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Author Topic:   Counter-rotating Engines in Single Engine Installations
Cole posted 01-26-2004 09:23 PM ET (US)   Profile for Cole   Send Email to Cole  
My local dealer has a good price on a new 200 but it is a counter-rotating model. For my single motor application on my 2000 Outrage 18 should I care? I was going to buy a new prop anyway, so that's not a concern. Is there any reason to not put a counter rotating outboard on my boat?
jimh posted 01-26-2004 10:45 PM ET (US)     Profile for jimh  Send Email to jimh     
A Counter-rotating engine may limit your propeller choices, particularly if you need a propeller in a hurry. It would be prudent to always have a spare with you.

If the discount on the purchase price is attractive, it may pay for the propellers you'll have to buy.

Cole posted 01-27-2004 12:23 AM ET (US)     Profile for Cole  Send Email to Cole other than the stated prop reason to not go with a counter rotating single that correct?
Tom W Clark posted 01-27-2004 12:30 AM ET (US)     Profile for Tom W Clark  Send Email to Tom W Clark     

The only other consideration is the propellor torque will be reversed which may have an effect on how the boat leans. Most small boats tend to list to port because of the propellor torque. This is why the helm has historically been placed on the starboard side of the boat.

While I doubt a 2000 Outrage 18 will suffer very much from propellor torque, using a counter rotating outboard may make the boat list to starboard, especially if some provisions have already been made for a list to port, i.e. placing more weight to starboard (like a battery or two) to counteract this list.

Or a transducer may be mounted on the port side which normally would counteract the propellor torque but with a counter rotating motor a transducer in this position could exacerbate a list.

Cole posted 01-27-2004 06:30 AM ET (US)     Profile for Cole  Send Email to Cole     
Thanks Tom...I was thinking the same on the list issue. The funny thing is all my lake boats (sit down seating configuration) with outboards always had the helm on the far starboard you mentioned to counter-act the list to port. But with the Whaler...the helm is to the port side...granted I'm splitting hairs because it's a center console but nonetheless it's more to the port side then for the batteries, they're centered deep beneath the center console. At WOT I do get a fairly aggressive list to port which I control with my if anything a counter-rotating engine may help.

You've provided some very good useful info...thank you. So far no real compelling reason to not go with the counter-rotating

Peter posted 01-27-2004 07:32 AM ET (US)     Profile for Peter  Send Email to Peter     
If you have tabs, I wouldn't worry about a single counter rotation induced starboard list.
lhg posted 01-27-2004 02:40 PM ET (US)     Profile for lhg    
Since it's an "oddball" setup, what will it do to your resale value? AS for performance implications, you might check with George Nagy here, who has done this on his Classic 18 Outrage, with OMC 150.

What is your brand? I'm not sure this can be done with a Mercury?

Peter posted 01-27-2004 05:57 PM ET (US)     Profile for Peter  Send Email to Peter     
Why is that Larry, no single lefty binacle controls?
lhg posted 01-27-2004 07:19 PM ET (US)     Profile for lhg    
I had heard that, Peter. But I'm not sure, and was wondering if someone familiar with Merc controls would know if a single control box could be adapted to the left hand gear box.
Mumbo Jumbo posted 01-27-2004 08:29 PM ET (US)     Profile for Mumbo Jumbo  Send Email to Mumbo Jumbo     
I have a 1989 18' Outrage powered with a counter-rotating 1999 Yamaha 150 two stroke. There are no rigging issues that I am aware of except the opposite side mounting of a transducer for a depth sounder. I can discern no difference in the handling of my Whalter other than the fact that the engine torque is opposite that of a conventional engine.
David Ratusnik posted 01-27-2004 09:21 PM ET (US)     Profile for David Ratusnik  Send Email to David Ratusnik     
Like lhg, consider it's an "odd ball" set up. That's why
the engine is priced right. Once on your boat, the whole situation is "odd ball."-- and kills resale. I've been thru it all-- had a nice deal on a Evinrude 225, found out it had a R/R left handed lower unit. Returned it pronto.
IMHO go with a right handed set up. David
Mumbo Jumbo posted 01-28-2004 08:50 PM ET (US)     Profile for Mumbo Jumbo  Send Email to Mumbo Jumbo     
All this "oddball" business makes no sense. No one on this thread has pointed out any meaningful reason to avoid buying a Whaler with a counter-rotating engine. We've got people fallling all over themselves touting the benefits of some E-Tec engine no one has seen or used yet a counter-rotating engine -in which the only difference is a set of reversed gears in the gear case- is an "oddball" unworthy of consideration. It is illogical. I don't thing most informed buyers care which way the prop rotates since there is no down side that I'm aware of.
Royce posted 01-28-2004 09:46 PM ET (US)     Profile for Royce  Send Email to Royce     
I just sold my 1996 Outrage 20 that I had re-powered with a left hand rotating 200hp Yamaha HPDI. Their were no handling problems (or noticeable differences) from the right hand motor that I replaced. The counter-rotating motors (200 hp) cost about $750 more and I have been told by a Yamaha mecahic that the lower ends last longer. When I originally asked the same questions as Cole to our bay area BW dealer he said that it made no difference. As to resale--it had no effect what so ever on the sale of my boat--the buyer thought it novel that the boat was faster in reverse!
lhg posted 01-28-2004 10:00 PM ET (US)     Profile for lhg    
So is what I am reading is that for the last 80 years of single engine powerboating, including invention of the Outboard, some guy just tossed a coin and happened to come of with "right hand" prop rotation as the way to go?

Our cars are driven from the left. As a kid, I always thought it was crazy that the wooden classic speedboats of Chris Craft, Century., etc were steered from the right. It made no sense to confuse Americans like this. Shouldn't boats be driven similar to cars? Left hand prop rotation would have accomplished this, since we know boats are steered from the side where your body weight counters list from prop torque?

So why did they do this crazy right hand steering and right hand prop rotation, like those crazy British have??? Sure makes no sense to me. Or does it?

Tom W Clark posted 01-28-2004 10:16 PM ET (US)     Profile for Tom W Clark  Send Email to Tom W Clark     

I'm speculating here, but I suspect it has to do, not with outboard motors themselves, but with the tradition of propellors in general. The outboard motor was not just invented out of the blue. It was an evolution of other forms of marine propulsion which in turn evolved from yet other propulsion technologies.

I'd bet dollars to doughnuts that the reason why propellors have generally turned clockwise has to do with some steam engine inventor over 100 years ago being right handed or something like that.


I wouldn't worry abut resale in this situation. I'd be more concerned about Jim's propellor availability comment above.

cape_rover posted 01-29-2004 06:25 AM ET (US)     Profile for cape_rover  Send Email to cape_rover     
I don't think it is an odd ball setup. You have fewer prop choices with a counter rotating engine so you may have to buy a stainless prop as opposeted to an inexpensive aluminum prop.

I can't think of any reason a counter rotating engine would go faster in reverse :-]

Royce posted 01-29-2004 01:04 PM ET (US)     Profile for Royce  Send Email to Royce     
Cape- I was having a litttle fun at the end of my post. There are fewer props for counterrotaters--but how many do you need?
VMG posted 01-29-2004 02:00 PM ET (US)     Profile for VMG  Send Email to VMG     
I don't know if it applies to all counter-rotators, but if its a Yamaha you'll have slightly more fuel consumption than the RH rotator due to the extra gear.

If it were me, the rotation wouldn't be a difference in my buying decision.

kglinz posted 01-29-2004 02:31 PM ET (US)     Profile for kglinz  Send Email to kglinz     
My experience with counter-rotating engines is that they do use more fuel. I've had a Mercury and a Yamaha and both used more fuel, though I can see no reason for it. A counter-rotating Merc Opti 225 or Merc/Yam 225 4 Stroke don't have and "extra gear" (idler). The difference in the lower unit is how thrust bearings are setup. I suspect that no outboard has an idler gear.
lhg posted 01-29-2004 02:43 PM ET (US)     Profile for lhg    
Did the original decision to use right hand props have anything to do with the direction an internal combustion engine normally turns? I know at one time Carl Kiekaefer had a crazy idea that to incorporate reverse into an outboard, the way to accomplish it was to reverse the engine's direction. The idea never worked, and was quickly abandoned, but they did build a few to work that way.
kglinz posted 01-29-2004 02:43 PM ET (US)     Profile for kglinz  Send Email to kglinz     
On the question of Control boxes, I know on mine all that was required was to move the cable from the front of the Control to the rear to change direction of operation.
VMG posted 01-29-2004 02:51 PM ET (US)     Profile for VMG  Send Email to VMG     
Educate us on the CR thrust bearing set-up. My only point of reference is what the dealer and service manager told me when I asked about the difference in fuel consumption. I'd like to know more. I've got twin Yam 150 EFIs -- you can tell there's a mechanical difference just hand spinning the props.
kglinz posted 01-29-2004 02:53 PM ET (US)     Profile for kglinz  Send Email to kglinz     
The actual reversing of the engine was fairly common in early Diesel engine boats. To reverse the engine was shutoff and restarted in reverse.
kglinz posted 01-29-2004 03:13 PM ET (US)     Profile for kglinz  Send Email to kglinz     
The only book I have in front of me for details is a 225 4 Stroke book. The Counter Rotating unit bearings are setup as follows: Bearings for reverse gear(first gear in), thrust is a caged needle bearing and the gear carrier bearing is a gaged needle bearing. Forward gear is a tapered roller bearing. Standard rotation is as follows: Bearing for forward gear (first gear in) is a tapered roller. Reverse gear is a ball bearing.
kglinz posted 01-29-2004 03:53 PM ET (US)     Profile for kglinz  Send Email to kglinz     
Sorry I posted before I meant to. This bearing arrangement allows the prop shaft thrust to be transfered to a tapered roller bearing carring the forward gear in both cases, even though the standard rotation forward gear is in the front of the gearcase and the counter-rotation forward gear is in the back of the gearcase.
Whalerdan posted 01-30-2004 06:26 AM ET (US)     Profile for Whalerdan  Send Email to Whalerdan     

At the risk of sounding really stupid...

I wonder if you could swap the wires on the starter to make it run backwards thus making the motor start backwards. I know when I was a kid I got a motorcycle to run backwards (accidently) by rolling backwards down a hill.

george nagy posted 01-30-2004 11:21 AM ET (US)     Profile for george nagy  Send Email to george nagy     
As LHG mentioned I did repower with a counter rotating motor. I had bought a pair of engines and decided to sell the right hand rotating one thinking people would prefer it over the counter. I really couldn't care either way however the the counter rotating engine was newer (a few months) and had a new trim tilt assembly. It was lucky for me that the first guy to come look at the engine needed to replace his blown right hand engine.

All in all the motor performs quite the same as a right hand just lists to starboard now fronm the torque steer but I haven't made any adjustments yet as I'm still restoring the bottom.

As for resale value I wouldn't worry too much you are already saving on the engine so whatever discount you have now will likely cover any if any reduced resale value. There are already reduced numbers of your boat due to the limited production so maybe resale values will be greater anyway.

Good luck

george nagy posted 01-30-2004 11:26 AM ET (US)     Profile for george nagy  Send Email to george nagy     
Perhaps one of the decisions to put the helm to starboard on many early boats was due to the majority of right handed people. Control boxes were usually mounted and rigged through the gunnel and it is more compfortable to operate the throtle with your writing hand. Sorry lefties!
kglinz posted 01-30-2004 11:29 AM ET (US)     Profile for kglinz  Send Email to kglinz     
kglinz posted 01-30-2004 11:36 AM ET (US)     Profile for kglinz  Send Email to kglinz     
If you tried to start an old carb 2 stroke backwards it would run, but not well or long. The timing would be off (firing after TDC instead of before). The water pump wouldn't work.
hooter posted 02-18-2004 09:11 PM ET (US)     Profile for hooter    
Sad story: There used t'be a old feller woiked a crab rig out o' mah neighborhood. 'Cause of a good deal, he decided to buy a counter-rotated engine for his single-prop crab boat. What the poor sombich didn't count on was after 60 some odd years o' standin' behind the wheel o' his normally rotated boat, his right leg had shortened up conSID'rably. When he took the new counter rotatin' engin out for a test ride, and he gave that beast some throttle, why the boat heeled over in a completely new way, and this feller was long-legged on the wrong side o' his body for that set-up. And over the side he went. Feller couldn't swim and he drowned right there. So if you DO buy a counter rotated engine for a single engine configuration, make sure you know how to swim. Otherwise, ain't a reason in the woild NOT to do it:-!
dlmenius posted 02-18-2004 09:49 PM ET (US)     Profile for dlmenius  Send Email to dlmenius     
It all boils down to Coreolis effect. Lets say a fellow in Texas and a fellow in Mexico both toss a coin in the air, same time, same height. The ground under the Peso is taveling faster than the ground under the Quarter (see the angular velocity section of your physics book). The Peso, therefore, travels further in the air. This is why hurricanes and toilets in the northern hemisphere "rotate" CCW.

That said, this motor may significantly effect the resale value of the rig, BUT if you find a buyer in the southern hemisphere, the value would increase. I have heard that folks south of the equator are offended by the right-hand-rule mechanical convention that was imposed on them by the industrialized hemisphere to the north.

And who can argue with that?

kglinz posted 02-18-2004 11:39 PM ET (US)     Profile for kglinz  Send Email to kglinz     
Cool. You've found a difference in Texas and Mexico. I didn't think there was one.
hooter posted 02-18-2004 11:57 PM ET (US)     Profile for hooter    
Another dif'rence is they got better Mezcin food in Texas, hands down:-!
Cole posted 02-19-2004 12:33 PM ET (US)     Profile for Cole  Send Email to Cole     
Well...based on these last couple post I have decided to go with a standard rotating engine. I really got spooked by the story about the fisherman that drowned due to a counter-rotating engine.

OK...kidding aside I found a standard rotating engine for the same great price as the counter-rotating engine and decided to buy it (bought in Florida new...had to shipped to CA)

Based on this string I would not have hesitated to buy the counter rotating engine if that was my only option...but because the standard-rotating became available as an option...I think that is the obvious choice

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