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Suzuki’s clever EFI portables
  |  First Published: July 2012



Suzuki is about to make serious inroads into the upper end of the portable outboard market, thanks to the innovative DF20A/15A engines going on sale across Australia this month.

Only 6kg heavier than the current Suzuki two-stroke 15hp model, these electronically fuel-injected four-stroke engines don’t require a battery and are unbelievably easy to kick over, hot or cold.

Said to be the only engines in their classes to have a fuel injection system which doesn’t rely on a battery, the Suzukis weigh in well under 50kg even in a long-shaft and optional electric start configuration.

An automatic decompression valve makes pull-starting effortless and the ignition and injection systems begin work within less than a rotation of the flywheel.

Suzuki national service manager Chris Guppy said the twin-cylinder 327cc engines were designed purely for the marine market, as were all of Suzuki’s outboards despite the corporation’s strong presence in motorcycle and automotive manufacturing.

However, the DF20A fuel injection technology was simple and needed no sophisticated tools to work on, in keeping with these motors’ intended use as workhorses on tinnies, tenders and light commercial craft.

“Unlike some ‘disposable’ injectors in other engines, these Nippon injectors can be dealer-maintained and are easily cleaned,” he said. “Many of the other components used in the system are commonly available automotive ancillary parts.”

In common with nine of Suzuki’s bigger engines, the DF20A/15A also employs the Lean Burn System to monitor and adjust engine operation to predict fuel needs for even greater economy. Many owners would be satisfied with employing just a 10L fuel tank for light use, while a full-sized tote tank wouldn’t run dry until you’d gone an awfully long way.

How do they go? At the model release members of the national boating media had a chance to find out, with old and new 15hp Suzukis on identical versions of the new Anglapro 374 Lite vee-nosed punts.

Once you’ve turned the flywheel enough to engage the auto decompression, it’s spooky to feel the engine kick into life although you’re only half-way through pulling out the starter cord. It idles at a slow 850rpm.

But that’s what seems to happen regardless of whether the engine is hot or cold, and of course there’s no choke to fiddle with on the DF15A.

The old 302cc engine is roughly the same weight so there’s a noticeable boost in punch to get on the plane with the injected model and the tiller controls are all more convenient to operate.

I was surprised when one boating scribe with a hand-held GPS told me the two boats achieved equal top speeds, but the injected jobbie certainly didn’t waste much time getting there, even carrying two solid males. With just one aboard, the 374 Lite with the DF15A became positively sporty.

These motors also feature an engine data port for a comprehensive performance history come service time and the electric start variants are also NMEA 2000-compatible, enabling a huge amount of data to be networked with on-board electronics displays.

Anyone in the market for new power for the tinny should seriously consider one of these units, which should be readily available this month at the 112 Suzuki dealers all over Australia.

BIG GUNS

At the other end of the power tier, Suzuki has also premiered its latest 4.02L V6 engines, the DF300AP/250AP, complete with ground-breaking Selective Rotation gearbox, Lean Burn, variable valve timing and electronic throttle and shift.

“This newly designed low-drag gearbox is here for the long haul, with massive gears, shafts and bearings,” Suzuki’s Chris Guppy said.

Selective Rotation means any DF300AP/250AP can be configured by a dealer to run an anti-clockwise propeller once equipped with a special switch. This gives big resale advantages to owners of counter-rotating twin rigs.

A two-way water intake also enables more efficient engine cooling at high speeds and in shallow water.

Facts

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