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TOPIC: Bearcat 85's?? Anyone?

Bearcat 85's?? Anyone? 2 years 1 month ago #117616

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Well I've been running twin 55's for three or four years now and it's worked out pretty well for the weekly salmon fishing trips and a bunch of fun day trips. Only thing I'd like to do is go a little faster! On a '73 Outrage 21 my best sog was 24 mph (wide open, 5,500 rpm, running with the wind). Tried props with different pitches but my rpm range is right where it should be. I'd love to set this boat up with twin 85 Bearcats. I know there are only about 10 known to exist and they were largely regarded as junk out of the crate but I haven't figured any possible way to gain another 10 mph out of the 55's. Any input or ideas would be welcome, as would leads on any 85's - dead or alive!

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Re: Bearcat 85's?? Anyone? 2 years 1 month ago #117624

Driller,

WELCOME ABOARD. - I happen to be a fan of the 55HP Homelites/Bearcats but know almost nothing about the 85.
We have several members who do have one & likes it.

yours, satx

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Resistance to tyrants is obedience to Almighty God.
Thomas Jefferson, 1803

Re: Bearcat 85's?? Anyone? 2 years 1 month ago #117662

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Consider weighing your hull. Whalers are known for the core foam getting loaded with water over the years. You can find the hull weights on line. Likely one of the Bearcat guys can tell you what the 55s weigh.
As a reference my buddies early 15/16 (?) footer does a GPS 37 mph with 80 hp. This boat is for sure dry inside.

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Boats: 76 Chrysler Conqueror S3, 61 Larson Playmate. Outboards: 76 Chrysler 105, 70 Chrysler 70, 57 Evinrude Bigtwin 35, 80 Johnson 35 looper, 74 Chrysler 45, 67 Mercury 650SS, and others.

Re: Bearcat 85's?? Anyone? 2 years 1 month ago #117666

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I haven't had this hull weighed yet, I know the motors are about 240 lbs each. Whaler's original claims were that the hull was 1,600 lbs and should have moved around 32 mph with twin Bearcat 55's. I picked up another outrage 21 that has had limited use and was stored indoors for over 20 years. I think I'm going to put my 55's on that hull this spring and see if it moves any faster. Still would like to find a pair of those 85's though.

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Re:Bearcat 85's?? Anyone? 2 years 1 month ago #117688

  • bilnan1
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I have 2 that arent for sale but who has the others lets hear them,,Bill

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Re:Bearcat 85's?? Anyone? 2 years 1 month ago #117690

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Bill, Are your 85's running? Was wondering if you have any opinions regarding reliability and serviceability of the 85's. I know Bill Roberts has had some experience with them and says they need a bunch of revisions to make them useable. Paul

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Re:Bearcat 85's?? Anyone? 2 years 1 month ago #117691

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yes they were 3 yrs ago,I was told they came from 2 different people but theywere only 10 miles apart,,Bill

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Re:Bearcat 85's?? Anyone? 2 years 1 month ago #117695

  • billr
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Paul,
It depends on what you're after.
If you want "original" and like to tinker then maybe they would be fun.
I've only ever met 2 other guys besides myself that successfully ran an 85 on a boat for more than one season. I lost a head gasket on an 85 in the middle of a club cruise, in bad weather. Not fun. No head gasket on a 55 to break:) When they are taken care of they are fun, but there are so many pitfalls I won't go into them all here.
For what you want, more speed, low cost, reliability, my opinion is the biggest bang for the buck is to get a 1982-1988, later the better, inline six Mercury or Mariner 115hp. They are rated at the prop, made in great numbers, parts are cheap, and a wonderful product. Plus you get power tilt/trim, a huge convenience. Weight is 315lbs with ptt, and you only need one engine to accomplish your goal. With twin 85's you're talking 560lbs with no ptt, add another 100 ish for ptt. To me an 85 doesn't make sense for a boat you're going to use vs a show boat etc. Put a 9.9 kicker on with a single Merc and you're set for just about any scenario. Parts are readily available and cheap too. Hell you'd spend 2 years just finding a pair of 85's.

I have 115 Mariner on my Power Cat 16T, and a Merc 115 on my Dolphin. Both with ptt. Winter is good time to buy one. YOu can often find nice ones for less than $1500.00. Even less, I did.
I agree with other poster, weigh your boat. The USCG weighs all their foamed hulls. Matter of fact, when anyone weighs their boat it is always much more than the published figure in old glassic literature. Example, the Skagit brochures listed the Skagit 20 as 950-1350lbs. ONe year I weighed mine with minimal gear, 12gal fuel, Bearcat 85 on the back. 2250lbs. No kidding.
I was nice to the 85 on the Skagit, usually ran it around 24mph 4700rpm if I recall, I think wide open was 28ish but would have to dig out the logbook. I only ran it to 5800 a few times as I feared the $$$$$ impact of a failure at that rpm.
With a 115 Merc prop rated on the Skagit 20, 37mph wide open throttle running a Piranha plastic prop, and cruise all day at 4500ish at 30 if I recall. I usually burned a 6 gal tank every 50-60 minutes, that's not bad fuel economy in terms of 30miles/6gal.
With that power it's hard to keep your hand off the throttle, kinda like having a hot girlfriend and not touching her. Right..........;-)

I knew of the two Bill got years back. One of them came in a car, long story.

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Re:Bearcat 85's?? Anyone? 2 years 1 month ago #117699

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Yes Bill, Maybe those 85's wouldn't be the safest setup 15 miles out into Lake Ontario in bad weather. I agree that those old in-line 6 Mercs are cool motors, I had one on a 16 whaler years ago and it was scary fast. Definitely worth consideration. The other option in the running, since I like running twins, is a pair of Johnson/Evinrude 70's (mid 70's to mid 80's vintage). These 3 cylinders were also regarded as very reliable and relatively economical, would certainly boost my top end as well. In all likelihood, come spring, I may well be running the 55's again. I have to pull a powerhead to replace a broken motor mount but otherwise they have been perfect for what I do - The "new" '73 outrage I picked up has had little use and a lot of indoor storage, maybe it's a lot lighter than the old hull and I just might gain that extra 5 mph?? Paul

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Re:Bearcat 85's?? Anyone? 2 years 1 month ago #117707

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Yes, those 3 cylinder looper OMC engines from the mid 80's are great motors. The fuel efficiency will surprise you on those. I had one on a Dorsett San Juan and it powered the boat fine. One of the best carbed 2 stroke engines ever made, in my opinion.
The 55's are great if high cruise speed isn't important. They were rated 55hp at the flywheel, so about 45hp at the prop, roughly. If you can live with a 20-22mph cruise and no ptt they are tough to beat.

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Re:Bearcat 85's?? Anyone? 2 years 1 month ago #117721

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Having owned one I can only think what a pain in the butt it would be to keep a pair of them running in tandem and in tune. As Bill stated "tinkering" and lots of it. The carb air/fuel mixture screws are very sensitive to adjust. The carbs seem to be set to close to the hood restricting air flow, at least on the early white models, mine was #159. I cut a hole in the hood in front of both carbs which solved this problem, filled the the holes with louvered covers. Through numerous hours of "tinkering" I was able to get it to idle nicely at 650 rpm, and run reliably. When I sold it the only issue left to solve were getting the accelerator pumps to work correctly at the lower rpm scale. I would have to ease up to 1/4 throttle and then was able to hit WOT without a problem. It would run close to 35mph on my 16ft aluminum Sylvan.

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Dick Johnson

1989 16ft Sylvan

'57 Evinrude 18 (finally found a decent one)
'58 Johnson 5.5
'72 Johnson 6.0
'61 Homelite
'64 Johnson 18
'65 Homelite 55
'66 Homelite 55
'68 Bearcat 55 (3)
'70 Bearcat 55 (2)
'71 Bearcat 85 (Sold)

Re:Bearcat 85's?? Anyone? 2 years 1 month ago #117829

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Dick, I've seen that video on the internet somewhere before in another search. Kind of sounds loud like my 55's. I guess if a couple of those 85's fell into my lap it might be a good project but as you and Bill implied, I might be better off finding some motors that are more practical for regular use, or just continue to run the 55's and be happy with 20 MPH. Thanks for the info, Paul

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