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ContinuousWave: Whaler Performance
New Mercury Outboard announcements
|Author||Topic: New Mercury Outboard announcements|
posted 02-24-2003 03:01 PM ET (US)
In an article published today, Mercury lists 4 new Outboards of interest to Whaler owners/buyers. None of these engines are shown in the new 2003 catalog, but should be out mid-year.
200 EFI. Evidently they are going to be building a version of this engine on the larger 3.0 liter block, instead of the previous 2.5 liter block. The 3.0 liter block is the same one used for the 225, 250 and 300 EFI's, and the 200 & 225 Optiimax's.
75, 90 & 115 Digital Fuel Injected Optimax: Based on Mercury's 3 cylinder block, and in both regular and Saltwater versions. They will have large alternators, as high as 60 amps. They will also have integral oil tanks, a big improvement over the Ficht remote tanks in rigging work. No indication of weight or price. My guess is that the Yamaha built 75 & 90 4-strokes have been somwhat of a disappointment performance and weight wise, so these new 2-strokes could augment that situation. This also prevents Bombardier from having that market basically to itself, with it's new 3 cylinder block E-tec/Fichts. There was no indication if these are 2 or 3 star rated for emissions, but I would guess 3 star.
There was previous mention of a 90 Optimax on this site, but few believed the rumors. Now they seem to be confirmed. The article I saw is in "Soundings Trade Only", March '03 edition
They also mentioned the new 250HP in-line 6 4-stroke, but simply said the public will get it when it's ready!
posted 02-24-2003 04:43 PM ET (US)
I wonder why you persist in referring to the E-Tecs as Fichts.
From what I have read I get the impression that the E-Tec system is closer to Orbital that to Ficht, and matches neither.
Am I missing something or are you just carrying a grudge?
Red sky at night. . .
posted 02-24-2003 07:47 PM ET (US)
JB - A friend recently told me that he knows a high level Bombardier exec and was told that the E-tec is renamed Ficht, basically the same system, but with brand new, re-designed fuel injectors, and a new block for the smaller engines in favor of the previous V-4. He was told they had to get rid of the Ficht name stigma, and that to survive, they had to bring them up to 3 star rating, like the 4-stroke gets. I don't think they are using the Orbital low pressure air compressor design that Mercury uses, but am not sure on that one. I think they are still a high pressure design like Ficht and Yamaha HPDI. So admittedly, my information is second hand.
I have also seen several previous articles that Bombabardier was re-designing Ficht to make it better and highly reliable. I assume E-tec is the result. Can't blame them for using a new name.
I was also surprised to hear that Bombardier buys Mercury Optimax engines for their Sea Doo jet boats.
With all of these new developments, I am beginning to wonder if this new generation of mid-range 2-strokes may have a life after all. Most have thought that 4-strokes would rule the mid range (75-130), but weight and lackluster performance seem to be a continuing issue, at least with the Yamaha/Mercury and Honda models.
posted 02-24-2003 08:22 PM ET (US)
According to a prominent OMC dealer that I trust, the E-Tec technology is a program that was started under OMC pre-bankruptcy. Sort of a second generation DI system development program. Given the complexity of powertrain design, it would make sense that it would take a while to bake. Bombardier would not have had the time to completely redo the DI system without prior work by OMC.
So I guess that lhg's characterization that E-Tec is just a new name for Ficht is not true. It is an evolution of the basic DI type of technology.
That said, the Merc Vs. OMC Vs. Yamaha rivalry continues to be amusing. Supporters of each are very passionate in their defense of their brand. If one is objective and reads the research, the Fichts that were really problem motors were a few specific models for a few years. Likewise, the Opti "horror stories" will probably be the same.
Bottom line is that a skilled mechanic maintaining these complex machines is essential. I can't imagine that the very complex 4 strokes can't have similar problems. In fact, there are reports of problems with the "beloved" Suzuki DF70. See: http://thehulltruth.com/6/ubb.x?a=tpc&s=382602711&f=848609331&m=7036098581
posted 02-24-2003 08:32 PM ET (US)
To bring the thread back on topic...
I am sure the Mercs will be fine motors if:
1. The weight is reasonable.
posted 02-24-2003 08:45 PM ET (US)
What is the deal with the link. It requires registration?
posted 02-24-2003 11:24 PM ET (US)
Who knows exactly what similarities there are between E-Tec and Ficht? I've read all the press releases and background information, yet I have never seen Bombardier clearly state that E-tec is a totally new technology not related to Ficht. If it were, and assuming they wanted to shed the image of "Ficht equals problem", then you'd think they would declare it clearly.
I remember a famous full page ad that ran in the New York Times many years ago. The ad was placed by a group opposed to development of the Anti-Ballistic Missle (ABM). The headline of the ad said:
"From the people who brought you the war in Viet Name: Introducing the Anti-Ballistic Missile."
This is the predicament that Bombardier is in with their E-Tec. It's brought to you by the same people that brought Ficht to market.
As for the new Mercury engines, it sounds like they are confident in their Optimax technology to continue to develop it into more of their product line.
posted 02-24-2003 11:51 PM ET (US)
No matter what E-tec is, I think that it will be great. Bombardier is a very good company, and I do not think that they will make the same mistake as OMC and release a new motor before it was ready. I am sure they are well aware of the problems of Fichts (which they solved). They will not make the same mistakes with e-tec and I am sure even before they released any info on it, it was as close to perfect as you can get it.
posted 02-25-2003 12:24 PM ET (US)
My brother spoke with one of the engineering managers at OMC right around the time the buyout occurred. The engineer was mad because OMC hadn't been performing proper QA or testing on their products before releasing them. This meant that the customers became OMC's QA department and we all saw the effects of that. Somewhere in their last year or so of existence, OMC had moved to correct this problem and Bombardier continued that process.
Only time will tell for sure but I cannot believe that Bombardier would risk market share by releasing a product that is not ready. Market share is notoriously hard to reacquire once it is lost. I bet that the new ETEC is a great motor. If its not, Evinrude won't exist for much longer.
posted 02-25-2003 03:08 PM ET (US)
As Rodger pointed out, it sounds reasonable that E-tec is OMC/Bombardier's second generation DFI. I thought that's what I was saying, although I have literally no knowledge of these complicated outboard DFI systems, Optimax included. Like many here, I like the simple 2-strokes.
So now, who's going out and spending 6 to 25 grand for 2003 Evinrude Ficht DI's (single 75HP to 250HP twins) if superior E-tec technology is coming out in 2004? That's a real big marketing problem.
I thought this thread was about Mercury's new small Optimax engines anyway.
posted 02-25-2003 07:59 PM ET (US)
Sorry to continue the off topic posting, but the dialogue here is good.
The theory my dealer friend has is that the 1st generation DI stuff will live on in the Johnson line, at prices similar to the current Johnson motors.
The Fichts, most notably the smaller 75 and 90 HP models, are amazing engines from a performance perspective, and if they are dropped in price, I think that they will be a hot sellers. If I was to repower my Nauset today, I would pick the Johnson 90, but if the 90 Ficht was offered at a close price point, I would be all over it.
posted 08-30-2003 07:34 AM ET (US)
I took a look at the 75/90/115hp Merc Opti's a few days ago and must say that they are huge (alongside a 150 V6 opti there was no distinguishable size difference except smaller lower unit on 75...) with an advertised weight of 375lbs. as I recall from Mercurymarine.com data. Also noted that the 3.0L 200EFI is the only 200EFI available. Better pick up a 2003 EFI 200 while you can still get one! Hey, I might just do that!.... Happy Whalin'... Clark... Spruce Creek Navy
posted 08-30-2003 07:38 AM ET (US)
Should have said pick up a 2003 2.5L 200EFI...
posted 08-30-2003 01:43 PM ET (US)
I don't see the 75/90/115 Optis as solving any performance or weight problems compared to the 4-strokes. Performance-wise, HP is HP, from the same torque at the same rpm, regardless of whether it's generated by a 2 or 4 stroke ( HP=(torque X rpm)/5252) ). Weight-wise, compared to the 386 lb, 1741 cc, 115 HP EFI, and the 386 lb slightly destroked 1596 cc, carbed versions of it in 75 and 90 HP, the 1526 cc, 75/90/115 Optis are pretty close in weight at 375 lbs. I'd guess a little bit of that is the larger 60A alternator, and they'd be a little lighter without it.
The 75/90/115 Optis appear to be target-marketed right at the mid-range motor market for the mini-bass boat crowd, who want the same widely perceived advantages of 2-stroke over 4-stroke on their little Ranger, that the big boys have. The saltwater versions seem to be a nod to the flats fishing bunch. The big alternator, for charging trolling motor batteries, makes them even more attractive. I think the new Optis are a great marketing move on Merc's part, considering the carbed 2-strokes, now used on a lot of small bass boats, are rapidly approaching extinction.
As far as the 3.0L vs 2.5L at 200HP, it just aligns the 200 EFI with the 200 Opti WRT displacement. There's still a 150 HP 2.5L version, lacking only the 175 and 135 HP 2.5L alternatives of the Opti motors. 200HP from more torque and less engine rpm.
The big holes left to fill are to switch the 75 and 90 four-strokes to EFI only, and to at least offer an EFI option on the lighter, 3-cylinder version of the four-stroke 40HP. It only adds 12 lbs on the 3-cylinder 30 HP, which is now offered in carbed and EFI. The 3-cylinder 40 works on smaller boats that couldn't support the 4-cylinder 40 (such as the 130 Sport), so it needs to stay in the line-up.
Personally, I think Merc knows what they're doing with these changes for the future.
posted 08-30-2003 02:28 PM ET (US)
The e tech engines only go to 90 hp & the 2001 FICHTS are all 3 star emissions.
Also was told by a very reliable person with Bombardier, that the new e tech engines can be run at wot right out of the box, with no service needed for 3 years.
I don't think the e tech is related to the FICHT but we wont know for sure until we see em.
The outboard industry is getting very interesting.
posted 08-30-2003 06:09 PM ET (US)
Clearly, Mercury is responding to the pressure and sucess that Bombardier is having with its Ficht and now, new E-tec engines.
I do consider it an error on merc's part to put the oil resevoir integral to the motor. One main advantage of DFI technology is lighter weight than a 4 stroke. If you put a huge (and it would have to be a one gallon minium) resevoir, in the motor, that adds a lot of weight and is starting to look like a 4 stroke again.
I have a FICHT and I don't see this being a rigging nightmare. There is simply an extra oil return line that has to be brought back to the motor. Having the oil resevoir out of the weather, in the console and out of the back end of the boat is a big plus.
E-tec is a new motor. They are doing the smaller mid range motors first <115HP and I believe they are available now. My understanding is they are lighter, use even less gas and oil than the FICHT.
It is true that Evinrude had to dump the FICHT name after the marketing and warranty fiasco that brought OMC down, but this is not a smoke and mirrors move.
posted 08-31-2003 12:09 PM ET (US)
If what I have read about E-Tec is true, I think it could address two of the problems with the current four stroke and DI offerings as compared with conventional two strokes. First, the four stroke and DI motors seem to require significantly more maintenance than conventional two stroke motors. It is my understanding that the E-Tec's maintenance requirements are more like conventional two strokes. Second, the four stroke and DI models seem to have greater battery requirements, and do not seem to be tolerant of weak batteries. It is my understanding that the E-Tec generates enough current that it can be pull started with a dead battery.
I think all of the outboard manufactures are struggling to keep up with the pace that they are having to introduce new products these days. For that reason, I think that all of them are having problems. New technologies and designs take a while to perfect. I personally would like a new motor for my Montauk, but I hope I can wait until 2007 when some of the dust settles.
posted 08-31-2003 12:26 PM ET (US)
The DFI engines, at least mine (Evinrude FICHT), don't require any more maintenance than a 2 stroke and it probably is just as or more reliable. You keep it oiled and full of gas. You winterize it - all just like a 2 stroke.
However, you don't have to adjust idles, you have no carbs to clean. You don't have plugs fouled because of oil in the gas at idle. You have little exhaust and less smoke. It starts right away and keeps running (even when cold) and you don't have to choke it.
I guess I just don't see the problems. There were issues (well known) on the roll out of four strokes and DFI. The industry has gotten a lot of experience under its belt and they are getting better and better. I can tell you that in almost every way, my 2003 DFI motor is superior to my old 1995 2 stroke carbed motor.
E-tec is the third generation of DFI and it sounds great. I really like the idea of being able to start a 75HP (or better) with a pull start. What an idea! That sounds like another click up the reliability scale for me. Ever tried to start a 75HP 2 stroke with a pull cord? Not a lot of fun.
posted 09-01-2003 04:32 AM ET (US)
In my opinion FICHT sounds cooler than E-TEC. I don't mean the technology, just the word.
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