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Thread: Mercury or Honda

  1. #1
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    Default Mercury or Honda

    I'm researching 25 hp engines. Honda's seem to be more expensive. Are they that much better? From what I'm hearing from my local dealer, the new Mercs have fuel injection while the Honda's still have carbs. I would think that fuel injection is better. I've had a 15 hp 4-stroke Merc for twenty years and it works just fine as long as you use non-ethanol gas. I'm going with the Merc unless someone talks me out of it. I'm not considering other brands because I'd have to travel a long distance to buy/service it.
    I was born on a wooden boat that I built myself.

  2. #2
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    Default Re: Mercury or Honda

    Hi Rich:
    I'm going to watch your new build with pleasure, you've done a fine job on your earlier builds (and rebuild) Engine choice, well, I'm in a way different climate (tropics vs your frozen northern winters) and I'm only ever in salt water, so keep that in mind as you consider this input: I deal with outboards as part of my work (cpt of small coastal research vessel) as we use small skiffs for tenders, larger runabout for moving fuel and heavy things (as well as people). My commuter boat (there are actually two) also outboard power. 30 years of this. I have a strong preference for carbs, vs EFI. Just less fussy all around (note my caveat about my use and area though), and easier to open and clean when needed. So there's that.
    But, but, are the Hondas still carb engines in that size? I don't know, I just know that the 40-50hp family of Hondas has been FI for quite a while. Maybe in the smaller sizes still carbs? For me, that would be a plus, but if you're ok with FI check to see about that size class, be sure you're making a choice based on good info. (Personal preference disclosure: I really like Hondas). Of course, for all of them, non-ethanol fuel and a robust filter setup thats easy to see and access.
    Hope I've not just muddied the waters, but thats my take from waaay out here.
    Brian
    ETA: i get that in ideal conditions FI should be better, I guess I just dont live in an ideal world...

  3. #3
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    Default Re: Mercury or Honda

    Being injected may keep it up to date a bit more and what you save will buy some fuel.

  4. #4
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    Default Re: Mercury or Honda

    I'm in fresh water and the motor would be run a max of 20 hours a year.
    I was born on a wooden boat that I built myself.

  5. #5
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    Default Re: Mercury or Honda

    The last two motors I bought were Mercs. So far very happy with them. My closest Honda dealer is about thirty miles away and that influenced my choice.

  6. #6
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    Default Re: Mercury or Honda

    Probably not germane, but when it comes to small engines (lawnmowers, pressure washers, etc.) Honda engines stand out as being so much better than the competition it's ridiculous. Literally 5x the life expectancy.

    However, outboards are a different thing. Dealer relationship would be a big one for me. My SIL in FL - when replacing an aging (to him - I woulda kept it - but he has more money than I do) Evinrude, ended up with Suzuki - but that was a much bigger engine (150). He went with it because of the dealer & better warranty than other brands - but I don't know if Honda was an option for him.
    "If it ain't broke, you're not trying." - Red Green

  7. #7
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    Default Re: Mercury or Honda

    I'd go Merc. Fuel injection means less problems from use of ethanol blend fuels and also means easier starting.
    That said, I'd look hard at the dealers in making my choice. Are they both outboard dealers, or power equipment dealers who also sell outboards? Do they service them on site, ,or just sell them? Which has a better rep for customer service in general? (Ask around)

    Kevin
    There are two kinds of boaters: those who have run aground, and those who lie about it.

  8. #8
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    Default Re: Mercury or Honda

    Quote Originally Posted by Breakaway View Post
    I'd go Merc. Fuel injection means less problems from use of ethanol blend fuels and also means easier starting.
    That said, I'd look hard at the dealers in making my choice. Are they both outboard dealers, or power equipment dealers who also sell outboards? Do they service them on site, ,or just sell them? Which has a better rep for customer service in general? (Ask around)

    Kevin
    The dealer is a full service marina on Lake Bomoseen about 40 minutes away. They sell and service Mercs and Hondas. Next closest dealer would be 90 minutes away.
    I was born on a wooden boat that I built myself.

  9. #9
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    Default Re: Mercury or Honda

    I’ve been very happy with the 300XS optimax Merc on my boat. Seems well made. 100hr. service was easy to do myself.
    Not many Honda’s around here, but they don’t seem to be very well thought of.
    Fight Entropy, build a wooden boat!

  10. #10
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    Default Re: Mercury or Honda

    Honda have been for some while the world's largest producer of internal combustion engines.I think they know what they are doing and over here their warranties are quite extensive.I would also suggest checking the weight of the outboards too.

  11. #11
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    Default Re: Mercury or Honda

    I have a newish 25hp suzuki which is fuel injected. It has been a pleasure to own. Sips fuel and no problems thus far.

    I had an older (mid 90's) 25hp honda with carburetor which I fought with constantly. It really didn't like sitting. If it was used daily, no problems. There is no question in my mind that the injected is the way to go on the outboard at this point. I have several honda motors on equipment and love them in that capacity. I'm not a honda "hater".

    I installed my Suzuki, which was crate shipped to me, so that is one of the reasons I went with it. I have little knowledge of the Merc except that I couldn't get one that I could install myself.

  12. #12
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    Default Re: Mercury or Honda

    Had an aluminum skiff with a 35 year old Susuki 15 2 stroke in Florida. It finally died of old age and salt water corrosion mid season. Really wanted a Yamaha replacement but none available locally for weeks. Bought a Mercury 4 stroke and was so impressed with it that I bought a second one to repower my Michigan pontoon. In both cases from full service dealers but haven't needed any service.
    If you don't know where you're going, you might not end up there.-Yogi Berra

  13. #13
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    Default Re: Mercury or Honda

    Considering Evinrude will no longer be making their 2 strokes, I own one, great motors, and will be partnering with Mercury, looks like the only games in town will be Mercury, Honda and Susuki, hearing good reports on the Susuki's FWIW.

  14. #14
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    Default Re: Mercury or Honda

    Don't forget Yamaha outboard motors!

    I have a 2.5 hp Yamaha that I use with my Caledonia Yawl. It is a terrific motor, smooth and quiet.

    I just bought a 40 hp Yamaha, tiller model for my old 16 ft Lund. This is also a very smooth, quiet motor.

  15. #15
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    Default Re: Mercury or Honda

    https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mercury_Marine
    Tohatsu builds smaller Mercury engines.
    My experience with Honda and Tohatsu has been great.
    R
    Sleep with one eye open.

  16. #16
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    Default Re: Mercury or Honda

    Yes you will be buying a Tohatsu. They make and sell more small outboards than anyone.
    Have to say that here in UK Tohatsu are superb VFM. It is hard now to justify the expense of the Honda, considering how good the Tohatsu are. All still made in Japan as well.

  17. #17
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    Default Re: Mercury or Honda

    Quote Originally Posted by timber_cruiser View Post
    Don't forget Yamaha outboard motors!

    I have a 2.5 hp Yamaha that I use with my Caledonia Yawl. It is a terrific motor, smooth and quiet.

    I just bought a 40 hp Yamaha, tiller model for my old 16 ft Lund. This is also a very smooth, quiet motor.
    Yes, had a senior moment on Yamaha's, have a 20 4S on a 16" skiff, what you said, very fuel efficient and one of the largest dealer networks there is.

  18. #18
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    Default Re: Mercury or Honda

    The smallest Merc outboards are not made by Merc. I know someone that had problems with a small dinghy Merc motor from the get-go, but I think that may have still been made my Merc, not certain, but it was junk.

    I did minor service on some Mercs, 5-50 hp, some years ago. The Mercs seemed to be built heavier than the Hondas, yet broke easier. Can't say exactly as the motors were not as well maintained before I arrived.

    The Honda's that followed were better, but were all brand new and maintained to the letter on a schedule, so again, might be comparing apples and oranges. The Hondas (always 4 stroke) were always lighter compared to the Mercury 4-strokes, least the 40 and 50s, partly due to Hondas being 3-cylinder vs Mercs being 4-cylinders in that same size. Honda 40s were simply a derated 50. When purchased at the same time, the Honda 50s and 40s were injected, the 25s and 15s were carbed. Note, however, that all carbed Hondas had a screw drain plug at the bottom of the carb so could be easily flushed, which was done periodically, fast and easy, and this prevented many of the problems seen with the Mercs and earlier Hondas; Problem idling or known water in fuel? Replace fuel and flush carb, just pull plug and squeeze the bulb until line and carb had fresh fuel, put plug back in. Problems gone.

    I've heard good things about Yamaha, but this same place had a Yamaha 60, which had significantly less oil capacity than the Mercs or Hondas, and it blew the main bearings and was junked. Again, not familiar with its history, but I don't like disproportionately small oil capacity; half the size means twice the oil wear for the same hours, more heat. The first thing you see on engines (of all kinds) designed for commercial use is big oil capacity.

    All the big RIBs around here used by the Coast Guard and Police, with multiple big outboards, run Hondas.
    When you can take the pebble from my hand, it will be time for you to leave.

  19. #19
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    Default Re: Mercury or Honda

    I’d be surprised if anything new these days in that hp range ran a carb. I was just commenting in another thread that our 2004 Yamaha 90 4 stroke is a quiet fuel sipping jewel. One of the last if not the last year for carbs so I’ve got four of them on that motor to keep in tune. Not a problem so far and knock wood a decade or more of running ethanol fuel hasn’t caused a blip. Treat the fuel and drain the engine completely every fall.

    I think these days any brand new name brand will do you well so distance to and relationship with the dealer will be key.

  20. #20
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    Default Re: Mercury or Honda

    I bought a Tohatsu today.
    Thanks to the sage advice offered here, it was pointed out the smaller Mercs are nothing more than a Tohatsu in a different package.
    Price was better and the salesman was the same guy who will install it.
    Low overhead shop kept the cost down and the Tohatsu was over $400 cheaper.
    The dealer is a 45 minute drive away, but that's no problem.
    Engine is ordered but won't arrive until Nov. Covid is screwing up the supply chain.
    However, since the boat it's going on only looks like this at this point, there's no rush.

    IMG_2423.jpg
    I was born on a wooden boat that I built myself.

  21. #21
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    Default Re: Mercury or Honda

    Thanks for the update , Rich -- Good progress on the build !!

  22. #22

    Default Re: Mercury or Honda

    Quote Originally Posted by Rich Jones View Post
    I bought a Tohatsu today.
    Thanks to the sage advice offered here, it was pointed out the smaller Mercs are nothing more than a Tohatsu in a different package.
    \
    It is true that the smaller Mercury motors are made by Tohatsu. But the 25s are not exactly the same between the two brands. Tohatsu changed their gear ratio (from 1.9:1 to 2.1:1) several years ago, but it seems they did not put the new gearbox on the Mercs. Some reports have it that the change makes for a not insignificant improvement. If so, not only did you save money and deal with someone you trust with installation, but also got a better version of the motor.

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