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What is the right size motor for 14 or 16 ft boats?

131141 Views 25 Replies 9 Participants Last post by  BERNIE255
What is the min acceptable size motor? 5hp?

What's the best all round size? 20hp?

Whats overkill? 40hp?

Looking at used john boats & I see just about everything mounted up.

Also aside from not having to mix gas; any other considerations one should make between 2 stroke vs 4 stroke?
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IMO a 23hp surface drive air cooled mud motor would work best for load carry and fuel economy and be able to take you into shallow waters where the fish are. The surface drive mudmotors offer resonable speed and ease of operation in the rough stuff and are easily maintained. Most use Vtwin rider mower motors. Been running a Mudbuddy since 2005 and have 355hrs on it, Check them out on their webb site at MudBuddy Motors to watch their videos and see their product line.
All depends on your situation.
If your going to be running current or open water then your going to want enough power to be safe.
My dad has a 14' with a 15hp and it will plane a 500-600lb load. After that it plows.
I have a 16' with a 40hp and it will plane out more weight than the boat will hold.
For a general guideline I'd go 10-25hp on a 14' and 25-40hp on a 16'. I consider the maximum hp rating on a boat to be the minimum. But I run a lot of open water with big loads and don't want to be underpowered and get into trouble.

2 stroke: lighter...easier maintenance...cheaper...worse fuel economy

4 stroke: heavy....expensive to repair...high initial cost...better on gas...doesn't but oil
good info Nuffdaddy, I appreciate your input. I'm not sure what all types of water I will be in yet. this will be my first flatbottom for myself. only been in my dad's when duck hunting. But I think I get the picture.
Also, I plan on hitting all the shores. But you have to cross open waters to get to the flood plain areas. So i guess both apply here. I probably need a good trolling motor as well
Id say go as big as you can afford/find. But remember you will always want more power at some point in time.
It all depends on weight. A skeleton 16' Jon with nothing in it will do fine with a 15 hp. A 16' bass tracker with heavy aluminium, carpet, console, dry storage, live wells, extra batteries, etc, may need a 50. Its hard to have too much power. I think of it as an insurance policy. You can always throttle down, but you can never outrun its limitations.
Most boats have max motor out put. My 14/48 is 25hp. Go with what is posted on the transum max for outboard. More is better, performance....heres what I done with my 25ph 2004 Merc Classic, choose the correct pitch on your prop,(aluminuim prop suck, too much drag too soft of metal chips easly) stainless, this will allow the motor to operate in the RMP range your manufacture alows to. I run a 3 blade, 3 blade fastest but in some cases the 4 blade will deliver more bow lift to achive faster speeds. I run a REBEL prop, 3 blade design highly polished stainless steel, excellent fuel economy with longer cruising speeds & faster speeds at lower RMP. (I sand blasted it and sprayed a black matte teflon moly coating on mine) I dislike shinny props & the teflon moly helps for cleaning. Another is how your motor sits on the transum, most are set at 12 degree's(thats normal), I run a 2004 Mercury Classic 25hp long shaft, I built a elevated transum for the long shaft, I wanted to get the max output performance of my boat & outboard. After several trips in the water I ended up setting my elevated transum @ 12.5 degrees. You might think 12.5 degrees ain much or doesnt matter but it was a good difference in whole shot & planing. The boat comes out of the water fast planes quickly & the motor doesnt work as hard. (this is when it was a duck boat) now I lost alot of speed from this converting it to a bowfishing boat. But just slapping a outboard on and calling it good is what you get from it, fine tuning everything to the boat is another. Spending the time tinkering with what you can do to inhance the performance is another. I've done other things to my motor as well, opening up the air intake (larger) exhaust(large) running non ethonal fuel.
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What is the typical rating on the transom on most 14 & 16 foot John boats? And what are your opinions on using a motor beyond that HP rating?

And man,. you guys definitely know your stuff. Yall should become boat consultants haha ;)
No! on going bigger. Weight of the motor will sag the azz end of that boat low low in the water, too much of a risk of back wash. Theirs a reason why manufactures have outboard limits on their boats. Typically a 35hp would be the largest "I" would suggest on a 16ft, but all that info is on the transum of your boat. Weight limit, max outboard size recomended. My 2004 Mercury 25hp long shaft weight is 118 lbs. Be safer to go with a 25hp motor. Now you can add more weight to the transum by float pods, I done this on my boat, float pods will add as much as 200lbs more buoyancy. I swear by them for numerous reasons.


I have the Beavertail pod, I ordered them direct and they were great to work with. All their information is located on their web site for the size pods needed. Their pretty easy to install, just follow the instructions.
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Good grief, I have a lot to learn.
And DonArkie, Why dont you just sell me your boat at a great price lol
+1 on the pods if your motor is heavy. They add quite a bit of flotation on the back end and help improve performance with bigger motors.
The 40 on my boat makes the transom sit real low and the front half almost out of the water. With my Bowfishing platform up front it levels it out, but I'm getting pods for duck season so I can get shallower.
Also, some stateside i believe it's illegal to go over the rated HP, so be carful with that.
Also, some stateside i believe it's illegal to go over the rated HP, so be carful with that.
I believe that's all states as that's regulated by the coast guard
I believe that's all states as that's regulated by the coast guard
thats exactly right
And DonArkie, Why dont you just sell me your boat at a great price lol
naaaa, I like too much. I've owned it for 20 plus years, and have too much time in it.
Well, it shows... Very nice boat indeed. Congrats
got a buddy with a 1648 with 90hp...its a beast
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