Inboard vs. Stern drive on Sundancer 310

Rigby

New Member
Jun 20, 2022
24
Lake Simcoe, Lake Couchiching
Boat Info
2001 - 310 Sundancer
Engines
Twin Merc 350 Horizon

Stanley has Yamaha 70 OB
Hello all
I am shopping for my first Sea Ray. Looking at Sundancers in the '99-'04 range.
I see quite a few 2001 Sundancer 310 in my area. From what I have read this model was available both as a Stern Drive and as Inboard/V-drive. Do owners have a preference? Are there any known issues with one vs. the other? And, since half the owners don't know what they have, are there any other telltale clues I can pick up from pictures, before traveling to see the boat? Many thanks
 
Imo, a lot depends on the owner. If in salt I would prefer v-drives. I personally like the way they handle around docks better.

Someone that wants to go a little faster (couple mph), in fresh water, likes maintenance and more room in the engine room would like stern drives.

this is my first v-drive boat, love that I have minimal maint compared to stern….
 
We have stern drives (Bravo 3s) on our 340. I love the ample room in the engine compartment as I do most of my own maintenance. Yes the stern drives are more maintenance. I think, never actually been on one but have been on a V Drive 320, the 340 with V drives cruises around 25 - 28 mph @ 3700 rpms, we cruise anywhere from 3250 to 3850 rpms which gives us 33 to 41 mph. My top end is 45 mph. A considerable difference. We also went with outdrives because we live on a creek and the water can get to be only 32 inches. Drives up we can still get in and out. We are in salt water and boat reside on a lift in a boathouse. So only exposure is when we are actually using it. Like said above - it is a personal preference. If you are mooring in saltwater, V drives are the way to go.
 
I have a 330 DA with v-Drives. Love them. Much less maintenance (oil changes every couple years for me). Downside is you cannot trim them up so you can't get in as shallow. Not an issue for me. I never drag it to shore. They are slower than I/0 of the same engine, but I never run at WOT anyway. My 330 with 454s runs 30/31mph at 3400 rpm all day, burning about 1mpg (4 litres per mile or about 120 litres an hour at cruise). v-Drives are great around the dock with the separate throttle and gear shifts. The props are forward of the transom which means the boat pivots closer to center.
 
Hello all
I am shopping for my first Sea Ray. Looking at Sundancers in the '99-'04 range.
I see quite a few 2001 Sundancer 310 in my area. From what I have read this model was available both as a Stern Drive and as Inboard/V-drive. Do owners have a preference? Are there any known issues with one vs. the other? And, since half the owners don't know what they have, are there any other telltale clues I can pick up from pictures, before traveling to see the boat? Many thanks
If you do decide on a stern drive in the 99-04 range, have it surveyed carefully. If they are the original transom assemblies, they may be near replacement time, usually due to a leaking steering pin.

Replacing 2 transom assemblies could easily run more than $10,000
 
V-drives are generally prefereed for the reasons stated above. However, in that boat it's a really tight fit. The stern drives allow for more room to move about the engines.

What you're looking for in the pictures are 1) The throttle shifters -- on stern drives it will be the black mercury controls, 2 levers. On v-drives you'll have 4 levers, usually crome and gold knobs. 2nd thing to look for is a hole in the side of the hull for the exhaust -- that will indicate v-drives. Good luck.
 
I have a friend with a 310 with Bravos and she has the teleflex shift set up (2 sets of 2), the same as my v-drives, so I am guessing that it’s not 100% a tell take sign of the type of drives .

V-drives are generally prefereed for the reasons stated above. However, in that boat it's a really tight fit. The stern drives allow for more room to move about the engines.

What you're looking for in the pictures are 1) The throttle shifters -- on stern drives it will be the black mercury controls, 2 levers. On v-drives you'll have 4 levers, usually crome and gold knobs. 2nd thing to look for is a hole in the side of the hull for the exhaust -- that will indicate v-drives. Good luck.
 
My 2001 310DA has teleflex shift/throttle setup (2 sets of 2 levers), so that isn’t a guarantee of v-drive. Also, I have a generator, which exhausts on the starboard side. Short of an engine room picture, I’m not sure what would be a telltale sign. If you have a dash picture you can look on the left hand side of steering wheel for the drive trim buttons and there will be trim gauges in the cluster indicating up/down-ness of the drives.
 
My 310 has V-drives and yes it's a very tight fit in the bilge especially with a generator. That said, I really love the low maintenance and the dock manners. Not having rubber bellows be the only thing between my boat and the bottom is also a nice bonus. I'm in fresh water, but if I were in salt, I wouldn't even consider outdrives.
 
Love my V-Drives on 330DA. They are perfect for negotiating around our small marina. We are on a 27 mi long lake, and we mostly cocktail cruise these days my 5.7L V-Drive setup is awesome. Dock neighbors with sterndrives love (or hate) to watch our boat maneuver down the fairway pivot and back into our 13' wide slip. Yes, the engine room is tight but its more than worth it when the wind and current are factors. Best of luck in your boat search.
 
I have a friend with a 310 with Bravos and she has the teleflex shift set up (2 sets of 2), the same as my v-drives, so I am guessing that it’s not 100% a tell take sign of the type of drives .
I’m thinking more in the earlier years — 98 & 99. But it could be the 330s that where set like that and they changed with the next model.
 
We have Teleflex as well. 2 shifters and 2 throttles. The exhaust out the sides and the exhaust tubes under the stern are certainly an easy way to tell. The outdrives hanging off the stern also are an obvious indication. V Drives are certainly less maintenance, and preferred in most cases. We did have the steering pin leaking issue. Put new pins and seals in at $1200.00 (both motors) 4 years ago. Seem to be doing fine so far. If we ever have to repower, will change transom assemblies at that time as we know we are probably on barrowed time. We have the ODs because of the type of boating and the waters we boat in and we keep her on a lift. Otherwise, we would have V drives. One other important thing, if you do go with ODs, be sure you have a bow thruster, you will need it. The ODs certainly are no match to the V drives when considering maneuverability around docks. Although the bow thruster compensates for that very well.
 
I’m thinking more in the earlier years — 98 & 99. But it could be the 330s that where set like that and they changed with the next model.
My friends is a little newer, 2001, the only one I seen like that. So much nicer than the combined controller
 
Thanks everyone this has been super helpful. Really appreciate it.
I'm pretty set on buying this model so when I land on one I'll let you know! Cheers
 
Thanks everyone this has been super helpful. Really appreciate it.
I'm pretty set on buying this model so when I land on one I'll let you know! Cheers
Don’t be so tunnel vision on a particular model / year . You may miss other great boat. Keep options open. Just cause you really want a 28yo redhead, don’t bypass that 30yo perfect brunette. Just saying.
 
I’d second the space issue in the bilge for a 310 v-drive. I’m a vdrive fan and would never go back to IO, at least in the larger boats, but I’ve had a chance to climb into the bilge of that year 310 with them and the inboard exhaust manifolds were just about touching the opposing engine.

if you’ll pay someone to do the maintenance it’s no big deal aside from them charging you more than the stern drive version with ample room….but the stern drives require more maintenance so maybe a wash in the end?

great boat though, those years have amazing space in the cockpit for the size thanks to the beam
 
bought a 2001, 310 Sundancer! V-drive. thanks everyone
Congratulations! Great boat. Pictures needed.

Also, if you decide to venture up thru the Trent-Severn to Georgian Bay, I can help you with some ideas of where to go and what do done once you get there (assuming you don't already know!).
 

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