dinghy outboard: Honda 2.0HP vs Mercury 3.5HP - Page 2 - SailNet Community
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post #11 of 21 Old 10-19-2008
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Honda 2HP

We too have the 2HP Honda short shaft with centrifugal clutch. Have used it for four seasons with no problems whatsoever. Use it to push a 12 foot air floor inflatable. It does not allow the dinghy to plane but that was not our goal. It will push the dinghy with 4 people around for a couple of hours at half throttle without worrying about fuel. It uses a great amount more at close to full throttle. Here are some things we think Honda should consider to make it a better product. It is very loud at anything more than idle. It does not offer a remote gas tank hookup option. It does not offer any options on improving the plastic prop.

One thing not mentioned on the plus side is that as a Honda, it should run forever with good care. It has to be the easiest engine I ever worked on for oil change, gear lube change and overall maintenance. Also, it claims to be the cleanest running (lowest polluting) gasoline engine made.

If I had it to do over again I would strongly consider the next largest Honda. I think, but am not certain, that at the time it was a 5 HP and was roughly $200 more. It had reverse and a remote tank....but was heavier and consumed quite a bit more fuel.

Good luck with your choice.

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post #12 of 21 Old 10-19-2008
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It's nice to see measured advice here full of real-world information. The Honda, being at one end of the weight/convenience spectrum, has design aspects "not for everyone", and yet not everyone uses their tender the same way.

The "leaping into forward" thing on the neutral-less Honda concerned me...until I actually tried it! You can grip a dock or simply loop a line to defeat it, but me, I just aim the boat and let 'er rip!

The other aspect of this, of course, is that I don't see the Honda as a small outboard so much as a "big, tireless rower": I frequently will row away from the boat first to see if there's wind or traffic nearby that needs to see me...then I will fire up the Honda and be on my way.

I have done the 180 degree flip thing and gone dead astern and I would say this works marginally better than "reverse" on a standard outboard. I have also simply done slow circles to stay "on station" if I am fiddling with a radio or something.

Anyway, the ease of use and portability trump this model's "little ways", but I can see that if you left the engine on the dinghy on occasion, or if you were regularly pushing 4 people or half a dozen diesel jugs, a more beefy, more standard small outboard would be a better choice.

This suits us at the moment, but that could change. An air-cooled 3.5 HP at 35 lbs. would be near perfect, for instance.
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post #13 of 21 Old 10-20-2008
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in the same situation as you, I have gone with an electric trolling motor. much cheaper, even with buying a small agm battery.
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post #14 of 21 Old 10-20-2008
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The real problem with this is that you have a very limited run time... and what do you think will happen if your battery dies in a harbor with stronger currents? Hope you packed the oars. BTW, if you do run the battery down below the 50% point too often, it will die very, very quickly.

With a gasoline powered dinghy outboard, you can just re-fuel the engine, and you'll have a good long run time. With the Tohatsu 3.5 HP, the 1/3 of a gallon gives you about 1 hour of run time or so. With 2.5 Gallon jerry can of gasoline aboard, you've got over eight hours of run time, assuming the outboard's tank was full to start with.

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in the same situation as you, I have gone with an electric trolling motor. much cheaper, even with buying a small agm battery.

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post #15 of 21 Old 10-20-2008
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Another consideration for those looking for small outboards is the Suzuki 2.5. 2.5 Suzuki

DF2.5 Specifications

Model Name: DF2.5S
Horse Power: 2.5
Shaft: 15
Displacement: 4.15 cu. in. (68 cc)
Weight: 29
Cylinders: 1
Ignition: Suzuki PEI
Bore X Stroke: 1.89 x 1.50 in. (48 x 38 mm)
RPM Range: 5250-5750
Maximum RPM: 5750
Starter: MStart w/Man. Choke
Oil Tank Capacity: .32 qt. (.3 lit.)


Fuel: Unleaded
Gear Ratio: 2.15:1
Standard Propeller: 3 X 7 1/2 X 5 1/2
Steering: Tiller

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post #16 of 21 Old 10-20-2008
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With 2.5 Gallon jerry can of gasoline aboard, you've got over eight hours of run time, assuming the outboard's tank was full to start with.
Yes, this negated for me the need for a separate fuel tank. If I am 45 minutes of full throttle away from the shore at anchor in hairy conditions, (think three NM away!) I wouldn't use the tender in the first place: I would bring the boat inshore and temp anchor or seek a wharf.

I have confirmed in the open lake in rolly conditions that I have closer to an hour of run time on my Honda 2 with the one-litre integral tank, but I'm assuming 45 minutes full out for a safety factor.

Refilling isn't an issue even in those conditions (I've done it with Zodiacs during jug-to-tank refills on long runs), and a one-gallon jug is laughably small compared to the sort of jugs I carry for the "mothership"....but that one gallon gives me THREE HOURS or 15 NM in flat water of range, with two refills along the way.
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post #17 of 21 Old 10-20-2008
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I purchased the Honda 2hp this summer for my Mercury 310 airdeck. I went for this model due to the light weight of the motor. I have been pleased with the selection and with my wife and 2 young kids in tow, it moves along at a reasonable speed.
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post #18 of 21 Old 10-20-2008
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I've the Honda 2hp on an 8ft zodiac air floor. Again - no planing. I use it to troll a line around the inlets and when we go out for a night or two on the lake to get our German Shepherd to the bank.

There is a mod to convert it to a tank system.

I don't have an issue with starting. Just be sure to be sitting down when you yank on the starter and you'll do fine.

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post #19 of 21 Old 07-18-2009
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We too purchased the Honda 2HP with centrifugal clutch a few years ago... not for a dingy but as the auxiliary for our Precision-18. The major advantages are: low weight and simple maintenance (since it does not have a water pump). The major disadvantages are: difficult to operate at very low speeds since the clutch disengages and the necessity to top up the fuel tank before heading in (so you don't run out of gas in a busy harbor). With a displacement hull, our boat would not have been any happier with a more powerful engine. The Honda 2HP powers the Precision-18 close to hull speed!
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post #20 of 21 Old 05-07-2011
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We have both the honda 2.3 and the merc 3.5... there are pro's and cons with each
the honda will just about plane the dinghy with a 10 stone guy in it (me) performance wise the merc is far better at getting the dinghy on the plane and much more solidly built... I have found both engines perfectly reliable
A downside with the honda is that the recoil start is very snatchy and the clutch is the same but it is more portable and air cooled which makes it a bit noisy but with obvious maintainance benefits. I also have a sealine s 21 which broke down and beleive it or not the merc pushed me to the safety of the harbour with no issues I would pic the merc any day despite the fact its a little heavier but both are excellent portable engines
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