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Thread: Can a layman assess a used outboard?

  1. #1

    Default Can a layman assess a used outboard?

    Planning on trekking to Soldotna this weekend to check out a few boats on CL: 19' Alumaweld Striker Super Vee and 18' HewsCraft Sea Runner, both with 50hp 4-stroke outboards. Can I tell whether a used outboard is in good condition or not? And if so... what should I look for? Or should I take it to someone and have them check it out?


    And if anyone knows of other 18-20' options with a windshield, soft top, and good for fishing the Kenai and resurrection bay, let me know.

  2. #2
    Member jaydog's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2007


    It's a huge generalization, but the outward general condition of an outboard can be an indicator of how well the owner took care of the internals. When looking at used boats I always view the outboard as a write-off. I might get lucky, but I'm not counting on it. If you really get serious about a boat, your best bet is to haul it to a good mechanic for a once over.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Nov 2009
    lower u.s.


    50 horse is small for those boats. for most uses other than the river you will be disappointed..

  4. #4
    Member sayak's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2006
    Central peninsula, between the K-rivers


    Bring a basic tool box with plug sockets and a few screw drivers. A compression gauge would be good to have. A lower unit hose adapter would be great to have along.

    Pull the cowling and look for signs of overheated paint on the engine block. Look for general oil messiness under the cowling. Look for signs of inept mechanicing (stripped or rounded screw and bolt heads). Do a compression check of the cylinders. Look at the color of the electrodes on the plugs (should be tannish-white). See if the oil is clear. Dark is OK, but creamy is a probable sign of bad head gasket. Ask for a test run with a hose and look for smoke when the motor starts. While it is running see how easily it shifts and goes through the RPMs. Look at the lower unit for signs of impact. If really serious, look at the color of the lower unit fluid to see if it is creamy also (could be a bad seal).
    Check out the condition of the fuel tank and hose if it comes with them. A manual and tool kit will tell you that the owner was conscientious.


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