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How many hours is too many for an outboard?

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How many hours is too many for an outboard?

Old 01-24-2019, 03:14 AM
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For mine it was 107 hours. Hopefully get a whole lot more this time around.

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Old 01-24-2019, 04:19 AM
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If I buy a used boat that's around 10 years old, I want at least 1000hrs or more on the outboards. If at that point they check out completely healthy, I have a great feeling they are going to last for at least another 1000 or more. My OB was bought with 1270hrs on the 300 Vrods and the survey showed them to be perfect. I did true complete services on both motors top to bottom and have 100% faith in them. I would rather have 1300hrs on them than 600hrs at this point. Sure anything can happen, I could have a number of switches, a lower unit, etc go bad but if someone has ran them this many hrs and they are this healthy that tells me that they were reliable and most likely very well maintained. I worried about hrs on outboards when I was ignorant and didn't know any better.

I have captain friends and guys I know in the CG who put 5-6000 hrs plus on their outboards before they sell them to someone who continues to run them. It is true for the most part that the more you run them, the longer they will last. Obviously they need to be taken care of but on the flip side some of these guides I know are not the greatest at remembering to flush their outboards or maintain them. You also have to remember that you usually hear the bad stories on THT and the web in general. For every bad story you hear about a certain brand/ model outboard there are tens of thousands of that same motor running around without issue.
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Old 01-24-2019, 06:27 AM
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Hours don't mean squat. They tell you when to do maintenance and that's it.

Engines that get used a lot will often go to a much higher number of total hours. With today's technology, things rust out before they wear out.
A commercial engine with 2,000 hours might go another 2,000 if left in similar service.
That same commercial engine, if purchased by me and used 50 hrs/year, won't see another 2,000.

A rec engine with 700 hours might last another 300 hours if left in similar service.
That same rec engine, if purchased by a commercial outfit, might go another 1,000 hours for them.

And all of these are based on probabilities. When you start factoring in other variables, it quickly becomes impossible to predict expected life, and starts approaching entropy.

Hours don't mean squat, so other than a really high number (in the thousands) or a really low number (100 hours in 10 years), chances are the total number of engine hours are a completely useless predictor of remaining life. Because it's so useless, you should treat that number the same way as you wold treat an engine that was in North Carolina vs one that was in South Carolina. It has no bearing on potential life left in the motor.

If you had two engines of the same brand, same model, same age, and same engine hours, but one was painted white and the other was painted grey, which one would be more reliable? Outliers notwithstanding, hours should be treated the same.
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Old 01-24-2019, 06:50 AM
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I just sold a pair of 2005/06 Yamaha F250's with 2,000 hours on them and they were still running great. BUT the reason I sold them was I frequently run 35 and 40 miles offshore and I wanted new motors that are as dependable as possible. I suspect those motors will run another 2,000 hours but that is a bit of a crapshoot at best. I'm currently in the market for a used SUV. I'm looking for something relatively new, with low miles and in like new condition. If I were looking at used outboard motors, I'd be looking for the same thing.
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Old 01-24-2019, 06:50 AM
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​​​​​​​buying a used motor is a crapshoot and unless you know who you're buying it from. If you're buying from going on someone's word from craigslist how many hours and maintenance I would consider zero hours brand new and 1000 hours cheap $$$ A good mechanic knows how to make a piece of crap look and act like new for a little while
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Old 01-24-2019, 07:26 AM
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The one hr that the expensive throw away propulsion system fails
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Old 01-24-2019, 07:34 AM
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I have a pair of 02 F-225"s on my Grady. Just ending first year with this rig. I started right at 1700 and finished at 1800.. they sound good and run good. My last trip in they both hit 5800 and 40 m.p.h
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Old 01-24-2019, 07:42 AM
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Originally Posted by mystery View Post
this has been asked 1000000 times

lower hours are typically worse than higher hours. i would not touch a motor with less than 25-50 hours per year and my upper threshold would probably be 150-200 hours per year
I have seen many say this as well but I still went ahead and pulled the trigger on a used 2003 150 yamaha HPDI that had about 325 hours on it as I was told by the seller that it was on the 2nd boat of some rich guy that was basically his sandbar boat. 2 miles out to the sand bar and 2 miles back. it got regular use that way and he had it serviced by the mechanic that was selling it. The compression was great on the motor and so far it's running strong with no real issues other than the tilt trim switch was corrodded which caused the trim motor to fry out so I went ahead and just had the whole trim unit redone. otherwise, motor is running great. I have purchased new low pressure fuel pumps and will probably change them out proactively along with all of the fuel filters in cluding the hpdi "mystery filters" when I do take it in for it's next service. It just seems to me that low hours really can't be all that bad, the moving parts are not being subjected to wear and tear. obviously there are a lot of hoses and things that can get brittle and crack and what not.
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Old 01-24-2019, 07:52 AM
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Originally Posted by Brocnizer1 View Post
From personal observation of friends of when they repower:

Commercial application: 4000-5000

Recreational application: 2000

This doesn't mean the motors are no good or no life left, but at near end of useful predictable life. The difference between the two is commercial runs more during the year and thats good. Recreational may get 300 hours a year from a "hard core" guy which is still sitting alot.
Originally Posted by BoatPoor2 View Post
I didn't say I would repower at 750 hours (or didn't mean to anyway). What I meant to say (if I didn't) was that if I was buying a used boat that had more than 750 hours on it, I would try to purchase that boat at a price that took the need for future repower into consideration. I understood the OP's question to be "...how many hours is too many on a used engine that you don't know?" I fully intended to run those EFI's to north of 2000, but the rod came through the side of the block and changed my plans. I've been way way out on old OX66's with well over 2,000 hours that I trusted completely. Sorry for the confusion.
Having been a service manager, in the past, for a Mercury Platinum and Yamaha 5-star dealer, both of these are fair statements. There are plenty of stories where Mercury and Yamaha 150's are brushing 10k hours in commercial island taxi type situations. I've personally pulled 300 Vrod's off with 4800hrs that fired as soon as you touched the key and by all tests where healthy. I've seen over propped 150's that exploded before they reached 100hrs. As mentioned above, when buying a used boat and seeing a motor over 750hrs, I think boatpoor2 was trying to present the idea that you should bank on the cost of a repower in the not too distant future and keep that cost in mind while negotiating the purchase price. In no way would I be intimidated by a 2009 motor having 1000hrs on it if the maintenance was there to support it. It's obviously not worth what a newer motor is, but that doesn't mean it isn't reliable. Mercury has a number of 2.0/2.4/2.5L 2-stroke motors are still in service both in carb'd and efi arrangements despite many being 20-30yrs old and some in salt water their whole life. As another poster mentioned, the motors are often life limited by corrosion more so than mechanical wear.
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Old 01-24-2019, 09:55 AM
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I bought a 2002 Carolina Skiff J16 with an old 2002 30 HP Tohatsu 4 Stroke, this is my stump jumper for the marsh. Back in it's time it was used as a flats boat, no telling how many hrs have accumulated over the course of time, but it still has some life left in it, all depends as to how well it was maintained in it's life. I've had to replace a couple of things on the motor and there are some still needs replacing, The backlash on the prop shaft is off the chart, so I will run it till it quits.
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Old 01-24-2019, 10:00 AM
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This is actually a good question. Here is a better question that seems to be happening on used boats. Was the engine rebuilt with a re-manufactured power head? I see 4 strokes that originally have 3000 hours on them, then they rebuilt the power head, place it on a mid section and rebuilt lower unit and then sell it as zero hours! It could run forever, but it definitely is not new.
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Old 01-24-2019, 10:34 AM
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Here’s a post from Seahunter. Using Yamaha F300s.
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Old 01-24-2019, 10:56 AM
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Jo - the grey one, of course...
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Old 01-24-2019, 11:28 AM
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How long is a piece of string?
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Old 01-24-2019, 01:51 PM
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I agree about the 2k max for rec motors/4-5k max for commercial motors. There are exceptions, naturally. Take time into consideration also. I have heard stories of outboards in saltwater lasting 25-30 years and more, but those are the exception rather than the rule. One service manager I know says that he sees a lot of owners who boat in saltwater repower at the 7-year mark regardless of hours. Now, I don't have those kind of resources and expect my engine to last twice that, but it's an interesting data point.
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Old 01-24-2019, 01:56 PM
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Originally Posted by Fiddlehead View Post
How long is a piece of string?
I'd bet at least 344 of your posts are about string
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Old 01-24-2019, 02:12 PM
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I've never really did any serious boating in freshwater but I've got 20 years experience in saltwater. I can't imagine a more hostile environment to operate equipment in. So to maybe elaborate on the question posed by the OP I would certainly take the environment the engine was operated in into consideration.
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Old 01-24-2019, 05:21 PM
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Hrs dont matter. A motor with 1200 hrs on it proves its a good one. A motor with 100 hrs can blow any time. Ive had motors blow a head at 500 hrs and skme last 2500. You never know.
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Old 01-26-2019, 05:44 AM
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Originally Posted by bluewaterpirate View Post
I put 5125 on a 2002 225 Optimax over 13 years motor is running strong on another boat
Gotta be the record for an opti. Highest I've seen on an ORIGINAL powerhead was 2550 on a commercial boat
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Old 02-01-2019, 10:37 AM
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Originally Posted by catch232 View Post
Wow, start off a post with, "please spare me with the bla bla bla". I'm surprised anyone even replied with a decent answer.
Its fair. There are people that will drive a car til its literally falling apart and they know the AAA guy on a first name basis.

To answer the OP's question I think that sometimes it depends on the boat.

I fished with a guide in St. Augustine that doesn't like going over 500 hours on Pathfinder's Yamaha. But he's a really clean, anal guy. He has people wipe their feet after they step on the boat. Time spent in the shop is borderline unacceptable to him.

I fished with another guide that routinely put 4000 hours on his motors.

I think that it depends on the motor, since some just seem to be either cursed or blessed, and how often you use it. If you run it every day you'll get more hours out of it.
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