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Should I Invest in a Non-OEM Lower Unit?

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Should I Invest in a Non-OEM Lower Unit?

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The Case For The Non-OEM, Aftermarket Gearcase  

There are new, replacement, non-OEM lower units & sterndrives on the market selling for extremely cheap prices. Can these prices be too good to be true?  You know the saying – “you get what you pay for”, so is that the case with these gearcases made overseas? What are the pros and cons for purchasing a knock-off, generic boat parts?

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Lets start off with the Pros…

#1. On the plus side, the Non-OEM unit will save you money.  You can expect a generic drive unit to be at least half the price of these knock off models.
#2. The second pro is that some of these aftermarket gearcases offer three year no fault warranties.  Provided you keep your proof of purchase and follow all their instructions, you may receive another unit if yours fails under their conditions.

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That’s all I have for the pros of buying an aftermarket gearcase. Now for the cons.

#1. As to the money issue.  Initially you will save money purchasing a non-OEM unit however, should your unit fail you will be out additional money to have a shop diagnose and remove your gearcase. Then there is the cost to ship the unit back to the manufacturer and finally there is additional cost to have the shop install the replaced drive. 

#2. The second con relates to time. Your time is valuable. Summer days out on the lake don’t last forever. Your warranty does not cover and can never replace is your missed days on the lake while you fix or replace the cheap one you purchased.  They can’t replace your time towing the boat back to shore, time taking the boat to your repair shop and time following up with your shop to get your boat back on the water.  And what if your repair shop is booked out 3 or more weeks in the summer? This drive may have cost you your entire summer out on the lake.  

So again, buyer beware that while inexpensive, these units are not very reliable. At a price point of under $1000, the non-OEM unit is attractive for the budget conscious boater.

If you have any questions in the meantime, email me at or drop me a line at 913-342-0011. I will respond personally to every email.

** To get started with a new or remanufactured lower unit from US Boatworks, you don’t have to wait. Check out our website for all the models we carry.