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Go Back   SailNet Community > On Board > Gear & Maintenance
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  #11  
Old 11-04-2010
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I was faced with the same decision. I ended up getting a Tohatsu 6HP, a four stroke. California banned 2 stroke engines a while ago, and I couldn't find a small one for sale. I was looking at the 4 hp, but the 5 and 6 hp actually weigh a couple of pounds less than the 4 hp. Still hefty at 55 pounds. Since Tohatsu makes all the lower horsepower Nissan and Mercury engines now anyway, I bought the cheapest brand of the three.
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Old 11-04-2010
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I went with the Suzuki 2.5 instead of the Honda 2 hp for a couple of reasons. One being the air-cooled Honda engine which is a bit noisier. The other is the Suzuki has a neutral position and as I recall the Honda does not. Could be wrong about that, check it out. Anyhow, I am pleased with the Suzuki.
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Old 11-04-2010
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We have a 3.5hp Mercury. I really like it. My wife can start it easly even in close to freezing temperatures. We use it on a 8ft zodiac. We take the dogs to shore with it. With my wife and I and the two dogs it's almost 500lbs in the dingy and we still go pretty good (almost 5knts). It's a flat soft-bottom dingy and won't plane. We've done '3 hour tours' without any worries - it just sips the gas so we bring a 5L jerry can and always come back with lots to spare.

At 41lbs it's not light but certainly managable. I think they have the highest thrust for the sub 4hp class. Also, they have a bushing that breaks in the prop instead of a shear pin like the Hondas. It allows you to still drive but not at full throttle - trade off.

We've been out when the wind was strong and the waves were breaking. The waves would certainly be the limiting factor - the motor was strong enough in 25knts of wind.

I really like the 360 degrees of steering (vs. reverse gear) It allows for some amazing manuverability in tight spaces.
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Old 11-05-2010
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i wouldnt trade my mercury 8hp 2 stroke for any 4 stroke. Its lighter and much less prone to breakdowns
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Old 11-05-2010
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Maine Sail View Post
The best 4 stroke, is a 2 stroke.
Exactly right.

I know no one that has been happy with the 4-Stroke motors they bought and with a 2.4 m inflatable a small--easy to handle and maintain--2-stroke is/will be quite adaquate and far more reliable.
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Old 11-05-2010
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I have the Honda 2hp 4-stroke and am very happy so far. It's relatively quiet for being air cooled (ie not noise like a weed eater outboard) and I don't have to worry about clogged water pumps and faulty impellers. It's also the lightest 4-stroke available at only 27lbs and is easy to lift from the dinghy to the stern rail of the mothership.

It's available with both a powerhead mounted throttle control or a twist grip on the tiller handle. It's also available with a centrifugal clutch, which basically acts like a neutral.
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Old 11-05-2010
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I have a 6 hp 4 stoke mercury that has been in/out of the shop soooooo many times I cannot tell you. I hate them. HATE them!! I got so sick of it that I stuck it on my transom, then begged to find a 2 stroke. Got one of the last 15hp 2 strokes (Yamaha) and that thing is awesome. I am not sure, but it probably weighs the same as my POS 6.

I have owned many outboards. I cannot remember the cutoff (I think 9.9) but everything is made by tohatsu under that (with maybe Honda the exception????). Everyone else justs puts their cowling on it and maybe drive train.

I would strongly urge you to find a 2 stroke if you can find one. The new ones (now being phased out in the US because of dumb politics, but hey... they got to pass another law so can get re-elected) are efficient and clean burning. These aren't your old stinky loud 2 strokes. I have been told that they are as clean as the 4 strokes... but that is hear-say. Never the less, they are great.

If you cannot get a 2 stroke, then just go for the best deal. You don't need anything big on that tender anyways. Weight should be the primary concern so you can get on/off easily. Don't spend too much on it as you may opt like many of us cruisers and find that it makes a wonderful anchor.

Best of luck. Have fun with it... and get the extended warranty on the 4 stroke (snicker). You will be rebuilding that carb every 6 months. Gotta love ethanol.

Brian

PS As Maine said, the best 4 stroke is a 2 stroke. I know very few cruisers that like their 4's. In fact... I am not sure I know a SINGLE cruiser that does not have a love-hate relationship with them.
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Old 11-05-2010
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Small USA NON-EFI 2 stoke production stoped in 2006 if not sooner

Clean 2 stroke EFI motors like the E-tec have worked down to 15HP as the cost and weight is to large on smaller motors

And the 4st motors are fine its the E-10 fuel BS that causes the problems
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Old 11-26-2010
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I have used the Honda 2hp long shaft for occasional power on a 15' Precision sailboat. Even though Honda 4 strokes are known to be quiet, the air-cooled 2hp is the exception. It is a loud engine, with a large amount of handle vibration.
Its main advantage to me is the light weight, standard gas, and integral tank. My boat mechanic says mechanical difficulties are nil with Honda.
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Old 11-26-2010
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I think the one real advantage of the 4 stroke over the 2 is the fuel efficiency. However I still like my 10 year old Nissan 5 hp 2 stroke which will plane the 10 ft Archilles wood floor inflatable with me at 200 lbs and wife at 120. Plus I can lift it off the stern without any help which would be difficult with the heavier 4 stroke.
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