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Author Topic:   Mercury vs: Yamaha et all.
Monnas Rock posted 04-26-2002 02:51 PM ET (US)   Profile for Monnas Rock   Send Email to Monnas Rock  
As some of you are already aware, I'm a newbee to this site and I've decided, after seeking your advice, to move up, in size, from my 15' Stripper to a Classic Montauk. One of the improvements I would invest in would be a 90-115 hp 4 stroke. I have owned more Mercury motors then any other brand, all inboards and I/O's. On this site however, there seems to be some distain toward Mercury Marine. Yamaha seems to be the favorite and I have even read that there is some commonality between the 90-115 hp Mercs. & Yamahas. Are they made by the same people? Some even seem to like Suzuki and Honda 4 strokes. Now my question. Is there something wrong with Mercury? Are the others somehow superior? Do they offer better warranties or service? How Come? I have nothing against any of these other brands and I don't want to encourage a political debate but... in light of the events of 9/11, all things being equal, I'm more inclined then ever to buy "Made in the USA". Considering our global, homogenous manufacturing climate, for all I know, Yamaha may be made in Yakima, Honda's home could be Hoboken, and Mercury might be made in the former Soviet Republic of "Outboardistan". Boston Whaler could even be built in ahh...Boston!
All kidding aside, I've always been a big Mercury fan but I'm no redneck, I'll buy what's best.
cjensen posted 04-26-2002 03:01 PM ET (US)     Profile for cjensen  Send Email to cjensen     
You might want to narrow your search efforts and find out what is available first. In my area you can not get a mid size 4 stroke Yamaha like the 115. I have been told they are sold out of 2002's and they are not going to make any more 2002's. You have to wait for a 2003. Seems the industy judged the economy on the low side and has come up very short. Many dealers around here have hulls for sale and can not get engines for them.
PMUCCIOLO posted 04-26-2002 04:03 PM ET (US)     Profile for PMUCCIOLO    
Monnas Rock,

Your questions are complex, and they fuel a heated debate replete with chest pounding, anectodal "evidence" and tall tales. No one product is superior over another in an absolute sense. Each engine and manufacturer have benefits and drawbacks--only you can decide what characteristics fit in each of the two categories. It's all relative.

To make your decision easier, I suggest the following:

(1) Buy only what you can have serviced locally. (2) Buy only from a dealer who has a reputation for support and service after the sale. (3) Buy a brand which offers a long, comprehensive warranty. (4) Do not exceed the maximum BIA HP rating posted on the plate inside your boat. (5) Make sure that the engine's displacement (cubes), HP, and block configuration are suitable for your application. (6) Do not buy anything which is "new" or "cutting edge" technology. Let some other unsuspecting consumer be the lab rat. (7) Solicit opinions from other forum participants here directly (look back in the posts for similar listings) and others with other brands whose boats are powered by the engines you're considering.

I know that a lot of what I've listed seems like common sense, but this is a time when it is critical to separate intellect from emotion in your decision making process.

Best of luck, and you'll find a lot of information here!


Monnas Rock posted 04-26-2002 04:18 PM ET (US)     Profile for Monnas Rock  Send Email to Monnas Rock     
Thanks for your level headed insight, espically the part about local service and dealer reputation. A Yugo is just fine if your dealer will keep it running and a Porsche is worthless if the dealer can't or won't service it properly.
Salmon Tub posted 04-26-2002 05:04 PM ET (US)     Profile for Salmon Tub  Send Email to Salmon Tub     


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Seriously though, I think Pmucciolo hit the nail on the head. You will be fine with a 90hp.

Dick E posted 04-26-2002 07:04 PM ET (US)     Profile for Dick E  Send Email to Dick E     
I bought my 90 hp 2-stroke merc new in 1998.
I use it every month about 100 hours a year.
I have not had one single mechanical problem with it.
You can probably buy a merc cheaper then the others.
Yamaha's are a good engine, they are not bullet proof. A friend who is a guide Yamaha's in a shop for a month waiting on parts
I think PMUCCIOLO has good advice.
My merc has served me well.
Dick E
jimh posted 04-27-2002 06:58 AM ET (US)     Profile for jimh  Send Email to jimh     
What surprises me is that poster Monnas Rock perceived a preference toward Yamaha from the content of other postings on this site. I thought the overall impression would be fairly neutral on a Mercury/Yamaha preference.

It is also interesting to hear of the short supply of 115-HP Yamaha 4-stroke engines. The same situation applies to Mercury's 115-HP 4-stroke at the moment. They are hard to get.

Lil Whaler Lover posted 04-28-2002 07:05 AM ET (US)     Profile for Lil Whaler Lover  Send Email to Lil Whaler Lover     
Merc 115 ELPT EFI 4-S are out until October or November depending on whick boat builder I listen too. Mercury 40-50-60 4-stroke big-foots are out at least 4 weeks, and the supply of other engines are getting tighter. According to the 2 boat brands I get packages from, only Honda can furnish all models right now. One brand tells me that Yamaha is basically out of all production 2002's at the distributor level, regardless of model. Bombardier is starting to pick up, perhaps in part due to shortages in other brands. Dave

whalernut posted 04-28-2002 07:20 AM ET (US)     Profile for whalernut  Send Email to whalernut     
I don`t own a 4-stroker, wish I did, but Suzuki seams to be a great choice: I believe the 50+ Horsepower 4-strokers have EFI. People here on the forum with them seam happy as a clam!! Jack.
whalerron posted 04-28-2002 12:02 PM ET (US)     Profile for whalerron  Send Email to whalerron     
Monnas Rock,

To answer your question, Merc makes a very good motor. Do I own one? No. I bought a Johnson because of convenience. If the marina, whom I trust, was a Merc dealer, I would have a brand new Merc hanging on my boat instead of a Johnson. After all of my research, I would say that Johnsons and Mercs are equivalent machines. Yammys are good too but take a close look at parts availability, price and labor charges. The yammys tend to be pricey in that respect.

PMUCCIOLO posted 04-28-2002 01:13 PM ET (US)     Profile for PMUCCIOLO    
After reviewing the above posts, its clear that the "weak" economy still has one sector which is going strong--marine engines!

Perhaps the manufacturers will take note, and, opposed to price gouging, offer the consumers better warranty and special financing packages.


bmacauto posted 04-29-2002 10:16 AM ET (US)     Profile for bmacauto  Send Email to bmacauto     
I had a 95' merc 40 hp(4cyl) on my 13' foot, it was a reliable motor, my brother is still using it without any problems. I Just got a 84' 18' outrage, with a 84' yamaha 115, wich, suprisingly, runs like it's new... I would say that get whatever brand is local to you, I dont have any Yamaha dealers local to me, and it's a huge pain in the butt to drive 1 hour to find a parts or service place, and there are 5 merc dealers on the river i'm on.
TRAFFICLAWYER posted 04-29-2002 05:01 PM ET (US)     Profile for TRAFFICLAWYER    
I had a 1998 Whaler[ ventura] with a 135 optimax, 1] the gas bulb was defective, 2] the oil resovoir leaked air and finally after
all but 20 HOURS the POWER HEAD blew!!!!

Good Riddens, I now have a 21' Whaler with a 200 HPDI YAMHAHA, WORKS AND RUNS GREAT!!!!
The Merc was like having a Snapper or Toro latched to the transom.

phatwhaler posted 04-29-2002 05:27 PM ET (US)     Profile for phatwhaler  Send Email to phatwhaler     
After 6 years at a CG small boat station, I am believer in Mercury products. Those engines were subjected to HARD use, by many different operators and they have rarely given any problems. Yes, some have blown powerheads, but usually after at least a thousand hours of flogging. We're talking about; run down to the boat, crank it up and drive it full throttle for an hour. Over and over again. Zero regard for letting the engine warm up. I must confess that the Optimax engines we had, were a little more troublesome. Small stuff like trim solenoids, air pumps etc... Not Powerheads. I also can report that I was never towed back to the station because the motor quit. Our 24 Justice, with twin 200 EFI's, runs great at 43kts. It even idle's and shifts nice too. I haven't got much underway time in front of a Yamaha, so I can't really compare the two. I think that if maintained correctly, a Mercury is at least as good a motor as any other.

phatwhaler out.

Monnas Rock posted 04-29-2002 08:01 PM ET (US)     Profile for Monnas Rock  Send Email to Monnas Rock     
Hey, Thanks everyone. Apprantly there are a lot of Merc. fans out there who, simply don't feel the need to brag them up. Unless asked. I think I'm going to heed "pmucciolo's" advice and buy into a dealer who will service and stand behind their product, instead of a particular brand.
But I must admit, I awoke in a cold sweat last night. It seems this little voice in my head kept telling me to "Buy a Nissan, Buy a Nissan" so I took my Whaler to the Nissan dealer to have one installed. When I picked it up, it had "DATSUN " decals on it!
EddieS posted 04-30-2002 12:48 AM ET (US)     Profile for EddieS  Send Email to EddieS     
I have a 1998 Nissan 90, great motor. PMUCCIOLO does have a very important point about a local dealer who can service what ever brand you settle on. I am lucky to have a Tohatsu/Nissan dealer 20 min from home, that said I do have to agree with SalmonTub Nissan does make a good motor.


Monnas Rock posted 04-30-2002 01:18 PM ET (US)     Profile for Monnas Rock  Send Email to Monnas Rock     
EddieS & Salmon Tub
Just kidding about the Datsun remark. I'm sure Nissan makes some great engines and they will be on my list to check out. By the way, since you guys are familar with Nissan. If you don't get the cowl snapped in place correctly, does an electronic voice alert you that... "A DOOR IS A JAR"
tully_mars posted 05-01-2002 08:22 AM ET (US)     Profile for tully_mars  Send Email to tully_mars     

You just made me feel really great about the 1998 23 Conquest I just got with twin 150 efi mercs!

Wastin Away
tully mars

Don Fisher posted 05-04-2002 10:10 PM ET (US)     Profile for Don Fisher  Send Email to Don Fisher     
I just re-powered my 1980 Montaul with an Evinrude 115 FICHT. This is the first generation under new owner Bombardier. I was a little leary about buying after past reports of trouble and OMC's demise, but Bombardier was VERY helpful in answering all my questions (and I had a LOT). The engine is beautiful and runs GREAT. Also got a $575.00 rebate. It runs REALLY strong. Just something else to consider.
Monnas Rock posted 05-06-2002 12:52 PM ET (US)     Profile for Monnas Rock  Send Email to Monnas Rock     
I've been a little skeptical of Evenrude, of late but, I guess I should get over it and check them out. After All, with Bombardire behind them, the new ones must be worth looking into. Your response brings another question to mind. With a Montauk being rated for 100hp, max, what do insurance companies have to say when you exceed that limit?
Don Fisher posted 05-06-2002 01:17 PM ET (US)     Profile for Don Fisher  Send Email to Don Fisher     
Good question, and I guess it depends on your insurance company. I researched this matter before putting the 115 on the back end. Places I looked included the US Coast Guard's web and other sources with info from the Coast Guard regarding this issue.Here is an one excerpt I found:

"Capacity and Horsepower Defined
The real meaning of two of the most frequently hyped words in boating

All inboard and outboard boats under 20 feet in length must have a maximum capacity, listed in both persons and pounds, stamped or printed on a clearly visible plaque. In addition, there must be a maximum horsepower shown for the engine on outboard boats. But there are likely to hold several surprises for boat owners and buyers.

Most boaters (myself included) believed that a maximum capacity, such as " Four Persons or 530 pounds", is the point beyond which a boat is likely to become unstable or will capsize. It seems obvious that the maximum horsepower rating is to keep us from speeding out of control with an oversized engine and, since these ratings are mandated by the U.S. Coast Guard, it's a logical assumption that these capacities are the result of their testing.

Wrong on all counts.

First, the maximum capacity is actually the number of people (or their total weight) that the boat will safely support if it is swamped.

Second, the horsepower rating has nothing to do with speed. "Horsepower has only to do with weight," says Philip Cappel of the Coast Guard. "We're not so much concerned about the speed but that the boat will float upright if swamped so that people can hold on to it until rescued. That's the whole reason for the flotation standard and why we say how many people can be on board. Horsepower only has to do with engine weight. If you put too big an engine on a boat, you throw the flotation off."

Last, the manufacturers set the Coast Guard capacity maximum, which they reach using an accepted formula, and they also determine the horsepower since they know how much engine weight will still allow their boat to float level.

It should be noted that the NMMA is much tougher on calculating weight maximums, as well as increasing the size of boats requiring flotation from the Federal standard of 20 feet up to 26 feet. The NMMA also has a test where the driver must crank the wheel 180 degrees in a split second. If the boat is not capable of such a turn through 90 degrees at full throttle without the driver losing control, then the NMMA requires a "Maneuvering Speed" placard be posted warning that sudden turns may cause a loss of control above a certain speed."

You will also not ethat Whaler now also lists the "maximum engine weight" becuase the 4 strokes typically are heavier. In my case, the 115 (359#) weighs the same as the 75 & 90 HP versions. I simply explained this to my agent and there were no further questions.

As far as Bombardier goes, they seem to be a great customer service company. They explained to me the transition, how they scrapped so many non-conforming parts before even starting production, and how their new state of the art facility opertaes. I was really impressed (enough to buy the Evinrude). Take a look at 'em. At least you can consider all options! Good luck!

jimh posted 05-06-2002 01:19 PM ET (US)     Profile for jimh  Send Email to jimh     
The question of insurance when a boat is powered with engines of greater horsepower than its manufacturer's recommended maximum has been touched on here in the past.

The short summary is, you have to pay more to get insurance. You may also have to look for a specific insurance company; some won't insure over-ratings-powered boats at all.

jbtaz posted 05-06-2002 02:10 PM ET (US)     Profile for jbtaz  Send Email to jbtaz     
I would go with Merc if you have always been happy with them. I own and have owned many outboards from Mercury, Johnson and Evinrude. I like Merc the best due to my trouble free hours of use from them..I have to say all my Mercurys I CURRENTLY own-a 1990 2 stroke, a 2002 4 stroke, a 1998 Optimax and 1993 Mercruiser I/O all have been trouble free.
Montana posted 05-06-2002 08:41 PM ET (US)     Profile for Montana  Send Email to Montana     
That's interesting about the insurance on over powering your boat. I am in the process of restoring a 66 Nauset and will be repowering her in the very near future. I had been considering a Merc 115 but I think I'll just stick with getting a Merc 90.
Mullet posted 05-06-2002 09:40 PM ET (US)     Profile for Mullet  Send Email to Mullet     
If you stay withing approx 10% to 15% of the recommended HP, aquiring insurance in the standard market is relatively easy. Just take out a policy with whoever handles your other stuff. One neat thing about older Whalers is that we can use the original HP ratings to "overpower" our boats legally.

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