Fisher-Pierce bearcat 55 four cycle

Discussion in 'Outboards' started by kroberts, Feb 21, 2011.

  1. kroberts
    Joined: Mar 2009
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    kroberts Senior Member

    Hi,

    My father came across a Fisher-Pierce Bearcat 55 four cycle outboard. He doesn't want it, and I sort of do but I would like some information before deciding what to do with it.

    On the outside, it looks like hell. It was obviously stored outside and the paint is peeled and it looks like junk. The foot though is in good shape.

    When you take the cover off it looks brand new. We put it in a barrel and started it, and it seems to run like a brand new engine, which is amazing to me because it was in a recycle yard. Does not miss, rattle, wheeze or have any bad habits that usually accompany my dad's finds. The prop looks new too.

    To me, there seems to be two possibilities here.

    First, the thing was meticulously maintained until some point at which the thing sat in a back yard and was exposed to the elements.

    Second, the thing was bought, put on a boat that pointed south (which protected the foot paint but let the top peel) and then left there without ever being used much, and everything is original. (I don't know if it's original, just a possibility)

    I looked it up on the net and found some history on the motor in general, it seems that it was a better-than-average motor for the time, but I don't see much from owners, just guys selling parts.

    So here are my questions:
    1. How good is this engine really?
    2. Is there something I need to know before putting this on a boat?
    3. Is this a collector's item or is it something I am better off just using?
    4. Does anyone know if the engine can be converted for another use?
    5. Does anyone know what it weighs without the foot or the housing?
    6. Does anyone know if it can be converted to a horizontal shaft?
    7. If I need 20 hp or so continuously, is this a good engine for that?

    I'm torn on this thing. On the one hand I think it would be great to use just as a boat motor, only thing is I don't have a motor boat right now. I'd have to buy one. On the other hand, I have a different use for the engine, it seems to be about the right physical size but the power is off the scale, I would normally take a light industrial 20-25 hp and use that.

    Anyway, a lot depends on what it is that I have here, and I just don't know.

    Thanks.
     
  2. FAST FRED
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    FAST FRED Senior Member

    I believe the engine is the second version of the Crosley engine.

    Really nice , overhead cam 4 stroke.

    These engines are smooth and get good fuel efficiency at 20-40 hp and woll run "forever.

    There should be a site for a club . perhaps selling it would be best ?

    FF
     
  3. kroberts
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    kroberts Senior Member

    Then I wonder if it wouldn't be a good idea to restore the paint on the engine cover? Underneath it looks amazingly good, no oil leaks or anything like that, and it sounds brand new too. But the top looks like it belongs in the junk yard. No dents I can recall but the paint is horrible.
     
  4. Wayne Grabow
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    Wayne Grabow Senior Member

    We had a 16' ski boat with the Fisher-Pierce Bearcat 55 hp engine. My father bought it new in about 1962, and we used it for at least ten years. It was a great engine; dependable, fairly quiet, good gas mileage, and plenty of power. We could pull four skiers (no tricks, staggered start, no slalom) just to see what it could do. Usually we used just one or two skiers on slalom.
     
  5. Yellowjacket
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    Yellowjacket Senior Member

    These were really good motors

    Here's a link to the history of these engines.

    http://continuouswave.com/whaler/reference/history/bearcat.html

    Parts are available and you can buy a remanufactured one for a reasonable price. Just make sure the water pump and thermostat are working correctly so you don't overheat it and it's a great engine. If you don't run it at high load it will last forever. They were quite efficient even at low power so you can clean it up and use it go for it.
     
  6. kroberts
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    kroberts Senior Member

    That's a really interesting read, Yellowjacket. From all the input about it I think I'll try to find a boat for it.
     
  7. Yellowjacket
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    Yellowjacket Senior Member

    One thing to be careful about is the rubber parts of the fuel system. Modern fuels have ethanol in them and that can, in short order destroy some of the rubber parts in the fuel system of older engines. While all the gas pumps say "fortified with ethanol", fuel with 15% ethanol is nasty stuff when you put it into older engines, and the only thing that gets fortified are the wallets of the oil companies and farmers.

    If you ran it on the regular gas that is available now, you should flush it out with either aviation fuel or racing gas that doesn't have ethanol in it to keep the rubber from deteriorating. If you leave modern gas in it the hoses will rot and clog up the carb float and jets and make a mess out of things.

    You can get hoses that are safe for today's fuel, but be careful to make sure the hose you buy is compatible with ethanol laced fuel. I changed a hose on my lawnmower with some hose that I bought at an autoparts store, not thinking that I had to make sure it was safe for fuel with ethanol in it. Bad idea. After a while the float stuck and filled the crankcase with fuel. Thankfully I caught it before I started the engine, when I checked the oil it was really full, and it smelled like gasoline....

    I changed out the carb but I didn't realize why the float was sticking. Six months later the hose rotted through and started leaking, and that's when the light bulb went off...
     
  8. Wayne Grabow
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    Wayne Grabow Senior Member

    Yellowjacket: thanks for the great article link. I was remembering our old engine as the Bearcat because I was aware that Fisher-Pierce took over production. But our engine was actually from Homelite, built in 1962. As the literature states, it was a premium product at a higher price. I don't think that it ever had adequate marketing effort behind it.
     
  9. kroberts
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    kroberts Senior Member

    Isn't that interesting?

    I know somebody who had the same problem with a light industrial engine a year or two back, the float bowl filled up and nobody could figure it out. Considering that he changes all his rubber lines every other year at least, the hose never went bad. I do the same, but I would never have thought that the residue would clog up the carburetor.

    Learn something new every day.

    Thanks again!
     
  10. PAR
    Joined: Nov 2003
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    PAR Yacht Designer/Builder

    Fisher-Pierce wonderful stuff, my kids played with their products for years . . .
     
  11. Cathrin585
    Joined: Aug 2011
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    Cathrin585 New Member

    Fisher Pierce Bearcat 55

    You mentioned a site for a club. Do you know of any? I'm looking for someone who would like a vintage FP Bearcat 55. My husband has been collecting vintage engines for many years ( Evinrude, Stinger, Mercury Super 10) and has also restored two vintage Boston Whalers which he is now unable to use due to poor health. I've tried researching over the internet, but haven't found anything helpful as to the value of the outboards. Any guidance would be greatly appreciated.
     
  12. kroberts
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    kroberts Senior Member


  13. craiglam
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    craiglam New Member

    Bearcat 55

    I finally found this thread. Yes, I bought my Bearcat 55 a few months ago and I'm restoring it. I've been restoring this motor - every nut and bolt. I'll try to answer all you questions if I can.
    1. Yes they are very good engines.
    2. Nothing special. Just make sure that the cavitation is even with the bottom
    of the boat.
    3. Yes they are collectors items. Several reasons. This motor has no cylinder
    head. They are high compression. You can still get parts, I'll tell you where
    later. They out perform other outboards in their class.
    4. Another use was pontoon boats used in sight seeing. Also, the navy used them on gun boats after WWII.
    5. Average weight 239 lbs. for the 55.
    6. I'm not sure if it can be converted.
    7. This is an excellent engine for continuous h.p. It is one one of the best trolling motors. At 5500 r.p.m. it should produce approx. 60 h.p.
    Contact Bill Roberts @ www.Bearcat55.com He's the expert for parts and what ever you need. Manuals, etc. I hope I've helped.
    It's Fisher-Pierce not Price-Fischer. Price-Fischer are toys!
     
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