Tohatsu Sailpro Review/Log

Mar 20, 2015
2,253
C&C 30 Mk1 Silver Harbour, Lake Winnipeg
Good morning everyone,

In the time that I have been looking at switch to a different outboard, I kept seeing a lot of posts in various websites about the Tohatsu Outboards.
Their 6HP Sailpro 4 Stroke model seems to receive almost universal praise, with a few caveats.

Since I just received my new Sailpro and am in the process of preparing it for use, I thought it would be helpful, If I compiled all the info I have found.

I'll be updating this thread as time goes on, and I use the motor more and more.
 
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Mar 20, 2015
2,253
C&C 30 Mk1 Silver Harbour, Lake Winnipeg
Why I bought the Tohatsu Sailpro 6hp

I have been asked the question "You already have a fairly new motor, why replace it?"

I had a 2011 Mercury 15hp 2 stroke, that came with my Catalina 22

If I owned a powerboat, I wouldn't have sold the Mercury.
It's a well made, reliable motor, but, in my opinion (and the opinion of many others) it was not a good choice for a sailboat like my Catalina 22,


My 2011 15hp Mercury 2 Stroke 20" Long Shaft, (not sold for USA market)

Cons:
  • 15 hp is more power than is needed for a 22ft sailboat. A keel boat won't normally plane on the water , so it is normally limited to it's "hull speed". The Catalina 22's hull speed is around 6.29 knots.
  • No alternator in the Mercury (available as a Quicksilver addon kit for $115 USD)
  • Have to mix oil/gas
  • Uses a lot more fuel than a 6 hp 4 stroke
  • Pollutes a lot (don't you just love the smoke and rainbow sheen on the water, that a 2 stroke makes ?)
  • Lightest model weighs approx 41kgs/90lbs. This long shaft was likely more. Heavier than the Tohatsu Sailpro 6hp. Makes the boat slower when actually sailing.
Pro:
-it shifts from forward to reverse via the twist throttle, not with a separate shift lever.


2017 Tohatsu Sailpro MFS6C 6hp, 4 Stroke, 25" Ultra Long Shaft

(Initial pros/cons before using it. Will update as needed)

Pros:
  • No Fuel/Oil to mix
  • 3 Star Ultra Low Emission (meets the California Air Resource Board's 2008 exhaust emission standards) 65% less Emissions than the 1 Star Low Emission 2 Stroke
  • Supposedly quieter than the 2 Stroke ?
  • Includes a charging system
  • Fuel Consumption = 0.53 GPH @ 5500 RPM (1/3 of the fuel of the Merc 15) (based on manufacturer's data). In most cases it won't be at full throttle so the consumption will be much less in day to day use.
  • Long shaft version weighs 61lbs (at least 30lbs less than the Merc)
  • High thrust prop and 6hp is enough to get the boat to hull speed even in ocean swells
  • 25" Long shaft keeps the prop in the water in waves. (5" longer than my 2011 Mercury)
  • 5 Year Limited Warranty
  • Update: Has a Warning Light and Alarm with speed governor. This is activated when oil pressure is low, or maximum allowable rpm is exceeded.

Cons:
  • Uses a separate shift lever, instead of having it simply being simply a function of twisting the throttle
  • The steering "Friction System" is not designed to be a lock. After a bit of use, it is unable to hold the motor locked straight when under sail. (There is a bolt in lock kit available, but it prevents you from using the motor's tiller to improve maneuvering in tight spaces)


What did it cost ?

I paid approximately $1500 USD, which was a great sale price.
With what I sold the 2011 Mercury 15 2 Stroke, it cost me around $347 USD to switch the the Tohatsu.
I also got a free Tohatsu Hat (limited time) :)
*Note: I bought the motor in Canada. I have converted prices to current USD exchange for ease of reference. ;)

Time to unpack the new motor !
 
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Mar 20, 2015
2,253
C&C 30 Mk1 Silver Harbour, Lake Winnipeg
What's in the 2017 Tohatsu Sailpro 6 Box ?

  • The motor (made in Japan)
  • 12 Litre (3.1 USG) external fuel tank with fuel gauge (Made in Canada)
  • Fuel supply line (fuel rated rubber) with primer bulb, and quick connect fittings on both ends. (MUCH nicer than Quicksilver one I had for the 2011 Mercury)
  • Tool bag with:
    • Pliers
    • 10 x 13 mm Socket Wrench
    • 16mm Socket Wrench
    • Socket Wrench handle
    • Straight and Phillips Screwdriver shafts
    • Screwdriver Handle

  • Wrist Safety Lanyard with stop switch clip
  • 1000 mm (39 inch) Emergency Start Rope
  • Additional NGK DCPR6E Spark Plug
  • Additional Split Cotter pin for prop
  • Additional Stop switch lock clip

  • 6ft cable for connecting motor charging system to battery. (Has Ring terminals on battery end, and Female Bullet Connectors on motor end. Not great connectors, but it's too short to reach the C22's battery anyhow so I'll be using something else)



 
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Sep 30, 2013
3,290
1988 Catalina 22 central Florida
Great post(s)! A lot of people will want to know this stuff. :thumbup:

On the subject of fuel consumption: it varies dramatically depending on conditions and how hard you push it. In calm, still water, the Sailpro will putt around at 4.5 knots (half throttle) literally all day long on about a gallon of gas. It's pretty astonishing. HOWEVER, if you find yourself plowing full throttle straight into high wind and waves, it will suck that three gallon tank down pretty darn quick. And even under ideal conditions, increasing your speed from 4.5 to 5.5 knots will double your fuel consumption.

Being a belt-and-suspenders guy, I replaced the three gallon tank with a six. It has come in handy a couple times, and works wonders for peace of mind.
 
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Mar 20, 2015
2,253
C&C 30 Mk1 Silver Harbour, Lake Winnipeg
@Gene Neill
Thanks for the great info on the fuel consumption !

What range did the 3 gallons give you in the high winds/wave scenario ?
What wind/wave conditions are was talking ?
 
Mar 20, 2015
2,253
C&C 30 Mk1 Silver Harbour, Lake Winnipeg
Initial Inspection, Startup and Break-in

Like any new motor, the Tohatsu Sailpro needs to be correctly broken in so that you will get a good long service life out of it.

The initial break-in requires that you adhere to RPM limits for specific periods of time.
The owners manual for this specific motor says the first stage is a minimum of 10 minutes at Idle.
After 10 minutes at idle the manufacturer recommends you keep the RPM under 1/2 throttle/3000 rpm until you reach 2 hours of use.

My C22 is currently on it's trailer, when not in use.
Since I would likely need to use more than idle speed to get to a dock when I launch, I decided to run it in a water tank (extra large garbage bin), like I have done with other outboards.

I fully recommend using a water tank over a garden hose attachment.
As long as the water stays cool, and the water level is at least as high as the level shown in the owners manual, you won't have any problems. It's provides good water flow, and the exhaust/prop etc are all working as designed, immersed in water. Not hanging in the air.
Note: the normal ear muff style water feeds you can attach to a hose, won't work on this motor, due to the location of the cooling water inlet

While I was getting the motor ready, and while it was idling, I looked things over.

Here are my first observations:
  • The cable supplied to run to the battery needs to be replaced and modified:
  1. Only 6 ft. long. Not long enough to reach most battery locations on a sailboat. I suspect the cable is the same one sold for using with a small power boat. Hopefully they will supply longer cables with future SailPro models.
  2. Uses bullet connectors at the motor. They are not waterproof. Since the cable connects to the motor at the bottom of the power head, I don't think this is a great idea.
  • The gear shift lever "just" clears the grab handle on the oem Garhauer Marine C22 outboard mount, when the motor is tilted up fully. If you have a different mount this might not work, depending on it's design.
  • The throttle has a friction adjustment knob. All the tiller outboards I've used, never had one so I'm not sure why this one does. Presumably the throttle could vibrate out of where you set it ?


  • The fuel filter is somewhat opaque. I prefer clear ones so I can visually inspect them.
  • You need to remove 3 bolts, along with the pull start recoil system, to use an emergency starting rope. Having to use tools could be a problem in an emergency or in rough conditions. (I wonder if there is enough room to install some type of wing bolt modification ?)
  • The motor is quiet at idle. But, it does not seem noticeably quieter than the 2011 Merc 2 Stroke when at 1/3 throttle.
 
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Mar 20, 2015
2,253
C&C 30 Mk1 Silver Harbour, Lake Winnipeg
Place holder for Steering Friction "lock" information
 
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Sep 30, 2013
3,290
1988 Catalina 22 central Florida
@Gene Neill
Thanks for the great info on the fuel consumption !

What range did the 3 gallons give you in the high winds/wave scenario ?

I couldn't begin to guess. I just remember it was really alarming how fast the fuel was going away.

What wind/wave conditions are we talking ?
20-25 knots, 4' seas. The bow was getting big air and slamming down, the anchor roller was getting baptized a lot.

It was that same day, incidentally, when the moment came and I suddenly realized the boat was slowly turning beam on to the waves, and there was nothing I could do to stop it! :yikes: Finally I turned to the motor, and saw that the "friction lock" had failed, and the motor had turned itself sideways. That's why she wears bungee "handcuffs" to this day. (I mean the outboard, not the Admiral. She wears them for a different reason.)
 
Mar 20, 2015
2,253
C&C 30 Mk1 Silver Harbour, Lake Winnipeg
First post updated with:
-manufacturer's fuel consumption data.
-actual tested weight of the long shaft version
 

bushav

.
Aug 18, 2015
170
Catalina 22 Panama City, FL
Save foam shipping insert. I use mine all the time for motor cradle in the back of my truck. Keeps you from scratching motor during transport.

Lane
 
Mar 20, 2015
2,253
C&C 30 Mk1 Silver Harbour, Lake Winnipeg
Save foam shipping insert. I use mine all the time for motor cradle in the back of my truck. Keeps you from scratching motor during transport.
Not a bad idea.
In my case I'll be sewing a cover for it, and it will be mounted on the back of the boat during transport.
 
Aug 18, 2016
63
Catalina 30 mkII 5917 Muskegon, MI
Great thread. I'm really tempted to retire the 1957 Johnson 7.5 my Cat 22 came to me with and get one of these. Hmmm
 
Mar 20, 2015
2,253
C&C 30 Mk1 Silver Harbour, Lake Winnipeg
In 2 weeks I'll plan on getting on the water videos and data, and will be posting info on the steering lock "problem" and different solutions to that.

When I was doing it's initial startup run at idle, it started on the 3rd pull.
Smooth idle for a single cylinder motor IMO.
Not bad at all, since it was fresh out of the box

Like any motor, it will likely have some little tricks to start it, if you ever flood etc.
I've had a few time in my life when I needed to urgently start an unfamiliar motor.
I'd like to play around with it and see if I can get it running easily in those situations.
 
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Sailm8

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Feb 21, 2008
1,713
Hunter 29.5 Punta Gorda
Just a note about the snap on fuel connector that goes on the motor. It is proprietary. It looks like the ones you can find at any marine store but there is something different about it. When it wears out, eventually it will leak air and need to be replaced. The only one I could get to work was a genuine tohatsu part. YMMV
 
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Jul 13, 2010
1,077
Precision 23 Perry Hall,Baltimore County
About the steering lock. Look hard enough,you will find a fix,involves glueing fabric to the stainless steel band inside the housing at the lock screw. I did that to mine last winter,pleased with the results.
 
Mar 20, 2015
2,253
C&C 30 Mk1 Silver Harbour, Lake Winnipeg
Look hard enough,you will find a fix
Yes that is one of the options which I intend on listing in this thread.
It is still not optimal because of the location of the friction bolt, being on the rear of the motor. Not to mention it likely voids the warranty.
 
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Mar 20, 2015
2,253
C&C 30 Mk1 Silver Harbour, Lake Winnipeg
Just a note about the snap on fuel connector that goes on the motor. It is proprietary.
You bring up a good point.

That connector has a built in flow control, unlike the one on my 2011 Mercury which has a separate flow valve in the hose. For that reason alone, the old style connectors definitely won't work.
To prevent using a connector without a built in flow control valve, it would be designed so they don't work with the connector that people are more familiar with.

Most companies don't make all the parts of their cars/motor etc. That part, I'm told, is a new design, and like anything else, will likely be available from the aftermarket eventually.

Fwiw, I find much of the aftermarket stuff is cheaper quality. For example, the quicksilver hose on my Merc was crap compared to the oem tohatsu hose.

Did yours break or did the o-ring start leaking ?
How long did it last before you replaced it ?
 
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Sailm8

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Feb 21, 2008
1,713
Hunter 29.5 Punta Gorda
Leeward, I can't answer that with much accuracy. I bough the motor used and ran it for about a year before I had problems. I went to the marine store and bought a look a like. It worked fine for about 3 months then leaked air and fuel. I sent off for a OEM part, which looks identical but cost 3X as much and have been using it for a year. I have a spare ready to go.
 

AaronD

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Aug 10, 2014
537
Catalina 22 9874 Newberg, OR / Olympia, WA
Reviving an old thread, because it seems like a good place to keep relevant info on the Tohatsu Sailpro.

I just joined the Tohatsu club, replacing my old Honda 7.5. With some hesitation, as the Honda has been fabulously reliable, but I like the idea of getting 30+ lbs off the transom; and my aging back was complaining about lifting the 90 lb beast.

So, for those of you who've used the Tohatsu / Merc / Nissan 6hp for awhile, what repairs have you run into - what spare parts should I carry? I have a couple spare plugs and an extra fuel line, which I'm hoping will cover some potential problems. The local outboard mechanic I bought it from said he's occasionally seen a coil fail; but he said that's rare - and a spare is ~$125, so I'm not sure yet whether I'll spring for one. Has anyone here had problems that would justify carrying Tohatsu's carb repair kit or water pump kit? Anything else you'd recommend?