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Thread: dinghy outboard: Honda 2.0HP vs Mercury 3.5HP Reply to Thread
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  Topic Review (Newest First)
05-07-2011 08:42 PM
MajorMischief The biggest problem with an outboard these days is making sure it has new clean fuel. Our gasoline is now treated with 10% alcohol, and this dramatically shortens the shelf life. One nice thing about the Honda is that I can turn it upside down and drain the tank when I'm not going to use it, and there is a screw to drain the carburetor.

I also add Sea Foam to all my marine fuel to help clean the carb jet and preserve the fuel. Ditto for the lawn mower and snow blower. The government is talking about bumping the alcohol up to 20%. This will certainly wreak havoc with small engines, and will also void the warranty on new ones.
05-07-2011 11:48 AM
jamesbence 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
07-18-2009 12:29 PM
MajorMischief 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!
10-20-2008 02:59 PM
tonybinTX 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.
10-20-2008 02:37 PM
JIO 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.
10-20-2008 12:12 PM
Originally Posted by sailingdog View Post
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.
10-20-2008 07:42 AM
billangiep Another consideration for those looking for small outboards is the Suzuki 2.5.

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
10-20-2008 03:08 AM
sailingdog 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.

Originally Posted by dohenyboy View Post
in the same situation as you, I have gone with an electric trolling motor. much cheaper, even with buying a small agm battery.
10-20-2008 02:51 AM
dohenyboy in the same situation as you, I have gone with an electric trolling motor. much cheaper, even with buying a small agm battery.
10-19-2008 12:44 PM
Valiente 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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