As some of you may be aware Tohatsu released a range of TLDI motors in 2006, that utilise a low pressure direct injection fuel system, licensed from Australian company Orbital
which is also used by Mercury in their Optimax range. Both these outboards use a two stroke block and so benefit from all the good things about two strokes, whilst addressing what's now considered to be 'dreadful' fuel consumption that two strokes have.
In comparing the two, the Tohatsu deliver the same quoted power as the Optimax 90 from a slightly smaller bore/stroke and is also lighter which is important on smaller boats where savings are paramount. It's also interesting to add that Tohatsu make all the smaller 9.9 etc 4 strokes for people like Mercury, Honda, Suzuki etc and are becoming on of the largest unit producers of outboards in the world.
Without going too much into the marketing jargon of the superiority of each engine, ETEC, TLDI or Optimax as all make claims to being more economical than each other, let's point out some great features found on the Tohatsu:
1) Made in Japan
2) Salt Water Outboard
3) 3 year parts and labour warranty offered in Malta by their dealer Mecca not two like many others
4) User adjustable trolling/idle speed, 700, 800 or 900 rpm just by pushing the key (excellent for slow/faster fishing trolling)
5) Lighter than the Optimax, same weight as the ETEC90
6) Higher full throttle rpm range than the ETEC and the Optimax, 5150-5850 (ETEC lowest at 4500-5500)
7) Price advantage locally - subject to clarification as am requesting pricing on the ETEC 90 and Optimax 90
Tohatsu are the ONLY
manufacturer who make Salt Water Only Outboards
reasoning that an outboard designed for salt water can be used in fresh water but not vice-versa. They've been making outboards for over 50 years primarily targeting fisherman and commercial operators.
With conventional two strokes officially no longer available in Europe for recreational use, end users have been forced to look at heavier 4 strokes, hence Direct injection engines like the Tohatsu, ETEC, Optimax have come to the rescue. With the TLDI pricing let's say they sit in between 2 stroke and 4 stroke pricing (still hard to compete with the Lm2160 of the Yamaha 85 2 stroke), and I believe cheaper than the Optimax and ETEC.
ETECs by the way use a high pressure direct fuel injection system, which apparently is ever so slightly less economical than the low pressure system used by Tohatsu/Mercury, although a belt driven air compressor is needed on these low pressure systems. Like anything else, more components and plumbing, could potentially lead to more possible failure points but so far no major reports on the Internet indicate any kind of issues.
Tohatsu recommend lower crankcase oil change every year and compressor belt, air filter and fuel filter every 2 years just to give people an idea of a-typical maintenance on these engines.
Tohatsu may not have the major brand image that manufacturers like Mercury, Evinrude, Yamaha, Suzuki and Honda enjoy, but those in the know and many commercial operators choose Tohatsu engines for their reliability and price/performance that they can offer.
So in summary we now have a major contender providing a price competitive solution, I suggest all you guys&gals! give due consideration to the TLDI series when choosing a motor, especially in the 16-22 foot range. Currently Tohatsu offer the TLDI in the following horsepowers: 40/50/70/90/115 so they don't have the power range that Evinrude or Mercury offer yet, with the greatest range offered by Evinrude 40hp - 300
I'm looking at an 17-18 foot boat so I may well consider the TLDI as my chosen power for the new boat and will keep you posted. If anyone has direct experience of the TLDI's/ETECs/Optimax's, post your replies and let's discuss.