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Author Topic:   Evinrude E-TEC™ Outboard Motor: 2004 vs 2005?
crabby posted 09-14-2004 06:49 PM ET (US)   Profile for crabby   Send Email to crabby  
I recently purchased a leftover 2004 90-HP E-TEC. At the time of the purchase the dealer assured me that the only difference between the model years was the color of the motor, so I saved a little and went blue rather than white. Now that my 2004 is sitting in the shop waiting for a new powerhead the dealer tells me that essentially I will be getting a 2005 powerhead since the reed block and manifolds are different, as well as a new chip to "update" the computer (which I thought was fully field updateable).

I liked the motor when it ran, but I am curious about getting a straight answer from anyone that is truly in the loop about what has been changed since 2004.

I will take this up further with my dealer in a few days once the motor is back together and let folks know (if anyone is interested). And for the curious about my blown motor, a rod bearing let loose (didn't toss the piston but it made a horrendous noise till it finally wouldn't run). Bombardier asked the dealer to ship it to them overnight so they could check it out immediately--even had a service rep get right over to the dealer. It appears they are at least interested in this situation. The motor was labeled as being built in January 2004, was purchased and installed by the dealer about September 1, 2004, and the dealer tells me it had 14 hours on it at the time of its demise. That seems high to me but....

---crabby on LI

chopbuster posted 09-14-2004 10:42 PM ET (US)     Profile for chopbuster  Send Email to chopbuster     
All 2004 Evinrude E-TEC engines 90-HP and up were/are available in white.
jimh posted 09-14-2004 11:07 PM ET (US)     Profile for jimh  Send Email to jimh     
It seems rather common that manufacturers make on-going updates and improvements to products, and often they don't publicly acknowledge or announce the changes, nor, in most cases to they change the model designation. Usually the only clue is a change in the actual numeric part number or order code.

When I worked for an electronics manufacturer, the engineering department issued revisions (engineering change numbers or ECN's) that often were immediately incorporated into production. In the marketing department we never changed any model numbers or even order numbers. The only way to track these changes was by serial number. The production department kept track of that, and it was essentially impossible to find anything in our literature that would have informed a customer about these things.

I am certain this is just about a universal practice, so I am not at all surprised that a 2005 model E-TEC engine might have some changes in it from an early 2004 production model.

It might be difficult to document exactly what all the differences might be without cooperation of the production department at the factory. Often they are the only ones who really know what went into what engine when.

seahorse posted 09-15-2004 02:09 AM ET (US)     Profile for seahorse  Send Email to seahorse     
There are no "chips" to update the computer, it is done by software from a laptop. Earlier this summer, there was an updated software change for the 90 E-TEC. It was not a mandatory fix, but an improvement in fuel flow. It was also mentioned in the Bass and Walleye, and Trailer Boats tests of the 90hp outboards in their recent issues.
crabby posted 09-15-2004 07:16 AM ET (US)     Profile for crabby  Send Email to crabby     
Chop - Re: motor color, sorry, I know that, I was referring to what was in the dealer's stock at the time of my purchase

Jim: Thanks for the reply, I'm familiar with the "engineering change order" process. I'm just curious as to HOW different the two model years are.

Sea: Thanks to this forum (or maybe another one) I knew about and made sure that the motor had the firmware updates when I picked it up; it was the dealer that told me the factory was sending out a new "chip" as part of the repair/replacement of the powerhead. Possibly this is more than just some parameters changing and is the equivelant of flashing an entirely new program into the control module (which may be beyond the built in abilities of the field software and the ecm)?

Thanks for the replies folks, I'm just interested in finding out as much as I can about these motors as I possibly can. Minor changes in a production run are one thing, but different reed blocks, etc are generally done for a good reason. Maybe the bearings were beefed up also in the 05's and I wouldn't be waiting for repairs right now had I known and gone for the newer motor.

I had been dead set on dropping a leftover v4 115 hp to replace my very rugged (but now tired) '86 70hp on my Montauk (for about $2k less than the etec cost me) when FU2 talked me into going the way I did. New unproven technology is great for early adopters who can afford to be field testers for the factory; this was a big break in my philosophy and I just want to know as much about these things as I can find out.

seahorse posted 09-15-2004 07:37 AM ET (US)     Profile for seahorse  Send Email to seahorse     
2005 service info isn't out yet, but I'll do some inquiring for you.

Since the rod failed on your motor, that is not "unproven" technology. Your motor uses the same bearings and the same rods as the 60 degree V4 and V6 motors up to 175hp have used since 1991. I'm sure your problem was a fluke, and the factory wants to find out right away whether it was an assembly problem or possibly a bad part that somehow got through quality control.

crabby posted 09-15-2004 05:36 PM ET (US)     Profile for crabby  Send Email to crabby     
Jim: Agreed on all counts regarding the failed bearing and it's longstanding use in other motors. The new technology is all the computer controls and associated parts.

Anyhow, I went for it, had some bad luck right up front, hopefully all will be taken care of appropriately and I can be back on the water fishing in a couple of days.

Like I said, I will try to keep all informed of what happens. The ETEC ran great, I just hope this is the end of my troubles.

kglinz posted 09-15-2004 06:39 PM ET (US)     Profile for kglinz  Send Email to kglinz     

The bearing may not be "Unproven" technology, but as I understand from another post by "crabby", he is running the lean oil setting with XD-100 oil and followed the "breakin instructions" saying "no breakin is required".

crabby posted 09-15-2004 07:45 PM ET (US)     Profile for crabby  Send Email to crabby     

Good point on the break-in/oil mix. Maybe I will ask them to hold off on the lean oil settings till I make it to a twenty hour check next time around.

I suppose there is just no way for us "users" to find out exactly what is going on with the various settings and how they change over the course of break-in to normal running to winterize, etc. unless someone in the loop chooses to give us a real look at what is happening in the computer. Maybe some insider can put together an article describing all the nuances of computerized outboarding?

Peter posted 09-15-2004 07:53 PM ET (US)     Profile for Peter  Send Email to Peter     
Seahorse, let's say the computer is reset to use XD-100 but someone was using XD-50 before that and still has some in the tank. How does a switch from XD-50 to XD-100 happen or otherwise take into account that the oil tank might not have the good stuff completely in it yet or in the oil hoses leading from the tank?

Crabby, your the first person I have heard of using XD-100.

LHG posted 09-15-2004 08:17 PM ET (US)     Profile for LHG    
Seahorse and Peter. Are you guys in the business of BRP products. Work at Dealerships, marketing reps, etc.?

I'm sure the OMC/BRP owners here appreciate your considerable inside knowledge of these new products. Sure is a mystery to me, with all this XD oil, setting computers, etc.!

seahorse posted 09-15-2004 09:47 PM ET (US)     Profile for seahorse  Send Email to seahorse     
The computer on the motor automatically adds additional oil during the first 5 hours of running above about 2000 rpm.

The motor is designed not to need a break-in to seat the rings due to the fine honing on the cylinders.

Crabby mentioned in his other post that the rod bearing did not show any heat discoloration, which would rule out a lubrication problem.

Re-setting the motor for XD-100 oil should be done with XD 100 in the tank. You can either empty the tank and add the XD-100 oil or add the XD-100 when the tank is almost empty, then use the motor before getting the computer recalibrated.

The owners manual says that if XD-100 wasn't available, then you can use TC-w3 for a short time, keeping the revs down.

Peter posted 09-15-2004 10:08 PM ET (US)     Profile for Peter  Send Email to Peter     
Sorry Larry, not in the business and contrary to your belief nothing I've said on this site concerning BRPs' products existing or new comes from inside knowledge. Anything I've said with respect to existing OMC or BRP products comes from personal experience or knowledge gleened from various external sources over the years. Anything I've said here with respect to possible future E-TEC product, such as the possibility of a V8 E-TEC, can be figured out quite easily if you take the time to know the history of the products well enough and use just a little common sense.

I happen to take an interest in knowing everything there is to know about what makes my current Evinrudes' tick, just like I did when I had a Yamaha EFI before that. I also happen to take an interest in what makes the E-TEC tick as well as what makes other brands, including Mercury's Verado, tick. I believe that knowing as much as I can about what makes these things tick, what their advantages and shortcomings are, will make me a better user and a better consumer the next time it comes to repower. What ever little tricks of the "trade" to make them run better that I learn along the way through that interest, I'm more than happy to share just like Clark and others do here.

By the way, my interest and following of the technology also helps me quickly weed out the BS such as like we saw last spring with respect to the 65 MPH 320 Outrage Verado 250 speed claims. Remember that one, it was only about 18 MPH off the mark. See

It's been a well publicized world-wide fact for some time that the E-TEC can be programmed to run on 100 percent synthetic 2-stroke oil which is called XD-100. It is a well publicized world-wide fact that when so programmed, it uses oil at a rate which is approximately 1/2 the rate when programmed to use XD-50. It's a well publicized fact that XD-50 is a blend of synthetic and fossil oil and that this oil used to be called "Ficht Ram Oil." All of this is only a mystery to you because you do not take an interest in the product or what is capable of doing. But that's OK.

Thanks for the practical tip Seahorse. Glad you participate here.

jimh posted 09-15-2004 10:46 PM ET (US)     Profile for jimh  Send Email to jimh     
I rather like the naming convention that OMC uses with their oil. The three grades are:


You can get a sense of the oil ratio mixture, or grade, or price, from the numerical values. This makes it easier to sort out instead of qualifiers like "premium", "super", "deluxe", "performance", "high-performance", "plus", "extra", or combinations of those.

Information about the XD-100 oil and re-programming was mentioned by a new owner (ratherwhalering) in February in this article:

jimh posted 09-16-2004 02:15 PM ET (US)     Profile for jimh  Send Email to jimh     
[Administrative post]
crabby posted 09-16-2004 08:25 PM ET (US)     Profile for crabby  Send Email to crabby     
Just for everyone's info:

I spoke to my mechanic/dealer today and mentioned the possibility that we switched over to XD100 too soon in the break in process. He said he's done it many times before right from the git-go w/o any issues (mine has been the only problem motor he has seen so far after about 125 sales (his estimate)). He also told me that the original oil in the tank is XD100 but it is an untinted version; the stuff sold over the counter is a brownish tint. As the oil delivery lines are blue tinted it gives a false impression that the original oil may be something else.

crabby on LI

jimh posted 09-16-2004 09:16 PM ET (US)     Profile for jimh  Send Email to jimh     
Paul--you have mentioned another interesting feature on the E-TEC engines. Under the cowling they use a translucent blue hose for the oiling lines, and thus you can see if there is any oil in them!
Peter posted 09-16-2004 09:42 PM ET (US)     Profile for Peter  Send Email to Peter     
But note Seahorse's remark concerning no heat discoloration. If poor lubrication was the cause of the failure, you would most likely have seen heat discoloration. It doesn't look like poor lubrication was the cause here.

Jim, there numerous interesting features (at least to me) on the E-TEC. See the following BRP literature on the V6 which I just found today on another site: . You might find the few paragraphs on easy rigging capability and the CAN bus connectivity (whatever that is) interesting.

jimh posted 09-17-2004 08:54 AM ET (US)     Profile for jimh  Send Email to jimh     

A simple two-wire differential serial bus system, the CAN.bus operates in noisy electrical environments with a high level of data integrity, and its open architecture and user-definable transmission medium make it extremely flexible. Capable of high-speed (1 Mbits/s) data transmission over short distances (40 m) and low-speed (5 kbits/s) transmissions at lengths of up to 10,000 m, the multi-master CAN.bus is highly fault tolerant, with powerful error detection and handling designed in.

Developed by Bosch in Germany, CAN was originally designed specifically for the automotive market, which remains its primary application area today. CAN is also ideal as a general industrial bus.


Peter posted 09-17-2004 09:40 AM ET (US)     Profile for Peter  Send Email to Peter     
Sounds like they've provided a robust communication means for the EMM to talk while underway. I assume that this would be something useful to help the factory and local gurus assist with diagnosis of what might be ailing in a particular E-TEC by allowing them to tap into the data stream processed by the EMM while the engine is running in a real time, real condition environment without having to pull the engine cover off. Can't imagine why it might otherwise be useful to the consumer except for, perhaps, providing a way to get some useful data to the user such as fuel flow or oil pressure info to a gauge.
ratherwhalering posted 09-17-2004 11:16 AM ET (US)     Profile for ratherwhalering  Send Email to ratherwhalering     
I had my 2004 90DSLSR E-TEC converted to XD100 oil from day one. I was also told that the original oil in the tank was XD100, so that sounds right. I have not had any problems with the engine, and updated the EMM software a few months ago. Nothing but good things to report. In fact, I was recently quite pleased with the performance at 6000 feet. The E-TEC ran like a champ, while my buddies 115 Yamaha 4-stroke kind of bogged down. According to the Owners manual, the E-TEC automatically compensates for altitude.
Anyway, I'm sorry to hear about your misfortune with this engine, and I hope everything works out. I'll be keeping a close eye on this thread, so please keep us up to date on any new information you recieve.


Hoosier posted 09-17-2004 03:07 PM ET (US)     Profile for Hoosier  Send Email to Hoosier     
How does it know what altitude it's at? Does it have a built-in barometer? Is ambient air pressure one of the factors the EMM watches?
Peter posted 09-17-2004 03:57 PM ET (US)     Profile for Peter  Send Email to Peter     
Yes there is an ambient pressure sensor. The FICHT/DI technology also uses an ambient pressure sensor as one of the inputs for determining how much fuel to inject.
LHG posted 09-17-2004 03:58 PM ET (US)     Profile for LHG    
I don't know about the BRP's computer, but Mercury's EFI and DFI systems monitor all conditions in which the engine is operating, (alt, temp, humidity, RPM, throttle setting, etc) and meter out the fuel and oil accordingly. This is why an EFI system is so much better than simple carbs.
Peter posted 09-17-2004 04:13 PM ET (US)     Profile for Peter  Send Email to Peter     
Carb do a pretty darn good job if you do your boating in the same altitude all the time. If your boating territory ranges from sea level to the mountains, then I agree an EFI or DFI system is better.
jimh posted 09-17-2004 08:39 PM ET (US)     Profile for jimh  Send Email to jimh     
I notice that in their FAQ, Mercury mentions how variation in atmospheric conditions will affect boat performance, so it seems that they are saying these variable are not compensated for. See:


Richard Quinlivan posted 09-17-2004 10:29 PM ET (US)     Profile for Richard Quinlivan  Send Email to Richard Quinlivan     
Fuel injected engines with electronic controls can adjust the mixture for altitude effects automatically. Carburated engines require that the jets be changed to leaner jets as the altitude goes up. Neither can make up for the loss of air density as altitude increses. The only engines that automatically adjust for altitude effects are supercharged or turbocharged engines. superchargers and turbochargers were widely used on piston engined aircraft that needed to operate well at high altitude. The only outboard engine that fits is the new Verado. Such an engine should be able to deliver rated horsepower at waterways at the higher altitudes.
Peter posted 09-17-2004 11:48 PM ET (US)     Profile for Peter  Send Email to Peter     
So who's going to be the first to haul a Verado up to Mt. Everest? ;)
LHG posted 09-20-2004 02:20 PM ET (US)     Profile for LHG    
Listen, guys. I have run carburated Mercury outboards and various carburated autos for some time, and also EFI Mercury outboards and various EFI autos.

Anybody who tells you a carburated outboard or auto engine, 2 or 4-stroke, is a superior, and more a desireable engine than an EFI simply doesn't know what they are talking about.
The only reason to buy a carburated anything today is to save money on an obsolete technology. For 2006, my Mercury Dealer has told me ALL Mercury engines over 30 HP will be EFI. Carbs are gone.

I currently have 5 Mercury outboards, all in excellent condition. The carburated engines require a lot more routine service, don't run as well, use more fuel, and are noiser. The EFI engines are far superior, quieter, more fuel efficient and totally trouble free.

JimH, with Mercury's (at least) EFI/DFI systems, variations in atmospheric conditions ARE accomodated for. That's why the EFI's always run so much better. I think they are simply saying that atmospheric conditions DO affect HP output of any internal combustion engine, sometimes as much as 15% (extreme high humiditiy). EFI can't overcome that HP combustion loss, but do make the engine perform smoother and to it's maximum capability

ratherwhalering posted 09-20-2004 05:05 PM ET (US)     Profile for ratherwhalering  Send Email to ratherwhalering     
Larry, you are right on the money, according to my owners manual, which states:
"Your outboard's EMM will automatically compensate for changes in altitude. However, if you boat above 3000 ft. (900m), you will experience a slight loss of power due to reduced air density."
Peter posted 09-20-2004 06:12 PM ET (US)     Profile for Peter  Send Email to Peter     
Carbureted outboards requiring more routine service than EFI outboards must be something peculiar to the Mercury brand. I've owned both types (although not of the Mercury brand) for long enough periods and my experience is that they are about the same in terms of requiring routine service (almost none). If anything, I tend to think that the more complex EFI system is at a greater risk of needing routine service than a carbureted system. On a pure bang for the buck analysis, for most purposes the simple carburetor is pretty hard to beat.

In addition to monitoring barometric pressure and ambient temperature, if the E-TEC is configured like my Fichts, it also measures exhaust pressure in the exhaust manifold. I believe that is unique to Evinrude's DI systems.

seahorse posted 09-20-2004 06:44 PM ET (US)     Profile for seahorse  Send Email to seahorse     

The E-TEC does not have an exhaust pressure sensor like the 2000 and later FICHTS do.

Both types of motors do have a barometric sensor that can adjust for up to 14,000' altitude according to a report I read a while back.

Peter posted 09-20-2004 07:45 PM ET (US)     Profile for Peter  Send Email to Peter     
Thanks Seahorse. That is also interesting. Was the exhaust pressure sensor part of what made it the "Ficht RAM" fuel injection as opposed to just the Ficht fuel injection?
seahorse posted 09-21-2004 12:45 AM ET (US)     Profile for seahorse  Send Email to seahorse     
The exhaust pressure sender was just one of the improvements included in the re-engineered FICHT Ram motors of 2000 and later. These improvements took care of the 1998-99 150 and 175hp problems that plagued OMC and made the new models run better and more efficiently.
jimh posted 12-10-2005 01:52 PM ET (US)     Profile for jimh  Send Email to jimh     
[Thread closed.]

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