Evinrude 3.5 HP Lightwin Tune-Up Project

Evinrude Litetwin Tune-Up Procedure

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I changed the impeller on a 3 hp 1952-54 (JW-1) Johnson. As I took it apart, the lower unit fell on the floor. Now, the driveshaft does not engage the propeller. It is pushed in all the way. Is there a key or some other magic that makes the propeller turn?



Here is the scenario I have, and I apologize in advance if this is not the correct place or format for my questions but I am new to forums like this. I have a son who loves fishing and we have been shore fishing the last few years but he is getting old enough that he wants to get out on the lakes. Good news is we live in Minnesota so plenty of lakes, bad news is I have never been around boats much. We got a 14'boat/trailer from someone and a evinrude 3hp lightwin motor. Good start they said it runs fine. We took it out a coupled times and it ran ok.  By ok I mean full throttle was still very slow, but I thought eh it's a 3hp,  I had to keep the throttle 3/4 to full for it to run. Then it started to die, right away.  I noticed a few times it revved way up for about 3 seconds, probably about where it should. But it almost left us stranded in the lake and I would like us to fix it up together but I am new to 2 cycle motors.   So far I changed plugs and emptied the gas completely to start fresh. Put it tank and it ran the same as before. Any guidance/direction would be appreciated. From reading this site sounds like a carb kit is a good start. Any suggestions? 

Motor is Evinrude 3hp lightwin model 3602e. 

I would love to be able to help teach my boy about boat motors and this one seems like a good starter project. 

In reply to by jakeboat



Take a good look at the ignition.  All and I mean ALL 3 HP motors that old need new coils, and might as well change the points and condencer while you are at it.  You cannot tell whether nor not those parts are bad by looking at them.

Check out my 3 and also 5.5 hp ignition tune-up pages.


I would do a full tune-up like I did before I turn my son loose with it.



So I got all the parts for the ignition system from amazon thanks to this site.  It was super easy. I followed the ignition tune up to the point of timing using a common ohm meter and that's where I am lost. I know nothing about electrical so the terminology like open closed infinite etc. Is confusing me.   

What tool do I need to test it? Where do I attach both leads? The tester the guy at the auto parts store sold me only has one clip so I think it's the wrong meter? How do I tell which is number one or two? 


Picture a simple circuit where you have a battery and light bulb.  When you have a wire from the battery to the bulb, and then from the bulb back to the battery, you have a closed circuit.  Electricity flows in a unbroken path once it goes out one side of the battery and into the other side.  If you were to disconnect one of the wires, you would open the circuit, just as a common light switch opens and closes a circuit to the light bulb.  Water valves work similar.... you open or close them.

What you are testing for is to be sure the breaker points close at the precise time that the timing marks on the flywheel are correctly aligned with the timing mark on the stator base.


If you take your ohm meter and touch the two probes together, your ohm meter will show 0 or closed circuit.  If the probes do not touch each other, the reading will be infinity or open circuit.  Some ohm meters have a setting where the meter will buzz then the circuit is closed.  This is called a continuity test.

An ohm meter can be used to test whether a circuit is open or closed.  Let's say we want to test a common household light bulb.  If you put one lead of an ohm meter on the base of the lightbulb, and the other at the center connector, the ohm meter will check to see if electricity can flow through the lightbulb filament.  If the filament is broken, the circuit is open as indicated by an infinite resistance (electricity does not flow through the air at low voltage) therefore the circuit is open and the lightbulb is burnt out.  If you get a reading on the ohm meter that is 0 or nearly 0, then electricity is flowing through the filament and the lightbulb should be good.  The ohmmeter does not send out enough electricity to light up the bulb, but is will check continuity, or wether the circuit is open or closed.

Here is a youtube video on the subject.

Take a close look at my 5.5 HP Ignition Page where I do a better job explaining how to test the timing.  It is a different motor, but the ignition system is exactly the same the same.  I usually encourage people to read both 3.5 and 5.5 HP.

Your test leads on your ohm will not fit under the flywheel to test the timing so you will need to connect one short piece of wire to your breaker point.  Test wires with alligator clips are cheap and handy.  You can get them from the local hardware store, or Amazon.  Clip one end of the test wire to the screw terminal on the breaker point, where you would normally attach the coil and condenser wires as shown in the 5.5.  Feed the other end of the test wire down through a hole in the stator base.

Now you can test whether your points are open or closed by connecting one lead of your ohm meter to the test lead, and the other to ground.  By ground, I mean any bare metal or mounting screw on the motor.  The motor itself is the other test lead.

Now you are ready to turn the flywheel and see if the circuit closes when the timing marks are lined up correctly as shown in the procedure. 

You will need to repeat this procedure to adjust the timing on the other breaker points for the other cylinder.


I hope this helps.  Tom




Wow, that was super useful.  I followed those instructions and was able to complete the ignition system tune up.   I put it in a bucket and ran it.  It ran much better but still wouldn't Rev up very high, and gray blue smoke no matter how I adjusted the carb.   It runs better as I turn the adjustment knob to the right but it bottoms out before it runs ok. 

I thought I could skip the carb kit because from what I could see from the gasket sticking out, it looked new. However, I guess I will do the carb kit tomorrow. 


Thanks for all the help it's been frustrating, but fun/educating. 


Just spent the last two days on the lake.  This site is awesome and allowed me to fix afun little motor up.   It putters around slow but steady now. Thanks millions for all the help.   My boy was driving it around today, with a huge smile. 


I am sure you have a great appreciation now that you know that motor so well.  I hope you had your boy involved so that he could gain experience that will last a lifetime.  It is amazing how many people fix up those 3.5 HP motors.  I was looking at some statistics for this site.  Just today 234 people visited the site and spent time reading about the 3.5 project.  These visitors are from all around the world and in dozens of different languages.  This is not including other motors.  The 3.5 is our most popular project.  Enjoy your motor and may it last for at least another 50 years.  If you get a chance, post some pictures here.  Pictures and comments like yours are my greatest reward.    Tom

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