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Author Topic:   Selecting an engine
jacksonnh posted 03-07-2004 09:18 PM ET (US)   Profile for jacksonnh   Send Email to jacksonnh  
I need to repower my 1986 17 Whaler Sport and I'd like to put a 90 HP engine on but I"ll be honest, I know nothing about engines. I've had 2 older Evinrudes and both have died so I want brand new and I just want it to run everyday with no headaches. I'm looking for opinions on Yamaha, Suzuki, Honda, and Mercury. I can't get a straight answer form any salesman so maybe you can help explain some pro's and cons of different engines.

Thank You

whalerron posted 03-07-2004 09:46 PM ET (US)     Profile for whalerron  Send Email to whalerron     
If you are looking at 2 strokes, put a new Johnson 90 on that boat. The engine is the largest 90hp 2 stroke out there and it's a proven design. I bought one new in 2002 and I love that motor. It's got plenty of power and it doesn't use any more fuel than my 1975 70hp Johnson did.

- ron

15ftlover posted 03-07-2004 10:52 PM ET (US)     Profile for 15ftlover  Send Email to 15ftlover     
Think about fourstroke technology-2007 emissions compliance, not constantly adding oil, better fuel, and no smoke to inhale while idling. I am awaiting installation of a 60hp EFI merc 4stroke on my 1978 15ft (3rd engine). wt is a tad higher (248lbs) which is about 60lbs heavier than the previous forty horse merc. You have a more forgiving hull for adding the extra weight. Also most people looking for used boats will be looking at four-strokes. The cost may be a little higher (@6k) but if you average it out over 12-13 years of ownership it's a few dollars a month.
Bigshot posted 03-08-2004 11:58 AM ET (US)     Profile for Bigshot  Send Email to Bigshot     
I run a Suzuki 70hp 4 stroke on mine and personally think everyone else should but.....if you want info on this do a search under montauk repower or engine repower,etc and you will find more pros and cons than you can shake a prop at.
jacksonnh posted 03-12-2004 12:19 PM ET (US)     Profile for jacksonnh  Send Email to jacksonnh     
Thank you for your replies. I am strongly considering Suzuki, especially because they are offering the 6 year warranty for free before March 31st. Bigshot, thank you for the reccomendation, there certainly is a lot of information on this sight. I need to decide between the 70 and the 90 and it sounds like most people reccomend the 70 but I really want to get as much speed as possible out of the boat. Does anybody have experience with the Suzuki 90 on their Montauk. Thank you
Bigshot posted 03-12-2004 01:03 PM ET (US)     Profile for Bigshot  Send Email to Bigshot     
90 is TOO heavy at 420lbs. The 70 is plenty for most people. It is strong out of the hole and is only 2.5mph slower at top end than my 90 Yamaha was. I felt the same way when I bought mine thinking I CAN"T go from a 90 to a 70 but after I drove it a mile, I would not buy any other engine for that boat, especially in that price range. For $5k(engine, prop, wiring and tach I believe), there is no better engine. If you do NEED the extra hp, go with the 115 being the same weight.
jacksonnh posted 03-12-2004 09:29 PM ET (US)     Profile for jacksonnh  Send Email to jacksonnh     
Bigshot,by reading through this forum and seeing your comments everywhere I certainly value your advice. What sort of risks do I take by going with the 115 since the max rated HP for my hull is 100 and how much do I gain. I have worked overtime all winter saving for an engine and I don't want price to be a factor. I want what ever the best engine possible is for my boat since I will have well over a 100 days on the water this season. However if you tell me that the Suzuki 70 is the best choice regardless of $ then I will probably take your advice. Thank you
rwill1 posted 03-12-2004 11:16 PM ET (US)     Profile for rwill1  Send Email to rwill1     
How about an Evinrude E-Tech 90? Low weight, low emission, great fuel economy, and sweet performance. 115 is too much, especially a 4 stroke.

Give the Bombardier familiy a chance if they have a good dealer in your area...

AlexH posted 03-13-2004 12:44 AM ET (US)     Profile for AlexH  Send Email to AlexH     
I have a 1972,3,or4 (last year of the blue hulls) Sekonnet with a late 80s 2-stroke 110 Evinrude. Previously, the boat had an early 80s 2-stroke 90 Evinrude. The performance has vastly improved, especially on the top end. With 20 gallons of fuel and two 180lb guys it will do 53mph by GPS with a three blade cupped Michigan prop (at that speed it tends to teeter). For Skiing or wakeboarding (although the boat sucks at it) I prop down to a 17. Some people will tell you that you don't need that much power but for such cheap money it's definitely worth it. I know that such an upgrade on newer motors tend to cost more, but on a classic go for the most two-stroke power the boat can handle/you can afford (and it will keep the weight low). It's always fun to beat a Formula with 5 old, fat men out of the hole with 5 cute Boston University girls and your two best friends.

The Sekonnet has taught me the one can never have too much power. As a result, I am the proud new owner of a 1989 25 Outrage Cuddy w/twin 225 Yamahas. Gas is cheap and there is never an excuse for too little power. Hopefully it will run in the 60mph range

greyg8r posted 03-13-2004 08:04 AM ET (US)     Profile for greyg8r    

In Florida, if you install an engine (and no marina that I know of will do it for you) that is greater than the stated capacity, it is flat out illegal (although I don't know what the penalty is). Not to mention, potential problems with insurance and liability. My insurance carrier, State Farm, will not insure a boat that has exceeds the stated capacity.

If you do a search on this forum, you will find many opinions on this subject. These are my personal experiences.

I took a look on google for similar regs in NH and couldn't find them. But, before dropping a load of dough, you should contact your New Hampshire Department of Safety and your insurance carrier.

Just my dos centavos.



Who has the 5 BU cuties? You or the fat guys? And why not ditch your 2 friends and have the babes all to yourself?


jimh posted 03-13-2004 09:51 AM ET (US)     Profile for jimh  Send Email to jimh     
Shopping for a new engine? Choices are:

High-Emission OR Low-Emission

A very quick summary:

High-Emission engines cannot be manufactured and sold in the U.S. after 2005, and essentially are only available for order for a few more months. After July 2004 you will probably be limited to stock on hand or in the pipeline.

High-Emission engines are (very generally) lighter, less complicated, highly evolved and reliable designs that have been in use for decades and can be easily serviced and repaired by a large cadre of marine technicians. They also cost less, but use more fuel. High-Emission engines are almost all 2-stroke designs which offer very good horsepower per pound and strong performance. The mechanically simple design of these engines has allowed them to provide thousands of hours of service over decades of use without requiring extensive service or repairs.

Low-Emission engines are (very generally) heavier, more complicated, newer evolving designs that have been in use for less than a decade. They require more periodic service (oil changes for example) and are typically not as easily serviced by the existing cadre of marine technician. They cost more but use less fuel, although the fuel savings will never make up the higher cost unless an exceptional amount of fuel is used.

Low-Emission engines are divided into two distinct groups: 2-stroke and 4-stroke.

Attempts to produce low-emission 2-strokes engines have been slowly improving. There have been some problems with these engines in the past five years or so as the technology has been developed. Currently there appears to be 3 or 4 successful technologies in the market, all direct-injection engines: Mercury Optimax (and Nissan TLDI), Yamaha HPDI, Bombardier E-TEC, and Bombardier DI or Ficht. All manufacturers of these engines feel that the problems are behind them and the current products are reliable.

Attempts to produce low-emission 4-stroke engines have been successful in meeting emission compliance, but have been less successful in meeting performance expectations. This has led to a new wave of very complex technology being applied to 4-stroke engines to improve their performance (to get back to the level of the old 2-stroke). Technology once reserved for exotic race car engines has been applied to outboard motors, including dual overhead cams, four valves per cylinder, variable valve timing, exotic intake manifold design, computer controlled air intake port tuning, and even supercharging. The weight of 4-stroke engines has grown to unimaginable proportions, and the costs have risen similarly. Whether these technologically and mechanically very complex engines will provide decades of repair-free service as outboard motors remains to be established.


The Suzuki 70-HP 4-stroke engine has been highly touted by many owners. It is (comparatively) a simple 4-stroke engine with fuel injection, but its weight is rather high for its horsepower. It is often sold at substantial discounts from its MSRP.

There are any number of modern, low-emission engines in the 70-90 HP range that are good choices; consult the catalogues of Mercury, Yamaha, Honda, Evinrude, and Suzuki

There are still available a number of excellent high-emission engines in the 70-90 HP range. The Mercury 90-HP "Classic" is typical of these engines. Its modest weight and price will provide excellent performance. The design is proven and very simple to service and maintain. Also see the Yamaha 2-strokes. Again, the time frame to buy one of these engines is limited.

Peter posted 03-13-2004 10:16 AM ET (US)     Profile for Peter  Send Email to Peter     
Best 90s high emission 90s for the money are either the Mercury 90 or the Johnson 90. The Johnson 90 really performs and consumes fuel more typical of a 100 HP engine than a 90 HP one, mostly due to it having the largest displacement. The Yamaha 90 has the least displacement and peforms more like an 80 to 85 HP motor.

So if you are thinking you want 115 HP or want the strongest 90 you can get, the Johnson 90 should be on your short list.

For low emissions 90s, the Evinrude E-TEC 90 looks like it will be hard to beat.

jacksonnh posted 03-13-2004 06:14 PM ET (US)     Profile for jacksonnh  Send Email to jacksonnh     
Thank you again for your responses, I went to a Mercury dealer today and looked at both the Four stroke and the Optimax. The 90 Optimax seems like a pretty good choice by what they have explained but I don't fully trust any of these salesmen. Does anyone have any opinions on this engine. I would look at the E-tec but I've just had very negative experiences with Evinrudes.
greyg8r posted 03-13-2004 08:43 PM ET (US)     Profile for greyg8r    

You won't have a hard time finding opinions on engines on THIS forum ;-)


bkoelbel posted 03-14-2004 08:18 AM ET (US)     Profile for bkoelbel  Send Email to bkoelbel     
jacksonnh -

As a fellow Seacoast whaler fan, I have to offer my 2 cents on the local Merc dealers.

I just put a deposit down on a Merc 200 Opti with Dover Marine in Dover NH. After talking to the folks at York Harbor, Island Marine, I found the combination of price and service best at Dover Marine. Given that I keep my boat on the Cocheco River, the convenience is important.

If you're looking at an Optimax or similar top quality engine, put a pricetag in a longstanding dealer relationship. Island Marine might be best for you if you needed service over at Badger's Island docks.

jacksonnh posted 03-23-2004 11:35 AM ET (US)     Profile for jacksonnh  Send Email to jacksonnh     
Thank you again to those who have responded. I know that this topic has pretty well been beaten to death on this forum and I've read as much as I can and lately I've been reading a lot of posts about the new E-tec. The posts make the E-tec engine sound like a new breakthrough in 2 stroke technology but I can't find anything that sets the E-tec above the Mercury Optimax other than the fact that it is lighter. It seems to me that Evinrude is trying to catch up to Mercury and they may have but it is still unproven. I'm puting my money down on an engine this week so anybody who can give me good reasons to go with Optimax over E-tec or E-tec over Optimax, I would greatly appreciate it. I highly value the information and opinions on this sight much more than any information I get at the shops.

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