Mostly retired spend all my time working on or thinking about boats and outboard motors :)
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Follow our project from start to finish


Save Big $$$$

If you shop carefully, know the prices and do a lot of looking, you can significantly reduce your costs on a large project. I am not saying look for "cheap" material/items. You can get top quality stuff at bargain prices.

Your mission is to find that chrome over bronze thru-hull for the cost of the cheap plastic one. The deals are there, you just have to go find them - and the time to look is when you "don't need the item", not when you are a couple days away from completing the project - that's when you will pay "whatever the cost" is to get finished up...

January, 2007, off to the boat show. Now entering year 2 in the process of getting that "new boat". We have our design picked, have the study plans, have made our lists of "what we need" and have roughed out a budget. It's time to look for the deals.

The very first actual item obtained for this build was a filter kit for the motor. I got it for 60% off retail. Ya, one small victory but it set up a kinda game for us. "Let's see how much we can save".

We have kept a spreadsheet over the past couple years as we have acquired every conceivable component/part that we will need - containing the price we paid and what the budget was (from our long ago list compiled from the West Marine catalog).

The months ticked by and we hit every boat show, fishing show, dealers "bargain bin", local buy/sell, Ebay, internet dealers, commercial builders overstock/discontinued etc. We took our time buying anything and everything on our list - provided that it was less than 1/3 of the retail price for a corresponding list item (or of equal/better quality).

Some may think that this is a backwards way to build since as the time of this article (now January, 2009) I have not purchased a single piece of wood yet. But we have absolutely every other thing we will need to complete the project. So at this point, aside from the material to build the (boat) itself we have practically "zero" dollars remaining to be spent (although no matter how much you plan there is definitely things you will have overlooked).

A few months back we drove from Southern Ontario to Northern Connecticut to pick up an outboard - a used one. As time went on we decided to find a blown outboard that I would rebuild myself. The cost savings would be huge - plus I have the tools, the skills and the technical manuals to do so.

Ya, a bit of drive, but have "in-laws" in Danbury, CT, so made it a bit of a vacation.

The motor was a 20 year old, 140 horse OMC outboard for 600 bucks - it included all the controls, the original service manual and it didn't even need a rebuild.

However, I completely tore it down anyhow, reconditioned it (restored the powerhead with many new components), rebuilt what needed rebuilding and $450 dollars later, for a total of $1050 including initial cost, have a "like new" motor. Sure beats chucking 15K.
(if this is beyond your capability a rebuilt powerhead from a reputable shop can still be obtained for about $2500 – something to consider unless you want the “latest technology”)

A month after that we made another "parts run" to Milwaukee.

Ok, it cost us 200 bucks in gas and a hotel stay, but we got both the boats gas tanks (New 40 gallon Inca belly tanks) for $260 (that's for both). Since they retail for over 500 bucks a piece, the drive and associated cost was well worth it. Besides, during that trip we found some stainless steel pop up cleats in Cabela's bargain cave. Wouldn't have bought these at 70 bucks a piece (would have settled for something just as functional in the 20 dollar range) but since we got them for 9 bucks a piece, we couldn't leave them there.

Aside from the motor, the only other used item we bought was the windshield. We plan on putting it in a wood frame so a salvaged windshield, 5 glass sections, that was removed from a walk-around that was selling for $35 sure seemed like a deal since Taylor (marine mfg) wanted just on a 1000 bucks for one to the specifications I needed.

So all in all, what did we save by spending two years grubbing around for our “brand new, name brand, top quality” parts??? Well, including the motor we haven't even spent 7K.

We figured 15K for parts and the same for a motor (30K in total) - we are 23 thousand ahead of the game - and because we were doing so well with the budget, we ended up picking up a significant number of things that we would have "done without" to help keep the costs out of the stratosphere. Hey, ended up we didn't have to – our boat “will” have hydraulic trim tabs after all (got them for ½ price too).

So now it's time to buy the lumber/epoxy/fasteners - no excuse now - even if we spend budget on that this project is going to come in just on 20K - and that's if we buy a brand new trailer to carry her- life is good :)

You may not be as patient as we have been - your boat, your decision - but wanting "quick" results will most likely cost you the extra - have to decide what works for you....
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