7 Problems with Suzuki Outboards (#1 is the Most Prominent)

boater checking outboard problems

Suzuki outboards have been gradually permeating the market since 1994 when Suzuki Marine produced its maiden 4-stroke outboard engine. Ranging from 2.5hp-300hp, these outboards are quickly becoming favorites of boating enthusiasts. But what are some of the typical problems you can expect from your Suzuki outboard?

We found the most prevalent issues with Suzuki outboard motors include vibrations, power loss, motor starting failure, corrosion, and motor overheating. These problems don’t discredit the credibility of Suzuki outboard engines, as the brand has some of the most durable 4-stroke outboard motors we have ever seen. 

How about we dive deeper into these problems mentioned above? More interestingly, wouldn’t you like to learn how to troubleshoot and resolve them?

Yes, and here we go!

1. Suzuki outboard corrosion 

Our investigations reveal corrosion is one of the most prominent issues with Suzuki outboard engines. How can you tell your Suzuki outboard is corroding?

You can tell when your engine persistently stalls at neutral. Commonly, after such painful stalling, the engine would fail to idle. 

Of course, corrosion results from your engine rusting. This is common when your engine mount begins to deteriorate. 

A rusting engine is particularly catastrophic given how badly it damages your boat trimming. Such rusting will wreak significant havoc on your engine mounting position. 

Not every incidence of corrosion in Suzuki outboard results from a rusting engine mount, either. We have found Suzuki outboard corrosion being triggered by a bad design in some instances. 

This results in the exhaust being handicapped. This would manifest in exhaust leaks and a corroding engine. The hose clamp is another spot where you can expect corrosion on your Suzuki outboard.

So how can you remedy this?

After every second trip, we recommend that you take off your outboard hood. Note that the engine needs to be cool enough for you to do this. So preferably, you must have turned your engine off for a while.

After removing the hood, get a bit of silicone spray on the powerhead. Just applying a thin film would do. 

It is worth reminding you to be selective of the silicone spray you use. Some can hurt your plastic.  

Another tip for preventing or reducing corrosion in your Suzuki outboard is preventing the engine from being directly exposed to solar radiation. 

When your Suzuki engine is directly exposed to UV radiation, the rubber parts would gradually degrade, just as the exterior plastic. 

In the case where you can’t store it away from sunlight, just spread a cover over the engine. Preferably, use a fabric with impressive UV resistance for covering it.

2. Suzuki Outboard Engine vibrating

Every motorboat enthusiast agrees that nothing spoils the fun as much as a vibrating engine. We have noticed significant vibration from Suzuki’s 4-strokes engines.

What could cause this?

The most common reason is a faulty propeller. This could be the propeller being obstructed, loose, or outrightly damaged. 

You can know if a bad propeller is causing your Suzuki outboard vibration if the vibrations get higher when your propeller’s RPM increases.

The first step is inspecting your propeller to see if it is damaged or bent. If yes, the resultant unbalanced propulsion can trigger such outboard vibrations. 

Another common reason why your Suzuki outboard vibrates uncomfortably is the propeller’s rotation is restricted. Your propeller can get entangled with your fishing line. In other scenarios, the propeller could mash up with seaweed. 

This is not uncommon if too many boats pass the water your boat plies. Also, such propeller entangling can occur if the water is not deep enough. If you are traversing such waters, regularly inspect your propeller. 

If your propeller is not outrightly damaged, check if it is loose. If yes, you can right things by tightening your mounting bolt or the steering pivot. 

If the damage is more severe, say there is a shaft misalignment, you may need a specialist marine mechanic to get things back to shape. 

3. Suzuki outboard engine not running smoothly at idle

Several Suzuki outboard engine owners complained of their engines not running smoothly at lower RPMs. 

Often, when the engine goes around 1550-1900 RPMs, the engine appears to be roughing. It could get so bad at idle that it becomes really challenging to steer the boat in some cases.

Frequently, this problem can be traced to a faulty thermostat. Also, the cylinder improperly connecting with the plugs can be the culprit.

We admit this is not the most straightforward issue to resolve. You need some technical experience to identify the failing injector or the dysfunctional cylinder. You can tell if the cylinder is going bad from it being darkened. 

If you notice such, you would have to replace the cylinder or injector. If you are not too confident, you can get a marine mechanic to inspect and resolve this. 

4. Suzuki outboard starter motor not working

While we can’t say this issue is prevalent, it is not very uncommon either. Your Suzuki motor’s starter could go bad.

Commonly, this makes restarting the engine (or even starting it) a severe challenge. If your starter is bad, it needs to be replaced. 

But if you are desperate for a quick start, say you are stuck somewhere uncomfortable with a bad starter motor, there are some hacks you could resort to.

First, get someone to turn the key while you can tap your starter with a small hammer. This could get the starter engaged. If successful, your engine would start.

If this doesn’t work, then you may need to do things the hard way. Yes, by sending power straight to the solenoid. This should engage the starter by bypassing the solenoid. 

Often, this is accompanied by a spark or distinct cranking from your engine. Note that this should be your last resort as this has significant danger attached. There is a massive risk of being fried if done wrongly.

5. Suzuki outboard motor overheating

Cars have radiators to expel the excessive heat from their engines. Sadly – and inevitably – outboards don’t. An outboard motor typically rids itself of excess heat by cooling with the water your boat rides on. 

So if the intake valve fails to deliver water to your Suzuki motor, the engine would overheat. This intake valve can be obstructed either by plants, mud, or simply trash. 

So if your Suzuki outboard overheats, quickly check the motor for debris. If there is any, dispel them. 

This can be easily done with a wire, making the latter a valuable addition to your boat. 

If there is no debris clogging your motor, it could be that the clamp or hose has issues. Check if the clamp is broken. If you find any, they need to be repaired. 

We recommend keeping a regimen where periodic maintenance is carried out on your motor. This should ensure that the exhaust system and the impeller are good. Furthermore, check if your fuel system in the engine is working well. 

6. Suzuki outboard sensors failing

Your Suzuki sensors could fail. We have seen this more with Suzuki 140 outboards.

Typically, when such oxygen failures occur, a 3-6 code is transmitted to you. This transmitted code results from the dysfunctional sensor.

It could also be the ECM failing. In this scenario, you get signals suggestive of the sensor failure.

Well, there is not much repair you can do here except directly replacing the faulty sensor with a newer one. If you take this approach, specifically go for the latest sensors from Suzuki. 

7. Suzuki outboard motor noisy

Suzuki outboards could get a bit noisy. Often, this appears to be a clattering sound emerging during tilts.

Such sticking noises could result from inadequate lubrication. This is expected when the engine is interacting with the rams’ terminals. A bit of lubrication can readily sort this out.

If you notice that your Suzuki outboard is rattling at low RPMs, it could be issued with the stainless prop or trim solenoids. 


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