Going after two free boats and motors?


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I'm always willing to drive for the right deal. Last year I made a 5hr drive one way to up near Staten Island in Woodbridge township NJ to buy a 75hp massey ferguson. It was a factory demo with 90hrs on it they were selling for $10k less than new and finance and warranty were offered same as new. Surprised the heck out of me that a dealer was located there. Was quite interesting getting in and out of Woodbridge township while avoiding all the 5ton and 10ton weight restrictions on all those little bridges. The savings more than made up for it!
Exactly right. Count on the unexpected. Depends how much you want it. A few years back I was in search of a Harley Davidson factory sidecar. I finally found one that was more than used but at the right price. Made the drive from Pa. to Georgia. Drove straight thru to get there. What I didn’t know was it was still attached to a beat up bike. I had to remove a lot of stuff to get it and all the mounts off. Took me a couple hours in the Georgia heat and I was black grease and grime up to my elbows. BUT, the guy had a treasure trove of other good motorcycle stuff. I did stop overnight on the way home. Was worth the trip.
I'd be all over that deal, the worst case is you make the drive and come home empty? The best case is two boats and three motors for free for a long days work.

The OP said he's got a boat trailer, if its set for a 12ft boat, an empty 14 with no motor will be just fine, stacking two is not enough weight to bother the trailer much, nor would loading the larger motor in one boat.
I like the idea of flipping the second boat and stacking them, if you cut cross beams and notch them, they can't move and you can bind both boats together and tie the first one down via its factory tie down points. I wouldn't try to belly strap both tot he trailer, the straps will just try to walk loose and it will let the top boat slide side to side.
If it were me, I'd load and tie down the first boat, set the 40hp inside that on blankets ahead of the middle bench seat. Then set the second boat upside down atop the first using two cross beams notched so they fit the hulls and can't slide out the side. Then using good rope or short straps, tie the rear handles of both boats together. Don't cross tie or form an X if you do loose one strap, the other will pull the top boat sideways.
Tied the top boat's bow eye down to the winch post, not the winch or other bow eye. get a straight pull forward and slightly down on it.
Then lash the two boats together in the middle going round both boats and the bunks using the bunk brackets to prevent the straps from moving fore or aft.

Then put the two motors in the car, either both in the trunk or one in the trunk, one on the back floor. Don't lay it on the seat, if something happens it'll come forward and kill you. I'd stand it up side down on the right rear floor, wrapped and bagged and secured around the seat with a rope or something. It works and it won't move. (Need i say remove the hoods before loadiing either motor, they brake easily and won't hold the weight of the motor. Grab any other items, and head home.
Your after the boats, forget the other junk unless it can ride in the front of the car on the floor, leave it because your going to be well loaded and on what will likely be icy winter roads out that way at night. You don't want a car that handles poorly and you don't need to be dealing with blown tires or bearings. I'd repack the bearing and make sure the tires are good before leaving but if the trailer has 8" wheels, then 700 miles is a lot of miles on them at highway speeds regardless of the weight.
You need tongue weight but just enough to keep the thing from swaying all over the place. The TC doesn't hole much weight in the rear. so 200lbs or so is tops on the hitch if you don't want to be hitting the hitch on very bump. I've got a 2004 myself and its a great car but only a marginal tow vehicle. The older models were better.
PA roads are generally well cleared of snow and we're supposed to be warming up this week so you may be in luck that way too.
I would definately grab that Caddy! Pull the crap engine and drop in a 350 and you're good to go!
I was thinking the same thing, maybe a junkyard LS swap? I did something similar about 20 years ago. A buddy had an '82 Limo with one of those junk Caddy motors, the thing drank coolant and Bars Leak faster than it did fuel.
We hunted down a wrecked Tahoe with a 6.0L and a 4l80E and stuffed that into his limo, we used the whole motor package, wiring harness, ECM, everything but the cat converters and exhaust. Even muffled down through quiet mufflers it ran ten times better than it ever did with the garbage 4200 motor, and with a 11k mile late model power train, it was going to run for a long time to come. I wanted to give it a bit of a throaty exhaust but he didn't want to hear it. It was his personal limo that he used for fun. The only bad part was that back when that area had a huge windstorm, a massive tree fell across the garage where it was parked. What was left had to be cleaned up and loaded with an excavator. Apparently those old Cadillacs don't do well when 7 ton trees land on their roof. It landed square across the front seat and dash area. When they got it out of the rubble, we could see that the engine block had broken off the bell housing, both the block flange and the aluminum transmission were broken. IT actually shoved the transmission into the concrete below with a trail of fluid running off the one side of the broken slab.

Something that would bother me hearing the op's story here is that if the owner of that place is in a home, they may now be the legal owners to the place, and all that's in it. Its a long way to drive dragging a trailer behind only to find out the place has been locked and secured by the state or nursing home, or to get arrested unknowingly removing items that don't belong to yourself or your buddy. Having the key doesn't mean its all clear to enter and do as you please. I'd proceed with extreme caution. two old boats and motors are not worth a trespassing or burglary charge. Get something in writing that proves you have permission to enter that property and proof that the person giving that permission has the right to give you that right. Without it, and you could be charged with burglary and even if its dismissed, it won't be much fun and likely quite costly.

PA is a tough with estate laws, they tax everyone but a spouse and if the hospital or state has put a lean on that property, its off limits because they likely intend to take full possession of it if she dies. The OP, not being related has no rights to anything there, nor likely will the relatives if this happens.
Not much to add as most options have been covered. I'm a little confused about your tow vehicle. You mentioned your TC has a 1000# tow capacity, yet you towed a 28' Airstream quite a distance. That Airstream is over 5000#. How did you accomplish towing that Airstream? Perhaps I misread something.
Just because its rated for 1,000 lbs, it surely don't stop you from hitching up any trailer you wish. I own a Crown Vic and in 2003 they went from straight three link rear suspension to a 7 link system, when they did those cars went from 5,500lb towing capacity to 1,500 or less. The issue is with tongue weight, the rest of the car is fine.
My CV is rated for 1,500lbs in the owners manual, but I added a pair of heavier rear springs, air shocks, and a proper hitch and it pulls just fine, I've had 4k behind it several times and its not much different then my older one. The rear suspension on those is super soft, and it only take about 120lbs or so on the hitch to bottom out the rear end. The engine, trans, and brakes are all up to the task and pretty much the same power train used in an F150. with a few more HP. Early Airstream trailers are super light, and well balanced. I've got a gutted '62 24ft outback that's had its windows sealed up with sheet metal and the floor replaced with aluminum diamond plate to be used as a storage trailer or workshop. I can grab that thing by the tongue and walk it around the yard if its empty. I can't say what it weighs but it moves easily and has almost no tongue weight. I towed it home from VA in 2011 with my CV, the car didn't even feel it back there unless the wind was blowing. I didn't even use that much more fuel, I think I lost about 3 mpg or so tops. If he's got a Town Car, he's fine towing wise, just don't bury the rear end of the car. Even out the weight and go for it.

Its the legality of the whole deal that would worry me, or the fact you could drive 10+ hours round trip for nothing. I'm not sure the prospect of gaining two old boats and two unknown 40+ year old motors would be worth the risk unless you had nothing to do and lots of money to throw away in what could easily be a wasted trip and several tanks of gas.

Usually if something sounds too good to be true, it is. If your buddy is acting strange about it all maybe he's just trying to get someone to test the water at that place to see what can be gotten from it? Maybe call the local PD and see if they can do a check on the place, tell them what you know and see what they say. If you get the all clear there, then I'd see if you can get an officer on site when you enter to keep it all legal. If they get there and find its locked down or been posted, you'll know ahead of time and save yourself a wasted trip. I wouldn't send a stranger there or get anyone else involved until you know what's going on. It would be super hard for someone to explain to the police that they met someone on a web forum that they never met and were just 'checking things out for them'.
The main thing is to make sure to come back here and keep us updated. Would love to see you get a sweet deal out of this.
I just got back, about 4am on Sat. I left Thurs around 11pm and got there around 6:30 am Fri.
It was nothing like I pictured, the place was a total wreck, the house has obviously been empty for longer than a few months, if not, the old woman was living in a run down disaster of a house. The garage wasn't even locked, there was a pad lock on the door but it wasn't locked, but it took me 40 minutes to figure out how to open the garage doors. There was no power, so no lights, so all I had was one lantern and a flashlight till the sun came up. It rained the whole time. The garage was stuffed to the ceiling, the Cadillac had four flat tires, and was buried completely with boxes, rolls of old carpet, and huge bags of what looked like old Christmas decorations. The roof on the left side had been leaking for a long time, the boat on that side was full of water, and the instant I touched the rope hoist leads the stern of the boat dropped as the hooks securing the block and tackle above straightened out. That dumped about 300 gallons of water onto the car, the carpet, and all the bags of trash.
Right away I could see that the transom of that boat was rotted through, someone had been patching it with some sort of sealer for years and there was a rusty water trail from where the patch was leaking as it hung there, and dripped down onto the hood of the car, which was stained brown from years of it dripping there.
The second boat was decent, and the pile of crap below it made it easier to get down. I was able to lower it down, then I shoved my trailer in as far as I could and slid that boat down onto the trailer. Its got two pedestals and seats and a wood floor that someone added. The registration was in the boat too which will help. I then dug my way back hoping not to find any live critters in the piles of bags and junk, I found the 40hp first, it was hanging on the back of a 17ft glass boat sitting on two huge rolls of old carpet. Getting that out of the garage was tough, there was too much crap in the way to back in, so I managed to lift it off the boat, (The clamps weren't even tight, and I bear hugged it and slowly moved it a foot at at time back to the open door. I couldn't lift it very high and there was no way I was going to get it in the boat, so it had to go in the trunk. I cut a huge piece of old carpet and draped it over the back of the trunk and over the back bumper, took off the fiberglass hood, and then leaned the motor against the back of the car and sort of flipped it over the trunk lip ending up with it standing upside down on its flywheel. I then walked it over to one side, and laid it down, finally get it to sit back side down on the floor of the trunk.
I had to dig around a bit and found a second motor but its a Mercury not a Johnson. considering what I was told, I took it. Its a minty clean 1973 9.8hp, and very light. I cut another piece of carpet and laid that in the trunk along side of the 40hp. Next to the Merc was a super clean 9.9hp Evinrude, but only until I read the tag and realized its a 15hp. That got wrapped up super tight and put in the floor in the back seat. It was too clean to leave out in the weather.
It took another hour to find the two Johnson motors. both are short shaft tiller motors in decent shape, Both were clamped onto a single stand but both were locked together with a cable and huge old padlock. It took about an hour of fiddling with them to get them unlocked and off the stand. I managed to wrapped up and into the boat.

That was about all the weight I dared put on the back so the second motor went in the boat, behind the middle seat, again on a piece of carpet. By I looked around a bit, and found a few tools here and there and two huge vises, which I took, partly because I wanted to ad some weight to the front of the car to level it out a bit. I cut more carpet and sat both vises on the passenger floor of my car. I also found some spare props, four 6ft oars and oar locks, and then I found two Chrysler motors, one 15hp, with electric start, and a 20hp with a tear drop cover. I grabbed the two Chrysler motors. I wrapped up the 15hp and put it in the boat next to the 9.8 Mercury, and I bagged and wrapped the 20hp, then put it in the back seat all wrapped up in a blanket held in place with packing tape. I laid a Harbor Freight shipping blanket over the back seat, found a piece of cardboard and slid the motor in on the seat. I took three new bags I had bought and inflated them and tied them closed and stuffed them between the motor and the front seats so if I had to stop in a hurry it wouldn't come crashing into the back of the front seats. I then looked at it and realized it looked like a dead body all wrapped up. Its a good think I didn't get stopped on the way home.
I tried the house keys, but none matched, and at that point my interest in going through that place was about gone. I was wet, tired and wanted out of there. I fought with trying to get the garage doors closed for an hour, then locked the garage door. I tied down the boat, made sure nothing was going to fly out of the boat, and then got the car good and warm, dried out a bit in the heat with the ac running, and got about five hours of sleep in the car before I went and got fuel and headed home. The whole time I never saw a single soul around there, no neigbors, no traffic, nothing. Just an old ratty house at the end of a street. There may well have been things in the house but I got what I came for and was done. I already had loaded more than I should have in the boat and car and was leaving minus a the one junk boat so there was no cover for what was in the boat, but it also meant I didn't have to waste time tying it down or loading it either. I left it where it fell atop the car, which by the looks of it wasn't worth much either. My guess is the pics I was shown were older than just a month or two, more like ten years or more.
I got on the road at about midnight, which was good because it meant less traffic, but it was light rain off and on for the first few hours. I stopped in MD for fuel and got home around 4am. I unhooked the boat, and managed to get the 40hp and the 9.8hp out of the trunk, but the rest still needs to be dealt with but for now, I'm done for the day. It can sit there till my back and knees recover.

I snapped few pics, the first is the boat before I moved it there. I got the 40hp, the little Merc 9.8, and the 9.9 Evinrude, and the 20hp out of the car, but still have to get the two 15hp Johnsons out of the boat and the vises are still in the car. In all there's 5 motors, all appear to be in great shape, if not almost new.


110 Mercury.JPG


Not sure if this one has ever been run, it still had all the hang tags under the hood and the tiller is still wrapped up in a box..
Nice story, glad it worked out for you.
The stuff looks to be in great shape, makes me think the boat you left was fixable.
The boat barely looks used in the pictures.
Good job. I wish I was able to go with you. I could have saved you a lot of struggle with the garage doors as I was in the business for 28 years. That was definitely an adventure.
The boat looks to be in great shape and a nice one as well. I'm glad you made it back with the booty and no hard luck story.
The boat that I left was older, and there was 4" holes rotted though the transom along the water line stain. when it fell, two of the bench seats slid off their mounts, all rotted, and both rear corner caps were broken.
It simply wasn't worth the work or the time to get it out of there, I also would have had to lose all the wet wood inside just to be able to flip it over on top of the other boat. The two handles on the transom were pulled out of the aluminum.

The problem with the garage doors was that they were each one piece 12ft wide wood doors on cantilever bars, they flipped up with counter weights, but the counter weights were broken off the arms and laying on the ground. I used a come along to get them open a little at a time. They had to weigh 500 lbs each. The place was old, mostly post and beam type construction, like an old barn. The floor was also two levels, the front part where the car was parked, was ground level, the rear of the building was sunk down two steps.
My guess is that the roof had been leaking into that boat for a long time, long enough to fill it up and stress the hardware that was holding it up there, the minute I touched it gave way. I'm just glad I was up in the loft when it broke and not standing under neath it. I'd have been soaked head to tow in some pretty nasty, cold water.

What I didn't understand was why all the bags of junk piled all over the place, if it was trash, it should have just gone to the dump. Those bags were half the battle, the rolls of old carpet all over was also a major pain.
The block and tackle rigs the boats were hanging from were super old, made mostly of wood, with steel pulleys and sisal rope. The ropes were all 3/4" or so, but all of them were falling apart.

The 15hp Evinrude looks almost new, its minty clean top to bottom but someone has put 9.9hp decals on it.
The prop doesn't look like its ever seen water or exhaust.
I have someone who wants it already, its supposed to be gone later today. I have to build a stand for the 40hp, the stand it was on was too light for it and under the 15hp in the pic.
The 9.8hp left last night, it wasn't listed for more than 20 minutes last night, the guy insisted on coming to get it 9pm last night. It had strong compression and good spark. I didn't try to start it.
Its still raining this morning, so the Chrysler and Johnson motors, and the two vises are still in the car. I'll carry the Chrysler motors into the basement later, I'm not sure what I'll do with them but both are really clean looking with strong compression. The 20hp Chrysler motor weighs less than the 15hp OMC motors by a lot.
The 40hp would be great motor for a vintage boat, its super clean looking and likely don't need much to get it going. I don't think I've ever run across one with the rear stands still on it before.

I sat down and figured out what it cost me and it was 677 miles there and back, it took me 5:10 to get there and 4:25 to get home. Same route, not much traffic either way running at night. The car drank 38 gallons of gas and got 18 mpg, it did much better coming home than going there both in time and mpg. The total was $128 in fuel, and $32 in tolls.. So I've got my time, about 31hrs in all, plus $160 in gas and tolls. The car did better than I thought it would towing a trailer that far, and the first tank of fuel in NJ was a lot cheaper than the second one in PA. I may have made it home without the last fill up but it would have been real close on a 20 gallon tank. I was at 3/8 tank when I topped it off in MD, and its got 7/8 tank remaining now.

Towing wise, I couldn't feel the trailer behind me at all. Going out, the trailer is only maybe 400lbs or so, coming back it had maybe 600 lbs or so tops total weight. Not much more than a couple of passengers when you think about it, but the car had just as much weight onboard in the four motors and the two vises. The one vise has to be 100 lbs, it was all I could do to get it in the car without hitting the seat or the dash. One in the car I had the tail end of the smaller vise locked into the larger one so they couldn't move. I also have the carpet in there to protect the interior, but I also loaded them first, with the seat all the way back. I moved the seat up against the carpet to keep them from moving, and to have room in the back for the motor on the floor. Thinking about it, I hope they weren't saving that carpet, because I butchered it up pretty good cutting off about 5ft of one roll to line the boat with, and a bunch of smaller pieces for in the trunk too.
What more do you want? The OP practically wrote a short book here.

It sounds like the typical abandoned senior situation, one parent, usually the mother ends up living on her own late into her senior years with no help around the house and probably no money to fix anything because their living off Social Security.
I've cleaned out a few placed like that over the years. Most were at one time the place of someone's thriving hobby or workshop, then they die, and the relatives have no clue as to what to do with all of their 'stuff' so they pack it away in the garage or basement out of not wanting to deal with it and not wanting to just give away what reminds them of their loved one.

The key is to get that sort of stuff before its left for too long, by the sounds of it you got there sort of just in time.
If the roof was leaking, it won't be long before everything in that place is completely ruined either by water or mildew, eventually leading to the roof collapsing and everything inside getting destroyed.

I cleaned out a nightmare place like that down in MD about 8 years ago after some old guy had passed away. He got sick and his much younger wife just left him there to die. His estranged kids higher an attorney to get the place sold, he hired me to clean out 70 years worth of stuff in the house, the garage, a barn, and two chicken coops. It had been left to rot for years after the old guy too old or sick to work the farm there.
While I got four boats and 30 motors from the place, the thought of what went on there was sickening.
The old guy was living in squalor in his late 90's until he finally passed away in the house. It turned out his wife, half his age, just up and left him 15 years prior when she learned he had dementia. She left him there to die after wiping out his bank account and selling off his car and truck.

That 40hp looks super clean, but that's what happens I suppose when a motor gets to live its whole life sitting in a garage vs rotting in the saltwater here. I'd clean it up, take some pics and list it on one of the collector sites. It will sell, but it'll take a long time. There's just not much demand for older motors these days..
It would look so perfect on a vintage boat of that era.

I still run an 18hp Gale that I have on a boat just like that, it came from the clean out I mentioned above. I tried to sell it but after four years got zero replies on CL and later on FB at $500. My thought was if I can't sell it I'll run it and get my money out of it one way or another. Its one of my favorite motors.
The old Chrusler motors aren't bad either, I've had a few over the years and they're the simplist motor you will ever find, and they run forever with the most basic care. For the most part Chrysler changed nothing when they bought out West Bend in the mid 60's, those motors went on with not much more than a cover and trim upgrade from about 1967 to 1984 or so, and even then, under the Force name, they didn't change much until the late 90's when Mercury started using some of their own parts and tech on them. Their smaller motors tend to be lighter than most, their larger motros tend to be heavier than most. I ran an original 1969 Chrysler 50hp twin on a Starcraft Mariner as a kid, my uncle had bought it new and it became the family boat at the shore house, it became mine when he passed away in the 80's. I sold the boat off but still have the motor.

Post some pics of the 15hp motors when you get them unloaded. Those are some of my favorite motors.

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