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  #21  
Old 09-14-2012
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Re: 4hp outboard motor questions

Forgive me if these things have already been stated, but a few things to narrow your search:


2 stroke is a pain in that you have to mix oil with the gas. That means you need to keep 2 stroke oil on hand.

2 stroke motor is lighter for the same HP than a 4 stroke will be.

2 stroke motor can be laid down on its side without oil running out of the motor and all over the place. 4 stroke usually cannot.

4 stroke motor is more complex (valves, timing, etc.) 2 stroke is pretty bare bones design.

2 strokes can be a serious PITA- they hate stale gas, they tend to be cold natured, carb filter / fuel pump filter (side of carb) gets dirty quicker. Spark plug gets fouled when your mixture gets off, then the *$%^* thing won't start or won't run under load.

2 stroke can't be left sitting with gas in it for long periods of time. The gas turns to Aunt Jemima syrup in your carb. As I said, you'll get good at carb work with a 2 stroke.

DO NOT run ethanol gas in your 2 stroke. You can get away with it at times, but you'll spend a lot of time cussing your motor for running badly / choking out with no good explanation. Ethanol is the debbil! These little motors also run rubber fuel hoses. Ethanol eats those.


If you are mechanically handy, a 2 stroke can be had on the cheap but like any 2 stroke you'll spend time wrenching on it. You'll get good at doing carbs. If you one day end up with a gasoline generator, now you'll have to tote around two separate gas cans if your kicker is a 2 stroke. With a 4 stroke they can share gas.
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  #22  
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Re: 4hp outboard motor questions

I guess I've been lucky with my 2 stroke as I haven't experienced any of the previously mentioned problems (knock on wood). Mine always starts on the 1st or 2nd pull. The only time I had to restart the motor was when I was too slow opening the choke. It usually has old gas (I don't use much) and I've never cleaned or changed the spark plug. I do run the carb out of fuel after each use however.
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  #23  
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Re: 4hp outboard motor questions

I understand that Tohatsu bought Merc, make a well equipped, comparable, much cheaper motor. Why buy a Merc when a Tohatsu as my friend who sold his Merc to buy one says the best motor he ever had!
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Old 09-14-2012
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Re: 4hp outboard motor questions

jboat73 - Since you are getting your boat directly from the manufacturer, I'd suggest you ask them for a recommendation about motor size. Describe where you're sailing.

Many of the boats that are being referenced here are pocket cruisers, which are much heavier than your Flying Scot. As Ulladh said, many use the Flying Scot without any motor at all, and keep a couple paddles for emergency. The one I rented had no motor, and we rented it on a dead day.

I see some guys talking about getting a motor with an alternator to charge your battery, etc. They definitely don't understand your boat. You'll need to filter some of the recommendations based on how well you think the posters understand your boat and sailing range.

For what it's worth, I think it's likely that 2 hp is enough to get you wherever you will need to go, even against the Delaware's tidal current. It's a small boat with very little draft. Most of the guys recommending 4-6 hp are sailing much heavier boats than yours.

The capacity plate says 4 HP, but that's the maximum. (And I question whether you need this much.) For this reason, I wouldn't go over 4 HP, even if the 6 HP motor is a "twin." If you ever get pulled over by law enforcement, you may get some tough questioning about exceeding the boat's rated capacity. And the rating is about more than just dead weight - it's about what can go wrong if you accidentally throttle up too high (like swamping the boat).

Light weight is a benefit for boat trim, even if you don't care about removing the motor every time. Since it's off-center, you want to minimize the boat's list, especially since you're keeping it in a slip. And if it ever needs service, you'll be glad you have lighter weight so you can pull the motor instead of the whole boat.

I read somewhere the Suzuki makes the lightest 2.5 hp motor. I've seen online specials for under $700:

2012 SUZUKI 2.5HP OUTBOARD MOTOR

Suzuki Outboards 2.5 Horsepower

But if you're going to buy in this size range, I'd consider an extra $140 for the air cooled 2 hp Honda. Actually its weight looks exactly the same as the Suzuki. Note that Honda has 2 shaft lengths in this size, and you should probably get the longer shaft:

Honda BF2DKLCH Outboard Motor (Four Stroke) - Price: $838.08

One critical thing to look at is how whatever motor you pick can be locked to the transom. This is critically important if you're keeping it in a slip, especially if you're considering downtown Philly.
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Re: 4hp outboard motor questions

if the 19 footer is a flying scot then 2 hp is plenty 4 hp and it might even get up on a plane. what you want is the lightest thing out there. I used to have a scot with a 1.5 British seagull and we had a speed boat, would go over 5 kts all day when we could get it started
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Re: 4hp outboard motor questions

FYI, if the Tohatsu is only available in a 15" shaft length, then that could tip the balance strongly in favor of the Honda, which shows a 20" shaft length in the link I posted above. While your transom may be only 15" high, you want the prop immersed well underwater so you can motor through chop and also if you're heeled over. Even under bare poles, in a heavy blow your boat could heel over and you want the prop underwater in those conditions.

If the Tohatsu is available in 20" length, then I'd consider that over 15".

By the way, the Honda at boats.net (which I linked) is significantly discounted (35% off MSRP).
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Last edited by TakeFive; 09-14-2012 at 02:34 PM.
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Re: 4hp outboard motor questions

Thank you to everyone that has chimed in; I appreciate all the advice.

The boat is indeed a Flying Scot. The manufacturer says the max is 4hp. I think many owners don't put a motor on at all, but I believe that some of those may be sailing on lakes, so no tide issues. Maybe I'll get to a stage of having enough skill and confidence to have no motor, but right now I really want the comfort of knowing a motor is there to help if needed.

The manufacturer has also said to get the shorter shaft, but what people are saying here about the longer shaft makes a lot of sense to me. Is a longer shaft an issue if the boat sits low and you're in shallow water? I'll inquire about that.

Is it fair to say that Honday 2hp would be lower maintenance than a Tohatsu 4hp? I don't have experience with engines and lower maintenance is definitely appealing. But I'm balancing that against more horses and therefore more ability to get me home after I've screwed up and found myself fighting the tide! Also, in a short sailing window, I think it is inevitable that I'll need to fight the tide one way or the other if I'm not going at slack tide or timing my turn-around with the tide reversal.

Thanks again.
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Re: 4hp outboard motor questions

I think I've just ruled out the Honda 2 hp - it doesn't have reverse. It has a swivel mechanism and has to be turned around to go in reverse. I imagine for someone with experience that isn't a big deal, but for me, the difficulty of docking doesn't need the added issue of swinging the motor around!
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Old 09-14-2012
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Re: 4hp outboard motor questions

Hi ,

I have the Tohatsu/Merc 4HP on my Catalina 22, in the Hudson River which is seriously tidal. The motor is enough for my boat against the tide and even wind.

They are notorious for plugging up the carbs with ethanol gas. Its easy to take the carb apart. Other than that repetitive problem they are good.

It is true that the 4, 5 and 6 HP are all the exact same but different carbs. Might as well get the 6 in case you get a bigger boat or a dingy.

Last edited by Sal Paradise; 09-14-2012 at 06:47 PM.
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Re: 4hp outboard motor questions

With the new information, consider a long shaft 3.5hp.

Weight is still light enough for a light weight yacht.

Brand is not as important as service so see what local dealers are available.

Tohatsu, Mercury, Suzuki and Yamaha all offer good outboard in this size.
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