Two-Stroke vs. Four-Stroke Outboard Motors

Two-Stroke vs. Four-Stroke Outboard Motors

When choosing between a two-stroke or four-stroke outboard motor for your boat, the features of each must be considered. Two-stroke outboard motors are lighter in weight, less expensive, and often faster. They are generally easier to repair and maintain, having a comparatively simple design that has been available for almost 80 years. Two-stroke outboard motors tend to hold their resale value, remaining in high demand in the used market. On the con side, a two-stroke outboard motor produces more pollution, smoke, are non-two cycle oil injection models, have a rougher idle than their four-stroke counterparts, and are sometimes harder to start.

Four-stroke outboard motors are cleaner, quieter, smoother, provide more fuel economy, and are often more reliable. They are preferred by some boaters who run in lakes and rivers because they are generally accepted at any body of water. They do not run on an oil and gas mixture or generate as much pollution. The negatives of four-stroke outboard motors include their high expense for purchase and repair and heavy bulk, which makes it complicated to transport or position in storage without the help of a stand. Because the design for a four-stroke outboard motor is more complicated than its two-stroke counterpart, there are more parts to malfunction. However, outboard motor production will be either four-stroke or very similar. The technology for the four-stroke outboard motor is always improving, and as time goes on, there is a higher percentage of qualified mechanics to perform any necessary repairs. The current used market is very limited for the four-stroke outboard motor, though this is also growing as technology and training improves.

*Note: this comparison does not include direct fuel-injected two-stroke models.

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How to Maintain an Outboard Motor

How to Maintain an Outboard MotorJust as it is important to maintain your car’s engine for optimum performance, your boat requires a certain amount of care for consistent and smooth operation. Since an outboard motor hangs outside the hull of a boat, it requires special attention to prolong its life. Caution when transporting your boat to the destination of your planned outing is extremely important. The motor and boat trailer should be braced securely so that the motion of land travel does not cause permanent damage.

Each time a boat is returned from a salt water excursion, the outboard motor should be flushed out with fresh water to prevent the pump and lines from corrosion. Outboard motor oil and gas lines should be drained and disconnected before storing your boat for an extended period of time to keep the carburetor clean. The area around the propeller and gears of the motor should be checked for cleanliness and excess water accumulation. The pump inside the motor should also be checked to ensure the impellers do not look worn. If all of these steps are taken regularly, your outboard motor should provide its best possible performance.

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Boat Motor Oil Viscosity

boat motor oilThe viscosity of boat motor oil is one of its most important properties, as it measures how any given oil will flow. Thicker oils will generally have a higher viscosity than thinner oils. The viscosity of boat motor oil is essential for productive engine operation.

The numbers and letters on boat motor oil packaging refer to measurements that have been taken at specific temperatures. A “W” means the oil meets viscosity specifications for winter use. Multi-viscosity boat motor oils prevent the oil from thinning as it warms up because polymers have been added to prevent the oil from thinning. It is wise to use multi-viscosity boat motor oil with the narrowest span of viscosity for the temperatures you will encounter-in the winter, for the lowest expected temperature, and for the summer, for the highest temperature anticipated.

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Varied Uses

Varied Uses

Two cycle oil isn’t always just relegated to being used for boats. Some brands of 2 cycle oil that are marked as “multi-use” can be used for some types of motorbikes. If you are a person with several different vehicles – or, for this example, a boat and a smaller pocket bike – you can purchase some outboard motor oil and use it for something else other than a boat.

Before you do this, you’ll want to make sure that the oil is usable for your other vehicle. You can find this out by asking other motorbike enthusiasts, or reading the label.

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History of Outboard Motors

History of Outboard MotorsThe creation of the first practical outboard motor is often credited to Norwegian-American inventor Ole Evinrude in 1909.

Historically, a majority of outboards have been two-stroke powerheads fitted with a carburetor due to the designs inherent simplicity, reliability, low cost and light weight.

In the 1990s, U.S. and European exhaust emissions regulations led to the proliferation of four-stroke outboards. Though fewer in number, four-stroke outboards have always been with us.

Outboard motors benefit from the ability to draw coolant from the water, obviating the need for radiators and cooling fans, thereby simplifying the design and lowering component weight. The motors also have several brands (i.e. Yamalube, Mercury and the creator’s namesake, Evinrude) of oil to choose from, giving the consumer a seemingly infinite amount of options based on their needs.

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An Evinrude Testimonial

Evinrude oilIf this is your first season as a boat owner, you may be overwhelmed by the numerous brands and products out there to outfit your boat with. You’ll also no doubt be familiar with how to do basic maintenance on your boat. When it comes to engine oil, you’ll find that you have several choices, yet I would recommend Evinrude.

Evinrude oil will allow your boat to run well and will not cause any type of engine problems. It’s easily one of the top brands out there. Check it out for yourself and see how it fares this season.

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Picking the Proper Two-Cycle Oil

Two-Cycle OilTo understand how two cycle oil works in your engine, we need to cover some basic information on engine operating conditions and oil formulation. Outboard engines are characterized by their constant speed, high output operation. They are usually set at a desired high speed and continue at that speed until the destination is reached and then throttled down. Also, they are constantly cooled with fresh, cool, non re-circulated water.

Chainsaws, on the other hand, are a high action operation. They are constantly started and stopped, used for short periods, and frequent overloads are its hard place in life. Additionally, they have smaller displacements than outboards and are air cooled. By understanding how the operation of an engine can affect the oil used and how oil can affect the engine, we can better appreciate the difference between a water cooled two-cycle oil and one formulated for an air cooled two-cycle engine.

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Shopping Around

YamalubeAs the specter of high oil prices looms throughout the summer, you can still find discounted boat oil online. Though many brands have slightly increased their prices, the internet has been a great resource of low priced oil. Name brands such as Yamalube and Evinrude can still be purchased at a low price, especially when compared to other retailers.

Do some research and you’ll no doubt find a great deal.

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What is Two Stroke Oil?

2 cycle oil

Two-stroke oil (also referred to as two-cycle oil, 2 cycle oil, 2T oil or 2-stroke oil) is an engine oil intended for use in two-stroke engines, like those in many lawnmowers, Outboard motors, mopeds, scooters and small capacity motorcycles, etc. Since these lightweight engines do not feature oil sumps to collect and recycle oil like 4 cycle engines, oil must be mixed with the petrol fuel, for distribution throughout the engine for the purpose of lubrication. The two-stroke oil is ultimately burned along with the fuel resulting in exhaust emissions such as blue smoke and a distinctive odor.

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