Need help in choices


Old 01-04-08, 09:39 PM
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Join Date: Jan 2008
Posts: 1
Need help in choices

here is my big dillema:
own an 84 cruisers inc boat that came with a 305 mercruiser. blew motor "pretty bad" that cannot be fixed two cracked heads and cracked block "junk" this much i know. my choices are: a somewhat reputable marina said they would install a complete rebuilt 350 motor with everything i needed including new manifolds... complete up and running for $3,500.... i need to purchase a new or used alpha one drive unit on my own or buy one they have for $1,200 and they would install that for free. so in essence i get a bigger and better mortor? they did not say if it was a mercruiser or just a plain 350. dont know if there is a difference? so for $4,700 i get a new power plant/drive system installed and ready to go period. dillema- i store my boat there they removed the other motor already and i do not even know if they still have it. its been 7 months since they removed it and i am paid up so i did not ask or anything about it i just said i would get back to them before this boating season arrives "2008" so i would think they still have it and all the parts afterall it is still mine. a friend of mine who owns a really reputable AUTO shop "said" he has worked on boats and that he could "fix" the issue for way less and i would get a better end result, this is what he suggested "which i am completely in the dark and need your input on whether or not this is accurate information he is giving me" so here goes. HE SAYS he would sell me an oldsmobile 350 car engine that is good and has lots of power he said he would drop it in and get it all hooked up for $700.00 as is i would need to get the old motor from my boat "that the marina pulled out and i dont know where it is" so he can scavange parts from it i think he mentioned manifolds to see if they could work and other parts i assume the transmission. i asked if it would really work he said yes cuz they are basicly the same block and heads and such... this is where he lost me completely... he said something about a bell housing that would bolt up and i may need a manifold kit to fit this engine cuz other ones would not work, and blah blah. i asked him if he knew what he was doing and he sternly said it will work and you wont know the difference except in the power.... that 700 just included dropping it in and getting it running not manifold parts and other "STUFF" i may need to buy to MAKE it match up or whatever. he wants me to "and i do agree" that i should send his motor to another buddy of ours that does engine rebuilding and have him go through the motor and rebuild it and add a better cam and stuff like that for more power... which i am all for. which i called him and asked how much to do the work and add the cam and do the head work, he said if i was patient "do it when he has time he would do it for $350." my autoshop buddy also says he he can get me a rebuilt alpha 1 complete drive unit for 600.00 from a buddy of his "who he worked for" thats does that kind of stuff and throw it in for an extra 100.00. Having him do it "with engine being rebuilt" is $1,750. all good to me question to you is can it actually work "dont know if a car motor will work in a boat motor" i heard stuff around about reverse direction in boat motors and making sure you have the right gear ratio in the outdrive marina said i needed a 1.5 ratio or something like that.. told my buddy this and he says dont worry i'll get the right ratio and it does not matter cuz we are starting over new i can put any ration in if i wanted to as long as it all matches up? so the dillema is who should i trust in doing it the marina who i do not know and is actually new in our town or my buddy who spits out all this "jargon" to me but i do trust, "with automobiles anyway". and what about the added cost of manifold parts or kit or whatever he saying about it and the bell housing thing? is this stuff gonna run me past the marina quote "another $3,000" and what happens if the marina does not have my old motor anymore and the parts my buddy needs are no longer available... and the transmission issue? I'm stuck who should i let do it? it is an 84 and yes price is a big factor in all of this. willing to get a few headaches over trying to hunt down parts that my buddy may need in addition but i dont want a dang stroke over it. in other words is what my buddy is saying Do able? and for a price less than the marina even if i have to get those extra parts or kits or adapters to make it work... the whole idea of more power and better engine sound great to me. and yes my other buddy will warranty the engine for 2 years. marina said only 1 season warranty on the motor and 30 days on rest of parts and labor. what should i do please help
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Old 01-05-08, 05:57 AM
Join Date: Aug 2005
Posts: 2,268
First: A boat motor (inboard) is nothing more than an automobile engine with a few special parts (corrosion resistant/explosion proof - starter/distributor/exhaust manifolds/remove water pump/etc.) that make it a marine engine. That being said - your friend "could" do what he describes - depending on his expertise and the quality/matchability of the existing parts. I, for one, would imagine that the marina's quote is totally reasonable - and that you're going to get a motor that will surprise you with it's power/reliability - as it's not going to require a lot of new work. As an old boat racer - I can assure you that adding a new cam/manifolds/etc, for a power increase will run you the risk of less reliability - and, while everyone wants more power - are you willing to risk reliability for it.

Your friend's proposal contains a lot of "ifs"...... Not to say he can't do it - but I think you're opening a can of worms there...... especially if you want to be on the water by summer 2008.
Old 01-05-08, 10:36 AM
BoatMech's Avatar
Join Date: Dec 1999
Location: Los angeles
Posts: 592
As a marine engine mechanic i hear this question a lot.

The auto shop guy can do the job but there are design
changes in marine engines that can and will cause you
endless greif and expense.
I agree that the repairs are expensive, and if time is
not an issue you may be able to save some money.
That is, after all why i am here to help.
If on the other hand you want to have it done quickly
and have a warranty, i would say that the estimate
from the boatyard is not excessive.
The exhaust system parts alone are in excess of 1000.
I would need some specific engine model info to be
of more help.
Lastly, this might be a good time to seek out an upgrade.
Many newer model parts interchange and finding a
good rebuildable powerplant is not a problem these days
thanks to the internet. scott

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