Are Tohatsu Outboard Motors Any Good? (Explained)

Tohatsu motors started when the Takata Motor Research Institute began experimenting with various forms of internal combustion engines.

It has been producing high-quality, durable outboard motors since 1956. Their range of outboard engines includes High Power, Medium Power, and Portable motors to suit every boater’s needs.

But Are Tohatsu Motors Any Good?

Tohatsu outboard motors are widely recognized as being top-quality, bullet-proof engines. They are designed and engineered with ocean-tested technology, with fishing and harsh saltwater conditions in mind. These outboards have proven to run smoothly under intense demand and in any weather.

Tohatsu Motors: A Brief History

From the beginning, Tohatsu aimed to build a marine outboard engine that was dependable, affordable, and adaptable to different uses and conditions.

Their initial market was the Japanese fishing industry who needed a reliable engine that could be used at sea for days.

Since then, Tohatsu outboard motors have been used in various industries, including commercial and recreational fishing, maritime transport and yacht tenders, and all kinds of watersports and family recreation.

In 1988, the Tohatsu Marine Corporation set up a joint venture with Brunswick Corporation in the USA. The deal included that many of the smaller, subsidiary Mercury Marine outboard engines were built by Tohatsu and rebranded to Mercury.

The same goes for the entire line of Nissan outboards which are built by Tohatsu motors.

In 2011, Evinrude, owned by another American company, Bombardier, decided that Tohatsu would build their smaller Evinrude outboards.

While Tohatsu has been making deals to produce other companies’ smaller outboards, they’ve been busy making deals for their larger engines. In 2013 Tohatsu and Honda went into business, with Honda agreeing to make their larger range of outboards.

This deal made it possible for Tohatsu to produce and distribute a range of engines from 2.5hp up to 250hp, which allowed them to expand their dealership network worldwide.

Today, Tohatsu is one of the biggest manufacturers and distributors of marine outboard engines, with a network spanning more than 30 countries.

How Durable Are Tohatsu Outboard Motors?

Tohatsu outboard motors have a reputation as being one of the most durable and reliable motors available.

They were originally designed and produced for the Japanese commercial fishing fleet. They have been tested repeatedly.

In addition, all the new technology that Tohatsu has developed has been tested thoroughly. The Tohatsu plant has rigorous quality inspections, and every engine is tested at a water tank in their facility before it leaves the factory.

But don’t take our word for it – Tohatsu is celebrating 100 years in business in 2022, and you don’t get to celebrate 100 years if you build an unreliable engine!

How Long Do Tohatsu Outboard Engines Typically Last?

While Tohatsu outboard engines are considered bullet-proof by their fans, you can typically expect an outboard to last between 2,000 – 3,000 hours before it needs any serious maintenance.

However, this will depend on how well you look after your Tohatsu motor. Any engine that is abused, not serviced regularly, and not looked after as the instruction manual describes will give problems or not reach this average life-span.

However, if you check on the different boating forums, reports, and testimonials, you will find reports of Tohatsu models being extremely low maintenance.

Some fans claim they have had more than 10,000 hours of hassle-free use!

Has Tohatsu Made Any Recalls?

Tohatsu has made 2 recall campaigns in all its years of operation, which the US Coastguard site confirms.

The first, back in 2008, is related to the high-pressure fuel filters in certain 70hp & 90hp TLDI models. TLDI, or the new Two-stroke Low-pressure Direct Injection technology, is a powerful direct fuel injection system that reduces harmful exhaust emissions over conventional carbureted 2-stroke motors.

This technology vastly improves fuel and oil economy when working correctly.

The following models may be affected by the recall:

Models Affected Serial Numbers Affected
MD70B TLDI “B” SERIES
  • #70242 ~ #70380 /
  • #005727XC ~ #050489XC /
  • #005094XD ~ #062400XD /
  • #005965XE ~ #050482XE /
  • #006653XF ~ #074628XF /
  • #005380XG ~ #014128XG
MD90B TLDI “B” SERIES
  • #00766 ~ #00999 /
  • #005742XC ~ #050505XC /
  • #005113XD ~ #062445XD /
  • #006004XE ~ #050545XE /
  • #006679XF ~ #074719XF /
  • #005415XG ~ #014253XG

Table courtesy of Tohatsu

The second recall occurred in 2017 and is related to the vapor separator float in certain models. The VPS helps to regulate the fuel intake into the engine and prevent fuel vapors from escaping.

The following engine serial numbers may be affected:

Models Serial Numbers Affected
BFT115A BBHJ-6000206 ~ BBHJ-6000253
BBHJ-7000007 ~ BBHJ-7000008
BFT150A BANJ-6000496 ~ BANJ-6000611
BAPJ-7000029 ~ BAPJ-7000038
BFT200A BAEJ-6000113 ~ BAEJ-6000120
BAFJ-7000016 ~ BAFJ-7000017
BFT225A BAGJ-6000108 ~ BAGJ-6000125
BAHJ-7000017 ~ BAHJ-7000020
BFT250A BBJJ-6000207 ~ BBJJ-6000216
BBJJ-7000039 ~ BBJJ-7000042

Table courtesy of Tohatsu

Suppose your motor has been affected by either of the above recall notices.

In that case, Tohatsu recommends you immediately stop using your engine and contact your nearest authorized Tohatsu dealer as soon as possible to schedule an appointment to replace either of these faulty components free of charge.

What Are the Most Popular Tohatsu Outboards?

Tohatsu manufactures and distributes a range of outboard motors from 2-stroke, 4-stroke, and TLDI engines that range from 2.5hp up to 250hp.

While Honda is the supplier of the larger engines in the range, Tohatsu manufactures many smaller engines for different brands, including their own.

So let’s take a look at some of Tohatsu’s more popular models:

Tohatsu MFS5D PORTABLE:

The MFS5D PORTABLE is one of Tohatsu’s bestsellers.

It is known for its ease of use and its convenient portability. They are very popular for smaller boats and used for a variety of different types of boating.

You will find them as outboard engines for yacht tenders, Jon boats, inflatables, and small fishing skiffs.

The new 2022 model has been upgraded with newly designed top, and bottom engine covers and new ergonomically designed carrying handles for easy carrying.

Tohatsu MFS40A:

The MFS40A is a mid-range model which Tohatsu claims to be the lightest in its class.

It’s also a very versatile engine that works well on many different styles of boats, including V-hulls, aluminum or wooden boats, and pontoon boats, to name a few.

The price point for this size engine is very reasonable compared to their competitors. It includes proven technology like Tohatsu’s electronic fuel injection and ignition, which provides quick throttle response, excellent fuel economy, and a very smooth ride on the water.

Tohatsu BFT250D:

The BFT250D is the largest outboard engine offered by Tohatsu.

While Honda is the actual manufacturer, they have been rebranded with the Tohatsu color and name tags and are distributed by Tohatsu worldwide.

If you’re looking for a big, high-powered beast, then look no further! As you would expect from both Tohatsu and Honda, this engine packs a punch and is jam-packed with all the latest outboard engine features.

Where Are Outboard Tohatsu Engines Manufactured?

Apart from the engines supplied by Honda, all of Tohatsu’s engines are manufactured in central Japan.

They opened a new state-of-the-art manufacturing plant here in 2005 that covers more than 34,000 square meters of space. The company employs more than 450 people and has a production capacity of over 200,000 units per year.

Tohatsu’s relatively new factory uses new, fully automated machines to produce reliable outboards at cost-efficient production levels not possible in older factories.

That’s why they can offer competitively priced engines.

How Is the Warranty On Tohatsu Outboards?

Tohatsu offers a 5-year limited warranty which is one of the best standard warranties in the industry.

It offers a full 5 years of peace of mind to all recreational users regardless of the motor’s number of hours of use. Tohatsu is also known for its good dealership network that offers efficient service and warranty work if you ever need it.

Just remember to register your ownership of your new Tohatsu motor with your dealer.

The warranty is transferable, but please read the terms and conditions to do this. Keep in mind that Tohatsu may involve some fees in the warranty transfer.

Which Brands Produce Engines Similar to Tohatsu?

As we have seen, the outboard engine market is pretty interchangeable, with many brands producing and branding their engines for others.

However, the following companies produce outboard engines similar to Tohatsu:

  1. Yamaha (arguably the largest manufacturer of outboard engines in the world)
  2. Suzuki
  3. Mariner
  4. Evinrude
  5. Honda

Sources:

Tohatsu

Tohatsu Technical Information

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