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Old 04-04-2003, 06:43 PM   #1
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Default Outboards vs Inboard Outboards

I am about to buy my first boat, a Pursuit Denali. with inboard/outboard power. I would have preferred an outboard, probably because that's what so many of the local boaters use, but overall, the Denali simply provides more of what I'm looking for than any comparable outboard. The boat will spend about 6 months of the year in the water and tilting the motor up out of the water looks like the sensible thing to do. I would love to hear from owners who have made the switch from outboard to i/o or the other way around. Is the i/o (mine's a Volvo Penta) something to be worried about for a boat that has to live in the water? Thanks. Peter
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Old 04-04-2003, 07:41 PM   #2
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Default Outboards vs Inboard Outboards

If you are going to leave it in salt, I/Os are a lot more maintenance. You have to make sure the paint finish is good and also maintain an antifouling paint on it. Also you must make sure the zincs are in good shape as well. You have a big corrosion prone hunk of alumimum in the water and the IO cannot be tilted all the way out of the water. For one thing the drive sysetm in an IO is a lot more complicated than in an OB--2 right angle power transfers instead of one, and also you have the u-joints. At a mimimum the drive has to be pulled once a year to grease the u-joints. The Volvo SX is a good, smooth shifting outdrive.
Now on the plus side an IO engine is a cheaper and simpler car engine, cheaper by far to replace than an OB.But then again it is more maintenance, more work to winterize unless you get closed cooling. And some IOS are a real bear to work on becasue of poor access. Also, the manifolds have to be replaced every 5 years or so in salt water I'm doing this on my OMC Cobra now, parts alone are about 750.
I like the simple car engine, but for my next boat I might consider a 4 stroke OB because I leave it on a mooring from May to Oct in salt.
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Old 04-04-2003, 08:11 PM   #3
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Default Outboards vs Inboard Outboards

You will never tilt an I/O out of the water. You lose cockpit space, a very important part of a smaller boat. You risk gas fumes explosions.

They used to get better mileage, but no longer. They used to be quieter but no longer.

If it's all that comes with the boat of your choice. Rejoice and go boating.
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Old 04-04-2003, 08:38 PM   #4
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Default Outboards vs Inboard Outboards

There are lots of threads on this topic !

As already mentioned, I/O in salt water means high maintenance bill. Expect things like exhaust manifolds and risers to only last a few years when your boat is stored for extended periods in salt water.

Volvo's new composite outdrive is a step in the right direction, but doesn't solve all salt water issues.
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Old 04-04-2003, 11:17 PM   #5
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Default Outboards vs Inboard Outboards

I would look at other boats. If the boat were to be trailer or lift/davit-kept, it'd be "OK" (still would prefer outboard for saltwater), but esp. since it will be in the water so much... no thanks.

We had pretty constant problems (of various kinds) with our I/O boat; very few with all following outboard-powered rigs.

Also, a couple friends at work that have I/O powered boats spend MUCH more per year than I do on maint (not because of the size difference, but because they're I/Os).

Ed P., St. Pete., FL
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Old 04-05-2003, 03:45 AM   #6
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Default Outboards vs Inboard Outboards


Where are you going to be using the boat? You say 6 months a year in the water and that sounds a lot like the northeast. While I can't speak for other parts of the country there are a lot of people up here that have raw water cooled I/O's left in the water with little to no problems. I have had some corrosion problems with trim cylinders but my engine is also a mid 70's Mercruiser 888. I would think the newer models (maybe other than bravo3) would be better protected, and I've really heard nothing bad about the volvo's. I enjoy my I/O and am pretty sure my next boat will either be an I/O or straight inboard. I really like the 24 Denali and have put it on my list for when I start shopping. Regarding the maintenance issue, more than one mechanic has told me that the annual cost to maintain a new fuel injected outboard has risen to about the same level as the yearly maintenance on an i/o. Also someone wrote about gas fumes is a remote risk but if you regularly check your engine (look for leaks, smell for fumes, etc.) you shouldn't have a problem. Although the Pursuit has a self bailing deck, keep a close eye on the bilge, because sloshing water will ruin a starter. Good luck with your Denali...
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Old 04-05-2003, 07:01 AM   #7
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Default Outboards vs Inboard Outboards

I went from an old, loud, thirsty, smelly outboard to a boat with an I/O. I have a 24' boat with a Merc and Bravo III. I've been real diligent about zincs and outdrive paint as well as oil changes etc. 350+ hours and no problems so far. The denali probably has an automatic blower to reduce the risk of the gasoline explosion. I would say that would be only a small concern. For a fisherman it comes down to the box is either in your way for the style of fishing you do or it's not. I flyfish so I stand on it and it works great for me. The engine is economical, quiet, powerful and ther is no smell. I think the boat rides very well with this setup also. I heard all the same arguments for and against when I was making my decision and I haven't regretted it as of yet.
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Old 04-05-2003, 08:22 AM   #8
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Default Outboards vs Inboard Outboards

I would look into a me it would be worth the extra couple of grand. The reason I now own an inboard is partly due to owning and keeping an i/o in saltwater!! Been there, done that and won't do it again.

The Denali is a very nice boat, and the boat lift will also help keep it very nice. Think about it, no annual bottom paint!! The lift will pay for itself in just a few years on the maintenance you will save. And resale will be better...far better. Without the bottom paint and the corroded up (painted up, whatever) outdrives. The boat will just look better....look around at the marinas at boats on dry dock that are kept in the water with i/o's and you will see what I am talking about.

If not an option, then stay on top of the maintenance of the outdrives..

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Old 04-05-2003, 08:32 AM   #9
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Default Outboards vs Inboard Outboards

Here in LI most people who keep them in the water are running either OBs or straight inboards, but there are a number of IOs floating around on moorings. When I was down in Ocean City MD last summer I noticed that many condos that had boat docks also had boat lifts, now I know why!!
Since that is not an option for me, I will stick with the IO for now and do the maintenance, but strongly consider either OB or straight inboard for the next one.
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Old 04-05-2003, 08:38 AM   #10
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Default Outboards vs Inboard Outboards

as mentioned above, I've never seen an I/O raised out of the water. They are too low.
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Old 04-07-2003, 10:24 AM   #11
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Default Outboards vs Inboard Outboards

I had a Volvo/Penta IO on my old boat. Now I have and outboard. The IO nickle and dimed me to death. I also like the fact that, with an OB, the engine is not sitting in the bilge where water likes to collect. Even the condensation in a marine environment will rust everything to crap. With an OB you don't have to worry so much about shallow water. The boat will also be lighter (especially with a 2-stroke OB). If you get a little too shallow with an OB, just trim her all the way up and push it into deeper water. The IO might end up becoming an anchor. I've also heard of the water getting into the transom around the outdrive. If you run aground with the IO you might rip a nice hole in the stern. Say no to the IO. If you want an internal engine, get a straight inboard. IOs are for families to go tubing on lakes.

Scott Meier
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Old 04-07-2003, 10:38 AM   #12
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Default Outboards vs Inboard Outboards

just my 2 cents

With the outboard the engine is totally in the open and separated from the fuel and thus they are safer than systems where the engine and fuel are in the same enclosed area.

PS I have both OBs and IBs.
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Old 04-07-2003, 11:04 AM   #13
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Default Outboards vs Inboard Outboards

My two cents.......

I just sold my 24' w/Volvo DP and replaced it with a 24' CC twin outboard While I had no major problems with the I/O I am tickled pink with the outboards. I know fuel costs will be much higher, but I fish a lot of skinny water and am much more comfortable with the OB's.

Because my old motor sat low in the bilge and I did not have a self bailing cockpit, my big problem was starters, 3 in 3 seasons. It was very frustrating.

You will probably not have any problems with Volvo, I have had 5 and never had a major mechanical problem with the outdrives they seemed bullet proof. Good Luck...


I'd rather die while I'm living than live while I'm dead...
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Old 04-07-2003, 11:28 AM   #14
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Default Outboards vs Inboard Outboards

Almost all outboards are designed for a marine enviroment (i.e. no ferrous fasteners, SS and aluminum exposed parts), where I/O's are auto or truck engines (NOT designed expressly for marine environments). This includes many with cast iron blocks, many external accessories which are steel or iron (starter, alternator, oil pan, fuel pump, exhaust manifold, plus the fasteners and brackets associated with the bold on stuff). In a salt water environment, that stuff starts to corrode pretty soon after the boat is launched. No thanks!

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Old 04-07-2003, 12:10 PM   #15
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Default Outboards vs Inboard Outboards

I have an I/O and yes, there is more maintenance, but I think it's a bit exaggerated. I have an alpha outdrive - the cheaper one. I leave it in the saltwater, drive down, shorepower plugged in, and change the anodes once a season. The boat stays in for about 5 1/2 to 6 months of the year.
There are plenty of old outdrives in our marina that are a lot more neglected than mine and are still running.
Here's my yearly maintence [remember alphas have permalube u-joints, so you can't/don't grease them]:
1)pull prop, grease it, put it back
2)grease engine coupler & gimbal ring
3)change zincs
4)change lower unit lube
5)[optional] pull outdrive off and store it in my basement for the winter. This serves 2 purposes, to make sure it comes off easily if I ever need it, and to prevent theft.
6)Every five years or so, change the bellows, and likely the manifolds & risers.

I don't leave it tilted up since this puts a lot of strain on the bellows.

Yes, there is more work than an outboard, and the winterization is a little different, but I think as the story gets repeated enough, people seem to think that there is a huge amount of additional maintenance - it's not that bad. Also, depending on the model, on some boats the cockpit area lost by the i/o's doghouse isn't too much more than the space lost to the splashwell for the outboard.
Also, the I/O has the weight a lot lower and further forward, and there's no oil to mix.

All that said, if my boat came with both as an option, and the cost was similiar, I still may go for an outboard, but the disparity isn't as large as some may have you think.
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Old 04-07-2003, 12:43 PM   #16
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Default Outboards vs Inboard Outboards

The biggest problem with outboards, in my opinion, is having to clear 4+ feet of transom and motor with your fishing lines. You can only effectively fish off one side of the boat or the other. I'm not sure how you tell a thrashing tuna that he has to stay on the port or starboard side of the boat!!
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Old 04-07-2003, 12:43 PM   #17
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Default Outboards vs Inboard Outboards

the thing that gets people started with the I/0 is the lower initial cost--
For ex I checked into what a new 4.3 engine+outdrive package would cost for my Four Winns--using the 4.3+the Volvo SX single prop, about $8500--how much would an OB of comparable power output cost??
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Old 04-07-2003, 01:09 PM   #18
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Default Outboards vs Inboard Outboards

I wonder how the fuel efficiency of the injected I/O unit compares to a four stroke outboard? Say, the Chevy V6 for instance. Anybody know of a site that gives fuel burn specs? Having a lift makes either style feasible but I kinda choke up when I check the prices on the four stroke outboards.
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Old 04-07-2003, 01:15 PM   #19
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Default Outboards vs Inboard Outboards

after doing some checking is seems like 175s are about 13K, 200s are more like 14-15K, so that is what keeps people with the IO even though they may be more trouble in the long run.
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Old 04-07-2003, 02:01 PM   #20
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Default Outboards vs Inboard Outboards

I/O I/o off to the mechanic we go ! One of my clients told me that his I/o customers were his bread and butter because they always have annoying problems after about 2 years in the salt.The average boat owner dosnt have a clue about how to maintain them even though they are car motors marinized.
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