Motor Recommendations

Hardscrabble

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Not a drifter, but...
I have a Water Master Bruin (2-3 man) on the way. Rich says the transom mount will handle something up to 5hp and recommends a 50fp trolling motor. It’s been a while since I was in the market.
I fish a couple tailwaters (Clinch, Caney Fork, etc in Tennessee) where it’s easy to push up a mile or two and drift down if it’s a solo trip, and no requirement for a shuttle.
I would appreciate any recommendations: trolling motor, battery, small kicker that won’t go to the dump after a season.
 

osseous

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Tohatsu 3.5 hp. $995 online

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tcorfey

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I think it could be a good idea to go with gas. Gas tank is builtin so no extra hoses or anything. The weight of a 2.5hp gas motor is less than the weight of a battery and less than the weight of a 55lb thrust Minn Kota.

Battery is around 50-60 lbs could go Lithium at around 30lbs but price is around 1k.
Minn Kota 55 lb thrust is 45 lbs
Mercury or Tohatsu 2.5 or 3.5 gas is 41 lbs
Suzuki 2,5 gas is 31 lbs
 

Hardscrabble

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Thanks for these responses. I’m looking into this motor. With a 20# anchor hanging off the rear, weight is going to be a consideration. The boat has a big tube and is not rockered, which should help. Most of the time a motor won’t be on it.
 

tcorfey

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Those little kickers (any manufacturer) don’t get very encouraging reviews.
The trick with those small motors is to use non-ethanol gas. If you can't find a station that sells it Home Depot or other similar places sell it in the lawnmower section. Made a huge difference for my small motors on weedwhackers, chainsaws etc... The jets are really small and the ethanol leaves residue that blocks them.
 

Hardscrabble

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The trick with those small motors is to use non-ethanol gas. If you can't find a station that sells it Home Depot or other similar places sell it in the lawnmower section. Made a huge difference for my small motors on weedwhackers, chainsaws etc... The jets are really small and the ethanol leaves residue that blocks them.
I have learned exactly that. I have an
Echo weed eater that has a thousand miles on it and I credit that solely to the exclusive use of straight gas. Thanks.
 

osseous

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I just bought the Tohatsu 3.5

I will be using non-ethanol gas, and I've ready added an inline fuel filter. Time will tell...

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Hardscrabble

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I just bought the Tohatsu 3.5

I will be using non-ethanol gas, and I've ready added an inline fuel filter. Time will tell...

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Ahhh...I’ve been looking. They offer a 5hp propane engine that weighs 60lbs. That’s the same weight as the deep cycle battery I’ve been looking at.
 

Outside bend

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I have a Nissan 15HP 4 stoke that has been totally reliable for a decade. It is a Tohatsu outboard just branded Nissan for N American sales.
Now the Nissan brand is gone and all are Tohatsu. If yours is anything like mine you'll luv it. Ethanol fuel is the devil for small engines. I can only find 87 octane ethanol free fuel locally but it runs 4 strokes OK. Use Stabil or Seafoam in your fuel and you're covered.
 

osseous

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I put in the 92 octane ethanol free stuff from Home Depot- brand new motor started on the third pull.

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Lamarsh

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I'd be careful with a 5hp. I bought a 2 stroke 5hp Tohatsu (an excellent motor btw) for my Flycraft Stealth X, due to Flycraft recommending up to a 5hp. They since changed that recommendation down to a 2.5hp due to some issues people were having with the 5hp providing too much power and lifting the bow too much. I think my Stealth X is larger than your raft, so I'd take this info into consideration. I have not tried my 5hp yet on my Stealth X, so I cannot personaly weigh in. But since a 2.5hp would be plenty on that Bruin, I just don't see why you'd want to go any higher.

I'll x2 the above advice to run non-ethanol gas (AKA "rec fuel," which some people call marine fuel). It's not that these motors can't run very well on gas with ethanol, it's that gas with ethanol gets water and separates within a month or two, and many of us store it longer than that, so it's more by virtue of the fact that it keeps much better for longer periods. Same issue would happen in your car, but most of us burn off a tank within a month so it's rarely an issue. All my small engines and outboards get rec fuel with marine grade Stabil treated.
 
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Hardscrabble

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Thanks all.

I wimped out and bought a 55 Newport Vessels trolling motor and matched it with a 60AH LiFePo battery. I had to put an extended tiller on the motor to reach from the rowers seat.

For the uninitiated (me) you would soon learn that if you can’t reach the tiller you darn sure aren’t going to get at the tilt latch. I learned several valuable lessons today on E Tennessee’s Holston tailwater, not the least of which is it’s more fun running downriver through ankle deep shoals than it is pulling your bleeping rubber boat upstream through same after you beeping near fall out of the boat trying to get the bleeping latch to trip so you don’t bleeping break the bleeping shaft on your new (thankfully relatively inexpensive) trolling motor.

On the plus side the Water Master Bruin is a fun boat, easy to fish out of if you keep the extraneous gear out of the boat, or at least out from under your feet.

And that lithium battery tech is first rate and weighs in at 17lbs.
 

sasquatch7

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I bought the Newport also but havent used it yet . I was surprised at the color . I got it for my 13' Saturn Kaboat .
 

Ard

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I've used gas motors on pontoon boats before but never an electric. Just for the sake of conversation ..... Is there a remote steering option with the motor you bought?

I ask stemming from my experience with rear mounts on dual pontoon boats. You are quite right about tillers and I used an extension on mine. Regardless of propulsion type having the operators weight and the motor weight coupled with the thrust all at the stern end of the raft produces a deep running prop. When under full throttle the prop will dig - the front tips of the pontoons will lift and steering becomes sketchy at best. That's why I wonder about a front mount prop to pull rather than push the raft. On solid hull boats you still get the dip at the stern when you hit the gas but those boats will soon come up on step / plane and the prop or jet raises once at speed. With my rafts they were stern diggers all the while when under power.
 

Hardscrabble

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I've used gas motors on pontoon boats before but never an electric. Just for the sake of conversation ..... Is there a remote steering option with the motor you bought?

I ask stemming from my experience with rear mounts on dual pontoon boats. You are quite right about tillers and I used an extension on mine. Regardless of propulsion type having the operators weight and the motor weight coupled with the thrust all at the stern end of the raft produces a deep running prop. When under full throttle the prop will dig - the front tips of the pontoons will lift and steering becomes sketchy at best. That's why I wonder about a front mount prop to pull rather than push the raft. On solid hull boats you still get the dip at the stern when you hit the gas but those boats will soon come up on step / plane and the prop or jet raises once at speed. With my rafts they were stern diggers all the while when under power.
Ard, had a buddy in the front which balances out some of the issues you raise, so I haven’t seen them first hand. all you mention were true of the Scadden x5 I owned, although I didn’t see it as a big problem in a one-person boat.

It was operator error that put me downriver with 2 long shoals between the boat and the takeout. These shoals would have been too shallow for any vessel short of one traveling on a cushion of air. We could have easily shuttled. The boat is new and I’m testing the limits of what I should/not do alone when I want to go but no one else does, and a shuttle is not good option. It’s an oar powered craft and I intend to use it that way as often as possible, so more expensive motor drive options are off the table.

On still water the thing goes like crazy with just me in the boat, and the extended tiller addressed all the problems. Everywhere is downstream on a lake.
 
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PEN|OUT

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I have sold hundreds of small outboards and used them made by every brand there is...

Modern 4 strokes are nothing like the old 2 strokes...

Modern 4 stroke single cylinder motors are very hard starting compared to the 2 strokes of the past.

Yamaha is by far the best starting of them all, second would be Honda and then Mercury/Tohatsu. I would honestly say all of these brands are equally reliable, it's just that Yamaha has figured out a way to make them start easier and more reliably.

A few tips, even though they have an integral tank, use a small external tank, the reason, you can prime the engine with fuel by squeezing the bulb in the fuel line, the integral tanks can get vapor locked and make them darn near impossible to get started. Never ever use anything but ethanol free fuel in them.

Once you jump up to twin cylinder, which is 8HP and up, they are all way easier to start, it's the single cylinder ones that are a pain.

Anything 8HP and up, I am a Mercury guy 100%, but under that, spend the extra money and get a Yamaha.
 

osseous

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I have sold hundreds of small outboards and used them made by every brand there is...

Modern 4 strokes are nothing like the old 2 strokes...

Modern 4 stroke single cylinder motors are very hard starting compared to the 2 strokes of the past.

Yamaha is by far the best starting of them all, second would be Honda and then Mercury/Tohatsu. I would honestly say all of these brands are equally reliable, it's just that Yamaha has figured out a way to make them start easier and more reliably.

A few tips, even though they have an integral tank, use a small external tank, the reason, you can prime the engine with fuel by squeezing the bulb in the fuel line, the integral tanks can get vapor locked and make them darn near impossible to get started. Never ever use anything but ethanol free fuel in them.

Once you jump up to twin cylinder, which is 8HP and up, they are all way easier to start, it's the single cylinder ones that are a pain.

Anything 8HP and up, I am a Mercury guy 100%, but under that, spend the extra money and get a Yamaha.
Any harm in using starting fluid on these singles? I am re-jetting, but for now that's my best solution. (Waiting on the jets)

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DustyTrail

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i just bought and installed a new Tohatsu 6hp long shaft motor on my aluminum 16’ drift boat. Starts instantly, idles slow and smooth, what a pleasure to own. Super lightweight, quiet. Pushes my boat better than with my old 9.9 2-stroke.
 

jeep.ster

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For the uninitiated (me) you would soon learn that if you can’t reach the tiller you darn sure aren’t going to get at the tilt latch. I learned several valuable lessons today on E Tennessee’s Holston tailwater, not the least of which is it’s more fun running downriver through ankle deep shoals than it is pulling your bleeping rubber boat upstream through same after you beeping near fall out of the boat trying to get the bleeping latch to trip so you don’t bleeping break the bleeping shaft on your new (thankfully relatively inexpensive) trolling motor.
I love south holston lake and the river below the dam. I was born and raised there. Here's my prototype one hand motor tilting release cable. The oem tilt release still operates without conflict.




 
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