Outboard engine for the Dinghy?

viewI need an outboard for my dinghy. Of course there are several outboard engines I could choose – Honda, Suzuki, Tohatsu or Yamaha. To name just a few. So lets look at some of these manufacturers. The Honda BF 2.3 D6 is regarded as the most lightweight 4 stroke outboard motor in the world. So if weight is the main concern you could go with this engine for your dinghy. It has other good points as well – low maintenance with transistor ignition and a forced air cooling system which eliminates the need for a water pump impellor. One other difference from other outboard motors is that it has a centrifugal clutch instead of normal gears.

However, having tried this outboard motor on the dinghy I did not like the centrifugal clutch. I found that the dinghy would move off with a sudden jerk without any real warning! The twist grip was also uncomfortable to use as was the stop button. When I wanted to remove the engine cover it was quite awkward.  Once off the engine was difficult to get at with all the plastic air cooling cowling to remove first of all. You will need to remove this stuff if you want to do a complete service yourself.

The Honda BF 2.3 pushed the dinghy along at 4.5 knots with two adults on board. The biggest disadvantage with this outboard engine was the jerky clutch – especially when going astern with the 360 degree rotation (the engine facing the other way!).

The Tohatsu FS 3.5 hp was quite a bit heavier than the Honda it was also more powerful. It seemed solidly built with a good twist grip and the accessibility for maintenance seemed good. The only disadvantages was it was more expensive than the others tested and a bit more noisier!

The Yamaha F 2.5 AMHS seemed to have the best throttle grip with the Stop button positioned right next to it. However, it seemed quite noisy compared with the other outboard engines tested. It was also less powerful than the others. Accessibility was also difficult – you have to remove the engine cover to see the oil level indicator and a bung in the lower cowling to get at the Spark plug. In fact getting at anything with this engine was fiddly. Everything seemed so packed in! Having said all the negative things – there are some good points! It has a good throttle control, stop button, choke, starter handle and gear shift. It was also one of the cheapest outboard engines I tested.

The Suzuki 2.5 hp outboard engine was my favourite! It was smooth and quiet during the test. The Suzuki had reasonable powercombined with being quite lightweight. Another advantage was the large carrying handle which made lifting it on and off the boat, easy.  It was also one of the cheapest to buy. Disadvantages were the throttle twist grip and stop button were not as good as the Tohatsu FS 3.5 HP or the Yamaha F2.5AMHS.

As with every product you consider buying there are advantages and disadvantages to weigh up. Of the four outboard engines tested I decided to opt for the Suzuki 2.5 hp.



Afloat! with twin engines.

Well its been a little bit later this season but finally we are afloat! Too many small jobs that needed doing delayed the launching this season. One of the not so little tasks was adding a second outboard motor to the boat. Previously on our catamaran we had a single 15 hp yamaha engine with a long shaft. Which was fine most of the time. However, my sister also has a catamaran but it is fitted with twin diesels and having been on hers when manoeuvring in the marina I just found the process so easy!

So I set about fitting twin outboards to my catamaran over the winter. There was a lot of debate about whether to change the 15 hp yamaha for a smaller engine, since I would have two outboards from now on. In otherwords, do I have two 15 hp engines or one 15 hp and another smaller, say 6 hp? Or do I have two 8 hp outboards instead? Finally, I reasoned it out. I originally bought the 15 hp outboard engine because the catamarn needed that size to power through all sorts of weather. Anything smaller was just struggling – especially in a force 6 headwind!

Two smaller outboards such as 2 x 8 hp, would both need to be going all the time when motoring in a headwind. This increases the fuel consumption as they would both be on almost maximum throttle just so the boat could make decent headway. So they were ruled out.

Keeping the 15 hp yamaha, which has proved reliable and efficient would make sense. Adding a second outboard was really just for easy movement in and out of marinas and harbours. So all I really needed was another reasonably sized outboard. That was the thinking process. However, it is not so simple. The 15 hp yamaha is electric start. You just turn the key! But an 8 hp outboard needs manual starting – pulling a cord to start! Not an easy task leaning over the stern of the catamaran! So the sensible reasoning was going out of the window as far as economics was concerned! I would need to look at a 9.9 hp outboard if I wanted electric start.

To cut a long story short I went for another 15 hp yamaha. I know it doesn’t make sense when you look at it at first, but lets consider a few things. Two matching sized engines on the stern of the cat look very good! I can now use each one alternatively. For example next week I intend using the port outboard engine when I need to, while the following week I will use the starboard engine. This will half each engines use – wear and tear so to speak. Each outboard on its own is now capable of getting me where I want to go, on its own. I only need to fire up both engines when in the confines of the marina or harbour. Ideal! Problem solved.

If you are considering fitting twin outboard engines to your boat why not visit our store to find real bargains!


New Year, New Engine!

Why not treat yourself to a new engine in 2013? If you have been nursing an old outboard or inboard engine for a few years maybe it is time to cut out all the worry and hard work and buy a new one. Now I say a new engine but that does not necessarily  mean a brand new shiny engine from a dealer. It could also mean a replacement engine – perhaps a few years younger. One with less hours on the clock!

Your new engine might be the same make as your existing lump which could be a good thing. It will fit in to place if it is an inboard engine quite easily with the engine bearers etc not needing altered. Also if you have a load of spares for your existing motor then they could probably be used with your new one. In other words, everything would fit more easily if you simply updated to a younger propulsion unit.

Changing an outboard motor for a new or newer unit is a lot easier. Most accessories such as teleflex controls or fuel leads should fit the new engine. It also gives you the opportunity to either increase the power of the engine or get a smaller more economic power unit. All this needs some consideration.

Looking at this from another angle, you might want to buy another outboard engine as a back up unit for your main propulsion. More and more boat owners are strapping on a smaller outboard to the transom to use when the main engine stops working. This is a good safety feature and one that you should consider.

Installing a secondary inboard engine is quite an undertaking, both in time and expense. The main benefits are safety and manoevreability. Therefore, if it is possible to just add an outboard bracket to the stern and strap on a small outboard motor, this would be easier and a whole lot cheaper!

So, I hope I have given you something to think about at the beginning of this New Year. Will you buy a new engine?


Second hand Outboard engine.

Now is a great time to buy a second hand outboard engine! January is a time when people either have spare money or are desperate to sell something to get money. They need money to pay credit card bills. So they look around the house and garage to find something to sell. An outboard engine that has been sitting around gathering dust for the last three months and will still be sitting around for another three months is a prime object for the chop! The thinking behind selling the outboard motor is easy money now and another one can be bought nearer the time.

You can benefit from this fact. Many people will list there outboard engine for sale and accept anything you offer. Just for ready money. Competition is low as not too many others have spare money right now. So you can pick up a bargain. Why not follow this link to see the various outboard engines listed for sale in our store?


Choosing an outboard motor for your dinghy

30 years ago American manufacturers dominated the outboard motor market.Names such as Mercury, Johnson, Evinrude and Chrysler, led the field competing with each other to produce bigger and better outboard engines. However, while this was going on they were neglecting the smallest of the outboards. These are the outboard motors that sell in the greatest of numbers and are often the first outboard many of us, buy. This being the case many of us stick to the same brand (brand loyalty) as we buy other bigger outboards over the years. The Japanese seized on this fact and gradually Honda, Yamaha, Suzuki and Tohatsu concentrating on small outboards began to take over as market leaders. They achieved this domination by improving efficiency and reliability. As well as adding features to these small outboards previously only found on larger engines.

Having achieved success in the small outboard market, these Japanese manufacturers expanded up the power range. They again came to dominate the outboard engine market up to at least 20 hp. The American manufacturers instead of competing with the Japanese, gave up and decided to buy these engines from the Japanese and badge them as their own. Now the Chinese have entered the market. Basically doing what the Japanese did previously, copying the best features of the present engines and at the same time keeping costs down.

So let us compare the outboards that are on offer for those looking for an outboard motor for their dinghy. If we take a fairly larger dinghy say, a Pioner 12 (pictured below) so that each outboard has to push a reasonably heavy weight through the water.
If we then take the following outboard motors :-
Mercury 2.5hp; Mercury 3.5hp; Mariner 2.5hp; Tohatsu 3.5hp; Yamaha 2.5hp; Suzuki 2.5hp; Honda 2.3hp; and a Parsun 2.6hp. All these outboards are 4 stroke engines. This is due to an E.U. Directive that prevents 2 strokes from being sold in the E.U. These outboards will provide a fairly wide range of engines available on the market, for powering dinghies. 

To judge one engine against the another several tests were completed. A Bollard pull test showed that the Mercury 3.5hp and Tohatsu 3.5hp were the most powerful at 90lbs of thrust (These two engines along with the Mariner are virtually identical). The least effective was the Honda 2.3hp at 66lbs of thrust. In between were the Suzuki 2.5hp at 83lbs of thrust, the Yamaha 2.5hp at 78lbs of thrust and the Parsun 2.6hp at 70 lbs of thrust.

Next test was Fuel Consumption. At full speed – 5.75 knots, the best outboards were the Yamaha 2.5hp and the Suzuki 2.5hp by at least 20%. The worst was the Parsun 2.6hp. When the throttles were eased and the dinghy was cruising the Fuel Consumption comparision was less evident, only about 10% difference. All these figures are for 4 stroke engines. However, based on figures previously recorded for 2 strokes under similar circumstances, the older engines were up to 50% less fuel efficient at full speed. Very thirsty! Remember 2 stroke outboards are still available second hand.

Then the weight of each outboard motor was compared. Four stroke engines are heavier than older 2 strokes because of the powerhead etc. The Mercury, Mariner, Tohatsu, Yamaha and Parsun all weighed approx. 38 – 41 lbs (18 kg.). However, the Honda 2.3hp and Suzuki 2.5hp weighed a lot less at 28 lbs (12.5 kg.).

The price of each outboard motor was then compared. This was difficult to be accurate as discounts and sale offers are always changing.

Mercury 3.5hp £449

Mercury 2.5hp £380

Mariner 2.5hp £429

Tohatsu 3.5hp £449

Yamaha 2.5hp £489

Suzuki 2.5hp £379

Honda 2.3hp £429

Parsun 2.6hp £375

Although the Parsun was the cheapest and it is virtually identical the same engine as in the Yamaha 2.5hp, it is not as good. It is a bit like me following a Gordon Ramsay recipe, to the letter, but when compared side by side you just know that his food is going to be that much better. The Chinese are able to copy, just like the Japanese did before them, but they have not got it right, yet!

Finally a little about each outboard tested. The Mercury, Mariner and Tohatsu are the same engine. Starting settings for the throttle are easy to understand with the choke and stop button clearly labelled. The petrol on/off tap is not so clearly marked. All these motors have gears. Ahead and neutral then using the 360 degree rotation you can get astern thrust. There are 4 tilt positions and a shallow water ability. Oil levels can be easily checked by viewing the indicator on the side of the engine cover.

The Yamaha 2.5hp also had easily understood starting and stopping settings but the oil level gauge was out of sight under the engine casing cover. As with the Mercury outboard the Yamaha 2.5hp has gears, ahead and neutral with 360 degree rotation. Unlike the Mercury which has a shear pin, the Yamaha has a rubber hub at the propeller, so no shear pin to break.

The Suzuki 2.5hp is as above but with the oil gauge easily viewed at the side of the cover. The propeller has a shear pin with spares stowed under the engine cover.

The Honda 2.3hp is not water cooled like all the other outboards tested. It is aircooled and has no gears. Instead it uses a centrifugal clutch. This makes starting and manoeuvring more difficult than the others. It simply takes a bit of getting used to it. The oil gauge is out of sight under the cover. The propeller has a shear pin with spares kept under the engine cover.

Finally the Parsun 2.6hp, a copy of the Yamaha 2.5hp but not as good. However it is the cheapest engine when new. Fuel consumption was its biggest draw back.