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Best small outboard

davesparkes

New member
Joined
23 Dec 2011
Messages
16
Another vote for the 2.3 Honda; I used one as the aux on my Hunter Formula One and when I sold the boat I kept the engine. Light, air-cooled, and well engineered (mild steel fasteners excepted); the only bugbear was the auto clutch which took a little getting used to.

My last boat was bought with a Mercury 4hp 4T (rebranded Tohatsu I believe); could never get it run properly so it was replaced with a new Honda BF5 which was a much higher quality item and performed superbly. The price difference between the Hondas and (in my opinion) the also-rans doesn't seem large these days...

Cheers,
Dave
 

CAPTAIN FANTASTIC

Well-known member
Joined
15 Jul 2009
Messages
2,777
Location
Bristol Channel
For information regarding weight of small outboards:
- Tohatsu 2.5 hp, Two Stroke; 12.5 kg
- Suzuki 2.5 hp, Four Stroke; 13 kg
- Honda 2.3 hp, Four Stroke, 13.5 kg
As you can see, the weights of small two and four stroke outboards are practically the same.
 

JumbleDuck

Well-known member
Joined
8 Aug 2013
Messages
21,137
Location
SW Scotland
For information regarding weight of small outboards:
- Tohatsu 2.5 hp, Two Stroke; 12.5 kg
- Suzuki 2.5 hp, Four Stroke; 13 kg
- Honda 2.3 hp, Four Stroke, 13.5 kg
As you can see, the weights of small two and four stroke outboards are practically the same.
- Yamaha 2C, 2 hp, Two Stroke; 9.8kg
I think that's probably the one people think of most when they think of small two-strokes.
 

gordmac

Well-known member
Joined
28 Jan 2009
Messages
8,694
Location
Lochaber
I like the wee Honda but you need to drain the float chamber if leaving it for any length of time as the float chamber rusts inside and the rust blocks the carb.
 

dancrane

Well-known member
Joined
29 Dec 2010
Messages
8,963
...drain the float chamber if leaving it any length of time as the float chamber rusts inside and the rust blocks the carb.
Isn't the float chamber filled with fuel or fuel/oil mix? What can be causing the rust?
 

prv

Well-known member
Joined
29 Nov 2009
Messages
36,042
Location
Southampton
- Yamaha 2C, 2 hp, Two Stroke; 9.8kg
I think that's probably the one people think of most when they think of small two-strokes.
I’m not sure what my 2-stroke 2hp Suzuki weighs, but I know I can hold it in one hand and stretch my arm out horizontally.

Not for long, admittedly, but still, being an easy one-hand lift is very helpful when carrying it along the side-deck to and from the stern-rail stowage pad. Also being able to put it over my shoulder and carry it the three hundred yards up to the car with a bag in my other hand, if that’s the only gear I have and no need to make three trips fetching a trolley.

Pete
 

Dutch01527

Active member
Joined
7 Jul 2016
Messages
422
Dependant on usage the old 2 stroke might be a better option than the a newer 4 stroke.

I have a ancient 2 stroke 4hp Johnson and a newish 4 stroke Honda 5. The Johnson is better in nearly every way if the planned use is on a tender. Lighter, more powerful, can be stored anyway up and not prone to problems with older fuel.

The Honda would be the better choice for frequent use permanently on heavyish boat where it was fixed in position and quiet, calm operation was more important than portability and power.

I plan to sell the Honda because I never use it.
 
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fredrussell

Well-known member
Joined
24 Mar 2015
Messages
1,345
I have a ancient 2 stroke Johnson and a newish 4 stroke Honda 5. The Johnson is better in nearly every way if the planned use is on a tender. Lighter, more powerful, can be stored anyway up and not prone to problems with older fuel.
Once again this nonsense about 2 strokes being more powerful than 4 strokes. They may have different power curves, but at the top of said curve your 2hp outboard will be making 2hp whether it’s 2 stroke or 4 stroke. If your 2hp has more power than your 5hp there is something very wrong with the latter.

And why would your 2Stroke be “less prone to problems with older fuel”? That just comes down to fuel gumming up or being contaminated with dirt or water and will affect any engine in the same way.
 

dancrane

Well-known member
Joined
29 Dec 2010
Messages
8,963
Ah. I wonder if the cause is condensation on the inside walls of the tank? Maybe it's worth sloshing a sacrificial quarter-pint of petrol round inside then siphoning it out after long periods unused?

Or, take proper care not to mix water with the fuel. ;) I shouldn't talk, I haven't topped up an outboard at sea for decades.
 

Caraway

New member
Joined
11 Aug 2019
Messages
25
I bought a Suzuki 2.5 in a hurry to replace a dead 2 stroke machine. It was fine in my hands but the Admiral couldn‘t start it all the time. So it went to be replaced by a truly ancient Suzuki 2.5 2 stroke, which has now been replaced by a Mercury 2.5 2 stroke: both of these engines are Admiralty Approved. Given the choice, I’d keep the 2 stroke until it develops some terminal habits and even then look to replacing it with a 2 stroke if possible. Unless, of course, you have an Admiral who can cope with a 4 stroke.
Operator error. I've had plenty of both persuausions. The technique is quite different for 4 strokes.
They rarely start with the short violent tug a 2 stroke will respond to.
A 4 stroke needs a long and steady pull, simply because there are less firing strokes in the cycle.
Other than that they stink less, are quieter, use less fuel and the weight issue has been scotched, especially if you are looking for one with at least a neutral.
Having to lay down on on specific side shouldn't tax the mind of a man who can plan a voyage or manage to pick up a buoy.
 

Dutch01527

Active member
Joined
7 Jul 2016
Messages
422
Once again this nonsense about 2 strokes being more powerful than 4 strokes. They may have different power curves, but at the top of said curve your 2hp outboard will be making 2hp whether it’s 2 stroke or 4 stroke. If your 2hp has more power than your 5hp there is something very wrong with the latter.

And why would your 2Stroke be “less prone to problems with older fuel”? That just comes down to fuel gumming up or being contaminated with dirt or water and will affect any engine in the same way.
My Johnson is 4hp, I have amended my post to make that clear. It is 25 year old, worth about £150 and accelerates quicker and achieves a higher top speed on both my inflatable and a 12ft fun yak than my £900 new Honda 5. That is fact as measured by gps.

A engine from a tractor and a sports car might have the same horse power but they are designed to do different jobs. The 2 stroke is better to shove in the back of a tender and nip ashore. The 4 stroke is better to quietly and efficiently plod along all day and leave attached to the boat.

With the Honda I need to run the carb dry and use new fuel if I am going to not start it for a month or two because it gums up. I have never run the Johnson dry, do not need to it starts after a year of not being used probably because it is less sophisticated and therefore more forgiving.
 
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TSB240

Active member
Joined
17 Feb 2010
Messages
2,665
The ultimate small hp outboard is the Johnny/rude 4hp twin two stroke. It weighs in at an easy to handle 15kgs. No other small OB comes near to delivering the same power to weight ratio. It also has the added benefit of a twin cylinder power head. Starting a twin is way easier than any single and it runs smoother and sounds like a sewing machine. Nothing currently on the market comes close to being a suitable replacement. Grab one now if you can.
 

duncan99210

Well-known member
Joined
29 Jul 2009
Messages
5,687
Location
Winter in Falmouth, summer on board Rampage.
Operator error. I've had plenty of both persuausions. The technique is quite different for 4 strokes.
They rarely start with the short violent tug a 2 stroke will respond to.
A 4 stroke needs a long and steady pull, simply because there are less firing strokes in the cycle.
You‘d have been welcome to try and deliver training to the Admiral on the topic of starting 4 strokes v 2 strokes: it would‘ve made a good spectator sport!
We live on board most of the summer, using the dinghy daily: with the 4 stroke, there’s no way that she had the ability to get the damn thing running. I know it needs a different technique but she found that technique impossible to achieve. So the simple answer was another 2 stroke which is what we’ll stay with until the pennies are available to buy a Torqueedo.
 

prv

Well-known member
Joined
29 Nov 2009
Messages
36,042
Location
Southampton
The ultimate small hp outboard is the Johnny/rude 4hp twin two stroke. It weighs in at an easy to handle 15kgs. No other small OB comes near to delivering the same power to weight ratio. It also has the added benefit of a twin cylinder power head. Starting a twin is way easier than any single and it runs smoother and sounds like a sewing machine. Nothing currently on the market comes close to being a suitable replacement. Grab one now if you can.
I’ve got one, and it does indeed run very smoothly when it runs. Unfortunately mine has a bad habit of cutting out without warning and refusing to restart, so I’ve relegated it to the shed for now in favour of the reliable and even lighter (albeit noisier and slightly less powerful) Suzuki.

Pete
 
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