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Old 07-12-2020, 17:15   #1
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Best outboard

I have a custom 12' fiberglass dinghy. I want everyones opionons on best size and brand of outboard for it. I have several kids who like to waterski and play yet I want to be able to find parts no matter where we go in the world. I currently have a Nissan 20hp that just wont quite do it. I was thinking 35hp honda or Mercury.
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Old 07-12-2020, 18:01   #2
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Re: Best outboard

I'm a fan of Yamaha or Tohatsu as outboard brands but can't comment on hp as no skiing experience.
No offence meant but I hope I'm not anchored in a quiet bay next to you.
On second thoughts go for the Honda four stroke, they are quieter
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Old 07-12-2020, 18:10   #3
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Re: Best outboard

LOL, thanks that made me laugh. Yes I like Tohatsu as well. And no worries we are always polite, never run generator, music, outboard... at strange hours and definatly respect the Anchorage, we know when and where to have fun and totaly understand where you are coming from. Thanks
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Old 07-12-2020, 18:20   #4
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Re: Best outboard

try a 20hp 2-stroke.
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Old 07-12-2020, 19:03   #5
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Re: Best outboard

Your problem is how much weight can you put on the stern of the 12ft dinghy. If the dinghy is a light rowing dinghy you really can't put enough engine on it to pull skier. If it's a heavy, wide dinghy - it might just work.

20hp weighs about 100lbs and will look right but won't pull skiers. Would be fine for towing beach toys with a little kid on board.

Yamaha's 25hp is about 140lbs and might get a skier up long as they weighed under about 80lbs.

But if you really want to pull a skier,I'd go with a Tohatsu or Suzuki 30hp - they weigh about 160lbs. Be warned - they are going to look pretty big on a 12ft dinghy. Check that the dinghy is rated for 30hp.

I have a Suzuki 30 on a 14ft Boston Whaler and it will easily tow a light adult skier. While Suzuki is a new comer in the US - both have very good parts supply worldwide. Here's Suzuki https://www.globalsuzuki.com/globallinks/

Mercury is mostly a US brand. I wouldn't get it if you plan to go to out of the way places. For some reason, Honda's are rarely seen outside of a few major countries.

What ever you do - get an outboard with Electronic Fuel Injection (EFI) to avoid the inevitable starting problems of carbureted engines.
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Old 08-12-2020, 06:55   #6
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Re: Best outboard

Great info, thanks
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Old 08-12-2020, 07:44   #7
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Re: Best outboard

be forewarned....outboards don't like ethanol laced gas....most gas these days have a 10% ethanol ratio.....ethanol eats plastic......be sure to get a fuel tank, hose and engine that can resist ethanol....most newer outboard engines are fuel injected because of this...not sure about the smaller engines....but check.....
while most outboards have a small fuel filter under the cowling....get a decent size water/fuel separator in the fuel line before the engine...replace yearly...

Yahama is my fav.....they are worldwide....you can always find a mechanic or spares for them pretty much anywhere....
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Old 08-12-2020, 07:48   #8
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Re: Best outboard

I forgot to add...here in the USA...most marina's have ethanol free gas....as well as some area gas stations...it is more expensive, but worth every dime for your outboard...if you can find a source for ethanol free gas you will be ahead of the game...
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Old 08-12-2020, 08:58   #9
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Re: Best outboard

As a water-skier and boater for 40+ years some opinions.

First, unless you are talking about smaller kids and double skis only, pulling them with a 12' dinghy will be marginal. Very small kids you might get out of the water with 25-30 hp but teenagers and up I think a min of 40. Depending on the design of the dink I think much over 25 hp or so will be large and heavy for the transom.

Regarding which brand, if you're in the US or Bahamas or closer parts of the Caribbean, US brands would be an option. Farther afield best stick to one of the Japanese brands as they seem to be more widely distributed in remote areas. I don't see a huge difference from brand to brand between Yamaha, Suzuki, Honda, Tohatsu. I would be more concerned about the reviews on specific models. Over the years I think all the brands have had an occasional lemon.
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Old 08-12-2020, 09:04   #10
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Re: Best outboard

Quote:
Originally Posted by MicHughV View Post
be forewarned....outboards don't like ethanol laced gas....most gas these days have a 10% ethanol ratio.....ethanol eats plastic......be sure to get a fuel tank, hose and engine that can resist ethanol........

I kinda thought all newer engines...at least those sold in the US market...were now made to tolerate the ethanol. I thought that this was just a problem with some of the older engines made either before the ethanol scam hit us, or shortly after...

and I thought the reason you still see ethanol free gas for boats is that ethanol likes to take on water...and boats have plenty of that around.

no?
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Old 08-12-2020, 10:26   #11
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Re: Best outboard

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Originally Posted by skyhawk View Post
I kinda thought all newer engines...at least those sold in the US market...were now made to tolerate the ethanol. I thought that this was just a problem with some of the older engines made either before the ethanol scam hit us, or shortly after...

and I thought the reason you still see ethanol free gas for boats is that ethanol likes to take on water...and boats have plenty of that around.

no?
I do believe most if not all new outboards (and other small engines for that matter) use fuel lines, gaskets and such that are resistant to ethanol in gas.

The problem is more due to the tendency for the new, reformulated gas (not just because of the ethanol but the whole blend) has a very short shelf life and very quickly leaves gummy coatings that clog carburetors.

Every small engine I have: outboards, chain saws, weed wackers, generators and the like will start running rough and eventually not run at all if I do not religiously drain ALL of the gas out before leaving them for even a few weeks.
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Old 08-12-2020, 10:55   #12
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Re: Best outboard

the problem is usually not with the engine....most are fuel injected now, to eliminate the gummy carburetors...but I can't say for sure if the smaller hp engines have this feature...
yes, carbs on outboards have a tendency to get gummed up.....they may sit in a garage for a long time (winter)....I've owned several small outboards....15-50 hp and this is an across the board problem with carbureted outboards..
but the greater problem is in gas tanks...and the gas line from tank to engine.....
boats are not like cars, which get used all the time....a boat may be unused for a long period of time, usually with some gas left in the tank....a plastic tank is typical on a small runabout...large boats usually have metal tanks now...

you are free to do what you want......I think I've covered this topic enuff....
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Old 08-12-2020, 11:01   #13
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Re: Best outboard

I wouldn't try a 20HP. Definitely make the fuel injection a priority. 25hp on a light, mostly flat bottomed boat will pull kids and light adults OK. May have trouble deep starting on one ski. Be sure to get skis with a lot of surface area instead of the competition type slalom ski. When I was a kid we ran hundreds of gallons of fuel through an old 25HP Johnson on a 12ft aluminum skiff. When we got a 14ft with a 35 hp engine (and a STEERING WHEEL!) we thought we were really "living' like rich folk". As they grow they will learn to help the engine instead of fight it. A 160 pound skier on a slalom ski can almost stop a boat with a 25 hp motor. I should have stressed a mostly flat bottom at the stern. Much of a V bottom is much harder to get on plane.
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