Someone should mention that one of the few brands worse than a Mercury
is Mariner. Think Bayliner in terms of quality for comparison purposes. Many people actually like the Mercury E-tec engines.
How good is Yamaha? Until the owner died a few years ago, my coastal town in NC had a Suzuki dealership that sold more units than anyone else in the United States but if you look at the portion of my marina where the smaller outboard
skiffs are located, over 90% are powered by Yamahas. Both of my Boston Whalers have 1990 Yamaha outboards that run like new and do not have significant corrosion
despite being used in salt water
their entire lives because they were well maintained and sprayed often with CRC. Hondas are great, but overpriced and a little heavy.
I'm always on the lookout for a good deal on a used outboard
, and they are few and far between even though I travel between the Great Lakes
and the Outer Banks
. Last fall I bought a late 90's Yamaha 25 HP electric
start tiller long shaft for $300 with a metal tank, it even had the original tool kit and everything looked new. The biggest issue encountered with older outboards is cleaning
the carburetors, which you can do yourself or pay a mechanic
a couple hundred dollars to do for you.
It is improbable that you will find an inflatable/outboard deal to cop a cheap
outboard. I never see a deal like that, usually the inflatable
is way overpriced also. However, it is possible to find a totally trashed old fresh water
boat like a Dixie with a rotted floor or transom, with a decent outboard and trailer where the total price
is less than the value of the outboard. I bought a bass boat last summer with a remote
Yamaha 40 HP that was in mint condition (under the hood
it looked absolutely new) for $550. I sold the trailer for $200 and cut the transom out of the 14' boat to increase the transom height of a vintage Boston Whaler 13 to fit a long shaft motor and then sold the motor for $950 after I decided to put a tiller motor on it.
Realize that small outboards don't burn very much fuel
(figure 10% of the rated HP in gallons per hour at wide open throttle) so the advantages of a four stroke are minimal. The fuel
system on the newer four strokes includes little tiny injectors that are easily clogged to maximize economy and are hard to maintain yourself compared to a simpler old two stroke engine
. They will be much quieter, a lot heavier, have less performance (acceleration) and smoke less. Figure $2200 for a 9.9 Yamaha four stroke new. I sold a nice 1963 BW 13 with original mahogany seats and the aforementioned 25 HP Yammy for that much money
with a trailer to the guy I bought my BW 19 from, he lives on the water
and will probably use it every day for the next 20 years.
The issue of weight is significant, for example a 1990 Yamaha 40 HP weighs about 153 pounds and a new four stroke is 70 pounds heavier. When you hang this much weight difference on the transom of a small boat or dinghy it definitely affects the performance.