View Full Version : Considering buying a 35 hp force

02-26-2009, 12:03 AM
"Hello. I have an 18ft inflatable with a 40 hp johnson outboard on it. It ran good last year then sat for a while. I recently went to start it with no luck. I had it evaluated by a mechanic and he said it has scoring on the cylinders. I am told it's not worth rebuilding. I am considering buying a 1990 35 hp force outboard. Any advise on what I should look for when purchasing a used outboard would be greatly appreciated. I have read some discouraging things in these forums about force motors. This one is electric start and fires right up but I have not run on the water. I can get it for about $500.00. I am new to boating so any thoughts are welcome.

02-26-2009, 01:50 AM
"Bart, there are basically 3 different "breeds" of Force motors out there.

Force started out as what was left of the bankrupt Chrysler outboard division that was bought by Bayliner. So early Force models were old Chrysler parts.

Some suggest that Force was an acronym which stood for From Old Recycled Chrysler Engines - true or not, it's applicable.

In the mid 1980's Bayliner was bought out by Mercury's parent company and Merc took over Force.

They found this to be the perfect way to dump discontinued Merc parts along with left over Chrysler parts - so the "second" Force is a Merc/Chrysler hybrid.

The third type is purely old Merc parts.

This one falls into the second catagory. It has a Merc (Walbro) carb (that's positive - but an old one), it has a hybrid CDI ignition - not good if it ever has issues - the CDI box alone costs almost 600 bucks to replace, the coils and stator are discontinued and were expensive when available.

Basically, this model MUST be viewed as "disposable", in that you run it until it quits and then throw it out because repair costs would be potentially more than a new motor.

Because of that, I would place the value significantly lower than the 500 asking price.

In 1990 alone, Merc cobbled together 16 distinctly different models of the 35 Force. Kinda just walked around the warehouse and bolted on parts until they ran out then grabbed something else for the next model.

Not all Force models are a bad motor and when this one was produced it was a decent "budget" motor. However, at this point I would tend to back away from it - there is far better models out there of similar vintage that you could acquire for the same price..."

02-26-2009, 11:17 AM
"You should always buy these in pairs, one for parts."

02-26-2009, 11:57 AM
Thank you for the input. Pretty much confirmed what I thought. I will keep looking. Any places besides craigslist I can look? I am having a hard time finding a short shaft in the 40 hp range. I would like to find something worthwhile for under $1000.00. Is that realistic? Thanks in advance. Bart

02-27-2009, 12:00 AM
"Absolutely - should be able to pick up a decent 1990 something model for under 1k.

Have a look on Ebay. I wouldn't buy "sight unseen" but could be worth a drive for a good deal.

In the horsepower range you are looking for I would definately stay away from a used 4 stoke unless you personally know the seller - just too much can go wrong with them if not meticulously cared for.

For what you are looking at, personally I would concentrate on finding a 35 (built up until 1990 - excellent motor) or 40 horse Mercury (or Mercury built Mariner) or an OMC (Johnson/Evinrude) of similar horsepower.

If you go to a marine dealer you will pay too much - they tend to list at about double the "going rate" but they may offer a warranty at least for a few months..."

02-27-2009, 12:14 AM
"You hope to find a recent widow who now has to get rid of the husbands boat and motor. If the kids aren't around you can get a great deal, often on low hour equipment. Wise advice...don't rush into a mistake...take your time and buy it once."

02-27-2009, 07:42 PM
"Thanks a lot guys. You have restored my hope. I will keep looking. Is there anything I can look for other than it sounds good and there is water comming out of the pee hole, when testing one prior to buying? Ideally I would run on the water but I don't think that is realistic in most cases.
Thanks agian guys for you input. This is a great resource.


03-01-2009, 05:11 PM
"If you are buying from a shop have them do a compression test or even better, a leak down test with you present.

Ensure you have spark to all cylinders - a timing light is a quick way to check.

Make sure it will shift smoothly into to forward, neutral and reverse.

Drain a little of the lower gear oil into a clear container. It should be honey to a darker brown colour. If it looks cloudy, there is water getting into the lower unit, or worse yet, if water comes out first that will definately indicate a seal problem.

Also check the lower unit oil for any bits of metal (bad sign) and inspect the plug - most are magnetic and will attract metal pieces - a sure sign that the gears may be damaged..."