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Thread: Best light outboard ever in the 4 - 6 hp range

  1. #1
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    Default Best light outboard ever in the 4 - 6 hp range

    The outboard we got with our boat is to heavy (approx. 35 kg) to get a decent lengthwise trim.

    So - to all outboard buffs - what was the best outboard ever produced with 4 - 6 hp, less than 20 kg and some decent reliability?

  2. #2
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    Default Re: Best light outboard ever in the 4 - 6 hp range

    I am very happy with my 5hp,4stroke, Tohatsu.57lbs. Best ever? Ask again when it's 15 years old. Very quiet,smooth and sips fuel.

  3. #3
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    Default Re: Best light outboard ever in the 4 - 6 hp range

    Seagull...
    I just took mine out of the cockpit locker, haven't used it in exactly two years...
    Stood it upright in a vise on the back of my truck, tickled the little Amal carb and she started on the first pull.
    Same old gas.
    Ran it for 30 seconds and then back in the locker - standing by for another season.

  4. #4
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    Default Re: Best light outboard ever in the 4 - 6 hp range

    Tohatsu seems to be the default OB through much of Pacifica. I suppose part of it is the sales network; but I also have to believe that part of it is reliability and repairability. Mind you, my most recent experience with an "outboard" was with a Harbormaster unit with a Detroit 6-71 driving it, which is a little bigger than what you had in mind.

  5. #5
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    Default Re: Best light outboard ever in the 4 - 6 hp range

    Brand reliability comes and goes. Best one is A) used fairly often and B) maintained regularly.Finally, and maybe most important, C) Sold by a local dealer who stocks parts and has a good rep for customer service.

    Two-stroke motors are generally lighter than their four-stroke equivalent, though in many cases that gap has narrowed.
    There are two kinds of boaters: those who have run aground, and those who lie about it.

  6. #6
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    Default Re: Best light outboard ever in the 4 - 6 hp range

    FWIW, last I looked, the outboards marketed by both Nissan and Mercury are actually made by Tohatsu.
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  7. #7
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    Default Re: Best light outboard ever in the 4 - 6 hp range

    Quote Originally Posted by Norman Bernstein View Post
    FWIW, last I looked, the outboards marketed by both Nissan and Mercury are actually made by Tohatsu.
    That is correct. Downside, for what it's worth, is Mercury Dealer will not servie a Tohatsu.

    The Mercury brand name makes the motor more expensive, but it is easier to find a repair place.
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  8. #8
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    Default Re: Best light outboard ever in the 4 - 6 hp range

    Smooth, light, quiet, dependable, cheap:



    What's this thread doing in the bilge anyway?

  9. #9
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    Default Re: Best light outboard ever in the 4 - 6 hp range

    In its short-shaft version the Evinrude shown by Bob Adams weighs only 35 pounds. It can be had as a 3hp or a 4hp. I have one like it (a 4hp) and another mechanically identical one branded as a Johnson. They have both been as reliable as a hammer. The downside to these motors is they have no gearshift. Reverse is accomplished by turning the motor 180 degrees. There is no neutral. My son also has a much newer Johnson 3hp which feels similar in weight and has a neutral gear and a built-in fuel tank. It, too, always runs great. I'm not sure if it that one was offered as a 4hp.

  10. #10
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    Default Re: Best light outboard ever in the 4 - 6 hp range

    Seagull, hands down.
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  11. #11
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    Default Re: Best light outboard ever in the 4 - 6 hp range




    Without a doubt the best outboard that was or will ever be built

  12. #12
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    Default Re: Best light outboard ever in the 4 - 6 hp range

    Tohatsu replaced my (beloved)1957,102long,,packing peanuts still on "Hot tofu" One quarter the noise, one third the fuel, more power by half. Alas,not as cool.
    Last edited by wizbang 13; 06-01-2010 at 07:48 PM.

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    Default Re: Best light outboard ever in the 4 - 6 hp range

    I know it's not in the HP range you asked for, but the added torque almost makes up for it in the Honda 2hp 4stroke. It's only 27 lbs and is air cooled. It's a pretty impressive little OB. in my younger and more foolish days I owned two Seagulls and I used to rave about them. But now that I'm older and wiser, I'm older and wiser.

  14. #14
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    Default Re: Best light outboard ever in the 4 - 6 hp range

    We like our 4hp Yamaha 2 stroke. Internal tank lasts a couple hours, hookup to external tank, F/N/R gears. Pushes a 3500 lb sailboat hull speed.

    Only bummer no alternator.

  15. #15
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    Default Re: Best light outboard ever in the 4 - 6 hp range

    I DISLIKE my Tohatsu 4hp 4stroke.

    I've had it 3 full seasons so I've used it enough .

    It had a broken gas tank from the factory. it shakes too much and it's too noisy.

    I added the tohatsu remote kit for throttle, 12 volt charging kit.

    I LOVE my Yamaha 8 hp high thrust 4 stroke remote, elec start, power tilt.

    I'm gonna replace the Tohatsu with something, and soon.

  16. #16
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    Default Re: Best light outboard ever in the 4 - 6 hp range

    The Seagull works okay. . .except for the criminal amount of noise and pollution it puts out! It's a perfect motor to keep stored in a locker, not one you'd want to use regularly. In fact, in most states you'd be banned from using it on many lakes, especially reservoirs for drinking water supply. To simulate a Seagull's habits with a modern, four-stroke outboard, simply dump a pint glass full of raw, unburned gasoline overboard from each gallon you use. Then tell the fish you're sorry.
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  17. #17
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    Default Re: Best light outboard ever in the 4 - 6 hp range

    Tohatsu 5 hp 2 stroke

  18. #18
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    Default Re: Best light outboard ever in the 4 - 6 hp range

    Quote Originally Posted by James McMullen View Post
    The Seagull works okay. . .except for the criminal amount of noise and pollution it puts out! It's a perfect motor to keep stored in a locker, not one you'd want to use regularly. In fact, in most states you'd be banned from using it on many lakes, especially reservoirs for drinking water supply. To simulate a Seagull's habits with a modern, four-stroke outboard, simply dump a pint glass full of raw, unburned gasoline overboard from each gallon you use. Then tell the fish you're sorry.
    Well Sir, I do agree they are obnoxious things like all motors and best kept in a locker. It is a poignant reminder of our filthy oil habit.

    My little Seagull is for emergency use and all I ask is to start and run a bit after sitting unattended for woefully long periods.
    I probably haven't burned a full gallon of fuel in that thing ever.

    The alternative is to build a factory, employ the masses and market the hell out of a brightly colored "superior product"
    then consume that fuel at any cost because it doesn't smoke as much?
    Well, it's all oil and it's all burning...

    As far as telling any tales to the fishes,
    We only have to look to the Gulf of Mexico this days for fish tales and pollution. And we all have to share in that blame...

  19. #19
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    Default Re: Best light outboard ever in the 4 - 6 hp range

    Have an air cooled Briggs and Stratton 5hp 4stroke. As reliable as their lawn mowers. Starts by the second pull everytime but weighs 56 lbs. Typical 5hp weight. And it kinda sounds like your mower. Sips gas and very reliable 699.00 with 3gal gas tank.

  20. #20
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    Default Re: Best light outboard ever in the 4 - 6 hp range

    Are those B&S engines factory certified for salt water use, yet?

  21. #21
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    Default Re: Best light outboard ever in the 4 - 6 hp range

    The nicest thing about a seagull ( I have two) is that you never have to winterize them because the run so rich, the cylinders and pistons are well coated after every shut down (LOL)
    There are two kinds of boaters: those who have run aground, and those who lie about it.

  22. #22
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    Default Re: Best light outboard ever in the 4 - 6 hp range

    Remember that Seagulls don't reverse and cannot be turned 180 degrees like most small outboards. My Seagull was so noisy, smokey and smelly that one dock neighbor use to ask me if it ran on charcoal briquettes.

  23. #23
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    Default Re: Best light outboard ever in the 4 - 6 hp range

    We decided to buy a 2 hp Honda 4 stroke because it weighs about 10 kilos and they have a good reputation. It has its own built-in gas tank and sips fuel. Just carry a small can to refill. The next steps up in HP will about double the weight. Ours is working fine and we have heard good reports from others. The single negative is that it is a bit noisy - it is air cooled)

    I am considering a Torqeedo but can't quite get past the price (The Honda is about $1000, the Torqeedo 801 travel is about $1500) The older models of Torqeedos are on sale right now because new models (503 and 1003 - $1900 at West Marine) are coming out. Assuming the Torqeedo is maintenance-free, you will save a bit of time and money in fuel and annual maintenance. For me, the appeal of the Torqeedo is low weight, low noise levels and simple operation and low maintenance. Of course the down-side is range, though the advertised 2 to 6 hours is plenty for dingy service. The new versions are supposed to be submersible for up to an hour.
    Last edited by John P Lebens; 06-03-2010 at 11:51 AM.

  24. #24
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    Default Re: Best light outboard ever in the 4 - 6 hp range

    Quote Originally Posted by John P Lebens View Post
    We decided to buy a 2 hp Honda 4 stroke because it weighs about 10 kilos and they have a good reputation. It has its own built-in gas tank and sips fuel. Just carry a small can to refill. The next steps up in HP will about double the weight. Ours is working fine and we have heard good reports from others. The single negative is that it is a bit noisy - it is air cooled)

    I am considering a Torqeedo but can't quite get past the price (The Honda is about $1000, the Torqeedo 801 travel is about $1500) The older models of Torqeedos are on sale right now because new models (503 and 1003 - $1900 at West Marine) are coming out. Assuming the Torqeedo is maintenance-free, you will save a bit of time and money in fuel and annual maintenance. For me, the appeal of the Torqeedo is low weight, low noise levels and simple operation and low maintenance. Of course the down-side is range, though the advertised 2 to 6 hours is plenty for dingy service. The new versions are supposed to be submersible for up to an hour.
    i'd spend 500 dollars and build myself an electric outboard (it's been done, google is your friend) before i bought a torqueedo. while i am fascinated by them and believe it's a market niche that needs more representation, i believe they're overpriced. can't wait until lithium batteries come down in price.

  25. #25
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    Default Re: Best light outboard ever in the 4 - 6 hp range

    Quote Originally Posted by John P Lebens View Post
    We decided to buy a 2 hp Honda 4 stroke because it weighs about 10 kilos and they have a good reputation. It has its own built-in gas tank and sips fuel. Just carry a small can to refill. The next steps up in HP will about double the weight. Ours is working fine and we have heard good reports from others. The single negative is that it is a bit noisy - it is air cooled)

    I am considering a Torqeedo but can't quite get past the price (The Honda is about $1000, the Torqeedo 801 travel is about $1500) The older models of Torqeedos are on sale right now because new models (503 and 1003 - $1900 at West Marine) are coming out. Assuming the Torqeedo is maintenance-free, you will save a bit of time and money in fuel and annual maintenance. For me, the appeal of the Torqeedo is low weight, low noise levels and simple operation and low maintenance. Of course the down-side is range, though the advertised 2 to 6 hours is plenty for dingy service. The new versions are supposed to be submersible for up to an hour.
    Has anyone developed a nice way to fill the internal tank in rough water?

    My 4hp Tahatso has both, internal and external. I've used it very little. I'd actually like to use it a bit more. Have a nice ramp nearby for Delaware River and it might be nice to take a river voyage.

    I figure the internal is like the old switch VW used to have; a little spare gas.
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  26. #26
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    Default Re: Best light outboard ever in the 4 - 6 hp range

    Filling internal tank in rough weather: Find a container that will hold 75%-90% of the tank's volume. I've heard folks using plastic dishwashing liquid containers with the pull opening squirt top. Not sure I would trust that. Perhaps a fuel bottle for a backpacking stove? When the tank gets low enough, uncap the tank, invert the small container in the filler neck and let it empty.

    Last Sunday I decided it was time for my little 2hp outboard's bi-annual exercise. I drained the fuel that had been sitting in the tank for 2 years. Refilled with fresh 93 octane gasoline and oil mixed at 1:40 instead of 1:50. A few pulls to fill the carb and she fired right up. I stopped the motor a few times to see how it restarted. First pull. Ran a full tank through it. Ran like a charm. Not bad for 1980 2hp Suzuki that cost me a whopping $210 new. It has sat for up to a decade and always started without a fuss.
    Take that, Mr. Hondasan.
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  27. #27
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    Default Re: Best light outboard ever in the 4 - 6 hp range

    That's the strangest boat I've seen in a loooong time.


  28. #28
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    Default Re: Best light outboard ever in the 4 - 6 hp range

    Quote Originally Posted by Dave Davis View Post
    We like our 4hp Yamaha 2 stroke. Internal tank lasts a couple hours, hookup to external tank, F/N/R gears. Pushes a 3500 lb sailboat hull speed.

    Only bummer no alternator.
    I have one of those, and its been absolutley reliable, good thrust, no noisier than most, and starts easily. Got it second hand and its been great.
    I've also had a Honda 2 hp 4st which was the best outboard motor I have ever had, sadly someone else thought that they'd like it and managed to break open the padlock on the workshop door while I was not home one day.
    The other one that stands out is the old 2 hp 2 st Suzuki which although noisy gives more thrust than youd imagine a 2 hp motor could, and is absolutley unkillable. And yes I've owned several Seagulls. Nuff said about them.

    John Welsford
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  29. #29
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    Default Re: Best light outboard ever in the 4 - 6 hp range

    Just another word about the power of the Honda 2HP 4stroke. It really has a lot more push than you would imagine from 2HP. When I fried the transmission in my boat, the mechanic used my Zodiac with the Honda 2HP to push my 28,000 lb boat from my slip thru the marina to the crane area and back with no problem.

  30. #30
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    Default Re: Best light outboard ever in the 4 - 6 hp range

    I used our 2 hp Honda to tow three big logs around the marina. A tiny tug boat towing a log boom.

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