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Old 04-02-2011, 08:43   #1
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Dinghy / Two- or Four-Stroke Outboard ?

I have a 2 stroke Nissan 3.5HP and it is light. I bougt it because of the weight issue and so that I wouldn't have to use a hoist to get it off of the boat onto the dinghy.

My problem is that it seems to be difficult to start. I always shut it down via fuel starvation, but it still seems to be a hassle every time.

I was looking at a small new Mercury and thinking it would start easier even though it is a little heavy. Is it usually true that a 4 stroke is easier to start? I hear people say that every time you use your outboard you should flush it with fresh water etc, but how feasible is that really? I just want something reliable and simple.
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Old 04-02-2011, 08:48   #2
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Two or four stroke makes little difference if your starting issues are fuel related.
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Old 04-02-2011, 08:50   #3
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You always shut it down with fuel starvation? I would think that is something one only does at the end of the season, or before storing the engine below. Could cause hard starting.

Never seen a cruiser do a fresh water flush
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Old 04-02-2011, 08:53   #4
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I have had two and four stroke outboards of all types and kinds throughout my whole life. Two-stroke outboards used to be somewhat unreliable before electronic ignition was invented -- they would foul plugs from time to time. Now they are great.

I would personally never have anything but a two-stroke outboard on a dink. They are lighter and torquier and more responsive. They start just as easily as a four-stroke in my experience.

I never flush my outboard with fresh water. I try to always use it at least once a month, and change drive leg oil and plugs every year or two.

My current dink motor is a two-cylinder, two-stroke 25-horse Mariner with wheel steering. It came with the boat and was well used when I got it. Runs like a champ, never a bit of trouble. Has gotten me in trouble for excessive speed on occasion.

Another benefit of two-strokes -- no oil sump, no oil changes, no oil draining out of the sump if you set the motor on its side.

The only real downside of two-strokes, in my opinion: fuel consumption is higher, so your range is less for a given size tank, and you will spend more on fuel.
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Old 04-02-2011, 08:57   #5
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That's funny. I had one of those 3.5 hp Nissans for years. Never drained the carb, never flushed it out, and never had it fail to start on the first pull.

I would treat it to a new spark plug once a year.
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Old 04-02-2011, 08:59   #6
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The only real downside of two-strokes, in my opinion: fuel consumption is higher, so your range is less for a given size tank, and you will spend more on fuel.
For me, the additional downside is the noise they make. I love the quiet of a four-stroke.
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Old 04-02-2011, 09:02   #7
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In the USA you have only one choice - 4 stoke outboards. It is illegal to sell 2 stroke outboards. You can own one no problem and even buy a used one, but the dealers, boat stores cannot sell anything but 4-stroke.
- - You can buy 2-stroke most anywhere outside the USA like the Bahamas, Caribbean, etc. where they are the standard outboard used by most everybody. The biggest factor is the weight difference. 4-stoke is considerably heavier due to the "extra" stuff like oil crankcase, etc. Sometimes you are limited by the weight of the 4-stroke as you dinghy cannot handle it where a 2-stroke would be fine.
-- There was a problem in the "old" days when 4-stroke outboards first came on the market with trying to get service for them "outside" the USA as nobody sold them or knew how to service them and parts were non-existent. But that has changed now and most places can handle them just fine.
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Old 04-02-2011, 09:08   #8
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In the USA you have only one choice - 4 stoke outboards. It is illegal to sell 2 stroke outboards. You can own one no problem and even buy a used one, but the dealers, boat stores cannot sell anything but 4-stroke.
I didn't think that 2-strokes had been outlawed, I thought the emissions requirements had become so stringent that 2-strokes couldn't meet them, which would leave open the possibility of 2-strokes returning when the technology had advanced enough to meet emissions requirements.
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Old 04-02-2011, 09:08   #9
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For me, the additional downside is the noise they make. I love the quiet of a four-stroke.
Especially if its your main engine... buzzing round in a dinks ok... but after running at 3/4 power for a few hours the noise can be a killer...
and the economy is a definite plus factor... more mileage and no more expensive O/B 2 x oil to buy..
The 2.3 L/S Honda's only 13.3kgs... thats 4kgs less than the Mercury..
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Old 04-02-2011, 09:29   #10
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I didn't think that 2-strokes had been outlawed, I thought the emissions requirements had become so stringent that 2-strokes couldn't meet them, which would leave open the possibility of 2-strokes returning when the technology had advanced enough to meet emissions requirements.
Yes - they have not been outlawed, per se - but selling them as they currently exist - because they don't meet the emission standards boils down to the same thing. - The manufacturers can make more money selling 4-strokes inside the USA than trying to alter their 2-strokes to meet the standards, especially since the rest of the world does not have such rigorous standards.
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Old 04-02-2011, 09:37   #11
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For me, the additional downside is the noise they make. I love the quiet of a four-stroke.
Yes, that's true. I like the sound of a two-stroke outboard, but of course it is a matter of taste.
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Old 04-02-2011, 09:40   #12
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Yes - they have not been outlawed, per se - but selling them as they currently exist - because they don't meet the emission standards boils down to the same thing. - The manufacturers can make more money selling 4-strokes inside the USA than trying to alter their 2-strokes to meet the standards, especially since the rest of the world does not have such rigorous standards.
Portugal is somewhere where you can't give a 2stroke away... the minute they hear that they're gone... not allowed in rivers where most ports are.. or lakes etc... moving into estuaries soon so if enforced on a revenue basis cruisers may just find previously 'blind eyes' opening... like on cruising time and how long boats stay before needing to register locally.. and other countries round the Med..
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Old 04-02-2011, 10:04   #13
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Yes - they have not been outlawed, per se - but selling them as they currently exist - because they don't meet the emission standards boils down to the same thing. - The manufacturers can make more money selling 4-strokes inside the USA than trying to alter their 2-strokes to meet the standards, especially since the rest of the world does not have such rigorous standards.
Nissan, Tohasu and Yamaha are still selling 2-strokes in the larger sizes, 40hp and up, using technology that meets EPA-2006 and CARB emissions requirements. It is reasonable to assume that the technology will slowly trickle down to smaller engine sizes as it developes. Because of the power to weight advantage of 2-strokes there is demand for them. It seems reasonable that the EU will be implimenting emissions requirements it they haven't already, so there will be a market and need there to.
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Old 04-02-2011, 10:59   #14
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Definitely two stroke. One with each oar, simultaneously. Quiet, healthful, never lets you down.
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Old 04-02-2011, 11:22   #15
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I love my new 15hp Yamaha 2 stroke , it pushs my dink at around 30 knots , its quiet, and very good on fuel- I also have a 2.5 yamaha 4 stroke that is junk !-
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