Join Date: Sep 2011
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Re: Brand new Honda 5HP Outboard won't start - should I switch mfg?
Marc: I'm sitting home today - Memorial Day - instead of sailing at the lake as planned, because our Honda 5HP outboard wouldn't start ... again. These engines apparently have very, very, small carburetor jets, which help them get extremely good fuel efficiency. If you use the motor every day, they are great motors. But, those really small carb jets are highly prone to fouling when fuel is left in them for a few weeks. Once that happens, you are in for a carb cleaning and a carb kit. My dealer here in Arizona, like yours, is really quick to blame the fuel as being "bad". I use stabilizer, but even so, the fuel is suspect after 30-days or so. The great fuel economy is more than offset by the frustration and repair costs associated with weekend use and fuel issues.
My personal experience with this engine has been terrible. I've lost too many sailing days to fuel / carb issues, only to have to haul it in to the dealer for a carb cleaning and rebuild. I was looking into learning to do this myself; but, in thinking about this, having to clean the carb that frequently is unacceptable. Instead, I will be looking for a good, reliable, 2-stroke, outboard - they use more fuel than the Honda, and can be a bit noisier; but, I'm okay with that trade-off because they start more reliably - they have large carb jets to allow the oil in the fuel to pass easily.
If I were buying a new motor now, I would consider one of the propane fueled motors (Kehr?) - it's a gas and leaves no residue (note: separate issues with propane safety on a boat; but, that is easily managed. Electric motors (Torqueedo) may be another option; but, batteries are a pain, too. Or, a good 2-stroke outboard.
I cannot recommend the Honda 5-hp for occasional use weekend sailors like me - they are too prone to fuel problems. I wish that I did not know my Honda dealer on a first name basis. Good luck.