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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Apr 2002
    Location
    Faversham
    Posts
    879

    Default How reliable are modern outboards?

    My wife is planning an academic project that may require a creek crawling motorboat to get her from site to site. We are ideally looking for a little diesel launch, with some sort of shelter/ cabin but its far easier to find outboard powered boats with a small cabin, and they come in better, smaller sizes like 15 or 16 The question is how reliable is a modern outboard? I have more faith in diesels but maybe Im out of date. As a secondary consideration whats the smallest size outboard that has electric start and some sort of power lift or tilt? The boat will be on a drying mooring so wed need to tilt the motor.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jul 2009
    Location
    South Wales and Bristol Channel, UK
    Posts
    2,486

    Default Re: How reliable are modern outboards?

    "Modern" 4 stroke outboard engines such as Honda, Tohatsu, Suzuki and similar, are very reliable; avoid the old 2 stroke engines for many reasons. Most 20 hp outboards come with electric start and electric tilt. I would prefer a small motorboat with an outboard rather than diesel inboard. An outboard is more accessible and the boat has more room inside. Also, the outboard tilt option allows the boat to dry out without having to worry about driveshaft seals, couplings etc.
    Last edited by CAPTAIN FANTASTIC; 26-07-19 at 14:58.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Oct 2001
    Location
    Surrey & boat in Dorset. Both have pubs
    Posts
    3,761

    Default Re: How reliable are modern outboards?

    Modern outboards are very reliable and like diesels need or even want clean fuel. The smaller ones do need a rinse in freshwater to keep the cooling channels clear. Can't comment on the smallest electric start ones.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jul 2008
    Location
    East coast UK. Mostly. Sometimes the Philippines
    Posts
    9,525

    Default Re: How reliable are modern outboards?

    I would keep looking for a little diesel launch. I had one, and I wish I still had her. You will sell her very easily at the end of the project. The heavier displacement will make the motion much more comfortable and you will have space to stow gear, anchor, etc.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Dec 2012
    Location
    Gone cruising
    Posts
    2,371

    Default Re: How reliable are modern outboards?

    You can always add a small backup/auxiliary engine. This is a common sight in many places:


  6. #6
    Join Date
    Oct 2004
    Location
    I know how fast I'm going, but not where I am
    Posts
    6,953

    Default Re: How reliable are modern outboards?

    Quote Originally Posted by gdallas View Post
    As a secondary consideration whats the smallest size outboard that has electric start and some sort of power lift or tilt? The boat will be on a drying mooring so wed need to tilt the motor.
    10 hp, or just under, i.e. 9.9 or 9.8.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    May 2007
    Posts
    37,714

    Default Re: How reliable are modern outboards?

    We have Yamaha outboard for our club RIBs. They get used twice a week in the season and get serviced in the winter. The oldest is probably 6 years old, maybe 8. I don't recall a single problem other than control cables getting stiff and once a battery went flat.
    The fuel injection models avoid some of the grief which seems to be inevitable with carbs. Carb engines seem to be prone to water collecting however many filters you add? But that really just meant draining the carb a couple of times a season.

    The difference is, you can buy a 25hp Yamaha for under 4 grand brand new and get significant money back after 5 years or more.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    May 2005
    Location
    Loch Snizort, Isle of Skye
    Posts
    4,899

    Default Re: How reliable are modern outboards?

    4 stroke Yamahas seem to go on forever.

    The smallest electric start engine I have seen advertised was a Selva 6hp.
    Moody 39- Deb 33- Wayfarer- Wanderer

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    Posts
    8,309

    Default Re: How reliable are modern outboards?

    Loads of rental boats around with. those uninspiring Honda 5hp motors, must be reliable!

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Apr 2002
    Location
    Faversham
    Posts
    879

    Default Re: How reliable are modern outboards?

    Quote Originally Posted by Minn View Post
    I would keep looking for a little diesel launch. I had one, and I wish I still had her. You will sell her very easily at the end of the project. The heavier displacement will make the motion much more comfortable and you will have space to stow gear, anchor, etc.
    Yes I do think it would be better. Ive no concern about having an inboard powered boat on a drying mooring, whereas with an outboard wed have to be careful to lift and tilt- and it would also be vulnerable to theft. Ive seen a couple of decent 16-17 open boats with little diesels but none with a wheelhouse or cuddy which would really be desirable. If anyone knows of one.....but if we have to go the outboard route its encouraging to hear peoples positive experience

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