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Author Topic:   Outboards in 2006 and Beyond
kglinz posted 02-03-2004 05:16 PM ET (US)   Profile for kglinz   Send Email to kglinz  
This post is about what I think I have learned about outboards beyond 2006. There is a current post saying that carb 2 stroke are not sold in California. This is true, and as far as I can see 2 stroke EFIs are not sold there either. I can’t find any manufacture claiming to have a carb or EFI 2 stroke that meets the C.A.R.B. emission requirements. These are the same requirements as the U.S. EPA 2006 emission standard. Bombardier brought out the E Tec motors because they have no other mid-range 2 strokes to sell after 2006. There is talk about them bringing out higher HP E Tecs, but I doubt if they’re in a hurry. The current high HP DFI Evinrudes meet the 2006 standards. Mercury has lowered the HP on Optis to 75 HP using largely 3 liter DFI components. Will Mercury bring out a lower DFI engine?
Anyone heard any rumors? Will all EFI and carb 2 strokes go away after 2006? Comments please.
I don't mean "go away" as in not be on your transom. I mean not be sold in the U.S. The ones installed before the 2006 standards take effect will be OK.
lhg posted 02-03-2004 07:02 PM ET (US)     Profile for lhg    
Kemp - I have been wondering the same, concentrating on Mercury, of course.

What intrigued me is that Mercury has recently upgraded the V-6 EFI's to carry the Smart Gauge technology. My thought that with an engine soon to be out of production, why do this? You can almost look at the Mercury specs and see which engines are here to stay by looking for Smart Craft.

So I asked my Mercury dealer and he seemed to imply that the 2006 regulations are like the auto standards, a certain percentage of engines have to meet the emissions, not 100%.
Only CA is evidently different on this. So my SPECULATION is that the highly popular Mercury V-6 EFI's will still be available 2006 and later. I doubt if anything lower than 150HP will be, however. All of this is just a guess, based on what he guessed! I would like to see them continued if possible, as a lower cost power alternative.

Regarding the 75-115 4-strokes shared with Yamaha, I'm also guessing that Mercury will be getting out their own 4-strokes in those ranges, to go along with the new Optimax offerings. The Project X's will be 150 and up, along with the Opti's.

I think 2-stroke, bigger DFI's by the "Big Three" are here to stay for a while, and people now seem to like them much more than initially. The bugs are now pretty much worked out. Whether the Project X 4-stroke technology will eventually kill them off has yet to be seen.

Moe posted 02-03-2004 07:43 PM ET (US)     Profile for Moe  Send Email to Moe     
Given that CARB one-star engines were supposed to meet US EPA 2006 standards, it would seem to me that those engines which met that standard, and were sold in California before the 2004 model two star requirement, would still be able to be sold in the other 49 states AFTER 2006.

I doubt Merc will go to lower HP on the Optis, having 60HP and below well covered by both carbed and EFI four-strokes, all of which are 3-star/2006-EPA down through 30 HP (the 9.9 and 15 are two-star). The 50-60HP 4S EFI Mercs are only 12 lbs more than their E-Tec counterparts, and the 40HP 4S EFI Merc is lighter than its E-Tec counterpart.

Just because they have offerings in the 75-90HP Opti market, doesn't mean they'll compete. At 375 lbs, their 1526cc 75 and 90 HP Optis aren't much lighter than the 386 lb 1596cc three-star carbed 75 and 90 HP Yamaha-based four-strokes, and nowhere near the 305 lbs of the 1295cc 75 and 90 HP E-Tecs or the 303 lb 1388cc 75 and 90 HP carbed two-stroke "Classics." IMHO, Merc needs to get on a weight-loss program in this range, or give up a good part of the repower market to Evinrude.

Just my thoughts.

jimh posted 02-03-2004 08:11 PM ET (US)     Profile for jimh  Send Email to jimh     
Prohibitions against the sale of conventional 2-stroke engines in the United States will actually work to the benefit of the outboard manufacturers. Let me explain.

Current Outboard Margins
At the present time, outboard engine makers are struggling with profit margins on their engines at the low end of their normal range. With low-emission outboards, the costs to manufacture are higher and the margins are lower. Currently it is cheaper to manufacture a conventional 2-stroke and even though the engines sell for less than the low-emission ("low-E") engines, they have higher profit margins. The product mix has just now reached a point where the low-E engines account for 50-percent of the volume (up from about 43-percent last year).

Current Pricing
The price of outboard motors is currently at a relative low point, the result of several factors. First, the economy in the United States is still recovering. Sales of discretionary goods like recreational boats and motors have been affected, and sales for 2003 were down from 2002 for most manufacturers. In addition, the huge volume of imported Japanese product was shipped into the United States ahead of an anticipated dock worker strike on the west coast, and as a result there has been a flood of outboards from Japan on the market. This has tended to lower pricing. In fact, pricing is so low that domestic manufacturer Brunswick is charging that the Japanese makers are "dumping" product. A strong dollar and an artificially weak Yen have contributed to this situation. Finally, the new low-E engines have had to compete in price with conventional outboard engines whose price is much lower. Customers looking at low-E engines and their higher prices can also consider much lower priced conventional engines as an alternative.

What happens in 2006 and Beyond
Once conventional 2-strokes are out, the marketplace is going to have a correction in pricing. While the manufacturers have been selling low-E engines at what seem like high prices, once the competition of the conventional engines is removed, a great deal of pricing pressure will be removed with it.

I anticipate that prices of low-E engines will begin to rise after 2006, as manufacturers try to regain their normal profit margins on outboard engines. If the Japanese are actually affected by the weaker dollar, this will also put pressure on their pricing in the United States, and Japanese outboard should rise in price.

Finally, in an attempt to weather through the low sales of the past year or more, manufacturers have held back production with the result that inventory levels are quite low. If consumer demand returns with strong sales, pricing could be affected by limited supply.

All of these factors would help manufacturers raise the price of their low-E engines, so don't be surprised to find that in 2006 these engines cost more than they do now.

kglinz posted 02-03-2004 08:29 PM ET (US)     Profile for kglinz  Send Email to kglinz     
The emission averaging should save some of the 2 strokes. Hopefully as least the big EFIs. I don't know that any Mercury is rated 1 Star. None are shown on the Mercury Website. I sure have mixed feelings about our "friends" at the EPA. I guess the next problem is, are outboards going to price themselves out of existence? No, not totally. Remember the I/O bass boats.
Moe posted 02-03-2004 09:39 PM ET (US)     Profile for Moe  Send Email to Moe     
While AFAIK, there never was a "one-star" designation, motors sold from 2001 on in CA had to meet 2006 EPA standards. In that case, there should be an emissions compliance sticker to this effect on the engine somewhere under the cowling.

I don't think it'll necessarily be an EPA mandate that kills carbed or EFI two-strokes. It'll be buyer demand.

What may also contribute to it are more "Lake Tahoes," especially with bodies of water that are aquifers.


Sal DiMercurio posted 02-03-2004 11:02 PM ET (US)     Profile for Sal DiMercurio  Send Email to Sal DiMercurio     
Kglinz, it's not true that Ca dosen't allow EFI 2 strokes to be sold here.
Most of the Mercs 2 strokes are EFI & they meet the 2006 emission compliance.
You con "NOT" buy a carbed 2 stroke in Ca of any make.
I just read in Bass & Walleye magazine, [ just got it today in the mail ] that Bombardier will be introducing the larger hp e-tech engines [ 90 hp up to 250 hp ] very soon, possibly at the Miami boat show.
I totally agree with Ihg as far as the big hp DFI engines are concerned.
They not only meet but surpass the epa regs for 2006 & emit in most cases less emissions then most 4 strokes.
Whoever thinks the 4 strokes are king of the hill in outboards is badly mistaken as the DFI 2 strokes are far in the lead on this one in not only power but in fuel economy, emmissions & weight & only a couple of decimals behind the quiteness of the 4 strokes.
If it were true that the big 3 engine makers are leaning towards the 4 strokes to put the 2 strokes away for good, then why are they still pumping millions & millions of $$ into 2 stroke technology & suceeding in leaps & bounds.
Ca. is the strictest of all emission controls & both Evinrude & I think Merc big hp engines are 3 star engines that already meet & go beyond the 2006 epa & " carb ".
kglinz posted 02-04-2004 12:30 AM ET (US)     Profile for kglinz  Send Email to kglinz     
I guess the info I read about EFI's was wrong. Are they 2 Star( C.A.R.B. 2004 ) compliant? Does CARB 2004 come in at the first of the year or end of the year? I think Bombardier must be very confidant in their product to introduce a full line of E Tec engines so close together. Their field testing must have gone really well. I'm a little cautious of their "no scheduled maintance for 3 years" statement. I don't think I mentioned 4 strokes, but my position is that they're not for everyone or every boat. I'm glad we have a choice, and hope we continue to have it.

Kemp Lindsey

Moe posted 02-04-2004 01:42 AM ET (US)     Profile for Moe  Send Email to Moe     
Ah! There was a one-star rating:

More detailed info here:


Peter posted 02-04-2004 06:34 AM ET (US)     Profile for Peter  Send Email to Peter     
Evinrude, Mercury and Yamaha's V6 DFI outboards, except for Mercury's 135, are two star rated. That means they can be sold as is in Calfornia until 2008. If they want to sell these in California in 2008 and beyond, they will have to tweak them to become three star rated. In 2009, Calfornia raises the bar even higher (4 star?).

Evinrude should be at the three star (maybe 4 star as well) rating next year when it introduces the V6 E-TECs. Haven't seen any announcements for the V6 Optimax and wonder if Mercury is just going to put all of its eggs in the Project X basket. Bombardier has hedged with Johnson 4-strokes.

Moe, I have seen a Yamaha with a one star label on it. Can't remember which one but think it was a 200 HPDI.

OutrageMan posted 02-04-2004 07:34 AM ET (US)     Profile for OutrageMan  Send Email to OutrageMan     
I have it on very good authority that Mercury will not be making any carb or EFI engines after 2005. They will still have the Optimax line, however all other engines will be 4 stroke.


Sal DiMercurio posted 02-04-2004 04:49 PM ET (US)     Profile for Sal DiMercurio  Send Email to Sal DiMercurio     
2 of my fishing buddies own 2001 ....150hp Evinrudes, they both have 3 stars on the coweling & it says 3 star rated engine under the stars.
lhg posted 02-04-2004 06:22 PM ET (US)     Profile for lhg    
Brian - I have also heard that Mercury won't be making any carbureted engines after 2005. That must mean EFI goes all the way down to 4hp 4-strokes? I hope you're not right on the EFI V-6's. I wonder what this means for the carbureted Merc-aha 4-stroke 75's and 90's?

Project X 4-strokes are supposed to be super clean, and should get the 4 star ratings. They say they are designed for emission standards well into the future, which certainly makes sense considering development costs.

There are also rumors that catalytic converters are in the future of 4-stroke outboards, and inboards as well. A recent effort at pressurized fuel tanks on boats has been postponed for technical/safety reasons. Compared to our cars, today's brand new 4-stroke outboards are not very clean, like cars of 20 years ago.

The fact that Yamaha has just brought out new DFI's in 250/300 rating indicates this technology will be around for a while. I just wish DFI's would get cheaper spark plugs, longer lived, and lower cost oiling! None are too quiet running, either.

I have been wondering if 2005 is going to be huge year for conventional 2-stroke sales, as people load up on them before discontinuance?

OutrageMan posted 02-04-2004 07:02 PM ET (US)     Profile for OutrageMan  Send Email to OutrageMan     
I have also been told a few things about Project X motors.

1) They will only be available factory installed on new boats for at least the first year (no re-power sales)

2) They will only come with electronic controls

3) They are heavier than the 4 strokes we know now

4) Performance supposedly will make up for the weight gains

5) They will have a pretty high price point - I was not told exact pricing, but I was told they would be "pretty high vs. anything else."


Sal DiMercurio posted 02-04-2004 07:19 PM ET (US)     Profile for Sal DiMercurio  Send Email to Sal DiMercurio     
I think when the outboards start hitting $20,000 & up, your going to see alot of people going i/o & diesels.
It's getting nuts just for the engine alone, not even a prop on them.
For what it costs for 1 single high powered outboard, a person could get 3 v8 inboard engines, kinda makes you think a bit.
kglinz posted 02-04-2004 07:42 PM ET (US)     Profile for kglinz  Send Email to kglinz     
Yamaha 4 strokes are 3 star down to 60 HP even though 3 of those motors are carburated. The big Yamaha DFIs are 2 star for now, like most of the Merc DFIs. I hope they can come up with lower emissions without leaning them out any more. 2 strokes don't like the mixture too lean. They overheat. Some of the 4 strokes don't have a lot of space for Catalytic Convertors with oil tanks mounted in the upper part of the leg. I guess if the emission levels are low enough with out them they're not required. Time will tell.
lhg posted 02-04-2004 08:47 PM ET (US)     Profile for lhg    
Brian - In a week we'll know, but Buckley has said that Project X will be lighter than the 4-strokes we know, about the same weight as an equivalent HP Optimax. This would translate into 100lbs lighter than a 225 Yamaha/Honda/Suzuki 4-stroke. It's only a 2.6 liter block, just a touch larger than my 2.5 liter 200 EFI's.
Peter posted 02-04-2004 09:21 PM ET (US)     Profile for Peter  Send Email to Peter     
I think it is going to be a little bit difficult to compare the weight of the conventional 4-strokes with the Project X due to the fly-by-wire electro-mechanicals residing on the Project X, but we'll see. I wouldn't be at all surprised if the weight is the same or more than the conventional 4-strokes but then when the weight of the electro-mechanicals is subtracted the net weight is less than the conventional 4-strokes.
Peter posted 02-05-2004 05:18 AM ET (US)     Profile for Peter  Send Email to Peter     
Sal, Evinrude's 2004 catalog shows the 100 to 250 HP DI motors as two star rated, while the 40 to 90 HP E-TECs are three star rated. Perhaps Evinrude took a step backwards on the 150s since 2001 or the wrong labels were applied?
lhg posted 02-05-2004 01:17 PM ET (US)     Profile for lhg    
I was under the impression that E-tec had to be developed by Evinrude in order to achieve the 3 star rating, and that all E-tecs will get the rating. Evidently the larger the engine, the harder it is to acheive with DFI without sapping HP?

I have also been wondering how Mercury and Yamaha will reach
this goal. The Mercury 135's have had it since day one, and now the new 75-115's have it.

kglinz posted 02-05-2004 02:20 PM ET (US)     Profile for kglinz  Send Email to kglinz     
The Opti 135 just doesn't get as much fuel as the higher HP 2.5 Optis. (150&175) The air is restricted in the 135 but as near as I can tell the injectors are the same as the other 2.5 Optis. This must mean that the duration of the fuel delivery on the 135 is shorter and less emissions are present. It appears that when reducing emissions some power is frequently lost.
Moe posted 02-05-2004 03:20 PM ET (US)     Profile for Moe  Send Email to Moe     
Does anyone have a link to official information on a "4-star" rating and its reduction? I can't find any information on more than 3-star on the CARB website, but I'd assume if there is a 4-star, it would take effect 4 years after the 3-star.

Does anyone have a link to official information on the US EPA tightening the 2006 emissions standards (the one all CA-sold outboards have met since '01) in years beyond '06?


kglinz posted 02-05-2004 03:30 PM ET (US)     Profile for kglinz  Send Email to kglinz     
This is the latest info I have found and it doesn't seem indicate any change after 2006 is now planned. Hyperlink
Sal DiMercurio posted 02-05-2004 04:45 PM ET (US)     Profile for Sal DiMercurio  Send Email to Sal DiMercurio     
Peter, all I can tell is, both of those engines have 3 stars on the coweling & it says 3 star rated???????
Peter posted 02-05-2004 05:48 PM ET (US)     Profile for Peter  Send Email to Peter     
Not official but this is what I found. Hyperlink .
Moe posted 02-05-2004 07:53 PM ET (US)     Profile for Moe  Send Email to Moe     
Thanks, Peter. That showed me why I didn't find 4-star in outboards and PWCs... it applies to inboards and stern drives, and that's where I found the info on it on the CARB website.

It actually goes into effect for inboards and stern drives less than 500HP in 2007, but motors over that are exempted until 2009. 2003 was the first requirement for inboards and stern drives to be 3-star. They expect it to require 3-way catalysts, and closed loop to meet, and it also requires computer controlled on board diagnostics.

Three-star in 2008 is the highest CARB requirement for outboards I've found on their site.

And thanks Kemp, for the US EPA info.


Moe posted 02-05-2004 07:56 PM ET (US)     Profile for Moe  Send Email to Moe     
I meant to say they expect 4-star to require those things.


Peter posted 02-05-2004 08:09 PM ET (US)     Profile for Peter  Send Email to Peter     
Moe, I was thinking that the CARB had something more up their sleeve in view of some outboard advertising the fact that they can meet future emissions requirements. In any case, the current V6 DFIs, except Merc's 135, need to get cleaner before 2008 if they are to be sold in California. Evinrude should be there next year, and perhaps Merc's strategy is to forego the California V6 2-stroke market and just go with the Project X.
jimh posted 02-05-2004 08:46 PM ET (US)     Profile for jimh  Send Email to jimh     
[Fixed Long URI's]
rbruce posted 02-06-2004 01:45 PM ET (US)     Profile for rbruce  Send Email to rbruce     
What would my 1969 Chrysler 20 HP with two cylinders, one carburetter, 50:1 TCW 3 oil mix then be? One star or no star at all?

kglinz posted 02-06-2004 01:57 PM ET (US)     Profile for kglinz  Send Email to kglinz     
That old Chrysler doesn't even get a moon, let alone a star, but thats OK. Just enjoy it and don't worry about these "new fangled" motors
rbruce posted 02-06-2004 06:04 PM ET (US)     Profile for rbruce  Send Email to rbruce     
I think I deserve at least a star for my dad's old Chrysler revival. Not having to buy a motor for this long should account at least for the emissions, electricity and overhead added to these fancy new motors to comply with the CARB **** !

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