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Author Topic:   Re-power Decision
shossa posted 05-05-2015 09:31 PM ET (US)   Profile for shossa   Send Email to shossa  
Hi folks. I have a 2003 [Boston Whaler 160 DAUNTLESS powered by a] Mercury 115 EFI. This is my first boat. I bought it two years ago and chose Whaler because I wanted quality. The hull has been great. The motor: not so much. I have already put over $1,500 into maintenance. I'm thinking about re-powering.

My mechanic is giving me mixed signals. On the one hand he says that the [Mercury 115-HP EFI outboard engine] is in good condition and that nothing is out of the ordinary for an over-10-year-old motor. On the other hand I've already had to change the [vapor separator tank], unclog corrosion and debris from the engine block and water passages, and the latest problem is the engine loses power at high crankshaft speeds. The mechanic looked at it and said that the charging cable from the stator is overheating--a $1,000-repair-job--and that this could fix the problem, or maybe not.

I fear that I am going to keep dumping money into this [2003 Mercury 115-HP EFI outboard engine]. What do you think? Should I just buy a new motor? I'm not really thrilled about financing $9,000, but I feel like I'll keep having problems with this [2003 Mercury 115-HP EFI outboard engine].

I know that I won't get this in the aftermarket, but I want to keep the boat for another five years or so, and I feel like I'll get my money's worth in use. [Give your] thoughts, opinions, and suggestions.

masbama posted 05-05-2015 09:51 PM ET (US)     Profile for masbama  Send Email to masbama     
Your rule is same as mine: re-powering makes sense if you keep the boat five years or longer. That being said: re-power.
jimh posted 05-06-2015 12:55 AM ET (US)     Profile for jimh  Send Email to jimh     
I had to go to my files to see what sort of Mercury outboard engine you have on that 2003 Boston Whaler boat. The Boston Whaler catalogue showed a 115-HP Mercury two-stroke-power-cycle engine as the standard engine, but I am sure that engine had carburetors. You mention "EFI" in the description of your Mercury outboard engine, and, based on that, I presume you have a Mercury FourStroke engine--well, at least a Mercury branded engine. I think you really have an engine with a powerhead made by Yamaha, because, to the best of my knowledge, Mercury was not able to make any 115-HP four-cycle engines of their own until a few years later, c.2006.

The c.2003 Yamaha 115-HP four-cycle outboard with fuel injection is generally regarded as a good engine for its day. It should have a much longer useful like than just 12 years, assuming it has been given good care.

The re-power of a boat is quite a complicated decision. You should consider the cost of any new rigging needed, in addition to just the engine. If you change brands and get something other than a Mercury engine, new remote throttle and shift controls may be necessary, new gauges may be necessary, and new ignition switch and associated electrical harnesses may be necessary. That can add perhaps $1,000 to the cost.

Also, right now is probably not the best time to get a new engine. For most of the Winter and into the Spring, outboard engine manufacturers have had generous promotional offers and incentives, significantly reducing the cost of a new outboard engine. Most of those have expired by now. You'll be paying more for an engine right now than you would have two months ago.

You'll also be buying an engine as the end of the production year approaches. That can be good and bad. It's generally good in the sense that by the end of a production run there should not be any bugs left in the engine assembly line. But it can be bad because there may be a limited number of engines available, and you might not be able to order the exact engine you want.

The financing of an outboard engine goes against my general rule to never take out a loan to buy a depreciating asset.

There is no doubt that in five years a 2015-production-year engine will be worth more than a 2003 engine. Don't expect to recover all of your expense in the new engine. Outboard engines are not investments.

Let us say a re-power will cost $10,000. An option to re-powering the 2003 160 DAUNTLESS might be to sell that boat, add $10,000 to whatever you get for it, and buy a newer boat with a newer engine.

frontier posted 05-06-2015 01:00 AM ET (US)     Profile for frontier  Send Email to frontier     
Get rid of the Merc.
Try to find a good used 115 HP Yamaha V4 2-stroke or even a used 115 HP Yamaha 4-stroke.
Quite a few good used Yamaha 2-strokes around. Pretty cheap.
Quality never goes out of style.
msirof2001 posted 05-06-2015 04:34 PM ET (US)     Profile for msirof2001  Send Email to msirof2001     
I repowered my Outrage 21 about a year ago. Here are some random thoughts relevant to your decision making process...

Cost isn't that relevant. If you are not operating commercially where your boat is part of your trade or line of business, then the best cost-related personal financial decision would be to never buy a boat. But we love it. Boating is a personal decision like having tattoos or buying a $20,000 Marklin train setup. That's why we do it. I took out a loan for the re-power. Not the best loan, people may even say I'm crazy. But the piece of mind of a new motor is as priceless as are the experiences I'm sharing with my kids out on the ocean and local islands.

I repowered a 20 year old Yamaha 2-stroke to a current Yamaha 4-stroke. The fuel economy was very noticable. At optimal cruise, I went from 2mpg (2-stroke) to 4.5/4.7mpg with the 4-stroke. Lost the 2-stroke smell and noise.

With the repower, Yamaha had a "powermatch" option which basically states "if you re-do the rigging, we'll put a 1-year warranty on the rigging". It wasn't hugely expensive and I thought about what other problems would soon manifest themselves from the dark shadows of the existing rigging.

Yamaha has two incentive periods in any given year. One is like JimH said which is the boat show season Jan-March, and there is another in the fall. The former has a choice of adding 3 years to the warranty (total of 6 years), or getting a cash incentive instead. The fall incentive is warranty only. However, you do not pay list price (like fishing equipment) outside of the incentive period. My Yamaha dealer had a lot of room for discounts. He did me well!

As for new boat vs. repower. People asked me that and I gave it a lot of thought. It came down to me loving my boat. I don't like modern day notched/euro transoms. I don't like Mercury so Whaler is out. Everglades is the approximation of what Whaler would have been if Reebok then Brunswick hadn't bought them. But then, I'm looking at $16000 (re-power) vs. $125,000-$200,000.

Looking at the last year, in hindsight, I am totally thrilled about the outcome. I'm currently looking for a bunch of other things that I don't "need". Like the Simrad NSS12 eVo2 with BSM3, Icom 506 Vhs with AIS, Yeti Tundra 75 cooler, Redoing the leaning post with Stainless and a 48Gallon Bait tank. Got to live life and have passions. I hope you enjoy whatever you end up doing.

shossa posted 05-06-2015 08:06 PM ET (US)     Profile for shossa  Send Email to shossa     
really good input guys - thanks for the discussion on this...

i agree with msirof that this hobby is against any rational financial decision making. if that were the case, i would have sold this money pit a long time ago :)

another factor that ppl tell me to consider is to fix the existing motor before i repower so that i can sell it and offset some cost.

i may take one more stab at getting it fixed. wish me luck...

Hoosier posted 05-06-2015 08:57 PM ET (US)     Profile for Hoosier  Send Email to Hoosier     

B (Bring) O (On) A (Another) T (Thousand)......

Never fails.....

jimh posted 05-07-2015 02:33 AM ET (US)     Profile for jimh  Send Email to jimh     
Model Trains! Now you are talking. As soon as I get too old to go on big-water week-long trips, I am getting back into model trains. Another great hobby.
Hoosier posted 05-07-2015 08:37 AM ET (US)     Profile for Hoosier  Send Email to Hoosier     
Model trains: a great winter hobby for when you're snowed/iced in at Northport... ;-)
frontier posted 05-07-2015 03:00 PM ET (US)     Profile for frontier  Send Email to frontier     
Hey, you guys are de-railing this discussion.
It's getting off track, it's time to blow the whistle and get you back on board and steam ahead.
Mike Kub posted 05-07-2015 04:24 PM ET (US)     Profile for Mike Kub  Send Email to Mike Kub     
I put a new F150 and steering on a 1986 18' this past summer. Was not thrilled about parting with the $14k . I know I will never get that $ back but the peace of mind does not have a price. Peace
jimh posted 05-08-2015 09:31 AM ET (US)     Profile for jimh  Send Email to jimh     
When I re-powered my 1990 Boston Whaler REVENGE 22-W-T Whaler Drive boat, I had the engine I was selling in perfect running condition. I also waited until I had a buyer for it at a price I could live with. Then I re-powered. If I had known that in the future gasoline would be selling for $2.30/gallon I might not have been as motivated.

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