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Author Topic:   2003 Merc 40 vs Tohatsu 40
jshell posted 03-08-2004 11:43 AM ET (US)   Profile for jshell   Send Email to jshell  
Thanks in advance for your input.

I am about to purchase a new motor for my 1978 13'4'' Super Sport and am trying to decide between these two motors. I can get both of them with controls, prop, tank & gauges for about $3000-3500 (installed & out the door). I have heard great things about the Tohatsu motor but am concerned about the small number of licensed mechanics available...not that I am expecting to need one.

I would appreciate your experience/input



JBCornwell posted 03-08-2004 01:18 PM ET (US)     Profile for JBCornwell  Send Email to JBCornwell     
I was recently told by a vendor that he inquired at an aftermarket manual publisher why they didn't have a manual out on the Tohatsu/Nissans yet.

Their answer was, "They don't break, so nobody needs a Manual."

The Tohatsu-built engines are developing a reputation for being bulletproof.

That said, any engine needs routine preventive maintenance. If you are not prepared to do it yourself you might be better off with an engine that you can take to a reliable local wrench for service.

I would prefer the Tohatsu plus a factory manual, JShell, but I love to get my hands dirty and have messed with outboards for 50 years.

Red sky at night. . .

Bigshot posted 03-08-2004 01:37 PM ET (US)     Profile for Bigshot  Send Email to Bigshot     
I would go with JB, especially if even $100 cheaper. If same price tell dealer what your competition is and I bet he'll beat it ir throw in a SS prop for free, etc. Small guys like Tohatsu(in the US) will beat any deals. Tohatsu fro what I understand is the largest small engine manufacturer in the world. Many smaller Mercs are MADE by Tohatsu, not your 40 though.
LHG posted 03-08-2004 02:04 PM ET (US)     Profile for LHG    
They are known to be SLOW within their HP ratings. You're not going to win any races with one. If you want performance, and maybe higher resale value/recognition, try another brand.
andygere posted 03-08-2004 03:55 PM ET (US)     Profile for andygere  Send Email to andygere     
The Tohatsu 2-stroke 40 is almost 50 pounds lighter than the comperable Mercury. On a 13 transom, that makes a difference. For about the same weight as the carburated Mercury, you can get the Tohatsu TLDI 40 (direct injection, low emissions). MSRP is listed at $4970, so actual price will certainly be higher than what you have been quoted. You probably won't go wrong buying either one.
jshell posted 03-08-2004 07:12 PM ET (US)     Profile for jshell  Send Email to jshell     
Thanks for the help. I will probably end up going with the Tohatsu.

There is a local wooden boat dealer down here in Mobile that has been around since my grandfather was young. Tohatsu is all that they will put on their boats.

I like the fact that the Tohatsu is lighter than the Merc. I do plan to ski with this boat, but I am not interested in winning any races with it. The slower top end speed is probably better for when my kids-to-be start driving it too.

Thanks again,


Salmon Tub posted 03-08-2004 07:20 PM ET (US)     Profile for Salmon Tub  Send Email to Salmon Tub     
The Tohatsu 40 is what I had on my Montauk for the first season. Got about 4.5 mpg, and ran at 20 mph at 4000 rpm. Top speed with a good breeze from behind was 30 mph. I took my boat out 25 miles off Santa Cruz to chase tuna, but since the engine was too light for that boat, it didn't like following seas, so I upgraded to a 90. I still have that 40 in the garage.
Peter posted 03-08-2004 07:32 PM ET (US)     Profile for Peter  Send Email to Peter     
I'm of the opinion that at 210 lbs the Tohatsu 40 TLDI is really too heavy for a 13 Sport. However, the Tohatsu 40 2-stroke, at 158 lbs, is not. Regarding the comment on its performance, I note that Tohatsu's web site indicates that the 40, 40 TLDI and 50 TLDI are built on the 42 cubic inch block. With that kind of displacement, it should be a reasonably strong 40 HP and a good motor for the 13.

The carbureted Mercury 40 is really detuned 60. That's why it weighs so much.

LHG posted 03-08-2004 10:09 PM ET (US)     Profile for LHG    
But considering the same price, wouldn't the 59 cubes (40% more than the Tohatsu) of the Merc give it more pulling power, acceleration, torque and speed? It also has a bigger alternator for charging accessories/battery. In comparison, the Merc sounds like a steal.
Peter posted 03-09-2004 07:51 AM ET (US)     Profile for Peter  Send Email to Peter     

Maybe so but 40 HP is 40 HP (+/- 10 percent). Whatever extras the Mercury 40 might provide are offset by extra 50 lbs hanging on the transom.

No one has said here that the Mercury 40 isn't a good value, but it really isn't the ideal motor for the 13 Whaler due to it weighing 30 percent more than the Tohatsu 40. As Andy said, 50 lbs on the transom of a 13 Whaler makes a difference.

For a pontoon boat where transom weight may be less of an issue, the Mercury 40 is probably a better engine than the Tohatsu 40 for all the reasons you've stated.

jimh posted 03-09-2004 09:44 AM ET (US)     Profile for jimh  Send Email to jimh     
I'd get rid of the Boston Whaler, buy a boat made in New Zealand boat. Get the Japanese motors. Buy a German car to tow it. Get some Scottish fishing tackle. Go up to a Canadian lake. Use a Swedish sonar. Take some English beer along. Stay at a lodge run by a Swiss hotelier. Order Italian food. Enjoy some French wine.

Where do you get the money to do this? Invest in American companies.

Bigshot posted 03-09-2004 10:48 AM ET (US)     Profile for Bigshot  Send Email to Bigshot     
Tsk tsk Jim...You own Yamahas!
LHG posted 03-09-2004 01:56 PM ET (US)     Profile for LHG    
Yea, but I think he wants to get rid of this embarrasment. His "other" Whaler has a 1975 50 4 cylinder Merc, that will outrun any current 50 on the market today, cube for cube!

Peter posted 03-09-2004 03:39 PM ET (US)     Profile for Peter  Send Email to Peter     
Hmmm.....Based on Jim's performance report for his 15 Classic (see ), seems to me that the old 48 Johnson I used to have on my 15 SuperSport with rough bottom paint out ran that Merc by a good 3 to 4 miles per hour! The currently offered Johnson 50 is substantially the same motor as the 48 I had.
Bigshot posted 03-09-2004 03:46 PM ET (US)     Profile for Bigshot  Send Email to Bigshot     
33.2mph aint too impressive Larry....what did you mean?
LHG posted 03-09-2004 04:25 PM ET (US)     Profile for LHG    
I was under the impression he got 38 mph out of it. Sorry about the mistake. Maybe it's tired. I had one on my 13 Sport, and it would do about 47. A friend had one on a 16 Katama, and it would do 35, so I figured the 15 would be a little faster. Guess not.
andygere posted 03-10-2004 11:38 AM ET (US)     Profile for andygere  Send Email to andygere     
I have owned 6 outboard motors in my life: 3 Mercurys, 2 Johnsons and 1 Evinrude. All but one have been outstanding motors. Based on that experience, I would buy another Mercury, Evinrude or Johnson again. That said, Tohatsu is one of the last manufaturers that makes a lightweight 2-stroke 40 h.p. outboard suitable for the classic 13 hull. They are, to my knowledge, the only company that makes a short shaft 2-stroke 40 h.p. outboard with tilt and trim. Before I sold my '72 13, I was considering a repower, and found the Tohatsu was the only motor that met my requirements (40 h.p., light weight and tilt/trim). I researched them, heard good things from other Tohatsu owners, and noticed that a lot of the commerical clammers were starting to use them on their skiffs. In the end, I sold the 13, moved to California and bought a Montuak, and my dad bought a Dauntless with a Mercury 90 to replace the 13 at the Cape house. If I had kept the 13 however, it would surely have a lightweight reliable Tohatsu on the transom today.

BQUICK posted 03-10-2004 02:21 PM ET (US)     Profile for BQUICK  Send Email to BQUICK     
Anyone with some actual experience with a 40 Tohatsu with trim? Speed? Smoothness? Sound level?

I looked closely at them a few years ago but balked when the dealer gave me the cold shoulder when I asked to hear one running. I have never heard one and felt I had to before shelling out twice what I paid new for my Sourpuss and 50 Merc in 1970.
The dealer acted like it was an unusual request and didn't seem to want to be bothered!?? Ha?


BQUICK posted 03-10-2004 02:25 PM ET (US)     Profile for BQUICK  Send Email to BQUICK     
The above question relates to 13 ft Whaler as far as speed....


LHG posted 03-10-2004 02:58 PM ET (US)     Profile for LHG    
I tell you one thing with only 42 cubes, it's not going to pull water skiers like the Merc 59 cubes will. Didn't original question indicate skiing?
Peter posted 03-10-2004 03:40 PM ET (US)     Profile for Peter  Send Email to Peter     
And without the extra 50 lbs, the Tohatsu is going to be a burden on the transom either.

By the way, I used to slalom ski off of my 13 Whaler with a 120 lb 1977 32 cubic inch 35 HP Evinrude (one heck of a bullet proof motor that is still made today but called a 30 under the prop rating system). With an extra 10 cubes and a cubes to HP ratio greater than 1, the Tohatsu should provide plenty of power for skiing.

Peter posted 03-10-2004 03:41 PM ET (US)     Profile for Peter  Send Email to Peter     
That should be "isn't".
LHG posted 03-10-2004 03:45 PM ET (US)     Profile for LHG    
I propose a Truce, Peter! We'll have to let the buyer decide on this one. I'm worn out.
BQUICK posted 03-10-2004 05:10 PM ET (US)     Profile for BQUICK  Send Email to BQUICK     
We used to be able to pull a Whaler with a 1968 33 EvinRUDE off plane slalom skiing when making a good cut.
Slalom sking at 22 mph didn't cut it. It only did 31 without the skier and passenger.


Peter posted 03-10-2004 05:20 PM ET (US)     Profile for Peter  Send Email to Peter     
No problem Larry.

That '68 Evinrude 33 was a design dating back to the early 1950s and clearly no match for the mid-70's designed 2 cylinder 25/35. If you can live without power trim and tilt, I still think that is the best motor for the classic 13 Whaler and you can still get one almost 30 years later!

LHG posted 03-10-2004 06:30 PM ET (US)     Profile for LHG    
Regarding the Johnson 35's of mid 80's, I used to see a 15 Sport around the canals of Ft Lauderdale, with TWIN 35's on it. Very cool looking, indeed, and did not sit low in the stern either.

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