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I have always shied away from I/O boats

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I have always shied away from I/O boats

Old 01-08-2020, 03:46 PM
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Default I have always shied away from I/O boats

More and more I see outboard boats at local marinas who leave the engines in the water while docked, I assume to cut down on the ever increasing slip fees. I have always thought I/O boats should not be wet slipped for no reason other than I always have had inboards or outboards and it just seemed to have all that gear sitting in the water while docked was wrong. The thing is there are some I/O boats out there that I really like.
School me;

What are the preventative steps to preparing an I/O for a season in the water?

How much does maintenance cost is added having an I/O boat slipped as opposed to trailering the boat?

Please add whatever else one should know with this type of boat.
Old 01-08-2020, 03:52 PM
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I never liked them but I bought a Albermarle with a Volvo and I have to say it was not a bad experience. Working on the engine was supper easy and I pulled the outdrive myself every 2 years. Its harder than a merc but not bad. i had to have the upper rebuilt at about 900 hours but its not unusual for a outboard to have issues. I kept in in the water all summer slipped. Would I buy another, NO but I loved the boat and there were none avail with outboards back then.
Winterizing was a bit more work and I worried when it got cold out if I would crack a block before I had it winterized. It was salt water cooled.. I changed starter a few times that sucked. I changed the Risers every 5-6 years and manifolds about 7-8. Bellows every 2-3 years but they were never bad.
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Old 01-08-2020, 03:54 PM
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hu boy.... 10 pages. mostly opinion, very few facts..
Old 01-08-2020, 05:27 PM
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Originally Posted by flukin nuts View Post
I never liked them but I bought a Albermarle with a Volvo and I have to say it was not a bad experience. Working on the engine was supper easy and I pulled the outdrive myself every 2 years. Its harder than a merc but not bad. i had to have the upper rebuilt at about 900 hours but its not unusual for a outboard to have issues. I kept in in the water all summer slipped. Would I buy another, NO but I loved the boat and there were none avail with outboards back then.
Winterizing was a bit more work and I worried when it got cold out if I would crack a block before I had it winterized. It was salt water cooled.. I changed starter a few times that sucked. I changed the Risers every 5-6 years and manifolds about 7-8. Bellows every 2-3 years but they were never bad.
This is very similar to my experience. I used to dry stack mine, but it was in the salt for most of the year this year and I ran it twice a day during the week, and often weekends as well. It was not flushed at any point.

The starter died after I got it back on the hard and let it sit for a month, but it had a hard life and wasn't new. The leg needed new u-joints but they were pretty old. The elbows will probably hold out for another season or two.

I would prefer the convenience of new outboard power but the setup I have works well even when wet slipped.

I don't feel as positive about the Merc equivalent. I could lose my bellows and nothing would happen but I understand that this is not the case on the Merc stuff.

People hate I/Os but my experience with the Volvo stuff has been good.
Old 01-08-2020, 05:59 PM
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Well they are more work there is no way around that, with pulling the drive yearly, anti fouling paint, maintaining anodes, etc. The benefit is the simpler and cheaper to repair inboard engine, vs modern outboards, but the draw backs are extra maintenance, corrosion concerns if there are stray currents in a marina, difficulty with access for service depending on boat design, etc. If you want low maintenance they may not be the thing for you, if on the other hand you are insulted by the absurdly high price of outboard engine parts, but you are familiar with small and big block GM marine engines, then you can save a lot of money on engine repairs and re-powers. Not a do-it-yourselfer? Stick with outboards.
Old 01-08-2020, 06:35 PM
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Originally Posted by wmalloy382 View Post
hu boy.... 10 pages. mostly opinion, very few facts..
Who's facts?
Old 01-08-2020, 07:27 PM
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I had twin Volvo 280s on a Formula back in the 80's. They were good outdrives. Also had other SBC powered I/O with another 280 Volvo outdrive. The one thing I remember was a pain was the tilt motor. They were trailered boats. After that, it was all outboards.
Old 01-08-2020, 07:40 PM
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I have owned 3 I / O boats out of several dozen. One slipped full time in the salt water--and had corrosion issues, even with good zinc maintenance. Second was on a boat only trailered and not issues. Third was lift kept, but in the water some days. Could not get all of the unit up out of the water, was a Bravo 3 drive. A small stick between the two props was its demise--at an idle, hurricane debris caught and caused gear damage. Also on all of the boats engine work was more difficult because of cramped space. I could not run the I/0 as well in shallow water, where I could trim up an outboard. Anything over an idle with the unit trimmed up will cause excessive wear on the gimble bearing. Only outboards from now on!
Old 01-08-2020, 08:41 PM
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A lot depends on the temperature of the water whether you can leave it in the water (with some effort). In New England, it's possible. In Florida, no way.
Old 01-08-2020, 08:44 PM
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Prefer inboards or outboards. But I/Os do have many of the advantages of both. And unfortunately also share some of the disadvantages of both. Seems in general they are the least expensive option therefore very popular especially for freshwater. Good Luck!
Old 01-08-2020, 08:44 PM
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Originally Posted by thataway View Post
I could not run the I/0 as well in shallow water, where I could trim up an outboard.
Why not? I can run as shallow as any outboard because the tilted drive clears the bottom of the boat. It sounds like your boats were not designed to allow that to happen. I have seen some boats like that when shopping for mine that could raise up no higher than 6 inches below the bottom.
Old 01-08-2020, 09:00 PM
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Originally Posted by cracked_ribs View Post
I don't feel as positive about the Merc equivalent. I could lose my bellows and nothing would happen but I understand that this is not the case on the Merc stuff.
There are just the two bellows on a Merc that are vulnerable. But the leak, even if either bellows was completely removed, would be just a trickle. Anyone who has pulled a Merc outdrive can realize this easily. Now, over a weeks time, that could sink a boat, but I would never keep any boat in the water without some kind of water alarm. Even mine, kept on a lift, has an alarm just in case it has to stay in the water sometime.
Old 01-08-2020, 09:40 PM
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I have an older Mercruiser 165 I/O. It’s easy to work on, I’ve got it in great shape and did it on a limited budget. Is it the best option maybe not for everyone but it’s a fine option for my needs.
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Old 01-08-2020, 09:46 PM
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Originally Posted by GaryDoug View Post
Why not? I can run as shallow as any outboard because the tilted drive clears the bottom of the boat. It sounds like your boats were not designed to allow that to happen. I have seen some boats like that when shopping for mine that could raise up no higher than 6 inches below the bottom.
And then along comes an OB rig with a jackplate and low water pickup....

I've had one I/O rig that reliably carried me all over the western Gulf and caught plenty of fish but OB's are ever so much easier to live with - no dog house in the way, much less fretting over gas in the bilge, no blower and no bellows to change/fail...ever.
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Old 01-08-2020, 09:52 PM
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Originally Posted by HTJ View Post
And then along comes an OB rig with a jackplate and low water pickup....
How is any of that going to help if the lowest part of the drive is already ABOVE the bottom? Jack it up all the much farther you want; it won't make any difference. Typical outboard owner response ;-)

I owned outboards for many decades. No more punishment for me, thank you very much.
Old 01-08-2020, 10:05 PM
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I have an older Mercruiser 165 I/O. It’s easy to work on,
I second that motion. My 1972 Sea Ray SRV 190 has the same engine and drive, going on 48 years old. According to the guy I bought it from it was original and had been used in salt water even though it was raw water cooled. The engine finally died two years ago and I replaced it with a 78 out of another boat. It has a heat exchanger and a closed cooling system That means just using coolant in the winter just like on your car, and draining the manifold and heat exchanger which means removing two bolts. Routine engine maintenance and tune ups. The drive is the original. I have it serviced every so often, New impeller at least every five years. Check the gaskets and bellows etc. It sits in the water all summer with the drive down but it's fresh water so not a problem.

Prior to this I would have preferred an outboard and if I buy another boat it will probably be an outboard, but this one has really convinced me that I/Os are ok. They handle a little differently than an outboard, or a regular inboard, but that just takes a little familiarization. Not a big deal.
Old 01-08-2020, 10:22 PM
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Originally Posted by GaryDoug View Post
A lot depends on the temperature of the water whether you can leave it in the water (with some effort). In New England, it's possible. In Florida, no way.
Weird, the water must be different in America, we don't seem to have that many issues here with high water temp.
Old 01-08-2020, 10:31 PM
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Originally Posted by alloyboy View Post
Who's facts?

THT facts.
Old 01-08-2020, 10:35 PM
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Stop blaming me for your inattention to your anodes, lack of maintenance to your electrical system, and improper selection of anti fouling paints.


i just sold my lift stored outboard that I bought new in favor of a used I/O. The lift is undersized and going away and I’ll be wet slipped. Not looking forward to the increased maintenance
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Old 01-08-2020, 11:27 PM
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I have a bunch of OMC 800 Stringer parts . A complete intermediate drive . Free if you come get em . Have really good steering cable that fits the stringer $100 . I liked the old OMC . Trimmed completely out of the water . I took it off the back of boat while the boat was still floating in the slip . Just put a cork in the shift cable hole . Hauled it to some old guy to fix in Tampa St. Pete , I'm sure he's dead by now , but he knew his stuff .

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