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Thread: Dual motor guys; how many times have you had to limp back on just one motor?

  1. #1
    Member Maast's Avatar
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    Default Dual motor guys; how many times have you had to limp back on just one motor?

    I'm getting ready to write the (godawful) check for a 26 pilothouse with Suzuki power. I'm waffling between a single 250 (couple thou cheaper, better gas mileage, lower drag), or dual 140s (redundancy, more drag, slightly more power, 1 should be able to get me barely on step)

    I'm leaning towards one motor for simplicity, cost, slightly easier maintenance, transom space and weight.

    I'm thinking that the 2 times I've had my motor go out on my 17 were fuel related and would have gotten two motors anyway. Also, if I whack a log at speed I'd probably toast two lower ends too.
    I'd still have a kicker (already own it) on a seperate fuel tank, like I said, fuel has gotten me twice.

    So, how many of you dual motor fellahs have actually had to limp back on only 1 motor. If its a fairly common thing than I'll probably go with the dual, if its exceedingly rare (once in 10 years kind of thing) than I'll go ahead with the single.

    Going with the suzuki motors since they're quieter and a bit cheaper than the Yamahas.

  2. #2

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    My two cents: Look beyond the thought of 'cleaning off the outdrives' with a log and limping back on one motor. Do you need two or just one? I know a guy who hit a $17k log and countless others that came back on one motor. Weight, cost, power, space?

  3. #3
    Member spoiled one's Avatar
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    Default

    Back when I had my 24 AK Searunner with F100's, I had to limp home twice from the Latouche Island area. Both times I lost a lower unit. The first time Deweys covered it under warranty. A "pinion nut" came loose and tore things up. The second time, same motor, the lower unit went out again. I had to pay for that one. They said that I must of hit something. There was no impact or prop strike that I could see or feel. My warranty was out anyways. I carried a much lower pitch prop for such occasions. I could not get on step, but could cruise at about 12 knots. Personally, I like having twin outboards for handling around the dock especially when the breeze picks up. I have not heard that the zukes are quieter. My F250's are very quiet at cruise.
    Spending my kids' inheritance with them, one adventure at a time.

  4. #4
    Member AKBassking's Avatar
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    Default Imagine

    I was at the Miami boat show a few weeks ago and have a friend that works for Suzuki. His boat had 2x 175 4-strokes and I was really impressed with them. Very quiet and smooth.

    Now, close your eyes and image this:

    You are out on a nice day near Montague Island. As you are returning, a bad storm comes up with 8 foot seas and one of your motors throws a connecting rod.

    Is the second engine worth it?

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  5. #5
    Member captaindd's Avatar
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    Default break downs

    1993 purchased twin yamaha stern drives. First trip out lost power to both outdrives was towed in problem dealer put right out drive on left side and left outdrive right side with props on wrong side. second year lost coupling port engine in harbor. Did over 3500 hours change out to Volvo 32 series diesels 1998. Had 1 break down with volvo engines pulley came apart. Purchased different boat 2001 had twin cummins shaft drive. Second trip out transmission went out cost $3500 to fix. 2002 hit under water log damage $16000 had boat fix but started breaking shafts. Had contractor that fix boat from damage check engine aliment could not find problem. 2003 broke another shaft parked boat put old boat in water ran rest of season. Lost after cooler in volvo engine order new engine put could not get engine so changed volvo's out to gas Mercruisers. 2004 no break downs. 2005 water pumps started going out maybe 5 break downs. Carried spare pumps but was a pain to change out. 2006 many more break downs. Installed inline water filters and that seemed to solve problems. 2007 purchased new boat Volvo Diesels no break downs. 2008 two break downs.
    Loose shift actuator at my slip. Developed fuel leak on high pressure fuel pump. Before I had boats with twin engines I had several break down on single engine boats with outboards and I always carried a trolling motor to get home on. I had many other break downs that I did not list like alternators going out, loosing batteries, starter motors, power steering, and shift cables. The more you used a boat the more wear and tear you are going to have. I like twin motors because of the safety factor. I did not spend all that money on a boat just to be towed in.

  6. #6
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    have never had to "limp " home yet, knock knock, but have actually ran on one motor on several occasions. actually got the wrong fuel filter once and had throw the old one out, spent the entire day running around cook inlet with just the one. no problems. As Spoiled one said, danged nice to have the duels in the harbor!

  7. #7
    Member Maast's Avatar
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    Holy snot CaptainDD, it sounds like you've had a lot of maintenance troubles for single or dual motors! You must put a heck of a lot of hours on your boats, you commercial?

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    I have twin 50's on my 22' C-Dory. Last fall one motor went down near Perry Island in PWS (cracked piston - covered under warranty). The day was beautiful and we stayed a little later out on the water than usual (aiming for the 8/9pm tunnel) before the motor died - due to the late evening there were fewer boats in the area to help if anything went wrong. Thankfully we had the dual motors, fired the healthy one right back up and made it back to Whittier before it got too dark. We were able to easily get the boat up on step with the 2nd motor and run safely back to the dock. I am extremely happy running 2 outboards - especially that day - it's a nice form of insurance for AK waters. It sure beat bobbing around in PWS trying to hail somebody on the radio for help or slowly idiling back all the way on an underpowered kicker in the dark. I say go with 2.

  9. #9
    Member Cap'n Ron's Avatar
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    Default Do you plan to troll?

    Seems like trolling should enter into your decision. I don't, a boring way to fish to me, but lots of people do.

    I had a single motor with a 15 hp kicker on old boat. Seals went out in outdrive, lost the lube and mashed the gears. Came in only 16 miles on the kicker and that was way more than enough.

    New boat, hit an uncharted asterisk (that's a rock on your chartplotter!) and damaged both props and lower units. Changed the props, lucky I carried extras, but one had a bent shaft and couldn't run, the other was a little rough, but we could get up on step still at about 14 knots, and made it back just fine. I was glad to have two motors, even though one was damaged, we were 45 miles out, imagine doing that on a kicker!

    So, I'm sold on two, but then again, i don't plan to troll either.

  10. #10
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    Default Gas Over Four Dollars A Gallon

    I don't want to sound negative - but when deciding one motor or two - keep in mind that two of the nations major leading emonomist has said that crude will be back up to 140 a barrel sometime within the next two years. OPEC has already said there going to cut production until it gets back above one hundered dollars.

  11. #11
    Member captaindd's Avatar
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    Default hours

    I have been running a charter boat since 1988. I put between 600 to 800 hours per year. The best set up I had was the Yamaha Stern Drives the only problem was Yamaha lost a law suit to OMC and could not sell them in the states. Worst set up was the Mercruiser 5.0 engines. I am now a firm believer that all gas engines with stern drives should have a water strainer between the drive and pump. I kick my self for not putting twin out boards on that boat. The four cylinder Volvos where not bad. I screw the one engine up by not draining the engine. The main problem I had with the volvo was alternators going out and a pulley breaking. I had a Mariner 175 HP motor blow up with only 12 hours on it. Blew a hole right thru the block. Lost the lower unit on my 200 hp Suziki. I am not complaining it has been fun.

  12. #12
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    Default multiple tanks?

    I'm considering repowering from inboard to twin 90-115 hp's. My boat has 4 tanks in it (total 90 gals). Was reading in here where fuel problems could render two outboards useless. I agree. I've been looking at isolating the two right (starboard side) tanks in my boat to the right outboard with it's own water seperator and the left (port side) tanks for the left engine. If I run on both engines both should burn at nearly the same rate so might boat will stay level. Coming home on only one may be a job for some strong trim tab or load shifting to keep the boat level (but at least we get home). Does dedicating particular tanks/filters to particular engines make sense or am I looking for more trouble than it's worth?

  13. #13
    Member bhollis's Avatar
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    Default

    I've got a 30' SeaSport with twin engines. On the way out for a weekend trip last summer, I lost power on one of the engines due to a problem with the turbocharger on that engine. Wasn't able to get the boat up on plane with the remaining engine (loaded with fuel, water, equipment and passengers at the time), and "limped" the 10 or so miles back to Auke Bay at around 9 kts.

    But I'm not sure my story should sway you one way or another in your decision on whether to go with twins or a single engine. The real question is whether you go with twins or a single and a good kicker.

    If your only reason for considering twins is the redundancy the second engine provides, you should really think hard about just getting a good kicker--one big enough to get your boat up near hull speed. Far less expensive solution (both in up front purchase price and down the road operational, maintenance and repair costs) that will still get you home on that rare occasion your main engine quits on you.

  14. #14
    Member kaisersosei's Avatar
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    Default Two Motors Thumbs Up

    I have had numerous occasions where I have either limped back or wished I had two motors. Imagine the thousands of parts in an engine. Imagine one of those parts breaking or malfunctioning. You can look at statistics all day long but all it takes is one part going wrong whether it be a lower unit or a loose wire and you are at risk out there.

    Also, I would not get the Suzuki 140's. I would get either the 150 or 175 twins. They are just so much better built and if you talk to the mechanics who work on them, they will tell you the same thing. Having said that though, I just got twin 200's on my 26. To each his own I guess.

  15. #15

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    Quote Originally Posted by bhollis View Post
    I've got a 30' SeaSport with twin engines. On the way out for a weekend trip last summer, I lost power on one of the engines due to a problem with the turbocharger on that engine. Wasn't able to get the boat up on plane with the remaining engine (loaded with fuel, water, equipment and passengers at the time), and "limped" the 10 or so miles back to Auke Bay at around 9 kts.

    But I'm not sure my story should sway you one way or another in your decision on whether to go with twins or a single engine. The real question is whether you go with twins or a single and a good kicker.

    If your only reason for considering twins is the redundancy the second engine provides, you should really think hard about just getting a good kicker--one big enough to get your boat up near hull speed. Far less expensive solution (both in up front purchase price and down the road operational, maintenance and repair costs) that will still get you home on that rare occasion your main engine quits on you.
    I've always had singles with a kicker, so no experience to draw on here regarding twins. But I would agree with the above. If you have twins and no kicker and one of your motors dies and you can't get above hull speed with the other motor, then wouldn't a good kicker get you to where you're going just as fast? Plus having a kicker would serve as a good trolling motor. If I had the option of having twins and money were no object, then I would have twins.

  16. #16
    Member Maast's Avatar
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    Kaisersosei, what made you go with dual 200s? It seems to be a lot of horsepower for that size boat. Thanks! for telling me about the motor quality, exactly the kind of things I need to know about.

    Dual/Single I'm still going to have a kicker, I already own a 1 year old longshaft Yam 8 high thrust power tilt/trim that I'm going to use for occasional trolling and low speed/shallow puttering around at fishing holes. It weighs about 120 lbs.

    Weight wise

    dual 140s are 820 lbs
    dual 150/175s are 970 lbs
    dual 200s are 1160 lbs
    single 250 580 lbs
    single 300 604

    I'm starting to lean towards dual motors now, there isnt a whole lot of civilization along the shore in PWS that we can putter up to and call for a sea tow, unlike Puget Sound. And 50+ miles would make for a loooooong trip back on just the kicker.
    I'll just have to make sure the single can get me up on step; approx 5800 lbs deep V hull (26 swiftsure cuddy by SilverStreak)

  17. #17
    Moderator AKmud's Avatar
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    Default

    A co-worker friend of mine has a 26'ish Kingfisher with twin Honda 150's. He came across a power pole sized tree floating one time and cut hard to miss it while throttling back and it hit the stern of his boat as he came to a stop. They lifted the motors to make sure everything was OK and found that the one motor had lost the ENTIRE lower unit!

    The motors are designed to take a hit head on, but not from the side. The aluminum sheared and when the engine idled back down, the drive shaft simply slipped out of the engine....

    Good insurance is almost as handy as a second motor in times like these...
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  18. #18
    Member kaisersosei's Avatar
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    Default Maast

    I got the 200's because I was sick and tired of owning underpowered "package" deals from the dealers. I want to be able to cruise at decent speeds without rapping out the engine all the time and enjoy decent fuel economy plus have the top-end if I should ever need it. I just picked it up and I am going to Seward this weekend to do sea-trials. Based on internet calculators, it should do 39mph on one engine at WOT and 56 with both. Should be nice this weekend. I am also bringing the 30 foot Stabicraft to test out.

    I am mainly interested in fuel economy and performance numbers so I will be "working". Maybe catch a few fish if I am lucky. Is your boat at Silverstreak on Dimond? If so, it is a sweet looking unit. I thought it was a 28 footer though. I would put at least twin 175's on that one if it is what I saw.

  19. #19
    Member bhollis's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Maast View Post
    I'm starting to lean towards dual motors now, there isnt a whole lot of civilization along the shore in PWS that we can putter up to and call for a sea tow, unlike Puget Sound. And 50+ miles would make for a loooooong trip back on just the kicker.
    I'll just have to make sure the single can get me up on step; approx 5800 lbs deep V hull (26 swiftsure cuddy by SilverStreak)
    If you can't get up on step with the second engine (or it overheats on you from overwork), you really are just about as well off with a good kicker. And 50 miles at hull speed isn't the end of the world. There are plenty of boaters out there with displacement hulls that go everywhere at 8 or 9 kts.

    So the real question is whether, in the rare event you lose a main engine, being able to go home at 15-20 kts versus 8 or 9 kts is worth the additional expense of a second main.

    Only you can decide that.

  20. #20
    Member kaisersosei's Avatar
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    Default Bhollis

    Agree with you on what you are saying but a good kicker (15HP?) will never push a planing hull 26 foot long at 8 or 9 knots. I broke down once 93 miles out from Whittier in a 24 foot Osprey with a 15hp kicker. Made 4.5 mph and would have been a long long ride back to Whitter if I had not been able to repair the fuel pump and started the main engine. I would not want to ever do that again.

    In reality though, it may be the difference of making the last tunnel or not in Whittier and I am not too keen on the "Prisoner of Whittier" experience.

    Go twins!

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