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Old 31-05-2013, 13:53   #1
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4 stroke - what to do different than with 2 stroke?

So I just got a new 6hp 4 stroke outboard. I always had 2 strokes before.

Other than not putting oil in the fuel, are there any tips or tricks that I should do differently than with my old engines?
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Old 31-05-2013, 14:05   #2
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Re: 4 stroke - what to do different than with 2 stroke?

break it in like a car.
DO NOT MIX OIL IN GAS
will use less fuel than your 2 stroke and exhaust smells better....
have fun!!
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Old 31-05-2013, 14:06   #3
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Re: 4 stroke - what to do different than with 2 stroke?

I add marine StaBil (the blue stuff) to every tank of gas when filling up and it seems to help prevent any ethanol-related issues. You might also want to consider adding a good inline filter before the fuel reaches the engine--the tiny passages inside the carb. plug up very easily with the tiniest piece of crud. If your motor becomes hard to start, suspect the low speed jet--probably has a teensy bit of something stuck in it.

One other thing, be careful how you lay the motor down when off the dinghy--there should be explicit instructions on how to orient the motor to avoid having the oil leak out of the crankcase and get up into where it shouldn't be.
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Old 31-05-2013, 14:39   #4
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Re: 4 stroke - what to do different than with 2 stroke?

If I remember correctly you don't like to have anything on deck for passages. Be careful of how you lay it down so the oil does not leak out of it.

I think this also applies to two strokes but unplug the fuel line and run the carb dry before taking it off of the dink.

Otherwise I can't think of what to do different. Oh yeah back excercises b/c they are heavy.
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Old 31-05-2013, 18:33   #5
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Re: 4 stroke - what to do different than with 2 stroke?

I tried one of these (Suzuki) and as Kettlewell said, the jets are small, you should add a fuel filter. Maybe in something like a 15hp the jets are bigger and don't clog but for the small ones, while cruising it seems you end up with a clog and problems, but that was us. I got rid of it and got a 2 stroke Enduro.
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Old 31-05-2013, 18:44   #6
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Re: 4 stroke - what to do different than with 2 stroke?

By the way - 15" shaft was the correct answer . . . . thanks for those of you who piped in on that.

Ok, will look for a fuel filter solution. Any recommendations? I am using an integral tank, not a remote one.

On passage it stows vertically on an outboard bracket inside the stern locker. So I should be good on that.

There are pretty detailed break-in instructions (over like the first 20 hrs of use) . . . .I was a bit surprised because for the 2 stroke (15 years ago) they did not really seem to care how you broke it in.

Do these 4 strokes have the same sort of carb drain screw my 2 stroke carb had?

Is there a 'shop manual' for small Mercury 4 strokes (either mercury or 3rd party)? The 'owners manual' is pretty useless.

We got the 4 stroke because of "environmental sensitivity" . . . . I was convinced by IAATO that 4 strokes were the right/better choice for going to delicate high latitude places.
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Old 31-05-2013, 18:46   #7
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Re: 4 stroke - what to do different than with 2 stroke?

Don't let fuel evaporate in the carb. This is much more critical in a four-stroke because the idle-jet in the carburator is so small, and it's usually the one that's going to clog. Fresh fuel is important, especially if it's an ethanol mix.

I've had three four-strokes now, one of which was stolen, and other than for the weight I greatly prefer them. They use half the fuel, and are at least twice as quiet. On larger boats where the outboard comes up on a davit, I'm convinced it's the way to go.
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Old 31-05-2013, 19:30   #8
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Re: 4 stroke - what to do different than with 2 stroke?

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Originally Posted by estarzinger View Post
So I just got a new 6hp 4 stroke outboard. I always had 2 strokes before.

Other than not putting oil in the fuel, are there any tips or tricks that I should do differently than with my old engines?


I just sold my 6 hp 4 stroke because it was just too heavy to get from the back of the sailboat to the dinghy at 59 lb. Also it really was too powerful for my dinghy. It was just the wrong engine for the job. But they do make outdoor motor davits to raise and lower it. I think mine was a "heavy" 59 lb. in that it was awkward to handle, exaggerating its weight.

Haven't decided whether I will replace it for now. My dinghy has oars.
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Old 01-06-2013, 09:16   #9
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Re: 4 stroke - what to do different than with 2 stroke?

Just got 4 hp 2 stroke 100/1 Yamaha with optional external tank, run nicely, just acceptable for the back.
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Old 01-06-2013, 09:23   #10
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Re: 4 stroke - what to do different than with 2 stroke?

When you are done with the engine, burn the fuel out of the carburetor by letting the engine run until it dies while the fuel line is disconnected. This will reduce the chances of alcohol fouling the jets. I have never found any of the chemical additives to eliminate or reduce the negative effects of alcohol that is added to the fuel.
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Old 01-06-2013, 09:24   #11
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Re: 4 stroke - what to do different than with 2 stroke?

If you can squeeze one in between your tank and the carb, a filter like these Attwood ones (below) are good and you can see how cruddy things look. Otherwise, you might try one of the motorcycle fuel filters (they are tiny) and change fairly often, or at least once a year. I never drain my carburetors--use marine grade StaBil. The problem is if you drain them there is always a little bit of gasoline left behind, which rapidly evaporates leaving deposits. If there is liquid fuel with stabilizer in there instead--less rapid evaporation and no deposits. I have done it this way for close to 20 years with 4-strokes, 2-strokes, and 4-stroke motorcycles, which are quite similar engines.

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Old 01-06-2013, 09:26   #12
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Re: 4 stroke - what to do different than with 2 stroke?

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When you are done with the engine, burn the fuel out of the carburetor by letting the engine run while the fuel line is disconnected. This will reduce the chances of alcohol fouling the jets.

Yes, and if it was run in salt water, attach a hose, set it in a bucket of water and run fresh water through the engine. Clean the crystallized minerals out of the engine while you're at it.
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Old 01-06-2013, 09:56   #13
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I put both my outboards on stands. Cleaned the carbs flushed the fuel out.
Then built a dinghy that can be sailed and rowed. Still have both outboards and they are working perfectly. They are not on board or used . Using them would cause yellow cake and gunk to screw up the carbs and fuel lines.
So rather then getting my work out in damaging resistive training pulling on a retracting cord I use a rowing machine.
While I am working out my boat is making forward progress. Better then energy spent tied to the dock pulling a small resistive cords. Cancelled my gym membership. Gave up using the elevator at work too. ThIs way I get the benefit of a stair master and upper body work out Hans isnt charging me a monthly fee to keep me in shape.
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Old 01-06-2013, 10:03   #14
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Re: 4 stroke - what to do different than with 2 stroke?

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I put both my outboards on stands. Cleaned the carbs flushed the fuel out.
Then built a dinghy that can be sailed and rowed. Still have both outboards and they are working perfectly. They are not on board or used . Using them would cause yellow cake and gunk to screw up the carbs and fuel lines.
So rather then getting my work out in damaging resistive training pulling on a retracting cord I use a rowing machine.
While I am working out my boat is making forward progress. Better then energy spent tied to the dock pulling a small resistive cords. Cancelled my gym membership. Gave up using the elevator at work too. ThIs way I get the benefit of a stair master and upper body work out Hans isnt charging me a monthly fee to keep me in shape.

This is fine for those who can do it, but anyone who has arthritis in their shoulders isn't going to want to be rowing against a current to get to shore, say, in key West. Using these aids sometimes keeps us sailing longer, and there's no shame in it.

I sprained my shoulder recently and was laid up for a month because I used no mechanical aid pulling up a really well-set anchor. There's no gain in that. I was lucky. I didn't injure the rotator cuff, and it has healed completely, but I will NEVER pull the anchor up without mechanical advantage again.

I live on my boat. A bad back injury could force me on to land. Something will do it eventually, I'm sure, but i hope it's not because I tried to channel my "inner macho" and ende up hurting myself when I could have done it more safely.

I would always have a pair of oars, but "outboard motor" isn't a dirty word, and ... plenty of people use them without screwing up the carb. You just have to take care of them.
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Old 01-06-2013, 10:09   #15
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Re: 4 stroke - what to do different than with 2 stroke?

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Originally Posted by estarzinger View Post
By the way - 15" shaft was the correct answer . . . . thanks for those of you who piped in on that....
You are welcome.

I wish you well with the 4stroke, I bought one a couple years ago (mine was Tohatsu brand, but the exact same motor). I ran it for a season, but replaced it with a Yamaha 2stroke.

Pay attention to the advise not to lay it on the wrong side. Even a short time on the wrong side will let oil drain from the crankcase past the rings... Causes hard starts, lots of smoke and worst case could destroy the motor if enough oil drains out.
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