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Triple vs Quad Outboards
Are four outboards always better than three? We answer this and other key questions to help you decide between trips and quads.
There’s a fair number of boat buyers today who truly believe that more is better when it comes to multiple outboards. With boatbuilders and dealers happy to oblige, this has led to some outrageous multiengine setups, including five and even six big outboards per boat. You find them hanging off the transoms of 35- to 45-foot go-fast center-consoles from builders like Contender, Deep Impact, Intrepid, Invincible, Midnight Express, Outerlimits and Yellowfin. These outboard setups get “oohs” and “ahhs” at boat shows and marinas, but it’s debatable whether the extra engines are for performance or just a means of conspicuous consumption.
A more common choice in multiengine configurations is between three and four outboards. Yet how do you decide between the two? First, make sure the boat is rated for the extra weight and power of a fourth outboard. If it’s not, your decision is made — trips win.
One goal of adding a fourth engine is greater velocity. Yet, does more power always result in more speed? Let’s try to answer this and other key questions when deciding between trips and quads.
Four outboards cost more than three outboards. Duh, really? But how much more? To give you an idea, Suzuki’s DF250AP V-6 outboard carries a manufacturer’s suggested retail price of $24,750 (25-inch shaft).
Of course, no one pays full manufacturer’s suggested retail price, but there are other purchase costs to think about with a fourth outboard, like extra rigging components such as steering, electrical harnesses, gauges and props that will cost thousands more, not to mention the labor.