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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.

9/13/20 @ 2:21 PM
MEMBER since 7/23/01

I’ve owned a 50 HP Yamaha for 18 years. One minor repair and always works fine with normal (nothing difficult, done myself) maintenance. I also owned a 20 HP Mariner many years ago. As I understand it that was actually a Yamaha. Great motor! Never a problem. As an aside I like the fact that Mercs  are built in Fon du Lac, but if I heard correctly lower hp Mercs are actually Tohatsus and are foreign made.  Please correct me if this isn’t correct.

9/13/20 @ 2:07 PM
User since 10/6/09

chevy vs. ford vs. dodge vs. toyota. Buy what you like, I have a 40 merc 4 stroke and its great. I have a f150 and a polaris sportsman so open up on me if you want.

9/12/20 @ 10:53 PM
User since 5/7/06

I had a Yamaha on my last Lake Michigan boat and my new boat has 2 Yamaha's on it and never had a bit of trouble with any of the 3 motors of which one is a 8hp kicker that runs for hours and never missed a beat. For some reason I was talked into a new 8hp Mercury for my little boat at the cabin that has had lots of troubles running at times. At times it runs fine then the next time out it shuts off for no reason and takes 25 pulls to restart. Had it back in a few times and they never find anything wrong. Pretty soon the nearly new Mercury will be traded in for a new Yamaha!!

9/12/20 @ 5:54 PM
User since 12/19/10

I have a Mercury on my boat just because that’s what was on it when I bought it, it starts and runs great but if I had to choose I’d go with Yamaha for sure. It was already mentioned but Jalensky’s in Kenosha is a Yamaha dealer. 

9/12/20 @ 3:52 PM
User since 4/8/13

I've had both 2-stroke and 4-stroke Yamaha's and now run 4-stroke Merc on current boat. IMHO you'd probably be satisfied by either brand. You'll also be impressed by how quiet the 4-strokes are compared to older 2-stroke. I suggest you purchase a motor as close to the rated HP of your boat. There are numerous dealers in S/E WI to chose from. Good luck!


9/12/20 @ 2:07 PM
User since 6/13/09

Get the 25hp instead fo a 20hp. The 5 extra hp can make a big difference getting your boat up on plane if its loaded down. 


9/12/20 @ 9:17 AM
User since 3/3/11

I have a 2019 20HP Mercury that I love so far.  My 16 foot semi-v john boat does 25 MPH with it.  It is a manual start.  My fishing buddy has a new 30HP Mercury electric start and trim that is a very nice motor.  Both motors have been trouble free so far. Run quiet and smooth.  I know that they are made overseas (Japan), but quality has been impressive so far. Dealers and service centers are everywhere.

9/11/20 @ 11:30 PM
User since 1/7/02

I repowered my jon boat with a 2020. 25 hp Mercury this spring with electric start. It does have the pull start feature also, it is a hard pull to try and start it considering it’s a 3 cylinder. Having had shoulder replacement surgery three years ago doesn’t help that pull start effort either. 

9/11/20 @ 10:54 PM
MEMBER since 7/7/04

Jalensky’s in Kenosha sells Yamaha. There is also a Yamaha dealer on highway 16 near Oconomowoc.

9/11/20 @ 10:12 PM
User since 4/12/03

Not sure if this is still the case. Some of the outboards have electric start and pull start. Some may not have the backup pull start. I think my Dads older Yamaha 20 hp did not have pull start. So if your electronics or whatever suck your battery down. So you would have to try the wrap rope around flywheel to try to start it. 

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