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  1. #1

    Which Stern Drive?

    I'm currently researching boat upgrade options, and a big part of this is the power decision. Originally I was going to go with a 300hp Suzuki, but have lately been considering a diesel stern drive.

    All my boating experience has been with outboard power, so I am seeking feedback on the pros and cons of the stern drive. Specifically I'd like to hear from those with experience with the Bravo 1, 2 & 3 stern drives. I have spoken to three different people who I know to have much experience in this area, but they each recommended a different option - ie they each suggested the 1, 2 and 3

    Horse power I am looking at is mid 200hp range, boat will be a plately around 7.5m, on trailer, never moored.

    Any help would be appreciated.


  2. #2

    Re: Which Stern Drive?

    I had 2 Volvo 4.3l 225hp stern drives in the last boat..never had any problems with them..very reliable. Ran Volvo legs on them.

  3. #3

    Re: Which Stern Drive?

    check out afew Yank sites (hull truth etc) overwhelming majority use volvo , me big fan of penta duo prop, more expensive but imo worth the expense

  4. #4

    Re: Which Stern Drive?

    you can give Scott (Bluewater boats ) a call as he has done a few and may be able to give you some real feed back.. I think he is on a project now..Im sure he would be more than happy to help you out


  5. #5

    Re: Which Stern Drive?

    Yep, get advice from a boat builder rather then someone that actually owns one, I have a setup that may be right up your alley PM if you want, youll be very happy with a properly set up diesel with the right drive, get it wrong and youll want deep full pockets.

  6. #6

    Re: Which Stern Drive?

    i have been using a mates lazercraft and it is powered by a 3.2litre STEYR diesel and i think a bravo 2 leg, it flies and uses very little diesel for the size boat. If you would like to see it pm me and i can arrange a visual and water test and pick Tims brains as his research was long and exhaustive. Cheers Lee

  7. #7

    Re: Which Stern Drive?

    Anything Cummins in big boat land is a good thing. Can only think of a couple of dodgey Cummins' but lots of problems with all other brands. Cummins are now in bed with Mercruiser which can only be a good thing if you go that way. Not real sure about the bombed up small capacity things like the Steyrs and Ivecos. They might produce good figures for power and torque but in real life I know of a recently launched Cairns Custom Craft bridgedeck where the 5 cylinder Iveco just didn't have the balls to get it on the plane fully loaded. Once it got over the hump it flew but you still need those balls down low that only CCs can provide. What is the engine life going to be for these souped up small diesels when you compare them to the stress and strain put on big low revving things like Gardners etc. that run forever? Volvo are pissing a few people off at the moment with their parts support and have never been a fan of an engine designed for cold Scandinavian waters when you start running them in TNQ. Big waiting times if things go pear shaped.

  8. #8

    Re: Which Stern Drive?

    hi i can recommend yanmar/ bravo 2 engine packages to suit your size platey. the 315hp is my favourite. cheers jim

  9. #9

    Re: Which Stern Drive?

    Hello Alchemy,
    How many hours a year will you put on this rig?
    If it is less than about a thousand fit an outboard.
    A diesel in this range will be $15-20K dearer than an outboard, you will never recover the extra cost in fuel savings.
    Have a read of the Seamedia test of the Quintrex 670 Offshore/Diesel.
    Peter Webster says that for recreational usage the diesel is "just all wrong".
    If you a concerned about fire, maybe, but how many outboards burn?, not many.

  10. #10

    Re: Which Stern Drive?

    that may be true, but there is a host of advantages in having a diesel in a boat, not just fuel savings, a few are, saftey with fuel carried, not too many worry about turning the ignition key with diesel, not real problems with a wet motor, definately no ignition probelms, able to run accessories not available with outboard power, and limited with petrol , like as in Hydraulic power and pumps, even air conditioning, genset, all sorts of stuff, but there is a trade off, price and weight

  11. #11

    Re: Which Stern Drive?

    I forgot to add, and this is only my opinon! I reckon stern drives are kind of the ugly cousin, for me, it is outboard or shaft drive, stern drives to me seem to have the two biggest bugs of a small boat, they take up space in the boat, plus they have a leg out the back as well, with an outboard you only get the out the back problem, and shaft drive, only the in the boat space problem.

  12. #12

    Re: Which Stern Drive?

    Hello Noelm,

    most of what you say is correct, except for the wet engine.
    Modern electronic diesels have electronic injection systems that are just a susceptible to water as any injected petrol engine. They also have an electric starter motor that lives in a humid bilge, I don't think that you can hand crank a 200hp diesel.

  13. #13

    Re: Which Stern Drive?

    yep, for sure, but if getting wet is an issue, I would rather a diesel in water than a petrol, but you are correct.

  14. #14

    Re: Which Stern Drive?

    Yes the cummins are a good motor but once you see the figures of the Steyr and the build quality of the engine they are near indestructible, i had never really heard of them until my mate had one put into his. Speak to anyone that has been in it and no one can believe what she performs like.

    Having the diesel in the boat gives you a much lower centre of gravity and therefore in most boats a much better ride. The comments i have had have been like you are riding in a 30+ foot cruiser. I had Mark Jones onboard the other week and you can read his comments in one of my previous reports of river to reef. The boat can top out at 45 knots so performance is unquestionable.

    cheers Lee

  15. #15

    Re: Which Stern Drive?

    just sort of thinking, I have brought this up before with motor like the Subaru, I wonder why they have not put much development into flat (horizontaly apposed) like the Mercedes used in buses? it would seem like a win win situation to be able to produce a very low profile engine, not just for smaller boats that would leave an almost flat floor, but in bigger boats where you could lower the centre of gravity even more with a flat diesel. I did a bit of work on one in a bus for a mate of mine and thought it was a dream engine to do anything to, most stuff was very easy to access, especially seeing as the floor of the bus just lifted off, exposing the engine.

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