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Thread: Outboard brand differences/opinions

  1. #1

    Post Outboard brand differences/opinions

    I'm in the market for a new 4 stroke outboard, somewhere in the range of 150-200HP. I searched and couldn't find any threads on this subject, so here goes. I'm looking for opinions on the differences between brands as well as pros/cons for each brand. I feel it's better to hear from the owners rather than listen to the salesmen...the brand they sell is always the best.

    Please comment on any horsepower as someone else may also find this thread useful. I am specifically interested in Yamaha, Honda, Suzuki and Mercury, but please chime in if I should be considering another.

    Thanks!

  2. #2
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    The most fuel efficient outboards on the market right now are the direct injection (DI) Mercury Optimax's and the Etec's. DI's require no valve adjustments, are usually lighter and no oil changes are required. But they use the DI oil at the rate of about 75/100 to 1.
    Optimax's are less expensive and Etec's are quieter. But all the major brands of outboards are very reliable.
    Which one to pick is a personal choice but I would be more conecerned with what dealer service is avaliable.

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    Member MARV1's Avatar
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    I've owned Yamahas since '92 and love their reliability. Suzuki 4-strokes nowadays are very reliable also, same with Merc's. Do NOT believe the E-Tec hype, guys in my area are blowing pistons and lower units on them left and right. They use more fuel than comparable 4-strokes also, again, don't believe the hype that is out there. My next outboard is definitely a Mercury, and most likely an Optimax! They are reliable, burn less fuel, and haul azz!
    The emphasis is on accuracy, not power!

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    Member Alaska Gray's Avatar
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    I have twin 115 yamahas and love them.
    Living the Alaskan Dream
    Gary Keller
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  5. #5

    Default Differences?

    As far as differences between brands, I've noticed that hondas are slightly quieter than Yamahas. This is just my own observations/opinion and haven't been able to compare other brands in this regard -- nor do I have hard facts/tests to prove it. Anyone else notice this?

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    Member alaskanmoosehunter's Avatar
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    Cruiser you said you was looking for a 4 stroker..I would go with Honda all the way. The 150 is the same block that is in the Honda Accord.

    Honda 4 strokes are true fuel sippers. Awesome outboard!

    If you want power with less weight than by all means go with the Etec. Etecs are great 2 strokers with great fuel effiency too.
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    Member Akgramps's Avatar
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    I have a 140 horse Johnson (Suzuki) 4 s on a 20 foot riverboat w/ a jet.
    It is lighter than a Yamaha 115, or even Suzukis own 115, it is also quieter than the 115 Yamaha 4s I had on a 17 wooly.
    So far even w/ 2000 pound in the boat the worst gph has been 6.2 at about 30 mph, The best w/ the boat light is a hair over 5 gph, I think its a great motor, The Yamaha was a great motor as well, but I would buy another Suzuki. You didnt say what kinda boat or if jet or prop, also because of the gear drive powerhead the 140 will take specialtie jets super pump. Unfortunately in the interior there are no dealers for Suzuki, which is a very important consideration. I dont know about the Hondas, I am sure they are excellent but would be heavier. I think in the 150 hp range its pretty hard to beat the Suzuki, (if you are commited to 4 strokes, as I am) good luck and let us know what you decide.

  8. #8

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    Yeah sorry, it will be a prop. I didn't think that would matter just because i'm looking for more big picture differences between brands...but i guess it is an important point.

    Can anyone talk to servicing? Is one brand easier to service than the others? Someone i know has a yamaha and he states it is fairly easy to service. He does all his own servicing at home.

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    Member GOT TOYS's Avatar
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    Default service

    It depends on what service he means. I'm mechanically inlined and have plenty of tools, but I don't think I want to adjust my valves or change my timing belt. I'll leave it to a Honda mechanic that I know. As far as changing oil and filter, fuel filters, spark plugs, etc, that's all very easy, on my 225 Honda anyway. By the way, it cruises 30 mph at 10 gph = 3 mpg. Kingfisher 2525.

  10. #10

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    Yes, I am talking about that type of preventive maintenance.

    Sounds to me like Honda may be one of the front runners. My research so far has them a bit pricier than the others. I guess it's money well spent.

    Can anyone talk to reliability? I've tried to search the net for a "consumer reports" type article on outboards, but haven't found one that has hard facts/tests.

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    Default 4 Strokes

    I currently own a 140 Suzuki, three summers of playing and it has been great. Except, the oil change, which is no big deal until the weather breaks and your in a hurry to go and guess what? You've got to change oil. This is the first 4 stroke I have ever owned and fuel economy is great.

    I choose the Suzuki because....

    1. $4000 less than Honda, I don't use my boat enough to justify the higher cost.
    2. Weight, it was considerably lighter than Honda/Yamaha for the horse power.
    3. I have heard good things about Suzuki and I felt it was the best bang for the buck.

    If dollars and weight are no problem, buy a HONDA!

    I'm not sure if this fact but I have heard about 4 stroke on jet units and if cavitation happens it can over rev the engine and a 2 stroke is a better application for jets...

    I have a prop on my 140.

  12. #12

    Default Honda

    Twin 130's, 400 hours of hard work as I underpowered my hull compared to the factory rating......easy and economical (compared to my volvo's in the past) to maintain. Service in Anchorage???? I will go elsewhere. When I was looking at power options I talked with the folks at JKS to find out why other brands were so much lighter, ect..... very useful info and honest folks to work with over the years. Would not be a bad thing to have a motor they can service IMHO.

    Enjoy................

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    Member KenaiFly's Avatar
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    Just heard that a water taxi in Seward replace his Suzuki's with another set after 10,000 hrs. in a few years. I guess he likes them.

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    Member Sierra Hotel's Avatar
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    Default My $.02

    If you watch boats on the water, I think you'll find them engined as follows (in terms of # of units)

    1. Yamaha
    2. Honda
    3. Merc
    4. Everything else

    I have the Yamaha's and have zero complaints in 250 hours of operation (I've only had them since May '07 - so I'm using them). PM is easy, they're economical to operate, quiet, and they don't stink like a 2-stroke.

    I would have no problem choosing a Honda, their reputation is sterling and I'm hearing great things about the Suzi-Q's too. Service on any of them is an issue, as there are not many authorized dealers, and getting in for a serious repair can take weeks from virtually all of the dealers.

    If it came down to brass tacks and someone were going to buy me new motors (I'm not changing, they're not even paid for yet!), I'd probably choose the Yamahas again. They're a little lighter than the Honda and less expensive - therefore a better value in my little mind. But I also think it's a win-win: you can't go wrong with either motor choice (or with the Suzi-Q's for that matter). Maybe you should decide what looks better on the back of your boat!

    Have fun with the choice.

    Cheers,

    SH

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    Moderator Paul H's Avatar
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    You don't mention where you are at, I'd look at what engines have service centers near you. While all the engines seem to be fairly reliable and get good mileage, there is something to be said for having a local shopt that can perform any needed maintenance or repair.

    I don't think you can go wrong with honda, yamaha or suzuki. I'd likely go with whichever unit I could get the best price on. Even if one engine has a slight edge on mileage, if you save a few thousand on the purchase price, that goes a long way when the difference in mileage is but a few percentage points.

    I've got a suzuki 140 and so far its been a great engine.

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    Member Sobie2's Avatar
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    I am a fan of the following motors.

    150 and 225 Honda (the 135s and 200 do not have Vtec) I have a friend who has the 225 and he has some mind blowing numbers for fuel economy 6 mpg in a 24' Olympic. Keep the revs down and out of the VTEC for great fuel economy. The Honda 225 has the gear case gear ratio that swings a big prop quickly at low rpms.

    Power Boat Reports until this past winter was the consumer reports of boating and they were bought out by Boating magazine (a shame really)

    They liked the Optimax for price reliability and fuel economy but that outfit was in Florida and those Floridians love their mercury products. Still their head to head comparisons on 150 engines had the optimax as the king of fuel economy.

    I also love the Yamaha 115 fourstroke and have friends who have great experiences with them and get great fuel economy. (7mpg in a 18' NR)

    For the 90HP Tohatsu TLDI got the best fuel economy in a Trailer boats magazine shoot out. In Asia tohatsu is all that people run. I've got a 50 hp tohatsu and it is a fuel sipper. My tohatsu has had some problems and the dealers have been no help.

    With all that said, dealer service may be most important above all. I have had great and poor service from many and my next outboard will be a Honda because the local dealer is so good.

    Sobie2

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    Default value is subjective

    I repowered this year. After a ton of research I found the best cost to benefit was the Suzuki. I went from twins to a single 250hp w/ kicker. So far so good, the economy is remarkably better and the speed and performance is also an improvement. Value is somewhat subjective. That said, I am very happy and from everything that I have read and all of the guides that I have spoken with are very positive on the new Suzuki's. I believe you will see them continue to gain in market share. I buy it again.

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    Member arcticfox77's Avatar
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    Default my opinion...

    i run a 75 yami 4 stroke on a 17ft arima. i currently have 55hrs on my motor and i have no complaints. a buddy of mine has a 20 ft bayrunner and he runs a 90 honda 4stroke. they are both good motors, good on gas. but i think im gonna repower this winter and get a 90 like his. mine runs pretty quiet while underway, but i think his runs a tad bit quieter for some reason. i dunno maybe its just me....

  19. #19

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    The 150 and 175hp Suzuki's can run 16 inch diameter props. A huge advantage over the other 4 strokes in that size range. I also like Hondas and Yamahas.

  20. #20

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    What advantage does the 16" prop give? Does that translate to better fuel economy? Props are one thing I need to learn more about...

    For Paul, I am in the anchorage area, so most major brands can be serviced here.

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