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Author Topic:   115 hp 4 stroke comparison: Merc vs Yamaha
Marsh posted 04-25-2005 06:02 PM ET (US)   Profile for Marsh   Send Email to Marsh  
I just returned from 7 straight days of fishing the marshes of southeast Louisiana. The first six were in my boat, a 2004 Montauk 170, which is powered by a 2005 Mercury 115 hp 4 stroke engine. The seventh day was spent in a friend's boat, a 2005 Xpress 22 foot all-welded aluminum center console, powered by a 2005 115 hp Yamaha 4 stroke. In my boat, I fished alone for 4 days, and with one other person for 2 days. In the 22 foot aluminum boat, we were a party of 4 fishermen. I do not know the weight of the aluminum boat, but it was 5 feet longer than my Montauk, and had a wider beam.

I was very surprised at the difference in the two engines:
The Yamaha was much smoother, MUCH quieter, and seemingly more powerful (although it it's admittedly difficult to judge the power levels in two different boats). Riding in front of the console of the aluminum boat, I could not hear any engine noise whatsoever. None. Compared to the Yamaha, my Merc sounds like a 2 stroke (or a diesel, LOL).

I was also surprised at the lack of any similarities whatsoever when comparing the Merc vs. the Yamaha, considering that Yamaha made the powerhead on the Merc. Different cowling, different trim/tilt design, more grease fittings on the steering tube, different pee-hole, among other things.

After this experience, I can definitely see why Yamaha has such a loyal following. I can understand why there would be a preference for Yamaha over Maercury, in instances where the buyer has a choice.

Respectfully submitted,

fairdeal2u posted 04-27-2005 04:07 PM ET (US)     Profile for fairdeal2u  Send Email to fairdeal2u     
the lower end on the yamaha for the 115 comes from their v6 150. another example of yamaha's overengineering philosophy.

there are many complaints about the noise coming out of the 90 4 stroke mercs...somewhere between the lower end and the driveshaft.

fourdfish posted 04-27-2005 04:21 PM ET (US)     Profile for fourdfish  Send Email to fourdfish     
It is really too bad you guys haven't heard the E-TEC up close!!
elaelap posted 04-27-2005 04:28 PM ET (US)     Profile for elaelap  Send Email to elaelap     
I'm partial to Yamaha four strokes, having owned a 50 hp 'High Thrust' which performed flawlessly for 350 hours on my Katama, and which has continued doing well for almost the same amount of time over the past year or so for the Katama's 'new' owner, CW member 17 Bodega. I now run a 2004 Yamaha 115 4/s EFI on my Outrage 18, and just passed 350 hours on IT without the slightest complaint or problem. I've never owned a Mercury four stroke, so I can't really make any comparisons, but I find Marsh's topic to be interesting for this reason: it again points up the frustration that many boaters feel when they are forced to buy only a certain brand of outboard motor when they purchase a certain motorcraft. I'm not pointing the finger at Brunswick/BW only; I've learned at this website that several other large corporate boatbuilders don't allow prospective purchasers choice in this regard. Whether Marsh's observations about and comparisons between Mercury and Yamaha outboards are correct or not, I can see why he and others would be especially frustrated at being forced into the purchase of a motor they did not care for.
This has got to affect sales...are you listening, Boston Whaler?


LHG posted 04-27-2005 05:23 PM ET (US)     Profile for LHG    
I'm sure they're listening, and not very happy, either. But then again, most here don't care if they are, with general hostility to Brunswick often popping up.

My guess it's the longer, larger, heavier boat that makes the difference? With a 115 on a 170, there is not going to be much sympathy from Whaler, I would think.

My experience with Yamaha running sound is exactly the opposite of Marsh's. I think they are noisy engines. My twin 200 Mercury EFI's are lot quieter running than the single Yamaha V-6's and 225 4-strokes that I have experienced, a lot more. And various Boating magazines have reported that the Mercury version of the 225 4-stroke is quieter than Yamaha's own version. So what gives here?
Just some arbitrary opinions, I guess, mine included.

elaelap posted 04-27-2005 05:46 PM ET (US)     Profile for elaelap  Send Email to elaelap     
The answer, Marsh and Larry, and the end to these tedious discussions? Choice. Let the truly free market decide. Good old American competition. You know...capitalism. C'mon, Brunswick and other boatbuilders...let the customer decide which motor he/she wants on his/her new boat--ain't it the American way?
Moe posted 04-27-2005 06:11 PM ET (US)     Profile for Moe  Send Email to Moe     
First, Tony, let me point out that Marsh repowered his 170 with a 115HP and could've gone the Yamaha route, with a bit more expense for swapping controls. So WRT this motor, Marsh HAD a choice.

Second, with no disrespect intended, Marsh, it appears to me from your postings here, that in your world, the grass always appears to be greener elsewhere. Among your other criticisms of the 170, we first heard about it, with only 90HP, being outrun by pontoon boats. Then after swapping to 115HP, you noted it was only keeping up with pontoons, and getting outrun (by what you assumed to be) 17' bass boats, rated for their 200HP motors.

Now it's that a Yamaha, when (not) heard from in FRONT of the console of a 22' boat, with the console and other people between the motor and the listener, is quieter than a Mercury when heard from BEHIND the console of an 17' boat.

You certainly have the right to your perspectives, and to post them here, but I wonder if I'm the only one who's noted the glass half-empty attitude in them. There are a whole lotta folks here happy as a clam with their 170/Mercury combo, probably because they aren't always looking for reasons not to like it.

Just my perspective...

fishinchips posted 04-27-2005 10:20 PM ET (US)     Profile for fishinchips  Send Email to fishinchips     
Merc suppose to have a better insulation on the cowling and a tighter fit than the yamaha 90/115 hp motors.


jimh posted 04-27-2005 10:37 PM ET (US)     Profile for jimh  Send Email to jimh     
I have worked for 27 years as a professional "sound man", recording, mixing, and listening closely to sound. Most humans cannot remember anything about a particular sound for more than a few seconds. If I play two sounds to you and ask you to compare them in any way, if more than ten seconds separate the two events it is literally impossible for you to make any reliable discrimination between them, unless, of course, there are gross difference in their intensity or frequency.

Most sound comparisons are done immediately, in rapid A-B testing.

I don't doubt that there was a difference in the perception of sound level heard in the two cases cited above, but it is difficult to place any real quantitative (or even qualitative) value on that report because much too long an interval separated the two events.

In addition, sound pressure level falls according to the inverse square law, so a doubling of the distance drops the sound pressure level four times.

Clark Roberts posted 04-28-2005 08:08 AM ET (US)     Profile for Clark Roberts  Send Email to Clark Roberts     
The transom design can affect engine noise as can the engine mounting. Bolts not tight enough for example can make a difference. A bimini top or T top can increase the noise considerably...
elaelap posted 04-28-2005 09:30 AM ET (US)     Profile for elaelap  Send Email to elaelap     
Moe makes a strong, logical point regarding my comments. Marsh DID have a choice, and while he is not pleased with his Mercury 115 4/s, I've seen many reports by CW members who like those motors very much.

I'd still like to see ALL major boatbuilders end their anti-choice attitudes toward outboard motor powering, but we've beat that old horse to death in other threads, and it's really inappropriate to this topic.


Marsh posted 04-29-2005 02:14 PM ET (US)     Profile for Marsh  Send Email to Marsh     
Upon some reflection, I suppose I do still have some buyer's remorse. But, there are some very complicated reasons behind that, which I won't go into. Nevertheless, the Whaler is a good boat, and I hope to enjoy it for many years to come. I like the 115 Merc just fine...didn't mean to imply otherwise. In my opinion, the 115 should have been standard instead of the 90. When I re-powered, I indeed could have gone with a Yamaha, or a Honda or Suzuki, or xyz for that matter. I chose Merc, and am happy with it. If doing over again today, I would pick the Merc again. I would think I still have the right to admire and appreciate good products of other competing brands, however.

My trip on the Yamaha-powered boat was my first opportunity to see a Yamaha perform. It had attributes that I admired and appreciated, and I just wanted to pass my impressions along to any who might be interested. If I offended anyone's deep-seated sensitivities of brand loyalty, that was not my intention.

In closing, I will say that I am flattered and humbled that you have the time and patience to not only recall each one of my posts, but to psycho-analyze them as well.

Respectfully submitted,

boater0069 posted 07-11-2007 05:38 AM ET (US)     Profile for boater0069  Send Email to boater0069     
i think the e-tec is the best motor out there the four strokes are heavy and use more gas and are a pain in the butt to me
lawnman posted 04-06-2009 09:07 AM ET (US)     Profile for lawnman  Send Email to lawnman     
Hi Guys,
I'm new to this. I am interseted in hearing from others who own the Mercury 2006 115hp outboard. I have a 5.6 half cabin, have been running a old 1979 johnson 100hp for 15 years and have an opportunity to replace it with the mercury. Any feedback?

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