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The Best and Worst Outboards of all Time?

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  • The Best and Worst Outboards of all Time?

    If you were looking for a used motor, which one would you consider to be the "Holy Grail" of outboards and which would make you wince and employ gratuitous profanity? Any year, model or HP.If you need parameters, lets stick with reliability, longevity and servicablilty. Or in laymans terms, does it run well, run long, and is it easy to work on with available parts?-cuz knowledge is power.spots
    There are three types of people in this world:
    Those who understand math and those who don't.

  • #2
    Re: The Best and Worst Outboards of all Time?

    3 to 4HP JohnnyRudes from the 50s to the 90s. Next would be the 5 to 8HP JohnnyRudes of the same period. First choice would be magneto fired.I would avoid air cooled engines based on lawnmower and chainsaw powerheads from any period.JohnnyRude 60 degree looper V4s would be my choice for big engines.I would avoid big West Bend/Chrysler/Force engines.
    sigpic

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    • #3
      Re: The Best and Worst Outboards of all Time?

      Like JB said..... Took a beating over the years, and this is the picture the guy sent me asking $50. He took $45. AND delivered 60 miles, so I wouldn't get away. Cleaned out the carb, and runs perfect. And although I have 4 other boats, sooner or later, this motor, a electric troller, and my 12 foot aluminum, will be all I need (and afford) in the older, wiser age soon to come.

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      • #4
        Re: The Best and Worst Outboards of all Time?

        Best= 1952-1967 Lightwin- Easy to operate and service Worst= Any motor that will leave you stranded.
        1985 Gregor Octapon | Yamaha C40 2-Stroke | Humminbird Matrix 17 Fishfinder | Garmin GPS 12XL

        2009 Sevylor Willamette | Evinrude Lightwin 3hp | Humminbird Wide Eye Portable Fishfinder | Custom Made Wood Floor

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        • #5
          Re: The Best and Worst Outboards of all Time?

          I,ve owned dozens of outboards over the years, Most times when I.ve been let down its been my own fault.Just about anything made in the last 10 Years has been good, so looking at older motors.Less than 20 Hp. Best 15HP Merc, worse 9.9HP Force25HP The old johnrudes were good,Merc 20 pre 1980 was shocking for corrosion50HP the 4 cyl 50HP Merc is a legand50-55 2 cyl OMC. throws rods occasionally50HP suzuki wont idle70 OMC great motor70 Yam corrosion problems115 HP V4 OMC nice smooth motor but doesent like modern fuels,Straight 6 Merc Tower of power and a legand but they start to rattle over the yearsV6 The early mercs had problems but anything after 1984 is goodV6 OMC occasional piston failure but a great motor.Thats only my opinion, I'm sure that there will be other views.

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          • #6
            Re: The Best and Worst Outboards of all Time?

            I'll second the 50hp 4 cyl merc. Probably the smoothest and quietest I've ever run.

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            • #7
              Re: The Best and Worst Outboards of all Time?

              not very old, but i absolutely abused my '98 johnson 150hp oceanrunner. all that PM everyone says to perform? yeah, didn't get around to it most of the time. when i sold the boat, the buyer took it to a respected mechanic for his evaluation and some annual maintenance. told him the engine looked brand new. he even called me to thank me for taking such good care of it.
              2002 Wellcraft 290 Coastal
              Twin 2002 Yamaha F225s

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              • #8
                Re: The Best and Worst Outboards of all Time?

                For the best. Up until the mid to late 80's, OMC, hands down. After that, once you go Jap, you never go back. Lots of exceptions in just about every brand as to a problem child or angel. But, today...No one makes a bad engine that I know of. And for a piece of crap engine...You still see a lot of Chrysler's running around today. Actually we see more of them locally than we do older Mercury's.
                Elvin
                My answers are like Zen...It may not be the answer you want, but it is generally the answer you need.

                The 3 Rules:

                1) Look in your service manual first...Then ask me if it is correct.
                2) Understand that your desire to repair your engine does not mean that you have the ability to do so.
                3) If you are confused, take your engine into a dealer..Then let them be confused...At least, in theory, they sent someone to outboard 101.

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                • #9
                  Re: The Best and Worst Outboards of all Time?

                  Best small one, the 3/4hp J/E like the others said. Although no powerhouse, it's simple and reliable. Absolutely no features whatsover, not even an idle stop or for that matter a kill switch. But it'll run great even if it's abused and you can fix it if you do manage to break it with a pair of pliers and a bent nail. Everything a small outboard should be.Worst in the stable is the 4hp 2 cylinder Mercury Gnat. It is a powerhouse with thru-hub exhaust, loop charged cylinders, twist-grip throttle, and F-N shifting. Well, it's a powerhouse when it's running anyway. Suffers from a cheezy gearcase, weak water pump (the entire impeller will fit inside the hub of the Johnny/Rude), and abysmal carb.

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                  • #10
                    Re: The Best and Worst Outboards of all Time?

                    Best: My current 50hp e-tec and prior 1980 15hp Evinrude 2 stroke.Worst: 2003 Merc 50hp 3 cyl 2 stroke. and 1996 3hp merc 2 stroke 1 cyl 2 stroke. By the way, I'm not a merc basher, just these two.

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                    • #11
                      Re: The Best and Worst Outboards of all Time?

                      best: any of the older, say, pre-90's omc motors, except i think the 40, 50, 60 hp twins were crap.ive owned many of the 2 and 3 cylinders and also various v4s. what a great design. omc v4 hands down!i also beat the living piss outa my 1992 nissaan 5hp single cylnder. loved that motor till it fell of the back and into the lake.i hated my 1972 omc 50hp electric shift. awful idea, thank god it only lasted a few years.my 1976 merc 1150 tower of power kicked major arse!!!! they named it that for a reason.the 40/50hp merc 4cylinders are excellent.any force usually sucked, they had exceptions, but very rarely.any older jap motor imported to the states usually corroded like alka seltzer here in the great salt pond faster than you can say ZINC ANODES?"any of the older say, 1970 - 1990 omc motors. simple and worked. light weight. taste great, less filling.

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                      • #12
                        Re: The Best and Worst Outboards of all Time?

                        Best ... 115Hp 60 degree V-4 Johnnyrude, carbed or Ficht.Worst ... Direct Reversing Merc Mark 78.
                        Hey, Have you seen? They make Really Cool life preservers nowadays.
                        So "Looking Dorky" is no longer an excuse for not wearing one.

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                        • #13
                          Re: The Best and Worst Outboards of all Time?

                          what willy dont like the old dockbusters? I would have to say about the worst would be an electric shift jonnyrude with the preamp type ign that used sensors. what a load. however the old chyslers with a motarola ign were noted for lack of spark we used to say the old batter CD ing on the mercs were the fastest thing on the lake, if they actually started that day. pre 91 suzukis we called alka seltzer motors, drop them in the saltwater and watch them fizz. most any motor is decent today. lots of improvements over the years
                          no tech questions by PM, they wont get answered.
                          you have to be trusted by the people that you lie to .

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                          • #14
                            Re: The Best and Worst Outboards of all Time?

                            Best 44 CU. 50 HP. Mercury, worst was Mercurys 4 HP Gnat

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                            • #15
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                              Re: The Best and Worst Outboards of all Time?

                              Best: 3.5 and 5.0 Tohatsu 2-strokes. Dead simple. Indestructable. Incredible tolerance for lack of normal maintenance (not that I recommend this, of course).Worst: Sears Gamefisher. In contrast to the above, there seemed to be almost nothing you could do to make the engine run reliably.

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