Yamaha 40V outboard

By: Andrew “Engine Man” Norton

Yamaha’s 40V has been a consistently good performer

Yamaha 40V outboard
Yamaha 40V outboard

Back in the early ’80s, Yamaha Motors was constantly upgrading its three-cylinder two-stroke outboard range from premix to oil-injection. Released on the New Zealand market in 1985, the 40V was a part of these changes.

The 40V was unusual in that most of its competition had twin-cylinder powerheads. Yamaha reasoned that by using the exhaust gas pulses from one cylinder to scavenge the next it would create a more fuel efficient and lower emission engine. The 40V was also available with "Precision Blend" variable ratio oil-injection in electric-start models. Precision Blend is still available today.

Precision Blend differs from the Mercury Marine and Tohatsu competition in that oil is injected at the reed valves by a crankshaft-driven pump. The oil bypasses the carbies, eliminating the need to run these dry or use stabilising additives to prevent the oil from separating from the petrol and clogging the carbie jets. The system is far more precise than Mercury’s and Tohatsu’s single-point oil-injection, where oil is mixed at the fuel pump. This means the fuel/oil ratios on the Yamaha are far leaner, particularly when trolling.

The only real drawback of Yamaha’s system is that it can suffer oil "gelling" if different types of oil are mixed together. However, this is unlikely to occur if one brand of oil is used for the life of the engine. Based on my long-term evaluation of oil-injected two-stroke Yamaha outboards in the past, Yamalube 2 oil would be my choice.

Lower emissions

The 40V is more fuel efficient than its twin-cylinder single carbie Yamaha 40X (CV) counterpart and has significantly lower emissions. The 40V also has oil-injection eliminating the need to pre-mix the fuel – useful in a boat with an under-floor fuel tank. Being a de-rated 50, the 40V also has a less-stressed powerhead despite its smaller piston displacement.

Other advantages include a cold-start fuel primer in electric-start models and full voltage regulation to prevent "frying" the starter battery on long runs to and from a favourite fishing spot.

On the water

The demo 40V was spinning a 12in pitch Yamaha alloy prop and pushing 600kg including two adults. This was the maximum rated power for aluminium runabout we used as a test boat.

Starting instantly hot or cold, the 40V blew oil smoke only on cold starting. Providing the anti ventilation plate was kept at least three quarters immersed, power astern was good and no cooling water starvation occurred.
The standard side-mount Yamaha remote control box had smooth and positive shifting into forward or reverse gear. When trolling, the noise and vibration levels were much lower than 40X models I’ve tested in the past and only at or near wide open throttle did the 40V become relatively noisy due to carbie induction roar.

Powerhead access is not quite as good as the 40X due to the undercowl oil tank and three carbies but is still reasonable with the spark plugs, fuel/oil filters and carbie linkages easily reached. All wiring is colour-coded and neatly laid out. After the 10-hour initial checkup, servicing is required only every 100 hours or annually. This also applies to waterpump impeller replacement.

Providing the 40V is serviced by an authorised Yamaha dealer the recreational-usage warranty is three years. You can pick one up for the recommended retail price of $9420.


1.8kts (3.5kmh) at 700rpm (trolling)
12.4kts (23.1kmh) at 3100rpm (planing)
17.8kts (33.0kmh) at 4000 rpm (cruising)
24.5kts (45.5kmh) at 5100rpm (WOT)

Keep up to date with news from Trade-A-boat or like us on Facebook!