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Thread: Which power plant for saltwater boat?

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    Member Micky_Ireland's Avatar
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    Default Which power plant for saltwater boat?

    I am considering purchasing an offshore boat to sample the fantastic saltwater fishing the SE has to offer. Which power plant should I purchase. Ive always been told that Honda make the best engines for everything they offer. Is this also true for their saltwater engines. How to they compare to the likes of Yamaha or everrude ( think that's the name ). thanks

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    Member tzieli22's Avatar
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    Today's OB's are all very good. I don't think you'll hear us bashing one over the other. Many are built on the same power plant as well. Most popular IMO is Yamaha is a lead contendor, so is Suzuki, Honda, Etec's, and Mercury's. I think it really depends on who not only sells them but who services them based on your location.

    For me, I look at what you see most on the water. I was a die hard Mercury fan in the 2 stroke line up, but have converted to Yamaha for the 4 stroke, but I also wouldn't think twice about any of the others. Would only consider who could help me maintain my engines if service is required.
    Last edited by tzieli22; 06-18-2013 at 07:27. Reason: Typo
    Tony

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    Quote Originally Posted by tzieli22 View Post
    ...depends on who not only sells them but who services them based on your location.
    When you get into small ports on the coast, that's everything. A YamaHonZuchi might be the best engine in the world, but if you have problems in a port without a good mechanic, you are flat screwed. Over the last 40 years I've watched the first choice in outboards change back and forth here in our town, and it all boils down to which company has the best local mechanic. Get two great mechanics in town, and you'll see two top choices in outboards. Got a good mechanic at the Yamaha shop and he moves to the Suzuki shop, watch locals start switching from Yamaha to Suzuki.

    I'd pick the port you want to work out of, then have a look at the local mechanics.

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    I've got a 200 yamaha salt water series 2 stroke. Never had any issues with it.

    That being said my dad has a nice 70 optimax mercury that works great as well. They're all pretty good when well maintained and the easier to get parts/mechanic work the better.

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    Charterboat Operator Abel's Avatar
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    Ya, it's all ab out how you maintain it and how far you have to go to get service for it. Check with the guys in the ports you fish most have and who they get work done by and go from there.

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    I look at Honda, Yamaha and Suzuki as all top notch choices in a 4 stroke outboard. I've known many people to put alot of hours on all those engines and they run like a top, and I've heard of all those engines having occasional failures. I'm a big fan of Honda power equipment but my one beef with many of their outboards is they are significantly heavier than Suzuki's and Yamaha's engines. My Suzuki o/b has been outstanding the six seasons I've run it. If/when I get another boat I'm leaning towards powering it with Suzuki's.

    I understand the sentiment about having a good shop that supports whatever brand of engine you buy, but if you'll be covering many different areas of the state that's a moot point. It's not like a small shop in an out of the way place is going to be completely stocked with spair parts for every possible engine that they support. And o/b's aren't rocket science and a good shop should be able to repair brands they don't carry if it's a relatively minor repair.

    That and I suggest anyone who's going to be covering alot of ground and more remote locations is well served by having a good tool kit, service manual and a selection of spare parts on hand so you can do your own minor repairs. Spare prop, spare prop nut/washer, spare water pump kit, spare fuel filter cartridge, additional oil, plugs washers etc.
    Those that are successful in Alaska are those who are flexible, and allow the reality of life in Alaska to shape their dreams, vs. trying to force their dreams on the reality of Alaska.

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    Member Micky_Ireland's Avatar
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    Sound paul H . good advice all-round.

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    Paul H has a very good point. Get what can be worked on. In that case I would go Yamaha. There are a lot of Yamaha shops in Southeast. But I run Mercury Verado's and hand zero problems with them other than a sticky thermostat and that engine had 1500 hours on it when I sold the boat. My new boat I put twin Verado's on it and am very happy so far.

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    Member fishmaster's Avatar
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    I love my yamaha s Never had a problem. I do all of my routine maintenance myself. But if something serious would go wrong you could find a mechanic and parts in most communities in southeast. My personal opinion is Yamaha and Honda are making the best outboards. Not to say that Merc and Suzys are not good, Even Evenrude / Johnson has finally got their act together after making several years of Junk in the late 80s and early 90s. In short they are all building Quality outboards. My personal preference is Yamaha and Honda in that order Just because I have owned both and they have performed Flawlessly. Good luck in your search.
    A CLOSE CALL IS A FREE LESSON

  10. #10

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    I have had great luck with tohatsu TLDI. Lots two stroke power! If I didn't own one I would have gone with a Suzuki.

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    Hondas and Yamahas are both top notch. Id stay away from Suzukis for sure.
    Piscor Ergo Sum

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    I'd let two things guide your selection:

    1.) Dealer support: but just because there's a dealer in town doesn't mean he has a clue...

    2.) Mechanical cable control of the outboard. I am content with computerized engine controls as they're typically well protected and solid state, but for shifting and throttle, give me cables.

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    Default Is the lightest in class a great selling point?

    I have another perspective on 4 stroke outboards and that is the weight issue and motor oil capacity. Some manufacturers try very hard to produce the "lightest in its class" product, but for getting out and away from port is having the highest HP to weight ratio the most important? And does having a light weight product effect strength, reliability and longevity? I have a 2005 30hp Suzuki on my 20' Bartender and that motor is likely the heaviest in class, weighing more than a 50hp Honda, but in its favor has 3.5 quart motor oil capacity, which to me is more important to the life of an engine than a lighter weight one that has 2 quart or even less capacity. I run my boat out of Juneau, mostly up Lynn Canal to our place up near Haines, not a place to operate without a reliable engine. While I am sure all the brands are good, there is a lot of competition which serves to improve all the makes, I wouldn't be drawn into the very lightest as a selling point in Alaskan waters where help can be far away..

    My Bartender, built in my backyard in 06:

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    Member Micky_Ireland's Avatar
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    Is there much difference in the actual price of the engines mentioned? Does the Honda brand carry a premium over the other brands. It appears that they do at times. Love the pic , eagle55

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    Quote Originally Posted by Micky_Ireland View Post
    Is there much difference in the actual price of the engines mentioned? Does the Honda brand carry a premium over the other brands. It appears that they do at times. Love the pic , eagle55
    Thanks, it's a good little boat in rough water.. As for premium price of some motors it seems like Hondas used to be slightly higher priced , but haven't really looked lately. I've heard that Honda dealers insist on installing their motors in their customers boats which would be a problem with mine due to its outboard well.

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