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Tohatsu 5hp propane motor for HA 18
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7/22/2018 at 4:39:04 PM GMT
Posts: 3
Tohatsu 5hp propane motor for HA 18

Last year I bought a Tohatsu 5hp motor for the well of my HA 18 which I have spent the last couple of years getting ready for the water.  G. Somers asked how I found it but I didn't have time to install it until this year - so here is my experience so far - and a couple of questions resulting from it.

The Tohatsu 5hp is apparently identical in size to the 6hp gas model which I have heard others use in the well of HA 18s.  Mine fitted in the well, but required some modification to the port in the back of the cockpit combing to house both the motor and the tiller  - it was just a fraction too tight a fit - I have no idea whether the tiller is original or not.  There was already some damage to each end of the port, and the eventual size looks bigger than really necessary because of this - and also to accommodate the rise in the tiller when pushed over fully to each side - aternative would have been a smiley face appearance but a straight line is easier to cut! Actually the Tohatsu is surprisingly tall for its size - see pic of the Tohatsu side by side with a Johnson 15hp mounted on the transom of a small runabout.  It comes well above the level of the cockpit seat, so that the seat extension provided to fill the gap cannot be used - but I expect that is the case with most motors - despite the pictures in the original brochure of an engine fitting in the well completely under the seat!

In use there is little smell, which is nice, but the engine is not as quiet as I expected and also vibrates more - not excessively and may be due to its one cylinder construction.  It certainly seems powerful enough, although the prop is very small - the 'sailpro' version comes with a larger, lower pitched prop - but is only available in long shaft which does not fit in the well.  I may consider changing the prop next season.  So my conclusions are:

1) check if the height of the motor mounted will fit under the tiller before purchase

2) propane fuel works well, and there is plenty of power.  You do need to invest in the lightweight resin fuel tanks as standard steel propane tanks do not fit under the seats and will leave rust marks all over the paintwork.  Also probably best to have two tanks so you can have a spare - you can't just top up the tank like you can with a gas tank.

3) noise and vibration are acceptable but a little disappointing - not sure how it compares with the gas tohatsu 6hp, but seems noiser than other modern four cycle motors although I have not been able to do side - by side comparisons.  There is very little smell of either raw fuel or exhaust, which is nice.


1) what do people do with their motor when sailing - leave in neutral or in gear - either way the prop does rotate and I wonder about wear on the engine - also about wasting fuel if left in gear - so I tend to turn the fuel tank off whilst sailing

2) any comments about longevity with the shaft and prop constantly in the water - I was surprised at the aggressiveness of the corrosion on the anode, and marine growth - I was hoping that lifting it up and giving the shaft a scrub every couple of weeks would avoid the need for spraying antifouling on a brand new motor - but was soon disillusioned of that idea.

It seems there are pros and cons to having a motor mounted permanently in the well compared to on the transom, and am interested to hear opinions and experiences


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