Review: Yamaha 2C outboard motor review

By: Andrew Norton

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The 2hp Yamaha 2C is an exceptionally reliable and simple portable outboard motor.

Review: Yamaha 2C outboard motor review
Our engine reviewer's 2p portable Yamaha 2C outboard didn't fail once, even after 360 hours in salt water.


Originally published in TrailerBoat #299 September / October 2013.

Fingers feeling a bit weak? Why not build up strength with a 2 hp Yamaha 2C portable outboard. The weight of this outboard engine is low enough for it not to need a carry handle. In fact, the Yamaha 2C outboard is so portable, it’s even lighter than the Honda BF2.3. This outboard also relies on a finger grip as the carry handle is on the wrong end of the powerhead.

But if you do invest in a Yamaha 2 hp 2C, make sure your hull has a transom height of no more than 15 inches (38cm) or the powerhead will starve of cooling water.  This places the Yamaha 2C outboard in the same category as the Honda BF2.3 and Suzuki DF2.5, which also perform way better on small rowing dinghies than tinnies.



The Yamaha 2C outboard motor has been around for 18 years and is Yamaha’s smallest and most portable outboard. Its predecessor, the 43.2cc Yamaha 2B, dates back to 1982 and was available in re-badged form as the Mariner 2 engine way back in 1975, developing 1.5 hp. The original version of the Yamaha 2B started life in 1971 and had a separate starter cord for wrapping around the flywheel, just like the 1968 Johnson 1.5.

Not only does the Yamaha 2C engine have a bigger piston displacement at 50cc (achieved by enlarging the cylinder bore) but also CD ignition, so it cold starts easily in damp weather. The Yamaha 2C outboard motor develops an awesome 2.0 HP at 4500rpm with a Wide Open Throttle range of 4000 to 5000rpm. There’s fixed ignition timing with the single carbie jet gravity fed from the 1.2 litre fuel tank and these features ensure the engine shakes around below two thirds throttle opening, so you do get some gym benefits. Above two thirds, the Yamaha 2C outboard smooths out with way less vibration than the BF2.3 or DF2.5.

The Yamaha 2hp outboard fuel mix of 100:1 fuel/oil (run it on 25:1 for the first 10 hours) means it has an OEDA 0 Star rating.

It has a usefully low 2.08:1 gear ratio and best of all, the dry weight is a mere 9.8kg. This makes it one of the friendliest portable outboards on the market and will really be appreciated by fingers. A range of prop pitches are available to suit varying hull types but the standard 4.7 inch pitch prop was perfect for my flat-bottomed ‘78 deHavilland John 10 punt.

Powerhead access is not the best as there’s still a clamshell cowl and my advice is to only remove one half at a time. Recommended servicing intervals are every 100 hours or annually after the first 20 hours and the warranty for recreational anglers is three years.



Thankfully the John 10 has a 15 inch transom and no external keel to prevent "clean" water from reaching the water pump impeller. I first borrowed a 2C in 1995 and my then partner Susan and I had many happy hours chugging around Lake Macquarie while running on the smell of an oily rag. We’d point the bow at a distant headland and take turns guessing how many hours it would take to reach it.

Even cold starting was ridiculously easy but being direct-drive we needed plenty of space around us as half throttle and a fair amount of choke are needed. Once running on 100:1 fuel mixture oil smoke appeared only after 30 minutes or more of trolling and noise levels were lower than its four stroke competition (particularly the air cooled Honda). However, not having a cooling water tell-tale meant slipping fingers over the transom occasionally to check for water flow. Also, the relatively weak ignition with 0.55mm spark plug gap prevented my portable tachometer from picking up any rpm. The long tiller handle concentrated vibration back at the engine and through the hull structure, so my tiller hand didn’t end up with that wonderful tingling feeling. Oh well, no outboard is perfect!

As expected of a Yamaha, the review 2C engine never let us down and even after a total of 360 hours of salt water leg/lower unit immersion no corrosion was apparent anywhere on the lower unit, leg or powerhead. A few years later I convinced my neighbour to buy one for his tinny and he had just as good a run as us.


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As of August 2013 the Yamaha 2C outboard had a price of $900 RRP. A spare alloy propeller cost around $80.



The Yamaha 2C is nowhere near as popular as the Yamaha 3A because it lacks a clutch. Boohoo, who cares in such a small engine? But unlike the 3A it is suited only to 15 inch transoms and that does limit its appeal, though it is perfect for small displacement hulls such as the Walker Bay 10.

Sure the Yamaha 2C isn’t as clean as the four stroke competition, but it’s so simple to maintain and is incredibly reliable. I reckon these factors are way more important!

Thanks Yamaha Motor Australia, Murarrie QLD (07 3906 7041) for supplying the review engine.



Two adults, total displacement 225kg average two-way runs.



1.9kts (3.6kmh) (trolling)


5.0kts (9.3kmh) (cruise)


5.7kts (10.5kmh) (WOT)


"Loop" of 10% WOT and 40% trolling, averaging 4.0kts (7.5kmh), 0.9lt/h.




Honda BF2.3

Suzuki DF2.5







Cyl/ HP / rpm

1/ 2.0 / 6000

1/ 2.4 / 5500




Warranty (yrs)



OEDA Stars




Originally published in TrailerBoat #299 September / October 2013. Why not subscribe today?


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