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Author Topic:   Outboard vs Sterndrive
Marineac posted 04-14-2002 10:18 PM ET (US)   Profile for Marineac   Send Email to Marineac  
I have been looking at a Boston Whaler 22-Guardian. [What are] the pros and cons of buying a Whaler with a sterndrive (5.7L Mercruiser Alpha drive) versus a boat with an outboard motor?

If I acquire this boat I would also like to add a radar tower. Can anyone tell me what kind of tower is installed on the "Blue Whale" 1970 21-Outrage shown on page one and fifteen in the Cetacea section of this site?


jimh posted 04-15-2002 08:31 AM ET (US)     Profile for jimh  Send Email to jimh     
Sterndrive or I/O powering is a very popular alternative to outboards in my area (Great Lakes), but it seem much less common in salt water boating areas.

The major advantage to I/O is the cost of the engine. Automotive engines that are mass produced are much cheaper than outboard engines, particularly in the higher horsepower ranges.

Whaler has made a few models which used I/O powering. The GTX Runabout was most commonly sold as an I/O, for example.

Some disadvantages for the I/O would be:

--weighs more
--takes up more room in boat
--requires more winterization
--requires more maintenance
--has les popularity which may affect resale

Advantages for the I/O

--has less theft potential

I'll leave the rest of the list for others to fill in as necessary.


jimh posted 04-15-2002 08:44 AM ET (US)     Profile for jimh  Send Email to jimh     
Regarding the Radar Arch on a particular boat in CETACEA Page 02 and 15:

This one, like virtually everyone seen on a Whaler, is a custom welded aluminum arch, designed and installed by a fabricator.

Because these things are one-of-a-kind productions and are custom welded and fitted to the individual boat, they tend to be rather expensive, often costing $3,000 or more to have made and installed.

Personally, I think the arch is sloping the wrong direction on that particular one; to my eye, they look best when raked aft, not forward.

Marineac posted 04-15-2002 02:38 PM ET (US)     Profile for Marineac  Send Email to Marineac     
jimh - thanks for the information, it was very helpful.

The boat that I am looking at has its original engine with about 950 hours on it. Any sense whether this is high or low for a 1987? I have asked the seller if he has all the maintenance documents for the boat and engine, but he does not. Given that it has an I/O, I would hate to buy the boat and then have to put a new engine in it.

Your thoughts or anyone elses thoughts are more than welcome.

Thanks again.

David Ratusnik posted 04-15-2002 02:56 PM ET (US)     Profile for David Ratusnik  Send Email to David Ratusnik     
Marineac- I am quite familiar with the 5.7-350 IO set up you are looking at in the Whaler. Had one for 4 years in a 23' Chris Craft. If the engine has done service in salt water, watch out. What goes bad very rapidly are the exhaust manifolds and risers. The water jackets plug up, then overheat- you know the rest. The Merc Alpha is much more reliable and better engineered than the Cobra OMC that I suffered with. Frankly the engine you are looking at is probably a replacement itself times ???. The good news as jimh points out is that the engine is less expensive to replace than an outboard. You couldn't give me one of those 5.7 IO set ups after experiencing a large outboard on my Whaler. .03 David
Bigshot posted 04-15-2002 03:48 PM ET (US)     Profile for Bigshot  Send Email to Bigshot     
long blocks are cheap ($2k). Total replacements are cheaper than a 70hp. 950 is oK. Expect about 1500 in fresh water with regular maintenance. Have a mechanic give it a survey, especially if not familiar with them. If owner balks to mechanic....walk away. I would factor in manifolds and risers $800+ if no idea when replaced.

Wait till it blows and drop a 454 in you're cooking with fire.

Marineac posted 04-15-2002 04:23 PM ET (US)     Profile for Marineac  Send Email to Marineac     
Thanks for the information guys. I know the boat has been in fresh water since new, but it will be moving East and operated in some salt water if I make the purchase.

Please excuse my lack of knowledge, but I have a few more questions.

Can someone give me a range that I am looking at if I want to completely re-equip the boat with a new engine and outdrive? Bigshot noted that a long block would cost approximately $2k. Any idea about the cost of a new outdrive, installation, etc?

I was also wondering if anyone had any idea what a boat in this condition would sell for. I think the price being asked is a little high. (around $20k)

Bigshot posted 04-15-2002 04:40 PM ET (US)     Profile for Bigshot  Send Email to Bigshot     
$, don't walk away.

Is this the one on E_bay?

Marineac posted 04-15-2002 05:03 PM ET (US)     Profile for Marineac  Send Email to Marineac     
No, actually it is not listed on ebay. Personally, I think the boat is worth between $9-11K. That is what I would pay for it.

Do you think the fact that it is a commercial hull makes any difference either positive or negative?

I have been looking for a 1980's commerical hull and their are hard to find. The ones I have seen are either too expensive or they have been beat to death.

Taylor posted 04-15-2002 05:36 PM ET (US)     Profile for Taylor  Send Email to Taylor     
See have some examples of prices of radar arches.

David Ratusnik posted 04-15-2002 06:20 PM ET (US)     Profile for David Ratusnik  Send Email to David Ratusnik     
Marineac- I totally agree with your assessment between 9-11K. It's a hull price if the hull is descent. When the seller tells you how great the engine runs ask that he keep it and just offer the 9K for the hull. I believe the seller has a problem due to the way the boat is powered. Rec- Rework the transom (close it up), put on a bracket for twin outboards, repower with outboards to about 300 hp. .03 David
David Ratusnik posted 04-15-2002 06:32 PM ET (US)     Profile for David Ratusnik  Send Email to David Ratusnik     
Marineac- Responding to your question re commerical vs recreational value. The boat is abit tougher all the way around then a recreational 22'. I almost bought a Gaurdian so I've been in your shoes. The big problem is the cost to make it look "pretty" like a recreational 22'. Paint in Awlgrip/Imron, new stainless bow rails, etc, etc is between 5K-7K doing some yourself. Puts you upside down as I see it. You are better off looking for a 22' recreational with viable power for about 14K-16K. See these every few issues in South FLA BoatTrader mags. (See Online). Many people (some on this Forum) over value these 22' OR's. They have gone done abit in value over the past few years and can be picked up right if you are patient. I agree with Biggs that 20K (or even 11K) is off the walls- Run don't walk--other fish in the sea. .03 David
Marineac posted 04-15-2002 07:30 PM ET (US)     Profile for Marineac  Send Email to Marineac     
David - I think you are right about the fact that the seller has a problem with the boat because of the way it is powered. It is my impression that most people that want that size whaler want to get one with an outboard motor.

The seller keeps talking up the boat, but he does not talk much about the engine. This makes me think that he is not thrilled himself with the I/O engine config and he would not be willing to split the two up and only sell me the hull.

As for you suggestion about re-doing the engine config. on the guardian I am looking at, how much work/expense am I looking at. Is it possible to get this done and have it look ok or are you talking about rigging a transom to the back of the boat like "Whale Lure" in the picture section of this site (nice boat.)

As for the commerical vs recreational line issue, I have been looking for a guardian because I have heard that they are a lot tougher and I like the more "bare bones" look. I want to customize it myself and feel better starting from scratch rather than taking off a lot of nice equipment and then having to add back on. I plan on buying and keeping this boat for a long time so I want it to be right when I make the purchase.

David Ratusnik posted 04-15-2002 08:08 PM ET (US)     Profile for David Ratusnik  Send Email to David Ratusnik     
Marineac- Plenty of IO set ups have been converted to outboard power on brackets over the years. Identify a quality tech/fiberglass guy in your area who has done several getting a quote. Fill in the drive hole. All the fuel lines and cables to the new hydraulic should come thru a relatively small hole above the waterline. Regarding the appearence, it will look fine. In fact, for offshore use, the big full transom is the way to go. I have a friend with an '85 Wellcraft who did just what I suggest. The boat is 25' with a Yam 250 off a home made 3' stainless bracket. He is a "pro" lobster bangstick fisherman. Big, tough, beefy set up. Nice thing about the full transom is you can hang a solid ladder to come in and out of. Your big problem as I see it is buying the hull right so as you don't get upside down. Walk if you can't buy close to 11K. Opinion, if he sells at 11K you telling him to keep the engine, -- he'll never pull the engine and you will have the whole set up as is. Otherwise, walk. You'll get burried. .03 David
Alan Hiccock posted 04-15-2002 08:34 PM ET (US)     Profile for Alan Hiccock  Send Email to Alan Hiccock     
Just beware of OMC outdrives { Cobra } they were recalled more then any drive in history { I had one took a loss on the boat after getting fed up}.
MERCRUISERS ARE GOOD DRIVES, this is one dept. Merc should be proud of.
Volvo/Volvo Cobra are too.
Full transom, Backing down on fish, no following seas ect..
Great weight displacement, { you'd be suprised how the engines weight smooths out the ride when it's located in the boat}
Cheaper, Same boat is always few hundred min. cheaper when sold with an I/O rather an outboard.
Easier to work on, basicilly its a marinized car engine 4 stroke {or diesel}.
Theres great deals on them.
Longblocks are cheap to replace.
Companys like Steigercraft still sell new boats with I/O's.

Disadvantages: The drive has to be pulled every 2 years at least, bellows , U joints, gimble bearings, have to be greased and replaced.
Zincs go faster because you cant tilt all drive the way out the water { every year have to change them}.
Oh & you cant tilt the drive all the way out the water, beats on the bellows to try anyway so dont even try.

I enjoyed my 20'Chris Craft IO for the short time I owned it, I'd buy another but a Mercruiser or Volvo draive, cant be more emphatic when I say Dont buy an OMC Cobra, Alan

jimh posted 04-15-2002 09:26 PM ET (US)     Profile for jimh  Send Email to jimh     
As for replacement costs of sterndrive propulsion, there are two big parts: the engine and the outdrive. I am no expert but it looks like you could spend about $3,000 in parts buy "rebuilt" devices for either side of the transom.

So for about $6,000 you have a new 250-HP engine. A new 250-HP outboard is about $14,000 these days.

Unlike outboard pricing--which seems to be kept a big secret--many I/O sellers advertise their pricing. You'll find them in most boating magazines. Look for a guy named DOUG RUSSELL, he usually has 2-3 pages of I/O repower ads.

This talk of $11,000 for a 22-foot commercial grade Whaler sounds, to me, on the low, low side. I think that is the Florida-salt-water sun-beaten boat-grave-yard price.

If you are looking at a clean, fresh water boat, well cared for, excellent condition, then 22-Whalers sell all the time for $17,000 or more.

The two items that are chronic problems with outdrives and engines: the rubber bellows and the exhaust manifolds.

You mention you are headed for salt water. Will you be trailering or keeping the boat in the water? That would be important.

A proposed rebuild to a full transom and bracket is expensive. Consider:

Bracket - $3,500
Rework transom - $2,000
Twin 150-HP outboards - $17,000
Rigging, controls, props, etc - $ 2,000
TOTAL - $25,500

Complete replacement of I/O and engine would probably be less than $7,000

Nobody ever went with outboard because they wanted to save money.

dgp posted 04-15-2002 09:59 PM ET (US)     Profile for dgp  Send Email to dgp     
For comparison purposes, retail price on a complete MerCruiser 350 MAG MPI Sterndrive package is $13,938. That includes engine, transom assembly and Aplha drive. No one pays retail price.
David Ratusnik posted 04-15-2002 10:55 PM ET (US)     Profile for David Ratusnik  Send Email to David Ratusnik     
Gentlemen- $26,000 (ask price plus 6K repower) for an old 22' Gaurdian is nuts. The problem is that with the late, late hull designs by Whaler, the just late (mid '90's) hull designed Whalers are driving down the value of the 80's OR's/Revenges. Face it, Whaler is making solid boats commanding big prices. The 90's boats in the middle make our 80's Whalers worth less. Certain of these 90's boats can be purchased "right." We can polish our 80's boats all we want but the values are going south. .03 David
David Ratusnik posted 04-16-2002 08:37 AM ET (US)     Profile for David Ratusnik  Send Email to David Ratusnik     
Marineac- e mail me if you want the phone number of the owner of the boat I describe.

6 months ago a friend (sells an occasional Whaler/SeaCraft) picked up a 1980's 25' Outrage with Cuddy for $9,000. Yes, had some oxidation- buffing compound and orbital took care of it. Has twin 140 Johnsons. He serviced plus rebuilt electrical in left handed one which was "lagging." Total $1,000. Engines are now dialed in. Boat came with a rather newish twin axle trailer-heavy tongue set up. The boat has an older T top with leaning post. The teak needs abit of TLC but it's all there. The fellow uses the boat as a tender for a Hat on trips to the Bahamas- obviously a reliable set up.

Since he has another smaller Whaler to use a tender, the 25'er is for sale. Compare the above to the "trouble" you are looking at. .03 David

Marineac posted 04-16-2002 12:02 PM ET (US)     Profile for Marineac  Send Email to Marineac     
jimh - the price that was first quoted for the 22' ft whaler was $20k. As I learned more about the boat, the price came down to $15k without even having to negotiate.

Based on research that I have done and what I would be willing to pay for that boat, I believe that I can get it for around $9-11k since the guy really seems to want to sell it.

As I said before, the boat has spent its entire life in fresh water, and even though I would sometimes be running it in salt water, the boat would be stored on a trailer when not in use.

Alan Hiccock posted 04-16-2002 06:34 PM ET (US)     Profile for Alan Hiccock  Send Email to Alan Hiccock     
Excellent points about the cost of a bracket conversion being "up there".
Also another thing to take into consideration is any outboard on a bracket over 100 HP or so will need hydraulic steering as well, man and that aint cheap!
Alan OUT!
zpeed7 posted 04-16-2002 11:02 PM ET (US)     Profile for zpeed7  Send Email to zpeed7     
You could always keep the sterndrive, lose the 5.7, and drop a new 4LH-STZE 230 HP Yanmar Diesel. It won't be that much heavier, and correctly geared and proped it'll probably be as fast if not faster. Besides, coupled the CDP hull, you wouldn't have a boat, you'd have a tank...


Bigshot posted 04-17-2002 01:03 PM ET (US)     Profile for Bigshot  Send Email to Bigshot     
If I was to repower it would either be a big block chevy and get that thing going 55+ or a 230 Yanmar with the bravo drive. Volvo also does a 230 diesel. That thing would be sick and only burn about 5gph.

I have an I/O and they are no big deal to maintain. I use it in salt but it is trailer kept. In your situation go for it. A repower down the road is cheaper than one v6 outboard powerhead.

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