Small Outboard Buying Question

Hi. When not canoeing, my wife and I like to ‘pleasure cruise’ in our 12’ inflatable, and have used a 36# trolling motor to large success in a local reservoir. I’d like to try out some larger bodies of water and am looking into getting a small outboard for my boat. Limit is 3.5 HP. From what I can tell, 4 cycle is better environmentally, noise, convenience, but 2 cycle is more powerful and lighter and less expensive. As I go down this path, I’m hoping to benefit from your experience in the purchase of this motor. What have you had success with? Anything that I should consider to make the wisest decision? Used vs. new? Brand choice? Thanks in advance for your thoughts!


This is “Paddling”.net

sorry Rick!
Hope you don’t get eatan alive by posting a question about MOTORS since this website area is dominated by paddling and some of us are pretty “motorless” when it comes to being out on the water. I know I’d like to do unmentionable things to jet skiers and hammerheads who roar around the Michigan lakes. So if you get ripped on this site don’t take it personal it’s just that some of us would like to see motors left off our quiet waterways when there are some great alternatives that are people powered!

Why would you want to do that?!
Where is the exercise that is good for your body? The quiet we all that post here look for? The fresh air we all want? Shame on you!

My wife just asked if we could get a SkiDoo PWC … aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaah! But they are fun! Don’t tell anyone I said that! ;^)

Since Mark will not sell me the Kruger parts to upgrade my Monarch maybe I’ll put a PWC water jet motor in her. What do ya think?

Sorry … I do not know a thing about current small outboards. Now if you want to talk 1986 eria …

Good Luck!


I know a little about outboards
I have 2, one for each sailboat.

You are wrong about power. The cycle will have more torque than the 2 cycle. They are also quiter. If you get a 2 cycle find someone selling Amsoil and buy there 2 cycle oil. You use it 100:1 regardless of what the manufacturer says. It will reduce the polution by a large margin since you use less and it is sythetic.

Tohatsu sells a very lightweigh 3hp air cooled motor. It is 2 cycle. Honda has a 2hp 4 cycle that is very quiet. You will pay more for the 4 cycle motors.


– Last Updated: Jun-19-05 12:40 PM EST –

Go to the "fishing from" topic of this board,you will find that the people there will answer your questions rather than deride you.We know that one can enjoy more than one style of boating and that motors are some times needed for fishing even though we love paddling when we fish as well.
I have used both 2 cycle and 4 cycle and like the small light weight 2 cycle better.If like me you will use the motor for slow crusin for fun(of course I'm trollin) or to get to a fishing spot that is to far to paddle to if your trying to get there before daylight.
I reccomend a good used motor which will cost half of a new one then take it to outboard motor shop for a tuneup.Make sure to aquire the manuel that comes with the motor and follow the instructions about maintance and oil mixture.

I had a 3.5 nissan
on my old glass dinghy. It weighed 22 lbs, had an integral tank of 1/3 gallon which lasted a long time, and worked for 12 years . Now it needs a carburetor, due to bouncing around in the back of my truck back and forth to my sailboat. I bought a 6 h.p. 4 stroke for my new rigid inflatable(keeping up w/ the Joneses) and at 55 lbs., it’s a little much to hoist into the sailboat. There is a big difference in noise tone and volume however. The 4 stroke is a mellower more pleasant sound. I’d recommend the nissan(tohatsu same thing) for a 3.5 2 stroke. I believe mercury is making their 3.3 2 stroke still. Yamaha is a great manufacturer and has a 3 horse 2 stroke I believe. Honda makes a 2 horse 4 stroke, but it’s air cooled and kind of noisy. The nissan at half throttle wasn’t too bad noise wise.

Two Stroke
I rececently researched this before buying a small motor for my 12 aluminum fishing boat.

I ended up buying a 9.9 Yamaha 2 stroke.


Most of the listed advantages of 4 stroke engines only REALLY begin to matter at higher horsepower, say 40 horse or above. Yes they do run cleaner and use less gas. However in the two to three horsepower class the difference will be very minor.

2 stroke engines run cleaner today than those of old. After break-in I’ll be running a 100 to 1 gas to oil mixture.

2 stroke engines are conderably lighter than a 4 stroke, as much as 18 pounds for a 9.9 motor.

A 2 stroke has few parts that can break.

No need to change oil on a 2 stroke.

Every engineer at work who fishs told me to buy the 2 stroke. My Yamaha is quiet and runs very smooth.

Small engine, buy a 2 stroke…large engine, 4 stroke seems to get the nod

Thanks for the input
Really appreciate everyone’s input. And by the way, the way that I found this forum was a google on small outboard motors. And after reading a few threads, I knew that I’d find some help here as sometimes a motor does make sense (like trying to cross the Chesapeake against a strong headwind).

Thanks! Rick

You’re a brave person…
…to broach this topic, since the Real Paddler gurus get threatened by alternative ways to enjoy the water. My belief is that a Really Pure Paddler would just straddle a log and paddle with his/her hands.

Get a 4 stroke
Get a 4 stroke

2 stroke might be better now, but still… run one in a barrel for 20 minites, and look at the slim it leaves in the water. They are still nasty.

Plus they are touchy after a couple years and foul plugs like crazy.

2 strokes are out dated and soon won’t even be able to buy them, even string trimmers are slowing changing over to 4 stroke, few years and that’s all you will be able to buy.

I replaced all my 2 stroke motors this summer and will never own another.JMHO