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Author Topic:   More Details of the Evinrude 74-degree V6 Engine
jimh posted 05-23-2015 12:48 AM ET (US)   Profile for jimh   Send Email to jimh  
My dealer local Evinrude dealer, LOCKEMAN'S HARDWARE AND BOAT in Detroit, got delivery of his first E-TEC 74-degree V6 engine in December 2014. I visited Lockeman's around that time and had a chance to take a closer look at the Evinrude G2 engine. Here, a bit tardy, is a brief report from that visit.

The engine comes from the factory without side panels. This allows the dealer to customize the engine side panel and accent colors to suit the customer.

Photograph: jimh at Lockeman's Hardware and Boat around Christmas 2014
Your author standing alongside an Evinrude 74-degree V6 E-TEC engine on a display stand.

We tried out several color schemes using the rather fancy point-of-purchase display where a customer can select from the various side panel colors--five I think--and apply various decal accents--14 color variations I think. The lighting was not optimum for photography, but above we have set the engine with the nice pearly-white side panels and added the darker blue with gray accent strip.

I also got a good look at the PORT of the engine, which I had not seen very well in any prior pictures. It is quite interesting to see that side. You are looking at the exhaust side of the cylinder bank, which, as you will recall, is a new STARBOARD-STARBOARD design. You can also see the water-cooled heat sink of the Rectifier assembly. With the exoskeleton still in place, you cannot really see the details of the EMM very easily. It almost looked like the Rectifier assembly might be a separate component from the rest of the EMM. The assembly was potted in a sealing compound and several sets of wires exited directly from the potting material to wire bundles which looked like they would be going to the stator. I am very interested to get more details on this. If anyone has some information on the EMM and Rectifiers, please share it.

ASIDE: Old-time OMC dealers might recognize the promotional poster for "Christmas Island" in the background. It is part of the store's holiday decorations. I think that poster goes back to c.1967

I should also comment about the general appearance and workmanship of the engine: very impressive.

The propeller shaft is larger in diameter than the previous models, but the shaft is turned down in the area where the propeller coupling will seat so that existing propellers with a TBX hub can be fitted. The shaft is then turned down even smaller to carry out beyond the propeller nut threaded portion. A large cathodic-protection sacrificial anode metal bullet (presumably made from zinc, aluminum, or magnesium in some combination) then is placed onto the shaft. The very end of the shaft has a boss with internal threads, and the retaining screw for the sacrificial anode threads into that boss. All the machining of this stainless steel propeller shaft is beautifully done. It looks more like a piece of modern jewelry or sculpture than a propeller shaft.

The thrust washer for the Gen-2 engines has a rounded-bottom groove cut into it at the forward face. This is intended to capture and wind up any fishing line, and to keep it away from the propeller shaft and seal.

On the engine tilt bracket there is also a rather elaborately fabricated and machined stainless steel bracket involved in the trim and tilt system. The machining work on this assembly is, again, on a scale that you'd find in some very expensive home faucet fixture, not on an outboard engine bracket you might not even see.

The powerhead is also interesting. The cylinder heads are fastened to the block with four very large bolts, and supplemented by eight smaller bolts. It is clear that this was designed from a clean sheet of paper, and it is not some adaptation of a part already made for 30-years.

The mid-section and gear case are extremely impressive. When you look at the size and design of them, you'll estimate they could handle 400-HP or more. They're extremely rugged. The Anti-Ventilation plate is longer and stronger than in prior models. The gear case is held onto the mid-section with studs and nuts; bolts are no longer used. This was perhaps done to facilitate locating some studs in areas where a bolt would never have enough clearance to be installed or removed.

We had a bit of chore fitting the side panels to the exoskeleton. There is a molded ridge in the side panel's interior face. This ridge has to fit into a matching opening in the exoskeleton. The opening has a thick vinyl-rubber gasket or seal to prevent any water from getting inside the cowling. Positioning of the side panel must be in perfect alignment with the ridge, gasket, and opening to get the panel fitted.

We also tried this color scheme: white side panel, gray and dark red-maroon accent. This is a very basic color scheme. The red-maroon matches the lettering of "E-TEC" on the side panel (which is unfortunately not seen in this shot due to some glare and reflections).

Photor: Evinrude E-TEC 74-degree engine with side panels
This is probably the most conservative and most traditional Evinrude color scheme available. It would be an excellent match with a classic Boston Whaler boat whose hull "Boston Whaler" decals were red.

I don't understand the frequent mentions of the vertical orientation of the text "EVINRUDE" on the V6 74-degree engine side panel as being something worth remarking about. Would there ever be a boater who decided not to buy this engine because the text was run vertically instead of horizontally? Is that really something that could swing a decision away from this engine?

It takes about five minutes of seeing the engine in person to become completely at ease with its appearance. You can test color combinations on-line with this nicely designed website. (Note: a modern browser is necessary to properly render that page.)

The electrical system of the new 74-degree V6 E-TEC engine has quite a nice FUSE PANEL accessible from the PORT side panel. There are several individually fused circuits. There are separate fused circuits for the power steering motor, for the trim-tilt motor, and for the accessory circuits, and a couple more. There are also spare fuses in several different Ampere ratings, as each circuit is fused at a different current. The fuse panel also has two plug-in OMRON relays (often seen in automotive applications). The two relays are not the usual trim-tilt relays, but are for some other circuit function.

jimh posted 05-23-2015 03:43 PM ET (US)     Profile for jimh  Send Email to jimh     
Here are some notes from my test drive of boats powered by the Evinrude E-TEC 74-degree V6 engine. I got a chance to see the new Evinrude E-TEC V6 74-degree engines in person (in October 2014}. I have been withholding any comments about their appearance because I think it is not valid to discuss something you have not seen. Many people have given their opinions, usually negative, about the styling of the E-TEC V6 74-degree engines without having ever seen one. Now that I have seen one, I have formed an opinion.

The E-TEC V6 74-degree engine styling is very attractive. Using the removable side panels to carry on a styling theme from the boat hull is a new and unique feature made very simple to implement with this engine. The boat I saw today, Eric Olsen's walleye boat, had a marsh camouflage hull theme, and the engine panels of his E-TEC were treated with matching graphic appliques. It was a great look. It really made a statement: the boat and engine are matched.

Photo: Specialized angler's boat with Camo-theme.
Eric Olsen's specialized fishing boat with a camouflage hull theme that is carried over to the Evinrude engine side panels

The size of the E-TEC V6 74-degree engine was not as large as I was anticipating. It appeared to me to be narrower than my present E-TEC V6 90-degree engine. It might be a taller--I would like to see the two engines side-by-side on stands. The new E-TEC is much smaller than a Mercury Verado or a Yamaha, which are really engines of gigantic proportions. The E-TEC G2 is not gigantic. It is quite reasonable in size.

I got a few minutes at the helm and was able to drive the demonstration boat--a very cool tri-toon boat with a 250 H.O. We had six guys on board, and since I was not at all familiar with the boat, I can't comment on the speed and acceleration, other than to say the E-TEC had no problem jumping the boat onto plane and pushing it above 46-MPH.

The trim assist feature called i-Trim was used while I was driving. When I first read about i-Trim it did not seem particularly appealing to me, but after running a boat with i-Trim I can see that it will be very handy. i-Trim is implemented by loading an algorithm into the engine EMM during the pre-delivery and installation of the engine. At that time a selection is made for the boat type. I don't know all the categories, but I think pontoon boat is one. The various algorithms have been developed for different hull types and provide a suggested trim setting for combinations of engine speed and boat speed. When active, i-Trim will automatically change the engine trim as the boat accelerates or decelerates, according to the algorithm that has been loaded.

i-Trim can be set to be ON or OFF using the ICON Touch display. When i-Trim in set to ON, it is active until you manually change the trim with one of the trim UP or DWN buttons. It works like cruise control on your car, that is, when you touch the brakes, the cruise switches off. When you touch the trim UP or DWN, i-Trim goes inactive. i-Trim will stay inactive until you trim the engine all the way down. Then i-Trim will resume.

Since I had no idea how to trim the engine on this demo-boat, I was really quite content to let i-Trim take care of it for me. All I had to worry about was setting the throttle and steering; i-Trim automatically changed the engine trim for me. When the boat came off plane, i-Trim brought the engine trim back down, so on the next acceleration the engine would be in the proper position. This feature will be very good to have in two circumstances:

--when you are driving the boat and need to concentrate on something other than engine trim, such as driving into big waves, looking for something on a chart plotter or SONAR, or are just busy with other tasks; i-Trim will work automatically to help you; or,

--when someone else is driving the boat, say your wife or a friend, who is not as familiar with the boat and the proper trim settings as you. Then i-Trim will help the driver very inobstrusively.

The power steering feature is also very nice. Having a steering boost pump helping me steer was so natural that I really did not even notice it. Driving the boat was much like driving a car with power steering. There was nothing odd about it. I think the odd feeling will occur when switching back to no power steering, now that I have had a sample of it.

My attitude before the test drive was that i-Trim and power steering were not features I would really need, but having enjoyed them, even just briefly, I can see that one could very easily come to appreciate them so much that to go without them would be like going back to the old way of doing things. Would I like i-Trim and power steering on my next engine? Yes!

The electric boost pump for the power steering is located in the midsection, and it makes only a very quiet whirring noise when operating. You cannot really hear it clearly once the engine is running.

The design of the steering and the incorporation of the power steering, all residing in the midsection itself, is just amazing. While you can get power steering fitted on other engines, it will involve an external hydraulic boost pump and electric motor, with lots of hoses and electrical wiring, and will take up a lot of space in the boat. With the Evinrude V6 74-degree engine the steering is a thing of beauty, and the power steering even cooler.

It is impressive that the weight of the engine has been held down, even with the inclusion of the built-in steering mechanism and electric boost pump in the midsection.

When judging the price of these new engines, one must keep in mind that they include the steering actuator. This saves the cost of an external actuator and the cost (and mess) of rigging that external steering actuator. The new engines also include digital throttle and shift controls, and when making comparisons to the standard E-TEC an allowance must be made for the cost to upgrade the standard engine to similar controls. I believe that a price comparison on that basis will find that the new E-TEC V6 74-degree engine will not be any more expensive than the V6 90-degree engine comparably equipped.

While tests on a dynamometer showed that the E-TEC V6 74-degree engine had improved fuel economy, putting it ahead of the standard E-TEC and ahead of competitors' engines, actual on-water comparison test data on the 74-degree engine on popular boat hulls against Mercury and Yamaha engines has shown an even greater improvement in fuel economy than the dynamometer tests. The E-TEC V6 74-degree engine appears to be the best in performance and fuel economy among all brands in its horsepower range.

It is also very interesting to note that the E-TEC engines can carry both the EU emission certification and the CARB Three-Star certification with the same engine tuning. Other brands have to re-tune their engines to meet EU compliance.

The other boat at the demonstration had a new E-TEC V6 74-degree engine with RED cowling side panels. I have to say it was really quite an attractive engine. A traditionalist--and I think I am a traditionalist--might think there is no outboard engine with a RED cowling that could be attractive, but I did not feel at all that way. I liked the engine, its styling, and the RED color went just fine with this fancy tri-toon boat. (I think the boat was a MANITOU, and probably quite an expensive boat.) I probably would not order RED side panels for my Boston Whaler boat, but the concept of having a wide variety of colors available as standard choices is really a genius move from BRP. Hey--if you are spending $20,000 on an engine you might as well be able to get it in the color scheme YOU like. (Or, at least, the color scheme your wife likes.)

I was already past the point of the SHOCK value of the new styling. I had seen many images of the new engines. Seeing them in person meant I was not going to be schocked. I was ready to see them as new outboards, not as SHOCKING new outboards. Believe me, there is nothing about the styling that will inhibit anyone from buying them. You can tone down the appearance with traditional colors like white or gray, if you want, or you can go wild with matching graphic appliques like Eric did.

In my brief test drive it was impossible to know anything about comparative horsepower, torque, and fuel economy, but looking at the test data from Evinrude and comparing it to the test data published by other brands, it seems clear that the E-TEC 74-degree V6 engines are not taking a back seat to any other outboard in terms of raw power, in terms of fuel economy, and certainly in terms of emission compliance, where these new E-TEC engines seem far, far ahead of the rest of the field.

jimh posted 05-23-2015 03:46 PM ET (US)     Profile for jimh  Send Email to jimh     
Photo: E-TEC G2 with Red Cowlings
A modern deck boat with an E-TEC G2 in red cowling trim: a Manitou 23 X-Plode. The website BOATTEST.COM has a video presentation about this boat and engine.

In the BOATTEST.COM test data, the Manitou 23 X-Plode could be pushed to over-50-MPH by the E-TEC G2 250. There is a prior boat test report with the same boat powered by an E-TEC V6 90-degree 250 engine. It is interesting to look at some of the test data and compare the 74-degree engine to the 90-degree engine.

Boat speed was improved with the 74-degree engine. Top speed increased to 50.8-MPH from 49.0-MPH.

Best fuel economy at cruise improved, too. The 74-degree engine was able to run the boat at 16.1-MPH and gave 3.5-MPG. The 90-degree engine peaked at 2.7-MPG between 14 and 18-MPH. An improvement to 3.5-MPG from 2.7-MPG is an increase of almost 30-percent.

Fuel economy at full throttle was also improved. The 74-degree engine was consuming 21.7-GPH. The 90-degree engine was consuming 25.6-GPH. That is a reduction of 3.9-GPH, or a 15-percent decrease in fuel consumption.

ASIDE: Several months later I got a chuckle from seeing a photograph from the Ft. Lauderdale Boat Show that was included in an article of TRADE-ONLY magazine. There was a montage of images from the show that depicted mostly boats and engines made by Brunswick. A very large center console boat was shown with three or four VERADO engines. The VERADO engines were custom-painted in a deep red color to match the hull colors of the boat. I thought to myself, "Well, well, an outboard engine in red. It didn't take long for that idea to catch on."

Jefecinco posted 05-23-2015 04:55 PM ET (US)     Profile for Jefecinco  Send Email to Jefecinco     
Impressive, highly impressive. I want one.

Butch

george nagy posted 05-24-2015 01:15 AM ET (US)     Profile for george nagy  Send Email to george nagy     
At first glance I thought that red motor was a coke machine.
martyn1075 posted 05-24-2015 04:07 AM ET (US)     Profile for martyn1075  Send Email to martyn1075     
I did't want to say anything but there is one photo from an ad that it looks like a couple of Pepsi cans on the back of a transom. I honestly thought perhaps it was a sponsor at first.

Jim please don't take it personally your write up is very intelligent as well insightful and I happen to really like the motor the I trim is fantastic its probably just as amazing technically as they say. It's also more than twice the motor I currently run, but I just can't get over the look right now. It's just too far out in left field. It's boxy square appearance is not pleasing to the eye. I also would agree that some companies are trying a bit too hard to be innovative and in result are missing the mark a bit. The panels are neat idea I like options so I believe its good marketing by the company.

Maybe it will grow on me in time. I hope they keep offering the first version its classy powerful and innovative.

jimh posted 05-24-2015 08:31 AM ET (US)     Profile for jimh  Send Email to jimh     
Martyn--I do not take personally the several sarcastic remarks that criticize the appearance of the Evinrude G2 engine that have been provided as follow-up comments to my report. My first-hand report about my careful observations and my brief on-the-water test are just that--my first-hand observations and remarks. There are so many variations in appearance possible with the Evinrude G2 that it is likely that some of those variations will not be found by some people to meet their particular criteria, and I don't see any reason why I would need to take any sort of personal interest in that. That some people want to reply to my carefully written report with very short and glib remarks may simply be due to them haivng not much else to say about the engine and its technology.
boatdryver posted 05-24-2015 09:18 AM ET (US)     Profile for boatdryver  Send Email to boatdryver     
I could live with a G2 in the color scheme in the second photo on the transom of my post-classic 200 Dauntless

JimL

martyn1075 posted 05-24-2015 10:51 AM ET (US)     Profile for martyn1075  Send Email to martyn1075     
Jim... The engine is really advanced in all areas yes even the appearance. It will take time but to be different and successful one company has to take the plunge to evolutionary the future of outboards. I think it may be E-TEC. For instance the red colour offering, and others then following seems to be a good example. The internals is where it should be noted.

Four Strokes are still the way for many it seems but over time when people really do their homework they should learn to appreciate the quality and perhaps for someone like me, who is only stuck and somewhat critical on the look will be nothing more than just growing pains.

jimh posted 05-24-2015 11:04 AM ET (US)     Profile for jimh  Send Email to jimh     
quote:
Most people make the mistake of thinking design is what it looks like. That's not what we think design is. It's not just what it looks like and feels like. Design is how it works.

--Steve Jobs

contender posted 05-24-2015 12:21 PM ET (US)     Profile for contender  Send Email to contender     
Like I said, everything is beyond the persons wildest dreams, I just think the cowling is a nightmare. They could have done a lot better. PS--Jim you should come down to Key West and enter the Hemmingway's look a like contest.
jimh posted 05-25-2015 01:29 PM ET (US)     Profile for jimh  Send Email to jimh     
CONTENDER--Re a similarity to Hemingway: I wish it were in my writing instead of in my appearance.
crabby posted 05-27-2015 06:30 PM ET (US)     Profile for crabby  Send Email to crabby     
Damn the boxiness, it looks slim compared to my 2009 E-TEC 250-HP. Think of what the in-line three-cylinder models look like and these big motors don't appear all that out of proportion. I'd take one in a heartbeat. Strip off the decals, put my own graphics on the cowls and get out on the water!
jimh posted 05-31-2015 07:45 AM ET (US)     Profile for jimh  Send Email to jimh     
The engine mount to transom on the Evinrude E-TEC 74-degree V6 engines, AKA the E-TEC G2, is also different. The distance the engine will be off the transom is greater, so the overall engine mount includes the equivalent of a set-back bracket. While not always present on Boston Whaler boat outboard installations, it is fairly common on some of the specie-specific angling boats that a small set back bracket is added for moving the outboard off the transom a few inches. With the Evinrude E-TEC G2 or 74-degree V6 engine the engine's own mounting bracket includes several inches of additional set back distance, so those added brackets--which can cost several hundred dollars--won't be needed.

Evinrude also developed some new propellers specifically for this engine. The RX4 four-blade propeller was developed in conjunction with testing on the E-TEC G2. Development of propellers for specific outboard engines should produce some optimization. The shape of the gear case and the general design of the lower unit are not identical among all outboard engines, and to develop a propeller design to operate in a specific propeller aperture seems like good application engineering. The amount of torque available at various engine speeds is similarly not uniform among all outboard engines, and propeller design can perhaps be optimized to take advantage of a particular engine's power curve. This is the basis for the Evinrude RX4 propeller design. The improved speeds and improved fuel economy data may be due, in part, to use of enhanced propellers designed specifically for the E-TEC G2.

Jefecinco posted 05-31-2015 09:36 AM ET (US)     Profile for Jefecinco  Send Email to Jefecinco     
Evinrude has a relatively small slice of the outboard engine market. Therefore I find it amazing that they are able to devote the resources required to be the technological leader among all the manufacturers of outboard engines.

I predict that many G2 features will soon appear on the competitors engines.

I also will not be surprised when competitors begin selling direct injection four stroke cycle engines. They seem to be selling well in the automotive market although some have had some teething problems. The ability to use an ECM to minutely control the injection cycle during the complete combustion phase depending upon sensed load and atmospheric conditions should allow optimum efficiency and output. I guess EFI is cheaper and so much easier than DI. Surely Mercury and Yamaha have the capability based upon their DI two stroke experience.

Butch

Peter posted 05-31-2015 08:54 PM ET (US)     Profile for Peter  Send Email to Peter     
Evinrude is a brand owned by Bombardier Recreational Products (BRP). Besides outboard motors, BRP makes Skidoo snowmobiles, Seadoo personal water craft, CanAm three and four wheel on and off road vehicles, and Rotax engines for a variety of end applications including aircraft. It doesn't surprise me at all that they are able to devote the resources to be a technology leader in outboard motors. They already have leading products in their other served markets.

The G2 features might not be showing up on the competitions' products until the patents run out.

EFI is much less complicated than DFI. Unless emissions regulations become stricter, there is no need to apply DFI to 4-stroke outboards and I predict that you will not see it on 4-stroke outboards because it will raise the cost of the 4-stroke even higher than they are and it will add weight.

Jefecinco posted 06-01-2015 09:22 AM ET (US)     Profile for Jefecinco  Send Email to Jefecinco     
Peter,

I agree that EFI is far less complicated. When I was a diesel mechanic in the early sixties I tried to tell my gasoline counterparts that GM engines were not fuel injected but simply what I called fuel inducted. Squirting fuel into an intake was hardly fuel injection in a diesel guy's opinion.

They were adamant and would get enraged when I would rag them as know nothing grease monkeys because they couldn't seem to understand fuel injection. Of course, we were all kids back then. Still, they were not the smartest guys in the shop.

The DI technology is something Mercury and Yamaha own. Perhaps not quite up to the same level as the system licensed to BRP, but functional, at least. Some G2 features will be showing up as they are design features which seem to be open to copying with some minor tweaks. Cowling access and the new tilt & trim will be easily copied. The advanced electronics features will also be copied with slight differences. The car manufacturers seem to be able to copy designs and features without much trouble.

Butch

jimh posted 06-01-2015 10:03 AM ET (US)     Profile for jimh  Send Email to jimh     
BUTCH--I felt similarly when Mercury would call their oil-gasoline mixing feature, which consisted of just combining the flow output of two pumps into one hose, an oil injection system. E-TEC engines have an actual oil injection system in which lubricating oil is injected into various portions of the engine by dual pumps and two distribution manifolds.
jimh posted 06-01-2015 10:08 AM ET (US)     Profile for jimh  Send Email to jimh     
Mercury's only direct-injection engine is now called the ProXS engine (or what they used to call the OptiMax before they changed the name). The ProXS uses the Orbital Combustion Process, under license. Mercury does not own the technology; they license it from Orbital, the owner of the direct-injection technology being used.

Bombardier designed the E-TEC injector, has the patent on it, and initially manufactured it themselves. Now the E-TEC injector is custom made for BRP by a company that specializes in fuel injector manufacturing, but BRP still retains ownership of the technology.

Peter posted 06-01-2015 01:42 PM ET (US)     Profile for Peter  Send Email to Peter     
Butch -- You must be referring to single throttle body fuel injection, which I would agree is only slightly better than a carburetor. Unlike Evinrude's DFI technology, Yamaha's HPDI DFI technology doesn't scale easily and their methodology couldn't get the fuel burn and emissions down at low engine speeds because they didn't use stratified charging. I don't see that system being used on a 4-stroke outboard. The high pressure pump already takes up a vast amount of space on the top of the block and DFI 4-stroke car motors tend to have a lot of carbon deposit problems.

I had two DFI cars in my fleet in the last 8 years. I'm now back to EFI motors.

Peter posted 06-01-2015 01:44 PM ET (US)     Profile for Peter  Send Email to Peter     
Failed to mention that DFI 4-stroke motors are noisier at idle than EFI motors so the slight sound advantage that some think a 4-stroke might have over an E-TEC would become lessened.

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