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Old 06-22-2020, 07:43 PM   #1
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Who uses a Honda 2.3 hp tender motor?

We're looking for information on a Honda 2 or 2.3 horsepower motor. The reason I ask is because we're more or less tied to our little 8' tender. Tender being the operative word. It's not real stable and rather weight sensitive which is why we're changing from a heavier Mercury 4 stroke (around 50 lbs) to a lighter one, probably the Honda which weighs about 20 lbs less @ 30. The little dinghy is small enough to tuck onto our transom using Weaver mounts and not hang over the sides nor tax the swim platform brackets with a lot of weight so we're keeping it if possible.
Our concern is the centrifugal clutch that Honda uses instead of a traditional F-N or F-N-R gear case. When just sightseeing, we like to putt-putt because we're not in a hurry most of the time anyway plus we like to keep the outboard noise factor down along with the RPM's. I read where the Honda centrifugal clutch doesn't engage until 2600 RPM. With our other motor, I'm guessing our RPM's were under 2000 a lot. So my question to any Honda owners is, has the clutch system been an issue or are you content with it?
I'm hoping someone on here has some experience with a small Honda to share.
Thanks
Shawn & Liz
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Old 06-22-2020, 08:14 PM   #2
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Hi Shawn,

I have had a 2.3 for the past two years. Bought second hand and has been flawless. I think it is a 2012 or 2014. Like any outboard don't let the fuel sit for extended times. This motor uses so little fuel that I just buy the non ethanol fuel by the gallon at Home Depot. It is expensive compared to pump gas but eliminates the "old fuel" worry.

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Old 06-22-2020, 08:34 PM   #3
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While I have no personal experience owning one, I have seen a couple used and was surprised at how noisy they were. In all fairness, you expect something that small to be quieter and size often yields unrealistic expectations. My 15 HP Suzuki seems to make 25% of the noise that the Honda does, but that has to do with an underwater exhaust and water cooled engine absorbing a great deal of noise.

I have been considering an 8' Trinka to explore with. In addition to oars, I've been considering a 50 pound thrust electric trolling motor. This would replace the kayak that failing shoulder muscles have made difficult to use. Would also serve as transportation in from the mooring field. Maybe a trolling motor for your short distance needs and keeping the outboard for longer trips might work for you.

Ted
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Old 06-22-2020, 09:19 PM   #4
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I had 2 of them. I thought the used one I bought was defective due to excessive vibration and noise, so I bough a new one. It was just as bad. After 20 minutes your hand goes numb and you will be deaf in at least 1 ear. I sold it to a guy on Craigslist and a week later he asked me if I would buy it back. I bought a 2.5 Yamaha and it was much better. It was a bit heavier by about 10 lb but still easy to put on a dink from the swim platform.
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Old 06-22-2020, 09:47 PM   #5
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I have one, 7 yrs old. Pushes a 10 full Odyssey inflatable. Has been very reliable. They are noisy, but at lower throttle setting they are ok. They are light.
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Old 06-22-2020, 11:11 PM   #6
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We have one - came with the boat about 5 years ago - has never given any trouble other than running out of fuel - hard to blame it for that

In the scheme of things it might be a tad noisy and vibrate a touch but hey, its a tiny motor - perfect for getting to and from shore. If you are doing long trips ie greater than say 5 mins then perhaps its not the motor for you - remember it only has an itsy bitsy plastic prop - a bit more grunt might be the go.
Re the auto clutch - it kicks in well before 2000rpm - not too much above idle.
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Old 06-22-2020, 11:16 PM   #7
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Mercury 2.5 hp. By the way I will use Chevron 94 or whatever it is, the grade without alcohol in small motors.



And Suzuki 2.5



Yamaha 2.5

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Old 06-22-2020, 11:49 PM   #8
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Have you considered an electric? We bought one last year for similar use and it has been brilliant. Light, almost silent, no vibration, no pull starting, no gas, instant reverse without levers. Unless you need to go long distances I can see no advantage to the Honda (maybe its cheaper). Ours will push the rather heavy 10' Bullfrog dinghy something like 8 miles on a charge.
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Old 06-23-2020, 12:03 AM   #9
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Clutch on mine engages as soon as I twist the throttle. Consistently starts on first pull. Only thing I don't like about it is reverse gear
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Old 06-23-2020, 02:25 AM   #10
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A used Mercury 3.3 2 stroke could be an alternative. Similar light weight around 12kg,and not air cooled, the source of running noise in the Honda. I looked at the Honda but read reviews saying some bolts were not stainless and could freeze, preventing dismantling when oil got somewhere it shouldn`t, and they are the only Honda built not in Japan but in China. But it could all be unfounded BS comment from the disgruntled, it`s just what I read.
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Old 06-23-2020, 05:05 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DDW View Post
Have you considered an electric? We bought one last year for similar use and it has been brilliant. Light, almost silent, no vibration, no pull starting, no gas, instant reverse without levers. Unless you need to go long distances I can see no advantage to the Honda (maybe its cheaper). Ours will push the rather heavy 10' Bullfrog dinghy something like 8 miles on a charge.
I'm curious what thrust rating your engine has, how fast it goes, and what you're using for a bsttery?

Ted
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Old 06-23-2020, 05:06 AM   #12
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Thanks all ,for the good input. The reason we're considering a Honda is strictly for it's supposed lighter weight. I thought the air-cooling might be a bonus regarding less serviceable parts to maintain & no potential clogging issues but I hadn't thought about it making it louder.
Electric is ,in my mind, not a great option for us because we don't have a good way to recharge the battery (no onboard genny) and a battery would be one more thing to hand over the cockpit and stow when not being used.
I feel now better after learning that the Honda engages at a lower RPM than I had read elsewhere. Maybe I misread.
I also appreciate the posting of youtube comparisons. I guess I'm going to do as much research as possible and travel to each dealer to physically look at each brand. My problem is I'm having a hard time deciding if weight or noise is going to be the determining factor. Honda is the lightest, but the most noisy (and the most expensive but thats not really an issue in this case). You would think that I would have realized by now that everything boating related is going to be a compromise to some degree!
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Old 06-23-2020, 06:57 AM   #13
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After our trusty Mercury 4hp 2 stroke finally died I bought a Honda 2.3hp. I love it - still have it in fact - in the hope I might yet get a small dinghy to fish from now retired and big boat sold. What it has in its favour are indeed the lightness, the being 4 stroke, so no oil in fuel = no plug fouling = virtually first pull start every time, even after not used for a while.

Also, being air-cooled means no flushing necessary, and you can give it a test run on the rail mount out of the water before you put it on the dink, to check it is running well, and will fire first time once in the water. The air-cooled feature does make it a bit noisier than water-cooled jobs, but totally bearable at the speeds you would normally use for to and from the shore.
The centrifugal clutch is no problem, engages at slow revs, and once you get used to it, quite easy to use, even flipping it round for reverse is no drama after a bit of practice.

However, if it is speed over longer distances you want, then a bigger, water-cooled type is better. Usually that needs a 2 stroke.
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Old 06-23-2020, 07:09 AM   #14
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I have one for trade if you like. I don't like not having neutral when starting. You have to increase throttle to start which causes it to jerk ahead also have to rotate the whole thing for reverse. But it is light. I also use true gas to prevent carb problems.
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Old 06-23-2020, 11:00 AM   #15
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A marina friend just bought a 2.3 Honda last week. He is trying to put the 10 hour break in period on the engine which must be done at slow speed.
So far after 5 hours he loves it.
I don't know where the clutch engages, but it sure doe NOT sound like 2600 rpm. More like maybe 1000 or a little less. Not far above idle really.
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Old 06-23-2020, 11:28 AM   #16
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I've had a bunch of dink motors from 2hp to 8hp. The 2 had no neutral. One 4 had FN. The other 4 had FNR. The 8 had FNR, of course.

I guess I am spoiled. I really like having reverse. All motors could do the job.

The Merc 8 is sweet as shift is in the twist grip so I can put an extension on it and still shift gears. But really too big for most of my use. Sitting on the mid seat with a pvc tiller extender is nice. Having to scoot back and flip the motor around is annoying.

Spoiled, I guess.

I'd like a 2-3hp with FNR. Might add a pound or two??
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Old 06-23-2020, 11:36 AM   #17
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jleonard wrote;
"Not far above idle really." as it should be.

I have a 4hp Evinrude twin and a Yamaha 2hp w/o neutral or reverse. To get reverse gear I need to go to the 6hp 60lb OMC twin. Have one of them too and an 8hp Yamadog as well.
My 4hp is 33lbs and the 2hp 27lbs. The 4hp is very smooth and quiet w it's FG powerhead cover. The 4hp also has a fuel pump and is rigged for hose and tank. The little twin is definitely my "go to" engine in small outboards.

I had a 2 1/2hp Suzuki but it got sold and I didn't like the 1 cyl 4 stroke vibration.
This is the third mini-block OMC. the other two were 3 1/2hp.
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Old 06-23-2020, 12:07 PM   #18
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I have a Suzi 2.5 on order; I’ll let you know how it goes. Got it over the Honda because it’s the same weight and quieter. Also a bit cheaper new.

Was also considering electric but $750 vs $1999 I just couldn’t justify the spread.
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Old 06-23-2020, 12:23 PM   #19
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I had the previous Honda 2 (I think they are pretty much the same) with the centrifugal clutch on a small Achilles inflatable. I thought the clutch was just fine, and it seemed to start going forward pretty much instantly. Not sure the RPM but what I mean is it just started going like any outboard would when you give it throttle - no spooling up necessary. A hundred times nicer than the old ones that were just always in gear (not that you are comparing to those).

What I didn't like was how NOISY it was. I think that may have to do with the air-cooled head? The light weight was imperative because I had to put it on the dinghy each time (sailboat, stored it deflated on cabin top) and standing in an air floor dinghy with anything that weighed more.... no.

If I were buying now I'd get the 2.5 Suzuki. It's the only other one I've found that is as light (29# short shaft), and IIRC it has a water-cooled head. So I believe it will be quieter. They now make both a short and long shaft (was only short at first).

The Suzuki also has a Forward and Neutral gear shift. While I was fine with the centrifugal clutch for the most part, I can't say that I wouldn't prefer a F-N! You still spin it around for reverse.

******

A side note: You know how there is one side you aren't supposed to lay 4-strokes down on. Well, I'd had the dinghy and Honda 2 snugged up in a slip behind my boat for a few days (in a very protected harbor), and after I put the motor back up on the stern rail I noticed a pool of gas in the water - it was dripping from the motor. Long story short what had happened was that when the motor is in the raised position (on the dinghy in the water), it can "flop" to either side.

Turns out when it happens turn to the "wrong" side -- and then there are even gentle waves in the slip -- it can act like you have set the motor down on the wrong side and fuel can get where it should not be. That's what had happened. Luckily we noticed it before using the motor again (or dripping more gas into the water). After that we used a bungie to keep it flopped to the other side.
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Old 06-23-2020, 05:18 PM   #20
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Well fudge. We've kind of decided on the Honda or Suzuki ,the Suzuki being first choice because it's quieter. But it's a good thing some of you say the Honda isn't unbearably loud because it seems everyone locally is out of stock on both the Suzuki & Honda. Nothing but Mercs and Yamaha's ,both being 10 lbs heavier. I'm going to be helping someone in another town tomorrow so maybe some of the dealers will have something there. I did find a Honda 80 miles away in Richmond but would rather do business at home, if possible. I normally don't get in a rush about things but we have a couple of cruises coming up and I'd like to get the break-in procedure behind us. Poor planning on my part.
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