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Old 03-15-2012, 06:54 PM   #1
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Default New Outboards: 2- vs. 4-stroke better?

Some old salts preferred the 2 vs. the 4-stroke as it has an inherent simplicity to it. The fuel/oil mix acts a bit like diesel oil in coating and protecting internal parts more than a straight gas-burner will.

However, with new technology and enviro concerns both systems have been changing quite dramatically with both add-ons and cost-cutting dodges.

My 8hp tt Yamaha has a cooling problem right now. Blocked passages and I was amazed at how many frozen bolts I managed to torque off and will have to extract or drill out somehow. Should I give up and go for a newer 4-stroke that supposedly is more fuel efficient anyhow? Torque on a 2-stroke is apparently better than for 4-stoke at most revs but that would be of less concern to me.

Reliable starting after sitting around during a longer trip is a must-have. Usually I row ashore so my OB will mostly sit idle. Use will be for a 9ft Avon or suchlike, so 8-15hp is what I'm looking at. Possibly a tad more for driving a RIB and planing but I would still like to be able to wrestle the 80-odd lbs aboard and about without slings or help. Weight does become an issue without a hearty wench... sorry, I meant a handy winch. Also, starting to be the Armstrong-Pull method only, so no batteries to fail. We have magnetos for that

Any suggestions on this? Pro's and con's tend to be quite vehement on this topic and some unbiased data would be nice. Especially any recent experiences would be great.

Smooth sailing

Ivo / sv Linnupesa
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Old 03-16-2012, 01:53 AM   #2
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I love my 4 stroke. They weigh a bit more, but the quietness, efficiency, and reliability are very worth it to me. Starts first pull and doesn't use gas. It just needs to be near gas.
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Old 03-16-2012, 02:45 AM   #3
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You know, the only thing that I can see as positive about a two stroke is that they can be stored in a non-vertical way w/o harm.
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Old 03-16-2012, 02:49 AM   #4
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Also, I've never in my life seen an unbiased opinion and mine is no exception.
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Old 03-16-2012, 03:16 PM   #5
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Thank you for the good points, bof a-ya.

Myself I find stores much better in a horizontal position too. Actually it is quite amazing the 2-strokes get away without having an oil sump but of course they do need their slurp of oil in the fuel.

"In the presence of gas" You could likely run a 4-stroke on propane gas too but the Lima Bean kind of emanation is probably too toxic of a mixture for the environment. EPA would get their knickers all bunched up in a wad if they found out.

What mpg do you typically get anyway? The dealer data is obviously suspect and biased towards unrealistic numbers.
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Old 03-16-2012, 05:22 PM   #6
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I have no "miles per gallon" figures for you, but I've run it full speed for for hours in Catalina, San Diego Harbor, and San Francisco bay as a toy for a week at a time without using up a 3 gallon tank. I have run it all day exploring mostly at full speed (17 knots on my little whaler) and not used up a tank. If you are just putting around to shore and back I would imagine you would go a couple weeks on a gallon. It is many times more efficient than my previous 2-stroke. I doubt I've put 20 gallons through it since 2006, though I don't use it that often.
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Old 03-16-2012, 05:53 PM   #7
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OK Wile E. C. Your purely subjective opine about your 2 vs 4-stroke gas usage is good to hear. Lugging gas around in or outside the boat is a poor idea anyway. The less used the better.

Is the read about fuel stabilizers and shellac build-up if you use "old" fuel true? Or is it just "profit in a bottle" for the dealer? I've used really old fuel many times with no noticeable bad effects. The consumptions you mention give me no concerns about storage. Or you would have said so, right?

The thread got started because I recall a sea-faring author I respect very much for his down-to-earth approaches and knowledge being quite against 4-strokes. (sv Whisper?) Perhaps in his days the designs were not yet as advanced and there was merit to the argument, but things may have evolved now. ( or de-volved, looking to Washington DC )
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Old 03-16-2012, 06:18 PM   #8
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OK, a little more information:

I was dead set against 4 stroke outboards. I bought mine because in California 2-stroke engines are virtually illegal. I was angry at having to buy one. My anger lasted one day: As soon as I used it and saw how much better it was, I was sold. I still dislike being forced to have a 4-stroke, but I have to say the engine has been a success.

My dislike of 4-strokes is similar to yours: I like simple and easy to repair and light. I assume I will have to fix it some place with no parts, no tools, and no help and no manual.

I've never needed any repair though. Ever. Nothing. Not so much as a spark plug cleaning. I think your point about evolution is spot-on. My outboard (A Mercury, but I see the same reliability in Honda, Nissan, etc.) just works.

The only problem I ever had was when the motor was 4 hours old: A motorhome ran into it and crushed it. The guy replaced it with insurance.

Old fuel: Yes, especially in California. I have problems with old fuel in my Honda generator, not with my outboard. It runs bad gas just fine. The Honda just won't take bad gas and I have to run it dry on each use to keep the jets clean. If it sits for a couple weeks it gets sticky and won't run well.

I usually use my folding dinghy aboard with no motor, so I don't have a lot of experience carrying the engine, but a 9 day Catalina trip I used my 3 gallon can and stored it in the chain locker which drains overboard. I had to tow the dinghy so I use it only when it is worth the effort and the risk is low. I never refilled the tank on that trip and had some left when I got home.

The Honda generator uses so little gas I use aluminum quart bottles for gas, also stored in the chain locker. 2-4 hours every few days means I don't have to use the diesel for charging batteries.

My boat is just 30 feet and the dinghy is problematic in general. As I said, I like simple, so small works for me.

I see you caught the Wile thing. Three reasons for the name:

1) I have always loved Wile because he NEVER gives up regardless what happens and always has self-confidence no matter how misplaced.

2) When I was a child a Coyote licked my face one night while I slept.

3) Coyotes are ubiquitous where I live and have been frequent companions when camping alone.
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Old 03-16-2012, 07:04 PM   #9
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Thank you, most informative. As to coyotes et al, I too can be frequently wrong even when I'm right. Ya gotta love 'em. My place has them too, as well as a bobcat and a bear that demo'd an outside fridge and munched his way through like 25lb of almonds, beercans and icecream.

Talking about nuts, CA can really screw things up, like their MTBE ( mean time between errors) or was it MBTE fuel additive some years ago. It perc'd into the ground, is bad and essentially non biodegradable. Who'd a thunk it? The non-spill gas schnozzles on ATV fuel "cans" (red plastic) were another masterpiece of idiocy. Every time I use one I manage to spill gas, unless I unscrew the whole schmear and pour the gas without that device. OK, it's a lawnmower and not an ATV fill-pipe it's going into but fuel is fuel.

Good to hear about the Honda/gas issues. One party in FL had an ob of theirs more often at the shop than aboard. It always seemed to be a carb issue too and underscores your experience. My Honda vehicle again was a dream until it got squished like your ob.

OK, I think I now got all the answers I was looking for. Running an ob dry is not really an option unless there is a very small float chamber. For longer storage running it dry is perhaps no problem either. Just shut off the tank on the return trip a bit prematurely... if you can think that far ahead.
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Old 03-16-2012, 09:15 PM   #10
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Nuts, fruits and flakes. Yes, I fit in here.
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Old 03-16-2012, 09:25 PM   #11
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Coyote--

I'm really surprised about your Honda generator being so picky. We have a Honda EU2000 and have used it extensively without problems. And left it sitting w/o running it for weeks or months without problems. Always starts right up. We DO use a fuel additive with the goal of keeping water diffused throughout the fuel rather than separating out and causing problems (can happen with old gas especially that which has a high alcohol % added). Dunno...
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Old 03-16-2012, 10:32 PM   #12
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I think the 2000 is less touchy than the 1000. I have read reports on the internet while trying to research this that gave me the vital clue: Don't leave gas in it. Dump it and run it dry after each use is the solution.

I considered getting the 2000 and perhaps I made a poor choice. I have a small boat and wanted the smallest generator I could get. I use it for my 700 watt tea pot, my 700 watt microwave (not often) and mostly for the battery charger. When charging batteries I can run it on low and it just sips fuel while making plenty of power for the battery charger.

I have considered getting a water heater and have researched a 700 watt element for the heater. It looks possible. That would run on the 1000 also, I believe.

The 2000 has the advantages of running any appliance up to a hair drier and, it seems, running a bit better. It is larger, heavier, and uses more gas, though.

Trade-offs.

Another note: At low speed it runs better than at high speed. It is mostly when I am pushing the envelope of power usage that it has problems.
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Old 03-17-2012, 12:56 AM   #13
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Ah, yes they will die if you over do it!
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