Although Honda outboards are known for their high quality and durability, they also have some weak points, which are as follows:
- Narrow dealer network
- Lack of “Big Block” models
- Heavy weight
- Hefty price tags
If you want to find out more about these issues, you’ve come to the right place.
We at PowerSportsGuide have compiled all you need to know under one roof!
4 Biggest Problems with Honda Outboards
1. Narrow Dealer Network
There’s no question that the biggest problem of Honda outboards is their narrow dealer network.
Let’s face it, finding a Honda Marine dealer in many parts of North America can be a challenge.
Sure, you can get a motor shipped to your door or into your marina, but fixing a warranty problem may be difficult.
This is because the majority of authorized dealerships don’t offer onsite services.
If your Honda outboard has any problems, you would more than likely have to find a dealership that offers onsite services, and transport the motor to that dealer by yourself.
And since dealerships are non-existant in many regions, this can be a big hassle.
Because of these circumstances, you should only buy a new Honda motorcycle if there is a dealer within a reasonable distance.
The 5-year factory warranty on Honda outboards sounds great, but it’s not worth much if you can’t take advantage of it.
If your boat is moored in a marina, best practice is to invest in a brand of outboard motor that is covered by the marina itself for warranty issues.
Since the majority of marinas aren’t authorized Honda dealers, this limits the use of Honda outboards on larger offshore boats.
This is one of the main reasons why you rarely see Honda motors on outboard boats in marinas.
2. Lack of Big-Block Models
Another reason why Hondas are rarely seen in marinas is the lack of Big Block engines.
The largest Yamaha outboards share a 3583cc, V6 engine rated at 200-250 HP depending on the model.
Although 250 HP is remarkable engine power, it doesn’t seem like much on an offshore boat.
This is where competitor brands come into play.
For example, the largest Yamaha outboards house a 4-stroke, 5559cc, V8 engine rated at 425 or 450 HP.
But then you have Mercury’s 7554cc, V12 outboards rated at 500 and 600 HP.
So, if we take a close look at the engine capacity of the smaller models in this class, you can see that Yamaha and Mercury outboards offer 200-300 HP engines with 4169cc and 4572cc engines, respectively.
In contrast, 200-250 HP Honda outboards have much smaller, 3583cc engines.
The smaller displacement within a given powerband translates to less torque and more stress on the engine.
On top of that, this VTEC Honda engine is derived from a Honda automotive engine while its competitors enjoy purpose-built marine engines.
3. Heavy Weight
Despite their relatively smaller displacements, Honda outboards are significantly heavier than competitor models, especially in the high-performance class.
As evidence, here’s a weight comparison chart with some popular high-performance motors:
|115 HP||480-493 lb.||337-389 lb.||359-364 lb.|
|200 HP||622 lb.||487-567 lb.||457-511 lb.|
|250 HP||622-632 lb.||529-562 lb.||511-600 lb.|
And let’s face it, the weight of the motor is a big concern on any boat.
A heavier weight not only affects handling but also translates to worse fuel economy.
Aside from these, many older boats are designed for lighter 2-stroke outboards. Repowering these boats with a heavy Honda motor is nearly impossible!
4. Hefty Price Tags
Despite their heavy weight and smaller automotive engines, Honda outboards are usually priced slightly higher than competitor models.
Although the differences are not significant, this is another important factor that every buyer takes into account.
As the joke goes among boat owners: “Honda outboards are probably priced by the pound.”
Do not get me wrong, Honda produces great outboards that come with excellent reliability and a 5-year factory warranty.
If you are a Honda guy, you can’t go wrong with any of these motors.
Just make sure that there’s an authorized dealership within a reasonable distance since transporting or shipping an outboard for longer distances can be a huge hassle.
If there’s no Honda Marine dealership in your area you may want to instead consider another brand.