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ContinuousWave: Whaler Performance
Production History: Outboard Motors, Four-Stroke
|Author||Topic: Production History: Outboard Motors, Four-Stroke|
posted 11-24-2007 12:35 PM ET (US)
I would like to conduct a bit of research and make use of the collective knowledge of all participants. My goal is to identify when certain levels of horsepower were first achieved in production outboard motors using four-stroke techniques, and by what manufacturer. I do not have a great memory or a great body of old literature to draw from, so I solicit help, via this discussion. Please reply with the manufacturer's name, the horsepower, and the first year of production or range of production years. Any comments are also welcome. In this way we can compile a listing, and I will organize it and present it when fairly complete.
I can begin with this contribution:
Homelite, 55-HP, c.1960 to c.1965 (based on Crosley automotive engine)
Fisher-Pierce, 55-HP, 1966 to 1972 (revised Homelite 55-HP engine)
Mercury, 200-HP, 2004, (Verado)
Also, if anyone feels there is an error in any data provided, please feel free to contribute a correction or revision. And the information does not necessarily have to be the first instance of that horsepower. We can sort out who was first with a particular motor horsepower after there is more data.
I encourage everyone to check their old literature and help out with this project.
posted 11-24-2007 01:05 PM ET (US)
I believe these were the first years for these models:
Yamaha, 225-HP, 2002
posted 11-24-2007 01:40 PM ET (US)
Honda GB30 air-cooled 3 HP 4 stroke 1964
Honda BF35/45 1990
Honda BF90 1995
Honda BF115/130 1998 (1st EFI)
posted 11-24-2007 01:46 PM ET (US)
Oh, I forgot the motor I have on the back of my Whaler
Honda BF135/150 released in 2003
Jim, sometimes Honda releases their motors in Japan a year before they are released in the US. The information I provided came from Honda Marine's website.
posted 11-24-2007 02:13 PM ET (US)
Perry--thanks for the information.
posted 11-24-2007 02:52 PM ET (US)
As far as I know, the first EFI four stroke was Suzuki DF70 engine. Introduced 1997.
posted 11-24-2007 05:03 PM ET (US)
The method of fuel induction is not important. Again, I am looking for
Manufacturer, Horsepower, Year Introduced, Notes
posted 11-24-2007 08:06 PM ET (US)
jimh - I know that accuracy is of the utmost importance to you, so please be advised that the variable valve timing system used by Honda is called "VTEC". There are no hyphens, and all letters are capitalized, as in the acronym you used above "V-tec", a format very similar to the Evinrude Outboard.
VTEC stands for Variable valve Timing with Electronic Control and first appeared in the late 80s in Japan, and with the release of the Acura NSX in 1989 here in the US.
posted 11-24-2007 08:20 PM ET (US)
Sonic--Thanks. Yes, I prefer that things like E-TEC or VTEC be spelled correctly. Thanks.
How about Yamaha and Suzuki four-strokes? Anyone have any historical information on their models?
posted 11-24-2007 08:32 PM ET (US)
Found this resource:
The DF70 came in 1998.
posted 11-24-2007 08:40 PM ET (US)
Also found this:
|Tom W Clark||
posted 11-24-2007 08:42 PM ET (US)
The DF70 came in 1998.
Is that the calendar year 1998? Or is that the 1998 "model year", which would suggest it was introduced in 1997?
posted 11-24-2007 09:08 PM ET (US)
The first DF 60 and 70s were model year 1998. Recall that 1998 model year was the first year for the EPA emissions regulation phase-in.
posted 11-25-2007 04:14 PM ET (US)
Model year is probably 1998, but it is for sure that Suzuki DF60/70 engines were introduced by press in 1997.
At this moment a have a european boat magazine called "Kippari" (from july 1997) in my hand were these engines were introduced and test run performed.
The same magazine also told about new Yamaha four stroke engines; F80/F100. New Yammies are to be released 1998. There were also article about new Honda BF115/BF130 engines too. First public appearence of Hondas is about to happen in Genova boat show October 1997.
posted 11-25-2007 04:25 PM ET (US)
Find also a website which says:
"The DF300 is the fourth Suzuki 4-stroke outboard engine to win an award of excellence since the DF70 was first honoured in 1997, evidence that Suzuki’s 4-stroke outboard technologies are highly esteemed in the industry."
Here is the link:
posted 11-26-2007 12:37 AM ET (US)
I am not trying to split hairs, although perhaps it will come to that before we're done. Mainly I am interesting in seeing the advancement in horsepower that occurred with four-stroke motors and when each new level or horsepower was introduced.
So far not much about Yamaha has been given. Any Yamaha history available?
posted 11-26-2007 07:41 AM ET (US)
Per your request regarding 4-stroke Yamahas:
Note that although Yamaha has done away with model year designations, these are the line-ups they had for each model year which begins in approximately July of the prior year, e.g., 2003 Model Year available approximately July 2002.
posted 11-26-2007 07:44 AM ET (US)
Note the development of the mid-range HP first, then the ends of the HP range.
Also, one mistake in the above, 2000 and 2001 also included a 115.
|Tom W Clark||
posted 11-26-2007 10:20 AM ET (US)
The Yamaha 9.9-HP High Thrust (the first high thrust model expressly designed for kicker use) four stroke was available at least as early as 1988
The Honda 7.5-HP four stroke was available as early as the 1975 model year.
posted 11-26-2007 08:02 PM ET (US)
[Contributed some information about outboards from 1950--we'll move this to its own thread at a later date--jimh.]
posted 11-27-2007 02:31 PM ET (US)
Slightly off-topic. [More great information about outboards from the 1950's. Again, we'll move this to its own thread.--jimh]
posted 11-27-2007 06:00 PM ET (US)
The history of the Bearcat engine is rather well documented in an article I wrote six and a half years ago and published here on CONTINUOUSWAVE.
I am more interested in the the past ten years, when four-stroke motors began to move out of the low-horsepower niche in which they had languished since 1970, some thirty years ago, and, thanks to regulatory pressure from the EPA and CARB, began to be developed into modern mid-range and high-horsepower outboard motors.
|L H G||
posted 11-30-2007 07:19 PM ET (US)
First Mercury 50 HP 4-stroke - 1994. There was also a 9.9HP 4-stroke at this time.
posted 12-01-2007 10:42 AM ET (US)
[More great information about outboards in the 1950--this will be moved to its own thread--jimh.]
posted 12-01-2007 11:42 AM ET (US)
On the specific topic of the Bearcat 55 and its antecedents, please append any information you have about that motor to the discussion which has been reserved for that purpose:
Again, this discussion is interested in information about recent four-stroke outboard motors, mainly in the modern era.
It would be good to have a bit of history on Mercury, particularly their many engines which involved co-production with Yamaha in the 40, 50, and 60-HP range.
posted 12-01-2007 07:39 PM ET (US)
Mercury's 4-stroke line-up over the years
1995: 9.9, 50
* Yamaha F225 painted black
The 2.5 thru 9.9, 25 and 30 all share the same powerheads as the Tohatsu 2.5 thru 9.8, 25 and 30. I believe these are joint venture products made in Japan or China. The specifications for the Mercury and Tohatsu 15s are not identical but are so close (1 mm of stroke different) that there would be no surprise to learn that both company's 15s come from the same plant.
posted 12-02-2007 02:15 AM ET (US)
After some more research I found:
Honda 7.5 HP 1973
posted 12-02-2007 11:11 PM ET (US)
Peter, I'm pretty sure there are more Mercaha's than just the
posted 12-03-2007 03:07 AM ET (US)
[Contributed some information about c.1960 obscure outboard.]
posted 12-03-2007 07:28 AM ET (US)
Chuck -- The 225 is simply a Yamaha painted black with a cowling modified by Mercury. The reason I called it out is for a couple of years there were two 225s offered.
The lower HP "Mercahas" or "YamaMercs" are joint venture products consisting of Yamaha built components married to Mercury built components or vice versa. I can never remember who made what components.
My Mercury table has a mistake. I failed to include 60 HP.
posted 12-03-2007 12:59 PM ET (US)
Suzuki came out with the 115 in 2000 I believe. The 140 came out a year later as a 2002 model. The 200-250 came in 2003 I think and the 300 in 2006.
|L H G||
posted 12-03-2007 02:17 PM ET (US)
Regarding Peter's charts, a few more comments"
1. I believe both Yamaha and Mercury had the 9.9's and 50's in 1994. These were the Joint Venture engines where Mercury produced the block and internals, and Yamaha the heads and valve train.
2. for 2006-2008 model years, Yamaha lost the 30 HP engine, since in the 30, 40, 50 & 60 line, the powerheads were coming from Mercury, and in 2006 model year, Mercury dropped the 30 EFI from this platform (now mfg in China), and adopted the smaller Joint Venture 25 and 30 EFI's with Tohatsu. Yamaha was left out in the cold on 30HP, with Tohatsu evidently not wanting one of their JV products to go to Japanese competitor Yamaha. Supposedly, Yamaha is working on filling the 25-30HP niche with an engine of it's own, and maybe the 40-60's also. The fact that the Merc and Yamaha 40-60's are identical powerheads, is still a secret neither Company wants to talk about. I think Mercury is making them for Yamaha (now in the new China plant) under some strict confidentialty agreement.
3. Mercury's 2008 line is the same as the 2007, with the addition of the 300 HP Verado. The 6 cylinder 200 Verado has been replaced with the new 4 cylinder model.
posted 12-03-2007 09:00 PM ET (US)
Re the co-developed four-stroke motors of Yamaha and Mercury in the 40 to 60-HP range--these are well documented in the public documents of the United States International Trade Commission (USITC) investigation into importation of outboard motors made in Japan. Those documents show that Mercury made the cast block used in those motors, and Yamaha made the cylinder head, valve train, and other components. There was never any testimony which reported that Yamaha was buying complete engines from Mercury. All the testimony indicated just the opposite, that Mercury was buying complete power heads--and in the case of the 225-HP--complete engines from Yamaha. As far as I can tell there is only one source of information that indicates that Yamaha buys complete engines from Mercury--it is in a few articles posted here on CONTINUOUSWAVE. I do not recall any other corroboration that Yamaha is buying its engines from Mercury, but I would be pleased to have pointers to where I could find it.
posted 12-03-2007 09:18 PM ET (US)
This notion that Yamaha buys engines from Mercury and re-badges them has been introduced before:
"I have never really seen any definitive information that indicated that Yamaha buys [40 to 60-HP four-stroke outboards] from Mercury. There was a great deal of testimony about these engines before the USITC, and their history and development was discussed in detail. There is no mention about any sale of these engines by Mercury to Yamaha. In fact, Yamaha states clearly that the only four-stroke engine in the Mercury line which is actually made entirely in North America was the 25-HP Mercury four-stroke engine. (Prior to the Verado introduction.)
--end of excerpt--
|L H G||
posted 12-04-2007 02:21 PM ET (US)
It would be nice if someone would tell us why, in July 2005 (beginning of 2006 model year), Yamaha dropped their 30 HP engine, and still, in 2008 model year, does not have a 30.
In 2007, Yamaha dropped the 25 HP 4-stroke, and still, in 2008, does not have a 25 HP engine. Yamaha has no 4-strokes between 20 and 40 HP.
Why such a hole in offerings for this important 25 & 30 HP range?
Because both the 25 and 30 powerheads, manufactured by Mercury, are no longer being made by MERCURY. Instead, Merc has the hot new, lightweight 25's and 30's coming out of their JV plant with Tohatsu.
Confidentiality agreements are a common thing. My theory is logic, and logic only. Look at engine specs and offerings in detail, and you will see.
As Fox news likes to say, "We report, you decide"
Also, the Yamaha-Mercury joint venture engines were only 9.9 and 50 HP, not a 40-60 HP range. That is simply incorrect. Look at Merc and Yamaha catalogs of the 90's.
In 2002 (or thereabouts), Mercury brought out this new line of mid-range engines, 30 & 40 3 cylinder, 40-60 4 cylinder, which Mercury advertized were 100% Mercury, made in Wisconsin, and had EFI and SMARTCRAFT, a giveaway that Yamaha was not involved. JUST coincidentally at the same time, Yamaha introduced new carbureted 30's, 40's, and 60's (not 50's which were still on the older Merc produced JV blocks - probably had some left over and needed to use them up first), with EXACTLY THE SAME NEW BLOCK SPECS, but without Merc's EFI system, which Mercury kept to itself because of Smartcraft. WHO MADE THOSE IDENTICAL BLOCKS IF NOT MERC? Wouldn't there be patent and design infringement if Yamaha JUST HAPPENED to come up with the identical engine? Readers can use your own logic, and decide accordingly. But that's what I think, and it coincides with what I have heard from Merc & Yamaha dealers, who service both.
Merc's older 25 HP 4-stroke, made in the US, acknowledged here on CW, and also being supplied to Yamaha, was dropped as the Tohatsu plant came online, so Yamaha lost it's 25 also.
Hence, as I have said, Yamaha has no 25 and 30 HP offerings currently, but the boat mags have reported on working on replacements.
Further, I think all of this makes sense for both Merc and Yamaha. Yamaha developed the 75-115's, and Merc did the 25-60's. Seems to have worked exceptionally well for both of them, and helped them stay in the game quite well with the automotive based engine guys, Honda and Suzuki, who were using their already designed car engines as an advantage. What's the big deal as to who made what for who? Now Mercury and Yamaha are at the top of the 4-stroke game, with the big 300 Verados and 350 V8's.
posted 12-04-2007 02:45 PM ET (US)
The smaller 60-70 Suzukis were converted car/samurai engines. The 90-300 are designed for the marine world and not in cars from what I have read. Hence why they have offset crankshaft to move the weight more forward, can't have that on a car. Not sure about the smaller ones but I doubt too many cars ran 10hp engines or the such.
posted 12-04-2007 04:49 PM ET (US)
Same goes for Honda 75-225 HP Outboards. They were designed as automotive engines but the 2, 5, 8, 9.9, 15, 20, 25, 30, 40 & 50 HP motors were designed as outboard motors. They started making these small HP 4 stroke outboards in the 60's and 70's and they probably make up a large portion of their gross outboard sales today.
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