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Best small outboard

Laminar Flow

Well-known member
Joined
14 Jan 2020
Messages
849
Location
West Coast
Gentlemen, is it chance, or is there a good reason why the name Johnson hasn't been uttered here?

I know, whatever engine is named, tales of infuriating failure and others of glorious, viceless reliability will appear...

...but I've seen small late-model two-stroke Johnsons for sale lately, looking very clean, and I'd like one for the Avon. Bad idea?
Ahem, got one, Johnson 2.5hp.

Getting it going is an upper body building exercise in the restricted confines of the dinghy with the added option of spending the rest of a summer sleeping on the couch for accidentally elbowing the missus in the face.

There isn't a hope in hell that my admiral could start it.

It is impressively noisy.

It has a disturbing appetite for new spark plugs.

Unfortunately it appears unbreakable. When it seized due to not having been run for a couple of years the repair shop recommended filling the cylinder with oil and after applying some good old-fashioned brute force it cleared.

Very interested in this post for exploring other options.
 

LONG_KEELER

Well-known member
Joined
21 Jul 2009
Messages
2,295
Location
East Coast
I like the Honda 2 for many of the reasons already stated.

Pulling the cord to start the engine, can, if timed badly, really give you a wrap on the knuckles or back of the hand.


It really hurts ......................... :cry:
 

dancrane

Well-known member
Joined
29 Dec 2010
Messages
9,090
Ahem, got one, Johnson 2.5hp. Getting it going is an upper body building exercise in the restricted confines of the dinghy. It is impressively noisy...appears unbreakable.
Your whole post was helpful and very believable, L.F. (y) Likewise, all who have answered my Johnson query.

This isn't meant to be any kind of drift...but I'm looking at a Johnson 3.5, and wondering about the numbers on the data plate.

As far as I understand it, 3.5hp isn't much more than 2.5Kw...so why would an engine sold as 3.5hp, show 3.6Kw on the data plate?



I've no reason to think the seller is other than scrupulously honest. Just interested why the quoted output would be more than the usable horsepower at the prop.
.
 

Laminar Flow

Well-known member
Joined
14 Jan 2020
Messages
849
Location
West Coast
Your whole post was helpful and very believable, L.F. (y) Likewise, all who have answered my Johnson query.

This isn't meant to be any kind of drift...but I'm looking at a Johnson 3.5, and wondering about the numbers on the data plate.

As far as I understand it, 3.5hp isn't much more than 2.5Kw...so why would an engine sold as 3.5hp, show 3.6Kw on the data plate?



I've no reason to think the seller is other than scrupulously honest. Just interested why the quoted output would be more than the usable horsepower at the prop.
.
3.6 kw would be about 5hp. I rather doubt you would lose as much as 1.5hp for gearing and bearings.
More likely it is simply due to kw/hp confusion. Kw means nothing in N-America and most often very little to people in Europe.
 

doug748

Well-known member
Joined
1 Oct 2002
Messages
9,891
Location
Plymouth
Gentlemen, is it chance, or is there a good reason why the name Johnson hasn't been uttered here?

I know, whatever engine is named, tales of infuriating failure and others of glorious, viceless reliability will appear...

...but I've seen small late-model two-stroke Johnsons for sale lately, looking very clean, and I'd like one for the Avon. Bad idea?


Many of the small 2 stroke engines in the range 2.5 - 3.5 were basically the same motor design by Tohatsu, some manufactured in Japan some not.

So, underneath the lid, if it looks like a small Mercury, Mariner, Force, Nissan, Evenrude or Johnson, that is it's DNA. In my experience they are superbly reliable little engines and very robust.

.
 

Jmc1764

Member
Joined
17 May 2020
Messages
46
Location
Gillingham Medway
I bought the new 2.5 suzuki because I wanted reliability and it had good reviews and the weight. It has been flawless, always started first pull even in zero degrees. I have had it for 9 months now but remember with a new one you have to have the first service which is around £80 or no warranty. so cost of ownership goes up a bit. It is mega economical though. Then just after Christmas on a whim I bought a 1963 Evinrude fisherman 5.5Hp. WOW, this thing is super smooth, quiet and powerful. It starts on the first pull, runs like a dream, the downside is it is heavy and wont be getting lifted onto the yacht, so I use it as a treat when going out to check the boat on its mooring.
 

NormanS

Well-known member
Joined
10 Nov 2008
Messages
7,680
Gentlemen, thanks for so many helpful suggestions. On balance, 2 stroke seems preferable to 4 stroke. There are reasons why I would prefer air cooled. There are some ridiculously cheap new ones, presumably from China, probably totally unsuitable for use in seawater. Has anyone tried one?
 

duncan99210

Well-known member
Joined
29 Jul 2009
Messages
6,006
Location
Winter in Falmouth, summer on board Rampage.
Gentlemen, thanks for so many helpful suggestions. On balance, 2 stroke seems preferable to 4 stroke. There are reasons why I would prefer air cooled. There are some ridiculously cheap new ones, presumably from China, probably totally unsuitable for use in seawater. Has anyone tried one?
Not tried one but have been in the same anchorage as a couple of them. They’re ludicrously loud! Think teenager on scooter with “special” exhaust loud.
 

Mercury Rising

Well-known member
Joined
16 May 2015
Messages
13,162
Location
Brexitshire, England
Many of the small 2 stroke engines in the range 2.5 - 3.5 were basically the same motor design by Tohatsu, some manufactured in Japan some not.

So, underneath the lid, if it looks like a small Mercury, Mariner, Force, Nissan, Evenrude or Johnson, that is it's DNA. In my experience they are superbly reliable little engines and very robust.
Except Johnson/Evinrude. Up to 2011 BRP made them in N America.

In 2011, Tohatsu and Evinrude Outboard Motors made a deal to make smaller engines ranging from 15 HP and down with Evinrude decals
The Johnson name was dropped in 2000 when OMC went bust.

.
 
Last edited:

Kelpie

Well-known member
Joined
15 May 2005
Messages
5,470
Location
Loch Snizort, Isle of Skye
I've briefly used both the Honda 2.3 and the Suzuki 2.5.
Honda was noisier and the centrifugal clutch was a bit odd. I'm sure you'd get used to it.
Only problem with the Suzi was that over-enthusiastic tightening of the breather will strip the threads, meaning that the engine leaks when tilted up. This happened on both the Suzukis that I used so it seems like a bit of a weak spot.
 
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