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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jun 2015
    Rep Power

    Donzi 22 Re-Power 377 Scorpion - HELP

    So... this might be long...

    Last year I bought a 1992 Classic 22. It is in 8/10 cosmetic condition, and had a freshly rebuilt Jasper 454 engine. It had a King Cobra outdrive. The lower unit started going bad right away, so I found an unused lower unit online and bought it. It was running pretty good. The guy was asking $20,000 for the boat and I ended up working him down to $13,000 at the end of the summer. So I think I got it for a good price.

    This Memorial Day weekend, I was heading back across the bay and the engine shut off and wouldn't start back up. I eventually got towed in. The mechanic took the engine out and determined that the oil hose came unplugged, the engine wasn't getting any oil, and now it's toast. Metal filings were all in the upper unit, so that's done too.

    I have cash in this boat, so I'm a bit restricted on my options. A 40th Anniversary caught my eye, but it's $35,000. I would need to sell my current one at a big loss, just to put SOME money to counter the $35,000 40th Anniversary. I would have a beautiful 40th Anniversary Donzi... but it would still have an 11 year old engine. I could lose that engine any day and I would take ANOTHER hit.

    A new Mercruiser 502 is like $25,000... and I would still need to get an outdrive and I don't want to stay with King Cobra. I'm looking at forking up some serious cash... like $30,000. I can't do that.

    After spending weeks looking around, and talking to dealers around the country, I found something that might work.

    A dealer down in Florida says he can give me a New Mercruiser Scorpion 377 with a 3 Year Manufacturer Warranty, a new Bravo 1 outdrive, a prop, a harness, and any needed re-glassing of the transom for $19,500 including install.

    I'm 30 years old, this is my first "real" boat, and I just can't justify doing much more financially. That package for $19,500 sounds like a deal. The current hull is in excellent shape and overall the boat is 8/10 cosmetically. Now I would have a brand new engine and outdrive.

    The Scorpion is pushing 350HP at the prop. I know it's not the most HP, but it's a small block and weighs about 400lbs less than a big block... PLUS I am riding this boat in the Chesapeake Bay. A calm day in the Bay is still 1 foot chop, and its often more with white caps. I think that Scorpion will get me to a top speed of around 65mph, and that's really all I want/need in those conditions. I was hitting 60 with the old engine, and it's all I wanted... even trimmed out, the boat was jumping and getting a bit squirrely. Sure, it would be nice to crank her up to 70-75mph on the RARE extra calm day, but the $$$$ difference is too much for me. Furthermore, the Scorpion is great on gas and burns regular gas.

    I'd love to have that 40th Anniversary Edition... The Yellow is SO SWEET and she looks SO clean. It would actually be cheaper than getting the setup down in Florida BUT BUT BUT I would have a boat with an 11 year old engine.

    Should I go with the Scorpion package and call it a day? I'm really liking the idea of a brand new engine and outdrive... I'm tempted by the 40th Anniversary, but I think the smart thing to do is go with the new engine and drive.

    Thanks for reading and any help!

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jul 2004
    Rep Power
    Why not just rebuild the 454? You already have a new lower unit on the Cobra, so the drive unit is half new.
    If your not looking to make more power, I don't see any reason you couldn't be back boating for $5k.

    Then if you decide you want to move onto another boat, you'll more than likely get all your investment back. Worst case, you'll only lose a couple grand....but you might even make a couple. If you put another $20k into the motor/drive, your getting close to having $35k into your boat and it'll be highly unlikely you'll get anywhere near that money back.

    Can't blame you for wanting yellow though.
    Why is faster never fast enough.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    May 2001
    Rep Power

    I would Image you could get a nice crate motor re use all your tin ware maybe upgrade your exhaust and go for something like this. with exhaust and install be around 9-11k
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  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jun 2015
    Rep Power
    I appreciate the replies!

    So, I'm not a mechanic, and I don't know much about engines. I can do BASIC maintenance stuff, but that's about it.

    I was just thinking that NEW technology and a new Mercruiser engine would be nice. It would be easy to get parts, and it would be less likely to have issues for a while. My local mechanic at the Bay said with the newer engine, he could get parts the next day from Mercruiser. Everything is slow moving down there so when a boat breaks, it takes the one mechanic down there weeks to get to it. I was just thinking that it would speed up any future repair process.

    ...but I see what you are saying. I could get back on the water for under $6K.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Sep 2001
    Rep Power
    Shark Guy where do you boat on the Cheseapeake? A few of us Donzi 22 classic guys boat on the upper cheseapeake (Northeast River, Elk River).

    I would look for a nice Mercruiser 500EFI (blue motor) on OSO and keep the king cobra drive. You could do a nice 500EFI with install/ engine compartment beefing up for most likely the same money as the 377 motor, however you will now have a 80-82 mph 22 classic.

    Good friend of mine has a 93 22 classic with a Merc. 500EFI with a king cobra drive and the boat is awesome, runs like a scalded dog. He runs alot with me on the upper cheseapeake. He has had zero issues with the king cobra drive and one minor issue with motor but other than that it is a turn key 80-82 mph boat. Also know a few guys with blue merc motors in there boats (all upgraded from stock power) and they all run strong and are basically turn key boats. I plan on upgrading my 22 496HO package also to the merc blue stuff soon....

    PM me if you need anymore info, good luck...


  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jun 2015
    Rep Power
    thanks for the advise undertaker... I am going to look into that. I've seen a lot of recommendations of the "blue motor" in various threads I have read through.

    I have a place at the mouth of the Rappahannock... and we have a family place in Virginia Beach. I do most of my riding around Rappahannock area where I keep the boat. My father has a 38 Scarab that's much better for the Va Beach area and rougher days.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jul 2001
    Rep Power
    Having had a 22 with a small block it had advantages less worry of drives issues better economy and no question it jumped wakes in a more controllable fashion with sweet landings, but yes you will run in the mid 60's. No matter what you someone is always faster chasing that dog is a losing issue, I made several Donzi runs and had no problem keeping except I did stop a lot less at the fuel docks.
    No matter what your beliefs are "GOD BLESS AMERICA"

    Semi retired marine tech over 50 years in the biz.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Oct 2012
    Rep Power

    a 350HP small block would be great in a 18'

    Stick with a Big Block in a 22'. I run a stock 502 crate motor and they can be had from 1-800 runs new or other for about 7K. Add in new dressings and for 8-10K you'll have a reliable engine that will push your boat 70+ loaded up any day of the week...
    Reading about the Cobra drives, no need to change it out...
    Good Luck!
    Thanks, Patrick

    1996 22' Classic

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