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Need help picking out new outboard

9/11/20 @ 10:17 AM
USER SINCE 10/9/03


I have a 31 year old Johnson outboard (pull start) that runs great!  Problem is I am getting older and  my bad right shoulder is not happy when I pull the cord.  Time for electric start.

With Evinrude gone, what to get?  I am thinking of a 20 horse Mercury, Yamaha or suzuki.  I rented a 20 horse Yamaha while on vacation this summer (tiller model, electric start) and fell in love with it.  

My issue is I see almost no Yamaha dealers in SE Wisconson.  Same for Suzuki.  Where would I go when I need it repaired or need some simple part that I can replace.  No motor works forever so I assume some day I need it repaired.

LOTS of mercury dealers around here so perhaps mercury is the best bet.  Can anyone comment that owns a 4 stroke mercury, Yamaha or Suzuki in a 20 or 25 horse?  Just wondering what others have experienced before I decide what brand to buy.


3/10/21 @ 10:32 AM

I have a 14’ Jon boat that had a 25 hp Mercury on it. New in 2000, motor was a 1999 model year but new also. About 8 years ago I had to make a decision to put money into the Mercury (lost compression on one cylinder) or put a different motor on the boat. Priced Mercury, Evinrude and Yamaha. Had prices from at least two dealers on each. Yamaha was by far the highest price with the Evinrude and Mercury pretty close in price. I ended up having the old Mercury rebuilt. Seems the Mercury motors of that era didn’t have sleeves for the cylinder walls but rather Mercury tried to coat the inside of the block with an electro plated product. Turned out that product was prone to failure. The rebuild lasted 3 years before I was without a motor again. Short term I ran across an old Evinrude that gave me a couple years of service. In April of 2020 I shopped again for a new motor and found the Yamaha to be quite higher in price. Was about to get the Evinrude E-Tec which had a three to four weeks order time when I ran across a Mercury in stock at a local dealer. While the E-Tec is as bulletproof as there is I am glad I didn’t go the route as it was announced a month later Evinrude was ceasing production and going out of business. I know the Mercury 30 hp and smaller are rebranded Tohatsu motors. Ratings and reviews of the Tohatsu lineup were as good or better than most all brands. Only time will tell if my choice was a good one. Most motor problems are as much about maintenance and upkeep as they are about product failure. 

3/9/21 @ 10:20 PM
USER SINCE 2/23/16

I am a proud owner of 2 yahamas... One 1988 and one 2007 T8.... I will never buy anything else... My 4 stroke starts no matter what in 3 to 4 pulls.... No electric start on it. My brother who fish runs Mercs is always having problems not good when it is a charter business...Not many dealership one castle Rock marine and  think pewaukee... My opinion is Yahamas... Good luck..

2/27/21 @ 5:46 PM

Thanks again for the feedback. I bought a new boat today. I couldn’t spend x amount on a new motor and not upgrade in other areas. In the end it just didn’t make sense for me. Thanks Again. 

2/27/21 @ 5:26 PM
hook, line&sinker
USER SINCE 4/18/07

I have the Yamaha 4 stroke.  It is 12 years old and everything on it works fine. Years ago I had a Mercury and had one problem after another. Hopefully Mercury has improved, but the Yamaha 4 stroke is an excellent motor.

2/27/21 @ 2:42 PM

Thanks Eyesman. That is a bunch of great info.Very much appreciated. 

2/27/21 @ 12:40 PM

chaw, a few things to consider when repowering a boat. If you are going from a two stroke to a four stroke the four stroke will weigh more and you will need to verify if your boat can handle the added weight. I would check several local boat dealers for price and availability. The supply chain in so many products is out of kilter and it may be difficult to find a motor without some delay. A dealer can help with assessing the weight issue as well as having service available if needed. April 2020 I had to repower my 1448 Jon boat. It is rated for a 25 hp so that is what I looked for. Had just about pulled the trigger on an Envirude E-Tec when I ran across a Mercury that a dealer had. The Mercury was several hundred dollars less and available, the Evinrude was a 3-4 week order time at least. The new four stroke was over 55 lbs heavier that the two stroke. To overcome that I had to move the 5 gallon gas tank from the space between the rear bench seat and the transom to mid boat. That did balance out quite well. I am glad I didn’t get the Evinrude now that they are out of business. Another thing to consider is the prop you put on the new motor. Even the 25 hp had a choice between a couple different props. I chose the one with the best hole shot to get up on plane quick and easy. I use the Jon boat on the Wolf River exclusively where I do more stop and go motoring than the need for flat out speed. How you use you boat will determine the best prop choice and that a good dealer can help with. For the prop choice you need to consider what hp your boat is rated for, the added weight of a four stroke, will you do any trolling with the motor and how often you will have several people in the boat with you for added weight. Most times you hear about someone not happy with boat and motor performance comes down to the wrong prop choice. 

2/27/21 @ 8:40 AM

I’m looking for a 60 horse Yamaha or Mercury 4 stroke. My old motor is toast. I have never bought just the outboard and am having trouble getting started. I see a lot of inventory on EBay but I would rather go through a reputable dealer. I’ve looked at inventory at local boat dealers but see nothing. Where do I start to narrow things down? Will the prices all be fairly comparable? I’m seeing the motor listed in the 6,000 dollar range. Can someone push me in the right direction? I’m kind of spinning my wheels. 

2/12/21 @ 11:43 AM

I have sold and serviced both brands, But am a bit more fond of the Yamaha in that HP class. Mostly because the smaller Mercs are Tohatsu powerheads and I am not impressed with too many China products. 

Yamaha has several dealers in the Madison area with Don's Marine in Lodi as a full line dealer and Quam's in Stoughton, Rock River Marine in Newville, and several more. Some are full-line and some are package and service dealers meaning they can only sell a motor with a boat and offer service to Yamaha customers. Also, JNT's marine Pros in Whitewater is a full line platinum Yamaha dealer with several Yamaha's currently in stock, Give Jason a call at 262-473-5960 if interested 

2/10/21 @ 1:13 PM
USER SINCE 3/14/06

Jalenskys  in Kenosha is a recommended Yamaha dealer/service!

2/3/21 @ 5:17 PM
USER SINCE 5/11/20

Mercury 30hp and smaller are all made in Japan (not China) by Tohatsu. If you have mostly Merc dealers in your area, then good, because you'll never have an issue finding parts. Just buy one and be happy, they're top quality engines.

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