Boating Life

The Science Behind Repowering Your Boat

June 23, 2021
Ingman Marine
Helpful Tips
June 23, 2021
Ingman Marine
Helpful Tips

Buying a new boat sounds like a great idea, but sometimes it doesn’t work out financially; or maybe you love your boat and don’t feel the need to buy a new one, but you know your engine could use some TLC. A boat, just like any other item, eventually begins to show wear and tear throughout its lifetime, with the engine being the first one to suffer from the damage of time and usage.

When the engine is overworked, the boat stops performing at its full power; this is when repowering a boat might be worth considering. This affords you the ability to change just those parts that have grown tired over time, at a more affordable price.

What does "Repowering" Mean?

Repowering a boat implies making a change without sacrificing your entire investment. Repowering refers to the process of rebuilding and polishing your current engine or replacing it with a new one all together.

Reasons to Repower

As a boat owner, you grow attached to your baby and all the memories you’ve made. As repowering your boat mostly concentrates only on making your boat more powerful, you get the best of both worlds: you get to keep your boat and you also make it more powerful and efficient.

Technology changes over time and certain features tend to become outdated. For example, an older engine may not make use of digital controls or data displays. An outboard repower, in this case, can bring you modern features and make your boating experience better and safer. Not to mention, newer engines are usually quieter.

We know that money is also always a factor when making decisions about your boat, which is a huge consideration when deciding whether to buy a new boat or just spruce up your current one. Repowering is definitely cheaper than a new purchase and it could save you on fuel costs since newer engines are more fuel efficient.

10 Things to Consider when Repowering:

  1. Why do you want to do it? This is one of the most important questions to ask yourself when making this decision. Is it related to technical issues, such as overheating or oil leaks, or do you want your engine to be quieter or to perform better?
  2. Will your boat perform better or just use more fuel? Your boat’s performance isn’t necessarily equal to fuel consumption. Sometimes, adding more horsepower to your boat will not help it perform better, but quite the contrary: it will make it consume more fuel to cover the power it needs to use.
  3. Risking the warranty. An engine repower might cause you to lose your warranty, depending on the added power, especially if it’s greater than the recommended amount.
  4. Increasing the insurance price. Horsepower has to be included by insurance providers when it comes to establishing a cost. More power usually means a higher cost.
  5. How big is your boat and how heavy is your engine? Smaller boats don’t need heavy engines. This means that a powerful engine might not be the best fit for a smaller boat as it would only slow it down and cause it to be dragged down on water.
  6. Boat specs. You need to know the specs of your boat to figure out what kind of performance it can offer.
  7. How old is your boat? An older boat might not need an engine repower, but an engine replacement. If we’re talking about a newer boat, then an upgrade could be more than enough.
  8. Do you want performance, fuel efficiency, or boat reliability? Your purpose might also help you figure out whether you want only one of these aspects or all of them.
  9. Is it a diesel or gas engine? Look at the costs closely and consider whether replacing your engine is worth it.
  10. Do you need to recondition or repower your engine? If your engine shows signs of overheating or other technical issues that might affect your boat as a whole, then you might not need to improve its performance by repowering it. Technical issues usually fall under the category of reconditioning.

Determining if your Boat is a Repower Candidate

Money speaks in this case, and if your boat’s outboard repower costs more than the boat itself, it might not be worth it. Usually, the best boat repowering candidates are those boats that have been carefully maintained throughout their lifetime and are both quality and designer brand boats.

Who can Repower my Boat?

The short answer is that not just anybody can perform an Outboard Repower. You will need a certified ‘loose’ engine seller. We offer repowering services at Ingman Marine, and if you are looking for a Repower Specialist, you can get in touch with our guy, Keith Gant.

If you want to reach out to KG, our outboard motor repower guy, you can find his contact details here.

Can I Raise or Lower my Horsepower?

Your boat needs a specific amount of horsepower, depending on a few elements. The first hint is the limit imposed by the manufacturer. It is usually not recommended to go below or over the limits imposed by the manufacturer, as those represent the capacity of your boat.

Horsepower is also closely related to the weight of your boat. It would not be recommended to raise or drop those levels if your boat is smaller or larger, respectively.

One last thing to take into consideration when you think about either raising or lowering your horsepower is fuel consumption. A higher level will need more fuel to function properly.

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Do I get new Controls and Instruments if I Repower?

Repowering a boat can get you newer controls and instruments, depending on the state of your current boat and on the specifications of your new engine. Usually, an analog boat will not be compatible with a new motor, which means that all your instruments and controls should be replaced in order to function properly.

Old controls and instruments might be better kept as memories since newer ones can represent nicer and safer alternatives.

How Long would it Take?

Golden rules don’t really apply here. As in the case of controls and instruments, it’s going to depend a lot on what you want to do. If you’re exchanging your old engine with a newer one, the whole process could take up to 24 working hours: wiring off the old engine, installing the new one, and testing it.

There are also cases where the process only takes up to 12 hours. If you choose to replace your engine with one from the same manufacturer, albeit newer, the waiting process can be halved. Going from a mechanical to a digital engine, however, can take up to 20 hours, as there are many props that must be installed.

Final Summary

Repowering a boat can be a great (and cheaper) idea. As a boat owner, one of the biggest nightmares is knowing that you can’t use it at its fullest power anymore. It is also important to know when it’s time to repower or recondition your engine and we are here to help you out with that.

Good Luck!

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