6 Tips to Follow When Choosing an Outboard Motor for Your Boat
Choosing an outboard motor for boaters is an important step in the process of creating a watercraft that you can truly enjoy. Outboard motors are used to drive most of the larger and more powerful vessels in the market, but knowing which motor to choose can be a daunting process, especially if you are new to this style of boating. However, through a little bit of research and careful consideration, you can experience your own boat that reaches impressive speeds without emptying your wallet.
This guide will break down the top factors to consider when choosing an outboard motor for your new boat.
Two-Stroke vs. Four-Stroke Outboard Boat Engines
First off, let’s talk about two types of boat engines: four-stroke and two-stroke. Each has its own benefits and drawbacks.
The main difference between the two types of engines is that the internal components of a 4-stroke motor must be constantly lubricated with oil, whereas the internal components of a 2-stroke motor just require occasional lubrication to ensure the correct oil-to-fuel ratio is maintained.
Four-stroke outboard motors have cylinders that burn pure gasoline and an oil system that moves the oil around the engine. The gasoline is burned in the cylinders, while the engine is oiled by a separate mechanism. As the pistons operate, the air is taken in and released at different periods.
Two-stroke engines, on the other hand, have a better power-to-weight ratio than four-stroke engines of equivalent horsepower since they weigh less overall. However, many two-stroke engines do not adhere to current emissions standards. Moreover, in contrast to four-stroke motors, two-stroke engines require a combination of gas and oil for operation.
Four strokes are the most common choice because they are easier to maintain, quieter, and less polluting than their two-stroke counterparts. They are also more fuel-efficient and cost less over the long run since they require less maintenance than two strokes.
If you are looking for something that will last longer before needing repairs, get a four-stroke motor. If you want something that is easier on gas and does not require much maintenance, get a two-stroke. However, they can be loud and produce more pollution than four-stroke motors.
Choosing the Right Outboard Motor for Your Boat
Here are some variables associated with finding the right outboard motor for your boat.
1. Choose the Engine Type
It is important to note that not all types of fuel can be used by all kinds of engines, so before buying any engine, make sure that it can work with the kind of fuel that you have at home since some engines require special types of fuel like diesel while others require gasoline.
There are three basic types of engines used in outboard motors; gasoline, electric, and diesel. Gasoline engines are by far the most popular because they are affordable and easy to maintain. Diesel engines are more expensive but last longer and require less maintenance than gasoline engines.
Electric motors are great for smaller boats because they do not require gas or oil changes; however, they can be more expensive than gas-powered motors because they require extra batteries that must be charged regularly.
2. Be Aware of the Fuel Injection System
Another thing to consider when choosing an outboard motor is the fuel injection system. There are two major fuel injection systems available on outboard motors; electronic fuel injection (EFI) and direct fuel injection (DFI). EFI systems use a computer to control the timing of the fuel injectors and air intake. DFI systems use a more traditional throttle body with no computer and pump fuel directly into the engine’s combustion chamber, which is mixed with air just before igniting a spark plug.
The EFI systems have a separate computer chip that monitors a variety of engine parameters, such as coolant temperature, ambient air temperature, and throttle position. This allows the computer to control everything from ignition timing to fuel delivery.
The DFI systems allow for more precise fuel delivery at part throttle and high rpm ranges, which means better throttle response and more power. But they also require more maintenance than EFI motors because they have more moving parts and need to be cleaned more frequently.
3. Factor in Your Boat’s Weight
An important factor that should be taken into account when choosing an outboard motor for your boat is its weight. The weight of your boat is important because it will determine how much fuel it will consume when on water.
For instance, if you have a heavy-duty outboard motor for a small fishing vessel, then it is likely that it will consume more fuel compared to an outboard motor for a medium fishing vessel because there will be more drag due to its weight.
A rule of thumb is to have between 40 and 25 pounds of weight for each horsepower. For example, a boat that weighs 5,000 pounds can have a powerful engine that produces anything from 125 to 200 horsepower.
So if you want something small enough for a pontoon or fishing boat, you might want to stick with less horsepower. If you want something larger, like a sailboat or similar type of boat, a higher horsepower should be preferred.
4. Look at the Shaft Length of an Outboard Motor
When looking at outboard motors, you will notice that they have different lengths of shafts. Outboard motors come in different and varying lengths, from the compact and affordable 4-horsepower models to the popular 200+ horsepower motors. The difference in length is due to the length of the shaft that connects the motor to the boat.
Some of these boat motors are short-shafted, and some are long-shafted. A short shaft is approximately 15 inches long, whereas a long shaft is about 17 to 22 inches long. The shaft length is important because it determines whether or not a particular outboard boat motor can fit on your boat.
If you have a small boat with a shorter transom height, you will need a short-shafted motor to fit properly when lowered into and raised out of the water. A longer-shafted motor would hit the bottom of your small boat if you tried to lower it into the shallow water, causing damage to both the motor and your boat itself. Make sure you purchase an outboard motor with a matching shaft length so it will fit perfectly on your boat.
5. Refer to Your Boat Manufacturer’s Guidelines
In any case, your first step will be consulting the user manual for your specific brand of the boat. Doing so will help ensure that your new motor is sized correctly for your hull and can help you determine whether or not it has the maximum horsepower and amount of power needed to safely move your vessel through any conditions you are likely to encounter when in operation.
You will also want to check the manual to make sure that any features you want—such as an electric start—are actually compatible with the motor or if they will void any warranties or other conditions necessary for safe use. Once you know these things, you can start shopping around to find an engine that fits your budget and works properly with your boat.
Even if the engine is already installed on your boat, it is important to read the manual before starting it up for the first time, so you can become familiar with its quirks and how to prevent potential issues from arising during use. The documentation may also contain information about specific parts or accessories recommended for use with your particular engine type.
6. Know Your Prop Requirements
When choosing a propeller for your boat, pay close attention to the condition of the prop. If you are planning on boating in salt water or if your boat is a light craft, you need to ensure that your outboard motor has stainless steel hardware parts. This includes all nuts, bolts, and screws used in the motor assembly. If not made from stainless steel, they will corrode quickly in saltwater conditions and could fail while underway.
The best way to ensure that your outboard motor will not only perform well but also last longer is by choosing one built with quality materials and components. This means looking at things such as corrosion resistance, durability, and reliability when comparing different models available on the market today.
The Final Word
Above all, when choosing an outboard motor for sale for your boat, remember to be prepared and consult with experts. Whether your engine is new or used, the more research you do before purchasing, the less likely you will make a costly mistake. And once you have chosen an outboard motor for your watercraft, do not forget to follow proper maintenance guidelines to keep it running smoothly and efficiently; otherwise, you are likely to have ignition problems sooner than you would like.
Hopefully, this guide will help narrow your choices down when shopping for your next new boat outboard. If you are thinking of buying power boats, or need help selecting the right outboard motor, please call our experts at Westshore Marine. Also if your thinking about upgrading your current motor to a newer one keep in mind that we buy outboard motors!
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