What to Consider When Buying a Boat Engine on eBay

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What to Consider When Buying a Boat Engine on eBay

When living near the shore, having a boat can be a wonderful hobby to pass the time or even do some fishing. However, that boat cannot go very far without a well functioning engine. Even a small dinghy requires an outboard motor to get anywhere fast. One can save money when purchasing an expensive item like a boat engine by shopping on eBay.

There are thousands of sellers on eBay who provide affordable and completed boat engines of a variety of types for different size vessels. It is possible to find engines and engine parts on eBay in a relatively short period of time. The onsite search engine makes this task even easier. Plus, site users can narrow down their search results to find the perfect engine for their boat using one of many "refinements". These refinements allow users to search for boat engines by type, sub-type, and even make and model. This helps ensure the correct type of engine is located and that the engine is a good fit for the kind of boat the user owns. Of course, it is important to learn about the different types of engines used in boats before beginning the search.

Types of Boat Engines

When looking to buy a boat engine on eBay, boaters need to keep in mind that there are four types of engines used on most modern boats. These engines vary in popularity and usage. The easiest type of engine to find includes the outboard motor, while the jet drive is unlikely to be found on eBay.


The outboard motor is an external motor attached to the back of most small boats like the dinghy, inflatable boat, and deck boat. Some outboard motors are made large enough to use on something as large as a houseboat. The outboard motor consists of a motor affixed to the transom of a boat, a long midsection housing the exhaust from the motor and a propeller that sits under the surface of the water. The outboard motor may also have a tiller attached so that the boater can angle the propeller in the water to change the boat's direction. The outboard motor is interchangeable with different boats. In fact, boaters can remove the outboard motor engine from one small boat and usually attach it to another in less than an hour.

Boaters can choose from two-stroke and four-stroke outboard motors. The four-stroke engine features an electronic starter and tends to be quieter than a two-stroke engine. Both have good fuel efficiency, low emissions, and good acceleration.


The inboard motor is an internal boat engine that resides in the midsection or the stern of the boat. The inboard engine cannot be seen from the outside of the boat, but the propeller may be seen just under the water. Inboard engines are more powerful than outboard engines and can be used on boats that are thirty-five feet in length or even longer. These boats include houseboats, trawlers, fishing boats, and yachts.

These diesel powered engines do not produce carbon monoxide in the cabin, are quiet, have a long life expectancy, and are low maintenance.

Stern Drive

A stern drive engine is positioned at the stern of the boat with the engine hidden inside the vessel and the propeller placed outside. The placement is similar to a stern placed inboard motor, but the propeller is more directly located behind the boat rather than below it. Stern drives may also have one or two propellers.

The stern drive can use either gas or diesel fuel. It is quiet and fuel efficient. These engines are used in high performance boats, yachts, bowriders, and cruisers.

Jet Drive

The jet drive is not quite a motor, but a different form of boat engine. Jet drives are not commonly sold on eBay. However, they are used on many kinds of vessels listed by eBay sellers, such as jet skis. Jet drives are also sold on deck boats and fishing boats.

A jet drive consists of a pump that funnels water through the engine and out through a muzzle at high speeds to propel the boat. Jet drives are better for marine animals as they come without a propeller that can cut and injure. However, the pump that sucks water into the engine can potentially be dangerous.

Narrowing Down the Options

When looking for boat engines on eBay, there are a few ways to narrow down the options, which makes it easier to search for the perfect engine. For example, eBay's refinements menu allows users to narrow down their search results by a number of different ways.

Searching by Type

The "type" refinement allows users to search in a broader range of products, such as completed boat engines, engine parts, exhaust systems, fuel systems, and propellers and shafts. Those who want to purchase a fully completed and functional boat engine can click on the refinement of the same name. Those who are just looking for parts relating to a specific function of the boat engine, can click on those parts or systems. The site automatically updates its listings to show only those listings that fit the selected refinements option.

Searching by Sub-Type

After selecting the type of product on the refinements menu, eBay has another refinement option called the "sub-type". This option allows users to select a more specific type of product within the chosen field.

The products listed in the sub-type menu depend on the type of product the user is looking to purchase. For instance, clicking on "boat engines" causes eBay to create a sub-type menu including single inboard, single outboard, twin inboard, and twin outboard motors. This menu also allows the user to search for many of the parts used in completed engines including propellers, condensers, fuel filters, hoses, engine fittings, control cables, engine controls, shafts, and fuel tanks. Selecting any one of these sub-types narrows down the listings even further.

Refining or filtering by "engine type" that can also be used to search for complete engines and parts used on specific types of boat engines.

Make and Model

Another thing to consider in a boat engine is the manufacturer, which can be important in adding inboard or stern drive engines to the boat. Purchasing the same make and model of engine as the boat ensures the engine is a perfect fit for the hold, has the correct engine fittings, and is powerful enough to move the boat without getting overtaxed.

There is a refinement option on the menu that allows users to search by major manufacturers for completed engines, and engine parts and systems. Some of the manufacturers listed in this menu option are Yamaha, Suzuki, Mercury, Mariner, Johnson, and Evinrude. There are plenty of boat manufacturers that produce engines specific to their boats, so do not be discouraged from searching for a particular boat engine brand if the manufacturer is not listed in the refinement.

Buying a Boat Engine on eBay

You can buy a boat engine on eBay from one of thousands of sellers. These boat engines are available in many forms from fully completed and functional engines to engine systems and parts. You may want to consider using the eBay search engine, which is available from any page on the website and is easy to use. Simply enter your search term into the search engine bar and press the "search" button. Your term can be as specific or as general as you like. For instance, you can search for "Yamaha" boat engines and get results featuring only Yamaha engines and parts.

Seller History

Purchasing a large and expensive item, such as a boat engine on eBay necessitates learning a little more about your seller. To do so, click on the seller's name in the product listing. This opens a new page showing all of the seller's previous customer feedback and a star rating received from each customer. All of the star ratings from previous customers are averaged together to create the overall star rating that most people see when they glance at the seller's name on a product listing.


Buying a boat engine on eBay can be a great way to save money by purchasing engines that are new, used, or even incomplete. Using eBay tools to narrow down selections of boat engines is important in terms of finding just the right engine for any vessel. Before getting started users need to know what kind of engine they want to purchase. There are four basic types of boat engines used today. These include outboard, inboard, stern drive, and jet drive engines. The most commonly seen engine available on eBay is the outboard engine. However, boaters may also locate an inboard engine, and parts for a stern drive or jet drive. Furthermore, buyers may find jet drives in jet skis and other types of boats that are also sold on eBay.

Use the refinements menu to narrow down selections after performing a search. Start with the type of engine or product that is being sought, and then narrow down the selection of results using sub-types, such as outboard, twin outboard, inboard, and twin inboard engines. Do not hesitate to check out the wide selection of engine systems and parts readily available on eBay.

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