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Author Topic:   170 MONTAUK: 60-HP Engine
peterE posted 09-28-2005 02:58 PM ET (US)   Profile for peterE   Send Email to peterE  
I recently looked at a new 2005 170 MONTAUK with a 60-HP Mercury Big Foot. I have searched the archives and read the various responses. I am looking for someone who owns this set up. The upgrade to a 90-HP is around $5,000 as this particular boat is on a clearance. The 90-HP is not an option for this particular deal. This boat would be used almost exclusivily in the bay and ocean of northern California, so speed is not a huge consideration. However I need to carry two to three people plus fishing or diving gear.

Thanks for the assistance

Bulldog posted 09-28-2005 03:10 PM ET (US)     Profile for Bulldog  Send Email to Bulldog     
You will want the 90 hp, although $5,000 sounds like a big increase for the upgrade. I had a 17' Newport with a 90HP it was fast and great, your 170 is a bigger boat, running in the ocean with 3-4 people and diving gear!...Jack
WT posted 09-28-2005 03:18 PM ET (US)     Profile for WT  Send Email to WT     
The price difference between 60 and 90 hp models for 2006 is $964.

For ocean use I wouldn't want a 60 hp motor on my Montauk, it would have to work too hard. You should also get a kicker motor as insurance.¤t=Warrenfullreso_edited.jpg


swist posted 09-28-2005 04:52 PM ET (US)     Profile for swist  Send Email to swist     
Having just bought a Montauk with a 90 4-stroke, why should I also buy a kicker? I never needed one on my other boats (Yamaha, Johnson, Tohatsu). Are you telling me the Merc 90 is unreliable?
bobeson posted 09-28-2005 06:39 PM ET (US)     Profile for bobeson  Send Email to bobeson     

I have a 2003 Montauk 170 with the 90hp four-stroke. I think the engine is adequate, but I wish I had a 115 EFI, or even a 90 EFI for that matter. I can't offer you the benefit of direct experience with a 60hp motor on this boat, but I would venture to say that you will likely find it to be underpowered. Forget top speed, you need the ability to get up on plane in a reasonable amount of time when loaded with passengers and gear, and the 60hp will probably feel very sluggish.

I had a kicker and hated it, partly because of the motor itself (single-cylinder gas-powered vibrator) and partly because of the setup. It was stolen off my boat shortly after I had it installed, and this came as somewhat of a relief to me. I currently have no intention of adding another kicker. Instead, I've been investing in the tools, gear and know-how to keep my existing systems in top condition. That and a full-service vessel assist membership, which I hope remains unused forever. If you do add a kicker, do not underestimate the importance of doing it right, which for this boat probably means more gear, expense, and hassle than you would reasonably expect.

And take any recommendations about gear purchases from WT with a grain of salt - I've seen his boat, and I suspect that he's never seen a piece of equipment that he didn't purchase and install on his boat ;-)

WT posted 09-28-2005 07:11 PM ET (US)     Profile for WT  Send Email to WT     
If your boat breaks down in a small lake or river, it may be an inconvenience. If you break down offshore, you may have major problems.

Most boaters that go 20+ miles offshore would agree that twins or a kicker is a great insurance policy.

Here's a picture of an outing in my Montauk 30 miles offshore for tuna.¤t=DSCN1596.jpg


Chuck Tribolet posted 09-28-2005 07:58 PM ET (US)     Profile for Chuck Tribolet  Send Email to Chuck Tribolet     
If peterE is diving in Northern California, he won't be
20 miles offshore unless he's going to the Farallones, and
that needs to be done in the company of another boat for
dive safety reasons (anchor one boat, other boat follows
bubbles for a quick pickup if navigationally impaired divers
come up off the anchor line).

My buddy Kawika has a 170 with a 90 HP 4-stroke, I've been
diving off it a number of times, and I don't think a 60 would
cut it with divers and gear.


peterE posted 09-28-2005 08:07 PM ET (US)     Profile for peterE  Send Email to peterE     
Thank you everyone for the input, it sounds like this particular boat is a deal because of the 60 hp motor, which won't be adequate for my needs, Chuck you're right I'm not diving at the farallones, strictly sonoma, mendocino coastal diving mostly abs with bay and coastal fishing.


high sierra posted 09-28-2005 08:48 PM ET (US)     Profile for high sierra  Send Email to high sierra     
PeterE, I have the 60 Yamaha FI on my 15.4 sport and it is adquate. I have the 115 FI four stroke on my 170 Montauk and it is more than adequate. The 60 is not enough power on a 170. High sierra
jimh posted 09-28-2005 09:00 PM ET (US)     Profile for jimh  Send Email to jimh     
When the 170 MONTAUK was introduced, I speculated in my article:

"The lower horsepower option of the 60-HP Mercury 4-stroke will appeal to fishermen. It may also be attractive to parents who wish to restrain their teenagers from excessive speeds when operating the family boat."

In the two and a half years since I wrote that, I still have not figured out any other explanation.

It would be curious to know what the product mix was like on this option. My feeling is that not too many boats are delivered with the 60-HP motor.

fishinchips posted 09-29-2005 08:41 AM ET (US)     Profile for fishinchips  Send Email to fishinchips     
I feel the 90hp is adequate for the 170. I cannot see going to a 60hp in a 4 stroke.

The 4 strokes has a tendency wait to get to power where as a 2 stroke is instant power.

Going with the 60hp, you will experience a big lag time getting up to plane if you have 3 people and gear on board.
If you do decide to get this, then get a fin for the motor. This will help you.

Kickers are great if you go offshore alot.
WT and myself often go way offshore to fish. You never know if the main motor dies even if you think the motor is in tip top condition.


WT posted 09-29-2005 04:06 PM ET (US)     Profile for WT  Send Email to WT     

Looks like you'll be launching out of Bodega Bay most of the time. Whatever Whaler you get, get the maximum horsepower on your transom. The seas around BB get rough. When and if you take a wave over your bow you will need the horsepower to get out of trouble.

Good luck,

swist posted 09-29-2005 04:29 PM ET (US)     Profile for swist  Send Email to swist     
"I have a 2003 Montauk 170 with the 90hp four-stroke. I think the engine is adequate, but I wish I had a 115 EFI, or even a 90 EFI for that matter"

While I understand why you might want a 90 EFI for all the reasons that EFI is superior to carbs, but why might you want it for performance reasons? Isn't 90HP = 90HP?

bobeson posted 09-30-2005 12:37 AM ET (US)     Profile for bobeson  Send Email to bobeson     

I yearn for an EFI motor instead of a normally aspirated motor because I dislike carbs. I suspect the 90hp EFI might have a smoother and possibly wider powerband, but I wouldn't expect the peak power to be notably higher. After already doing one round of carb rebuild because I let gas sit in the unused carbs too long, I also suspect I'd run into this issue much less often over time.
I use my boat year-round, but with unpredictable frequency. I should probably get in the habit of adding Stabil at every fueling, but I'm usually tempted to skip it because I intend to take the boat out the next weekend too. Haha, silly me.

Properly tuning carbs is also a sometimes subtle art not easily acquired, and I would prefer the simplicity of having a computer optimize the performance. It seems like every time I seek to expand my knowledge of carb tuning sooner or later I'm told some version of "you're probably best off letting a pro handle that part."

fishinchips posted 09-30-2005 11:53 AM ET (US)     Profile for fishinchips  Send Email to fishinchips     
I fish year round also, but use Merc quickleen everytime I add gas.

Ever since I have been doing this, i had no more problems with the carb.


whalerdude posted 09-30-2005 12:11 PM ET (US)     Profile for whalerdude  Send Email to whalerdude     
I have the 90 EFI Merc on my new 2006 Montauk. I love the engine. It is so quiet and smooth. I think the power is a perfect match for my boat. With 4 on board in rough water it is nice to have power to control the boat over large swells.

At cruise, the wind hitting your ears is louder than the engine.

So far, the only problems I have had in 1 month is the cover on the throttle control falling off and a leak in my new Pate tank.

bigjohn1 posted 10-04-2005 08:24 AM ET (US)     Profile for bigjohn1  Send Email to bigjohn1     
That Quickleen is good stuff that has always kept my engines clean. I have heard it referred to as snake oil from time to time but couldn't disagree with that more.
Nemesis posted 10-19-2005 12:10 PM ET (US)     Profile for Nemesis  Send Email to Nemesis     
Hmm. I thought that the earlier Montauks were significantly lighter than the new models. I just purchased a 1988 Montauk with a new Yamaha 60HP 4 stroke. Now I'm beginning to wonder if this isn't enough....


fishinchips posted 10-19-2005 02:12 PM ET (US)     Profile for fishinchips  Send Email to fishinchips     
Your 1988 model montauk is lighter than the newer 2003+ models.

Requiring less hp to run and a max of 100hp.
Don't remember the lesser hp number however.


elaelap posted 10-19-2005 04:29 PM ET (US)     Profile for elaelap  Send Email to elaelap     
I had a 50 hp four stroke on my smirkless Katama and loved it, but that sweet old lady weighed substantially less than the later 'smirked' 16'7" Whalers like the classic Montauk, and way less than the Montauk 170. Go with the 90 four stroke and you'll do fine.

Kicker--yes for sure if you go offshore (and make sure it's operable; I didn't and recently it wouldn't start when I needed it). I was trained to have redundancy in one's offshore boat, whether sail or motor--two compasses, at least two anchors, two VHFs, two GPSs, extra lines, flares, flashlights, batteries, tools (in two different locations onboard), etc. Handheld back-ups for the VHF & GPS are relatively inexpensive and good basic ones can be obtained used, hand bearing compasses are great navigation tools, a small 'lunch hook' is easy to stow and provides at least some anchoring back-up, and a kicker might just save your life some day (if you make sure the damn thing is always working, Tony!).


jimh posted 10-19-2005 09:23 PM ET (US)     Profile for jimh  Send Email to jimh     
The topic of a 60-HP engine on the 170 MONTAUK keeps coming up. Often the attraction is the low price offered. I think the trouble dealers have in selling these rigs ought to be considered as evidence of the appeal of this set up. The 90-HP power makes more sense.
Moe posted 10-21-2005 10:54 AM ET (US)     Profile for Moe  Send Email to Moe     
I think one reason the 60HP keeps coming up is because of the 410 max engine weight spec, there are those who want to stay at or under that with a kicker, and the 389 lb spec weight of the 90HP Merc-aha four-stroke doesn't permit that. From what I read here, Chuck Bennett also tows the company line about 410 lbs being the limit when people call and ask.

Think about this. Every time Mercury releases a new Verado, the max motor weight specs of the Whalers they'll be used on magically jump up 100 lbs or more to accomodate them. The same is going to happen to the 170 Montauk. It'll be okay to put a 500 lb Verado on it then, but not a 389 lb 90HP Merc-aha and 83 lb Yamaha F8 on it now.


montaukman posted 10-21-2005 10:08 PM ET (US)     Profile for montaukman  Send Email to montaukman     
I have the 90 4 stroke on my 2005 170 and with 4 people, it does get on plane slower but it still get s on plane without too much trouble. That in itself en is a big enough selling point for me. Top end, as i discovered, is not as important to me as i intially thought it might be. I can still do in the mid to high 30's with a few on and a full load of gas and fishing gear.

If the cost is only an additional $1000, it is well worth the price in my opinion.

I do wish as well that the EFI was available when i was buying my 170 but other than the occasional initial rough running when sitting over two weeks upon start up, it has been a wonderful engine.....we'll see after a year or two of 100 hour seasons.

All the best,


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