“You’re not having to replace a fuel tank, and the boats have fiberglass floors, not wood floors that were just carpeted or glassed over,” he says.
John Tomlinson, an owner in TNT Custom Marine, a full-service, high-performance shop in Miami, takes a more cautious approach about converting a sterndrive to outboard. Tomlinson says his shop has only done a few repowers over the years because it can be too time and labor intensive. His biggest concern is the fuel tanks, especially when a boat hits the 20-year mark.
“If water gets down in the foam, and its saltwater, it could have sat down there for years and years,” he says. “You’ve got to change the fuel tanks on one of those boats, so the console comes out, the floor gets cut out, and they’re big, big jobs.”
The shop should inspect the stringers and transom for signs of rot, fixing any problems before starting the repower. Surprisingly, most retrofits don’t require fiberglass work to fill the holes on the transom. Mastry provides a bracket that not only seals the former outdrive’s cut through the transom, but also provides a place for the outboard’s rigging to run. Aluminum supports are bolted from the new bracket on the transom to the old motor mounts for more strength.
The engine compartment is typically turned into stowage, but some customers will enlarge the cockpit. In that case, Mastry has contracts with companies that do the interior work. The repower work usually includes the new outboard, rigging for the throttle and shifter, and updating the gauges and electronics.