Silent Type

The Suzuki DF 140.

Boating Writers International 11th Annual Writing Contest - Lenny Rudow's "Silent Type" placed 3rd in the Gear, Electronics and Product Tests category.

I've been running a Suzuki DF 140 four-stroke outboard on my boat for more than a year, and I'm getting sick and tired of hearing the same question over and over again: "You mean, it's running?" The DF 140 is so quiet at idle that the telltale stream makes more noise than the engine.

On plane the DF 140 has some other tricks up its sleeve-like an astonishing 4.1 mpg at a 4500-rpm, 29-mph cruise, giving my Twin Vee 19 Bay Cat a range over 110 miles on its 30-gallon fuel capacity. How does the DF 140 do it? Credit techie touches like DOHC four-valve cylinder heads, multipoint sequential electronic fuel injection, an electronic controlled monitoring and sensing system, and a two-stage mixed-cam drive. Weight is a hair over 400 pounds, and the offset driveshaft helps keep that weight forward for better balance on the transom. Other features include an hourmeter (optional on most outboards this size), an oil change reminder system that beeps when a change is due, and a flush port that accepts garden hose threads, making the flush earmuff-free.

Since I started using the DF 140, I've put 200 hours on it, and so far, my maintenance records include one throttle-linkage adjustment and oil changes. One minor beef: To change the oil filter, you must remove both upper and lower cowls, so it takes longer than it would with some competitors. Otherwise, the motor runs cleanly, quietly, and efficiently. However, the price is steep: Plan to drop about $9,000.

Contact American Suzuki at 714/996-7040,