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Tohatsu 115 TLDI ?

Old 03-12-2015, 02:12 AM
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Default Tohatsu 115 TLDI ?

Hi fellas. Been looking around at new and used boats for a while and am pretty set on ordering a new C-Hawk 19cc. Just having trouble deciding what motor to get on it. The closest dealer to me (that also has the best price on the boat) carry's Tohatsu's and swears by the TLDI (of course). It's about $500-$1000 cheaper than a 4 stroke mercury or suzuki. There seems to be quite a few of the lower HP TLDI's around, but doing a lot of reading there doesnt seem to be many reviews/posts talking about the 115, which is the biggest 2 stroke they make. Everything I read about the smaller engines is nothing but good things and many stories of these engines with thousands of hours and still running like new...
I'm not really concerned with reliabilty, I'm confident that any modern outboard engine is going to be pretty good with proper maintenance.

So here is what I've gathered comparing the Tahatsu to a 4 stroke. I realize the E-Tec is similar, and possibly better, but with it being quite a bit more than the 4 strokes it's not even a consideration to me. the Tahatsu has a cheaper initial cost, less maintenance, lighter weight, easier to work on, and possibly more reliable. Disadvantages are that it's going to be louder, less eco friendly, and probably get worse fuel mileage. Though, the dealer tells me they are better than a 4 stroke, I have a hard time believing that. I also realize resale value and/ or ease of sale will probably be less.

So does anybody have one of these? How much oil am I realistically going to burn? Dealer says around 100/1 ratio. At $35/gallon that will add up quite a bit over time. I realize I wont have to change the engine oil, but that is only a $50 job and an our of my time once or twice a year. And what about fuel consuption and noise. How much louder is this going to be than a modern 4 stroke? I had a Yamaha f60 on my last boat and loved how quite ans fiel efficient it was. Couldnt even hear it idling...

I'm leaning towards a four stroke, but want to make sure the extra cost is going to be justifiable.

Just looking for some experience/ opinions. Thanks, Austin
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Old 03-12-2015, 03:00 AM
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Hi Austin

I had a TLDI 90 on my last boat. It ran perfectly for the 5 years that I had it, and yes, it used noticeably less fuel than 90hp Honda 4 stroke on a friends boat of a similar size. No bull, they were really fuel efficient and economical motors. I expect that the 115 would be just as good.

They use normal synthetic 2 stroke marine TCW3 oil injection oil, not the expensive stuff that the evinrudes require.

Their injection system is similar to the Merc Opti's and nothing like the e-tecs. Actually the system was designed and licenced to both Merc and Tohatsu by Australia's Orbital technologies company.

The are significantly quieter than the Optis, which, in my opinion, sound like a cement mixer hanging off the back of the boat! Not nearly as quiet as a 4 stroke, though. The 90 had quite a growl to it, rumbled at idle a bit like a Diesel engine. Not unpleasant, though. Also, very little smoke or smell even when idling for quite a long time.

The Tohatsu reputation for rugged reliability and Japanese quality and attention to detail is, in my opinion, very well deserved. Lots of commercial fishers use them in very remote areas in Australia, and that says a lot about their dependability.

With the TLDI, unless things have changed, you will need to change the belt that drives the air injection pump every 200 hours. They also run the expensive platinum spark plugs but the good news is that they last twice as long as a standard spark plug. Also every 200 hrs there are a set of fuel filters that have to be replaced and were quite expensive.

The weak link was the standard Tohatsu alloy prop. Even the dealer told me they were a piece of, well, poo. I tolerated it for a year then put a Merc Vengeance stainless prop on it and it was sooooo much better it was unbelievable.

The only other thing was that the engine did not have NMEA 2000 output so you couldn't link up to your MFD to get engine data and fuel economy info. You would want to check if that was still the case. Otherwise you are stuck with the bog standard analogue gauges straight out of the 1980's.

Overall a very easy to live with motor. If a new boat I was looking at only had it as an option, it wouldn't overly worry me at all.

Now, having said all of that, the boat I replaced that one with, I ordered with a Suzuki DF115 4 stroke. In 2010.

It is simply a great engine. Smooth, quiet, powerful, economical, and the current A series 115 is even more efficient than my 2010 model. A mate has a pair of them on his boat and the figures show they are easily 10-15% more fuel efficient than mine!

So I can't imagine the TLDI 115 being more economical than the current A series 115, although I suspect it would give my 2010 model a run for its money!

Beautiful Japanese engineering and quality.

Easy to work on. No particularly expensive filters to replace. Starts instantly. Will troll at idle speed all day without caring at all. And will then jump onto the plane without hesitating. Suzuki SS props in a 14x20 is perfect for my boat and seems to suit many others too. Pulls 6200rpm and loves to do it. Sounds like a little Cosworth formula engine at those revs!

NMEA data and digital gauges if you want them (yes please! Especially the newly released colour ones!!)

Worth an extra $500 -$1000 over the Tohatsu? Yeah baby! (Although if the difference was a lot more than that I might just think about it!). They are really at the next level, actually, make that 2 levels up in sophistication and design over the Toeys.

Just for the quietness, smoothness and total absence of smoke and smell, and no messing around or worrying about refilling the oil tank. Like your Yammy, you can barely hear them at idle.

Hope that helps, from someone who has owned both.

Last edited by Moonlighter475; 03-12-2015 at 05:29 AM.
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Old 03-12-2015, 03:09 AM
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People often compare the noise of a Di two stroke to a four stroke, yet never say which four stroke - they're not all the same in my experience, just the same as an Etec is quieter than an Opti.

If the noise is a make or break thing for you, I think the only thing you can do is ask the dealer for a reference of someone who's bought a 115 TLDI and ask if he would mind you popping over to have a listen next time he's using the boat - and maybe the same with any four stroke you're considering. Again if the noise is something that concerns you, what about the type of noise - e.g. the smaller mid range Hondas are very quiet but it sounds more like you have a hair dryer than an engine on your transom, whereas a Suzuki 90 and 115 (my only experience of using that brand) are also super quiet, but do actually sound like an internal combustion engine.

Also worth bearing in mind it's only at slow speeds you're likely to hear the difference - once you're getting a wriggle on, hull noise and wind noise tend to become more significant than engine noise.

Looking at four strokes, the new 115 Mercury surely also has to be worth investigating?
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Old 03-12-2015, 05:17 AM
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Some say Tohatsu is the best motor you can buy for reliability. I know a lot of professional fishermen use them around here. You see them in a lot of 3rd world countries too. Probably because they are so reliable. I think there have been some changes to the company recently so Tohatsu may not be the same these days. I have an optimax but I wouldn't hesitate to run a Tohatsu based on what I've read and have been told by others who have owned them.
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Old 03-12-2015, 05:28 AM
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If you have someone reliable near you for service go for it. I have a friend with a 60 on a skiff and he loves it.
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Old 03-12-2015, 06:13 AM
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I just ordered a new Tohatsu 115 TLDI. I hope it will be as reliable as my 2005 Tohatsu 90 TLDI. I have run it for 9 seasons at over 100 trips out of the harbor. I have changed the plugs twice and replaced the waterpump impeller once just to make sure all the bolts would not seize up over time.Of course I change the gear oil in the fall.` The only thing that went south was the center console control. The shift handle rotted off from constantly soaking it with salt water when I pull my Lobster traps. So I put a plastic generic 2 lever control on it.The begining of last season the engine would quit every so often. The engine will self diagnose itself. the dealer read the "codes"and said "low voltage". The battery was only 1 season old and the terminals looked OK but they were not.I cleaned them and bingo problem solved. The TLDI engines need high voltage to run and when it gets bellow a certain amount it shuts the engine down. The dealer has not seen the engine since new. I think you could say the motor has been dependable.Moonlighter I never changed the filters or the Air pump belt. Your scaring me,I think the motor could have 2000 hours or more.
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Old 03-12-2015, 06:40 AM
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I forgot to mention that when the dealer told me the engine codes came up Low voltage I didn't believe him because the engine cranked over fine.So if you have a problem clean the terminals. I have owned lots of tohatsu's. I even had the first triple engine Boston Whaler,the "gale Force 7"
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Old 03-12-2015, 07:01 AM
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Thanks for the replies fellas. It's looking good for the Tahatsu.... The dealer Priced it with a stainless prop, so I won't have to worry about the alum. one. And that of course they recomend the Tohatsu oil, but you can use anything with the TCW3 rating and still be good for the warranty.

The new 115 also has a 3 speed push button idle adjustment on the ignition. 700, 800, and 900 rpms. Not something I think I'll put to use much but a cool feature. I'll be mostly using it as a dive boat running out to the wrecks offshore, so won't be much trolling.
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Old 03-12-2015, 07:59 AM
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I had a 115 TLDI on my bay boat that I sold 2 years ago. Most reliable motor you will ever find. Have a commercial crab fisherman here in Cortez FL with the exact same motor on a 24 Carolina Skiff. FIshes every day and never turns it off. Last service he had over 6000 hrs on it with nothing but routine maintenance. I also owned a 1993 Tohatsu 90 carbed 2 stroke on a skiff for years. Had over 3000 hours on it when I bought the bay boat. They are truly a bulletproof engine with regular maintenance. As Moonlighter475 said, there is a reason they are so popular in thrid world and remote areas. They run. As far as the cahnges with Tohatsu, they chose Honda as thier partner for their 4 stroke large engines they introduced last year. Anotehr reliable company.

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Old 03-12-2015, 10:49 AM
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Originally Posted by Breedb View Post
Some say Tohatsu is the best motor you can buy for reliability. I know a lot of professional fishermen use them around here. You see them in a lot of 3rd world countries too. Probably because they are so reliable. I think there have been some changes to the company recently so Tohatsu may not be the same these days. I have an optimax but I wouldn't hesitate to run a Tohatsu based on what I've read and have been told by others who have owned them.
I inherited a 70 HP Tohatsu that had been sitting in my in-laws barn for 5+ yrs. Took it to a local dealer who sells Tohatsu, Honda, & Yamaha. I told him that I didn't want to spend a lot getting it going and might just purchase a new motor. He said that he hated to loose a sale but if the Tohatsu was still in good condition that I should hold onto it and if I maintained it, my grand kids would be using it. $536 later and I have motor that screams!!
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Old 03-12-2015, 02:02 PM
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Originally Posted by leadsled View Post
I just ordered a new Tohatsu 115 TLDI. I hope it will be as reliable as my 2005 Tohatsu 90 TLDI. I have run it for 9 seasons at over 100 trips out of the harbor. I have changed the plugs twice and replaced the waterpump impeller once just to make sure all the bolts would not seize up over time.Of course I change the gear oil in the fall.` The only thing that went south was the center console control. The shift handle rotted off from constantly soaking it with salt water when I pull my Lobster traps. So I put a plastic generic 2 lever control on it.The begining of last season the engine would quit every so often. The engine will self diagnose itself. the dealer read the "codes"and said "low voltage". The battery was only 1 season old and the terminals looked OK but they were not.I cleaned them and bingo problem solved. The TLDI engines need high voltage to run and when it gets bellow a certain amount it shuts the engine down. The dealer has not seen the engine since new. I think you could say the motor has been dependable.Moonlighter I never changed the filters or the Air pump belt. Your scaring me,I think the motor could have 2000 hours or more.
Yeah, maybe you would want to check the service manual, I can't recall whether that belt was ever 200 or 400 hours. Maybe 400. Be worth changing.

Also you are right about the TLDIs needing a big, very high power battery. And in good condition.
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Old 03-12-2015, 04:11 PM
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I had a 90hp tldi on the boat I built in 2003. I sold the boat after 9 seasons and I don't think that motor ever so much as stalled on me. Not a single problem so I bought another 90tldi without hesitation for the boat I just finished last fall.

The tldi's are truly just as fuel efficient if not moreso than the 4 strokes. In 2003 a fishing magazine ran all the 90's on the market through a bunch of tests, and the tldi won the fuel efficiency category. More fuel efficient than the etec, optimax, Honda, Suzuki and Yamaha 90's. Granted that was a dozen years ago and the 4 strokes were carbed back then, but the tldi's are probably better now too.

When you compare pricing, make sure to add in the prop and controls for the other models. These items are included in the Tohatsu price. Once those were factored in, the closest 4 stroke price I got was $2k higher than the tldi.
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