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REDUCE, REUSE, REPOWER: BREATHING NEW LIFE INTO OL' FAITHFUL

Posted 6/10/2009

Reality Check
Whether you're considering putting a fresh outboard on your present boat, or you've found a deal on a classic sitting in your neighbor's backyard that just needs an outboard to be as good as new, you owe it to yourself to examine the boat thoroughly before spending your hard-earned money to repower.

Pay particular attention to the structural integrity of the hull. Use an awl or 16p nail to probe the transom (outboard bolt holes are good access points). If the wood feels mushy or oozes water, the transom needs replacement which can result in a lot of 
expensive work. Get in the boat and stomp on the floor. Soft areas mean the wood floor is bad (and the stringers as well in fiberglass boats); again, a major repair job.

Look for cracks around the outboard well (glass boats) and obvious signs of damage, repair or extreme use, regardless of the boat's material make-up.

You may even consider hiring a marine surveyor or other expert to determine a boat's condition. The small investment in expertise on the front end could save you thousands in the long run. It just doesn't make sense to spend money on a new outboard for a boat that isn't really worth refurbishing.

Rigging & Accessories 
The boat passed its physical with flying colors and you've negotiated a great price on a new outboard, now you need to figure out what parts and pieces from your old outboard you can use with the new outboard. You also need to make a list of things that will need to be replaced to accommodate the new outboard.

Here are a couple of partial lists to get the thought processes going:
Old Stuff You Might Be Able to Reuse
• Gas tank
• Analog gauges
• Steering system
• Battery
• Remote control unit (and throttle/shift cables) if the new outboard is the same brand as the old one

 

Things You May Need for New Outboard
• Wiring harness(es) (including ignition switch)
• Remote control unit
• Throttle and shift cables
• Digital instruments 
• Battery
• Propeller

We recommend replacing the wiring harnesses when repowering. Old wiring can cause all kinds of heartache, even with a new outboard. If the new outboard is a similar size to the old one, you might be able to use the old prop, but go ahead and spring for a new propeller and hardware. You can keep the old prop as a spare.

Other Considerations 
Make sure that the new outboard has the proper shaft length (15, 20, 25, or 30 inches) for the boat's transom, and that it doesn't exceed the boat manufacturer's maximum recommended horsepower as stated on the official capacity plate.

The bottom line is that repowering can be a viable solution to extending your boat's life, if the boat is healthy and the job is done well.

Need more specifics? Click on yamahaoutboards.com to get the scoop on repowering or to find a Yamaha dealer near you.