Friday, March 20, 2009

Outboards for Dingy

I bought a used '85 Evenrude in '84, to power an inflatable dingy for cruising. It served wonderfully for 23 years. Even though I had plenty of spare parts aboard, electronically anyway, and nothing that really worried me, there was a nagging thought of 'what if'.


Evenrude companion for 24 years, gets sold off.


Finding parts when you are off the beaten path is often not going to happen, so I finally gave in and started looking for a replacement-or 2. A friend, Dave McCampbell, was happy with his Tohatsu engines and thought they were a good option to the common Yamaha outboards seen in every harbor and on nearly every craft plying waters south of the U.S. Nothing wrong with Yamaha's, but I looked into the Tohatsu/Nissan/Mercury outboards (all small 2 strokes of these brands are made by one company, Nissan I think).

One of the models caught my eye, as it was different and had some unique features to offer me. I have had back problems for years and really have to watch what I do and how I lift things. Weight matters. My Evenrude 8 h.p. weighed 56 pounds. In the Yamaha line and others, the next engine up from 8 h.p. would be the 9.9. It, and 15 share the same block etc. so weigh the same, and show weights from 76-91 pounds depending on small items. In the Tohatsu and Nissan line, the 56 pound, 8 hp model has a cousin! A 9.8 hp model is available, that is based on the 8 hp. All of the parts seem to be the same, with the exception of the block and head part numbers. Every other part # is the same between these 2 engines. Same weight, same size, but 25% more power for the 9.8. For me, this is a win/win. Same 56 pounds and more h.p.!

In Guatemala, the stores that sold Tohatsu and Nissans, did not carry this 9.8 in a short shaft model. Through many Internet searches, it became clear that the International divisions of companies offer different products often, in different countries. To find MY 9.8, I was going to have to look back in the U.S. and find a good USED engine. The 2 strokes had not been sold in the U.S. for several years due to EPA regulations, but "used" was fine if I could find one near new.

Shop I did, and on Ebay and one or two other spots, I would find a 2002-2004 model, but with shipping etc. they seemed priced a bit high. Now the reason I kept getting when I would call for information, was that these small 2 strokes were in high demand. Made sense; I too was looking for one.

Well, lucky me found one near my home, in a specialty business that sold only small outboards. It was priced fairly, in like new condition and no shipping required...in my trunk and home it went.


Stripped down and ready for paint, the 9.8 was also stripped down enough for entry into our Checked Baggage. Note: no fuel, no combustibles, only "parts" at this point. No longer a running engine and no reason the parts can not be taken with you in baggage.

I then thought of a back up and less expensive(gas)engine to buy and operate when in closed secured harbors. Often we only needed a little kicker to get back and forth to a dock or beach that was quite close so a 2-4 h.p. engine would do just fine. Also, if something ever did happen to the 9.8, then I would not be in any serious jam.

Went shopping online again and on our local 'Craigs list', found quite a large number of small outboards in the $50-$350. range. Some were tempting; old Evenrudes, Johnson's or real vintage stuff that I would love to play with if living ashore again, but they did not meet my criteria of "almost new and totally trustworthy, parts available engine". I found a very slightly used, but "stored too long", 3.5 h.p. Nissan 2 stoke for $200. The guy was moving across country and had not used this in a couple of years.


The little one too, was taken down to it's simplest components before painting and packaging for shipment.


I now had 2 Nissan low hour 2 stroke engines to bring back to Guatemala for Memory Rose. I tested them out and did have to do CPR on the little one, but once purring, she runs beautifully. Took them apart, cleaning and wrapping each piece carefully for shipping and any component that was later to be seen upon re assembly, was sanded and painted BRIGHT YELLOW AWLGRIP!

One way to help stop theft I think, is to make something undesirable. Who wants a YELLOW outboard? Who's gutsy enough to try to sell one or use it if they know it's stolen? Right, paint up your stuff so it's recognisable. I choose bright Yellow but any color or scheme can do wonders.



Both now readily change positions from storage on special stern mount, or dingy transom.


We sold the Evenrude for our asking price (we included about $400. in new parts)in one week, advertising only on the morning radio net and a few posters tacked to bulletin boards in the waterfront restaurants.

The Bright Yellow Outboards, in 'parts', were wrapped in bubble wrap and zipped into 3 Checked Bags, along with some other parts we were bringing back to the boat. Everything went fine. It took me a few hours under a tarp, hiding from the tropical sun, to assemble the engines to running condition, but I'm so happy with the result. Both Nissans, the 9.8 and 3.5 are great.


Little and fun to poke around with, the 3.5 is perfect as our 2nd dingy engine.

The 9.8 is much faster and has much more torque than my Evenrude did and 3.5 (26 lbs.)can actually plane our 'air floor 11' Avon'(77 lbs. with both of us aboard. Amazing!

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