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Thread: Outboard cost?

  1. #1
    Moderator AKmud's Avatar
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    Default Outboard cost?

    Can someone explain/justify why outboard motors are so expensive?? I can go to NAPA and buy a 300hp crate motor for ~$4,000 but a 150hp Honda outboard will run $15k or better! Why?!
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    Forum Admin Brian M's Avatar
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    I don't know much (anything) about the mechanical reasons for the cost, but from an economic perspective, it's the cost that the market will bear - at least to a degree that is profitable for the outboard manufacturers. I for one would more likely own a riverboat if outboards were more affordable, but under the current price scheme they're certainly selling enough to make their pricing worthwhile.

  3. #3

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    Small production of outboards compared to the streamlined and mass production of auto engines etc. SBC's.

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    One more reason to own an inboard rather than a outboard, actualy it is the biggest reason IMO. Granted some boats incompatable with inboards.

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    Moderator Paul H's Avatar
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    Several reasons.

    Firstly you aren't comparing apples to oranges. Your crate motor is just a motor, it does not include a computerized fuel management system, nor a transmission, propeller and engine controls.

    Secondly that crate engine isn't designed for marine application, and if you ran salt water through it's cooling system for any period of time, it would be shot.

    Thirdly that crate engine is not designed to be run under load at 6000 rpm all day, every day.

    When you look at the corroson resistant materials, power to weight ratio, ability to run wot all day every day, all those items add to the cost.
    Those that are successful in Alaska are those who are flexible, and allow the reality of life in Alaska to shape their dreams, vs. trying to force their dreams on the reality of Alaska.

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    Member spoiled one's Avatar
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    Pay the money now, at the front end, for outboards or pay the money later dealing with inboard motor issues and out drive issues.
    Spending my kids' inheritance with them, one adventure at a time.

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    more compact design, smaller parts, anti-corrosion measures, yada yada yada.. help bring up cost

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    Every time I run my 4-stroke jet I marvel at how good these new engines are. Smooth, quiet, good fuel economy. Worth the price of admission.

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    "But a 150hp Honda outboard will run $15k or better! Why?! "

    For the same $$ you can buy a 2011 4dr hatch and drive it every day for 15 years. lol.

  10. #10
    Moderator AKmud's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Paul H View Post
    Several reasons.

    Firstly you aren't comparing apples to oranges. Your crate motor is just a motor, it does not include a computerized fuel management system, nor a transmission, propeller and engine controls.

    Secondly that crate engine isn't designed for marine application, and if you ran salt water through it's cooling system for any period of time, it would be shot.

    Thirdly that crate engine is not designed to be run under load at 6000 rpm all day, every day.

    When you look at the corroson resistant materials, power to weight ratio, ability to run wot all day every day, all those items add to the cost.
    I see your reasoning on a couple points Paul, but even so, do the extras you mention add up to THAT much more?? Durability is there, I know a lot of 100+hp motorcycle engines that will run all day at 6k with no ill effects. The cooling system issue is simply solved by some key parts being made from stainless steel which can't cost all that much more to make. The lower unit is just cast aluminum and some simple gearing, controls are cables (maybe hydraulic)...also not terribly expensive. The EFI is so common these days they put them on snowmachines and motorcycles...even 4-wheelers...not too expensive.

    I just don't see the justification for the price. I thought about supply/demand, but I'm not sure that would hold up either. Look at wheelers. Many of them are easily as hi-tech as any outboard and the most expensive unit there is still less than $10k (not side by sides).

    I was just curious if I was missing something and I still may be....I just haven't figured it out yet!
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    The porcupine is a peacful animal yet God still thought it necessary to give him quills....

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    Humans have been mass producing engines that turn wheels for right at 100 years now, while the basic schematics of the vehicles and thus the engineering "cleverness" required has changed gradually and predictably. Don't know how long we've been engineering watermelon sized propulsion machines but it hasn't been nearly that long, and there has been no real national desire to make these machines affordable for everyone. Think of all the government science/engineering fresearch funding that has gone into the evolution of the automobile.

    You are drastically simplifying direct fuel injection technology and the chips required to run it, which is far more difficult to engineer and program than you are making it out to be. You are talking proprietary technologies developed over many years that have made some of the brightest PEs in the world very wealthy. Why would they sell something produced with very rare, luxury technology cheaply?


    P.S. Quality of steel and its machining has degraded steeply in recent years as easily accessible premium grade ores have been depleted. And nearly all mining/manufacturing processes have been outsourced. Premium and unique parts of special grade steel machined to narrow tolerances in funny shapes are expensive.

    Also, companies are no doubt factoring in what it would cost to get that machine built today. And do not forget that most of what you are purchasing these days is the coal power/oil involved in getting the product made and to you. Probably well over half the cost on such an item.

  12. #12
    Moderator Paul H's Avatar
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    I know they seem like they are more expensive than they should be, but it's hard to give a true apples to apples comparison between automobiles, 4 wheelers and motorcycles.

    Marine engines do have two items that are unique over road vehicles. One is that they opperate in a corrosive environment, hence items that would be made out of various steel alloys are made out of stainless steel, and that is both a more expensive raw material, and often times more difficult to machine.

    The other I mentioned before is being able to run all day at max rpm with a heavy load. Yes, there are motorcycle engines that produce over 100hp that can run all day at 6000 rpm, but they aren't producing 100+hp at 6000 rpm, they produce that hp at 10-12,000 rpm. Also the motorcycle and rider is a ~700# gross load, not the ~4000# gross load the 150hp outboard will be pushing. Note that the 150hp honda is a 2350cc engine, much larger than the 750-1000cc motorcycle engine. And yet the engtire package of engine and drivetrain is relatively lightweight 485#'s.

    So I'd say you are paying for more metal, more expensive metal, and alot more of the metal is machined.

    Are they overpriced? I dunno, I know I was happy to get my suzuki 140 one year old with 160hours on it for $8k back in '07, new ones were running $10k

    And if I was in your shoes looking for a 485# outboard, I'd likely consider the suzuki DF175, I don't know what the street price is on them, but I have a feeling they are under $15k.

    IMHO the 100hp and larger hondas are overpriced and overweight, but that's not to say their competitors are giving away their engines.
    Those that are successful in Alaska are those who are flexible, and allow the reality of life in Alaska to shape their dreams, vs. trying to force their dreams on the reality of Alaska.

    If you have a tenuous grasp of reality, Alaska is not for you.

  13. #13

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    I am a firm believer, that in predominately strong manufactured products, you get what you pay for. This stands true for most things that I know of. The only inboard I would consider worthwhile is diesel for reasons of duribility and economy, and again this comes with its cost.
    We never really grow up, we only learn
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  14. #14
    Moderator AKmud's Avatar
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    I see where you are coming from Paul...a lot of good points. I thing andweav hit the nail though....proprietary technology. Basically they are charging high prices because they can. I'd bet there is a pretty serious difference from the actual cost of manufacture to the MSRP.
    AKmud
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    The porcupine is a peacful animal yet God still thought it necessary to give him quills....

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