Most Common Problems with Honda 4 Stroke Outboard

Ruling with trucks, motorcycles, SUVs, and Sedans, Honda has long since moved to Marine Outboards. 

Honda started making their 4-stroke engines in 1964. It provides engines for bay boats, catamarans, and pontoons currently. Honda happens to be the first company to provide 4 stroke motors in America. And their engines range from 2 to 250 hp. 

The range and capacity of Honda 4-strokes are outstanding. However, there are some common issues with the engine. In this article, I will discuss the common problems and the solutions for Honda’s 4-stroke outboards. 

A Quick Overview to Boat Gas Tank Vent Issues and The Reasons Behind Them:

Engine Dies OutJammed Carbeurator.Clogged Fuel Filter.Gunk in Idle Jets.Petrol Tank Vent Blockage.
Crankshaft Thrust Bearing FailureDesign Issue.
Starting Issue.Lack of PowerFailed Fuel Injection System.Some Corrosion
Overweight EnginePlain BoringHonda’s Design and Features.

1. Engine Dies Out

Common symptoms include running rough. The engine starts then idles roughly. After that, the engine dies within a few minutes. 

The common sign is running for a couple of minutes under load then dying. The engine restarts easily. But then runs a couple of minutes and dies.

Reason for the Problem:

This mainly occurs due to a fuel flow problem. Fuel flow can be blocked for many reasons. Some of these are a clogged carburetor, fuel filter, idle jets, and petrol tank blockage.  

Possible Solution:

Unclogging the necessary parts to restore fuel flow is the solution to this problem. 

If the problem persists, try replacing the spark plug. 

To fix this:

Things You Will Need:

  • Carburetor Cleaner.

Troubleshoot 1: Clear Clogged Carburetor

Strip the carburetor. Clean the gunk away with a carburetor cleaner. 

Troubleshoot 2: Clear Clogged Fuel Filter Line

The fuel filter can clog up the fuel line. Remove the filter from the fuel line. Now, use a solvent cleaner or carb cleaner and clean the filter. 

Then reinstall the filter in the fuel line. Make sure the line is clean and the gunk from the filter is not stuck there. 

Troubleshoot 3: Clean Gunk in Jets 

There is dirt in jets due to evaporated fuel. Run it dry with the fuel tap turned on. This will solve the problem. 

Troubleshoot 4: Remove Petrol Tank Vent Blockage

Disconnect the vent hose from the fuel pump. Blow on one end to see the air coming out the other. If not, then there is a blockage.

Clean the blockage by removing any kinks.

2. Crankshaft Thrust Bearing Failure

Honda 4-strokes seem to have real troubles with crankshaft bearing. These parts fail without any warning. They display no special symptoms of failure either. 

They just stop functioning. To check for a bad crankshaft, do this: pry under the crank pulley. If you find a vertical lift then the crankshaft is probably gone bad. 

There are also clunk sounds that come from different places. 

Reason for the Problem:

Seems like this is Honda’s engine issue. It happens to many people who own these outboards. 

Possible Solution:

Taking it to the service center and getting it fixed would be the solution

3. Starting Issue/Lack of Power

Common symptoms include starting smoothly. But then at idle, loses power. Also when you try to put it in the plan, it does not get enough power. The engine loses power or gets weakened out in idle. 

Reason for the Problem:

The fuel injection system failure may cause this. Defects in the fuel injection system can also be the reason. 

Electrical components inside the housing of the engine. The main relay is usually sealed with any potting material. This is done to prevent corrosion. 

But with time the material may separate from the relay housing. It causes the electrical components inside to get corroded. This corrosion may result in the outboard not starting.

Possible Solution:

The fuel injection system can be replaced. The warranty of Honda should cover the replacement. 

The corroded parts can be replaced or serviced from a servicing center of Honda. Corrosion prevention can be enabled with regular servicing. 

Keep the housing dry as much as possible. After a trip in saltwater, wash with normal water. 

4. Overweight Engine/Plain Features

Honda engines are pretty heavy engines. The dry weight of the engine (electrical tiller) is 50 kg (110 lbs). This is for Smaller engines. For larger engines, it is 53 kgs or 117 lbs. The dry weight of the power tilt of the engine is 58 kg (129 lbs). 

This is comparatively more than other engines. 

On the other hand, the features of Honda outboards have been deemed ‘plain boring’ by many users. 

Problems Because of Overweight: 

A very common problem is the slower speed. Imagine having a smaller boat with a heavy engine. The boat to engine weight ratio if too close, can slow down the boat. 

Moreover, the boat can get tilted due to the engine as well. This causes a bunch of problems. One of the reasons being a loss of control. Moreover, there’s a difference in the trim speed as well. 

Plain or Boring Features: 

Honda has been producing and selling 4-stroke outboards before other companies did. Although they have been around for so long, we did not get to see many developments in the model. 

Meanwhile, Evinrude, Suzuki, Yamaha have produced many cutting-edge engines. Some of them have become cult favorites too.

Meanwhile, Honda stuck to being a reliable engine. It is pretty smooth in performance too. It performs well under load. Even gets a severely underpowered boat through many hours.

Possible Solution:

The overweight engine and features cannot be changed. You may want to change the outboard. Yamaha is are pretty good currently. On the other hand, Suzuki’s 4-strokes deliver the best of both 2 and 4 strokes. 

What Majority of the Users Feel About Boat Gas Tank Vent?

The Honda engines are overall reliable. They also perform well. But many consumers deem them to be boring. Others manufacturers have better things to offer. Especially with the new technology we see nowadays. The weight of these outboards seems to be a disadvantage. And the consumers notice that. 

The outboards have a moderate price range. They are efficient at performance. Ease of operation is also something users appreciate. However, they prefer not to remove the actual block of the engine. Then using the engine becomes a lot more difficult. 

The users also appreciate the use of a timing chain rather than a belt in the engine. Moreover, the engines provide 1500 hours on them on average. And the outboards come with usually a long warranty time. 

Overall, they believe a Honda 4-stroke makes a good unit. 


Overall, the Honda 4-strokes are a good engine. They are plain and basic but effortless and efficient. Being in the market for such a long time, they are the most reliable producers out there.  

Customers are happy with the reliability too. Honda has been at it for a long time. And provide a problem free engine for most of its longevity. 

So, grab a Honda 4-stroke. As their customers say, ‘the weight is worth it.

You Can Also Read:

Similar Posts