Building the Zip and I need some Motor advise...

Outboard designs up to 14'

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Posts: 26
Joined: Mon Aug 08, 2011 6:57 pm
Location: Huntley, IL

Building the Zip and I need some Motor advise...

Post by Huntleybill »

You see, with the extreme costs of outboards ( in my opinion ) I am having a spirited debate with my son regarding how old a motor I should use on the boat. I want to put a 40 HP on the zip and was hoping to buy a motor for $1000 or less. This would usually require an older motor. My son insists ( yes he is a boater and an auto mechanic ) that I should go with a motor that is no older than 2007 because it will be more reliable and cheaper to run ( meaning fuel and maintenance).

I looked at the prices of newer motor and HOLY @#$%!!!! Now, my son does have a point BUT.....and this is where I need your opinion...

My questions are:

DO I really need to spend $4000-$5000 on a motor to get something reliable and cost effective?
What would you experienced outboard motor enthusiasts recommend I should expect to spend to get a reliable outboard?
Is one brand better than another?
Should I not buy anything older than...????

Now...before you get into "it depends" on fresh/salt water, how well it was taken care of, and all kinds of other stuff, I am assuming a motor used in fresh water, maintained as manufacturer suggest etc.

Just a ball park idea so I can make a sane decision.

Thank you all

fergal butler
Posts: 1292
Joined: Sun Sep 06, 2009 2:55 am
Location: Co.Dublin, Ireland.

Re: Building the Zip and I need some Motor advise...

Post by fergal butler »

I run an old merc that I got for next to nothing, put new oil and a impeller in and she has not let me down, I know guys that have bought new engines and have nothing but trouble. If you go old it may add to the look of the boat and be handy for anyone to fix if you go new you have to to go to a dealer for repairs and that may cost. I think the thing here is to go with what you want. :D

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Joined: Thu Jul 29, 2010 3:55 pm

Re: Building the Zip and I need some Motor advise...

Post by pamelalynne1 »

Until very recently with the new four stroke engines you would use about one gallon per hour per 10 HP. The four storkes are much heavier and do not give the performance of the two strokers. I am running a 1959 Evinrude Lark 35 on my 16 ft 1959 Whitehouse fibreglass runabout and get about 30 mph out of it. I have a 1958 Lark that I just finished going through and tested in my tank. I cranked it by hand as the starter seems to need new brushes. They are available from Wholesale Marine for $20. It takes two or three pulls with the choke to get it started and then starts on the first pull every time.
I like the old motors because they are easy to repair and you can still get just about any part you need. They also look great on the vintage style boats.
You can also make them look really great.
I just couldn't resist.jpg

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Joined: Tue Jul 31, 2007 5:23 pm
Location: East Troy, Wisconsin

Re: Building the Zip and I need some Motor advise...

Post by Roberta »

Hunt E-Bay and Craigs List. There are a lot of good vintage motors out there. And like Pam mentioned, parts are still available.

Roberta :D
Roberta "Queen of the Boat Builders"
Built Zip "Oliver IV", Super Spartan "Jimmy 70", and Torpedo "The Glen L".

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Joined: Wed Apr 15, 2009 7:36 am
Location: Indy

Re: Building the Zip and I need some Motor advise...

Post by vupilot »

I was a total outboard newbie when I was shopping for a motor for my Zip. I had the same problem, was quoted $5200-installed for a brand new 40hp short shaft. I wound up buying a cosmetically restored 1974 Mercury 402 40hp, 4 hours drive away from home for $850 with controls. I stayed away from oil injected motors. I like to mix my own fuel and oil so I know its getting proper lubrication. If oil injection fails, your motor will fail very soon after, no backup other than an alarm that may or may not work.

Spend time with the seller check everything to make sure water goes where its supposed to and stays out of where its not supposed to be. My lower unit seals leaked water into the oil, I didnt check it on pre-buy inspection, my newbie mistake. Check the charging system, those parts are expensive. All the two parts I have had to buy for my motor have been easy to find. The fuel pump kit I replaced was available everywhere, the thottle cam arm I broke while adjusting it took about 6 phone calls and 30$, the most expensive repair yet but it was my fault.

In my opinion if it doesnt come with a Warranty it doesnt matter how new it is. A 5 year old motor can have a lot of expensive problems as well. If you can find a late model or new motor at a good price with a warranty go for it. If not, age doesnt matter to me, just condition and price up until the age is so old that parts finding becomes a problem.

Happy hunting and good luck!

Posts: 199
Joined: Mon Apr 25, 2011 5:08 am
Location: Great South Bay, Long Island, NY. Building a Zip/Flying Saucer

Re: Building the Zip and I need some Motor advise...

Post by Retroman »

they dont make things like they used to. I'd go with something from the 50's, 60's, or 70's. Makes the boat look more authentic too. Sounds like you have an in house mechanic, I cant imagine you would have a problem he couldnt handle. Good luck.

1956 Johnson 30hp
1957 Mercury 40hp
Built A Zip/Flying Saucer. I do my boating on South Oyster Bay, Long Island, NY
Documenting my build on YouTube @

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Bill CNC
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Location: Hesperia Ca, 92345

Re: Building the Zip and I need some Motor advise...

Post by Bill CNC »

My Opinion which is next to nothing, ... :roll:

The money saved by using a more fuel efficient motor to me, doesn't seem logical when it's all said and done. Let's say you buy an older engine for $1,000. How much fuel will you have to burn to make up the $3,000 - $4,000 price difference?

Probably a fuel trucks worth of gas!


TNT Build, ... On Going, ...

The Freebie Zip, ... On Going, ...

Super Spartan Build "Miss Tripindicular", ... Completed, ...

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