Johnson 200 on a V-King

Hi Randy, 

I just picked up a V-King (V-bottom) that I plan to work on over the winter (rigging & interior), but it is without motor and I would like your advice on motors.  I have found a 1995 Johnson 200 (20" shaft) at a local Marina that my family has been dealing with since the early 1960s, and their plan is to re-build it this winter and sell it in the spring for about CDN $5k.  I talked to the owner of the marina and he is happy to substitute performance parts in the re-build if I pay the difference in cost for the parts themselves (and leave a deposit of course).

What I am wondering is this:  is it worthwhile to have this Johnson built up or should I hold out for a Merc?  I don't want to upset anyone with brand loyalty issues, but my pocket book is a very specific size at the moment, so I have to keep my mind open to all possibilities.  I understand that Mercs are the preferred motor for these boats, but I have also heard that the later model OMCs are pretty good too.  Any advice?  Is the shape of these lower units less than optimal with the V-King hull?  A nose cone and L.W.P. will be necessary, I'm sure.  Will I be able to get good props without too much trouble?  What kind of offset will I need?  Can this Johnson's performance be on par with a Merc 200 of the same vintage without spending thousands to get it there?  If so, what performance parts should I consider?  I hope you see what I'm getting at.  I really appreciate your input, and thanks! 




A good friend of mine had a 200 looper on a V-king about 8 years ago. Those motors run good and his boat did too. Ran easily in the mid eighties. We found that about 4 1/2" of set back was all it could stand. Those motors are pretty heavy. So here's the story. We went boating and Mike was making passes back and forth. After about 10 good passes I went to shore and watched. During one run he slowed as usual to turn around and go the other way. I kid you not, at 15 to 20 mph the gearcase blewout and the boat spun. Then the heavy jacked up powerhead took over and the boat capsized. Nothing was damaged as the boat was going so slow. After we rolled it back over Mike was pretty shook up. Several weeks later he had me install a 2.4 bridgeport carb motor. We put it right on the transom and just raised it as high as the holes would allow. Had a stock CLE gearcase and we put on a 26 small hub laser 2 prop. First pass it went over 90 and over 7000 rpm. The reason I say over is the gauges only went that high. My point in all this: The boat was soooo much better. The lighter motor was just the answer. The OMC can be made into a great rig; just the Merc, with its lightness, was way better on this particular hull. If you have not started the work on the OMC consider a 200 Merc or even an older Yamaha if one is around. The new Yammy's have a way heavy cowl. 

Hope the story helps your project. 




Please submit whatever questions you have to  All questions and answers selected will be displayed on this page as they come in.  Note: though all boaters are welcome, priority may be given to I.H.R. members.  Randy can not be held responsible for any advice given.  Though his information and expertise is second to none, he has no control over what you do with your boat.  It is up to you to boat safely and act responsibly, and his advice is only to be used as a guidance for your high performance boat/motor of which you are the one responsible for the risks involved.

Mark C.


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