This is a question you probably never thought about until you needed remove or install a motor on your boat. The first thing you wonder is, “how much does this thing weigh,” and quickly followed by, “how do I remove/install it on my boat.” Keep reading below, and I will try to answer all the questions that might come to mind.
How Much does a Boat Motor Weigh: Quick Reference
Obviously motor weights have many variables, including age, size, accessories, and type. Here is a quick list of average weights for some popular models:
- 15 hp – 122 lbs
- 25 hp – 155 lbs
- 40 hp – 220 lbs
- 50 hp – 237 lbs
- 60 hp – 250 lbs
- 75 hp – 350 lbs
- 90 hp – 350 lbs
- 115 hp – 383 lbs
- 150 hp – 460 lbs
- 175 hp – 460 lbs
- 200 hp – 520 lbs
- 225 hp – 570 lbs
- 250 hp – 575 lbs
- 300 hp – 575 lbs
I took sample weights from the top manufacturers over the last 10 years and averaged them out, which will give you a good idea of what your motor will weigh. Now lets break this down and find out which motors weigh more, and why.
How Much does a Boat Motor Weigh: Old vs New
I was quite surprised by these results. I assumed with modern technology, and the use of more plastics, that today’s motors would be far lighter. In fact, the opposite is true. New motors are much heavier then your old motor from about 1985 and earlier. One of the reasons could be how they measure horsepower. Pre 1985 it was measured at the power head. Now it’s measured at the prop shaft. That means your old 60 hp motor may be the equivalent of today’s 50 hp motor. If you own an old boat, be careful if you decide to add a new motor to it, because the boat manufacturer designed it for the weight of the motors at that time, and if you max out the hp, you could be adding more weight than it could hold. Here are a few examples of how much of a difference there can be.
- 15 hp – gained 35 lbs
- 25 hp – gained 50 lbs
- 40 hp – gained 40 lbs
- 50 hp – gained 60 lbs
- 75 hp – gained 100 lbs
- 90 hp – gained 125 lbs
- 150 hp – gained 65 lbs
Another reason newer motors could weigh more is because most motors nowadays are 4 stroke engines, and they were all 2 strokes back in the day, which brings us to our next question…
How Much does a Boat Motor Weigh: 2 Stroke vs 4 Stroke
This one is a bit more obvious. 4 stroke motors weigh more than 2 strokes. The main reason is size. 2 strokes have a compression stroke, followed by an explosion stroke, providing power every other stroke. 4 stroke motors provide power every 4th stroke, which means 2 strokes offer double the power for their size, and therefore can be smaller. 4 strokes have a crank case filled with oil which adds weight. 2 strokes are lubricated by mixing oil with gas. The trade off for this extra weight of a 4 stroke, means they get better fuel economy, are quieter, and last longer.
How Much does a Boat Motor Weigh: Which Brand is Heavier
For this test I used 3 engine sizes; 25 hp, 90 hp, and 200 hp. Then I checked weights for 1984 and 2017 and averaged the two years. I tested six popular manufactures. Here are the results in order of lightest to heaviest.
- Honda (Honda did not have an older model to average in)
How to Remove a Boat Motor
Now that you know how much your motor weighs, you need to find a way to remove it from your boat. I think it’s safe to say, if your motor is 25 hp or bigger, you won’t want to handle it by yourself unless you have a mechanical way to lift it. Two or three strong men should be able to handle a motor up to 75 hp. The problem with carrying a motor by hand is, where do you hold it? Small motors usually have a carrying handle on the front side just below the power head. Large motors do not have this handle, and are very unfriendly for carrying by hand. So lets look at some mechanical ways to lift your motor.
Come Along Winch
This is one of the most affordable ways to do it. The key to this technique is to have something solid above your motor to attach the come along to. Most likely you will will attach it to the rafters in your garage. Be careful not to overload a single rafter with a very heavy motor. To strengthen your rafter, lay a 4×4 across two or more rafters, then attach the come along to the 4×4. If you don’t have a garage, find a tree with a sturdy branch to connect to.
This device is designed to lift heavy objects. One issue you might run into is the height of the motor. An engine hoist might not be able to lift high enough to remove the motor. In this case, you can put the engine hoist in the bed of a pick up truck, or put some blocks under the wheels to make it higher. If you are handy, you might be able to modify the lift with a taller lifting arm.
For this to work, you will need a support structure above the motor, just like using a come along. If you want to lift the motor by hand, you will need a compound pulley. This will make the lifting effort much easier. Another option is to connect the rope to your ATV and pull it. Make sure your ATV is heavy enough to support the weight of the motor. You can also use a hand crank winch, like the one on your boat trailer. Just bolt it to the wall and crank.
This is the easy way. If you own a tractor with a loader, fork lift, back hoe, bobcat, or any other machine capable of lifting, it will make this job super easy. Just connect a chain to your motor and lift. I happen to have a car lift in my garage, which I found out can lift way more than just cars.
If you decided you just can’t do it yourself, there are always people willing to take your money to provide you with a service. Ideally I would take it to a marine shop because they have the know how to disconnect your motor properly. Your auto shop might be able to do it also, but no guarantees.
Where is My Motor’s Lift Hook?
If you take off the hood, many motors have a lifting hook bolted on the top of the engine somewhere. If you don’t have one of these hooks, then it can get a little more complicated. Read your owners manual to know what is accepted for your engine. Some require a lifting hook that can screw into your flywheel. Others may want you to remove the flywheel first, which requires a special tool, then connect the lifting hook. If all else fails, you can buy a lifting harness. It looks like a bunch of seat belts that cradle your motor from the outside.
How to Disconnect the Motor from the Boat
Now that you have the motor supported, it’s time to disconnect all the lines going to it. The fuel line is the easy part, just push the tab and pull on the line. Next, you need to disconnect the throttle cables. For this, you need to remove the engine hood and find where they connect. Usually a nut driver is all you need to disconnect the cables. Then pull them out of the motor. They usually run through a rubber bushing in the front of the motor. The steering cable is the complicated part. It doesn’t bend very easily, so you might need to remove it as you pull the motor off.
Bolts or Clamps
Your motor is attached to your boat by either clamps or bolts. Small motors are just clamped on to the transom. Just unwind the clamps and the motor can be lifted off. Larger motors, usually anything 40 hp and above with be bolted through the transom. This can be easy or hard, depending on how accessible the inside of your transom is. Normally you will need a wrench on both sides of the bolt to keep it from spinning. Having two people really helps, but a vice grips will work if you’re all by yourself. There should be four bolts holing it on. One you remove the bolts, the motor should pull away from the boat. Motors have hooks on the front so you can rest it on the transom before bolting it on. You might need to lift up and away when pulling it from the boat.
Boat motors are heavy and expensive. Don’t take unnecessary risks when removing your motor. You might end up damaging your motor or yourself. Invite a friend over to help you, it will be much quicker and safer to do so. Most friends will do manual labor for the price of a beer.
One last little known fact I learned from experience: Motor weights increase over time. The older I get, the heavier the motor gets. It’s true. When I was in my 20’s, I could lift a 25 hp motor, no problem! Now that Im in my 40’s, that same motor weighs at least 100 lbs more.