Outboards versus I/Os

Discussion in 'Boats, Motors, Trailers and Towing Rigs Forum' started by jimbob, Jan 15, 2009.

  1. jimbob

    jimbob Active Member

    I have been searching for a boat for several months. I often see hulls that I like with I/Os but I have shied away from them because of concerns about corrosion and maintenance. I keep my boat in salt water 12 months of the year.

    So, all of you I/O guys who keep your boats permanently moored in saltwater, how do you feel? Would you prefer to own an outboard or are you happy with your I/O?

    Finally which I/Os are the best?
  2. Wireman

    Wireman Member

    HI JB, I have an I/O it's a chev 350 with a volvo 280 leg and I've been very happy with it.I've owned it now 2 YRS and all I.ve done is the routine maint. oil change spark plugs rotor cap.I like the inboard because I know a little bit about basic monkey wrenching so I do alot of my own work my self. Now the leg is a totally different story you really have to know what you are doing when you muck around with the drive I've been very lucky with mine so far all I've done is changed the gear oil and I need to see about replacing the drive and exhaust bellows before summer BUT I don't leave my boat in the water it lives in my drive way. That's my two cents and I know that you are going to hear conflicting opinions over this subject but I like my boat just the way it is. It's a 26FT HOURSTON CHEERS.
  3. Little Hawk

    Little Hawk Active Member


    My bias is towards stern-drives. The automotive configuration of the engine makes it more user-friendly to work on more stuff yourself.

    It used to be the argument was that sterndrives gave better fuel-economy. Not no more.

    Also, you can't touch the power-to-weight ratio of outboards.
    Running a stern-drive is like having an extra body or two of weight on board all the time.

    Personally, the engine house on board don't bother me; it makes a great seat or table and for fishing, it's nice not having 4 or 5 feet of pod & motor hanging off the back of my boat.

    Lastly, how do you beat that sweet-sound of a real small-block or big-block cutting loose as you lay on the throttle.

    Little boats - use an outboard.
    Real boats - use an engine.

    Just my 2-bits.

  4. Rum Buddies

    Rum Buddies Active Member

    I'd say just look at what guides, lodges, whale watching boats etc. use - all outboards.
  5. Tailspin

    Tailspin Active Member

    With the new four strokes efficiency and light weight technology, the Inboards are going the way of the Do Do Bird. That being said, my mercruiser keeps on purring and is very simple to work on. The alpha one has had a few little quirks. I sure would like a nice new Yammy or Zuke one day though. Those 300s would make things sizzle along.

  6. Last Chance

    Last Chance Admin Staff Member

    With modern four strokes, inboards really only hold the advantage of price. What happens is when you take an engine with iron manifolds, mate it to an aluminium leg is you create a big battery, which can be hard on aluminium. Yes, you can zinc the hell out of it, but in the end, they all do a pretty good impression of an eroding urinal cake.

    There are a myriad of little things to go wrong wtih a stern drive, the engine is usually fine, but I'm willing to bet you go through starters, alternators, etc etc a lot faster then in an outboard. This is because these things are usually sitting in the humid environment of a bilge.

    The argument that "If anything goes wrong wtih a car engine, I can fix it" may work in some instances, but the reason most guide/whale boats have outboards is that you are far less likeley to develop problems with an outboard then an inboard. And most modern computer controlled inboards are probably beyond what most guys can tackle anyway, so you get the complexity of a computer controlled engine with the honour of fixing it head-first, upside down in a cramped bilge compartment designed to barley fit the thing, let alone service it.

    Talk to someone with 1000 hours on an inboard, and see what they do to it for maintainance. I'll bet a couple sets of risers, gimball boots, altenators and starters will come up in conversation.Then see what someone with 1000 hours on a modern outboard does for service on them. My last four stroke outboard with 600 hours on it never got anything more then plugs and oil.

    A couple of guides I run with have over 1600 hours on their four stroke Yam's, and all they have done is impellers (once), and one injector.

    Inboards have a good place in freshwater ski boats, where corrosion is not nearly a problem, and the clean transom and weight slightly forward help for the boats intended purpose, that is, pulling a skier.

    Last Chance Fishing Adventures

  7. Gunsmith

    Gunsmith Well-Known Member

    Lots of good reasons for both but my 2 cents say outboard. If you have a powerhead failure the unit can be replaced in hours. Very important with a guide business. Outboard and fuel weigh less than inboard/outboard. Other than that whatever makes you happy. Don't spend valuable fishing time analyzing what you already know.[8D]

  8. claymcpher

    claymcpher Member

    I worked at a marina in Nanaimo, down in the service depart, and wouldent give you 10 cents for a i/o, they all have too many moving parts to break and they do. Volvo is very expensive, mercruiser and Omc is no to far behind, And see what happens on an impact with an i/o.We had a boat sink right at the travelift. Outboard is the only way to go-- powerhead, driveshaft, gearcase and they never have to be aligned, no u joints or gimbal housings, bearings etc. but on the otherhand, I know alot of marine mechanics that have a job because of i/o's, just my 2 cents
  9. TenMile

    TenMile Well-Known Member

    First boat had a Yamaha 115 OB. Current boat has a Mercruiser 350 MAG MPI with a Bravo III drive. If I could do it over -- I'd go back with the OB again.

    - corrosion and wet issues already raised
    - I'd gain about 4' of very useful space for fishing
    - fuel economy is much better with the OB
    - with the OB, you can raise the leg out of the water when not using
    - bombproof reliability of the Yamaha/Honda engines
    - while the Merc/Volvo are built on a GM platform, the marine parts are still very expensive and because the engines have an ECU -- still require specialized tools to do diagnostics beyond routine maintenance (if you can change oil, you can do that on both an I/O or OB)
    - my belief is that the OB is better designed for routine maintenance as the fluids etc.. are within arm's reach.

    - I/O are generally cheaper to purchase and rebuild but I think that is offset with higher maintenance costs and more frequent part replacements.
  10. Gone Fishen

    Gone Fishen Member

    I have two boats. One has a mercruiser 190HP with 4300 hrs on it(runs like a top) the other has a 200HP merc O/B 1700hrs(runs like a top). The I/O stays in all year except for a couple hr's out of the water for zinc's, gear oil,& barnacle scrape. Maybe three times a year?(as required)I do waterpump and transom inspection and service every second year. Other regular matenance I do in the water. The outboard comes out for winter. If it didn't it would nead just as many trips out of the water for gear oil,zinc's, barnacle scrapes and waterpumps. Will it make 4300hr's (not likely). I love both boats but sure would miss that I/O heater in the winter.

    Timely matenance is the ticket to problem prevention with both.

    I'm setting priorities & making time for fishing.
  11. tailout

    tailout Member

    Hey Jimbob
    I have 2004 225 yammy 4 stoke 1060 hour on her not one bit of work yet touch wood The key is good maintainance.

  12. Brisco

    Brisco Guest

    i/o is cheaper to buy,easier to maintain, looks and sounds nicer.
  13. bananas

    bananas Active Member

    Just hit 1000 hrs on my 200 yammi 4strokes not even a fart yet and if they do blow less than a day and back in the water.hmmm i wonder.
  14. searun

    searun Well-Known Member

    Outboards for me all the way. First as has been said, if you have an engine calf on you, 4 bolts and she's done and one day out of the water. Blow a powerhead and you can have a new one from the warehouse installed in under 3 days. Best of all outboards do not have the same risk of fire, and I witnessed a terrible fire in Campbell River about 13 years ago from an I/O. The boat literally blew up on the water while the family operating it was fishing. We were only 300 feet away and by the time I got there it was totally engulfed. A very scary situation and for that reason alone I vowed never to charter on a time bomb.
  15. Gone Fishen

    Gone Fishen Member

    I'm setting my priorities. I'm making time for fishing.
  16. Whole in the Water

    Whole in the Water Well-Known Member

    In my experience the weakest link in an I/O is the leg. They don't seem to make them strong enough to last over time. If you look at most commercial guys and guides they use outboards (or inboards for really big boats) for a reason.

    With V8 outboards up to 350hp unless you have a massive boat you don't need an I/O anymore. I think the trend to less boats being built with I/O's will continue over time. The only reason I would get an I/O is if a had a fancy ski boat or had to have a diesel engine. My 2 bits.

    Long live wild salmon!!!
  17. Charlie

    Charlie Active Member

    Started with outboards (2 stroke), went to I/O (Bravo I and then Bravo III, with a 4 stroke kicker), then an inboard! After my inboards, I swore I would never go back to gas or outboards. What do I now own? Twin gas 225 O/B’s! Less maintenance, less fuel, and less noise. Never say never!

    Oh, by the way. One of the worst I/O’s on the market (for salt) is the Bravo III. Way to much maintenance keeping the corrosion off! Been there done that!
  18. ReelAffair

    ReelAffair Active Member

    The other thing is called opinions. Opinions are like as@##$, every one has one. IF YOU ARE OUT FISHING YOU ARE OUT FISHING, weather it be an inboard or an outboard. There was a run of crappy outboard, blowing powerheads, hard on fuel etc (2 strokes), now the 4 strokes are good. I have an I/O and it seems to work good. Will I buy another I/O, depends on the boat I guess.

    What it comes down to is what you can afford and what you like.

    It would be like saying Chevys are # 1.....It could start a war:D but Tailspins loves Chevys, he just hasn't come out of the dark ages yet:D

    Have fun and go fishing, and if you can't fish, go camping and quading:D
  19. richmake

    richmake Active Member

    This topic has alot of variables to it.
    It all starts with the type of hull and what sort of use the boat will go through.
    personally....I'd choose a 4 stroke over inboard for many reasons already listed among others.
    Another great thing about not running a smaller hull with an i/o is the simple fact that you don't have the engine cover smack dab in the middle of the stern...what a pain in the arse that is having to deal with that every day...

  20. Last Chance

    Last Chance Admin Staff Member

    Go down to any well stocked marina with a lot of guides, and ask the outboard guys how often they have to replace alternators, water pumps, power steering pumps, solenoids, leg bellows and risers. Then, assuming you can find a guy who uses his boat a lot with a stern drive, ask him the same thing.

    Last Chance Fishing Adventures


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