Tips on buying outboard motor
Published 4:50 pm Wednesday, April 4, 2001
Spring has sprung as the old clique goes, and with it outdoor people's thoughts turn to turkey hunting, camping, fishing and boating. Many will be buying their first boat and motor and some will be replacing that old worn out kicker with something a little more reliable for cruising the waterways.
If you're in the market for an outboard motor, whether it's a pair of counter-rotating dual engines for an offshore fishing boat or a small outboard to get to your favorite bream or crappie hole, the cheapest motor isn't necessarily the best buy.
David Grigsby, Product Manager for Yamaha Outboards (1-800 YAMAHA) says it's the value you receive from your dollars that should be important. "Outboards provide the most horsepower and performance per dollar, and they are the easiest and most economical to maintain," said Grigsby. He suggests the following points to consider when shopping for a new outboard.
Low emission outboards: Two-stroke or four-stroke outboards are available. Which one to buy will depend on how you use your boat? Marine dealers can help you decide. Choose one that is fuel-efficient and clean burning.
Oil injection: An outboard with oil injection eliminates the need to mix oil and gas. Look for an oil injection system that injects oil directly into the manifold for better performance. This option is usually found on motors from 25hp up.
Fuel/oil ratio: Conventional 2-stroke outboards mix oil and gas for lubrication. Some manufactures still manufacture motors using a 50:1 or twice as much oil as the 100:1 ration pioneered by Yamaha. The 100:1 ratio gives a smother running engine with a less noticeable "blue smoke" trail.
Propshaft-rated horsepower: Some companies in the past rated horsepower at the powerhead. It's the horsepower measured at the propshaft that counts. The difference can be up to 10% usable power. Ask the marine dealer where the horsepower is measured, at the powerhead or the propshaft.
Engine Protection: Make certain your investment is protected. Quality manufacturers build in sensors to help prevent damage from over-revving, overheating and low engine oil. The systems vary, but typically will use horns, buzzers, light, and even decrease the rpm of the engine gradually to protect it from further damage.
Corrosion protection: When an outboard is not being used they can be left out in the hot sun, stored in freezing garages over the winter, exposed to salt water and generally ignored when not in use. Ask your dealer to explain how sacrificial zinc anodes protect your engine. These replaceable inexpensive anodes are placed in key areas of the outboard engine that are designed to attract corrosive elements first, protecting the more expensive engine parts.
Grigsby cautions buyers to check the outboard's overall appearance. Look for quality. If it's there, you can see the difference. Also be careful when comparing standard equipment on one brand versus options on another. Do the math to see which one offers the most value.