Project Gemini: Outboard Motor Restoration

When it comes to looking pretty you have two major parts on your boat, the motor and the hull. We recently picked up a 1986 Johnson 200 with some cosmetic issues in order to show you how to update the looks of a worn-out looking motor.


  • Engine Degreaser
  • Scrub Pad – Brillo Pad
  • 100 and 150 grit Sand Paper
  • Primer
  • Paint

On our motor we started out with the degreaser, this is an important step because prep is everything when it comes to paint. You need to ensure ALL of the grease is off of the motor because if ANY is left it will not stick to the motor. It is important to note that a well-ventilated area is a must-have for this project because fumes can get to you quickly. Once you spray the motor you will want to use the Brillo pads to help in removing the grease, once the grease is loose a power washer is a plus but I didn’t have one handy so I used an old water bottle with a hole in the lid to keep a solid stream and pressure on the degreaser.

The next step once the grease is removed is to use 100 and 150 grit sand paper to rough up the places you will be painting. A quick run over for the most part will do it but if you notice a spot that keeps on flaking just work on that until it becomes smooth to the touch, your eyes and fingers are your most important tools when sanding paint. We chose a grey primer since we put a grey/silver top coat; you do not want to pick a primer that will completely clash with the top coat because it may result in primer showing through or the top coat not completely covering. Two coats of primer is usually plenty, we used automotive primer from Rustoleum, then we used a Gun Metal GM automotive paint for our top coat, the end result is something similar to a newer 2000+ Johnson Outboard.

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