Johnson Utilimotor Rope Start

Randy Racine
June/July 1991
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History Of The JOHNSON MOTOR COMPANY

Utilimotor built by the Johnson Motor Company

3012 S. Catherine, Lansing, MI 48911

I have been going to shows and collecting engines for over twenty years, and I had never seen a rope start Johnson engine. At the Buckley, Michigan Show 1990 I saw one, but the owner wasn't sure what it was because it didn't have a tag. I told him it was like a Johnson that I had, but mine had a cast iron base and a kick start. I tried to buy it, but he said he wanted to restore it.

I found mine at an auction about two months later in Lansing, Michigan. It has a cast aluminum base and a cast iron muffler that comes apart in two pieces. I have never seen a muffler like it. While cleaning it up, I found traces of grey paint the same as I had found on my other Johnson, so I think that must be original.

It had no spark, but after cleaning up the mag and a new spark plug wire, it had a good spark. The check valve gave me the most trouble, because it was gummed up really bad. I put a new spark plug in it, cleaned the brass and aluminum, then put on a new paint job. It now starts and runs real nice.








Post a comment below.

 

Dave B
1/8/2010 4:44:34 PM
Per Old Outboard Book by Peter Hunn, Pg. 32~33 "By Spring 1942 World War II halted civilian outboard production ... During World War II, Johnson honored defense contracts with products like modified 22-hp PO motors (model POLR), and water pumps based on the KR racing power plants." I'd guess your motor was probably made during 1942~1945 period, battle ship grey was probably painted for use on board a ship, as some sort of built in emergency, or portable item, powering a water pump or generator or compressor. Does not seem like a good idea to me to paint a portable item grey, for trip hazard, but then there was no OSHA at the time. You might like to look at WW II US Naval historical sources for possible uses of your motor. Rewind starters were becoming typical on outboards before 1942. A rope start would have saved a little weight or expense.








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