Getting a 2008 330...deciding between Vdrives or Stern..

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by Nick70, Oct 27, 2017.

  1. Nick70

    Nick70 Member

    96
    Apr 20, 2016
    New England
    2009 Sea Ray Sundancer 330/350
    Twin 496's
    BRAVO III Sea core
    Garmin radar/gps
    8.1L's w/Bravo III Sea Core
    I've been all over the map the last month. First wanting to repower my 260..then looking at new to me Sundancers...then switching to Formulas...then ultimately being flexible on not having a portside Lounger, and getting a 2008 330 with 496's..the amount of boat you get, and the extra features and niceness of the interior swayed me back from formula. At over 35' LOA, that year 330 is special. The electric grill and fridge in the cockpit are sweet. But I digress.
    I'd been set on sticking with outdrives for the overall performance and it does give slightly better gas mileage too. That being said, the gas savings would be eaten up by the extra maintenance needed by a sterndrive set up. So really, I do like the ability to work that trim..find the sweet spot..cruise a little faster..I loved the experience with my single Bravo III..I think I'd have a blast with a pair of them and 496's..which btw, that boats performance numbers are pretty close to a 31/34PC.. I'm in Boston, so not a year long season.
    We found two boats. V drive has a colored hull, and some nice extra electronics. Sterndrive is 15k less money, less hours, white hull could use a radar/Gps..
    I think I just like the aesthetics of the colored hull v drive boat more.
    I should stick with my expensive Bravo III's and be happy finding that sweet spot while ripping down to, Boston, provincetown, and MV
    Thanks for letting me vent.
     
  2. Gofirstclass

    Gofirstclass Well-Known Member GOLD Sponsor

    Apr 20, 2010
    Tri Cities, WA
    1995 550 Sedan Bridge,
    2010 Boston Whaler 130 Super Sport,
    1981 Boston Whaler 130 Sport,
    CAT 3406C's, 580hp.
    I had two v-drive 330's and loved both of them. I've driven lots of stern drive boats in the same size range and, while I like the couple mph extra you get from the stern drive, I wouldn't trade that for the additional low speed maneuverability you get with the v-drives.

    A big part of that maneuverability comes from where the props are located beneath the boat. On a stern drive, the props are a couple of feet behind the transom. On a v-drive boat the props are located a few feet ahead of the transom.

    Now consider the prop placement in this light: If you grab a 6" pencil at the eraser and spin it in a circle you have a circle with a 12" diameter. This is what you'd have with a stern drive boat.

    Now grab that same pencil in the midpoint and spin it in a circle. The circle is 6" in diameter. That is what you get with the v-drive boat.

    I realize those examples are over simplified, so I would suggest you drive both boats. Don't drive them around the lake because both boats will do well on plane. Rather, spend some time maneuvering them around docks. Back into a slip, maneuver to a side tie, etc. That is where you'll see the big advantage that v-drives have over stern drives.
     
    Gary B likes this.
  3. j98052

    j98052 Member SILVER Sponsor

    104
    Jul 17, 2015
    Seattle
    2010 Sedan Bridge 520
    Cummins QSM11
    I had a 2008 330 with v-drives, and have friends with a 340 with outdrives. There is a trade off, where the outdrives are more efficient, but require more maintenance. We spend a lot of time in salt water, so I think the v-drives were a better option.

    If you do go with v-drives, try to find one with a bow thruster.
     
  4. CliffA

    CliffA Well-Known Member GOLD Sponsor

    Dec 29, 2009
    Lake Norman, NC
    2001 Sea Ray 340DA
    Name: 'Happy Place'
    4.5kW West. Generator
    Purchased Nov. 2014
    Fresh Water Use
    Twin Merc. 6.2L (MPI)
    Raw Water Cooled
    V-Drive Transmissions
    'The electric grill and fridge in the cockpit are sweet'.

    you might want to ask others how much they use their cockpit grill....I have two friends that have them on their boats.....one removed his completely and made additional counter space where the grill was located....the other still has the grill in place but hates it and never uses it because it smokes up the cockpit and you can't use it when camper canvas is installed.....then the grill has to be kept clean all the time or it can start smelling rank over time in between uses and a dirty grill just looks bad if it is out in the open where everyone can see it....

    cliff
     
  5. Strecker25

    Strecker25 Well-Known Member SILVER Sponsor

    Nov 20, 2014
    Rochester, NY
    1998 290 Sundancer
    Twin 5.7EFI/Alphas, Kohler 4kw
    Yup, friends have a 310 with the cockpit grill that has been used like 3 times for that reason. Even with the biminis and the front glass in it smokes everything up and makes it smell like burgers. I like the newer (and bigger) models with the grill on the platform above the lazarette.

    Our gas magma stays in the lazarette and I can have it mounted on the pedestal pole in about 3 minutes. Gets hotter than electric and you dont have to run the genny to cook.
     
  6. Jeremygavin

    Jeremygavin Member

    679
    Mar 6, 2012
    Cape Cod, MA
    2005 Sea Ray 340 Sundancer, 2016 Sea Ray 19 SPX OB
    496 Mercruisers with Bravo IIIs, Mercury 150 Fourstroke
    I have a 340da with sterndrives. I bought it mainly because my kids were very young At the time and we spent a lot of time on the beach. With the stern drives pulling up on the beach is no Problem, we did it all the time. 28” draft with them up. I do enjoy the extra speed of the stern drives ( I cruise at 30mph burning 30gph, I have had her up to 45mph at WOT). Also I have a bow thruster so I am just as maneuverable as a vDrive boat around the docks. I do all my own maintence and I stay on top of the drives on the maintence. Repaint every year with Trilux etc. I have had the boat in salt water for 6 seasons and not a spot of corrosion on the drives but this has taken time to achieve. The added time I have to spend on the drives is saved doing maintence on everything in the bilge. I have 3ft of clear space between the front of my engines and the fuel tanks. I could literally lay down on the engine Here is a pic of the engine bay 15B3D3AD-E4D8-401E-A699-2ECC8BCB0D5D.jpeg Getting to batteries is easy, genny is easy, waste tank is easy, water pump impeller change I just sit down on the stringer and 30min later it is complete and I still have all the skin on my hands.
    So personally I wouldn’t rule out the stern drives as there are other benefits they have as well. If the drives are not going to be maintained properly then they are not going to last.
     
  7. keokie

    keokie Well-Known Member

    Dec 27, 2006
    Arizona
    2002 310 Sundancer, Westerbeke 4.5 Genset
    496's, Bravo III's, 2.2:1 Gears
    Drive them both. They are very different.

    As far as low speed maneuverability, I have experience with 310's and 340's of my vintage in both V's and Sterns. The sterndrives have no disadvantage. The pivot point on them is only very slightly behind the ones with v-drives, almost imperceptible. And you don't have to add throttle on the reverse engine of the stern for an even pivot.

    Performance, bilge access, and the ability to stern in to a beach are way better on the sterndrives. It just is.

    BUT

    If you will be keeping the boat in a saltwater slip, those sterndrives will fight you on corrosion (anywhere from a lot, to unbelievable). And, if you skip maintenance, or ignore warning signs, catastrophic drive failure is a real possibility.
     
  8. Soulshine

    Soulshine Member

    132
    Sep 25, 2016
    Seneca Lake, NY
    '83 SRV 360 Express
    Twin Merc. 454
    Inboard vs. out drives, inboards all the way.

    Straight inboards vs. V drives, straight all the way.

    Difficulty of repairs and maintenance can be brutal on v drive boats... same with I/Os.

    IMO, inboard maneuverability is amazingly subtle and predictable even in less than perfect conditions.

    Have fun comparison shopping though. :D
     
  9. NorCal Boater

    NorCal Boater Well-Known Member SILVER Sponsor

    Jan 24, 2008
    Covington, LA
    Cobalt CM23
    GM SB 383" Stroker" Alpha Gen I
    I've been boating a lot of years and have heard this debate for all of them. There are valid arguments for both. Over the years I have done most of my own maintenance and even worked at a repair shop for a while.

    When I was ready to move up to a Big Boy Boat I put it off for a while because I didn't really know much about v-drives or straight inboards. But I finally took the plunge and bought my first boat with v-drives. Shortly after asked myself why I had been so stupid. Inboards, straight or v-drives was the only way to go....for me. Having a boat with 2 I/Os would be like sticking needles in your eye....twice. I will never have another large boat with outdrives....I wouldn't even look at one. I do have a boat with an outdrive now but it is only 23' and it is a classic, sentimental project boat.

    So lets look at those debate points....
    • It's faster - So what. Do you run your boat WOT all the time? Most people don't so why does it matter
    • Better fuel economy - Maybe with a dual prop drive a bit more efficiency is achieved but 2 outdrives is a lot of drag in the water. The fuel difference is negligible in the pig picture. And if saving 10 bucks a tank is your goal you probably shouldn't be boating.
    • Maneuverability - I have handled boats from 9' to 60' and I have never touched a bow thruster. Handling a large boat well, is an art and not everyone can do it. For me, its a pride thing. I put my 52' boat into places that no one thought I could put it and then received applause from people on the dock when finished. Unless you are one of those that just are not good at handling a boat without a bow thruster....you don't need it. It's a crutch.* Learn how to master your boat without it. Thrusters are expensive and give you something else to maintain. There is enough to maintain on a boat without adding unnecessary stuff.
    • Safety - With people in the water behind my boat I preferred having the props under the boat and not sticking 2' past it.
    • Engine Room space - Well ya got me on that one. A V-drive Engine Room can be a space challenge. But unless you are 6'6" and 300 lbs. you will adapt and find ways to get things done.
    • Water Environment - If you re keeping your boat in salt water I wouldn't even consider outdrives. Jeramygavin says, "Repaint every year with Trilux etc. I have had the boat in salt water for 6 seasons and not a spot of corrosion on the drives but this has taken time to achieve." He is one of the few on this forum that has NOT complained about the BIII corrosion issues but look how much time he is putting into this
    * I know I am going to get blasted by those of you with bow thrusters and I apologize for my bluntness. A thruster can be beneficial for those that are challenged by the horrors of trying to put a boat in a slip or side moor to a dock. Some people can't dance and some people can't hit a baseball and some people can't dock a boat. They just don't have a talent for it. And there are some that may have the talent but lack the patience to learn to handle their boat. To those that rely on your thruster....what do you do when you are trying to dock your boat in a waterway with a tricky current on a windy day and you thruster quits? Oh oh.... Do you ever practice it? Do you ever try and dock without it? Do you ever practice maneuvering your boat on one engine? I'm just saying that I feel (just my worthless opinion now) that there is way too much reliance on bow thrusters, joysticks, etc. There should be a switch on all that stuff and it doesn't get turned on until the operator proves he/she is capable of handling the boat without it. But again, the above is all just my opinion.

    Good luck with the search Nick. I know with all the info and support you are getting from all of us you will make the decision that is right. In the end, this is all about making the right decision for you. Remember, the one thing Boaters like more than spending money on their own boats is helping friends spend money on their boats.
     
    Nick70 likes this.
  10. Soulshine

    Soulshine Member

    132
    Sep 25, 2016
    Seneca Lake, NY
    '83 SRV 360 Express
    Twin Merc. 454
    I see your disdain for I/Os and raise.

    My last boat had a 10’ 4” beam, twin small block Chevys and... wait for it...

    OMC Cobras. :(
     
  11. NorCal Boater

    NorCal Boater Well-Known Member SILVER Sponsor

    Jan 24, 2008
    Covington, LA
    Cobalt CM23
    GM SB 383" Stroker" Alpha Gen I
    I had a 4Winns with an OMC Cobra. Wasn't a bad unit. It was dependable, but I didn't own the boat for long and shortly after bought a 1989 340da with v-drives.

    I don't hate outdrives but on a boat over 30' I personally prefer inboards. just my preference. As I said, I have an '85 Cobalt CM23 that I am restoring that has a Merc Alpha 1. But....I would rather crawl into a bilge than pull an outdrive, change bellows, the water pump, a shift cable, a gimbal bearing, and god forbid, change the trim limit and gauge senders. While working at a boat repair shop many, many years ago, I used to do the annual service on boats and I got so sick of pulling outdrives. I can do most work on them except for setting gear lash and spacing inside.

    There are a lot of boats with outdrives, there are a lot of people that love them. Just not for me for the reasons stated. Nick is asking for opinions and advice. I gave mine. In the end he will find something that blows his skirt up and make the decision. Two weeks ago he was looking at a very cost-ineffective repower for his current boat. For whatever reason, advice here or from wherever, he realized there were better ways to go. He seems like a smart guy. He will make the right decision....for him.

    Shawn
     
    Nick70 likes this.
  12. CliffA

    CliffA Well-Known Member GOLD Sponsor

    Dec 29, 2009
    Lake Norman, NC
    2001 Sea Ray 340DA
    Name: 'Happy Place'
    4.5kW West. Generator
    Purchased Nov. 2014
    Fresh Water Use
    Twin Merc. 6.2L (MPI)
    Raw Water Cooled
    V-Drive Transmissions
    i guess I look at this a little differently than most....when I was boat shopping the layout of the engine room was at the bottom of the list of considerations....I do all my maintenance so I know this seems a little counter intuitive....but IMO the layout of the cockpit and cabin and the usable living space are much more important factors than the ER layout....my reasoning is that I will spend only a very small fraction of the time I am on the boat in the ER.....would it be nice to have easy access to all the equipment in the ER?....sure.....is it a deal breaker for me if that access is somewhat confined but I really like all the other things about a boat?.....not even close.....

    I personally like having the living space an aft cabin provides in the cabin instead of having to give up that space for the engines in a straight inboard boat....so I prefer V-drives over straight inboards....

    experience over the years with both outdrives and inboards has led me to favor (greatly) inboards for all the reasons mention previously.....I did not purchase a 34 foot 'go fast' boat....I purchased a 34 foot 'cruiser' so that we can take slow and enjoyable cruises and live on the boat for several days at a time if we desire (why livable space is important to me).....so the marginal performance gains that outdrives have over inboards is meaningless to me....the reduction in maintenance of inboards compared to outdrives is so dramatic my decision to stay with inboards is a very easy one....

    however everyone is different and we place importance on different things....you will know when you find the right boat....it will 'speak' to you.....

    good luck with your search....

    cliff
     
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  13. KnotEasy

    KnotEasy Member

    242
    May 14, 2013
    Whitehall, Mi.
    205 Sport
    5.0L MPI
    V-Drives without hesitation.
     
  14. Soulshine

    Soulshine Member

    132
    Sep 25, 2016
    Seneca Lake, NY
    '83 SRV 360 Express
    Twin Merc. 454
    Motivated by general layout I have to assume?

    4 gear boxes as opposed to 2 is one way to look unfavorably on that arrangement.
     
  15. NorCal Boater

    NorCal Boater Well-Known Member SILVER Sponsor

    Jan 24, 2008
    Covington, LA
    Cobalt CM23
    GM SB 383" Stroker" Alpha Gen I
    Which one has 4 gear boxes?
     
  16. Soulshine

    Soulshine Member

    132
    Sep 25, 2016
    Seneca Lake, NY
    '83 SRV 360 Express
    Twin Merc. 454
    Twin inboards would have 2 transmissions coupled to 2 v drives, no?

    Perhaps not technically correct, but you know what I mean.
     
    Nick70 likes this.
  17. RollerCoastr

    RollerCoastr Well-Known Member

    Nov 15, 2007
    Cedar Point, OH / Miami, FL / MacRay Harbor, MI
    1997 400DA
    340HP 7.4 Mercruiser Bluewaters
    Garmin 8212, 741 24HD, Intellian I2
    1999 280BR
    Twin 250HP Merc 350 Alpha Ones
    It's a v-drive transmission - all one unit.
     
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  18. Nick70

    Nick70 Member

    96
    Apr 20, 2016
    New England
    2009 Sea Ray Sundancer 330/350
    Twin 496's
    BRAVO III Sea core
    Garmin radar/gps
    8.1L's w/Bravo III Sea Core
    Wow.
    Such a plethora of experience and information. All first hand too. I really appreciate the feedback. Well, since I'm going to do the fiscally responsible thing, and sell my 260 before buying a new vessel, I have the time to sort my priorities and gather more info.
    Unfortunately, there isn't too much performance data on the model years I'm interested in. 08-10. I did read a report that had a 330/Vdrive 496 Magnum set up cruising at 34mph at 3000rpm..30gph. That honestly sounds hard to believe. Granted, every mph/100 rpm added, there is an exponential increase in gph. That being said, I'd be plenty happy to cruise at over 30 mph while being as economic as possible with Vdrives..
    Can anyone confirm these numbers? And if so, what are the stern drive cruising numbers like?
    I may now be more open to V drives.
     
  19. JimT

    JimT Active Member SILVER Sponsor

    Jul 7, 2009
    Charlotte, NC- LKN
    2010 330 Sundancer
    T-350mags w/BIIIs & Axius, 5.0 kw Kohler
    Nick70 likes this.
  20. NorCal Boater

    NorCal Boater Well-Known Member SILVER Sponsor

    Jan 24, 2008
    Covington, LA
    Cobalt CM23
    GM SB 383" Stroker" Alpha Gen I
    My '89 340da with v-drives cruised at 30 at about 3200 RPM. I have no idea of the fuel burn....I never worried too much about it. But what I did know is that I used less fuel cruising at 27-2800 RPMs and a speed of 25-27 MPH. That seemed to be the sweet spot for that boat. I would occasionally run faster but rarely for any sustained period....more just for fun and the illusion of blowing out the crap in the motor.

    Nick, I would advise you not get too caught up in comparisons with very little difference in performance. The only real advice I will offer is do not pick a boat with say....5.7s when 496s were available. There are countless threads on this forum started by people that want their boat to have more power but none from boaters wanting less power.

    Shawn
     
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