It is very difficult to find reliable second hand boat motors for an affordable price that won’t require some sort of repairs. If you don’t have the know how or capabilities to do the repair work on your own, you are probably much better off purchasing a motor that is in perfect condition.
If you have made the decision to conduct the repairs, then you should invest in a Factory Service manual for that specific model, because Aftermarket Manuals that cover a variety of models and years are usually a waste as they are just too general. If you have a tight budget, and you are prepared to invest the time into a second-hand boat motor it is very possible to restore the motor so that it performs well.
Before you decide to buy a used motor, the first question you need to ask is when last the water-pump impeller had been changed. If the seller has not changed this part in a while, it is highly advisable to buy a new one and have it installed. An impeller is cheap, but a motor is not. In addition, bad impellers are associated with killing a motor.
When it comes to brands the used OMC (Gale/Evinrude/ Johnson) motors are a lot more user friendly for the average mechanic compared to the older Force/Mercury motors. In addition, aftermarket, replacement parts are more readily available for OMCs, due to the quantities that these motors have made.
In addition, OMC has just about standardized the interchangeability in regards to the electronics over the years, which means the used OMC models have a lot less “No Longer Available” parts that makes them a lot more easier and reliable to keep operational.
Here are a few considerations to keep in mind before you buy reliable second hand boat motors:
• Does the motor match up to your requirements, or maybe it is just a really low price? Any of the non-running motors are not regarded as a worthwhile investment if you are not versed in motor repairs.
• Is the brand a well-known and established or has it been made by one of the more recent production manufacturers. It is best to avoid a motor from the manufacturers that are lesser known, where you may struggle to find spare parts. Conduct your own research before you part with your cash.
• Keep in mind that when the manufacturers serial or model number-plate happens to be missing or when the transom clamps have been broken off, the possibility is high that the motor has been stolen. Even when the motor has a plate, it is still suggested to run this number through a marine dealer in your area that specializes in the repairs for this brand to make sure the motor was not stolen.
• Ask what year the motor was made in. If the owner is unsure, ask for the serial and model number so you can find out for yourself. OMC has a great date and model code. The Yamaha motors also has date codes in the model-numbering system that they use. Mercury sometimes makes use of serial numbers, but these are not always readily available. An Internet search is the best place to start. It is advisable to stay away from motors made before 1980 due to parts availability that is usually lacking.
• Ask when last the motor was in use and does the motor run? You should also ask if the motor starts easily in cold conditions. If you are going through a mail-order sale, you need to ask the seller to send you a video to prove that the motor is in a running condition.
• To ensure you are buying reliable second hand boat motors you should also look at the internal condition of the spark plugs. If they have a grey color and are dry and clean on the ceramic and electrode this is a good sign. If there is there is black carbony-oil, this is a usually a bad sign and is associated with broken or seized rings. Another thing to look out for is water intrusion which is a leaky or blown head gasket. The piston head, spark plug and cylinder will look “stem cleaned” in comparison to the opposite cylinder. While you have the spark plugs out you should also crank the motor over to ensure the pistons are facing up so you can look inside the cylinder using a flashlight to make sure they look the same.
• Look at the overall physical condition under and outside the cowling, missing or broken parts, paint that has been badly scratched. It is very possible that the rest of the motor parts that you can’t see will be in a similar condition.
• Any history is of importance, such as who owned the motor, any repairs previously conducted and so forth. The owner might tell you that he purchased a larger boat or he hasn’t used the motor in years. Be aware when the seller tells you they are selling the motor on behalf of a friend and they are unable to provide any information about the motor.
Finally, take the time to look over the outboard to make sure that it is complete. You should have an idea at this stage about what needs attention, which can assist you in making an informed buying decision.