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Author Topic:   170 advice please
ConnorEl posted 04-23-2003 12:04 PM ET (US)   Profile for ConnorEl   Send Email to ConnorEl  
I am considering purchasing a new Montauk 170 and would appreciate input from this list/forum. I have several questions.

1. It seems that quite a few people on this list prefer the upgrade to the 4-stroke engine. I would prefer to save the money upfront and go with the standard 2 stroke. Am I risking anything by not doing the upgrade? In 5 years will there me no market for 2 stroke engines if I want to sell the boat?

2. Can anyone tell me how tall the standard canvass top is? I am 6 feet 4 Ĺ inches tall. Will I be able to stand up under the top? Is there a taller top available?

3. It seems to me that this is a pretty good all around lake/inshore/possibly offshore (in good conditions) boat. I have two boys 3 and 5 and am looking for something for fishing/water sports. Does anyone have any other suggestions? I started out looking at aluminum boats and have worked my way up to this boat.

4. Does anyone know anything about plastic boats? There is a company (Triumph, used to be Logic) near my home that makes plastic boats that are supposed to be superior to fiberglass. Is this really the coming thing?

Thanks for any help you can offer.

Bigshot posted 04-23-2003 12:13 PM ET (US)     Profile for Bigshot  Send Email to Bigshot     
Not too big on the triumph boats personally. They seem to be built nice but repairs I hear are difficult. I would get the 4s over the 2s but if money is an issue, nothing wrong with 2 strokes. If you are worried about resale buy a niced used Whaler. I have a sweet 17' in FL, if interested e-mail me.
tabasco posted 04-23-2003 03:57 PM ET (US)     Profile for tabasco  Send Email to tabasco     
My friend is 6'3" and fits under my factory bimini on my Montauk 170
James posted 04-23-2003 08:33 PM ET (US)     Profile for James  Send Email to James     

1. I have been on the 2-stroke and bought the four stroke. The four stroke will be noticeably quiter and smoke free. It is more econmical to run a four stroke and you do not have to worry about the oil mix. One less thing to bring on a boat challenged for space. Your pocket though.

2. My son is a full 6 foot six inches tall. That is partly why I went with the Mills (Tall and Wide) canvas. It is a couple of inches taller than the BW. Anyways, his height is not a concern. Please do note that the Whaler top has a flap for passing the Anchor light through the top of the Bimini. My early 170 Mills cover fits over the light.

3. I have not seen too many good comments on the Logic/Triumph boats. My personnal experience is reduced to walking on them in boat shows. There were a lot of soft spots on hull.


osillator posted 04-23-2003 09:21 PM ET (US)     Profile for osillator  Send Email to osillator     
Go with the 170. A great boat for inland waters as only needs 9 inches of water.

This boat handles rough water well for some offshore use. This was the huge improvement in this boat in the new 2002 design, a sharper bow with better ride.

Plenty of space inside,comfortable.

I have had mine 9 months.

jimh posted 04-23-2003 10:27 PM ET (US)     Profile for jimh  Send Email to jimh     
There are probably over 100 articles that discuss the 2-stroke and 4-stroke engine debate.

The short answer is that 4-strokes are more expensive, heavier, more complex, require more maintenance, and accelerate more slowly and often have slower top speed. They do run quieter at idle and low throttle settings than most 2-strokes, but are about the same at wide open throttle. Their fuel economy is better, but it should be measured against the higher operating costs required because of periodic maintenance, like having the oil changed every 50-100 hours of use. There is a complex valve train that will require periodic adjustment, too. Any fuel savings should be measured against the higher initial costs. Include the "opportunity cost" of having several thousand dollars tied up in the engine waiting to be paid back by savings on fuel.

They also meet the emission requirements for retail sale to the public that will be imposed soon. (That is their fundamental goal--meet emissions.)

The total environment impact of the 4-stroke should also be considered, including disposal of the used sump oil.

In the case of the Mercury 4-stoke, I believe they source this power head from Yamaha. There is no telling if Mercury will continue to offer this particular engine once they have developed their own 4-stroke or low emission 2-stroke technology in this horsepower range, so it could become an orphan engine.

The 2-stroke offers a lower price, less weight, a simpler engine, lower scheduled maintenance, faster acceleration and higher top speed. At low speeds they may emit visible smoke, and they produce greater noise output. Their fuel economy is worse than 4-strokes but this offset by significantly lower initial costs and schedule maintenance costs.

In the case of the 90-HP Mercury the induction system is just a plain old carburetor on either engine, so there is not likely to be a huge difference in the cold starting performance. More sophisticated computer-controlled fuel injection systems are available on other 2-stroke and 4-stroke engines, but in this particular situation, you are stuck with 100-year-old carburetor technology on both.

On the other hand, carburetor technology has been under development for a 100 years and most of the bugs have been worked out.

It is hard to predict what the market will be for a used 2-stroke engine in five years with respect to the emission requirements. One should also consider that there is no guarantee that the emission requirements will remain as they are now. The current 4-stroke engines may not be able to meet them either, so their resale may also be affected.

After five years of use the boat will still retain much of its original value while the engines will suffer much more decline. A five year old engine may only retain about 50-percent of its initial value (just a guess). Thus the influence of the engine on the value of the boat/motor/trailer package declines with each year, and you may not want to base your decision on this factor as it grows less significant with age.

ConnorEl posted 04-24-2003 07:24 AM ET (US)     Profile for ConnorEl  Send Email to ConnorEl     
Thanks all around for the helpful advice. It is a wonderful thing to be able to ask some experienced BW owners questions and get knowledgeable replies.

Bigshot, thanks for the offer. Iíll think about it.

James, did you install the Mills top yourself or have your dealer put it on. Would it be very difficult to do yourself? Also, does it fold down towards the bow or stern?

Thanks to all who weighed in on the 2 vs. 4 stroke issue. Especially thanks to jimh for your reasoned and more detailed answer. It seems like, to me, that it boils down to is the quietness of the 4 stroke worth 2K? It wouldnít seem so to me. All the other seeming advantages of the 4 stroke seem open to reasonable debate.

A (maybe dumb) question I have is this. Has BW always been committed to Mercury outboards and will this continue as far as you know?

Many thanks again to all for your kindness to this newcomer.


tabasco posted 04-24-2003 07:32 AM ET (US)     Profile for tabasco  Send Email to tabasco     
Here is my suggestion.........go to your dealer and take a ride in a 2 stroke and also one in a 4 stroke...........then make up your mind
stlawrence posted 04-24-2003 08:20 AM ET (US)     Profile for stlawrence  Send Email to stlawrence     
I wonder about the Wide Open Throttle factor in considering a four-stroke boat engine. Autos spend considerably less time at WOT than boats do, and two-stroke engines have been designed to survive the stresses of long periods at wide open. What will the long-term effect of running WOT on a four-stroke be?
fno posted 04-24-2003 09:14 AM ET (US)     Profile for fno  Send Email to fno     
I've got a 90 four stroke and a 20 HP 2 stroke. Bearing in mind that your tank will be removable;maybe unless it is a 27 gallon, a few other points to consider. Filling up: go to a gas station, fill the tank drive away and fish. 2 stroke: calculate what's left in the tank, buy expensive 2 stroke oil@ marina/dealer, add oil(spill some on deck)buy gas(at marina-bend over)Jim makes a strong argument for 2 bangers, but I like not having to deal with all the monkey business that comes with a two stroke motor. I've had my 90 four stoke now for 3 yrs and use it year round. Oil twice a year(30 mins.), check plugs (30 mins), change water pump impeller once ( 1 hour) grease steering/tilt( 10 mins) As you can see, all but the oil changes apply to both types of motors, so increased maintenance costs just aren't there. Not to mention, that nobody, and I mean nobody has ever bitched at me for starting my engine at 5:30 a.m. or for smoking out the boat ramp on a Sunday afternoon. And believe me, the taste of a cold beer on a hot afternoon is far more pleasant without the aftertaste of 2 stroke smoke in your lungs. Do as suggested: try both motors out, talk to others who have onwned both types, then make your choice.
jimh posted 04-24-2003 09:20 AM ET (US)     Profile for jimh  Send Email to jimh     
Regarding the packaging of Mercury outboard motors with Boston Whaler boats: this is a very recent change in the marketing of the Boston Whaler company. The parent of Boston Whaler is Brunswick, and they own Mercury, too.

From 1958 until c.2000, a Boston Whaler could be purchased without an engine. The owner or the dealer rigged and installed the engine of choice. This option is gradualy disappearing from the entire marine industry.

Boat builders are increasingly owned by engine makers. The builders typically sell boat and motor packages.

Most independant boat builders generally enter into co-marketing agreements which bind them to a specific engine maker's product.

This process is referred to by the engine makers as "buying transoms." It guarantees the sale of many outboards, stabilizing the market share for the engine makers.

For people who have a preternatural fear of products made in our own country by our fellow citizens, this may reduce the attraction of new Boston Whalers.

The advantage of buying a pre-rigged boat and motor package is mainly the cost savings, which one hopes are passed on to the buyer. Also, the engine rigging is probably done better (and more consistently) by the factory than most dealers could do. The manufacturer has also tested and selected the best propeller for the boat, relieving you of the burden of sea trials to select the appropriate propeller.

jimh posted 04-24-2003 09:38 AM ET (US)     Profile for jimh  Send Email to jimh     
Another comment on 4-strokes:

Dick Fisher, the founder of Boston Whaler, tried to sell 4-stroke engines back in the 1970's. Fisher was a marketing genius so you would think he could make a dent in the outboard market, at least the market for engines on the transoms of his own boats.

This effort failed and he ceased production of his 4-stroke engine after a few years. If you look at the situation, one likely explanation is that he did not have an active partner (the Federal Government) helping him by creating an arbitrary emission standard that the current 2-stroke engines could never meet. When you take that out of the equation, the forumula for 2-stroke versus 4-stroke becomes quite different.

You might want to read about Fisher's 4-stroke engine and some of the promotional material he used to sell it. He never mentions anything except lower fuel consumption at idle speeds as an advantage.

Fisher's engine did not have huge weight problems like the current models, either.

He never claims much about quieter operation. He doesn't claim his engine is smoother, runs better, etc.

He just promotes reduced fuel economy and the ability to troll at idle for long periods without fouling the plugs. He also compares costs based on not needing a kicker engine.

Without the spectre of the government regulated death of the 2-stroke engine hanging over the buyers, the marketplace went with two-strokes.

See the Reference section for the article:

InHerNet posted 04-24-2003 08:58 PM ET (US)     Profile for InHerNet  Send Email to InHerNet     
The 2-stroke is oil injected and the only filling is the oil reservoir. Takes a little to warm up on a cold start although starts quick when warm. Smokes when cold and not very noticeable after running. As far as the noise of a 90 HP 2-stroke vs. the 4-stroke they are very close when running. I personally donít find the 2-stroke that loud when idling.
I checked out the differences between both the 2-stroke and the 4-stroke prior to purchasing. If the price was considerably less and the top end speed was higher then the 4-stroke would have been my choice. Due to the small amounts of fuel used on the 90 HP the fuel economy was not the issue, perhaps a larger motor the fuel would become more of the equation. So justifying the extra 2k for the 4-stroke was out of the question for me. I was looking for a quick hole-shot, top speed and less weight on the transom. So it burns 1.59 or more so to speak in 12 hours, it would take me a long time to get my money back and I donít think I would be happy with the power loss.
JimH is on the money with this one.
James posted 04-24-2003 09:36 PM ET (US)     Profile for James  Send Email to James     

The dealer installed the Mills Bimini as part of the sale package. It folds down and slides fully forward. If you have the time, you can probably install it yourself.

Regarding the 2 vs 4-stroke. To each his own. I did not enjoy the swallowing the visible gasoline emissions when the wind changed nor the significantly higher engine noise of the 2-stroke. Neither did my family of landlubbers. We like the 4-stroke just fine and would not switch back.
Local dealers tell me that a common 4-stroke repair is new starters for people who do not realize that the engine is already on.


fno posted 04-24-2003 10:32 PM ET (US)     Profile for fno  Send Email to fno     
And when the oil injection decides to crap the bed you get to buy a new powerhead. I'll take the occasional oil change and valve adjustment.
fno posted 04-24-2003 10:43 PM ET (US)     Profile for fno  Send Email to fno     
Don, an addition to my previous post: I agree with you on the hole shot/ performance aspect. For a seasoned boat owner who has mixed his own or tinkered with two strokes for years it's a no brainer. For a new boat onwer 4 stroke can get them on the water and keep them there a lot quicker and with a much easier learning curve. I admit I have to agree with many of Jimh's points, but he comes across as a real stick in the mud when it comes to anything but a 2 stroke motor with carburators on it. Every time I hear this "back in the old days" stuff, I think of my dad on the dock with a can of starter fluid and a spark plug wrench and me and my brothers holding our poles wondering what to do the rest of the day. Sound familiar anyone?
Beaner posted 04-25-2003 08:56 AM ET (US)     Profile for Beaner  Send Email to Beaner     

I went with the 2 stroke on my 170 over the 4 stroke because of the difference in weight and the size of the motor. From what I remember, the weight difference was close to 80 pounds. I just wanted less weight in the stern since I weigh 230. Regarding the Mills Bimini, it stands about six foot eight inches from the floor. I had the dealer install mine and after looking at the instructions (pretty weak if your not a boat mechanic) I'm glad I made that choice. The Logic boats are not anywhere close to the quality of the Whaler. Once you take the 170 for a ride, you will be sold!!
LabRtvr posted 04-25-2003 07:26 PM ET (US)     Profile for LabRtvr    
I also went with the 90 2s on my M170 primarily because I didn't think a carborated 4s was worth an extra $2300. With almost 20 hours the 2s hasn't disappointed me but --My hope is Suzuki will put the same technology in their 90 as they did in their 140 to bring the weight down to the montauk standards then I will trade up.
Jimm posted 04-25-2003 09:24 PM ET (US)     Profile for Jimm    
I went with the 2 stroke for the money and weight - no remorse. I installed the Mills bimini myself. It was fairly easy except for one point that wasn't well written. Fairly easy if you're handy with tools. If you do it yourself give me a shout and I'll list some "hints"....Jim
Jimm posted 04-25-2003 09:27 PM ET (US)     Profile for Jimm    
PS:C'mon Conner at least list a state - no one will telemarket or spam ya.
jimh posted 04-25-2003 10:12 PM ET (US)     Profile for jimh  Send Email to jimh     
I hope I don't come across as a "stick in the mud" fan of classic 2-strokes.

As soon as the cost and the weight of the 4-stroke engines begins to lower, they will become more attractive. The Suzuki mid-range 4-strokes appear to be well engineered engines with moderate weight, fuel injection, and some advanced engine tuning like water cooled intake manifolds. But on a deal for a new 170-MONTAUK they are not in the picture.

I should also mention that the 4-stroke will have smoother performance at low speeds. Running a 2-stroke engine at low throttle settings has always been a problem. Typically the speed of a 2-stroke at low throttle has been controlled through spark advance (or lack of it), leaving the throttle open.

If you look at the throttle mechanism of a classic 2-stroke you'll see that the carburetors don't start to open up for quite a bit of the throttle movement. What is changing is just the spark advance.

Once the engine starts running faster, with the proper spark advance, the carburetor throttle plates begin to open.

This wastes fuel, and the engine still runs rough in this range. A 4-stroke engine runs smoother in this range and uses less fuel.

ConnorEl posted 04-27-2003 09:13 PM ET (US)     Profile for ConnorEl  Send Email to ConnorEl     
Thanks again everyone for sharing your opinions and experiences. You are most kind to respond.

Jimm, Iím in North Carolina. Nearby lakes are Jordan, Sharon Harris, and Tillery. We go to Beaufort on the cost most frequently but a few times a year we get to Wrightsville Beach. I have looked at BW boats at Morehead Marine and Crocker Marine (both owned by same group I think).

Last week I also looked at a fairly interesting brand new boat. Itís a 19-foot NauticStar bay boat. I saw it at Chatlee marine in Sanford. It appears to be finished really well and of high quality and comes with lots of standard equipment but I donít think it would do so well in the ocean as inshore. Also itís a brand new boat and I wonder about bugs to yet be discovered.

I think Iím pretty well smitten by the 170 and will probably take a test ride in the next few weeks.

It would probably be best for me to have the dealer put on the Mills top.

I'm still not sure about the 2 vs. 4 stroke. Maybe Iíll see if I can try them both as Tabasco suggests.

Thanks again.

jimh posted 04-27-2003 09:31 PM ET (US)     Profile for jimh  Send Email to jimh     
On the $2,300 price difference between the 2-stroke and 4-stroke engines, you have to account for the upgrade to a stainless steel peformance propeller on the 4-stroke. That is worth about $300 more than the other propeller.

I think one reason Boston Whaler includes the expensive propeller is to get the performance more in line with the 2-stroke. It would be fun to see what that engine does with a SS propeller on it instead of the stock Black Max aluminum wheel.

osillator posted 04-27-2003 10:29 PM ET (US)     Profile for osillator  Send Email to osillator     

I am in NC also and do a lot of boating at Wrightsville Beach in the summer; my home town.

I bougut my 170 from Kay Crocker at Wrightsville. Great people!

I have really enjoyed my 90 2stroke. You really should test drive both and that is the only eay you can judge the noise levels.

I have always been around and owned 2 st engines and I knew that is what I wanted. I must tell you I was impressed with how much quieter this new Merc 2stroke was compared to older engines. And many older engines did give you a dose of smoke at times but this new engine has really not bothered me in that way. I seldom even smell it.

I want a 4 stroke later when they are truly perfected an d dont have carbs on them.

As for the 170 just a stable dry and pretty smooth ride, thats all.

Whalerdan posted 04-30-2003 12:08 PM ET (US)     Profile for Whalerdan  Send Email to Whalerdan     
I don't like what I've reading about the 90 Mercury/Yamaha's making oil and the valve adjustments. I would like to have a 4s but the costs (maintenance and aquisiton) coupled with the lesser performance and extra weight, it just doesn't make sense. Unless you live in california, then you're stuck.
JohnJ80 posted 04-30-2003 09:49 PM ET (US)     Profile for JohnJ80  Send Email to JohnJ80     
When I bought my D15 3 years ago, I also looked at a new Triumph 15' boat.

I keep my D15 on a Jetdock out of the water. The whaler is great on it and it really takes care of the boat.

When I talked to Triumph, they said that that would not work since the boat has very significant and particular support requirements when not in the water. They felt that having it on a jet dock would damage the boat.

The hull material is so soft that it will bend and conform to pressure against the hull. If it is on the water, or a properly built trailer, it is supposed to be ok. However...

Seems to me that the boat should be more substantial than that. Makes me nervous is the hull is that mushy and flexible.


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