Engine Cover Repair/Replacement

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Piddle and Futz
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Joined: Wed Sep 29, 2021 7:18 pm
Sailboat: MacGregor 26M
Location: Corpus Christi, Texas, 2005 26M, 50HP E-Tec

Engine Cover Repair/Replacement

Post by Piddle and Futz »

Hi all,

We bought our 2005 :macm: at auction a year ago. Got a great price but it does seem like the PO bought it, sailed a couple seasons, and then let it sit out in the elements for a decade.

Case in point is the 2005 Evinrude E-TEC 50HP outboard on it. On the outside it is very weathered but the inside looks factory new. Runs like a top but the outer plastics are dull and brittle. With the help of good advice here, I was able to patch repair the top cover which had been broken.

Later, the side covers also shattered one day while towing and we were not able to find the missing pieces. As a temporary fix, I have applied a liberal dose of heavy duty, wide duct tape. Used some left-over Evinrude blue paint to make it not so obvious. Ugly as sin, but the motor still runs great and does what we need.

I've looked and it would cost $1100 to replace both of the sides. Also looked on Ebay and elsewhere for used, but the prices aren't much better and don't come with any guarantees. Don't know if that would be similar for a more current motor or if we are looking at premium prices for our out-of-production motor.

Anyway, cheapo that I am, I'm looking at having a custom cloth motor cover made that will hide the ugliness and just ignoring the broken plastics. (Was quoted $225 for a "mooring cover" from Australian outfit https://outboardcovers.com/).

Anyway, I thought I would appeal for a "sanity check" from those with much greater experience and knowledge. Are we nuts? Would it be wise to invest $1100+ on essentially cosmetic parts of such an old motor? Better ideas?

(I love that MacGregorSailers is such a kind and helpful place, but don't be afraid to hurt our feelings... I've certainly gone off the deep end on several occasions before. Better to be talked down from a ledge before I jump off without a chute.)
Last edited by Piddle and Futz on Wed Jan 25, 2023 11:53 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Engine Cover Repair/Replacement

Post by krum »

Its a long shot, if you have access to a identical motor on another boat, you could ask permission to make a mold from their engine. Just a thought.
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Re: Engine Cover Repair/Replacement

Post by Jimmyt »

I’m with krum. For $1100, I’d probably make the covers. I’d probably rough it in using thin luan plywood. Then I’d fiberglass it inside and out and cut it in half. Glass in some blocks along the seam to give you something to bolt it together. Once it’s glassed, you could use body filler to fair it. With a bit of patience you should be able to make something that looks a lot better than duct tape (no offense intended).

Realize, that you might be in it for well over $100 in materials and a whole bunch of time. But for $1100 bucks, you should be able to screw up at least twice and start over, while staying well under budget. If you consider your time to be worthless, that is… (the way my admiral considers my time).
2013 26M, Etec 60, roller Genoa, roller main
Cruising Waters: Mobile Bay, Western Shore, Fowl River
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1st Sail
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Sailboat: MacGregor 26M
Location: Moline, IL '06M 50hp Etec

Re: Engine Cover Repair/Replacement

Post by 1st Sail »

Long sad story:
I just went down the rabbit hole last spring. Several years back when I had my Etec 50 in for the 3yr service the tech failed to hand fit up the lower unit shrouds properly. If you carefully hand fit the shrouds they will face up perfectly. Instead of aligning them by hand and just closing up with the bolts he used the bolts to draw the two halves together. If the shrouds are not aligned properly first it puts undue stress on the bolt and nut flanges. After a few months all the bolt flanges cracked, split, or broke off of the main shroud body. The lower unit shrouds were held together with 2 bolts since.

This spring I was went to another marine dealer for water pump service. I was there when they put the engine shroud back on. I watched them replace the engine shroud. The starboard side locked with no effort. When the tech attempted to lock the port side, I noticed he applied significantly more pressure to the lever in order to draw down the cover and seal. I didn't give it much thought at the time. I pulled the boat home and parked it in the drive. A week later when I had a weather window, I started my spring cleanup. My wife walked around the stern and says look at the engine cover it is cracked in 5 places. Lesson learned.

Etech shrouds are made of a material called Gelloy. As you all know this is a hard, rigid, not flexible material. I did some online research in the various Etec forums. There was a post from an individual with a cracked lower unit shroud from an Etec 115. He found a company in CA that does plastic repair. According to the post they plastic welded the crack. Once fused you can sand and polish the surface back to original. I messed around with a soldering pen and some left over pieces from by shrouds. It appears to melt an fuse so you may be able to do some self repair. I caved and ordered new starboard lower unit and engine shrouds. I rationalized the $ by the fact I have spent zero $ on the Etec sans 300hr service and water pump/plugs.

Bottom line: IIRC all engine covers are made of essentially the same material. Anytime you remove and replace be sure to hand fit so all contact edges are perfectly aligned. Never use the bolts or cam clamps to close the gaps as it obviously leaves the molded shrouds under stress, over time they will fatigue and eventually crack.

Note: there were changes between the Etec 50 '05 and '06. The '06 port shroud will not fit an '05 lower unit without hand grinding the foam insulation. If you replace your lower unit shrouds be sure to order the '05 part number(s).
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Re: Engine Cover Repair/Replacement

Post by Ixneigh »

I’d call around to some outboard repair shops. These engines are getting pretty old now, and there should be a lot of covers around for not much money. eBay is a bad place to but low volume products because you’ll pay a premium. A place that sells and services a lot of outboards should have lots of parts motors.

"Shoal Idea"
2011 M, white
Etec 60
South Fl.
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