When it comes to buying used outboard motors, there are a few considerations to keep in mind, to avoid purchasing a costly anchor or perhaps a motor that someone is selling in order to avoid a costly repair. Below are a few tips to consider before parting with your hard-earned money.
1. If possible, take the boat out on a sea trial. During the trial, run the motor on cruise-speed for a minimum of 10 minutes, and listen if the motor is idling smoothly. It is also advisable to observe the way the motor responds to the throttle and through the various RPM ranges.
2. If the seller is unable to offer a sea trial, the bidding price should be lowered accordingly. At this stage you should be asking the seller if they are prepared to give you some form of a written warranty.
3. When it is possible to listen to the outboard motor running on top of a stand, you will find out if the motor will start easily, but when it comes to the multiple cyclinder-2 stroke motors, it is close to impossible to find out if all of the cylinders are able to run, and even a harder task if they are able to perform their tasks. When the motor is running listen for any unexpected sounds. If you do hear any strange noises you have a right to be suspicious about the sale.
When buying used outboard motors, here are essential things to look for:
Take out all of the spark plugs followed by taking compression readings for each cylinder. The readings should be typically be above 100 Psi on each one, and within a minimum of 10 PSI, with the ideal been between 2 to 5 from one another. The more healthy cross flows should be around 125, and the loopers around 140.
• Spark Test
Take out all the spark plugs, followed by connecting a spark-tester. All the sparks should jump a 3/8 gap at the start-motor RPM.
• Lower Unit Check
Remove the drain plug in the lower unit and make sure that the oil is free from metal deposits and water. Also make sure that the shift-operation is without binding. If the oil is a milky white it means that there is a water intrusion issue.
• Ignition Components
It is important to inspect as well as test all the ignition components for any signs of damages. Make sure you also inspect the wiring for wear or deterioration on the insulation. Check on the spark-plug boots, and the under-flywheel coils when visible for any signs of damage or over-heating.
• Fuel Components
Check on the all the pumps, filters, hoses and fuel-lines for any signals of leaks. Make sure you check if any of the gaskets and rubber have not deteriorated. Remove the air-silencer and check on the carburetor linkage. Other checks include inspecting that the throttle plates are synchronized. The last step involves pressurizing the fuel-system to check for any leaks.
• Propeller And The Lower Unit
Start by visually inspecting the propeller for any damages. Now remove the propeller so that you are able to check on the shaft seals for any signs of damages.
• Gear Case Lubrication
Drain out the old gear-case lubricant and inspect for signs associated with water intrusion. If you decide to buy the outboard motor, ensure that you refill the gear-case using fresh lubricant.
Make sure that none of the fasteners are loose on the motor. At the same time check on the cylinder head-bolts to ensure the correct torque.
• If there is a Trim and Tilt present, test that it operates up and down.
• Inspect for any metal parts that are broken.
• Ask the owner or yourself why the motor is up for sale. There may be a reason that the seller is hiding.
Check on the engine for paint that is peeling or is peeled around the area of the head. This is a sign that the engine has been run-hot, and you will want to avoid buying used outboard motors from this seller. If the paint work is faded, then the motor is probably okay.
• Abused Or Used?
People who look after their things along with regular services, usually care for their things. If the boat or the motor appears neglected, then it is likely that regular maintenance was probably never done.
• Ask For The Service Bills
It is difficult to never take a chance when it comes to buying used outboard motors. But when buying a used motor, the above tips can help you avoid buying a dud.
• Ask The Seller To Crank It Up
If they crank the motor without any water, avoid buying it. If they put muffs on, make sure that the motor sounds okay.
If you have decided to go through with the sale, it is always advisable to replace the existing water pump, change the gear oil and have a tune-up done. If the outboard motor has passed all these tests, it should provide you with a good service. Most experts stress that when buying a used outboard motor to conduct a water-test, particularly for the late-model outboards, where prices are usually quite high.
You will want to avoid buying used outboard motors for 4 figures without actually seeing the motor perform on an actual boat out on the water. The older outboards, where you are prepared to spend a bit more to bring the motor back to a tip-top condition, is an entirely different matter. In most cases, they are no longer connected to a boat, so checks mentioned in the 2nd part, is usually all you will be able to do. However, in most cases the price will not be as high.
Where To Buy
The safest place for buying used outboard motors is from dealers that offer a 3 to 6-month warranty, and even better when you know the dealer or seller, or someone has given an honest recommendation.
Your next option for buying a used outboard motor is from boat owners you have either met while on the waters, or someone that is member of your sailing, boating or local fishing club. It is unlikely that you will find faulty used outboard motors which have been purchased from a boat forum. For example, if you own a Shetland you can post or ask on a Shetland Owners forum if anyone is selling outboards.
The other options can include ex-commercial engines which are in most cases sold by companies on websites such as outboards and boats with most offering an included full-service history.
If none of the above is a possibility and you have decided to approach the private sellers, it is important to practice extreme caution as even though there may be a lot of honest sellers, there are many people who have been caught by a “so called” bargain from sites like eBay only to discover they have bought a piece of junk. Keep in mind, that if you do decide to buy through a site like eBay, you will not be able to receive a refund if you find your purchase is faulty.
If you have decided that you want to buy online, then the safest method would be to pay through PayPal and arrange for a courier company to deliver your goods. In this way a site like eBay will offer you with a refund if the product is not what it was described as.