Frequently Asked Questions

Tohatsu outboard owner's manuals are available for downloading from our website at no charge. The manuals are in Adobe Acrobat "PDF" format.

There is no one simple answer to this question. There are many factors which must be taken into account, most importantly is to never exceed the horsepower rating of the boat. Other factors to be taken into account are the weight of the boat, weight of passengers/gear, and your expected use of the boat (do you want to water ski? troll around your local lake? etc). To find the best "bang for your buck" please contact us - we will be more than happy to help you find the best outboard for your particular needs.

With the exception of our outboards which have oil injection systems, Tohatsu 2-stroke outboards require a 50:1 (2.5 ounces of oil for each gallon of gas) oil/gas mixture after the initial break-in period. Tohatsu outboards which have oil injection will automatically mix the correct amount of oil and gas depending on the engine requirements; you don't have to pre-mix your oil & gas with these systems. We've put together a handy chart to help you calculate the amount of oil/gas to mix.

For your 2-stroke outboard, be sure and use only 2-cycle outboard oil, with an NMMA (National Marine Manufacturers Association) certified rating of TCW3. Never, never, never use automobile oil in your 2-stroke outboard. You can find Tohatsu 2-stroke outboard motor oil at your local dealer.

TLDI outboards should only be run using an oil that meets or exceeds TCW3 oil specifically formulated for use in Direct Injection motors and are semi-synthetic or full synthetic. Standard TCW3 oil is not recommended for use in TLDI outboards. Recommended oils listed below.

  • Tohatsu Complete Advantage 100% Synthetic Oil
  • Tohatsu Premium TCW3 Semi-Synthetic Oil
  • Nissan Marine Complete Advantage 100% Synthetic Oil
  • Nissan Marine Premium TCW3 Semi-Synthetic Oil

For your 4-stroke outboard, you should use Genuine Tohatsu FC-W 4-Cycle Oil. Tohatsu FC-W 4-Cycle Oil is NMMA Certified and has been specially formulated to handle the higher RPM's that outboards are subjected to, as well as special rust inhibitors to combat the harsh operating conditions of the marine environment. Genuine Tohatsu Oil reduces friction and wear and ensures the internal components are properly lubricated for optimum performance. If Tohatsu 4-Cycle Oil is not available we recommend using an NMMA Certified FC-W 4-cycle oil formulated for use in outboard engines. Look for oils bearing the FC-W trademark.

Your Tohatsu 4-stroke outboard is equipped with an Engine Oil Warning Lamp (except for 2hp, 2.5hp and 3.5hp). When the warning lamp is off, it indicates that sufficient oil pressure is present. If the warning lamp is on (red light is on) or blinking on/off, immediately shut down your outboard and check the oil level. Replenish as needed.

You may notice the engine oil warning lamp come on when you first start your outboard. This is normal and should go off after a few seconds. On cold starts, the lamp may stay on longer due to the oil being thicker. If so, stop the engine and restart and the lamp should go off quickly.

The minimum octane rating that you should use is 87, however, we recommend using gas with an octane rating of 89 or higher.

Immediately shut down your outboard! Do not start your engine back up until the problem is corrected or you will overheat and severely damage your engine. First check that the telltale is not stopped up (using a wire or air pressure) and then check the water intake on your lower unit and make sure that it is unobstructed. If the water intake is clear then chances are your water pump impeller needs to be replaced or you have an obstruction inside your lower unit.

You should inspect your water pump impeller each year before taking your boat out on the water. We recommend you change your impeller every year at a minimum depending on the amount of use you put on your outboard. One thing to remember is that even if you only use your outboard a couple of times a year you still need to have your impeller checked/replaced every year. Water pump impellers are made from rubber and will deteriorate over time even without being used (commonly referred to as "dry rot"); this can be just as damaging to your water pump as wear and tear.

When used in salt water we also recommend you lubricate the driveshaft splines and hardware while changing your water pump and the lower unit has been removed. This greatly reduces problems from salt corrosion on shaft splines and installation hardware.

Yes, simply press in the "button" where the lanyard cord attaches to the outboard. This will shut off the engine without having to remove the lanyard cord.

Yes. The lower unit gear oil has already been added at the factory, however, you should check to ensure it is completely full before starting your outboard for the first time. To replace/add lower unit oil we recommend any GL-5 type SAE 80 or 90 weight oil. We also recommend changing the oil in the Fall before the weather turns cold. This will remove any condensation before freeze damage can occur. You may also want to check out our web page giving you step-by-step instructions on how to change and check the oil in your lower unit.

NO!!! Tohatsu 4-stroke outboards are not filled with oil from the factory. Before you start your 4-stroke outboard you must add oil to the crankcase. If you do not add oil, you will severely damage your outboard. Running a 4-stroke without crankcase oil would be like running your car without oil...the engine will seize up and you will end up having to replace the engine block/powerhead (this type of damage is not covered under warranty). Please consult your owner's manual for the proper oil type and amount to add and for the proper break-in and operating procedures. Refer to the dipstick or sight glass and Do Not Overfill. Overfilling the crankcase with oil will cause running problems!

Measure from the top of your transom to the bottom of your keel. If it is from 15" to 17" long you'll need to get a Tohatsu outboard with a "short" shaft. If it is from 20" to 22" long you'll need our "long" shaft outboard. Tohatsu outboard shafts are measured from the bottom of the engine mounting bracket to the cavitation plate on the lower unit. Generally most boats need either a short or long shaft although some boats require a 25" shaft (ultra-long shaft) outboard.

Please note that depending on the particular model, some Tohatsu shaft lengths may be 2" longer than "standard" (ie: a short shaft may be 17" instead of 15" and a long shaft may be 22" instead of 20"). Therefore, depending on the configuration of your keel, the shaft length required by your boat may be different than the above recommendation. We recommend that you contact us to determine which is the correct shaft length for your particular boat.

For the 2-stroke models and 4-stroke 2, 2.5 and 3.5, any 5/32" x 1" (4mm x 24mm) shear pin will work just fine. There are two types of shear pins available; brass and stainless steel. Brass shear pins are available through aftermarket companies and will "give" if you strike an underwater object. However, brass shear pins may also break more easily if shifting or accelerating too quickly. Stainless steel shear pins are much harder than brass shear pins and won't "give" if striking an object which could cause damage to the prop. However, stainless steel shear pins won't break as easily as brass shear pins when accelerating quickly or when shifting gears. Stainless steel shear pins are standard with new motors, along with the resin prop.

The EPA emissions label on the side of the outboard shows the year the outboard was manufactured, however, this should not be confused with the "Model Year" of the outboard. The model year starts at different times than the calendar year, therefore, it is possible the emissions label will show the motor produced in one year, but the MSO shows a later model year. For example, an emissions label may show a motor was produced in 2013, but the MSO may show that it is a 2014 model year outboard.

Yes. All Tohatsu outboards are designed to be used in both saltwater or freshwater applications. Tohatsu outboards are used worldwide by commercial fishermen whose main application is saltwater usage. To help combat the corrosive effects of saltwater, all Tohatsu outboards are treated with a unique paint process which includes starting with marine grade aluminum alloy and then applying a high solid epoxy primer undercoat and then a high solid acrylic resin coat of paint. In addition, critical parts are made of stainless steel and all outboards include a zinc anode. As with any outboard used in saltwater, it is recommended you thoroughly flush your motor with freshwater after each use.