OMC vs Mercruiser

Fishrdan

3# carp VS 40# striper
Nov 10, 2005
338
3
Vegas Baby!
Name
Dan
Boat
18' Crestliner Superhawk, 14' Tracker "Fish Git' RRR"
I'm looking at an mid 80's boat with an OMC I/O, but don't have any experience with OMC. How do OMC I/O's compare to Mercruiser I/O's;

Spare part availability & price?
Problems?
Quality?
Dependability?

Seems like theres far more Mercruiser I/O boats out there than OMC. Heck, I tried doing a search on BD for "OMC" and it turned up,,, nothing!

Should pass on this boat because it's powered by an OMC and continue to look for one that's powered by Mercruiser?
 

murderNmako

Capitan
Jan 15, 2007
418
32
35
Temecula
Name
Bryan
Boat
24 skipjack
Hey there, I currently own a merc alpha one Its awesome!!! I usto own a a boat with twin OMC stringer outdrives electric shift. It was a very smooth shift that was the good side, On the downside I HATED the bellows the trim tilt motor is a joke!!! So if you were to ask me if it would stop me from the purchase I would probally say no not really depending on the price of the boat.. Thats just my opnion I am sure you will get a lot more feedback from other people on here, I hope my 2 cents worth helps!
 

Fishrdan

3# carp VS 40# striper
Nov 10, 2005
338
3
Vegas Baby!
Name
Dan
Boat
18' Crestliner Superhawk, 14' Tracker "Fish Git' RRR"
Thanks, all comments appreciated!

I have a Mercruiser 1 drive in my 73 SeaSwirl and it's been very dependable. I had to service the bellows and seals a few years back, but other than that, bulletproof. Parts were easy to get and fairly inexpensive.

I read that OMC was out of business, I wonder how it's going to affect spare part availability and prices in the future?

The boat is a good deal. But if sourcing parts is going to be a problem down the road,,, maybe it's not such a good deal?
 

Kurt

Mistadobalina
Jul 9, 2003
21,105
22
Clairemont
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Kurt
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%%%%%
Unless you know someone with a boat junkyard AND a mechanic that works on old OMCs cheap avoid it like a 2 buck hooker. OMC refined their drives but the old ones sucked ass. The Cobra was pretty good and borrowed innovation from Volvo. Still are hard to find parts for and pricey.

Converting to a merc means some glass work plus other fun expensive stuff. If someone has spare drives when they sell it to you dirt cheap, well ok............maybe.
 

kerncat

I've posted enough I should edit this section
Apr 2, 2005
1,083
100
San Diego area
Name
Opos
Boat
Gone to a new keeper
I'm not too sure on the years but if the OMC is one of the old "high hat" stringer mount drives...really be careful..they use a conglomeration called a "ball drive" to transfer power and man what a mess..they are prone to leaking, a mess to get parts for and just a real problem..the other thing is that the transom cut out is a great big hole that will have to be well patched and strengthened in order for any other drive to be used in the future..I had a great old IMP 23 foot boat some years ago that had one and every trip I had to change gear oil from the pin holes in the housing..it spun the splines on the shaft twice..great old boat, terrible old drive..I've owned merc alphas and they are great..never had a volvo but I hear they are great as well although maybe a little more expensive to repair than the mercs..Before I even considered an OMC I'd sure talk to some of the major repair shops about what you might face..cheap up front may be super expensive down the line.

Here's a picture of the old style "high hat" drive on my old IMP...

Image0012_edited.JPG
 

scuba e

tool
Jan 28, 2007
688
2
COSTA MESA
Name
ERIK
Boat
20' Century
Your answer is self evident. There is a reason OMC is gone. Nothing but trouble. We dont even work on them because of the liability.
Merc is far from perfect but still a far superior product.
Another downer, your only seal from the water is a large rubber boot, to facilitate the aforementioned trim tilting the entire engine/drive assembly. This makes for a very large transom hole. Even if you buy the boat with thoughts of repower a major investment in transom filling will be required.
I would avoid this boat and hold out for merc or volvo. Better yet, an inboard with a bow thruster. Good luck.
 

Az.monkey

I've posted enough I should edit this section
Oct 27, 2003
14,398
16
56
PQ
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Karl
Boat
Which one ?
OMC = Owners Might Cry ( run like hell )
Mercs are much better and more reliable
 

mongo75

I've posted enough I should edit this section
Jun 6, 2007
943
3
Rancho Santa Margarita
Name
Danny
Boat
25' 1968 Luhrs
Damn, OMC getting pretty beat up- On my last project boat, a 1974 Bayliner, it obviously came with a electric shift. I had a Cobra drive to put in it. I did all the transom work (fill the huge freaking hole) myself and didn't pay a dime for someone else to do it. I then borrowed a boat repair buddies template for a Cobra, and then re-cut the hole, and it mounted up fine.

You said mid 80's, is it a stringer drive, or a Cobra? The Cobra drives came out in late 85- early 86 (when I was in grade school hehe) and they are in my opinion good solid drives. They mount hard on the transom, not to the engine like the old stringer or electric-shift drives. It was such a good drive that down the line Volvo bought out the design, and that's why the "late model" OMCs and Volvos of that era look the same- cause they are. Now Bombardier own all OMC rights, and they now make parts for the older drives. OMC went out of business due to bad managment, not a bad product. Some people say run from OMC, that's the same way I feel about someone trying to sell me a foreign car.....

Yes, electric shift and stringer drives can be a pain in the ass to get parts for, but you can still find them on ebay and other places online. If the boat is the right price, I say go for it. Especially if you can swing a wrench and are handy, you can save a chunk on maintaining an old drive. Good luck!
 

Fishrdan

3# carp VS 40# striper
Nov 10, 2005
338
3
Vegas Baby!
Name
Dan
Boat
18' Crestliner Superhawk, 14' Tracker "Fish Git' RRR"
The boat was a 1985 20' Gulfstream bow rider with the V6 OMC I/O and from the pictures looked like it was in pretty nice shape,,, $800! From what I found on the internet last night, Gulfstreams were well built boats (IE mahogany stringers) but OMC I/O's are to be avoided. The seller said it seized at the lake (engine, outdrive???) and was sick of paying storage. It sold in about 12 hours.

Kurt, That OMC article was a good read, explains OMC pretty well. I don't know if I dodged a bullet or missed a smoking deal with that boat, but sticking to Mercruiser for my new/used boat.
 

Kurt

Mistadobalina
Jul 9, 2003
21,105
22
Clairemont
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Kurt
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%%%%%
Sounds to me like you dodged a large caliber rifle slug :D Lots of deals out there right now and I would find something that doesn't need a ton of work.
 

Fishrdan

3# carp VS 40# striper
Nov 10, 2005
338
3
Vegas Baby!
Name
Dan
Boat
18' Crestliner Superhawk, 14' Tracker "Fish Git' RRR"
An elephant gun?

I'm looking for another boat right now, but not in a hurry as I still have a 14' jon boat to fish the river and small lakes. My 16.5' tri-hull has a blown engine so I'm looking for a deepV. If I can find a smoking deal like the 20' Gulfstream (with Mercruiser I/O) I'd go for it since I'm looking at rebuilding an engine anyway.

Either that or wait to find a good deal on a mid 90's boat...