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TOPIC: Restoring a 1958 Mercury Mark 78 Dockbuster

Restoring a 1958 Mercury Mark 78 Dockbuster 3 years 2 weeks ago #110584

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I received this motor with a boat I bought in Colbert Washington (north of Spokane). The Reinell Jetabout sat on the ground with no trailer and this huge motor sitting next to it. The owner assured me that it ran and he had it on the Jetabout. Putting that motor on a boat that light is suicide, I liked him immediately.
The motor had sat in a shed for 8 years when I decided to bring it out. I was going to take it and some dollars to Dr. Frankenmerc and see if I could get a 1960 Tower in partial trade. He had already let my desired motor go and wondered why I didn't restore the Dockbuster. Until then I had no intention of restoring what I considered to be an example of poor engineering.
After a little research I realized that, as usual, Carl and his designers had a method to their madness. While not a jewel of engineering, it has its charms.
I started a year ago by bringing back to my shop in Seattle. There I did a minor tear down. I did not separate the lower end from the powerhead.
I restored the fuel system, rebuilt the carbs, replaced the lower end impeller, painted and rebuilt the starter, repacked the recoil starter spring, put on a new timing belt, did a general cleaning but that was just about it when it came to the mechanical end. I didn't open the distributor. After reading the horror stories about the expertise needed to crack that thing i decided to see if it ran first.
I got many of parts from Joe Poole at fergusonpoolemarine.com/ and from Thom Dr. Frankenmerc Adams. I also got some parts from Old Mercs. Bless all these folks for caring about these old motors.
I then started on the paint and finish. I ordered all the decals and correct paint from Peter at NY Marine. I removed the paint with stripper, steel wool and wire brush. The problem with not taking the powerhead off is it is hard to get into the crannies. The most important thing is to remove all the grease as well as the paint. I cleaned and noodled it as best I could.
I started by applying the self-etching primer that Peter provided. 000 steel wool was used to take the tooth off in prep for the paint. I applied 2 coats of Alkyd 2 part paint with a detail gun.
I used a specialty wrinkle paint on the control box ans stern light bracket.
Many parts were taped off first before painting. These are the places where I polished the aluminum to a mirror finish.
Once painted I put it all together and worked on getting it running. Yeah, I know, a backwards approach but I am an artist and wanted to get it looking right first.
I needed a new harness as the existing one was fried. After looking everywhere I found a brand new, made in Mexico harness at fergusonpoolemarine.com/ . I was amazed to find it new. I love Joe "I have every part for that motor sir" Poole. My buddy TJ Sneva (of the famous auto racing family) put the control box back together and once done declared that he would have the motor running by the end of the next day. Never underestimate a Sneva, it is running like a top after years of sitting in a shed.
Now I just need to find a boat to put it on...but that is another story.

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Re: Restoring a 1958 Mercury Mark 78 Dockbuster 3 years 2 weeks ago #110592


I LIKE & I'm NOT usually a Mercury fan.

Now, it's time to start looking for a suitable 1958 boat, imVho. = Something like a 16-foot 1958 CarterCraft would be "a nice fit" & will "go like a streak" with 60HP.
(I had a "souped-up" 1959 dockbuster on a CarterCraft in my mis-spent youth & have pulled as many as 4 skiers with it.)

yours, satx

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

Re:Restoring a 1958 Mercury Mark 78 Dockbuster 3 years 2 weeks ago #110593

Nice job! Hope you find a nice boat to show it off on.

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1960 14' Speed Queen
1972 10' Tri-Cat 3
[Building] 10' Glen-L Squirt
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