Looking at Suzuki DF20

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Jun 14, 2020
United States
Vessel Name
Decent Proposal
Vessel Make
DeFever 40 Trawler
I am looking at this engine to replace my current dingy motor. I have a 2 stroke Merc 30hp on my Zodiac YL340DL. Anyone an owner? I like the 5-yr warranty and 108 pounds on a long shaft with electric start. Any feedback on this engine, yay or nay, would be appreciated!
We’ve had a Suzuki DF 20 for 8 years on our Caribe dinghy. Trouble free, bombproof engine. Maintenance is easy. We run non alcohol premium fuel, not sure how much difference that makes with a fuel injected engine.
Highly recommended. The fuel injection is so sweet. Only small outboard I have ever had that idles perfectly, every time, forever. Starts perfect every time too. Very easy to attach a hose for fresh water flush too, which I really like.
I am a big fan of Suzuki's direct injection engnes. However, you are talking about replacing a two stroke 30hp engine with a 20hp 4 stroke engine. Two strokes make more bottom end torque this allows them to run more pitch which makes them quicker out of the hole. You are also talking about loosing 1/3 of your HP.

So, the Suzuki will always start even on bad gas after a long winter, it won't foul plugs and it will get great fuel mileage and it will be very quite. It won't get on plane as quick and it wont get the dingy on plane with 4 people on board.

Life is a compromise.
I have a DF 9.9. same engine different control module. Starts first time every time. A little noisy for my liking but still good engine. Just an FYI if someone else runs into this.
We had a problem with the engine going into limp home mode after running for 2 or 3 minutes. Sounded like an o heat problem. Dealer took everything apart and cleaned of scale. DID NOT resolve the problem. They worked on it for most of the summer. Finally Turned out to be a faulty heat sensor. Probably poor diagnostic work on the part of the technician. Dealer ended up doing the right thing and picked up the tab.
I have a Suzuki DF20 on my 11.5ft rib. Love the engine, sips fuel, starts every time. I don't need all that horsepower, except when I have 4 adults on board and it helps get us up on plane.
My problem now is with just me or maybe one more, the bow is so high I have to lean forward until it gets on plane at a “sometimes higher speed than I prefer”. Is the 30hp too heavy? That is what I presumed. The YL340 DL has a standard HP of 15 and max 30. The weight drops considerably between the 25 and 20.
I bought the 15 hp version last year which is the same engine block. Starts and idles nice, no smoke, goes about 1 knot slower than the 2 stroke 15 hp Evinrude it replaced. Noise level on plane is about the same. It's nice to just push the button to start! I use a lawn tractor battery 230 MCA from Walmart for $30. I've only put about 4 hours on it so far still in break-in mode. It will get a workout this coming May.
Have you tried tilting it down a notch?
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Let me preface this by saying I was a Suzuki dealer in the 90s and at that time I thought they were a great company to deal with and made excellent products.
So I am anchored out in Key West, two of my friends have Suzuki 20 horse Outboards on their dinghies. They both were bought brand new I would say now they are two years old. They've had continuing problems with these motors one guy actually had to buy a six horse so he could get back and forth to work while his 20 was being worked on. He has had the motor in for service to repair a performance problem at least five times. The other guy also bought the motor new has had continuing problems with the Warning Systems coming on and performance of the motor. The main problem he has is no one wants to work on the motor this Suzuki dealer here in the keys told him it was not worth his effort on such a small motor. Nobody a dealer or private cares to work on this motor
Have had the 20hp DF for about 2 years and works well for my 10ft Godiac. Gets up easily on plane with 2 (175 lbs). Never had 4 in it.
We bought the DF20 manual start, short shaft less than two years ago for our new Ukrainian made Gala dinghy. Love both. Our version weighs 97 pounds!!! It almost always starts on the first pull and never more than two. It does have a stiff pull but always starts immediately as there is no manual choke.

Grew up with OMC outboards and purchased a 2003 Key West walkaround with a 225hp 4 stroke Yamaha. Bullet proof. Over 20 years old and still running strong. So, I looked at them and vibration free easy pull Honda. Anything but a Mercury. For the Price, chose the DF20 from an online dealer (a Tennessee lake marina) cheaper than anywhere else I could find. Plus FREE shipping and NO tax.

https://outboarddirect.com They shipped it FEDEX and received it in less than 48 hours and it came in an unopened factory crate. Would I buy it again? Absolutely.
The tohatsu 20 (which is also the mercury and the Nissan) is about 20 pounds lighter and a couple hundred dollars more, depending on configuration of course. Ours is elec everything, wheel steer, love it. They seem to be the popular tender choice these days. Fuel injected like the zuke. If you are tiller steering the merc has the best tiller. All these new FI four stroke small motors are light years above anything from ten years ago. Good luck!
"The tohatsu 20 (which is also the mercury and the Nissan) is about 20 pounds lighter"

Any chance you can post those weight specs?
Hey sorry no I don’t have actual #s on specific models. Easy to find online tho. Not sure if the zuke is a new model but the tohatsu 20 is about 100 lbs. like I said they are all good motors.
Current midel Suzuki short shaft manual start is 97.0 Lb. Tohatsu is 95.0 Lb. I'm in the market and have had great luck owning Suzuki so I am going to eat the 2 Lb and get a Suzuki. You can verify these weights on their respective website.

The website that I posted earlier is good for comparing. you can search by HP, brand, price, etc. I had the weights posted in the search last night but now can't figure out how I got it, but here's a page by horsepower. You can click on a motor and the specs are right there.

Our DF20 is short shaft and manual tilt so it is the 97 pounder. Wife and I weigh a hefty 500lbs and we can almost never open the throttle all the way unless it is perfectly calm. We could easier pull a skier with our aluminum bottom RIB it has so much power.


In my opinion, Yamaha and Suzuki own the saltwater market and Mercury is still is a little more popular with the bass fishing circuit due to their 'hole shot' quickness, although Mercury is making some inroads with the big center consoles that are getting popular.
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