How to Buy a Used Boat Engine on eBay

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How to Buy a Used Boat Engine on eBay

Purchasing a used boat engine can be an excellent way to prolong the life of an older boat without spending money on a new boat or a new engine. Buying the used boat engine on eBay is a practical decision as well because it means finding a new engine easily and without the hassle of travelling, from the comfort of one's home. Anyone who wants to purchase a used boat engine on eBay should check the previous engine in the boat, check the capacity and safety limits of the boat, and decide the maximum physical size of the engine.

From there, buyers can look on eBay for the exact specifications that they need including horsepower, engine power, preferred fuel type, and fuel delivery method. Most buyers should also compile a list of questions they would like to ask the eBay seller before making the purchase. Finally, considering a local purchase and arranging to pick up the engine from the eBay seller can save a great deal of time and money in avoiding paying for heavy cargo transport.

Choose an Appropriate Horsepower

Anyone who purchases a new engine for their boat should consider that it is important for safety reasons to follow the specifications required by the boat. An engine that is too large or too heavy might unbalance the boat. An engine with too much power can exceed maximum safety speeds for the craft and could cause it to be difficult to steer or cause it to risk capsizing, especially when turning. Other considerations include that an engine that is not powerful enough could overheat and burn out. It is possible to find the correct power recommendations by checking the owner's manual, by checking the old engine, or by having a professional evaluate the boat. Experts recommend choosing an engine with a horsepower as close as possible to the maximum allowed for the boat, but without exceeding it. It is also important to check the weight of the engine as this affects the boat's balance, position in the water, and speed.

Select the Type of Boat Engine

There are multiple types of used boat engines on eBay but buyers should choose one based on the engine that they are replacing and the type of boat. For example, some boats are built for gas engines while others are designed for diesel; some boats require outboard engines and others inboard. Choosing one type of engine should depend on the boat that the engine is being installed on.

Consider the Fuel Delivery Type of the Engine

The way fuel is delivered from the tank to the engine varies greatly depending on the type of engine. Direct injection engines use injection without air while electronic and carburettor engines both use air in the engine. The fuel injection method can affect the power, handling, response, emissions, and fuel economy of the engine. Most people looking for a used boat engine on eBay can choose the fuel injection method of the engine according to their preference because each system has its own advantages and disadvantages.

Fuel Delivery Type




Direct Fuel Injection (DFI)

Fuel is injected directly to cylinders

Low emissions, economic, smooth engine response, powerful engine

Relatively expensive option to purchase

Electronic Fuel Injection (EFI)

Fuel is injected using an electronic pump with air induction engine

Cold engine start, low emission, superior throttle response and power

Sometimes not as efficient as DFI

Carburetted Fuel Systems (CFS)

Carburettor controls the air and fuel to the engine

Lowest purchase cost, simple engine

High emission, low fuel economy compared to DFI and EFI

Buyers who are on a budget are likely most drawn to the inexpensive carburetted fuel system. However, it is important to consider that this engine might cost more in fuel over time due to being less fuel efficient. Normally, used motors are cheaper to begin with so buyers can look for a range of options or simply choose any type of fuel injection because it is available and has the correct horsepower and engine type.

Outboard Boat Engines

Outboard motors include any detachable engine that is meant to be mounted on the stern of the boat. Usually, these types of engines can be installed in any type of boat, even one that previously had an inboard motor. Anyone attaching an outboard motor to a boat requires a frame, which should either screw to the boat or hook over the stern to form a secure hold. Ensuring that the engine is properly attached is important for boat and engine safety. Common horsepower ratings for outboard engines range from 1 to 300 horsepower.

Two-Stroke Outboard Engine

The two-stroke outboard engine offers better top hole acceleration and allows for electrical ignition systems and engine management systems. Usually more fuel efficient than the four-stroke engines, the two-stroke engine is lightweight, offers an excellent power to weight ratio, and is best purchased as a DFI engine. Carburetted engines are efficient as well but not as fuel efficient or as quiet as the DFI.

Four-Stroke Outboard Engine

The four-stroke outboard engine is more expensive than the two-stroke engine but is heavier and requires oil as well as gas. The engine is very low emission and therefore eco-friendly; offers excellent fuel economy, engine management, and electronic ignition systems; and is usually very quiet to run. Four-stroke engines are usually easy to top off with oil because it is added to the engine rather than the fuel.

Inboard Boat Engines

Inboard engines are engines that are placed under the boat. These are produced in both diesel and gas versions, although gas engines are much more common and easier to purchase on eBay because they are a great deal lighter and, thus, less expensive to ship. Inboard engines require being installed in the boat, which means that they must match the general size and weight capacities of the boat. Inboard engines offer excellent torque, long life spans, low run cost, and are very quiet compared to outboard engines.

Jet and Propulsion Inboard Engines

Jet and propulsion engines can be purchased on eBay as well. Usually these engines are inboard in design and do not use a propeller, which causes them to be safer for marine life and the people operating them. These engines use pumped water to create pressure to push the boat forward and steer it. Disadvantages include that the boat cannot be operated in shallow water.

Stern Drives

Stern drives are the most difficult and complex engine to install without professional help because they include a drive and an engine connected under the transom. Sometimes these engines are called 'inboard-outboard' on eBay to indicate that they have parts inside of the boat and on the back of the boat. Stern drives are easy to steer and to reverse, are very quiet, and usually relatively inexpensive compared to other types of boat engines.

Questions to Ask the eBay Seller

It is important to ask the person selling the engine a few basic questions before buying the engine. For example, any necessary information that is not listed in the eBay item description should most definitely be asked. Questions including age of the engine, why it was removed from the boat, and how many miles it has run are all important to ask. In addition, buyers should consider asking if the engine has been run through a compression test and, if so, what the results are. Results that are not within 10 of each other, either up or down, likely indicate leaky seals or gauges. Many people recommend having the engine inspected if the owner has not already done so or does not have a certified results sheet. For very cheap motors, these questions are not as important as it might be more affordable to simply pay for repairs than an engine in better shape.

Buying a Used Boat Engine on eBay

Once you have decided what type of boat engine you are looking for, its weight class, and its horsepower, you can search on eBay to find what you are looking for. There are many sellers offering a wide range of different motors so you are likely to find any brand or power that you are looking for. Common searches could include 'used Honda outboard engine 300 HP' or any other specifications you like. Alternately, you could search for 'used inboard engine' and browse through the options you find until you come across a model that suits your needs.

Once you find the engine, read the full description, look at any photos provided, and ask the seller any questions you might have. Because of the nature of the item, you might have to pick it up from a local eBay seller, but you could also pay to have it shipped to you, depending on the seller. Usually it is a good idea to find a seller as close to you as possible when purchasing boat engines.


Boat engines come in a variety of sizes, horsepower, styles, and have different power rating and fuel injection systems. Each model has its own advantages and disadvantages, and some are more fuel efficient than others. Buyers looking for a used boat engine on eBay should consider the weight class and maximum horsepower rating for their boat as purchasing a more powerful model can be dangerous and a less powerful engine can overheat the motor.

Reading the full description on the eBay listing, asking the seller about any issues with the motor, asking for inspection results, or asking to arrange an inspection of the motor can all be beneficial to the buyer. For the most part, valuable information should be listed in the item description so extra questions might not be necessary. The buyer can then use the information about their boat and match it to a used boat engine on eBay to make a purchase.

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