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Looking into the purchase of a motor for the flat sections of our river trips. Having no knowledge in this area looking for suggestions. What size of motor is best? How many rafts can be strapped together and still make down river progress? Two stroke vs Four stroke? Shaft length etc...
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4 stroke, long shaft +- 5 hp. No reason to be bigger than 8hp unless you want to push lots of boats. I had a 2 hp handed down to me. It was the equivalent of one strong guy rowing his ass off to keep up. Fun to watch said strong guy sweat while drinking my own beer.
 

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I can easily push a 10 raft floatilla with my 8 hp 2 stroke Johnson Sea Horse. I also have a 5 hp Honda 4 stroke. Those 5 little ponies work a lot harder that the 8 hp and it isn't that much quieter than the 2 stroke. Either one will get you down the river against the wind. My preference is the Johnson, but sooner or later...... 2 strokes won't be allowed on rivers.
 

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Ditto no need for more than 8HP. When you shop remember this: Most 2-3 HP weigh from 30-40 lbs (roughly). 4, 5 and 6 are often the same exact power head with different timing/ignition/carbueration, so weigh the same, about 60 lbs. When you jump up to 8HP you get into twin cylinders and weight jumps accordingly. The little Honda 2.3 is nice but won't really push more than a couple rafts if it's windy. I use a 6HP and pushed 8 boats and 25 people last weekend, no wind. In wind I know I can still push that many, but would have to throttle up and work it more. In the 4-6 range seems suitable unless you plan on frequent large flotillas and/or frequent pushes against hard winds with more than 3 boats. 4 strokes weigh more than 2 strokes. 2 strokes are easier to maintain but you have to mix the fuel. Finally, be sure to get the right shaft length - - short shafts often don't work well on rafts, depending on the transom set up. I use an XL shaft for that reason. Short shafts are roughly 15", longs roughly 20" and XL's are 25", measured from the top of the transom (top inside of the transom bracket) to the anti-cavitation plate, which should be in the water when motoring. The lower gear case and prop sit below that. Good luck.
 
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