How Much Does an Outboard Motor Rebuild Cost?

Written by: Staff
Last Updated:  August 9, 2018

If a new motor isn’t in your budget, then a rebuild could be a reasonable alternative.

Serious power on this lifeboat by paulpiltdown, on Flickr
Serious power on this lifeboat” (CC BY 2.0) by  paulpiltdown 

How much does it cost to rebuild an outboard motor?

The cost of rebuilding an outboard boat motor will depend on the exact type of motor (brand, size and year), the degree of damage, its condition and mechanic performing the rebuild.  On average, be prepared to pay a professional mechanic anywhere from $1,500 to as much as $4,500 for an outboard motor rebuild.

If you were to disassemble your motor and ship it to an online company, then the costs could be much less, often as little as $1,000 for a two cylinder motor to as much as $3,500 for a six cylinder.

At, for instance, they allow you to ship in your motor and provide you with a basic rate sheet to help you budget.  A four-cylinder, 90-degree powerhead overhaul would cost $1,895, for example.

We researched the Internet for prices local services charged for rebuilds and included our findings below:

Type of MotorPrice Quoted
1995 Johnson 25 HP$1,400
1990 Johnson 60HP$1,600
1982 Johnson 35HP$1,800
1981 Johnson 70HP$2,000
1998 Johnson 90HP$2,100
1984 Evinrude 150HP$2,500
Volvo inline 6 170HP$3,300
1998 Mercury 150HP$3,500
1988 Evinrude 225HP$4,000

NOTE:  These are the prices if you were to take a boat engine to a local service provider.

Boating Magazine claims if you were to rebuild your engine, it could cost around $2,500, which could be as much as $2,000 cheaper than buying a rebuilt motor from a local dealer.

Rebuild options

Short block rebuild

During a short block rebuild, the electrical components, flywheel, reed plate, intake and carbs will all be removed.  Then, all of the cylinders will be bored and new pistons/pistons rings, wrist pins, spark plugs, thermostats, gaskets, the main seals, and bearings will all be replaced.

Dressed powerhead rebuild

dressed powerhead rebuild option will include the undressing and dressing of the powerhead, boring and honing all cylinders, installing new pistons rings, replacing the main seals, and installing a new set of spark plugs, thermostats and gaskets.

Complete rebuild

A complete rebuild will include all of the inclusions in a short block rebuild, but it will also include a new water impeller, a gear oil change, rebuilt carburetors and a pressure test will be conducted as well.

A good dealer should include a limited warranty that lasts anywhere from one to two years.

What are the extra costs?

Depending on the type of rebuild, a mechanic may find other services that need to be performed now or in the future, which can lead to additional costs.

A water test, if you were to require it, can often be an additional cost.  The same can be said about a tuneup.

How can I save money?

Before you consider rebuilding your existing outboard motor, shop rebuilt motors to see if it’s cheaper to buy one instead of rebuilding your own.

Boating Magazine says forget about the rebuild if your motor is older than 1980.  If it’s too old, the parts are scarce and the technology is often outdated.  In this scenario, most mechanics won’t even recommend it.  As for outboard motors exposed to salt water, then any motor older than ten years old should be avoided as well.

If you don’t mind getting your hands dirty and have some knowledge in regards to how a motor works, consider purchasing an outboard motor rebuild kit.  These kits will include all of the parts necessary to complete the rebuild and will save you $1,000 to $2,000 or even more.

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