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Author Topic:   Repowering Montauk: Brand Preferences 90-115-HP
fbg111 posted 12-24-2002 10:43 AM ET (US)   Profile for fbg111   Send Email to fbg111  
Hi all,

I see this is an excellent place to learn from others' experiences about outboard engines, especially for Montauks. I have been out of the boating scene for the past 8 years, and need some advice to help me with this big purchase. I will be repowering my '88 Montauk soon, replacing its old and used-up 115 Johnson GT 2S. The Montauk's max rated horsepower is 100hp, and I bought the boat used so I don't know how it got the 115 (under-the-table deal between the previous owner and the dealer?), but I want to replace it with something comparable in power. Additionally, I see that the Montauk's max transom weight is 410lbs, so whatever motor I choose will have to be under that.

My primary requirements are power and reliability, followed closely by noise, fuel economy, and emissions. First and foremost, the the boat must have enough power to pull adult slalom skiiers quickly out of the hole. You can never have too much power in that respect, especially if you want to carry a few spectators simultaneously, so I'm looking for a torque-y 90hp or 100hp (however, it seems there are no 100hp motors anymore, only 90s and 115s). Second, I don't want to be constantly visiting the repairman, so I'd like a motor with a decent reliability history. Is that an issue these days, or are there still some lemons around? Third, the boat may be used for duck hunting in rivers and lakes, so the motor will need to be fairly quiet at low-mid RPMs. Fourth, I plan to keep the motor for a long time and don't want to get banned by any emmissions-restricted areas I may encounter.

I am very interested in 4-Strokes because of their various technical advantages, from low noise and emissions, to high fuel economy. But are they strong enough to get the job done? I've heard they're not as torque-y as 2-Strokes of the same horsepower. I've also discovered the Evinrude FICHT 90. Does it live up to all Evinrude's claims about it being equal or better than most 4-Strokes?

So far, here are the motors I'm leaning toward, all 2003 models according to their websites, but I would appreciate any comments, criticisms, or suggestions. The Yamaha and Mercury 4S 90hp motors weigh 370lbs, and appear to be the only 4S in that horsepower range under the Montauk's 410lbs. weight limit. If true, that would make my decision much easier, as I understand Yamaha makes the Merc 4S powerheads, and that Yamaha gets nearly unanimous high marks for reliability and customer satisfaction.

I also like the Evinrude FICHT 90, as it appears to be the only 2S on the market with DFI, and the only 2S competitive with the 4S engines. Evinrude claims on their website that it is as quiet, as fuel-efficient and clean, and more powerful than all 4S of similar horsepower. They also offer the only 3yr non-declining warranty on a 2S (all other 2S seem to offer a 1yr or 2yr warranty). Obviously this 2S is specifically designed and marketed to compete with 4S motors. Does it succeed? I've heard the high-horsepower FICHT motors had reliability problems, but that those have been resolved with the mid-range 90 and 115 FICHTs. True?

Anyway, I would appreciate any info or comments on these or any other 90-100-115 motors, either 2S or 4S, especially from satisfied owners. Thanks for your help.

Bigshot posted 12-24-2002 11:14 AM ET (US)     Profile for Bigshot  Send Email to Bigshot     
Personally i would go with a 115 if skiing is your deal. The extra HP is no big deal, obviously since yours has been running one for 15 years. I have seen 17' with 175's on them(oooof). Now as far as 2s being more trquey than a 2s is false. They actually have more torque but in a different powerband. Everyone says a 4s has crappy holeshot compared to a 2s...they do....under a light load. Under a heavy load, they still pull the same holeshot so I think for skiing it will be great. Won't yank your arms out but will get you up and out quickly. If speed and efficiency are important, than obviously a 4s is the way to go....but for you a Ficht might be the way to go. The new v4's are supposably bulletproof. They have the warranty to show but get the extended for S&G's.
weekendwarrior posted 12-24-2002 11:58 AM ET (US)     Profile for weekendwarrior  Send Email to weekendwarrior     
Try a boat with a 4-stroke, I don't think you'll be disappointed. It seems to match everything you're looking for. I keep reading that the 4-strokes have less hole shot than a comparable 2-stroke but this has not been my personal experience. Maybe it's because in my case the 4-stroke weighs the same as the 2-stroke it replaced? Anyway, with only 50HP 4-stroke on my montauk we can pull up a wakeboarder easily with several people in the boat, I never tried a slalum skier but I wouldn't think that it would be a problem with 90+HP. Maybe there's a marina near by that will allow you to sea trial a similar boat with a 90HP 4-stroke on it?

Also, how do you keep your boat strait when you're pulling a skiier? With the wakeboard or kneeboard behind my montauk if the rider cuts hard it makes the boat turn like crazy. I have to correct a significant amount with the steering wheel. I can't imagine trying to keep the boat strait with a slalum skiier back there!?

Bigshot posted 12-24-2002 12:02 PM ET (US)     Profile for Bigshot  Send Email to Bigshot     
It is not easy to steer but gets easier the faster you go. With a good slalom skier, that 50 won't go fast enough for him/her to really get down. I think you need about 35mph to really ski well behind any boat....that is if you can really ski well.
masbama posted 12-24-2002 12:26 PM ET (US)     Profile for masbama  Send Email to masbama     
I have a 2002 Johnson 90 2stroke but for what you want go with the 90 or 115 Evinrude DI.(same weight). It meets all your criteria.
PSW posted 12-25-2002 05:53 PM ET (US)     Profile for PSW  Send Email to PSW     
Get the 115 Optimax when it comes out. I have a Montauk and slalom ski quite a bit. I have experienced both the GT 100 and my current 115 Merc 2S on the new Montauk. If you dont beach start with about 2 loops then you will not have fun drinking water behind anything less than 100, unless you weigh 150 pounds. Only disadvantage to my 115 2S is the 2-4 shift at 1600-1800 rpm. Go with the 115 DFI Merc or Evinrude, whichever brand you prefer.


Ogden Dunes posted 12-26-2002 09:11 AM ET (US)     Profile for Ogden Dunes  Send Email to Ogden Dunes     

Last spring I purchased a 4s Yamaha 100. Last summer I was able to pull 4 skiers behind my 17 sport. Three of the skiers were on two skies and one was on one ski (due to the lack of enough ski's). The 4 stroke engin has more than enough torque for the job. All of the skiers were in the 90 to 125 lb range.


fbg111 posted 12-26-2002 01:33 PM ET (US)     Profile for fbg111  Send Email to fbg111     
Thanks for the replies everyone. It sounds like all the engines I'm looking at, plus the Optimax, will all get the job done. I think what I need to do next is go out and test-drive as many as possible, preferably on the same hull as mine. I'm sure I ought to be able to find some BW dealers with demo Montauks with these motors on them. Thanks for helping me get up to speed an figure this out. Happy holidays and happy boating.
boxers posted 12-27-2002 06:52 PM ET (US)     Profile for boxers  Send Email to boxers     
Yamaha F115=401-lbs. Suzuki DF140=410-lbs. Both seem very powerful for their weight. These four strokes are quiet and seem quite reliable.
jimh posted 12-27-2002 09:27 PM ET (US)     Profile for jimh  Send Email to jimh     
It does seem odd that there are no engines currently in production with a rating of 100-HP.

The Yamaha model of the Yamaha/Mercury 90-HP used to be rated at 100-HP, but the engine was derated to 90-HP recently, probably to be more congruent with the Mercury rated model.

Taylor posted 12-28-2002 02:58 PM ET (US)     Profile for Taylor  Send Email to Taylor     
Interesting point Jim. I wonder if there is some kind of magic to triple digit horsepower from a tax or insurance standpoint.

Another thought, it often seems as if the same basic block is used at two different horsepowers: In my year Mecr, the 75 and 90 where on one block, the 100 and 115 on another. I have the 100,, but I'm carrying the weight of a 115. In buying, I'd want to look at bang for the buck, and also power to weight.

fbg111 - My 1988 Montauk/Merc 100 combo has me at something like 350lbs of engine. That strikes me as plenty of weight. I would not push 400. What's your Johnson 115 weight?

whalersman posted 12-28-2002 04:14 PM ET (US)     Profile for whalersman  Send Email to whalersman     
From the Bombardier site:

Evinrude DFI (Ficht)
75 HP, 90 HP, 115 HP, all weigh the same with 20" shaft.. 369 lbs.

Johnson 2 Stroke
90 HP, 115 HP, weigh the same with 20" shaft.. 335 lbs.

Johnson 4 Stroke
90 HP, 115 HP, weigh the same with 20" shaft.. 421 lbs.

What get's me is the Johnson 140 HP, 4 Stroke with 20" shaft weighs 417 lbs. This is less then the 90 HP and 115 HP versions.

whalersman posted 12-28-2002 04:24 PM ET (US)     Profile for whalersman  Send Email to whalersman     
I hit the wrong button too soon...

If you are looking for top end performance, I think I would go for any of the 115 HP at the same weight as the smaller engines. Obviously, you don't have to use all the power but it is there in case you want or need it..

On the other hand, if you are looking for fuel economy, then a 70 HP, 2 or 4 Stroke, might be the way to go.

I am only mentioning Bombardier here because that is what I know. Other people like many of the other brands and has been pointed out before, Suziki makes the Johnson 4 Strokes, and Yamaha makes some of the Mercury engines.

andygere posted 12-28-2002 10:30 PM ET (US)     Profile for andygere  Send Email to andygere     
One more possibility, and on paper anyway it looks like it might be a contender: The Tohatsu (Nissan) TLDI 90. I don't have any personal experience with these motors, but I've spoken to a guy in my harbor with one and he's very pleased with it. These specs and features are from the Tohatsu Website:
"Low-Pressure Direct Injection System
User Controlled Variable Idle Speed
Onboard Self Diagnostics System
Water Temperature Sensor
Dual Throttle Position Sensors
Electronic Fuel Pump
18.5 Amp Charging System
Analog Tach & Oil Level Gauge
Power Tilt/Trim
LCD Ignition System
Tohatsu?s New 3+1 Year Limited Warranty"

Engine: 3-Cylinder
Displacement: 1267cc (77.3
Bore & Stroke: 86 x 72.7 mm (3.39 X 2.86 in.)
Starting: Electric
Controls: Remote Control Gear Shift: Forward-Neutral-Reverse Gear Ratio: 2:1 Propeller Pitch Range: 11"-21"
Transom Height: 20", 25"
Fuel Mix: Automixing with Integral Oil Tank Fuel Tank: Optional 25 Lit. (6.6 U.S. gals)
Weight: (Minimum Version) 143 kgs (314.6 lbs) Lighting: 12V 220W 18.5A
RPM Range: 5,150-5,850

dgp posted 12-29-2002 07:54 AM ET (US)     Profile for dgp  Send Email to dgp     
I just checked out Tohatsu's web-site . It's too bad that Mercury's site couldn't be so simple yet informative. If you have a good dealer nearby and don't do a lot of traveling with/by boat then I'd give them a hard look.
jimh posted 12-29-2002 02:21 PM ET (US)     Profile for jimh  Send Email to jimh     
Those Tohatsu/Nissan engines use the same technology as Mercury's Optimax. Both license it from Orbital (of Australia of all places).

According to a lone voice among the on-line rumor mill, Mercury will introduce Optimax engines in mid-range power, too.

tully_mars posted 12-29-2002 06:41 PM ET (US)     Profile for tully_mars  Send Email to tully_mars     

I have a 2002 75 Evinrude FICHT and so far so good. Not a lot of hours but I love this engine! It is very quiet, extremely powerful (way more than 75 says) and very fuel efficient. Since the 90 and 115 are the same engine I would expect them to be as great.

Also, Evinrude as a 60 amp alternator!! You can run some kind of stereo with that!

Plus the 3 year non-declining warranty, can't go wrong there either. If Bombardier wasn't confident with the motors they have sold so far they wouldn't be risking the financial burden of increasing the warranty beyond 2 years. I think it is a good sign...

Tully Mars

andygere posted 12-30-2002 02:49 PM ET (US)     Profile for andygere  Send Email to andygere     
I thought the Tohatsu website was nicely done as well. I also like the numbers on the 115/140 hp motors. At 360 lbs each, they just about meet the magic number for twins on a 22 Outrage with notched transom, and would be flyweight on a Whalerdrive model. The inline 4 configuration makes for a slim profile allowing plenty of room for twin applications. Tohatsu hints that the TLDI technology will soon be available on the 115/140 platform soon. Is anyone on the forum running these motors?
j_h_nimrod posted 01-02-2003 12:55 PM ET (US)     Profile for j_h_nimrod  Send Email to j_h_nimrod     
Why dont you just go all out. Since you have had it over powered for so long why dont you jump up to the Yamaha 130? It weighs in at the same weight as the 115 and should (would) work nicely. That should pop even twin slalom skiers right out of the hole. Yamahas have onr of the best reputations for reliability of any motor that I know of and as far as 2S motors go they are fairly quiet.
shoctor posted 01-02-2003 03:37 PM ET (US)     Profile for shoctor  Send Email to shoctor     
It is true that many people overlook the Tohatsu engine I am currently repowering my 17 with a used Tohatsu 50 hp. I have several commercial fisherman friends that run Tohatsu motors. All 3 of them say they are damn near bullet proof. One of them has the 90 tldi on his lobster skiff and he pounds the daylights out of it day in and out he is on his 3rd season of 1000 hour plus years ad no complaints or problems. They are beautiful simplistic motors following a KISS analogy (keep it simple stupid) Not to mention the hours of idling and constant pressure of charging the 4 batteries for the elctrodyne hauler (electric powered) I am sure I am going to be tickled pink with the Tohatsu. Also they are priced significantly less than other outboards.
PFSQUAN posted 01-02-2003 04:53 PM ET (US)     Profile for PFSQUAN  Send Email to PFSQUAN     
I had a 70 hp Tohatsu on my Tashmoo for 8 years. Never had a problem. Price wise, I believe they may be a little less expensive. The company is the oldest manufacturer of outboards in Japan.
stagalv posted 01-02-2003 05:07 PM ET (US)     Profile for stagalv  Send Email to stagalv     
I have a 01 115 Ficht on my Montauk and I really do not want any more weight back there. I have moved my batteries under the console and still think the stern sits too low.
It is fine when running but if I am stopped, fishing and standing in the back, half of the motorwell is has water in it and any larger waves can more easily slap over the transom.
I am ok with mine but certainly would not entertain the thought of any more weight back there.
Look on page 41 of Cetacea and there is a pic of my boat in the water. For this pic JimH points out the trim difference between my boat and the Montauk next to it with that has a 90 Yamaha.

SaintGeorge posted 01-02-2003 07:18 PM ET (US)     Profile for SaintGeorge  Send Email to SaintGeorge     

1. Bombardier is thankfully giving up the FICHT name. Who can say it? They will be Direct Injection motors. I think right now all of these are under the Evinrude name.

2. Older FICHT models did have problems. The exact cause was never discovered, but the new machines run OK I hear. [Best guess is that Engine Control Units, ECU was not adequately protected from stray noise, and errors would cause some cylinders to run lean. OMC did a lot of work, and it seemed fixed, though not until after a bad reputation was established.

3. I can speak from experience that the Optmax is an excellent motor (a 200 running on an OLD STYLE Revenge 21 exceeds 50 mph), but I do not believe any of them will meet your 410 lbs requirement, as even the special order 115 motor is still the 2.5 liter V6, the same hardware as used up to 175 HP Optimax, so it will be up in the 500 lb area.

4. I believe that Johnson outboards in conventional carb models are still available from Bombardier. Because they do not have the heavy duty electrics and injector hardware, they are much lighter than then newer direct inject models. And much less expensive. Fine if you are not in an area that requires you meet any new EPA standards.

5. Mercury still has some "Classic" standard carb outboards. Run good too. A 90 (3 cyl) runs good on Montaulk. The 115 4 cylinder is even better.

6. Others have standard carb motors as well (Tohatsu, Suzuki, etc.)

7. Watch the weight on all of them. That seems to be the first place to start. Eliminate the overweight models.

8. Don't pay any mind to brochures and yakety yak about High-Pressure Injection being better than the Low Pressure. First because it is not true. Second, because you, the user, would never know the difference. Nobody is stressing these engines to the point you would notice (For example, the Merc V6 is run at over 450 hp in racing trim, but is run down as low as 115 hp in consumer equipment). The reason they all address this is because Mercury chose to license the Orbital technology from Orbital Engines (Australia) and for a time, nobody else in the business could use it. It is patented. So of course there was only one Low Pressure system. And everyone else has "high-Pressure". At least until now....

9. That Tohatsu Low-Pressure injected motor is indeed also Orbital Engine license. And because of the arrangements they should perform very well indeed, and one of them may even meet your weight requirements.

10. Don't get too hung-up on brands and warantees. Long warrantees are just insurance policies (beyone the first year, the companies just buy insurance.... and pass the cost into their cost of business, and on-to you?) Long warrantees are used to overcome sales objections from past reputation of failures. Or to overcome extremely high prices. As for brands, there is so much cooperation in the marine engine business it is sometimes laughable. ALL the big guys (Merc, Yamaha, Bombardier, Suzuki, Nissan...) buy small OEM labeled outboards from Tohatsu. Nissan motors are ALL by Tohatsu. Mercury uses Yamaha 4-stroke powerheads on their own transom brackets. The 200 HP four-cycle from Merc is indeed a Yamaha motor painted black.

12. Which brings me to the advice I have given many when asked "what is the best kind of outboard?". I say, it depends. It is different for everyone. Here is one good way to choose though. Go to the biggest harbor, or marina/slips, or roll along the major river bank where you intend to USE the boat. This is important, where you intend to USE it, not around your garage, but up there or out there where you will be running the boat. Take a look around. Take notes if you must. But look around and you will see that there is a popular brand of outboard. It is usually different in different places. Some harbors are Merc, some Evinrude, some Yamaha, and in many working harbors today Tohatsu. Why do people in different places have such different collective judgement of engineering worth of one brand over another?

So this is where the "it depends" comes in. Ask around the harbor, the lake, the marinas, the entire area, in general stores, bait shops, etc... 'who is the best, most reliable outboard motor service shop around here'. After a while you will find out which operation has the top reputation.

Now GO THERE, and buy WHATEVER they sell. In some cases they will actually sell 3 or 4 brands. Don't quit here. Go find out which stuff the Mechanics prefer. They will only prefer one over another because they have more training, experience in one over the other. Or sometimes parts are easier to get. But for your every day performance, the brand will not matter. Because there is absolutely not enough difference between any of the brands of outboards you will look at to make up for availability of top-flight service.

By the way, that top service place will probably be the source of the most popular outboard in the harbor.

You will appreciate the advice the day your motor (and ANY brand can) has a difficulty on the first day of your vacation, 300 miles from your garage, and because you bought the motor there at the lake, they give you a lift right away, and don't say "gee, too bad about your vacation but there are about 40 jobs here ahead of you... where did you say you bought that?"


fbg111 posted 01-14-2003 12:51 AM ET (US)     Profile for fbg111  Send Email to fbg111     
Thanks again for the excellence advice, everyone. You've given me quite a bit to consider, and it is much appreciated. Now for the fun part of going out test driving!
lhg posted 01-14-2003 02:30 PM ET (US)     Profile for lhg    
I keep hearing that Tohatsu engines are well made, but SLOW within their HP ratings. Any of the other major 3 brands will walk away from them. Their reputation seems to be for good, solid, sluggish performance for the commercial user, and for the low HP market.

For the requirements of "power and performance" originally posted in this thread, I doubt if you want a Tohatsu. I'd also be concerned about re-sale value. In the 90-115HP range, I'd stay with Mercury, Yamaha or Bombardier.

george nagy posted 01-14-2003 03:43 PM ET (US)     Profile for george nagy  Send Email to george nagy     
those 60 degree V4 johnson-evinrude motors are great! I have a 1997 150 60 degree johnson and it is very powerful.

I think if you go with one of the V4 models you will be pleased with the power.

As for ficht I'm not sure but the performance reports I have seen on 4 stroke vs 2 stroke it appears as though the fuel injected 2 strokes use less fuel in the higher power range(skiing).

The OMC V4 engines as stated before seem to give you the most power to weight ratio. plus the repowering should be simpler going from one OMC to another, that's what I did 87-97.

Good luck!

Perry posted 01-16-2003 09:47 PM ET (US)     Profile for Perry  Send Email to Perry     
It's strange that nobody gave any input on the Honda 4-stroke. Here in Hawaii they are quite popular. The 16' Dauntless I just bought came from the dealer with a 90 Honda. It weighs 358 lbs and gets terrific fuel economy. I haven't tried to pull a water skier yet but I'm sure it will do fine. Any comments on this engine....?
captbone posted 01-19-2003 06:16 AM ET (US)     Profile for captbone  Send Email to captbone     
I feel that the lack of CC's in the 90 hp lpdi tohatsu is the downside. The 115/140 tohatsu 2 stroke is a darn good engine, with 140 hp your will have plenty of power and you can prop it low.
jimh posted 12-01-2004 07:20 PM ET (US)     Profile for jimh  Send Email to jimh     
[Closed Thread to further replies.]

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