View Full Version : single engine vs twin engine??/v drive vs outdrive

08-23-2012, 10:50 AM
We have two houseboats in mind, one with a single engine 350 with outdrive, other is twin engine 305 with v drive. Any opinions or info on pros and cons of either would be greatly appreciated. Thanks!!

08-23-2012, 01:28 PM
I've never had a single engine HB. But, I will tell you that I can spin my 50' houseboat with twin V-Drives almost like spinning a skid steer on dry land. I also had a 30' SeaRay with twin I/O's. After owning two boats with twins, a single engine HB would not be a consideration for me. So there's my 2 pennies worth.

08-23-2012, 03:41 PM
If I had any boat over 30 feet it would have to have two screws..

My preference would be Diesel Inboard with V-Drive..

V-drives always win over outdrives... anyday!

08-23-2012, 03:41 PM
This has been discussed many times. If it's not a money thing twins win hands down. A single outdrive houseboat is a wandering bear to at low speeds. Sorta like pushing a chain. However when you learn to handle them you are an above average boater.

Twin vee drives are minimal maintenance because the machinery is inside the boat. Handling is as good as it gets and performance is much better.

In 60+ years of boating I never met a man with twins that went back to a single.

08-23-2012, 06:52 PM
Ditto OHB...

08-23-2012, 07:21 PM
i have a 44 gibson now with twins and love it. my brother has a 50ft cloud nine with a single volvo outdrive. he calls it the wonderer, need i say more?

08-23-2012, 07:31 PM
I had a 32 foot single I/o last season. It was tough to get a handle on when driving. If you didn't really try you would snake across the river. I have since purchased a 40 foot twin engine with v-drives. It makes such a difference in steering. Also dock maneuvering is much easier as well. I am still getting the hang of that though.

08-23-2012, 08:25 PM
My first two boats were singles. First 42 ft pontoon and 2nd was a 46 ft aluminum hull. My current boat has twin 5.0 liters and I wouldn't go back to a single. I could control it fine but not as well as twins. In addition, the twin motors gives me peace of mind that if something happens, I still have power to get back to my slip. I had the motor quit on me with my 46fter and had to get towed back. The motor also died on me trying to dock once. Tagged it pretty good. No damage but at least if one motor were to die on me now, I still have power.

08-24-2012, 08:50 AM
Got a 60' aluminum single inboard. Man that thing is a pig to drive. If you got a tight berth you would have to have a thruster. That being said I am good with it. I use it to push me out 10 miles at most and though it does like to track a little like a snake I have adapted and don't notice. Would I take it on a long trip .. Nope!

08-25-2012, 11:37 AM
Twins with V-drives are far superior to anything else. I remember a 50 Gibson that was ordered with IOS and it handled like a bear. They were to close together. Twins with v drives handle like a dream

08-29-2012, 08:32 PM
I have an old 50' Pontoon with twin outboards, I love it!! Drives great, straight, turns tight, easy to dock etc.


10-02-2012, 01:49 PM
I try to remember that I am pushing a several-ton house through the water, with a hull kinda shaped like a boat on the front. I have owned a twin engine boat and a single engine boat. Neither steered very well! I drive out to coves on my lake just a few miles at most. Steering isn't a concern until I try to slide that thing back into the slip with a big wind from either side. Thrusters would be very handy then. Crossing my fingers also helps, but interferes with steering.

10-03-2012, 05:21 AM
After having a 12 x 52 Sumerset with a single outboard and a 14 x 72 Jamestowner with a single outboard and now a 18 x 80 Jamestowner with twin 5.0s and Bravo II outdrives, I can definitely attest to the desirability of twins when it comes to handling. And, I take my boats out pretty much every weekend from the beginning of May until the end of September.

10-09-2012, 06:26 PM
My houseboat drafts about 28" with Vee Drives which is pretty shallow. Since the waters I boat in have sand substrates I can stretch that a bit, say around 25-26". When you pull out the tape measure and see what 25" looks like you realize this is VERY shallow water. I wouldn't want to try to navigate in anything shallower than that.

For me the only time that outdrives would be nice is when anchoring as we back up between sandbars that run perpendicular to the shore. The sandbars are about 12" under the surface while the hole is about 30" deep and only about 20' wide. It's like backing into a slip without the comfort of having fingers/pillars on either side. Gets a little hairy...

Another thing worth considering is the massive amount of stress that outdrives place on the transom. Houseboats are heavy and pushing them with outdrives can eat the transom for breakfast over time, and transom work is expensive.

10-11-2012, 12:00 PM
I have an old 50' Pontoon with twin outboards, I love it!! Drives great, straight, turns tight, easy to dock etc.
+1 on the pontoons. 2 of my friends with monohull houseboats have driven my boat and were very surprised at how responsive it is when turning as well as how well it keeps its course.

10-11-2012, 01:39 PM
your right goVols, i've had 3 pontoon houseboats. a 40ft crest,a 43 foot crest houser and a 54 ft playcraft. they handle like a dream and are pretty much indistructable. when something does happen its very easy to fix and they go where no man has gone before just like startrek.

Frantically Relaxing
10-11-2012, 05:49 PM
I have nothing against pontoons since our 32' Party Cruiser is sitting on top of a pair and a half! I even poked a nice hole in one, and yes, easy to fix.

BUT- my 100 gallon and 40 gallon black tanks, 55 gallon water tank, 3 beds, vanity, several cupboards and shelves and all the stuff in them, Splendide washer/dryer, about 5 electric heaters, several large boxes of electrical parts, plumbing parts, spare genny parts, 2 macerators, 3 spare water pumps, spare oil and fuel gauges, 2 spare electric fuel pumps, 5 gallons of paint and 2 boxes of painting equipment, much fishing gear, DA sander, Ryobi multitool, belt sander, angle grinder (and many other tools), about 5 electric heaters, portable swamp cooler, 2 DVD players, spare cable box, VCR, several boxes of audio-visual wires & cables, 2 ceiling fans, 6 five-gallon water cans, several hoses, 2 burner propane stove, single burner propane stove, tabletop electric smoker, several gallons of pink antifreeze, many extension cords, inflatable cabana and pull tube, Magma BBQ, and that's just what I can think of at the moment-- are ALL in a place that doesn't even exist on a pontoon boat...

And our boat steers nice & straight!

(and FWIW most of that stuff was already here when we bought the thing!)

10-12-2012, 05:38 AM
FR, sounds like you have a hardware store in the hull of your boat!

Depending on the mfg of the 'toon boats, they're countermeasuring the storage issue by hatching open the pontoons to create usable storage bins. The 'toons are bulkheaded every 8' and they're roughly 4' wide. Heck, they even stick the generators and the marine air systems in them!

My particular boat was the last one they built without the 'toon storage, so junk storage is not abundant for me. It just forces me to minimize the junk on-board. Since I'm not a live-a-board, it's a non-issue for me.

10-12-2012, 05:42 AM
damn frantic you dont have a houseboat you have a floating hardware store.i dont even own that much stuff let alone carry it on my boat.....lol

10-16-2012, 07:23 PM
In my years i have owned a 70 stardust with single outboard, 77 silver queen with single v8 and after several years beingg away from this hobby, I now have an 85 Gibson lazy cruz with single v8 . So, i dont know what a twin engine would be like. Kinda like the old saying you dont miss what you never had. As for a thruster, the man I ourchased this current boat from had a home made thruster. He put a bracket ( well made and looked professional) on the front of the boat. I found a trolling motor in the closet and that was his thruster. Everyone at the dock said it worked unless he got the direction mixed up. Lol. Thought it was a rather clever concept but so far i think ill take the bracket off. Wile windy i have found it best to stay in gear and get where you are going when docking as fast as you can and dont try to drift in or you will drift right past your slip. Lol

10-17-2012, 11:05 AM
Welcome lc

Glad to see you made it.

10-17-2012, 01:09 PM
Ah yes! Thank you for all the help!