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Author Topic:   On the Watchtower: HONDA BF250
jimh posted 08-29-2011 10:47 PM ET (US)   Profile for jimh   Send Email to jimh  
At the Miami International Boat Show in February, 2011, HONDA showed the public a concept engine they called the BF250, a 250-HP outboard which they said would be coming to market sometime "later this year," which can be reasonably interpreted as meaning sometime in 2011. We only have four months remaining in 2011. Let's keep a watch for the new engine from Honda.

The concept engine was said to be based on a "unique" 3.6-liter block, presumably a V6 design. Some observers have speculated the engine will be based on the 3.5-liter V6 automobile engine used in some models of Honda Mini-Van vehicles and Accura MDX SUV vehicles. In the automotive applications the 3.5-liter engine develops 265-HP and 253 lb·ft of torque. However, by calling the 3.6-liter marine engine a "unique" design, there is also room for speculation that the engine will not be a direct derivative of an automotive block.

The BF250 will utilize all the proven technology of other Honda high-performance outboard engines, including:

--VTEC, a well-proven system of variable cam phasing used extensively in many Honda engines, both automotive and marine, to extend horsepower and torque curves;

--BLAST, or boosted low speed torque, implemented with variable ignition spark timing and air-fuel ratio changes to enhance acceleration;

--LEAN BURN CONTROL, for improved fuel economy by using lean fuel:air mixtures as much as possible; and,

--NMEA-2000, permitting direct connection of the engine to NMEA-2000 networks for instrumentation using this widely adopted marine network standard.

The BF250 will also surely incorporated oxygen sensors for closed-loop control of the combustion process, and knock sensors to protect against knock from poor quality fuel and other variables.

The concept engine also showed some new cowling styling, giving the Honda a more modern look. Many images of the BF250 as seen at various boat shows have been posted on the world wide web. See rls=en&prmd=ivns&tbm=isch&tbo=u&source=univ&sa=X& ei=B05cTvzWMsTu0gGCrPnXAg&ved=0CBkQsAQ&biw=1098&bih=687

More reading:

Honda Press Release on February Concept Engine:

Perry posted 08-30-2011 12:29 AM ET (US)     Profile for Perry  Send Email to Perry     
It's about time Honda beefed up their offering beyond 225 HP. Too bad it doesn't match Yamaha Suzuki, Evinrude and Mercury with 300 HP.

I'm sure it will be an advanced motor and I'm curious to find out how much it is going to weigh.

Perhaps it will be based on Acura's 3664 cc V6 that produces 305 HP and 273 ft. lbs of torque.

martyn1075 posted 08-30-2011 12:54 AM ET (US)     Profile for martyn1075  Send Email to martyn1075     
Yes weight would interest me as well not that I am in the market to buy one but if one could get more power out of their 250 and weight was very close or hopefully lighter then its smaller brother 225 it would be a great selling feature for Honda. More power to spare from a Four-stroke is not a bad thing!
contender posted 08-30-2011 08:11 AM ET (US)     Profile for contender  Send Email to contender     
Jim: I'm not knocking the Honda's but I live in Ft Lauderdale (probably one of the largest boating areas in the US) and do not know, can think of one dealer off the top of my head, that carries Honda's or Suzuki (Dusky had Suzuki them but dropped them). Until they have a better dealer representation I would never consider purchasing one. They are both probably very good engines but everything breaks and if I can not get parts what good are they....
Peter posted 08-30-2011 08:31 AM ET (US)     Profile for Peter  Send Email to Peter     
Honda marine relies on its automotive sister company for powerhead R&D on the larger motors. So until the automotive sister company develops a more powerful motor for the automobile that can withstand the marine duty cycle, Honda Marine won't have a more powerful outboard motor.

The duty cycle for a powerhead pushing a boat is at least 3 times as high as it is for a car. You can easily see this by comparing the average hourly fuel consumption for a car versus a boat. For example, the 3.2L 255 HP V6 in my car burns an average of about 1.5 GPH during an entire week of commuting 250 to 300 miles with about 80 percent of that at reasonbly high highway speeds. At 1.5 GPH, a boat with a 255 HP V6, such as a Revenge 22 WD, would not have put much distance under the hull during those same 8 hours.

jimh posted 08-30-2011 08:38 AM ET (US)     Profile for jimh  Send Email to jimh     
Yes, it's the same story here in SE Michigan. HONDA does not have good representation in dealers. There are dealers, but they're mostly small shops on inland lakes that sell pontoon boats with 40-HP engines. Or non-boat shops that sell generators and the occasional 5-HP outboard.

As I recall, it was in early 2002 that Honda was showing its new 225-HP engine, which introduced variable valve timing (VTEC) to four-cycle outboard engines. We have been waiting over nine years for the next big thing from Honda. They have had plenty of time to get the BF250 engineered to the Honda standard of excellence. Maybe it will appear in time for the Fall boat shows.

Most of the Honda outboards I see are in pairs on the transom of S.A.F.E. boats. They are reported to be very reliable and to have racked up thousands of hours of trouble-free operation.

jimh posted 08-30-2011 08:53 AM ET (US)     Profile for jimh  Send Email to jimh     
Re automobile duty cycle versus marine duty cycle: most automobile engines spend their time, say 80-percent, at low engine speeds, probably under 2,000-RPM, while loafing along maintaining a steady speed on level ground. It is only acceleration that causes the engine to burn more fuel.

With marine engines probably 40-percent of their operating time is at 2,000-RPM or less. It's that other 60-percent, however, when the marine engine is running above 2,000-RPM, that makes the difference between them and automotive engines so wide.

With my car, I am averaging 32-miles-per-gallon and probably at least 32-miles-per-hour. That works out to a fuel burn rate of 1-gallon-per-hour. From my reasonably accurate records of marine engine use, I have fuel burn rates from 4 to 6-GPH on typical weeks of cruising long distances. That is a lot more fuel going through my marine engine.

However, my truck engine is used primarily for towing the boat, where we average about 45-MPH and get 11-MPG. That is a fuel rate of 4-GPH in the truck engine, putting it more on a par with a marine engine. I think the truck engine duty cycle is probably similar to a marine engine. In fact, the truck engine, a GM 5.7-liter V8, is a very popular marine engine for inboard and sterndrive applications.

cbone posted 08-30-2011 01:23 PM ET (US)     Profile for cbone  Send Email to cbone     
Honda Marine always made me wonder what their main goal in the marine industry is.

They certainly have the resources and ability to be a key player in the marine industry but they obviously make a conscience decision not to jump in. They make a great product in every other market and I like their OB engines but they have never taken it to the next level.

I always thought they could take over the sterndrive market if they ever wanted to with all of their resources and also be a top manufacturer in OB.

While I am happy to see a 250hp, I was let down as I was expecting at least a 275hp/300hp. 25hp over the 225hp was nothing earth shaking.

jimh posted 08-30-2011 02:13 PM ET (US)     Profile for jimh  Send Email to jimh     
This is completely speculative, but perhaps the concept BF250 engine is based on the Honda J-series engine called the J37. The J37 uses an aluminum block, saving weight, and that would make it ideal for use as an outboard. The displacement is 3.66-liters, and that fits, too. The automobile applications give the engine a 300-HP rating, so there should not be much trouble to make 250-HP as an outboard. For more on the J37 see


jimh posted 08-30-2011 02:18 PM ET (US)     Profile for jimh  Send Email to jimh     
There is more detail about the J37 engine as used in the Acura automobile. Many of the features make this engine sound like a good candidate for adaptation to marine outboard use. Everything seems to have been engineered for light weight but high strength--just what you need in an outboard. See 2010-acura-zdx-powertrain

leadsled posted 08-30-2011 02:26 PM ET (US)     Profile for leadsled  Send Email to leadsled     
Who says the engine/powerhead has to be made by Honda.They could have some other company supply the powerhead like Westerbeke does with their generators. When I worked for Westerbeke they bought engines from at least five different companies from different countries. Does Yamaha use a lexus v-8 for their large outboard?
L H G posted 08-30-2011 02:26 PM ET (US)     Profile for L H G    

To give this thread some life, Jim needs to label this engine also with some derogatory term like the Mercury VERADOSAURUS. So the Honda people will get upset and pile on.

Then maybe we will get some interesting 110 posts. But in the meantime, boring! 250HP or even 300 is nothing today in a new engine. They've been asleep at the wheel for 10 years. Mercury and Yamaha DOMINATE the high horsepower market, with Suzuki a distant third, so this is just a blip, and not likely to make much difference to the others.

Peter posted 08-30-2011 02:56 PM ET (US)     Profile for Peter  Send Email to Peter     
I think the reason that Honda doesn't get too excited about the outboard motor market is that its absolutely tiny compared to the automobile market. The outboard market is just a hobby for them. The 250 HP niche of the outboard motor market is even smaller and they would only serve a small fraction of that.

So basically, the way Honda seems to work is to first come out with an automobile engine and then Honda Marine takes whatever is available off the shelf and marinizes it to take on the duty of an outboard motor powerhead. I don't think you will ever see a large displacement Honda outboard motor powerhead that is not a derivative of one of their automobile engines.

The 3.7L motor could make for a 250 HP outboard powerhead but I think it would be a weak one in view of Yamaha's 4.2L 4-stroke, Evinrude's 3.4L DFI 2-stroke and even the still quite hefty Verado 250.

jimh posted 08-30-2011 02:57 PM ET (US)     Profile for jimh  Send Email to jimh     
Larry--You miss the boat, again. Honda gave this engine a distinctive name: BF250. Game over for you.
dnh posted 08-30-2011 03:48 PM ET (US)     Profile for dnh  Send Email to dnh     
Honda has to have the most boring, ugly, blah engine cowling and graphics known to man.

A BF 250.


jimh posted 08-30-2011 03:57 PM ET (US)     Profile for jimh  Send Email to jimh     
The Honda concept engine called the BF250 is remarkable. I compare it in the context raised by LHG and other relative to the VERADOSAURUS:

--the BF250 has a new engine block. L H G informs us (in his comments about VERADOSAURUS) that development of new engine blocks is always to be encouraged, ergo the BF250 is to be praised and encouraged;

--the BF250, if a derivative of the J37, could likely be made in the USA. The J37 is made in Ohio, ergo the BF250 is to be praised on the basis it comes from American manufacturing platns;

--the BF250 maintains or improves on all the prior technology of the BF225. This is known as an evolutionary technology product, as opposed to products in which manufacturers revert their technology to previous, less sophisticated levels of technology, or de-evolutionary products. To heap praise on de-evolutionary products yet criticize evolutionary products seem to me to show inconsistent reasoning, in fact, almost no reasoning--perhaps emotions or feelings have over-ridden reasoning in those who want to praise de-evolutionary products but have criticism for evolutionary products.

andygere posted 08-30-2011 04:14 PM ET (US)     Profile for andygere  Send Email to andygere     
Honda finally has an outboard rated at 250 hp. That is remarkable.

The motor was announced at the Miami boat show in February, but the motor is still not available to consumers. That is remarkable.

If the production motor somehow weighs in at less than 600 pounds, that will be remarkable.

If the production motor is anything other than a rehashed automobile engine, that will be remarkable.

To Larry's point, a clever nickname would liven things up. I suspect that Honda's initials BF stand for Bloated & Fat...

<stirring it up a little and watching from the sidelines>

L H G posted 08-30-2011 04:28 PM ET (US)     Profile for L H G    
I have never seen a Honda outboard with "BF" graphics on it. All I have seen say Honda "FOUR STROKE". As a matter of fact, all of the Japanese engines just say "FOUR STROKE" or "EFI FOUR STROKE" on the cowls, just like the Merc's do. What does "BF" stand for? They don't call their engine's BF's do they? Doesn't sound too brilliant to me. It seems to me that any engine manufacturer could call their four stroke 150's F150, or DF150, or whatever. No big deal, and who cares?

Isn't "BF" some manufacturer's internal designation, just like Mercury's L4NA on the 75-115 four strokes?

I always think of "BF" as Mercury's Big Foot (gearcase) designation.

jimh posted 08-30-2011 06:05 PM ET (US)     Profile for jimh  Send Email to jimh     
BF250 is Honda's model name for their 250-HP engine. Honda gives their product clear and unambiguous model names, so it is easy to know what you're talking about. Honda uses BF250 all over the place to refer to the engine. Read their press release (that I linked to above). They use BF250 in the headline and in the text, multiple times.

But, again, I don't know why we have to wander off track talking about the BF250 model name. It is not important. It is more important to talk about the engine, not its name.

Yes, I think that "BF" could be an acronym, and "B" would be "big". The other letter has several possible meanings. The B-52 bomber is known as a BUFF, again, an acronym where "B" is big.

Honda embodies the Japanese engineering method. They will begin production of the BF250 when they have perfected it. It is considered dishonorable to release a product and then have to immediately make changes or fixes to the product. That is not the Japanese way of engineering products. Note that their press release talks about the moral obligation of the Honda company to make a product that has low emissions and good fuel economy. They feel a moral imperative to make good products.

Boaters who base engine selection on cowling graphics are probably not classic Boston Whaler boat fans. I don't see the cowling design of the BF250 as being particularly central to the value of the engine.

I think the BF250 could be a popular engine for re-power of older classic Boston Whaler boats in the 25-foot range, or for 22-footers with Whaler Drive.

martyn1075 posted 08-30-2011 06:07 PM ET (US)     Profile for martyn1075  Send Email to martyn1075     
I think of Honda I think of a darn good engine BUT in the smaller range such as the 50-90 range. I don't see too many big ones out there and I have heard they are weird on sensor errors going off all the time. The big market as mentioned belong to other companies Im sure this is not a surprise to Honda but they just know where they stand.

If they give it a go with a 250 or higher its probably because they have been working on a new design for awhile and might just be a product that is cutting edge. We will see I guess. Honda is like this they study the market build it carefully and release it. Everybody thinks the Ridgeline is toast I doubt that very much they are quite aware of what needs to be done to compete but Im sure they will make some of those improvements but bring back a truck that has Honda stamp on it as as well. They are different but smart people behind their products.


jimh posted 08-30-2011 06:11 PM ET (US)     Profile for jimh  Send Email to jimh     
Leadsled asks this rather odd question:

"Who says the engine [or] powerhead has to be made by Honda[?]"

He then cites the behavior of Westerbeke as an example of a company that buys engines from other companies and markets them.

Honda is the largest producer of engines in the world, so it would be unlikely they would buy an engine from someone else and use it in a product with the HONDA name on it. Also, I don't see how anyone would think that Honda's actions would be bound or influenced by Westerbeke's business practice. That makes no sense.

I can't see any notion or basis why Honda would re-badge another brand and call it Honda. The only outboard maker who has a (long) history of selling engines they did not make themselves is Mercury. Honda is not Mercury, in so many ways.

andrey320 posted 08-30-2011 06:59 PM ET (US)     Profile for andrey320  Send Email to andrey320     
Don't know about the rest of the west coast, but I have two big Honda marine shops within 50 miles of me. That's why I just got a 2010 BF60 hung on the back of my Dauntless 15.

I hear that Honda isn't actively pursuing the marine market because they are concentrating on the aviation one.

Perry posted 08-30-2011 07:17 PM ET (US)     Profile for Perry  Send Email to Perry     
Honda has never re-badged an outboard motor and I don't see them doing it now with the BF250. Nissan actually re-badges Honda motors.

The two places I boat the most is Hawaii and Alaska and Honda has a large presence in both areas. Probably because of heavy commercial use.

Most recreational boaters have 50 HP to 115 HP motors on their boats so the market isn't huge for 250+ HP outboards but it is nice to have a new flagship motor to add to their line-up.

Sourpuss1 posted 08-30-2011 07:53 PM ET (US)     Profile for Sourpuss1  Send Email to Sourpuss1     
It's a HONDA.
As an American, I make every attempt to buy American made products. This is not easy, I know.
What is wrong with you guys? Stop supporting foreign manufacturers whenever possible. Honda, Suzuki, Tohatsu,Yamaha, Nissan? Sadley, I would rather read a thread about 20 year old Mercury tower of power outboards or LHG scowling at e-tecs than Japanese outboards.
Stepping off my soap box now.....
jimh posted 08-30-2011 08:10 PM ET (US)     Profile for jimh  Send Email to jimh     
sourpuss'--you must be kidding. Most outboard motors sold by Mercury are made in Asia by Tohatsu. The Honda J37 engine is made in Ohio. Honda employes more people in the USA than Brunswick.
dnh posted 08-30-2011 11:19 PM ET (US)     Profile for dnh  Send Email to dnh     
I respectfully disagree. I think cowling graphics are very important and for me the main reason to choose an outboard. The Bombardier Evinrudes cloaked in American flags are the best. I guess the maple leaf version did not make production.

I'm hoping to get a rising sun logo for my Yamaha F250. The colors would perfect match the classic red Boston Whaler logo and harpoon on my Outrage 21. Plus, the tie in with Japanese and whaling would be great as well.

Thus, again, cowling graphics are important when selecting a motor. Much more so than technology. Even more so than if the Canucks across the lake are churning out 2 stroke engines in 2011 - as long as they have American flags on them.

martyn1075 posted 08-31-2011 02:57 AM ET (US)     Profile for martyn1075  Send Email to martyn1075     
Ok so it sounds to me that the Mercury products are not from USA? Im confused.
It was my understanding that Mercury was indeed created and designed by a team of individuals (engineers) hired by Mercury USA and some batches of engines are assembled in parts of Asia by a team that works in partnership with the brains of the product in the USA. Is the correct or am I wrong.

There is no doubt I would prefer to see Americans hired in all areas of Mercury's product line. The bottom line for me is that the product works as advertised and is well tested to assure quality so that if we choose to stand by a American created product we get our money's worth and not a lemon due to a short cut made at the top.

Back to to Honda I think quality control and reliability is where they are strong as company. I will give them a little respect in that regard.

jimh posted 08-31-2011 08:44 AM ET (US)     Profile for jimh  Send Email to jimh     
According to the press release, we may not have yet seen the this new Honda four-cycle powerhouse engine in its final form. The BF250 is said to be going to have

"...a striking, sophisticated and elegant new exterior design that will be revealed when the production model BF250 engine is offered for sale later this year."

Peter posted 08-31-2011 09:41 AM ET (US)     Profile for Peter  Send Email to Peter     
Even more so than if the Canucks across the lake are churning out 2 stroke engines in 2011 - as long as they have American flags on them.

When did Wisconsin become part of Canada?

jimh posted 08-31-2011 09:46 AM ET (US)     Profile for jimh  Send Email to jimh     
Perhaps we could stop all the flag waving and jingoistic comments and get back to outboard engines, please.
Peter posted 08-31-2011 09:56 AM ET (US)     Profile for Peter  Send Email to Peter     
Hopefully Honda did not hire the exterior designers of the Mercury 90/115 FourStroke to come up with the "striking, sophisticated and elegant new exterior design".
dnh posted 08-31-2011 10:22 AM ET (US)     Profile for dnh  Send Email to dnh     
My posts in this thread have been admittedly useless and offtopic, but I find myself funny at times.

Feel free to delete them.

I am happy to see that the Honda BF 250 is going to have an exciting new design if it ever comes out.

It will be interesting to see the pricing. For instance, Yamaha offers two version of a 250 HP four stroke outboard. The same one it has been offering for some time , which can bolt on to conventional Yamaha cable controls, and another fly-by-wire model that costs $10,000.00 more and requires digital controls.

(Note each of the hyperlinks is to a group of 3 engines, but one click away from a the two different F250s).

If the BF250 is to be used to retrofit Whalers, hopefully it will be price competitive and be able to use cable controls. At one point Honda outboards used Yamaha controls (c. 2000).

L H G posted 08-31-2011 02:19 PM ET (US)     Profile for L H G    
Getting back to outboard engines, Jim's post in response to Martyn fascinates me for what *I* believe to be patently false information, misleading content and what he likes to cal "FUD":

"Most outboard motors sold by Mercury are made in Asia by Tohatsu."

Not knowing what Jim's term "most" means, it would have to be well over 50%. So Jim is saying that well over 50% of Mercury's total outboard engine sales are product 30HP and less, made by the Mercury/Tohatsu Joint Venture Corporation.

Considering that the highest selling line of 2-stroke DFI's (Optimax) are made in Wisconsin, and that the entire line of Verado platform 4-strokes, 75-350HP are made in Wisconsin, and that almost all of the major componets (like short blocks, mid's and gearcases) for the 40, 50 and 60 HP 4-strokes are made in Wisconsin, I find Jim's statement false.

But I am willing to be shown real data that indicates "Most outboard motors sold by Mercury are made in Asia by Tohatsu", and admit that I am wrong. I currently own 8 Mercury 2-stroke outboards, 90-200HP, and all were made in Wisconsin. I don't buy foreign stuff like that either if there is anyway I can avoid it.

jimh posted 08-31-2011 04:03 PM ET (US)     Profile for jimh  Send Email to jimh     
My comment is based on this: all the outboards Mercury sells of around 75-HP or less are made in Asia. Smaller outboards outsell bigger ones. Ergo, most outboard Mercury sells are made in Asia.

Other than in a two-mile radius around Larry's winter home in Florida, most boats in the USA are not running triple VERADO outboard engines. Larry's exposure to engine popularity is somewhat skewed by his view of the canal cruisers of the AIWW between Boca and Miami. I see about 500 boats with engines of less than 75-HP for each boat I see with a VERADO in the Great Lakes. In 25-years on the Great Lakes I can only recall seeing three OptiMax motors, so the ratio of OptiMax to general outboard motors must be about 5,000:1.

Of course, I may be a victim of my own view. I do a lot of boating on the Great Lakes--I have been on all five Great Lakes in the past two or three years. I see a fair number of boats of all sizes with outboard motors, and the overwhelming majority of them are smaller boats with motors of less than 75-HP.

Of course, there are no hard numbers behind my statements, but Larry has been making statements about sales volumes--for example he recently said that Mercury and Yamaha dominate a particular market segment and gave no supporting data--for years and years. Having no hard numbers is not generally seen as illegal procedure in our game. However, just making stuff up out of thin air is a minor penalty--five yards and loss of down.

If Mercury Marine got into the business of making engines in Asia just as a teenie-weenie sideline to their main production in the United States, it would not make sense. You won't get a payback from investing in manufacturing in Asia unless you move a lot of manufacturing to Asia. Manufacturing in Asia is not a little sideline activity for Mercury Marine; it is a major component of their outboard manufacturing business.

Now it could well be that the total revenue generated by sales of outboard engines made in Asia for Mercury is less than the revenue generated by outboard engines made in Wisconsin because the higher power engines are much more expensive, but I very strongly believe the unit numbers are bigger for Asia. Just look around and see how many 2-HP to 75-HP outboards there are for every VERADO you see. As long as you are not cruising the AIWW around the Hillsboro Inlet, you are going to see many more small outboard boats than VERADO boats.

WT posted 08-31-2011 04:37 PM ET (US)     Profile for WT  Send Email to WT     
Looks like Mercury Marine has 8 manufacturing locations.


jimh posted 08-31-2011 05:02 PM ET (US)     Profile for jimh  Send Email to jimh     
Really, could we get back to outboard motors, and get off the Jingoism and blind brand loyalty that seems to jump into play in discussions like this.

I missed any mention of the BF250 at Miami, or if I did see it I have forgotten about it. I'd like to watch for the 2011 introduction of the BF250. It should be an interesting new option for anyone thinking about a new outboard motor in that horsepower range.

jimh posted 08-31-2011 05:10 PM ET (US)     Profile for jimh  Send Email to jimh     
Warren--Mercury makes outboard engines primarily in Wisconsin or in Asia. They're in the process of shutting down Stillwater. They make electrical stuff in Mexico--which some customers say explains the reliability of Mercury electrical components. They just announced they're selling off some European manufacturing facility. I think they make some old two-cycle engine down South somewhere.

As Larry explained, they have been consolidating their manufacturing. They're selling expensive to manufacture products at less than fair market value and their margins are low.

But let's get back to Honda, please.

jimh posted 08-31-2011 05:21 PM ET (US)     Profile for jimh  Send Email to jimh     
I have the feeling that Honda outboard engines may be more popular on the West Coast of the USA, for several reasons. Most obvious, the freight to import them is lower on the West Coast, and the distribution channel is better for dealers out there. Also, I think there is much less anti-Japan brand bias on the West Coast. Around the Midwest there are many manufacturing workers who have been affected by Japanese car imports and other imported manufactured products, and there used to be (and perhaps still is) an anti-import sentiment.

The Honda four-cycle engine was the engine of choice for the S.A.F.E boat, and that was all you'd see on Coast Guard S.A.F.E. boats for years--twin Honda four-cycle 225-HP engines. It was frequently commented that our government ought not to be buying imported outboard engines for their boats. That sort of comment is another example of anti-import feeling.

Honda outboards have always seemed to be most popular with boaters who actually use their boats a lot, people who rack up many hours of operation each season. The reliability and durability of Honda four-cycle engines makes them particularly appealing for commercial users. I think you will tend to see more Honda outboards on the coasts, working, and in saltwater. You don't see them much on bass boats.

andrey320 posted 08-31-2011 05:41 PM ET (US)     Profile for andrey320  Send Email to andrey320     
Jim, I think another reason Honda is not too popular with recreational boaters is the cost. The BF60 I just got had an MSRP price of close to $10,000! That is several thousands more than the competition. Mine was a left-over model from 2010 that was hanging on an inflatable that sold - it was priced in line with the competition.

Commercial boaters may be able to either not pay too much attention to the initial cost or justify the price difference.

onlyawhaler posted 08-31-2011 05:42 PM ET (US)     Profile for onlyawhaler  Send Email to onlyawhaler     
My experience with Honda has been excellent. From two motorcyles, generator, lawnmower, two civics, one accord and yes, a 25cc weedwhipper in a 4 stroke. Everyone flawless.

If memory serves me correctly, Honda was the first to really make a 4 stroke outboard commercially viable. Not the first to make one, but have it really successful. They were making 4 stroke trolling motors when everyone else was making two strokes for the last 25 plus years.

My opinion is that Honda picks and chooses their market and generally hits it out of the park when they want to and it is commercially viable. The outboard market is different, limited, transoms held captive and Honda has been a late comer to the bigger displacement models. Perhaps too late to make it big.

I think Honda makes great outboards. Probably not a lot of incentive in this paticular market segment.--Sterling

number9 posted 09-01-2011 01:11 AM ET (US)     Profile for number9  Send Email to number9     
You may want to get off the watchtower for a while. The vintage press release was pre-Earthquake and may not be on their front burner for a while.
jimh posted 09-01-2011 08:33 AM ET (US)     Profile for jimh  Send Email to jimh     
On the notion that Honda might use someone else's engine in a product sold under the Honda name, it should also be noted that Honda is a huge OEM engine maker. Small Honda engines are sold by the millions to many other manufacturers who then incorporate the Honda engine into products sold under another brand name. I have never heard of the reverse happening.
leadsled posted 09-02-2011 01:15 PM ET (US)     Profile for leadsled  Send Email to leadsled     
An outboard motor is a lot more than an engine block and pistons. If Honda expects to compete in the large, over-300-HP outboard market, then it will have to swallow its pride and have someone else make the long block. Honda could build everything else around it. I bet that the actual engine block and internal parts like pistons and crankshaft are a small part of the cost of building a high-tech outboard. When I worked for Westerbeke, they would take someone else's long block and bolt all the other parts onto it. The longblock was a small part of the cost of making a $5,000 to $25,000 generator. They used gas and diesel engines from at least five companies. Unless Honda comes out with a 300-HP V8 Accord I don't see them making a large outboard themselves.
jimh posted 09-06-2011 07:39 AM ET (US)     Profile for jimh  Send Email to jimh     
I don't follow the logic or reasoning given above at all. If the basic long block is only a small fraction of the cost, why wouldn't Honda, the world's largest manufacturer of engines, make it themselves. I can understand why a much smaller engine manufacturer like Westerbeke might buy a block made by Honda, but I don't see that Honda would necessarily buy a block from Westerbeke or someone else.

Again, in their past we see that small engine manufacturers for boutique applications like Westerbeke commonly bought blocks from other engine manufacturers and then dressed them for a particular purpose, but in Honda's past they have never done this, preferring to make their own engines. So while past practice shows others have done this, it shows Honda has never done this.

It is important to recall Honda's participation in very advanced motor racing. Honda has competed in international motor racing at a very high level. At the Formula 1 level, the ultimate in competition, Honda engines have won 72 races. If Honda can built a low-volume production Formula 1 engine that wins races, I suspect they can probably build their own 250-HP outboard engine.

I don't see where we have established a mandate for Honda to make an outboard engine of over 300-HP. Honda announced a 250-HP outboard and said it will be built on a new 3.6-liter engine that is has not been previously used in their outboard engines. It could be that in the future the new engine design has the potential to be pushed to more power output, but for the moment Honda will be making a 250-HP engine with it. Honda have not indicated plans to make outboard engines with more than 300-HP, and it seems completely speculative to conjecture that they will, and then to conjecture that in order to make such an engine they would have to buy it from someone else.

Whaler27 posted 09-06-2011 09:02 PM ET (US)     Profile for Whaler27  Send Email to Whaler27     
I need to repower a Whaler25. I would love a Honda 300 to replace the 2 aging Yamaha 175's.

I would like to repower a 32' Whaler with twin 400's. Was hoping Honda or Yamaha would reach into their bag of tricks because three motors is too heavy on the transom and the wallet.

Imho, Honda makes some of the best 4 stroke engine products on the planet. My 1969 Honda Trail 70 still fires on the first kick. They make basically the same motor today for similar applications.

martyn1075 posted 09-07-2011 01:17 AM ET (US)     Profile for martyn1075  Send Email to martyn1075     
Honda makes a great V6 thats their thing its their strength. They are reliable quite strong and in some of their cars minus the Ridgeline although ample power is not a good example of a good fuel economy vehicle. Have they dared to make V8 ever? Not that I know of it seems to be a technology they do not want to enter and I think if we are going to look at their car market in regards to their power-train technology that carries a bit to their outboards its something that is missing. Interesting enough the outdated Ridgeling is screaming for a larger base truck design which many would agree needs a bigger engine (V8) or a diesel option. I don't have faith it will happen but if it does the technology may eventually turn into a V8 outboard but again it doesn't seem to interest them.


Whaler27 posted 09-07-2011 08:56 PM ET (US)     Profile for Whaler27  Send Email to Whaler27     
Come on Honda has been making a V-8 racing motor for years, check out their 2011 Indy model (see link)

They have used racing of all kinds to gain a technological edge on other engine builders.

martyn1075 posted 09-08-2011 12:00 PM ET (US)     Profile for martyn1075  Send Email to martyn1075     
Really?? come on I am talking about their model lineup you know, what the general public has a chance to buy? not some rare indie race track car.

V6 V6 V6 thats what they like thats what they do best and that's what is actually offered. Its not bad thing they know their market they go for it and do it well. Not a V8 not yet at least.

I would like to see it happen but I am not holding my breath quite yet.

jimh posted 09-19-2011 10:46 PM ET (US)     Profile for jimh  Send Email to jimh     
It is being said that HONDA will reveal the new BF250 engine on October 1, 2011. Stay tuned for details following the official announcement.
c_mccann posted 09-21-2011 11:27 PM ET (US)     Profile for c_mccann  Send Email to c_mccann     
I have seen the 250 motor at my local Honda dealer being rigged on a boat for testing. I, too, have wondered why only a 250, when the industry has a threshold of 350hp now. But, Hondas are overbuilt from the get go and rely on repower jobs versus selling them on new transoms. There must be a market study to support their decision. Case in point- I have a BF225 on my whaler, according to my dealer, can support 300hp with a new ECM only- like chipping a auto. The pistons, cam, build of the block, etc. can withstand putting out more hp, but Honda must have a reservation with it as they have let the industry flash past them in the hp/weight race... But- my dealer has harbor patrol and Coast Guard motors (dozens) that are in the 8000 hour mark, how many can the other mfg's claim at that mark? He has repowered hulls with Verado, Etec, Suzuki and Yamahas to Hondas for government and industrial boats, with most of those motors having 2000 hours or less on them. Granted, those type of applications are harsh duty for any motor, but seeing the hour meters on some of the Hondas on boats that have been sunk, run out of oil, abused (think of a framer's hammer) and still running is a testament to Honda quality. This is not a Honda vs anything post, simply my observations of a shop that keeps together 300 plus Hondas in environments that punish them.
jimh posted 10-02-2011 09:50 PM ET (US)     Profile for jimh  Send Email to jimh     
Here is the official October 1, 2011 news release on the new HONDA BF250:

HONDA says they have improved power, performance, and fuel economy. It is easy to believe the power has improved: 250-HP is more power than any previous HONDA outboard engine. Performance improvement is related to horsepower, so it is natural that with more horsepower there should be improved performance. Improved fuel economy is harder to believe. HONDA was already considered to have the best fuel economy of any of the four-cycle outboard engines. To see an improvement from their best position will take some effort and engineering. Here is what HONDA says they have done:

The all-new Honda BF250 is designed with Lean Burn Control, a feature that automatically adjusts the air/fuel mix according to speed and load while maximizing power throughout the acceleration range - providing as much as 20 percent greater fuel economy in cruise mode (2,000 to 4,500 rpm). Lean Burn Control has been enhanced on the BF250 to improve fuel efficiency even further in specific cruising ranges, resulting in best-in-class fuel economy: 16 -30 percent better than competitive models, depending on specific running conditions.

Also interesting is the new HONDA marine direct air induction system, said to be a first.

The all-new Honda BF250 engine incorporates the world's first marine direct air induction system of its type on a production outboard (providing for cooler, denser air for combustion than conventional under-cowl induction systems), whereby cool air is drawn into the upper intake vents; any moisture is separated from the incoming air which then is inducted into the throttle body. The overall result is increased power.

The design of the variable air intake system on the Honda BF250 also includes a large air-intake silencer that reduces noise. The silencing effect results from a chamber being added to the intake passage - causing sound waves to interfere with one another -- creating a side branch effect that quiets noise.

jimh posted 10-02-2011 09:57 PM ET (US)     Profile for jimh  Send Email to jimh     
There is an interesting video that showcases the BF250 playing at

onlyawhaler posted 10-02-2011 10:39 PM ET (US)     Profile for onlyawhaler  Send Email to onlyawhaler     
Great looking engine. Impressive 5 year non declining warranty from the factory


jimh posted 10-03-2011 08:12 AM ET (US)     Profile for jimh  Send Email to jimh     
More details on the new HONDA BF250 are given at

Perry posted 10-03-2011 02:47 PM ET (US)     Profile for Perry  Send Email to Perry     
Interesting information regarding the technecial specs for the new BF250. It's displacement is 3583 CC's and Honda does not seem to manufacture this particular motor in it's automotive lineup. Neither does Acura.

But it's looks familiar to the 3.5 liter motor Honda mass produces for their on road vehicles and the BF225. It shares the same bore of 89 mm but has a longer stroke of 96 mm compared to the BF225's 93 mm.

I appears Honda stroked the 3471 cc motor to increase it's displacment to 3583 cc's for the BF250.

Peter posted 10-03-2011 06:13 PM ET (US)     Profile for Peter  Send Email to Peter     
Exactly, they added 3mm of stroke to the motor. The Honda V6 is unusual in the crowd of V6 outboard motor powerheads. It has a long stroke (more stroke than bore). All of the other outboard V6 makers (Suzuki, Mercury, Evinrude and Yamaha) use a short stroke motor (more bore than stroke).

By using a 2:1 gear ratio instead of a 1.86:1 ratio and having the motor spin up to 6300 RPM instead of 6000 RPM, the 250 will likely use the same pitch propeller as the 225 for the same boat application. This should provide a slightly higher top speed and a bit better hole shot than the 225.

jimh posted 10-03-2011 10:02 PM ET (US)     Profile for jimh  Send Email to jimh     
The Lean Burn technology employs a stratified charge in the combustion chamber. Through careful engineering of the combustion chamber, it is possible to create an area or cloud of fuel and air near the spark plug which has a fuel-rich fuel-air ratio and can be easily ignited by the ignition spark plug. The flame from this mixture sets burning the rest of the fuel, which is in a lean fuel-air mixture. If this technique can be controlled at moderate throttle levels, such as when on cruise, the fuel economy can be improved. See

Honda seems to have perfected this technique and can use it at higher engine speeds to pull out the best efficiency and fuel economy.

bluewaterpirate posted 10-03-2011 10:09 PM ET (US)     Profile for bluewaterpirate  Send Email to bluewaterpirate     
Now, if they only had a dealer network.
Mambo Minnow posted 10-04-2011 07:53 AM ET (US)     Profile for Mambo Minnow  Send Email to Mambo Minnow     
It weighs as much as a Verado...over 600 lbs!
Peter posted 10-04-2011 07:53 AM ET (US)     Profile for Peter  Send Email to Peter     
I didn't find any mention in Honda's information segment on lean burn control that it uses stratified charging. Per the Wiki article

This lean-burn ability by the necessity of the limits of physics, and the chemistry of combustion as it applies to a current gasoline engine must be limited to light load and lower RPM conditions.

I don't think cruising at 3000 to 4500 RPM would qualify as light load and low RPM conditions. I believe that use of stratified charging is still limited to light load, low load speeds as is the case when used by the DFI 2-stroke motors.

Perry posted 10-04-2011 01:09 PM ET (US)     Profile for Perry  Send Email to Perry     
It weighs as much as a Verado...over 600 lbs!

Although the BF250 isn't as light as the F250 or DF250 it's still 35 lbs. lighter than the Verado 250.

Mambo Minnow posted 10-04-2011 02:34 PM ET (US)     Profile for Mambo Minnow  Send Email to Mambo Minnow     
613 lbs for a 25 inch shaft...anything over 600 lbs is not competitive with the next generation of four strokes just introduced by Yamaha and now Mercury.
L H G posted 10-04-2011 03:43 PM ET (US)     Profile for L H G    
In conclusion [actually, these remarks will not be the conclusion of the discussion, as readers can already see by the additional remarks that follow--jimh], as nice an offering as [the HONDA BF250] may be, it doesn't appear that this engine will worsen the already disasterous US Trade Deficit with Japan. [I think that is a convoluted way to say that L H G thinks this engine will not sell.--jimh]
jharrell posted 10-04-2011 05:02 PM ET (US)     Profile for jharrell    
I don't think cruising at 3000 to 4500 RPM would qualify as light load and low RPM conditions. I believe that use of stratified charging is still limited to light load, low load speeds as is the case when used by the DFI 2-stroke motors.

Both Honda and Suzuki's lean burn go all the way up into the cruise range just above 4000 before they shutdown. I believe they both employ stratification to achieve the lean burn.

Here is an article describing Suzuki's lean burn on their 300 HP which was first introduced in the 70/80/90 HP:

"The Lean Burn process requires fuel to be injected into the cylinder at a precisely controlled rate and volume with a richer air-fuel mixture at the start of the injection cycle, assisting ignition, to a weaker one at the end."

You can tell how far the lean burn goes by looking at the boat test reports on the engine and watching fuel consumption jump up considerably above 4500 rpm compared to say an E-TEC which has a more traditional consumption rate increase up through WOT.

Perry posted 10-04-2011 05:36 PM ET (US)     Profile for Perry  Send Email to Perry     
The Honda on my Whaler has the Lean Burn Control and I notice my MPG decreases when I go over 4500 RPM.

I usually cruise between 3500 and 4500 RPM and according to my Navman fuel 3100, this is where I get my best fuel economy.

jimh posted 10-04-2011 08:42 PM ET (US)     Profile for jimh  Send Email to jimh     
Perry--Thanks for the information on fuel economy based on measurement of the fuel flow. I always appreciate data which is derived from real measurements.
jimh posted 10-04-2011 08:46 PM ET (US)     Profile for jimh  Send Email to jimh     
I expect that we will begin to see the HONDA BF250 used to power the many government owned S.A.F.E. boats used by the Coast Guard and by Homeland Security. Many of these boats are already powered with HONDA BF225 engines, and rigging them for the BF250 should be very simple.
Perry posted 10-04-2011 08:55 PM ET (US)     Profile for Perry  Send Email to Perry     
I have lots of guages on my Whaler but the one I pay attention to most on the console is my fuel flow meter. My Navman 3100 has a nice size display and is hooked up to my GPS. With the cost of gas the way it is, I like to get the best fuel economy as I can.

At 4500 RPM, I really see the GPH spike which indicates the Lean Burn Control function is no longer activated.

cbone posted 10-04-2011 08:58 PM ET (US)     Profile for cbone  Send Email to cbone     
The 25ft RBS has a max HP of 450 as per builders specs. The way it is currently rigged leaves a ton of room for improvement. The engines are mounted all the way down and they use 19pitch Vensura's which are not the fastest wheel. They do this for the J-turn ability at WOT without blowout.

The deployable operations group (DOG) uses the same Safeboat RBS but with a grey collar and 3.0 liter Mercury Optimax JP engines due to the Navy rule on no more gasoline. They grey RBS's are slowly replacing the TPSB (25ft Whalers).

jimh posted 10-05-2011 09:34 AM ET (US)     Profile for jimh  Send Email to jimh     
If the S.A.F.E. boat has a maximum power rating of 450-HP, then it will likely not be re-powered with twin 250-HP engines. However, I would not be surprised if the builder changed the hull rating.
cbone posted 10-05-2011 09:53 AM ET (US)     Profile for cbone  Send Email to cbone     
They are not going to change the max HP of the Safeboat RBS. They are nearing the end of their 10 year service life and the USCG is actively looking for whats next and it is coming soon.

L H G posted 10-05-2011 01:44 PM ET (US)     Profile for L H G    
From what I can tell, any USGC Safeboats powered with Honda 225's that need to be replaced will get Verado 250's. This one is in Miami. I was told the Hondas didn't have enough power and acceleration to deal with the bad guys. current=Scan0012.jpg

I see Verado powered Safeboats all over the place now.

20dauntless posted 10-05-2011 02:10 PM ET (US)     Profile for 20dauntless  Send Email to 20dauntless     
I can report similar findings with my Honda BF90D as Perry. Fuel consumption jumps significantly around 4300-4600 RPM, depending on load. I've been told this is a combination of Lean Burn Control disengaging and VTEC engaging.

As for the Honda dealer network, that depends significantly on where you are located. In the PNW, Honda has an extensive dealer network and anecdotally I'd say that Honda and Yamaha outboards are roughly equal in marketshare. Of the major outboard brands I see fewer Mercury's than any other.

cbone posted 10-05-2011 02:53 PM ET (US)     Profile for cbone  Send Email to cbone     
The 33ft SPC-LE Safeboats has the triple verados and the non-standard 24-27ft Safeboats do have also.

The 25ft RBS Safeboat is a standard boat (all 450+ of them) are designed to be the same. The switches in the same spot, the cup holders, the same prop, same engine,....... same everything. This is so someone qualified on one can transfer and does not need to learn anything about the boat because it is identical. They just need to learn the water.

It is very smart practice that has worked on the 25ft RBS, 41ft UTB, 44ft MLB and now the 45ft RBM and 47ft MLB.

The 25ft RBS Safeboats will not be getting anything different from the 225hp Hondas. It looks like the next version of RBS from Metalshark will also have the 225hp Hondas. They have been amazing engines and well suited for the job.

Perry posted 10-05-2011 04:06 PM ET (US)     Profile for Perry  Send Email to Perry     
I see the 25' Safeboats all over the Island of Oahu and all of them have had Honda 225's. Unlike Larry, I have never seen a Safeboat with a Verado motor.

The 25ft RBS Safeboats will not be getting anything different from the 225hp Hondas. It looks like the next version of RBS from Metalshark will also have the 225hp Hondas. They have been amazing engines and well suited for the job.

Our water rescue team cross trains with the US Navy and USCG. All the Coast Guard Safeboat drivers I have spoken to love the Honda motors. None of them complained about the motors lacking power.

DeeVee posted 10-05-2011 10:01 PM ET (US)     Profile for DeeVee  Send Email to DeeVee     
I saw a few of the Safeboats on trailers in the Cabela's parking lot in Lacey, WA last year some time. As you can see current=Image0041-1.jpg - all Honda.


jimh posted 10-20-2011 08:35 PM ET (US)     Profile for jimh  Send Email to jimh     
The HONDA BF250 was recognized at the IBEX show this fall with an innovation award in the category of outboard engines.
gss036 posted 10-22-2011 11:46 PM ET (US)     Profile for gss036  Send Email to gss036     
Here in Bellingham, the smaller safeboats have a pair of Honda 225's but the larger ones have Triple or Quad 250 to 300-HP Verado engines.
jimh posted 10-23-2011 10:07 AM ET (US)     Profile for jimh  Send Email to jimh     
The innovation award from IBEX recognized HONDA for its marine direct air induction system. See my earlier comments and description of the new system.

As mentioned above, the standard S.A.F.E. boat configuration is for twin Honda 225-HP engines, and the hull is rated for only 450-HP. This makes it unlikely that the new Honda BF-250 engine will be used on the standard boat.

jimh posted 02-03-2013 10:39 AM ET (US)     Profile for jimh  Send Email to jimh     
Following up on this discussion:

The recent contract for the new USCG RESPONSE BOAT-SMALL II replacement resulted in the contractor delivering a boat with HONDA BF225 horsepower engines, not the new BF250, as might have been speculated. The contract specified that the engines must run 4,000 hours minimum between overhauls. The contractor felt that the very well proven Honda BF225 engine would meet those requirements. See

for more discussion about the new USCG Response Boat and its engine selection.

The new Honda BF250 is rated as a CARB Three-Star or Ultra-Low emission engine. This was not mentioned previously in the discussion. Engines with less than a Three-Star CARB rating cannot be sold unless they are propped up by using emission credits from other engines in the manufacturer's mix of product sales that accrue from selling engines that exceed the Three-Star rating. By having its own Three-Star rating the new Honda BF250 will be eligible for sale in any state of the USA without being encumbered by emission regulations.

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