Restoring a 5 HP Hubbard


| January/February 1999



Old babbitt

An old 5 HP Hubbard sat frozen in time for the past 35 years outside our woodshed in Howley, Newfoundland. It survived the worst imaginable Newfoundland weather possible, as well as all the abuse that small kids (big ones, too) could throw at it. This old Hubbard has been in our family for 40 years or more. I remember growing up around this Hubbard. We used it in our 18-foot wooden fishing boat that we used on Grand Lake, Sandy Lake, and Birchy Lake for everything from fishing, hunting, collecting firewood to just going to a beach across the lake for a picnic.

During one of my yearly back-to-Newfie trips in the fall of '96, I loaded it in the back of my pick-up truck and transported it back to my other home in Ontario for its revival.

Freeing the piston
Getting the Hubbard home was no problem--freeing it up inside was another story. The piston was seized solid because of all the sand and dirt inside as well as 35 years of being exposed to all types of precipitation.

Disconnecting the connecting rod bearing and filling the cylinder with penetrating oil was my first move. Every day for about a month I would go to the garage and poke and prod at the piston and check the oil level. About five weeks later the penetrating oil started leaking past the piston rings. After quite a bit of tapping with a piece of hardwood and a hammer, more pushing and shoving, the piston was free and out it came.

Getting to work
After everything was torn apart it looked in terrible shape--the babbitt bearings were worn out; the crankshaft was rusted, scored and pitted terribly; the wrist pin was sloppy and shimmed with pieces of tin. All the rings but one were broken, and that one had 3/16-inch endgap.

Honing the cylinder was my first chore. I used a rigid hone on my drill press, using a coarse stone to start and finishing up with medium. After all was said and done, I had gone only 0.020 inch over 5.000 inch to clean up the bore diameter. Not bad for 35 years of seizing up.