Most Durable / Reliable Outboard Of All Time???

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AK_Fish

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I am relatively new to the concept of being an owner of my own boat and since then I have heard lots of people swear by Yamaha, Mercury, and Evinrude, Tohatsu, and so on... and they all have their reasons. So beings that I am in the market for a new motor, I figured I would take it to the masses. Now I know there is no right or wrong answer...(Only in our own heads of course) :p But what do you think is the most reliable and/or durable motor you've ever owned? This is all just personal experience. I have only owned 2 so I can say a whole lot on the issue, but my Mercury did pretty well. What has your experience been and have you ever owned that "Perfect" motor that always ran good? Or have you only had lemons...hehe...I just wanted to see what you guys had to say on the subject as there are years and years of experience on this forum so...with that being said.....What is your most reliable motor of all time????

Ak_Fish...2003 Mercury 25 hp...no problems yet:rolleyes:
 

JimS123

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Re: Most Durable / Reliable Outboard Of All Time???

Best - any Evinrude or Johnson between roughly 1977 and 1987. The ones made AFTER CDI ignition was introduced, but WITHOUT VRO or electric shift.

Worst - any Mercury made before that time period.

Caveats - (1) there are others that are equally as good (sometimes), and some that are equally as bad (sometimes). (2) This is an opinion.
 

steelespike

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Re: Most Durable / Reliable Outboard Of All Time???

Years ago I guy who did his homework told me that the 65 Merc 500 was the best motor anyone had built up to that point.?? I bought the 77 version of that motor
It served me well till someone swiped it around winter of 87.
Followed with an 88 Evinrude 50 No issues till a major tuneup in 2009.
By the way I ended up with that 65 Merc 500 that mans family sold to me about 5 years ago.It is still running strong even after sitting for about 7 years.
We had a 61 18 Evinrude for 6 years ridden hard and put away wet no issues except those related to poor care. A 67 40 hp.for 20 years I believe we had some carb/choke issues,perhaps a gearcase repair directly related to poor service on our part.There are plenty of great motors on the market.For me the Etec is an excellent choice A direct injected 2 stroke with some very good credentials.
 

AK_Fish

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Re: Most Durable / Reliable Outboard Of All Time???

Nice....Good to hear!!!
 

5150abf

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Re: Most Durable / Reliable Outboard Of All Time???

ya, I would go with the later 70s thru 80s Evinrude Johnson, they are stone simple bullit proof engines, parts are readily available and they are pretty easy to work on and there are still a ton of them out there.

I have an 81 Evinrude 50 , still has 135lbs compresion and the original power head, other than routine maintanance I haven't had any problem and i have run it for 8-9 years.
 

F_R

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Re: Most Durable / Reliable Outboard Of All Time???

So is the question about the most durable / reliable outboard of all time, or what would I buy NOW if I wanted the most durable, reliable motor.

I say the most durable / reliabe motors of all time were made in the 1950s-1960s. But they were also gas hogs and smoked a lot and made oil slicks on the water.

So, with that in mind, I have to say they don't make them like they used to. I have a number of old motors, and that is my hobby, but for my daily runner I have a 1984 Johnson 35hp. I have to admit that overall, all things considered, it is the best motor I've ever personally owned. They (OMC) also made some real losers in reletively recent years, including the one that finished off the company. Ficht.
 

robert graham

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Re: Most Durable / Reliable Outboard Of All Time???

Well from personal experience, I've owned Yamaha carbed 2 strokes in 4HP, 40HP, 90HP, 115HP and have never had any problems at all with any of them. I'm a bit of a preventive maintenance nut and sure that helps keep motors running well. I believe most outboards on the market today are dead reliable, IF you keep fresh, clean, stabilized gas in them and do the basic maintenance. Don't think Yugo makes any outboards.
 

JB

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Re: Most Durable / Reliable Outboard Of All Time???

In general, just look at the number of 50-60 year old outboards that are still in regular service. I think that means OMC by a long shot.

I agree pretty much with F R that the 50s-60s JohnnyRudes were/are the most reliable, but not the most fuel efficient or cleanest.

I hear a lot of whining about the magneto ignition systems, but prefer them because I can make them work when the CDI don't.
 

NelsonQ

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Re: Most Durable / Reliable Outboard Of All Time???

Years ago I guy who did his homework told me that the 65 Merc 500 was the best motor anyone had built up to that point.?? I bought the 77 version of that motor
It served me well till someone swiped it around winter of 87.
Followed with an 88 Evinrude 50 No issues till a major tuneup in 2009.
By the way I ended up with that 65 Merc 500 that mans family sold to me about 5 years ago.It is still running strong even after sitting for about 7 years.
We had a 61 18 Evinrude for 6 years ridden hard and put away wet no issues except those related to poor care. A 67 40 hp.for 20 years I believe we had some carb/choke issues,perhaps a gearcase repair directly related to poor service on our part.There are plenty of great motors on the market.For me the Etec is an excellent choice A direct injected 2 stroke with some very good credentials.

I had a 63 Merc 500 as well. Tough as nails, never let me down. Miss that motor.... one of my regrets...
 

JimS123

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Re: Most Durable / Reliable Outboard Of All Time???

I had a 63 Merc 500 as well. Tough as nails, never let me down. Miss that motor.... one of my regrets...

An old friend had a 68 Merc 650 and he blew powerheads twice. Another friend had a 500 of the same era and he blew his engine as well. Both guys were pretty good in the maintenance department.

The second guy said all OMC's were junk and he wouldn't buy one.

Another friend who is an outbopard mechanic (his business) shys away from older mercs and won't guarantee work on any that have multiple carbs.

I once had a 68 Evinrude that gave me fits every weekend. Electrical system kept burning out.

When I was a kid I had a 55 Wizard Super 10. Could'nt afford much back in those days so I used Pennzoil 10W30 oil because it was only 32 cents a quart. Never did ANY maintenance at all. That motor is still running to this day!

Just goes to show you that, as they say, YMMV!
 

superwooter

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Re: Most Durable / Reliable Outboard Of All Time???

sorry,
i'm not familiar with the term YMMV.

i have a 78 Mercury Thunderbolt 700 that i picked up 7 months ago. prior to that it sat up for 4 years only to be run once in that time. prior to that it was used weekly for 10 years. i'm not sure how it was used before that. when i picked it up, the compression was solid at 130 psi on all 3 cylinders. i did a carb cleaning and changed the original wiring that had rotted and now it runs like a top.
my granddad has an 82 merc thunderbolt 500 and my cousins other granddad has an 82 merc thunderbolt 400. both were bought new and were run somewhere between monthly and weekly. other than an impeller change or carb cleaning, both have had no issues.

i have no jonnyrude experience whatsoever for comparison, but i'm perfectly please with the performance of the mercs i've experienced.
 

mike64

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Re: Most Durable / Reliable Outboard Of All Time???

sorry,
i'm not familiar with the term YMMV.

Your Mileage May Vary.

AK_Fish, there's a poll option in this forum-- this woulda been a good question for a poll!
 

cougar1985

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Re: Most Durable / Reliable Outboard Of All Time???

i was just given a 63 75 hp evinrude starflite a little while ago and put fresh lower unit oil in it and new points and she started immediately and settled down to a nice idle.found out from previous owner it has sat outside under a tarp for the last 14 years!not bad .i own a 1939 22.5 hp erude that was picked up at the bottom of a junk pile,started in 5 pulls !1957 johnson 18 hp ,starts first pull every time and runs many many hours every year flawlessly.also had 2 older mercs that were very good runners(1961 and 1965).
 

JB

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Re: Most Durable / Reliable Outboard Of All Time???

Most polls ask people to choose among a bunch of wrong answers.
 

109jb

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Re: Most Durable / Reliable Outboard Of All Time???

Well all I can talk about is the ones my father, father-in-law, brother-in-laws, brother and I have owned over the years. Of those which included Mercury, Mariner, Johnson, Force, and Honda. The Honda was a 4-stroke and everything else was 2 stroke. The Mercurys and Mariners Ranged from 70 to 150 hp, the single Force was a 40 hp and the Johnsons were 60 and 70 hp. Never had a problem with the Honda, but it was brand new and only owned for 4 years. It was heavy for the power but really quiet. The Mercurys and Mariners gave occasional problems but were overall good runners. The 150 did blow a powerhead and was replaced with a 135 hp powerhead. The Force was problem after problem. The Johnsons were by far the most reliable of all of the engines that we owned. They always started well, never, and I do mean never needed anything beyond routine maintenance. The Johnsons were also owned longer than any of the other engines and were the oldest engines we owned. By that I mean that when they were sold they were older than any of the others. The 1976 70 hp Johnsons I owned til last year and it never gave problems. The 60 HP was a VRO and we never had any problems with the VRO system personally. It was a early or mid 80's if I remember right.

My vote goes to those Johnsons.
 

toey77

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Re: Most Durable / Reliable Outboard Of All Time???

don't have much to offer on here the only two outboard's we owned one was a early 80' Johnson 50 hp which would sit all winter then start right up in summer, run all summer never with a issue, the other was a 70 hp Chrysler not sure of the year but I'd say late 70's maybe early 80's come with a boat used it about 5 times broke down every time so the Johnson got put straight on and the other boat sold off with the Chrysler
 

Lion hunter

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Re: Most Durable / Reliable Outboard Of All Time???

I have owned both Mercs and Johnsons. They all were older than 1975, and they all served me well. The only issue I ever had with Mercs were the availability of parts at times. So for reliability I wouldn't hesitate to choose either again. For simplicity , and availabilty of parts its Johnson/Evinrude hands down. Depending on where you live Merc dealers can be hard to come by as well.
 

Kev144

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Re: Most Durable / Reliable Outboard Of All Time???

Id have to chalk one up for my 88 merc 150 XR4. I keep up on maintenence with this motor but it does go through hell on my 89 Charger DL. I have replaced the crank and powerhead but at my own will. Everything still ran fine with perfect comp, but at 650 hours, I did it as preventative. I had a J craft before with a johnny 150 GT and it had nothing but problems. This merc gets pounded around on a small light boat, constantly ran at 7400+ RPM at 70+ MPH and doesn't quit!
 
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