Buying Used Outboards
Used Outboards – Are you looking at buying a used outboard motor? If you are looking at buying a used outboard you should consider all of the options available to you. Some questions you should be asking firstly yourself is –
What will I mainly be using the outboard for?
How many hours will I be doing each year?
How much can I spend?
How much can I afford for maintenance?
Each outboard motor manufacturer produces a very different outboard from the last. Some of these outboards suit different applications. For example, if you are looking at doing a lot or trolling, then you could possibly consider a four stroke outboard. The issue with most two stroke outboards is if you do a lot of trolling and idling, they can be very smokey and have the issue of fouling spark plugs.
If you are doing large hours with your outboard motor, then you will want an efficient outboard motor. A four stroke outboard or a direct injected two stroke, like a Mercury Optimax, Evinrude Etec, or Yamaha HPDI.
When buying used outboards the cost is a huge factor. You need to make sure that used outboard is in excellent condition, especially if you are on a tight budget. For instance, a used outboard motor over 5 years old will need to have the Powerhead gaskets replaced straight away, or within the next few years. Outboard Powerhead gaskets on used outboards can cost around $1000 – $1500. If you did not budget for this when shopping for a used outboard it can really put a stop to your boating season if you do not have the finances to have the Powerhead serviced.
As a rule of thumb, fuel injected two stroke outboards and four stroke outboards are a few hundred dollars more to service than carburettor two stroke outboards. This is an important area to consider when shopping for your second hand or used outboards. If you only do low hours, like 30 hours a year, it will probably cost you more to have a four stroke or fuel injected two strokes. This is because of the extra service costs. If you do large hours, 80 hours a year or more, then the extra fuel efficiency will save you money in the long run.
Used outboards are for sale for a reason – You really need to find out why that is. Quite possibly it is a genuine reason, the owner might do large hours and wants the extra fuel efficiency, and the owner might want a quieter outboard as the old two strokes might be quite noisy. Or, the outboard might have an underlying problem or issue and that is why it is for sale. This is why getting used outboards inspected before you buy them is very important! A used outboard inspection should be carried out by an experienced technician or outboard mechanic. They should go over the outboard motor from top to bottom. Carrying out a compression test, ignition system test, look in the motor with a bore scope to inspect cylinder bore condition, check gear oil, engine mounts, running quality and charging system etc…
The best place to buy used outboards from is a marine dealer or workshop, you might pay a little bit more but you will usually have the reassurance of a warranty or guarantee. After you have purchased the used outboard, it is very important to make sure it is installed correctly on the boat. Engine height and propeller selection is very important with used outboards and outboard motors in general. Also, you need to make sure it is serviced, the oil system is clean and operational and you are using the correct fuel for the outboard.