Frequently Asked Questions - Products

What is a Kicker Motor?

A kicker motor generally refers to a model that is used to supplement a larger outboard motor.

A small motor like this is often intended for trolling or going slow.

Kicker motors are also commonly used as auxiliary power for sail boats when wind conditions are not favorable or positioning the boat is important.

A kicker motor is most commonly a 6 hp, 8hp, 9.8hp or 9.9 hp model motor with a 20” shaft or 25” shaft.

Tohatsu or Nissan: Is there any difference?

Tohatsu is the manufacturer of all Nissan outboards. They are identical with the exception of branding and brand label (decals). Nissan models are typically slightly higher in price as a result of the premium branding and offer slightly higher resale values. There is no difference in features, specifications, or warranty term. Tohatsu also has a relationship with Mercury Marine to manufacture portable outboards offered by Mercury Marine below 40hp.

Shaft Length: How do I measure?

If mounting directly to a boat transom: Measure from the top of the transom down to the bottom of the hull or keel (lowest point). Measure the area of the transom directly where the engine will be mounted. See diagram below.

If using an auxiliary mounting bracket: With the bracket in the down position, measure from the top of the bracket's mounting surface down to the bottom of the hull or keel (lowest point where engine will be mounted). Tip: For most auxiliary applications, it is possible to use a longer shaft length than what is called for, provided there is sufficient clearance when the engine is in the up position. This can be especially useful in heavy seas.

If measuring an existing outboard: Measure from the inside top of mounting bracket down to anti-cavitation plate above propeller (this is the largest plate/fin directly above the propeller). See diagram below.

Shaft Length Diagram

Engine Oil: Do 4-stroke outboards come with engine oil pre-filled?

NO! Four-stroke outboards are not filled with oil from the factory. You must add oil to the crankcase prior to use.

Oil Type: What type of oil should I use in my 4-stroke outboard?

Four-stroke outboards use 10W-30 or 10W-40 four-stroke motor oil. We recommend a FC-W® rated NMMA (marine) certified four-stroke engine oil when available (10W-30 or 10W-40).

2.5hp and 3.5hp 10 fl oz. (300 mL)
4hp, 5hp and 6hp 15 fl oz. (450 mL)
8hp and 9.8hp 27 fl oz. (800 mL)
15hp and 20hp 1 qt. (1000 mL)
25hp and 30hp 2 qt. (1800 mL)

Transport/Storage: Can a 4-stroke outboard be laid on its side?

Yes. If necessary, the engine can be laid on its side but it must be laid on the proper side. Your outboard includes a picture (decal) on the engine itself indicating which direction the engine can be laid. Please see owner's manual for additional information on transporting and storage of your outboard.

Lower Unit Oil: Do outboards come with lower unit oil pre-filled?

Yes. The lower unit gear oil is pre-filled by the factory, however, you should check to ensure proper level before first use. To replace/add lower unit oil we recommend any SAE 80 or 90 weight oil. For additional information, see your owner's manual or our step-by-step instructions on how to check or change the oil in your lower unit.

Fuel Type: What type of gasoline should I use in my outboard?

The minimum octane rating that you should use is 87, however, the mfg recommends using gasoline with an octane rating of 89 or higher when possible.

Fuel Consumption: How much fuel is used per hour at full throttle?

Yes. All tiller operated outboards equipped electric start (30hp and below) also have the standard manual thru-cowling pull cord. You do not have to remove the cowling or do anything special. No more missed boating trips due to a dead battery. All electric start models also feature a 12V charging system as standard pre-installed equipment so engines can be manually crank started to recharge a dead or weak battery.

Electric Start Models: Do they have back-up manual start also?

Yes. All tiller operated outboards equipped with electric start (30hp and below) also have the standard manual thru-cowling pull cord. You do not have to remove the cowling or do anything special. No more missed boating trips due to a dead battery. All electric start models also feature a 12V charging system as standard pre-installed equipment so engines can be manually crank started to recharge a dead or weak battery.

What is the smallest outboard that offers electric start?

Smallest Long Shaft Outboard with Electric Start: 8hp Smallest Short Shaft Outboard with Electric Start: 9.8hp All Tohatsu/Nissan 4-stroke outboards equipped with electric start feature a factory installed 12V charging system and full back-up manual rope start through the cowling (just as found on manual start models) as standard equipment.

12V Alternator: How much is a 12V Alternator kit for my outboard?

The 12V charging system allows the user to charge a 12V battery. With this option installed, the outboard engine will send charging current to the battery when the outboard engine is running. The output is variable based on engine RPM.

Who needs this option?
Anyone who has a 12V battery in their boat (for lighting or other accessories) and would like an alternative or supplemental charging method.

NOTE: The 12V Alternator/Charging System is an option only and is NOT required to operate the outboard.  This feature can be added to manual start models from 4hp - 20hp. On 8hp - 20hp electric start models, this feature is standard equipment and no additional purchase is necessary. This feature is also standard on 6hp Sail Pro models.

How much is a 12V Alternator/Charging kit for my outboard?
We offer genuine Tohatsu/Nissan 12V charging systems that include a rectifier which provide your outboard with the ability to charge a 12V battery should you have the need or desire to do so.

MANUAL START MODEL OUTBOARDS Optional 12V Charging System Cost:
4, 5, 6hp* = $339.99 w/Free Shipping
8, 9.8hp = $349.99 w/Free Shipping
15, 20hp = $299.99 w/Free Shipping

Installation Cost: $59.99 (professional installation recommended)

*6hp Sail Pro models include the 12V charging system pre-installed by the factory.

For manual start models, the add-on 12V charging system requires installation (electric start models include the system pre-installed from the factory). We recommend professional installation as the flywheel must be removed to install the charging coils. If you could not or did not wish to complete the installation yourself, any marine tech should be able to complete this service for 1 hour of labor. We also offer installation of the system at a discounted cost of $59.99 when purchasing a new outboard.

Electric start model engines automatically come standard with the 12V charging system pre-installed from the factory. No assembly is required. You simply connect the 8.2 ft positive/negative electric start battery leads (provided) to your battery.

Remote Models: What is a remote control model outboard?

A "remote control" outboard is one that is equipped with remote steering, throttle, and shift controls. Due to manufacturer restrictions we are not able to ship any HP remote control model outboard. We can only ship tiller handle (hand driven) models up to 20hp.

Remote Models: Why can't remote control models be shipped?

Tohatsu/Nissan/Mercury/Honda do not permit shipment of any remote model engine due to installation requirements that must be performed by the selling dealer. These remote model outboards that we sell must be installed at our Dickson, TN location. NO EXCEPTIONS We can however ship tiller handle (hand driven) models up to 20hp.

We are able to ship all Suzuki Marine remote control models 30 hp and under.  These models DO NOT require any further dealer set up or installation.

Remote Conversion: Can I convert a tiller model to remote control?

Yes. We have factory conversion kits available for 4hp engines and above. To convert a tiller model to remote, you will need an S.R.C. kit (the hardware required to create linkage under the cowl) and a control box for throttle and shift (with or without key switch). In addition, if you wish to have remote steering you may require a steering link arm or hook plate. We recommend professional installation by a qualified marine professional. Below is the cost of converting your tiller model outboard to remote control with the required items mentioned above: 4, 5, 6hp = $595.00 (for use with manual start only; electric not available) 8, 9.8hp = $595.00 (for use with manual or electric start) 15, 20hp = $595.00 (for use with manual or electric start) 25, 30hp = $595.00 (for use with manual or electric start) 40, 50hp = $595.00 (for use with manual or electric start) NOTE: Kits do not include the (2) 33C universal control cables for throttle and shift (these should be purchased locally based on length required). The kit does not include a steering system. We recommend that you purchase a steering system locally based on the length required by your application. (The cost will vary locally, but generally will cost about $200-250 for these items.)

Saltwater Use: Are outboards salt-water rated?

Yes. All portable outboards are designed for saltwater and freshwater use. These outboards are used by commercial fisherman worldwide and are prized for their long-term durability over years of demanding saltwater use. For maximum durability and corrosion protection, all outboards feature: High Grade Marine Alloy Construction, Stainless Steel Water Pump Housings, Zinc Coated Internal Water Passages, Sacrificial Zinc Anodes, and Exclusive Multi-Layer Protective Coating.

Freshwater Flush: How do you recommend I flush my outboard?

Below is the manufacturer's recommended flushing technique: Caution: To avoid injury in the event of accidental starting, be sure to remove the prop and the stop switch lanyard cord from your outboard before proceeding. Important: All Tohatsu and Nissan outboards are water cooled; running your outboard without an adequate source of cooling water will result in severe damage to your outboard. 2.5, 3.5, 4, 5, & 6hp: For smaller outboards, the simplest way to flush your outboard is by using a large container of water (bucket, pail, barrel). Be sure the container is large enough to completely cover the water intake ports on the lower unit of the outboard. Also be sure that the container is wide enough so that no part of the motor will touch the sides/bottom of the bucket. Securely mount your outboard on a sawhorse or other sturdy device that will allow safe operation of your outboard. You may also use an optional "flushing plug", see below. 8hp and up: With 8hp-140hp outboards we recommend you use a motor flusher ("ear muffs"). This type of motor flusher is easy to use, inexpensive, and available at virtually every marine retailer. This equipment attaches to your garden hose and clamps on to your outboard's lower unit, covering the water intake ports. Turn the garden hose on fully before starting your engine. Make sure the "ear muff" motor flusher is firmly in place and correctly positioned over the water intakes on your lower unit. (Note: the "ear muff" motor flusher will not work on outboards below 8hp) Run your outboard at normal idle speed for 5-10 minutes to allow the engine to warm up and to ensure your outboard is thoroughly flushed with clean water. DO NOT rev up the engine as this is not necessary for flushing and could cause damage to the water pump. Flushing Plug Attachment: The flushing plug attachment is available for all outboards ($19.99). It is a bit cumbersome to use and requires removal of a water bolt on the engine. Once the water bolt is removed, the flushing attachment can be used. After flushing, the flushing attachment is removed and the water bolt is re-installed. When using the flushing plug method, the engine should NOT be operated while flushing.

Break-In: What is the break-in procedure for my new outboard?

A break-in chart is included in your owner's manual. Correct operation during the break-in period will prolong the life of your new outboard and will ensure optimum performance. Break-in consists of maintaining lower RPM levels and varying the RPM's for the first 10 hours of use. Break-in should be done under a load (on your boat, not at home in a container of water).

Warranty: How does the Tohatsu/Nissan warranty work?

Tohatsu and Nissan 4-strokes include a 5 year warranty (effective Jan. 1, 2013). Warranty service is available through any one of the 850 Tohatsu or Nissan Marine service centers located throughout the U.S. and Canada. If you need help locating a service center in your area, please email us and include your zip code. These service centers can also provide service after the warranty period.

First Use: Is there anything I need to do before using my outboard?

Outboards undergo an extensive factory inspection, including a tank test prior to being crated. While other manufacturers only spot check some engines, Tohatsu and Nissan test every engine. This ensures the highest level of quality and customer satisfaction upon delivery. Engine oil must be added prior to use. The engine oil is drained by the factory prior to shipping. When your new outboard arrives, you simply add engine oil (amount and type are shown on page 1 of manual). The lower unit gear lube is pre-filled from the factory. No assembly is required. Even the propeller is pre-installed for your convenience. If you purchase an electric start model, your outboard will include battery leads pre-installed from the factory (battery not included). You simply connect the battery leads to your battery. Read the owner's manual carefully prior to operation. The owner's manual contains important information regarding the break-in period, safety and proper use of your outboard engine.