EFI vs Carbureted Outboards - SailNet Community

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Old 04-21-2007
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EFI vs Carbureted Outboards

Hello, I am a new member of the Sailnet community so I will apologize now for any stupid mistakes I make in posting.

A buddy and I are planning to go cruising in the Caribbean this fall and have been discussing the pro’s and con’s of various engine configurations for the boat we buy. We decided that a new (or nearly new) outboard would offer certain advantages, but are unsure whether EFI or carbureted is the best way to go.

We figure that, if the need arose, we could work on a carburetor, but we are less comfortable working on an EFI system. On the other hand, EFI is probably more reliable. Does anyone have any idea how likely we are to need to work on either system?

Or are we just nuts to go with an outboard engine?

Thanks in advance for any feedback.
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It would help if you said what kind of boat you were looking at buying. Some boats are better suited to the use of an outboard as an auxilliary engine than others. While outboards are not as robust as an in-board, they can be acceptable auxilliary engines.

Whether to go EFI or carbureted... I would go carbureted... On a boat, simpler is often safer and better in the long run. Fuel injection systems have far more that can go wrong with them, and are more sensitive to bad fuel, and are more difficult to repair.
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Old 04-21-2007
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Narren, please post a photo of yourself...it's a tradition here, you know??

Please...
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We don’t have a specific boat in mind yet; right now we are going over the features we need/want and can afford. I can say, however, that we are shooting for something sloop-rigged between 25ft and 30ft (I know this still leaves the field pretty wide).

We had considered simplicity to be a distinct advantage of carburetors, but thought that it might be offset by rumored better reliability from EFI’s. Good point about EFI’s being more sensitive to bad fuel. I had not heard that, but it makes sense now that you mention it.

Once we’ve got a boat, I will happily post a picture of her. In the meantime, I’ll see what I can scrounge up as a substitute.
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Well, what is your budget and where will you be sailing the boat? That might help with suggestions for boats that might be appropriate for your use. Also, what kind of sailing will you be doing with the boat—racing, coastal cruising, daysails, week-long cruises, long-term voyaging crossing oceans... etc.. would help define what you're looking for in a boat.
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Old 04-22-2007
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one word.

INBOARD

you don't want to be off shore with an outboard.
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The plan is to sail from south Florida through the Caribbean with an eye to making it to the Windward Islands, maybe Trinidad, and then sell the boat. Though there are a few longer jumps along the way, I expect it would be mainly coastal cruising (in my, admittedly, inexperienced opinion). An ocean crossing would be strictly accidental!

Since we expect will take a hit when we sell the boat we are trying to go as cheap as possible (I like the phrase “cruising on a beer budget”). We want to keep the cost of the boat as low as possible (so change that to “cruising on a domestic-beer-in-a-can budget”).

That said, in the past I have seen lists of boats and price ranges for each here on Sailnet, making me think that we are not completely insane.

As regards the intention to sell the boat at the end, I don’t suppose anyone knows of good places to sell a boat in the eastern Caribbean, do you?
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sailingdog
It would help if you said what kind of boat you were looking at buying. Some boats are better suited to the use of an outboard as an auxilliary engine than others. While outboards are not as robust as an in-board, they can be acceptable auxilliary engines.

Whether to go EFI or carbureted... I would go carbureted... On a boat, simpler is often safer and better in the long run. Fuel injection systems have far more that can go wrong with them, and are more sensitive to bad fuel, and are more difficult to repair.

Wow, that's bad advice. EFI is 1000 times more reliable than a carb. Unless you like messing with needle valves, floats, air/fuel mixtures and flooded engines. Why do you think they stopped putting them on cars? Talk about old skuul.....
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Guesser
Wow, that's bad advice. EFI is 1000 times more reliable than a carb. Unless you like messing with needle valves, floats, air/fuel mixtures and flooded engines. Why do you think they stopped putting them on cars? Talk about old skuul.....
Guesser, EFI is more reliable, provided you can supply it with good fuel. I'd take a carbureted engine over a fuel injected one any time the fuel is going to be of questionable quality. Also, depending on where you're going, some parts of the world, getting any repairs or maintenance done on a modern EFI engine isn't going to be easy or cheap. Some times cutting edge technology can cut both ways.
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You know what the first rule of sailing is? ...Love. You can learn all the math in the 'verse, but you take
a boat to the sea you don't love, she'll shake you off just as sure as the turning of the worlds. Love keeps
her going when she oughta fall down, tells you she's hurting 'fore she keens. Makes her a home.

—Cpt. Mal Reynolds, Serenity (edited)

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