What follows is yet another way to drive your significant other crazy. So, know that going in.
Generally speaking, a boat without an engine is priced proportionally lower than if it has an engine. Likewise, engines with no boat are typically priced lower than they would be if they were attached to a transom somewhere. The same is true for a boat with a blown engine.
So, who’s to say you couldn’t create your own great deal on a used boat by buying a boat without an engine and an engine with no boat?
Let’s limit the choices to outboards. Here’s why. Unless you’re really handy with tools and relish the challenge of installing an inboard or sterndrive engine, that would be more trouble than it’s worth. Outboards are different.
Take-off outboards are great candidates for scoring deals. For starters, they’re only good for one thing — boats — so the market for them is limited. That limited appeal puts downward pressure on prices, and the same is true for boats with no engines. They’re useless with no engine, so prices tend to reflect that. You might need to buy some throttle and shift cables for the installation, but that’s about all you would need in terms of extra parts. The boat or engine you buy should have nearly everything you need for the installation.
Outboards also are self-contained. They have the power head and propulsion system in one unit and you can install one without having to remove the engine hatch or crouch down in a bilge. It’s almost possible to install one without even getting your hands dirty. In fact, installing an outboard is probably the easiest engine installation of any vehicle that has an engine.
Even better, there are now plenty of used four-strokes and direct-injection two strokes on the secondary market. New-tech engines offer a number of benefits over old-school two-strokes, and you can take advantage of technology without having to pay the high price of buying new.
So, if the prices are right and you don’t mind hanging the engine on a transom yourself, the idea of buying a boatless motor and a motorless boat is worth considering.
But if your spouse asks, you didn’t hear it from me.