Buying a used outboard motor may seem like a great way to save some cash while ultimately getting what you want; however, this is rarely the case as buying the wrong motor can quickly turn into an expensive affair.
Use these tips on buying used outboard motors to minimize your chances of ending up with a piece of junk.
Consider Your Needs
Before you even start looking for the right used outboard motor, it’s important that you start by finding out what you need. You need to decide whether you want a used motor because it suits your needs, or simply because it represents a cheaper buy. If you have no motor repair skills, you will find that buying a cheap used motor that’s not running might turn out to be much more expensive that you previously thought as most used motors require some level of repair.
As such, be sure to look for a running motor, if it’s exactly what you want, instead of bargain hunting, only to realize later that you made a poor decision at the end of it all.
If you want a used motor to be used in a restoration project, then you can afford to buy one that’s been sitting, unused for years. It normally costs more, in terms of repair costs and time spent, to complete a restoration job.
Once you have an idea of what you need, you can then move on to the next step.
The brand of the used motors you will be considering for purchase has a huge bearing on just how well they suit your needs. It’s always best for you to choose popular current brands, as the chances of finding spare parts are better.
Choosing a lesser known brand can be disastrous as their spare parts may not be readily available. It’s also best to avoid used outboard motors produced by brands that dominated the retail chain store market decades ago, as they may have shut down operations or are no longer carried by the stores. Chances are that, even with an identifying model number, the current employees will have no idea what you are talking about.
Ascertaining The Year Of Manufacture/Age
Before you purchase a used outboard, make sure that you ask the owner for its year of manufacture. If a certain motor catches your eye, but the owner or seller is unable to provide the model number you might have to find out its age out on your own. This can be done online, using its model and serial number; just ask the owner to provide you with these details. The main rule of thumb here is to avoid anything that’s older than three decades.
Although some manufacturers make it easier for consumers to find out such information, you may have to work harder in some cases.
Inspecting Used Outboard Motors
Avoid Stolen Merchandise
When it comes to buying used outboard motors, it’s important that you steer of any stolen merchandise, especially if you are dealing with individuals claiming to be owners. This will help you avoid running into unnecessary and serious trouble further down the line.
A missing serial and model number plate should be enough to raise a red flag. Broken transom clamps may also be considered to be an indication of the same. If the serial and model number plate is still attached, you can ask a dealer who specialises in servicing motors of the same brand, or local law enforcement authorities to run a check and see whether any reports have been filed on the same.
Taking a look under the cowling will give you a lot of insight into the condition of a used motor. Numerous scratches on the cowling’s exterior combined with missing or broken parts underneath may indicate that the motor has taken quite a beating during its previous use.
Checking for any paint discoloration or burns under the cowling, around the upper parts of the block right behind the flywheel, will also give you an indication of whether the motor has any overheating issues; which can cause severe damage to internal components such as pistons. This is not a good sign, as it indicates issues with the water pump.
A damaged impeller will easily kill a motor. As such, it’s essential that you find out whether the used motor you are about to buy has a new impeller; you can ask for a receipt to ascertain the age of the impeller. These components are cheap, but ignoring them can cause costly or irreparable damage.
The working condition of the motor’s water pump is closely related to this point as well. Ensure that the water pump puts in a steady stream of water through the outboard water indicator. Note that tap water will still by pass the water pump, even its defective, when running the engine in a barrel with muffs.
Ascertain the used motor’s compression numbers before making any commitments. When looking at motor’s with more than one cylinder, they should be above 80 percent, and close to even, any difference above 10 percent will require expensive repairs; be sure to use a compression tester for this. If you are not sure about these numbers, you can conduct a visual inspection of the pistons by removing the exhaust and bypass covers. In most cases, you can spot any damage to the rings and pistons by looking through these ports with the help of a flashlight.
The gearbox is one of the major parts of any motor. Be sure to test as the motor is running as doing so when it’s not running may cause damage.
Check whether the used motor you are about to buy has any oil in it, and any oil streaks that may point toward the presence of a leak. Any oil streaks on the lower part of the unit indicate a leaky washer beneath the drain plug screw; alternatively, it might mean that the motor has a leaky shaft seal. Check for contamination in the gearbox oil by flipping the lower gear case plug swiftly; the presence of milky streaks indicate water contamination.
If the gearbox has no oil inside, just move on to the next option; as there might be extensive damage in the moving parts of the unit.
Buying A Used Outboard Motor Online
All the above tips will prove useful when buying used outboard motors in person, however if you will be buying online, then you will need to rely on crystal clear images and videos of the same.
It’s also important to consider the packaging and shipping implications and costs of buying used outboard motors online. Be sure to add these separate costs to the final figure so as to have a clear idea of how much the unit you choose will cost.