7 Most Common Problems with Honda 50 HP Outboard

Among all the 4-stokes by Honda, the 50 HP outboard is the lightest. It also is the lightest 4-stroke outboard out there.

The outboard is available in L and X sizes. It comes with a center-mounted tiller handle: its most alluring feature. Additionally, the auto-start feature mixes the air to fuel ratio automatically very quickly.

The engine completely holds maximum power in the lightest ergonomic design possible. The engine has been remodeled in 2008.

Despite all the pros, there are some common problems with the engine. In this article, I will discuss the most common problems with Honda 50 HP outboard.

Most Common Problems with Honda 50 HP Outboard

Common Honda 50 HP Outboard Problems:

1. Splitting of Lower Unit:

The lower unit splits parallel to the prop shaft due to saltwater corrosion. In extreme cases, a chunk of gear case comes off.

The end nut of the gear case corrodes due to saltwater. As the corrosion proceeds, the lower unit splits into two parts. This problem seems to persist even after flushing consistently.

This problem occurs due to the faulty design by Honda. The problem occurs mainly in the designs before the 2008 model was launched. To make things worse the lower unit is quite expensive.

Moreover, to take off the lower unit a ‘special tool’ is necessary for Honda.

2. Carbs Get Dirty Easily:

The carbs tend to foul easily due to the collection of slug or dirt. It is very expensive to clean as well.

The carbs get dirty because the orifices are small. Even after cleaning the engine idles roughly.

When this happens the fuel of the carns may flood out. The lower unit needs to be greased enough too. Also when the fuel contains ethanol, carbs can get dirty.

But Honda’s is mainly a design issue.

3. Lags in Technology:

The engine does not have fuel injectors. So cit does not have the option to start with a switch.

The starter needs to be cranked for more than a second. Otherwise, the engine does not start.

Due to being a very lightweight motor, the engine does not support too heavy boats. The engine underperforms under load often. The revving speed decreases. 

4. Flywheel Problem:

There is a retaining plate that holds the flywheel magnet. This retaining plate may come loose with time. In some cases, it cuts the timing plate.  

This can cause dangerous problems. Black dust comes out of the belt in these cases.

Moreover, these plates are not sold as spare parts by Honda. If a retaining plate issue occurs, a complete replacement of the flywheel is necessary.

5. Corrosion of Motor:

Corroded in the blocks occur in the motor due to saltwater. Corrosion usually is seen around the carburetors. Moreover, water enters the oil and turns milky.

Rusting is found in fender walls and brackets as well.

In the 50 HP Honda engines, the powerheads are made of zinc. Corrosion can cause there or the lower unit housing.

The zincs should be checked every month as they are the number one cause of corrosion. Hairline cracks are fairly common too.

6. Overheating:

Sometimes overheating of the engine causes the boat to halt or seize. This occurs because water enters the exhaust. It causes internal damage which results in overheating. Or it could be due to an oiling issue.

Although this is uncommon, the issue occurs due to Honda’s design.

7. Tilt Piston Issues:

The tilt piston exists to help with the gas. But owners have reported that after a while the tilt piston loses functionality.

Moreover, tilting the motor seeps saltwater through and rest on the prop. As a result corrosion of the steering trailering lock bolt would be seen.

Clogging of telltale is also seen because of the same reason.

What Do The Customers Say?

My BF50 is a 2008 model, It’s been a brilliant engine on my 4.3m sea jay. In a tough bracket, it’s a class leader for its HP bracket. Quality, durability, reliability and Blast, it works.”

— Jeff

“I bought this Honda outboard because I love Honda products but with only 20 hours on it and it misfires like crazy at 4000 rpm can hardly hold on to the tiller handle it is ok above 4000 rpm and below 4000 most of the time but seems like I get misfires at full trotted now to bad for Honda beautiful looking but not working out Honda dealer is trying to help but can’t come to see it on the boat in operating conditions.”

— Glp

“Have a 50 hp Honda on my 420 sc renegade awesome economy plenty of go for this setup top speed 52km pulled 90 kg on wakeboard and had a great day with kids ,was under load most of the day and used at best 12 litres . Fishing the next day trolling lures so quite running sounder ,charger for phones what a great motor so happy I chose a Honda”

— John R

I have a bf 50 and it has no power and the alarms keep going off. it has been 8 months and still not fix still under warranty had a new Head put on it, water pump, computer reset, Impella, 4x o2 Sencers… i take it for a run and its fine for 20 min then back to the shop we go

it was reliable but not any more

after sale service”

— Formosa

Final Thoughts

Honda 50 HP outboards are surely the lightest engines. The tilt technology is meant to be one of the best attractions. However, the technology fails as well after a while as reported by owners.

The engine is definitely powerful. But is lackluster in terms of technology.

The lower unit corrosion problem also makes people suffer a lot. So it is better to go for any other engine. The later engines of Honda are very good. Though they have an overweight issue. Overall, I would suggest not to go for the Honda 50HP engines because of the costly troubleshooting for common problems. Compared to which the engine is not attractive enough.

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