Buying 19' runabout: I/O versus outboard?


Old 08-14-06, 12:44 PM
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Join Date: Dec 2005
Location: USA
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Buying 19' runabout: I/O versus outboard?

This question must be common but I did a search and didn't find anything. I'm in the market for a runabout, around 19', for use on a medium-size lake, cruising, and some adult skiing. We have owned two similar boats over the past 20 years, both have been inboard/outboards, 18-19 ft, about 160 hp. Thinking of something like Sea Ray 185. Should I consider an outboard this time around? What are the pluses and minuses?

Would an outboard result in a lighter boat overall? Less expensive to buy? Less expensive to service? Any advantage or disadvantage for skiing? Noisier than an inboard/outboard? Roomier cockpit? Advantage to be able to chuck the motor if it wears out and replace it without replacing the boat?

I don't think I want a true inboard ... yes, I know, REAL skiers use inboards with flat bottoms, well we're just casual skiers and I don't see us needing a Mastercraft or Malibu. Besides the lake can get choppy and a deeper vee is desireable for our cruising days.

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Old 08-15-06, 07:57 AM
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Join Date: Aug 2002
Location: Mountain Williams Missouri
Posts: 18,389

Ill just say I gave up on outboards years and years ago. they are very good for just Small boats . Go for the I/O better to work on And you dont have a low transom. If outboard Id go with the Gill mont on back for the outboard.

ED my .02 cents
Old 08-15-06, 08:49 PM
Join Date: Aug 2005
Posts: 2,268
I'm a serious water skier (yeah, run a competition ski boat with 260hp inboard) and used to think outboards were strictly for fishermen and putters.... However, some of the newer boats designed for outboards have serious pulling power when matched with the proper prop. One of the best barefoot boats in the world is designed for an outboard and is a blast to foot behind.

Outboards tend to have a higher top speed than inboards (they rev higher) but less of a hole shot. They're lighter than inboards on a wt/hp ratio. They burn less gas than a comparable inboard.... And they're impossible to repair/maintain yourself without serious technical skills. Anyone who can change a timing belt, etc. on a car can work on an inboard / inboard-outboard. As an outboard is essentially a single unit - it tends to be more expensive to have repairs done.

Obviously an outboard provides more room for people in the boat - it's quieter to run, as a general rule, depending on the insulation over your engine cover in the I/O.

I love a good outboard powered boat for piddlin around the lake - as long as someone else owns it.... But, if I'm going skiing.... gimme the inboard that will pull 7 folks at one time from a deepwater start and won't sideslip when I make a hard turn around one of the course buoys.
Old 08-16-06, 04:50 AM
Join Date: Aug 2004
Posts: 25
Lot to consider

Depending what type of person you are, and if you want the biggest bang out of the buck,or at least getting the most out of your investment and have fun in the process. After owning a i/o and now have an outboard yamaha I would not go back regardless of the "bargin" that you may find.But i'm in saltwater and if you drive the coast of the gulf you'll only see "outboards" .Carbed engines are on the way out and new tech is the way to go with hpdi ,the engine that has fuel injected directly into the cylinder with a 20% savings on fuel over the older fuel injected through the block then into the cylinders. It's amazing how much technology is involved and what a way to get an education (depending what type of person you are) .Mechanics rates are 75 bucks a hour in my area. Boating ,having family fun ,and understanding modern tech on a older boat gets my vote.
Old 08-21-06, 06:17 PM
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I'm a retired Coastie and have driven and worked on pretty much any type of rig that floats, including turbine boats and offshore racers. I agree with Bernie. The most bang for the buck is going to be the outboard, especially in terms of just general maintenance downtime. The newer direct injected four-strokes have come a long way since they hit the market. And you are right about the deep-vee for the choppy water. A flat bottom can be a wet ride on a calm day.

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