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I am shopping for a new 15hp 4 stroke outboard. Looking at Yamaha, Suzuki and Mercury(Tohatsu). I can get all of them serviced nearby . Are there any features that sets one above the other? All prices are within a few hundred dollars of each other, so that is not a factor.
 

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Discussion Starter #4 (Edited)
Thank for the reply Finsleft. I have read the other thread on 20T vs 25Y. I didn't know if anything discussed there would apply to a 15hp. I'm looking for (example) brand A needs a timing belt changed every 200 hours, brand B has a plastic part that is prone to break.
 

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Thank for the reply Finsleft. I have read the other thread on 20T vs 25Y. I didn't know if anything discussed there would apply to a 15hp. I'm looking for (example) brand A needs a timing belt changed every 200 hours, brand B has a plastic part that is prone to break.
Most of the 15 hp engines share blocks with 20 hp engines. I would make a strong case for the Tohatsu/Merc because of the fuel injection.
 

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Not much difference between the Suzuki and the Tohatsu. The Yamaha isn't fuel injected. The new Mercury has the best tiller handle setup (gear shift on the tiller rather than the cowling). They’re all great motors.
 

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Not much difference between the Suzuki and the Tohatsu. The Yamaha isn't fuel injected. The new Mercury has the best tiller handle setup (gear shift on the tiller rather than the cowling). They’re all great motors.
Is the Merc EFI ? Their website is giving me fits.
 

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On all these motors, The 15 and 20 motors are the same with ECM changes to effect the output- the cost difference is small, buy a 20. I have a 97 lb Suzuki 20 hp, It’s fuel injectioned, and starts with the push of a button every time for the last 4 years. It also can start without a battery. I have a small AGM battery that’s less than half the weight of typical batteries, and it can start a pickup. Do some homework and you can gain efficiency and reduce weight. BTW, I’d never run a carb engine in this day and age, you wouldn’t on your car or truck why would you on your boat. YMMV, good luck.
 

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I fully agree with the sentiments about getting a Merc due to the throttle/shift functions (especially good with a tiller), fuel injection, and purchasing a 20 over a 15.
 

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On all these motors, The 15 and 20 motors are the same with ECM changes to effect the output- the cost difference is small, buy a 20. I have a 97 lb Suzuki 20 hp, It’s fuel injectioned, and starts with the push of a button every time for the last 4 years. It also can start without a battery. I have a small AGM battery that’s less than half the weight of typical batteries, and it can start a pickup. Do some homework and you can gain efficiency and reduce weight. BTW, I’d never run a carb engine in this day and age, you wouldn’t on your car or truck why would you on your boat. YMMV, good luck.
Aren't carbs simpler systems for maintenance than EFI? Less to break? Assuming you use good fuel and take care of fuel storage.
 

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I have both the 15 and 20 hp suzuki motors and would not trade either one for any other motors in their class. The efi is the best thing ever for small outboards-reliable every time.The price point on the zukes is why I tried the 1st one and then I needed a long shaft for another boat I bought and got the 20.Never had a problem yet-been 3 years.
 

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I had a 1999 mercury 9.9 4 stroke made by Tohatsu (same as the 15) and it was bullet proof never a single problem in the 1000+ hours I ran it other than a clogged carb. My only complaint was power to weight ratio. I upgraded to a 2017 Tohatsu 20 (also the same as the 15) and again great motor not a single problem and has about 180 hours on it now. Tons of torque only complaint is that the paint started to flake on the lower unit after only about a week of use. But then again it’s got a 5 year warranty. I would definitely recommend the Tohatsu
 

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Aren't carbs simpler systems for maintenance than EFI? Less to break? Assuming you use good fuel and take care of fuel storage.
I'm in the market for a 30 horse. If my deal on a Tohatsu doesn't pan out for some reason, I'll gladly give the Honda a look even though it has carbs. Run ethanol free through it, use it often and I doubt I would have any issues with it. In other words, carbs on that particular motor don't worry me.
 

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Aren't carbs simpler systems for maintenance than EFI? Less to break? Assuming you use good fuel and take care of fuel storage.
Negative. I'll fix fuel injection over carbureted any day. The injectors and VST can fowl, but not as quickly as a carbed system. Fuel injection isn't ventilated so the fuel doesn't oxidize and break down as rapidly. Carbureted systems, particularly in small outboards, can varnish quite rapidly (weeks to few months in warm, humid weather).
 

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I spoke with a Tohatsu dealer/services the other day (so take this with a grain of salt) and he basically said Tohatsu used to make the EFI 10/15/20 Suzuki, which isn’t terribly surprising since Tohatsu seems to have shacked up with everyone over the years. Now Suzuki makes their own EFI 10/15/20 with minimal tweaks and Tohatsu still makes the same EFI 10/15/20 under their own name and the Merc EFI 15/20 also. Basically, they are all the same motor with minor differences in superficial features and cosmetics. I’d get the 20 and buy the 15 hp sticker for the cowling. That Merc tiller will always be worth a bit extra to a lot of folks.

Yamaha and Honda don’t seem to get the same love they used to. The guy I spoke to was particularly hard on Hondas due the corrosion issues he sees with them in saltwater, but he was also trying to convinced me that the Tohatsus (that he just so happened to sell) were the best outboards made, so take that as you will.

Nate
 
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