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.