[Question] What Engine Platform/Outdrive set up should I choose???
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What Engine Platform/Outdrive set up should I choose???

  1. #1
    Junior Member
    Join Date
    Jul 2012

    Default What Engine Platform/Outdrive set up should I choose???

    Hey There,

    This is my first time posting here, but I have been reading posts for a long time. I just bought my second Baja. My first one was a 1998 Baja 240 sport w/ a h/o 454 w/ a bravo one outdrive and a $800 4 blade stainless prop(dont know much about it but ill never forget how much it was haha). This boat was amazing, the prior owner had just rebuilt the motor and outdrive with like 8 grand in reciepts and had a supposed 500+ hp. Probably did because I've gps'd myself going 84 on the ocean, which is about 20 mph +/- faster than stock and still had a great hole shot. Anyways, There was an issue with aqua lock one time when I was out in the ocean and went to go start it. I ended up filling up most of the cylinders with water, went to start and luckily destroyed the starter and not the flywheel, or connecting rods or anything else. After that, I bought some gimmicky corkscrew devices to put in the exhaust to in theory let the exhuast and not let water in. Anyways, for the rest of the summer unless it was dead calm, I would NEVER shut the boat off for fear of doing it again. It got to the point of being embarrassing that I couldnt shut the engine off till i got back to the trailer. Needless to say, I ended up selling the boat. I recently went on a friends baja 272 and loved it. I found one locally with no engine, outdrive or trailer for cheap so I bought. Its a 2001 Baja 272 Boss, I picked up for a grand. It is missing the Engine, outdrive and the physical hand throttle itself. Everything else is there and in great shape.

    The reason I bought it, is because I know that I will put in a rebuilt/new engine/outdrive and get the reliability that I want. My goal is to have extremely reliable 70mph boat that can still pull up tubers and wake boarders. My question now is..

    1) What Engine should I go with. I am thinking a new generation 502. How ever would the 454 suffice. What engine is generally more reliable, more available generally, and most cost effective usually.?

    2)What out drive set up. I am pretty certain I would go with the Bravo one, but what ratio should I get, what should I look for, would you go brand new or rebuilt.

    3) where is a good place to look for rebuilt engine/outdrives. would you buy a cheap donor boat and just rebuild it.

    Any input you guys could give me would be great, I am located on the cape in massachusetts if that helps. Also if you could let me know what I should be paying for your recommended set ups, plus approximate labor costs. What I have figured out is that if I stay around 8-10 grand, I would have basically bought this boat for 50 percent off with a new powerplant.

    Thanks again

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  3. #2
    Senior Member 67weiman's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2007
    Surprise, AZ


    How much $$$ do you have?

  4. #3
    Junior Member
    Join Date
    Jul 2012


    Probably the absolute cheapest way to make big power is to find a boat with freshwater cooled merc 420 magnums they have all the good parts forged crank rods pistons, rect port heads and rebuild from there. Send to the machine shop and have them go right through it check everything replace whats needed, bore if you want more power and change pistons to high compression.

    I have seen deals out there.. for example i saw a scarab with twin 502's velvet drives and trs outdrives sell for 4000 in marshfield MA last summer and then the guy who bought it sold it to somebody i know for 3500 bucks over the winter. The boat was on its last legs and needed full rebuild but the core motors you get with trannys and drives are worth the price. Walk into a deal like that and you will be able to make some big power pretty cheap. I would look for a twin to scavenge off of. You get two of everything carbs exhaust drives, etc etc.

    I have an excalibur 24 and im right over the bridge buzzards bay area

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