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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.
Here again, it boils down to simple math. More outboards result in more maintenance — 33.3 percent more with quads versus trips. Labor aside, material costs are not exactly inconsequential. For instance, when changing the oil, if one big four-stroke outboard needs nine quarts of oil, that’s 36 quarts for quads versus 27 quarts for trips. At about $10 a quart for premium marine engine oil, that’s $360 for quads as opposed to $270 for triples. Apply the same multiplication factor to gear oil, filters, spark plugs and water pump rebuilds, and the extra maintenance costs for a fourth outboard add up fast. Then there’s the physical serviceability of quads.Sometimes, the four outboards are so close together that it’s difficult to even get the cowling off. Once you do, you can barely access filters and dipsticks because of the limited access between the engines.
Most people are aware that multiple outboards offer more control options than a single when maneuvering in close quarters. But are quads any better than trips at this? Not really. With trips, you can shut down the center outboard and use the port and starboard engines as you would twins. With quads, you have two propellers on each side of the boat, and that offers a bit more thrust for close-quarters maneuvers, so you might not need as much throttle. Yet the difference is negligible. Both trips and quads offer excellent control in tight marinas.