Tohatsu MFS6C outboard motor review

By: Andrew Norton

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  • Trade-A-Boat

The Tohatsu MFS6C outboard motor has certainly evolved from its 6A predecessor engine.

Tohatsu MFS6C outboard motor review
The Tohatsu MFS6C outboard motor is a very economical engine.

 

Originally published in TrailerBoat #273, August / September 2011.

Released in 2000 and also sold as the Mariner / Mercury F6, the portable 123cc Tohatsu MFS6A was the first single-cylinder four-stroke six outboard motor in Australia. It was followed by the Suzuki DF6 outboard in late 2002, and the Yamaha F6C in late 2009.

All three outboard engines were designed to provide low-emission operation while remaining relatively light. They all have single-cylinder OHV engines, with the main differences being piston displacement. All have pressure lubrication, CD ignition with electronic timing advance, and the option of integral or remote fuel tanks, or both.

 

TOHATSU MFS6C

The Tohatsu MFS6C portable outboard motor, released mid-2011, is the first of these engines to have an upfront gearshift and a much longer tiller arm. There are still six trim positions with a single shallow-water setting and an automatic full-tilt lock and reverse lock. The upper cowl is more rounded than the 6A, with an improved air intake flow.

As with its predecessor, only a 12lt remote fuel tank is available. A 12V, 5A unregulated alternator is optional. The engine still develops 5.9hp at 5500rpm, with a wide open throttle (WOT) range of 5000-6000rpm and a 2.15:1 gear ratio. The dry weight is 25.6kg. Tohatsu still hasn’t fitted a carry handle to the aft end of the lower cowl, so you need two hands to carry it instead of just one for the DF6 and F6C. This is a real pain over longer distances.

 

ON THE WATER

In June the Australian Tohatsu distributor, Lakeside Marine, provided me with a new MFS6C for extended evaluation on my 2003 Sea Jay 3.4 Punt — the same hull I’ve also tested the DF6 and F6C on.

Over an initial two-week test period the borrowed Tohatsu MFS6C portable outboard motor was carefully run in before performance trials commenced. It started easily hot or cold because the choke is crosslinked with the throttle. That said, on each cold start it blew some oil smoke for the first minute or so, just like the 6A model I borrowed in 2000.

Spinning the standard 8in-pitch, semi-weedless alloy prop and carrying a total of 290kg, including two adults and fishing tackle, the Tohatsu MFS6C outboard motor did a very good job of pushing the load. Although trolling operation was limited to no more than 10 minutes at a time (first 10 hours), it ticked over steadily with little vibration through the hull. At mid-range rpm the vibration was on par with the DF6 and lower than the F6C, but at or near WOT the vibration was greater than the F6C.

The minimum planing speed on this engine is also my recommended maximum cruising speed (to prevent powerhead damage), achieved at three-quarters throttle.

Although the Tohatsu MFS6C outboard motor was quicker at WOT than the MFS6C, the Tohatsu outperformed the DF6, most likely due to the fitting of a prop where the pitch is greater than the diameter. All props used on planing hulls should be designed this way in order to achieve maximum efficiency — the DF6’s prop loses efficiency due to its diameter being bigger than its pitch.

Around a loop of normal cruising including 10 per cent WOT and 40 per cent trolling operation, averaging 4kts (7.5kmh), the Tohatsu used 0.52lt/h — 10 per cent less than the DF6 (and the F6C under identical test conditions). However, because of its older design, the MFS6C has 70 per cent higher exhaust emissions than the DF6 (no figures are available for the F6C), but it still gains an OEDA "3 Star" exhaust emissions rating.

Powerhead access is better than the DF6 and F6C, which also have integral fuel tanks, and the MFS6C appears easy to maintain with the spark plug, carbie / choke linkages and oil filler plug / dipstick all easily accessed. Tohatsu recommends servicing the MFS6C every 50 hours, or 12 months after the initial 10-hour check-up. However, as the sump holds only 0.45lt, I’d change the oil every 50 hours or every six months.

 

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PRICE

Tohatsu has done a top job of upgrading its four-stroke six to make it more user-friendly. When trolling with a rod in one hand, being able to hold the tiller arm and shift gear with the other is a real bonus, and the overall fuel efficiency is excellent.

This Japan-made unit has an excellent build quality, on par with the French-made F6C and above the Thai-built DF6. As of July 2011 the shortshaft Tohatsu MFS6C outboard motor had a price of $1851 RRP, with a spare prop costing $140. It carries a three-year recreational usage warranty.

 

PERFORMANCE

SPEED

RPM

FUEL CONSUMPTION

2.3kts (4.3kmh)

1300rpm (trolling)

0.16lt/h

12.3kts (22.8kmh)

5100rpm (min. planing)

1.7lt/h

15.3kts (28.3kmh)

5740rpm (WOT)

2.2lt/h

 

COMPETING OUTBOARDS

Engine

M/M F6

Suzuki DF6

Yamaha F6C

Prce

$1738

$1791

$2391

HP/rpm

5.9/5500

5.9/5250

6.0/5000

Cylinders/cc

1/123

1/138

1/139

Weight (kg)

25.6

25.0

27.0

Warranty (yrs)

5

2

4

OEDA stars

3

3

3

 

Originally published in TrailerBoat #273, August / September 2011. Why not subscribe today?

 


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