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If you’re thinking of re-powering your boat with a more up-to-date engine now is about the best time: most dealers – and count also my company, Brigantine Marine Group selling Suzuki outboards – will offer excellent prices so to clear stock ahead of ordering next year’s engines. You can get a surprisingly good deal.

About the cost of a better engine particularly four-strokes. Yes, they are slightly more than the old two-stroke bangers yet they last far longer. We have some fishing camp operators with more than 6,000 hours on their engines and they’re still running. Fact is we don’t really know how long a maintained four-stroke will last. In our world of recreational boating and fishing the average of being on the water is about 80-100 hours. You do the math. You’ll have an engine that will give years and years of service and, if you decide to sell, you sell with years and years remaining on the engine.

There are some features of four-stroke no matter the maker: they’re quieter (at idle you can hear the piddle port stream hitting the water), they don’t have oily exhaust fumes, and they use less gas – up to a third or half which means, in practice, your boat’s range increases substantially.

But there’s another bonus. Four-strokes generate a lot of torque and are therefore geared to swing a larger prop having a greater pitch. This means a better hole shot and a higher top end. Suzuki is a leader in this so if you’re comparing engines compare gear ratios at the skeg. That makes a large difference in similar horsepower and why one maker’s 140 hp delivers more actual thrust than another’s.

Cost and what to consider when re-powering. There’s the cost of the engine and added is rigging and instrumentation. Rigging is on larger engines since, obviously, smaller engines are transportable: if the engine is 9.9 hp and above, my advice is having it professionally rigged. Consider the average weight of a four-stroke kicker is slightly above 100 lbs. and it increases from there and that’s why we at Brigantine Marine Group have heavy load lifters to install an engine.

About instrumentation. Suzuki engines have a ‘brain’ that does things such as telling you when you need service (the oil light comes on at the first 20 hour break-in period and when the engine needs service as you pile on the hours). That brain also runs all the instruments but the gas gauge (that said, we can install a fuel burn meter and couple that to your GPS chart plotter so you can know gas needed for a run to a specific place). Now, to use that brain you’ll need instruments that can receive the engine data and that’s why older instruments won’t work with the newer engines. Also, and this is to your benefit, we at Brigantine can slap the engine on a computer (like your car) and our technician. Max, can diagnose any hiccup.

The bottom line about repowering. Your hull works better and you’ll have season after season of better performance. Is the cost worth it? Haven’t met a boater who says he’s regretted getting a four-stroke. Not one. They say things like, “At WOT we can still talk without yelling,” or “At idle I can troll all day on the main engine.”

As always, if you have a question about repowering or any other aspect of boating, give me or Rob Bruch our CEO or Marie Holloway our service manager a call at 604-530-2497 or visit the store at Fraser and 216th at the Langley Airport’s southern edge.

Michael Read, President, Brigantine Marine Group
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