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Old 27-03-2015, 02:26   #1
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What to buy Outboard Engines

So, I bought a boat a few months ago that came with an outboard engine and a dinghy. I am wanting to get rid of the dinghy for something better, but that's another story for another time.

Anyways, the outboard engine finally decided to not work when I was with my wife and kids. It is an old two-stroke 2.5 HP engine. I deciding to either try to get the engine fixed or buy a new engine. Although, I don't know what kind of outboard engine I should get? Something that is easy to maintain as in, I could find someone to fix it or the parts are easy to come by. I am thinking of Honda, but I don't know. And another thing, I don't know how large of an engine. I am thinking a 5 HP, but I don't know.

Any advice would be helpful.
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Old 27-03-2015, 03:42   #2
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Re: What to buy Outboard Engines

What size and type of dinghy and do you want to go fast as in planing or just put, will you be fighting currents etc?

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Old 27-03-2015, 05:30   #3
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Re: What to buy Outboard Engines

Quote:
Originally Posted by dkchen View Post
So, I bought a boat a few months ago that came with an outboard engine and a dinghy. I am wanting to get rid of the dinghy for something better, but that's another story for another time.

Anyways, the outboard engine finally decided to not work when I was with my wife and kids. It is an old two-stroke 2.5 HP engine. I deciding to either try to get the engine fixed or buy a new engine. Although, I don't know what kind of outboard engine I should get? Something that is easy to maintain as in, I could find someone to fix it or the parts are easy to come by. I am thinking of Honda, but I don't know. And another thing, I don't know how large of an engine. I am thinking a 5 HP, but I don't know.

Any advice would be helpful.

Often best to treat the idea of a dinghy as a system of systems. Dink, motor, lift, fueling, how you envision using it, etc.

How you carry the dinghy can impact the size not just of the dinghy itself, but also the motor. IOW, if you have a lift/davit and can leave the outboard mounted, you can maybe stand to get a larger/heavier motor. Or vice versa.

If you intend to putter 200 yards from boat to shore, usually a small outboard will do. Or if you'll use it for sightseeing and/or carrying heavy loads (as when provisioning by dink), a larger dinghy with faster outboard is usually better.

And so forth.

Think of all those factors together... perhaps starting with the how will you use it, and how will you carry it.

-Chris
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Old 27-03-2015, 07:26   #4
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Re: What to buy Outboard Engines

Unless it's some strange off brand the old 2 strokes are simple and anyone who works on small engines should be able to keep them going.


If you don't care about high speed, you are only puttering a short distance, for the simplest solution, consider an electric trolling motor.
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Old 27-03-2015, 08:06   #5
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Re: What to buy Outboard Engines

Learn how to service and fix the two stroke. If you don't know how to do that, then you're going to be pulling your hair out in fistfuls dealing with a four stroke, particularly if you don't use it frequently.

As mentioned, you pair the motor with the dinghy depending on your expected usage. If you're just using the dinghy for transport between mooring and dock, then what you have is fine in terms of horsepower. If you want to get a 10' RIB up on plane with 300 lbs. aboard, then you need @ 15+ hp. And a 15 hp four stroke is going to weigh north of 100 lbs. which in turn opens up issues of manageability and stowage.

So tell us a bit about how you'll be using the dinghy, how frequently, if and how it will be stowed on the boat, etc. Those all bear on what type of dinghy you need and what your best choices are for powering it.
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Old 27-03-2015, 09:08   #6
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Re: What to buy Outboard Engines

If you had a 2.5hp, you likely just want something similar. I use something similar with my old avon dinghy, wife and kids.

To me, a big factor is the built in fuel tank. It makes the whole dinghy simpler and cleaner. Internal tanks on outboards only go up to about 4 hp. An external tank takes up valuable real estate inside an already too small dinghy, not to mention the cost and storage of the external tank and gassy hoses.

I use a 4hp 4stroke yamaha. Although it gets terrible reviews online, it has worked great for me for the past 3 summers...and I bought it used for next to nothing.

However, the yamaha 4 is really freakin loud...like a lawnmower in the boat with us. Its also at about my (weight) limit for lifting it off the sternrail and lowering it to the dinghy while at anchor. Plus I haven't a clue how to fix it, aside from setting the low idle speed, which needs to be adjusted often as the weather changes during the season. Gets great fuel economy compared to a 2 stroke.

So, I would recommend the honda. They get rave reviews for being super quiet. It doesn't sound like a big deal, but I want to hear what my kids are saying. We usually have to yell pretty loud to hear each other in the dink, and I think the entire anchorage hears our conversations because of this.

2 strokes are definitely lighter, cheaper, and easier to fix.
4 strokes are generally heavier, harder to fix, but get more than twice the range from the same amount of fuel.
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Old 27-03-2015, 09:38   #7
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Re: What to buy Outboard Engines

Weight is a issue I bought a 8 hp. Mercury and it weighed 85 lbs. I believe a 15 hp weight is a shade over that like 90 to 95 lbs.. Loaded rib would not plane I was very upset over that fact. Tide current was an extreme problem I personally don't think any thing less than a 15 hp. 2 or 4 stroke although 4 is quieter and does not need oil in the gas and a 2 stroke is lighter and faster. From Lake Michigan to Key West the overwhelming choice in model is a Yamaha 10 or more to 1 Honda. Nothing wrong with Honda they are really quiet. Major problem with Honda is getting parts and getting it fixed because they don't have dealerships as handy as Yamaha. I checked in the Bahamas the same is true there. I also believe the best small gas generator is a Honda 2000i. The best motor is Yamaha.
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Old 27-03-2015, 09:50   #8
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Re: What to buy Outboard Engines

I have an old Avon roll up floor dingy with about a 10 year old Tahatsu 5HP 2-cycle outboard. I like it because it is old school technology, and since I am also old, I can understand it, troubleshoot it, and repair it myself. That being said, I think my next one will be one of the Lehr Propane outboards.

Propane Outboards | Outboard Motors | Boat Motors | Boat Engines | West Marine

They eliminate the need for a gas can, and since they are sold by West Marine, parts should be readily available - at least where I tend to hang out ..
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Old 27-03-2015, 10:03   #9
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Smile Re: What to buy Outboard Engines

I went through the same search about one year ago. I have a typical soft bottom 8 foot inflatable and had a 6.5 hp 2-stroke outboard. The motor was more than I needed horse power wise but too darned heavy (65 lbs.) to handle easily (and mixing gas and oil is a pain!). I ended up selling it and buying a smaller 2.5 hp Suzuki 4 cycle which I am pleased with. It has enough power to get me around, actually more than enough. It only weighs 28 lbs. so is easy to take on and off the inflatable when needed. It goes forever on a litre of gas (well, almost). If you are trying to explore rivers/rapids you will need a more powerful motor but for flat water this one is all I need. I would feel comfortable buying any of the well known makes as they are all reliable. Honda is a well respected name). My advise is buy a light weight, low hp, 4 cycle known brand motor and you will be happy with the result.
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Old 27-03-2015, 10:55   #10
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Re: What to buy Outboard Engines

Whatever engine you buy try to find a gas station that sells NON ethanol gas
If you go to pure gas.org they list stations for Cal. Maybe there is one near Manhatten Beach.
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Old 27-03-2015, 11:07   #11
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Re: What to buy Outboard Engines

Just my two cents but lots of cruisers going to the Bahamas (or other places out of the country) buy the 15HP two stroke Yamaha not sold in the US. It is the gold standard outside the US.
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Old 27-03-2015, 11:45   #12
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Re: What to buy Outboard Engines

Thanks for the replies to my first request.

My current dinghy is a 10 Foot hard floor inflatable. I am thinking of getting a foldable RIB or maybe a portabote (leaning towards RIB).

I would love to be able to do the maintenance for the 2-stroke outboard, but I have no clue where to start nor what parts to get for it. I don't know why its just not working. I filled it up with new gas, etc. opened up. It is a 2.5 HP engine, but I heard that the 4-stroke engines are not as powerful as two-stroke. So I was thinking of going one step up to a 5 HP engine.

Since, I know that Honda is popular I probably could find help from others and mechanics on how to maintain a Honda motor. We don't need to plane or go really fast. It just needs to be able to take us from point A to point B without falling into the water or running into things. We'll be mostly using it for going from our boat to the docks.
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Old 27-03-2015, 11:56   #13
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Re: What to buy Outboard Engines

If you aren't going far, there is no shame in using OARS! I got by without an outboard for many years. Back and forth with the dog to do her business. All over keeping the kids amused. Not only is it cheaper and maintenance free, but you get rock hard muscles to show your friends. Its environmentally friendly too. Did I mention cheaper? But I also learned the hard way, oars sometimes break, so bring a spare.
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Old 27-03-2015, 12:03   #14
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Re: What to buy Outboard Engines

Seems if you can't plane there is not much difference between a 2.5 and a 8 speed wise,
to plane it seems usually HP starts at 9.9, some can do it with less of course.
So if your not trying to plane, I'd go with a little lightweight, quiet motor, four stroke as a preference
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Old 27-03-2015, 12:25   #15
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Re: What to buy Outboard Engines

You mention simple, The Hondas are probably the most complicated from what I've seen..... although I haven't seen inside a really small one. I agree with A64 pilot.. if you don't want to plane you need very little horsepower.
Has anyone noticed that the newer low HP (2-3.5?) seem to have a lot of complaints with issues? It just seems like it....
OP: you will need to learn to work on OB's ... at least to some extent.. it might be time to do that first. It's often fuel issues or something as simple as forgetting to open the vent cap! You don't need to know how to rebuild on necessarily....
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