How To Convert An Inboard Boat To Outboard

Are you considering converting your inboard boat to outboard? If so, you’re making a wise decision. Outboards are reliable and efficient and can help you get the most out of your time spent on the water. Converting an inboard boat to an outboard isn’t something that should be taken lightly though – it requires careful planning and consideration. This article will provide detailed instructions on how to convert an inboard boat to outboard safely, efficiently, and effectively. With these step-by-step instructions, you’ll have all the information needed to make sure your conversion is successful.

Consider the Advantages & Disadvantages

Weighing the pros and cons of this project will help you make an informed decision that is right for you. Converting your inboard boat to outboard power entails certain cost implications, so it’s important to evaluate the potential fuel efficiency benefits before making a commitment. An inboard engine is powerful, but it can be expensive to maintain and repair. Outboards are generally easier and less costly to service, however they require more frequent oil changes than an inboard engine does.

Outboards also tend to be more fuel-efficient than inboards since they produce fewer emissions per gallon of fuel burned. Furthermore, many outboard motors come with warranties that cover parts and labor expenses for up to three years or even longer depending on the model chosen. This long-term coverage can help reduce overall costs over time if repairs are needed down the road. On the other hand, outboards may not offer as much power as an inboard motor when navigating rough waters or when carrying multiple passengers and cargo aboard the boat.

The decision whether to convert your inboard boat will depend heavily on your budget and what type of performance you need from your craft while on the water. Assessing how often you plan on using your boat, along with its intended purpose – fishing vs recreational cruising – should provide some clarity into which option best suits your needs financially as well as functionally.

Select the Appropriate Outboard Motor

As you look to replace your current propulsion system, selecting the right outboard motor is essential for a successful transition. The size of the motor required will depend upon the weight capacity of your boat and how much power you need. When making this decision, it’s important to take into consideration factors such as fuel efficiency, cost, noise levels and maintenance needs.

The first step in choosing an appropriate outboard motor is ensuring that it has enough power to move your boat through the water at a desired speed. While horsepower ratings are one way to measure this power, torque and speed should also be taken into account when selecting your engine. Most modern motors are designed with adjustable trim controls which allow you to adjust the angle of attack to increase performance and fuel efficiency.

It’s also wise to consider other aspects like noise level and ongoing maintenance requirements when selecting an outboard motor for your boat. Some motors have advanced features like exhaust mufflers or sound dampening technology which can help keep noise levels down while cruising. In addition, some motors require more frequent oil changes than others or may necessitate additional periodic service requirements such as carburetor adjustments or spark plug replacements. Taking these factors into consideration can help ensure that you select a motor that meets all of your needs without breaking the bank in terms of running costs.

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Install the Outboard Motor

Now that you’ve chosen the right outboard motor for your needs, it’s time to get it installed and ready to go. Before you begin installation, evaluate the costs associated with any additional items you may need such as mounting brackets or fuel lines. Compare models of these items and shop around for the best price. Once all needed components have been purchased, make sure you have all of your tools ready before starting the installation process.

Begin by connecting the outboard motor to its mount bracket with fasteners and nuts. Make sure to use locking nuts in order to keep everything secure and tight during operation. Then attach the shift rod from the power trim/tilt assembly on the engine’s swivel bracket shaft, being sure to tighten all bolts using a wrench or socket set. Connecting necessary wiring is typically next, but refer to your owner’s manual for specific guidance as different makes and models vary in their requirements.

Once wiring has been connected properly, fill up your tank with fresh gasoline and oil if applicable (check owners manual). Check fluid levels once refilled, then start up your engine per manufacturer guidelines found in your owner’s manual. Ensure that all control systems are functioning properly before taking off on your boat’s maiden voyage!

Reconfigure the Propeller

Once the outboard motor is installed, it’s time to ensure the propeller is properly configured for optimal performance. To do this, you’ll need to consider the motor placement and size of your propeller. The motor should be mounted as close to the transom as possible without hitting when in reverse. Additionally, a prop that’s too small won’t give enough power while one that’s too large can cause damage or reduce top speed.

The best way to determine which propeller size is right for your boat is by trial and error. You can start with a general rule-of-thumb and then adjust accordingly based on experience with different sizes. For example, if you have an 18 HP (horsepower) engine and a 16 foot boat, then an 11″ pitch prop would be a good starting point. However, depending on how much weight you’re carrying and other factors like water conditions or weather, you may want to switch up the size for better performance.

When testing various props out on the water, keep track of their performance so that you can make informed decisions about what works best for your setup. Also remember that changing one parameter such as pitch will affect another – increasing pitch may increase speed but decrease acceleration whereas decreasing pitch may improve acceleration at the expense of top end speed. It’s all about finding a balance between these factors to get your desired results!

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Test the Outboard Motor for Performance

Test your motor’s performance and make sure you’ve got the perfect balance between speed, acceleration, and power – you don’t want to be stuck in the middle of the lake with an engine that just won’t go! Start by giving it a test run. Take it slow at first and gradually increase the speed to get a better feel for how it handles. Pay close attention to how responsive your motor is when you accelerate or decelerate. Make sure all the accessories are working properly, such as the controls, gauges, and any other features you may have chosen to add.

Next, check its fuel efficiency by running it at different speeds for a few minutes each. Note how much fuel is being used over time so that you can see if there are any discrepancies or problems that need to be addressed. Once everything looks good here, move on to testing out any additional features like trolling mode or cruise control. These should all work smoothly without any hiccups or inconsistencies in performance.

Finally, take your boat out into open water and give it a full-throttle test run. This will help verify that everything is operating correctly and give you a chance to experience what kind of wake your newly converted boat can put out! With this last step completed successfully, your conversion is complete – enjoy!

Frequently Asked Questions

How much will it cost to convert an inboard boat to outboard?

Converting an inboard boat to outboard can be a daunting project, but with the right DIY strategies and engine choice, it doesn’t have to break the bank. It’s important to remember that this type of conversion involves removing the old engine and propeller shaft, as well as installing a new one. Depending on your budget or skillset, you could opt for a professional service or take on parts of the job yourself. When choosing an outboard motor, make sure it’s designed for saltwater use and has enough horsepower to meet your needs. Getting an experienced marine mechanic involved in the process may save you time and money in the long run.

What tools are needed to convert an inboard boat to outboard?

If you’re looking to convert your inboard boat to an outboard, there are a few tools that you’ll need. Depending on the size of your boat and fuel type, these can range from basic hand tools to more specialized power equipment. You’ll need a screwdriver, drill and bit set, wrench set, pliers and wire cutters; as well as a hole saw for cutting the engine hole in the transom. Additionally, you may want a jigsaw or reciprocating saw if you plan on doing any cutting into existing woodwork or fiberglass material. Finally, if needed for installation of heavier components such as an outboard engine mount bracket or generator box, consider investing in some lifting equipment such as chain blocks and straps.

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Is it possible to reuse existing components when converting an inboard boat to outboard?

You may be wondering if it’s possible to reuse existing components when converting an inboard boat to outboard. The answer is yes, you can reuse some of the parts from your current system such as the fuel system and mounting brackets. You will need to ensure that these components are appropriate for the new motor, as well as properly adapted and secured into place. If done correctly, reusing existing components during a conversion can save time and money by reducing costs associated with purchasing new parts.

Are there any special considerations to take into account when converting an inboard boat to outboard?

When converting an inboard boat to outboard, there are some important considerations to take into account. You must consider the design of the boat and its fuel efficiency when making changes. Consider whether you need additional reinforcements for the transom, or if any modifications need to be made to your existing engine mount. It is also important to factor in the size and weight of your new engine when selecting where it will be placed on the boat. Finally, keep in mind that a conversion from an inboard motor to an outboard engine may require other changes such as adjusting propellers, stern drives, and exhaust systems.

What is the best way to maintain an outboard boat after conversion?

Maintaining an outboard boat after conversion is essential for enjoying your time on the water. To ensure fuel efficiency and optimal engine performance, make sure to check the oil level and condition regularly, clean or replace the spark plugs annually, and inspect all electrical connections between the engine and main power source. Additionally, you should keep up with scheduled maintenance as specified in your owner’s manual; this includes changing filters and fluids at regular intervals. Finally, be sure to store your boat in a dry place that is protected from harsh weather conditions when not in use.


You’ve now successfully converted your inboard boat to an outboard motor. You can enjoy the convenience and performance of an outboard motor, while still seeing the benefits of a traditional inboard vessel. With the right motor, installation and setup procedures, you’ll be able to get the most out of your new outboard. Don’t forget to take it for a test drive once everything is set up to ensure that it performs as expected. Now that you have this knowledge under your belt, you can look forward to many enjoyable days on the water with your new outboard-powered boat!

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