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  1. #1
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    A 1972 Tower of Power 1150 basket case project

    Hello. New member here. A couple years ago I bought an old boat, just because I liked the look of it. When I bought it, it came with this large outboard, that looked way too big for this little boat hanging off the back. At first, based on the severely dry rotted wiring harness, the fact several shrouds were currently off, and strewn around the boat with trash, and the starter was missing, were all signs to me that I should not bother with this decrepit relic. But, after doing a little research, I found out it is a 1972 inline six, model 1150, and that these motors are known as "towers of power".
    I also found they have a bit of a cult following. "What a cool sounding name" I thought, and then I started finding lots of forum threads regarding this cream puff, questions on timing them, questions on best fuel, questions on water intrusion, but also comments by many singing the praises of this tall drink of water. So I decided to take a stab at getting this old motor back on the water. Earlier this year I moved the motor down to my basement workshop so I could work on it in warmth, and at night as time allowed with the full intention of getting this motor ready for late spring. Well it's late July, and I have not even tried starting it yet, but I have come a long way. As I write this today, I plan on moving the motor out of the basement to the back yard for it's first "live fire exercise". From the beginning, I've been chronicling the ordeal on video, and created a playlist on my youtube channel. Since this website is where I kept finding a lot of good info on this motor, I decided to subscribe, and share a link to my videos in case any other "T of P" enthusiasts would like to follow along. A word of warning, I am not an outboard mechanic, not even a mechanic! So you may see things that may upset a professional, or that are just plain wrong. I do not edit out my mistakes, I usually point them out during editing, or revisit them in later episodes as I learn more about what I did wrong. Sorry about the long winded intro.

    Below you'll find a link to my playlist, and also a link to episode one.

    Regards,
    Steve.

    https://www.youtube.com/playlist?lis...LwAUO5dEI0SDHQ




  2. #2
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    Well you are definitely in the right forum.. This IS the place to get correct insider info on the IL6.

    I have only owned one of these beauties, and may try to find one for my Vector project boat to keep it time dated correct...AND because I love the look and sound of these motors.

    I will say you are very thorough as I looked at your videos. Your not just trying to fix it and move on..your going to understand it when done...

    I really like the videos of the stator break down, and analyzing it's inductance capacity. I would like to know more about that inductance tester. I bet many stators-coils, etc ( or lots of electronic components ) are tossed and replaced that might not need be.

    The only part of static testing that lacks accuracy is sometimes heat and vibration are not able to be duplicated on the bench...thus requiring a test component or the WAG ( wild azz guess )

    If you know how something is designed to work, the diagnosis is a lot simpler and removes guessing "most" of the time. Sometimes a WAG is necessary though...when all else fails.....

    Good luck with the IL6

    James
    James H. W2F a V-King... Want 2 Fly a V-King

    Dedicated Site for Hydrostreams >> http://hydrostreamforums.com/
    My Project 1979 V-King restore >> http://hydrostreamforums.com/viewtopic.php?f=9&t=2761

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  4. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by W2F a V-King View Post
    Well you are definitely in the right forum.. This IS the place to get correct insider info on the IL6.

    I have only owned one of these beauties, and may try to find one for my Vector project boat to keep it time dated correct...AND because I love the look and sound of these motors.

    I will say you are very thorough as I looked at your videos. Your not just trying to fix it and move on..your going to understand it when done...

    I really like the videos of the stator break down, and analyzing it's inductance capacity. I would like to know more about that inductance tester. I bet many stators-coils, etc ( or lots of electronic components ) are tossed and replaced that might not need be.

    The only part of static testing that lacks accuracy is sometimes heat and vibration are not able to be duplicated on the bench...thus requiring a test component or the WAG ( wild azz guess )

    If you know how something is designed to work, the diagnosis is a lot simpler and removes guessing "most" of the time. Sometimes a WAG is necessary though...when all else fails.....

    Good luck with the IL6

    James
    Thanks James! I know exactly what you mean about the "WAG"! I was working on the motor last night, and used an old timing light, while spinning the starter and tweaked the timing. I know once the engine is running, I'll have lots of re-tweaking to do, but for starters I going with 19-20 degrees full advance. The sticker on the motor says 23, but from reading several other comments, I see that with modern fuels, 23 degrees might melt pistons! There seems to be a difference of opinion among techs who've posted comments regarding this setting. I've seen as high as 21, and as low as 19, so I shot for 20. The advance setting at idle is the one that makes me curious. Mine is currently at 2 or 3 degrees. Many have commented that 4 or 5 is correct, but I have an Intertec book with a section on these motors that lists the advance by serial number range, and shows earlier models at around 5, and models in the range my SN falls in to be 2 degrees BTDC- TDC, or 0 to 2 degrees. Mine was set at about 2 or 3 when I got it, so I left that alone for now. Hoping to be fire it up in the back yard within a week!

    Steve.

  5. #4
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    You've done well to have progressed this far with just the Intertec book. For the money it costs, you'll be served well by a real Merc manual in the future.

    Carry on!

  6. #5
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    You've discovered the majority of the issues with the L6 of that era; wire and fuel system deterioration. The 1970-1972 1150 was unique in that it is a choked down 1970-1971 1350. This differs from the other years meaning that with a few simple upgrades to the carburetors and reed stop settings, you can coax the additional power out of the engine. The other issue that these motors had was problems with water intrusion on the exhaust side. The inner water jacket cover was prone to leaking and the baffle plate corrodes through. Checking these two things is not always easy because the use of stainless bolts on the aluminum cover means getting them apart can be problematic. The replacement parts are long No Longer Available (NLA) and are unique to this engine series. It also used the older exhaust pattern meaning that nothing newer will bolt up to the midsection.

    All in all, a good reliable motor once the common issues are dealt with. One thing I would recommend on a motor that has been sitting in the elements is to open it up and check the bearings because if they have rusted, your maiden journey will be short lived and all of that hard work will be for nothing. Of course, that entails the fun of putting it all back together which there are lots of threads here detailing dropping all six pistons back into the block at once.

    Good luck and good job!

    Kirk S.
    Last edited by CrayzKirk; 07-29-2016 at 01:00 PM.


  7. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mark75H View Post
    You've done well to have progressed this far with just the Intertec book. For the money it costs, you'll be served well by a real Merc manual in the future.

    Carry on!
    Thanks. I've never worked on a motor quite like this. The way the throttle linkage and the multiple stages of the distributor work in unison to control timing advance as the throttle is opened is a really impressive bit of engineering. ....imo.

  8. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by CrayzKirk View Post
    You've discovered the majority of the issues with the L6 of that era; wire and fuel system deterioration. The 1970-1972 1150 was unique in that it is a choked down 1970-1971 1350. This differs from the other years meaning that with a few simple upgrades to the carburetors and reed stop settings, you can coax the additional power out of the engine. The other issue that these motors had was problems with water intrusion on the exhaust side. The inner water jacket cover was prone to leaking and the baffle plate corrodes through. Checking these two things is not always easy because the use of stainless bolts on the aluminum cover means getting them apart can be problematic. The replacement parts are long No Longer Available (NLA) and are unique to this engine series. It also used the older exhaust pattern meaning that nothing newer will bolt up to the midsection.

    All in all, a good reliable motor once the common issues are dealt with. One thing I would recommend on a motor that has been sitting in the elements is to open it up and check the bearings because if they have rusted, your maiden journey will be short lived and all of that hard work will be for nothing. Of course, that entails the fun of putting it all back together which there are lots of threads here detailing dropping all six pistons back into the block at once.

    Good luck and good job!

    Kirk S.
    Thanks for your input. I've read a lot about the water intrusion issues, and I've seen the special tools recommended for dropping in all six p istons and rings as an assembly. I'm crossing my fingers that it doesn't come to that. Bad enough my lower gear case is cracked!
    I paid special attention to all the spark plugs when I first removed them. Only one showed slight rust. Oddly it was not #6. I read that a bad lower seal can cause water in #6. I'm going to try the initial run with the gear case off and a water supply directly to the down tube. If things look promising after that, then onto the gear case!

  9. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by Stevewatr View Post
    Thanks. I've never worked on a motor quite like this. The way the throttle linkage and the multiple stages of the distributor work in unison to control timing advance as the throttle is opened is a really impressive bit of engineering. ....imo.
    A gift to you:

    http://forums.iboats.com/…/173257-timing-and-sync-of-merc-i…

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  11. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mark75H View Post
    Thanks, but I already found that one. I opted to use a timing light while cranking the starter. But this is not a safe way to do it unless you know there is no risk of an accidental start. My carbs are bone dry so I was sure it wouldn't.

    I'll be fueling it up for a first start attempt this week.

    Steve.

  12. #10
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    Click image for larger version. 

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    A few pics showing where I currently stand. Last night's pooproject was rebuilding the wiring harness.

  13. #11
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    Looks good. So much fragile insulation on the old Mercs

  14. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mark75H View Post
    Looks good. So much fragile insulation on the old Mercs
    Yeah, it was really bad. As I removed the electrical tape, chunks of insulation were falling off, exposing bluish green conductors throughout. Areas that were not covered by tape had long since shed their insulation for a chance to really get some fresh air. Bare wires were inter-twined with other bare wires. I't a miracle the electronics survived at all!

    Luckily, as I kept cutting back towards the plug, I found that the insulation improved slightly, and I was able to leave about 1/2 to 1" of wire as a pigtail to splice new wire onto. I had to abandon the color code on a couple because I did not have brown or grey wire of the correct gage. Last night's job was removing the remnants of one of the 2 small bolts that had held the plug clamp in. Ended up have to drill it out oversize, and replaced it with a stainless 1/4-20 hex head cap screw. Fun!Click image for larger version. 

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    Last edited by Stevewatr; 08-03-2016 at 10:08 AM.

  15. #13
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    Click image for larger version. 

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    First time in months that the old mercury outboard has been outside.

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  17. #14
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    Don't see any smoke or water ... Your getting close !!

    James
    James H. W2F a V-King... Want 2 Fly a V-King

    Dedicated Site for Hydrostreams >> http://hydrostreamforums.com/
    My Project 1979 V-King restore >> http://hydrostreamforums.com/viewtopic.php?f=9&t=2761

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  19. #15
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    Did you salvage the lower unit?
    L6fan57-88

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