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Hello Everyone,
Been on the site for about two years never post much just enjoy reading. But now I have a questions and looking for an answer. My wife and I are looking to upgrade to a larger boat 32' to 36' and was wondering about the V drives or the I.O . Let me know your feelings good or bad on either to help make up my mind. Tony
 

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Here's my thoughts..... please correct me if your thoughts differ!

V-drives
pros - more cabin room than inboards, slightly less than inboard/outdrives
simpler (cheaper to maintain, less to break) than outdrives

con - same depth required as inboards

outdrives
pros - more manuverability
can get into shallower areas by trimming up the drive

con - cost to repair or maintain (bellows, u-joint, etc)
usually all aluminum, so be VERY carefull of corrosion

inboards
pro - simplist drive system (lower overall cost), and means more reliable?

con - usually need more draft than outdrives
takes more cabin room than v-drive or outdrive

Is there a normal "hours" limit to an outdrive?? Will an outdrive last as long or longer than the engine?

I'm GUESSING that the inefficiency of the outdrive gearing (two 90's), is offset by the better ability to trim the prop, so the overall efficiency of an outdrive compared to a v-drive or inboard is very similar... but is that true... does anyone have a good data or links where they are compared on an efficiency (MPG) basis?
 

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Someone can qualify this statement for me, but if you have the same boat with the same powerplants, wont the outdrive boat be slightly faster and slightly more efficient?

Since you are comparing v-drives to outdrives I assume you are looking at a somewhat "newer" boat.
 

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QUOTE(Suck My Wake @ Aug 14 2009, 06:54 AM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>Someone can qualify this statement for me, but if you have the same boat with the same powerplants, wont the outdrive boat be slightly faster and slightly more efficient?

Since you are comparing v-drives to outdrives I assume you are looking at a somewhat "newer" boat.
That is correct. The outdrive boat will be a bit faster and more fuel effiicient.

I just went through the decision between I/O's and V-Drives back in April. Did a lot of research and talked to many different people. I ultimately decided v-drives would be the best way to go. So far, no regrets. I know a handful of people ay my marina with the exact same boat as I have but with the stern drives, and every one of them has told me they wish they had the v-drives. One guy just dropped $9K on outdrive repairs.

If we were in saltwater the choice would be simple, v-drives. One of the only reasons stern drives are even considered in this area is because it's a freshwater environment.
 

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[/quote]
One guy just dropped $9K on outdrive repairs.

If we were in saltwater the choice would be simple, v-drives. One of the only reasons stern drives are even considered in this area is because it's a freshwater environment.
[/quote]

I don't know much about v drives, but couldnt you say the same thing about dinging a prop and putting a shaft out of balance? Anyway, people could probably sit here all day and give pros and cons either way. I think age and hours will probably be the biggest deciding factor, and a good survey should bring the peace of mind you need in whatever you choose.

I just sold a 98' with a bravo 3 and the only work it every had done was a gimble ring. I also went for a sea trial on a 96' recently with bravo 3's and they seemed to be in good working order. Though i will admit that the drives are probably the first thing I would be concerned with in a survey, as I would with transmissions on a v drive boat.
 

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Wow. Great article.

I wish they would have used a single-prop outdrive instead of a duo-prop, to get a better apples-to-apples comparison, but I guess another advantage of an outdrive is that you are *able* to use a duo-prop configuration!
 

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I pretty much agree with what's been said about I/O vs Vee or I/B.
Once you get to 36' you won't see too many with I/Os... I/Bs & Vees are more common in the larger boats.

While I agree that you can "trim up" with an I/O, in any instance where you do you will be at pretty much idle speed to do so... It will allow you to enter shallower areas and even beach the boat (depending on bottom). At speed though, most I/Os run AS deep or DEEPER than the same boat with I/Bs.

I/O = slightly better speed and economy, likely higher upkeep cost.
I/B or Vee = slightly lower speed & economy, longer life, lower upkeep.

A simple question... how many 30+ yr old I/Os do you hear of that are still running original gear?? ......... Most I/Bs are.
 

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QUOTE(Capn Ken @ Aug 14 2009, 07:39 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>I pretty much agree with what's been said about I/O vs Vee or I/B.
Once you get to 36' you won't see too many with I/Os... I/Bs & Vees are more common in the larger boats.

While I agree that you can "trim up" with an I/O, in any instance where you do you will be at pretty much idle speed to do so... It will allow you to enter shallower areas and even beach the boat (depending on bottom). At speed though, most I/Os run AS deep or DEEPER than the same boat with I/Bs.

I/O = slightly better speed and economy, likely higher upkeep cost.
I/B or Vee = slightly lower speed & economy, longer life, lower upkeep.

A simple question... how many 30+ yr old I/Os do you hear of that are still running original gear?? ......... Most I/Bs are.

Hey Capt.Ken-I've got a 20 year old I/O that I still use at least 3 days a week
 

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QUOTE(Les2517 @ Aug 14 2009, 09:40 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>Hey Capt.Ken-I've got a 20 year old I/O that I still use at least 3 days a week

All original? No replacement parts at all in those 20 yrs? No seals? No gimble bearing? No U-joints? No Props? (the original I/O aluminum ones never seem to last, even without hitting bottom)

Lots'a old I/Bs are still running ALL original gear (assuming they've never smashed into the bottom). In many cases, I'd bet they're still running original lubricant. My old Chris Caft still had the original cutlass bearing (probably the least durable part of an I/B system), which was just beginning to need lookin' at after 42 yrs.

Bronze props, rudders & hardware, and monel shafts are pretty much forever.
 

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My dad caught a line around a shaft and ended up spending over $10k in repairs. You can spend plenty of money on inboards! He also had an original prop (1969) crack due to fatigue a few years earlier.

I will agree that inboards are typically more reliable, though. I like I/O's for our lake, though. More efficient, more adjustable. And an outdrive sized properly for the application should last quite a while. A small block with a bravo behind it should live nearly forever, as long as you don't blow out the seals with fishing line and you keep up on the maintenance. Bellows, u-joints, and gimbal bearings are wear items, they will each need replacement every 2 - 10 years. If you're the guy who leaves his outdrive up all the way idling in and out of the moot, you will need u-joints every 2 years. If you actually know how to treat your equipment, you can probably get 10 years out of them. On the same token, if your inboard boat is sitting on it's props at muscamoot every weekend, you might need prop and shaft work every year.

I prefer inboards to v-drives as well. If you're going to take the efficiency hit with inboards you might as well put them forward to minimize bow rise when coming on plane and simplify the mechanicals. Problem with that is it takes more space. you can't really fit a mid-cabin in an express cruiser unless you go v drives or i/o's, but a straight inboard boat comes up on plane a lot easier with less bow rise and will typically run better just off-plane if you need to run through some heavy seas.

Another advantage to I/O's - they have a skeg. That skeg has saved my prop a couple of times. And when you do hit something (it ain't if, but when) the outdrive can often be replaced in it's entirety for what it will cost to replace an inboard prop, fix a strut, and straighten a shaft.
 

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So what would everyones opinion be on 1996 Bravo 3's? We are currently looking at a boat with this setup. Obviously a survey is in order, and I have not yet seen any maintenance records on them. When I asked the previous owner about any major work on the drives he said "No." I guess I should have questioned what his definition of major work is. You would think bellows, gimble ring, or gimble bearings would have been looked at by now?
 

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Not necessarily. A lot of people buy them and run them with no concept of what maintenance is required beyond changing the oil. And most get away with it for quite some time.

As long as the oil has been changed annually, they should be fine.
 

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Another thing is ride. I've read, and it seems reasonable to me, that inboards ride the best because the weight is amidship. V-drives are similar, but not quite as good. I/O's have all the weight astern, and give up a little ride quality as a result.

Personally (having gone from alpha outdrives to v-drives this year), one of the things that I immediately liked about not having outdrives is how effortless and smooth shifting is. While obviously it's no big deal to shift an I/O in and out of gear, a transmission makes doing so much smoother, and impossible to do badly. No gear clunks. No delicate balance of shift cable tension against ignition interrupt switch.
 

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Alphas are a pain like that, but if you just ignore the clunk it's no biggie. Bravos have a different shift mechanism that doesn't require the shift interrupt switch. They use a cone clutch mechanism of some sort in the upper rather than just jamming gears together in the lower. Just one reason that Bravos, although more expensive, are far superior to the alphas.

You may have a point about the ride, AP, but I think that also has to do more with the type of boat that each is installed in. If you have a v-drive boat but other heavier things are placed further forward, it should ride just like a straight inboard boat.
 

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QUOTE(sleeper @ Aug 19 2009, 08:58 AM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>Alphas are a pain like that, but if you just ignore the clunk it's no biggie. Bravos have a different shift mechanism that doesn't require the shift interrupt switch. They use a cone clutch mechanism of some sort in the upper rather than just jamming gears together in the lower. Just one reason that Bravos, although more expensive, are far superior to the alphas.

You may have a point about the ride, AP, but I think that also has to do more with the type of boat that each is installed in. If you have a v-drive boat but other heavier things are placed further forward, it should ride just like a straight inboard boat.
That's certainly an improvement. Good to know.
 
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