on a 300lb trailer, plus maybe 170lbs or so in that 40hp, and 95 lbs each for the two 15hp motors, another 40lbs for the stands if I decided to take them, and a couple of spare tires for the trailer.
The car can tow 1,000 lb, but I've pulled a lot more with it in the past. (A 2005 Town Car with low miles).
I'd put all the motors in the boat but my concern there is having them bounce around and bust things up. The boats likely have bare ribs on the floor, and three bench seats, so that means two clear spots for a motor to lay, and I'd rap them up in some old quilts as well. My thought is that if its snowing, the roads may be rough with ice and snow making it a bouncy ride for the trailer, otherwise its not a problem. The cold weather takes away some of the risks with heat on the trailer tires too.
I figure about $350 or so in fuel, maybe less, but I don't expect the best mileage towing a trailer in the cold. (Its gotten 22 mpg before towing a small boat back from FL but that was in Sept. not January. It usually looses a couple MPG in the cold, and it takes longer to warm up.
I'd sell the 40hp, its clean but its more a collector piece to me, and its way too heavy for a 14ft boat, even in my younger days.
 
Flatheadsteve has the notion. Grab/rent a landscape trailer and make one trip out of it. Convince a neighborhood kid to go for giggles.
For what it's worth, I'll toss in my own notions, too...
You'll have no problem selling a tinnie with no trailer. A majority of classifieds are the in the same predicament. It's a common thing.
As for the motors, you didn't mention the brands, but in any case, I would suggest refreshing the consumables no matter what. If the motors have good compression, they're going to be runners. Just adopt the idea of throwing $150 worth of wear items at them so that they're dependable, too. Also a common thing.
Ultimately, you've described the perfect barnfind kit. Perfect for a hobby weekend or two.
Many of us spend a lot of time trying to beat the same scenarios out of the bushes!
Congrats and keep posting the progress!
 
Yeah the town car would probably not be happy with a 2500lb landscape trailer behind it plus the boats. It has a huge trunk I bet you could put both motors in the trunk might have to fold down the back seat wrap them in a blanket and stack the boats on the trailer like you mentioned.
 
We had a town car many years ago with a 5.0L engine, and that thing would tow like a truck! Not sure what engine/tranny you have.

Buy a bunch of moving blankets from Harbor Freight. Use them to protect the car, then load a boat, put blankets in key areas, stack 'em, ratchet strap them down and take your time coming home.

Worst case, do two trips, if you can't stack them safely.

A tarp and moving blanket in the trunk, and it will easily swallow those motors.

Sounds like a good plan to me. Extra hands would be a good idea, if you can talk anyone into an adventure.

I hope it goes well!
 
Both motors are Johnson 15hp with green lowers and white hoods with black side panel decals. From what I see online, that narrows it down to either '74 or '75.

The T/C has about 33k on it, its got factory tow and even a brake controller but because of the 7 link rear suspension they only give them a 1,000 lb tow rating. The problem is if you squat the car too far in the rear one of the links can get pushed over center and the suspension doesn't rebound till you compress it and force it back. I've towed a 28ft Airstream behind it back from MO about four years ago, it did just fine but it towed level and the car hardly knew it was back there. My biggest concern was the 40 some year old trailer tires blowing apart, but it made it just fine. (Never did change the tires). I did upgrade the tires on the T/C to something a bit heavier, the oriignal Michelin X tires were too mushy and they dry rotted away in only four years.

The back seat doesn't fold down but the back of the car also don't take a lot of weight. The two 15hp motors will fit just fine, I could probably get all three in there if I clean out all the other crap in there, but I think I'll have to lessen the rear end weight so I was planning on bagging one motor in case I have to put it inside the car.

A few years ago I had a pair of 70's 40hp motors in the trunk, but I'll never do that again, getting them in was easy, but lifting them out without banging up the car was tough. They got heavier the second, third and fourth time I had to lift one. I also had a 110hp V4 and a 18hp in there at the same time. That time it was a drive up from FL after a 5 month stay there. I had bought a boat, then sold it but liked the motor so I kept the motor and sold the boat and trailer. I still have the motor. It was on my 15ft Duratech about 10 years ago for a bit and then on a glass boat I had, now its in a stand on my back porch pickled and waiting for its next home to turn up.

I'm not sure i want to deal with a helper, sometimes that's more trouble than its worth. The only concern is not busting up the car if its in that garage, if its gone when I get there, its an easy task so long as the rope pulleys and ropes all work. They looked like sisal ropes in the pic, so I'm surprised they stayed up there all those years.

The boats will likely be keepers, one, maybe both motors will get sold to buy a new four stroke. Or, I may keep them and buy a four stroke anyway. I don't have any other short shaft tiller 15hp Johnson motors, I do have one with electric start but its a long shaft. It runs great but I've yet to find a boat for it.

I try to make my boating cost-free either by hunting down free boats and motors or buying and selling a few to pay for what I want. I rarely keep anything very long because I always seem to find something I want more so I sell something and buy the next.
 
We had a town car many years ago with a 5.0L engine, and that thing would tow like a truck! Not sure what engine/tranny you have.

Buy a bunch of moving blankets from Harbor Freight. Use them to protect the car, then load a boat, put blankets in key areas, stack 'em, ratchet strap them down and take your time coming home.

Worst case, do two trips, if you can't stack them safely.

A tarp and moving blanket in the trunk, and it will easily swallow those motors.

Sounds like a good plan to me. Extra hands would be a good idea, if you can talk anyone into an adventure.

I hope it goes well!
Mine has the 4.6l and 4R70W trans, the trunk is a bit shallower but wider and longer by a bit than the 5.0L models.
I had several of these cars over the years, the first was a '77, which pulled better than most trucks but was always thirsty. That got sold and I bought an '83, that was a nice car but the early throttle body was a problem and it spend its last two weeks in the shop with about 72k on it. I never bought it home, I traded it on the '90. After the 90 I had a '95, that was a great car but it got hit by a trash truck in Philadelphia, MS and got replaced with a '99. I didn't like the '99 much and bought a Grand Marquis in 2002, I sold that and bought this one in '05.
I'll likely have this one for the rest of my life, unless something happens to it. IF I stop the long trips, it'll never see 100k on it. I almost bought a 2010 model but found out the car I had made a deal on had been damaged and repaired so i walked away and kept this one. Unless I find a super clean used one, this is my last Lincoln. I don't do front drive or small cars.
I have a dozen or so HF furniture blankets, and I also have a couple of heavy duty quilts and a few horse blankets that would work well too. If the car didn't have a full size spare, there'd be a lot more room in the trunk but the tire eats up a foor of the main trunk space.

I think if I take a passenger they may end up riding home sitting on a motor or anything else i decide to grab too. Two trips won't happen, its all in one trip or one gets dumped there for cash or scrap. Whats not gone by the end the second week in Feb. goes with the house I suppose. I'll take a handsaw and some tools and I'll make a few cross supports to double stack them with. The car isn't anything special, it supposedly has been a big headache. Its one of the full size Coupe DeVilles with the 4200 motor that eats headgaskets. I ends up being a boat ramp, I don't think he much cares. He did tell me to drag it out of the garage if I had to. The way I'm thinking is that getting the boat past the car won't be any different then car topping a boat back in the day. One end at a time and ease it down. It may even help get the second boat onto the first on the trailer.
 
Kind of sounds like you're dreaming out loud. As tempting as this may be, I'd grab the motors and *maybe* one of the boats. That's a long damned trip to make even if you are getting freebies. I'd also wait until I have another reason to go at least part of the distance. 5 hours each way....what are we talking here 300 miles? More?
 
Would renting a U Haul box truck for a day be feasible?
Not at all, figure around $40 a day, pluis $.90 mile, plus tax.
Its roughly a 350 mile ride, and its going to take 5 to 6 hours each way figuring a few stops for fuel or food.
I'd have to pick up the truck the night before, but would be back too late to return it till the next day, so that means $80 in rental fees, then $.90 mile, with tax, that's roughly $750 for the truck. That truck will also burn more fuel, as well as being diesel as well, diesel here today is $3.85, and a 16ft truck is listed as getting 11 mpg,
So figure roughly $240 in fuel on top of that.
The total for the trip would then be near $1k. Plus tolls.
$1k is too much to gamble on whether or not the two boats are really as good as they're supposed to be.
Taking my car is the cheapest, and the trip out with an empty trailer is not big deal, just a long ride.
The big question is whether its worth taking the chance that these are two clean boats vs, being a couple of hacked up future beer cans.
The motors are likely fine, but those I really don't need so I'll sell them right away, depending on condition, they'll help fund a four stroke for one of the boats few concerns I have are what if they're junk? What if I get there and can't get in because the locks have been changed or the nursing home has taken the house.
I was told not to expect any help from the neighbors. I'm not sure why he was so sure about that but I took it as they didn't get along in the past.

I got the impression that the place is packed full, or at least full enough to be a real task to empty. My buddy mentioned that he got a quote of $24k to empty the place out. By the look of the building in the pics, its pretty wide. There's a side door on the left, into a section as wide as one of the two double wide flip up doors. It looks deep enough to almost put two cars in there in row but the pics were tiny. My gut feeling from what I saw the building is likely 40x40 ft give or take 5 ft. I have no idea what the left side looks like, all I have a pic of is one looking up at the boats from below from the left side, in a building lit only by the light coming through several small windows in the two doors. The other pics are of the motors on what looks like two original metal stands, and the 40hp is on a wooden stand with four casters.
 
You can do the flat-rate Uhaul for I think $99/day with unlimited miles, if you care, but your TC should do fine.

That should make for a good day trip, if you leave nice and early. Just be careful moving boats and driving in the ice and snow if that applies in your area.
 
Not at all, figure around $40 a day, pluis $.90 mile, plus tax.
Its roughly a 350 mile ride, and its going to take 5 to 6 hours each way figuring a few stops for fuel or food.
I'd have to pick up the truck the night before, but would be back too late to return it till the next day, so that means $80 in rental fees, then $.90 mile, with tax, that's roughly $750 for the truck. That truck will also burn more fuel, as well as being diesel as well, diesel here today is $3.85, and a 16ft truck is listed as getting 11 mpg,
So figure roughly $240 in fuel on top of that.
The total for the trip would then be near $1k. Plus tolls.
$1k is too much to gamble on whether or not the two boats are really as good as they're supposed to be.
Taking my car is the cheapest, and the trip out with an empty trailer is not big deal, just a long ride.
The big question is whether its worth taking the chance that these are two clean boats vs, being a couple of hacked up future beer cans.
The motors are likely fine, but those I really don't need so I'll sell them right away, depending on condition, they'll help fund a four stroke for one of the boats few concerns I have are what if they're junk? What if I get there and can't get in because the locks have been changed or the nursing home has taken the house.
I was told not to expect any help from the neighbors. I'm not sure why he was so sure about that but I took it as they didn't get along in the past.

I got the impression that the place is packed full, or at least full enough to be a real task to empty. My buddy mentioned that he got a quote of $24k to empty the place out. By the look of the building in the pics, its pretty wide. There's a side door on the left, into a section as wide as one of the two double wide flip up doors. It looks deep enough to almost put two cars in there in row but the pics were tiny. My gut feeling from what I saw the building is likely 40x40 ft give or take 5 ft. I have no idea what the left side looks like, all I have a pic of is one looking up at the boats from below from the left side, in a building lit only by the light coming through several small windows in the two doors. The other pics are of the motors on what looks like two original metal stands, and the 40hp is on a wooden stand with four casters.
You have some awfull high truck rental prices in your area, around here 125 for a full 24 hrs with unlimited miles. Sounds like borrowing or renting a trailer would be a better way to go.
 
As long as the outbaords arent leaking fuel, Id put them inside with ya...atleast the 15s.
A good trailer will easily handle 2 stacked 14' ers.
My concern would be if the 14s are what you want...suppose you could always sell them to upgrade.
Im thinking the 14s may be one the narrower side?
 
Hey guys, former trucker here, I'd hate to try to secure those two boats stacked on a trailer. It could be done for sure, but you'd need a bunch of blocking lumber and straps. Glad this isn't my problem to solve, because I love free stuff and would have a hard time talking myself out of it. I do think though it's likely more hassle than it's worth. A little gas indeed. 2 trips = 1400 miles? Whatcha gonna get for mileage pulling this stuff, let's say 14 for easy math. So you could burn 100 gals at $3/per. Not to mention your time, wear and tear on your vehicle and buying meals for the 2-3 helpers you're gonna need. Just talking out loud here. I could be off on my estimates. One thing for sure it's going to be one huge PITA.
 

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