We compare 4hp outboards: the Yamaha F4 and Suzuki 4
Des and Maurie may be getting on in years but they still like to be out on the water in their yachts.
Getting off their boats often means hooking their outboards to a small inflatable and puttering off to the local pub for a beer or two.
Now, these boys don’t like the smallest of inflatables. They reckon they jiggle about too much for them. Trouble is, to get the sort of stability they admire they need a bigger rubber ducky and that means a slightly larger boat and a bigger motor than the entry level two-hp lightweights.
Double trouble: the boys would like the herbs of a 9-10hp outboard but, as Des says, “the back just won’t let me lift the weight anymore.”
The solution: four-hp outboards
Des and Maurie looked around and decided that a couple of smaller four-strokes might do the trick. Des has always been a Yamaha man (with outboards it’s a bit like Ford and Holden) and opted for a Yamaha F4. On the other hand, Maurie likes Suzukis and chose their comparable four-hp model. Both motors are four-strokes. The boys grumbled a bit but they like the cleaner technology and besides, their grandkids wouldn’t let them go near a two-stroke.
Outboard comparison: Yamaha F4 and Suzuki 4
The Suzuki has been in service for a year and the Yamaha a little less. In many ways they appear pretty similar in that they come with a tiller, have forward, neutral and reverse gears and aluminium rather than plastic props. They are noisy, but compared to a two-stroke they sound far less buzzy on the ear.
Both Des and Maurie are old school bush mechanics and believe in keeping their machinery in tip-top order, which means flushing out the engine to rid salt from the cooling system. As both motors are fairly new that’s about all the lads have had to do but neither owner is worried about performing an annual service – oil changes, anodes, water pumps etc – on what they see as a pretty simple and straightforward mechanical arrangement.
Outboards at a glance
Both motors look superbly built with everything fitting neatly and after some use not a hint of wobbly or loose bits.
Des and Maurie warn you do have to warm these motors up for a couple of minutes if you want the best performance.
As Des says, “They can get a bit cranky if you open them up from cold. The trick is to allow them to warm up and then they’re right as rain.”
Des, however, changed his Yamaha prop to one with a finer pitch. “I couldn’t get the motor to rev out with the other prop, which seemed to be pitched too coarse. This finer one is much better.”
The lift test
With the Yamaha weighing in at 23kg and the Suzuki about two kilos more, both outboards were light enough for these two to lift on board their yachts and back into their inflatables without slipping a disc.
The Yamaha has a handle front and rear while the Suzuki has a really big grab rail round the back of the motor. While the Yamaha seems a little easier to manoeuvre because of its dual handle set up, Maurie says he has no problem hefting his Suzuki.
The Suzuki also mounts its tiller dead centre rather than offset, which Maurie reckons makes for a more natural helming position.
It probably comes down – as it did with Des and Maurie – to which manufacturer you most admire. Both outboards have done just what their owners expected, are miserly on fuel and haven’t missed a beat since they have been hanging off the back of their respective boats.