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Go Back   SailNet Community > On Board > Gear & Maintenance
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  #1  
Old 03-10-2010
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Question outboards: 2 stoke or 4 stroke

I am going to buy a new outboard motor in the 5hp to 10hp range for a trailor sailor. I have heard that laying a 4 stoke on its side will cause oil to go places inside the engine that it shoudn't go. Since I am going haul it sometimes in the pickup or inside the boat is this something I need to consider? I've had motorcycles and lawn mowers up side down and when I start them they are sometime hard to start and smoke like crazy until the oil burns off. I would rather not do this if getting a 2 stroke engine would be better. I like the idea a 4 stroke-quiet, no oil to mix etc. And I wonder if the modern 2 strokes would be as nice to operate. Or am I worrying about nothing. Also with purchase price of a few hundred to over $3000. I want to get my money's worth.
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Old 03-10-2010
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Some outboards should only be laid down on one particular side. The mfgs label them accordingly and explain it in their manuals. No biggy, just don't forget which side stays up.
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Old 03-10-2010
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Actually, you can lay almost all of the four-strokes down on a particular side. They're a lot quieter than most two-strokes and more fuel efficient as well. Finding two-strokes is getting more difficult, and carrying one means you have to carry two consumable components for fuel, rather than just one.
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Old 03-10-2010
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I would get the 4 stroke. 2 strokes are just run so dirty that I know it is upsets the marine environment. Have you ever ran a 2-stroke in a bucket?
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Old 03-10-2010
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I have a Tohatsu 3.5 hp four stroke engine that I store and transport horizontally. you must lay it down on the side opposite the throttle side. if you do that, it starts on the first or second pull consistently. one time I did not do that and oil did seep into the cylinder. Fastest way to clear it out was clean off the plug, use one squirt of starting liquid into the carb and it started fine and burned off the extra oil. The engine runs great and is much cleaner to run than my other engine, which is a two stroke ( that now sits unused in my garage). Get the four stroke. slightly heavier than comparable powered two stroke, but the difference is slight at the horsepower you are describing and it is much easier to use/maintain/keep clean.
I can also say I'd buy another Tohatsu. It's been a really super little motor.
Good luck with whatever you decide to purchase.
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Old 03-10-2010
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I agree with going with the 4 stroke. I dont know about new 2 strokes but the older ones seem to have trouble with ethanol. This probably varies by year and manufacturer though (or maybe its just my motor). I have a 25 year old 2 stroke that I am going to replace with a four stroke this spring.
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I had the 3.5 Tohatsu and would second buying it again. Only reason I don't have it still is my friend bought it for his trip to the Bahamas.
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We have the 4 hp 4stroke Tahatsu. It runs like a charm, is quiet, easy to manage. One thing to look at is the internal tank enough to meet your needs. My wife and I like to anchor and sometimes take a 1-2 hr dingy ride up some of the shallower parts of the Chesapeake rivers/ coves we cannot take the boat up. Most 4 hp do not have a choice or internal/ or external tank and all 4 stroke below 4 hp are internal only. This particular Tahatsu has either use of an internal or external tank and we usually use the external. The three gallon Moeller plastic tank straps down nicely on the floor of our walker bay and stays in the dinghy all the time, even when its in its davits. This keeps us from keeping a can of gas aboard the boat to refill the engine which is a safety factor for me also. (Tahatsu and Nissan are the same engine. usually the Nissan is a little more expensive)

Dave
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We have a 4-stroke Honda 2hp for the dink and love it. It runs clean and quiet with really impressive fuel efficiency. As others have mentioned, you can only lay it down horizontally on one side, or oil will leak. However, the Honda 2hp has resting pads built into one side of the cowling so it's easy to remember which side to set it down on. It's also air cooled so we don't have worries about water pumps, thermostats and silty water causing problems. The exhaust is still underwater so the noise isn't loud like on many other air cooled outboards/weedwackers.
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I have a 2 stroke mercury 8hp that I have had for a long time and it still works great. Very hard to mess up that motor and very easy to do maintenance. 4 strokes are more complicated machines. But by far the biggest plus of a 2 stroke is that they are way lighter for a given horse power than 4 strokes are.
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