Monday, 28 November 2011

Tohatsu 15hp outboard review 4 stroke on inflatable boat

If you are thinking of re-powering your 3.5m inflatable boat, or buying a new inflatable boat package then you will doubtless be considering which is the best engine of choice for this application. Here you will have a quandary, because most of the major manufacturers have a good quality offering in this hp category. Some are a little lighter than others, the lightest 15hp outboard engine is the Suzuki at 44kg, then its the honda 15hp outboard engine @ 45kg, after that the Parsun 15hp 4 stroke comes in at 47kg. Then they get a bit on the heavy side really! The mariner/mercury/
tohatsu outboards offering is 52kg and the new yamaha 15hp outboard is also 52kg which one would say is not competitive, until one looks at the displacement figures:
Mariner/merc/tohatsu 15hp 350cc
Yamaha 15hp 360cc
Suzuki 15hp 300cc
Honda 15hp 350cc
Parsun 15hp 330cc
So if you have an airdeck lightweight, portable inflatable boat then you will want to go for the Suzuki, honda or Parsun. Whereas if you are looking for something that really packs a punch for a larger heavy duty boat then the merc/mariner/tohatsu outboards will be on the cards.
If you want the best UK prices on new outboard engines or if you are looking for a used outboard engine then check out bill higham marine in manchester, north west england, we have consistently the best deals on cheap outboard engines and inflatable boat packages. or call 0161 790 7678 or email

Monday, 21 November 2011

Have you been wondering which outboards for sale around the 90hp mark you should buy?

Well its a good question, there is a lot fog choice and it depends on what your application is. I will list the various options:
  1. Mercury and Mariner outboards 90hp optimax, direct fuel injected 2 stroke - light weight (well 170kg so not that light actually), biggest cc of any 2 stroke in this range at 1.5L providing easily the most torque of the bunch - ideal for over laden ribs carrying divers. For a 4 stroke outboard engine to provide this much torque it would need to be over 2L!
  2. Honda 90hp 4 stroke, tried and tested engine based on the civic car engine, this one has VVT and now EFI with BLAST technology so expect EXCELLENT fuel economy from these outboards for sale.
  3. Yamaha F80 / F100hp 4 stroke outboard, yam dont make a 90hp so I grouped these together as they are hewn from the same block, both outboards for sale are 170kg with EFI, I would plumb for the F100 to get the most bang for the weight!
  4. Suzuki DF90 lean burn on paper looks the best choice, it’s light - 155kg, its efficient too. But at only 1.5L it’s the smallest displacement for the 4 stroke outboards for sale so will be very ‘peaky’. Good for racing around, but not much good for pulling skiiers or getting a heavy or laden boat up on the plane.
  5. Tohatsu outboards 90TLDI, the lightest engine of the bunch - just 141KG, to put things in perspective it’s the same weight as the 1993 mariner 90hp carburetted 2 stroke!! 1270 cc is a bit on the low side, but it’s a ‘stroker’ which means it will generate more torque than most of the 4 strokes above!

Which 5hp outboard should I buy??

Its a common question, so here’s my thoughts on the matter, I will go through each engine in turn:
  1. Suzuki 5hp 4 stroke outboard, it weighs 25kg, and is 138cc, retail price is £1000 so its the benchmark in every way really, bang on the money, a good little engine.
  2. The 5hp 4 stroke from Mariner outboards (and mercury) (oh, and tohatsu outboards), this is a tried and tested engine, recently given a face lift with a front mounted fuel tank, and an industry first front mounted gearshift - excellent idea, expect other manufacturers to follow suit soon!! This is the best buy just because of this advantage
  3. Honda 5hp 4 stroke, most expensive engine on the market, noisy, and un-changed for nearly 20 years. Not one I would recommend.
  4. Yamaha 5hp 4 stroke. Heavy engine at 27kg, but reliable. Not sure about the white engine cowling but hey ho, its all down to individual taste! Too expensive to be a credible option in my opinion. Yam have some nice little ribs for sale too.
  5. Parsun 5hp 4 stroke. New kid on the block, but has a lot going for it, the lightest engine on the market - 24kg, and by far the best buy as far as price is concerned at £699 retail!! Is it any good? Well it had a re-vamp in 2010 and since then any little niggles the old engine had have faded into distant memory. A VERY reliable performer!!
So in conclusion, the top of the bunch is the new mariner outboards 5hp just because of the front mounted gearshift. But if you have a budget to stick to, make sure you consider the Parsun 5hp, it’s a cracker.

Sunday, 13 November 2011

Mariner & Tohatsu outboards new 4hp outboard test part 3

After the run in period was completely I lifted the engine out of the test tank, and came to realise that the new carry handle on the front and the grab handle on the back are well designed, if you carry your Tohatsu outboards using the front grab handle it is great, I have always liked to carry 4hp and upwards on the shoulder though, and this is also aided by a nice smooth underside to the back lower cowling. I went to pop the engine into the boot of the one series, which was already fairly well laden with the seapro 240 airdeck that was to be the test bed, and here we came across the stumbling block with this new engine design, the thing just would not fit in the boot as the tiller was in the way at every angle, its just too long, ideal if you need to keep the bow low on your inflatable boat but thats what tiller extensions are for!! At least they can be removed after use to reduce the dimensions of the engine. After a lot of jiggery pokery I managed to get the outboard motor into the car. At the lake, the trusty little seapro inflatable boat was deployed and inflated in 4 minutes with the genovo digital inflatable boat pump and the engine was fitted to the boat. The engine performed well, but it was identical to the old model other than the gearshift which I thought was excellent. If you have been looking at ribs for sale with a view to getting a tender of around 2.5m - 3.5m then this engine will be ideal to power it.

Tohatsu, Mercury & Mariner outboards new MFS4C D S L engine test part 2

I have a little trick to get around this either fully or partially and it is performed thus: open the fuel tap but leave the vent on top of the cap closed, then hold the tiller and shake the engine from side to side vigorously for about 5 seconds, this releases gasses in the petrol and thus pressurises the fuel tank, pushing fuel through the system and filling the carb in the process. This done the cold engine will usually start 3rd pull. The new F4M from mariner outboards did exactly this and after a little initial choke it settled down for a few minutes at idle speed, it sounded fairly quiet, but no more so than the old model (of which I had one in the tank next to it for comparison) so not sure where this new induction system comes in - maybe just a sales ploy?
Ok, time to test the new fangled gearshift, tickover nice and slow, into forward gear, nice, not quite as positive as the direct gearshift handle on the side but not at all shabby, out of gear, positive again, into reverse (these have automatic reverse lockdown which is handy), all good so far. Now try to get the gears to crunch - I always do this on the tests as many laymen owners will not know to change gear quickly and positively on an outboard. A little clunking and grinding before dropping in positively, so about par for the course there. Run in at 2000rpm under load for 30 mins now, then off to the lake for a proper test!! ..... Continued in my second blog ......

Saturday, 5 November 2011

Boat review seapro ribs

Seapro have been around for 6 years now and in that time they have made some interesting models, but what is the quality like and where are they from? I caught up with simon higham, the designer and researcher for seapro to find out, and he came up with some interesting comments.
Q.There are a lot of new ribs for sale on the market, why should we buy a seapro?
A.Its a fair point, the new rib market is saturated, but seapro offer something unique, british designed boats, manufactured to exacting standards, using the best british GRP, german fabric, and italian fittings, at a price that UK built ribs can not approach.
Q.So they’re made in china then?
A.NO, we had some boats built in china by supposedly the best manufacturer out there, but the quality was just not up to british standards, so we now have out boats built in Egypt by tiger marine. They have been building ribs for 15 years and their workmanship and QC is excellent. So no, they aren’t chinese!!
Q.Seem to have touched a nerve there?
A.The chinese owe me a lot of money still as I had to replace 5 boats for customers who were rightly not satisfied with the end result, dont buy a chinese rib, they’re scrap in a year or 2.
Q.What boat do you use?
A. I am in the lucky position to test a new boat every season, last year my family and I were using a seapro 500 divemaster with 50hp from tohatsu outboards, this season it has been the seapro 600 divemaster with 125hp optimax from mariner outboards. These are new ribs for sale @ £10,000 and £18,000, they really represent the best buy to the UK public!

Boat review, interview with seapro inflatables designer simon higham

Seapro not only make new ribs but they also manufacture a well respected  inflatble boat range, I asked simon higham what makes seapro inflatables better than the rest, and what’s round the corner?
Q.Seapro inflatable boats have been around for 5 or 6 years now, what sets them apart from other inflatables on the market?
A.Well two things really, firstly each boat is designed by an avid inflatable boat enthusiast (me), I have probably spent more time in inflatable boats being whizzed along by mariner outboards throughout my life than a helmsman on a D class lifeboat! And secondly the company motto of never settle for anything, period, there is no such thing as perfect, everything is always being tweaked and improved.
Q.Give an example.
A.Ok, 3 years ago I was sick of the hull hook and wave follow on our airdeck range, a customer at the london boatshow said to me, my seapro 340 airdeck inflatable and 9.8hp from tohatsu outboards package digs in at the back end when its at full speed periodically and it slows us down. I replied that all airdeck boats do, from any manufacturer, and he said well thats a design fault waiting to be fixed. I agreed with him. The next season we were the first inflatable boat manufacturers in the world to put a series of under mattress pressure plates along the length of our boats, this completely eliminated the problem. I gave the complaining customer a free boat as thanks for his kick up the arse!!