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“I'll admit I was drawn by a price £300 below that of...”

Written on: 30/06/2010

I'll admit I was drawn by a price £300 below that of other brands like Tohatsu and Yamaha, but since it wasn't to be a primary engine and just for fun I thought it might be okay. It wasn't. The model in question is the Parsun 9.8 four-stroke 2010 model. After four hours the engine faltered and dropped to a low speed and would only idle if the choke was put on. Dealer, Bill Higham, thought it might be the oil sender or the CD unit and promptly sent the parts. However, the parts were the wrong ones. On further thought, they decided it was a fuel problem and I took it to a dealer where the main jet was found to be clogged with "manufacturing residue". Two trips--one to deliver and one to collect--plus 100 miles driving and 3 hours of time. Not very pleased about that. Can't fault either Bill Higham or the dealer who serviced it, but if it fouls once due to internal cleanliness then odds seem good it will happen again and again until the stuff is gone. We'll see.

As for the engine--it looks like an outboard, but it lacks some of the quality touches that one sees on more expensive motors. The tilt bracket is pretty lightweight and no provision is made for bolting to the transom although the manual says this must be done. Using the emergency starter cord requires removing the recoil starter (3 10mm hex head screws). Wire looms are a bit haphazard with extra lengths of wire simply folded up and stuck in a split hose. Access to the oil dipstick is effectively blocked by a wire loom that could have been routed differently. The pivot mechanism initially was pretty rough with an obvious burr situated in mid-position. This has reduced slightly with use. Throttle response through the range has been a bit patchy, but this may improve with a clean carb jet. The fuel tank provided has one way valves on the hose connectors that do not seal so be careful storing this in a car or indoors. On the plus side, the engine starts easily and is pretty quiet even at speed, and is lightweight for a four-stroke. Shifting is via a side mounted lever. Mine was difficult to shift in and out of forward although perhaps this too will improve with use. More expensive motors often employ a shifter built in to the throttle grip.

Overall, it's a motor, but it's the first new outboard I've purchased in over thirty years that failed right off the bat and had quality control issues. Marine engines must meet a high standard or they are a potential safety risk. If I was recommending an engine to a friend, I would say to buy a Tohatsu or a Mariner (made by Tohatsu I believe) or any of the other main brands. The inconvenience of the failure has already cost me more than the difference in the price of the other motors. This one might turn out okay or it might not. I expect that kind of uncertainty with a second-hand motor, not with a new one.

As for Bill Higham, who sold me the motor, they have been very good to deal with, taking calls and responding immediately to enquiries or problems. They also sell other brands! I have no doubt that they will make good if problems remain.

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