PBC’s Marine Power Review for 2017

PBC’s Marine Power Review for 2017 Feb 10, 2017

In our annual marine power feature, Power Boating Canada shines the spotlight on the entire line from every marine engine manufacturer. We look at what’s new for the coming season, what engines got retired, and what tried-and-true workhorses are still in the lineup.  The focus is on helping you pick the engine – electric, gas or diesel, outboard or inboard – that’s right for you and your power or repowering needs.
By PBC Staff
Mercury Marine has the largest marine power offering of any company, from outboards to sterndrives to diesel to inboards.  Let’s look at each line individually.
Outboards.  The Mercury outboard lineup includes both four-stroke and two-stroke/direct-injection models. The four-stroke Verado line consists of four six-cylinder engines from 225hp to 350hp (including the new Verado 350 introduced last year – the lightest 350 on the market by 95 pounds); and two four-cylinder models from 175hp to 200hp.  The three Pro Four Stroke models, 200hp 250 and 300hp, all run on the same fuel as the Verado 300 (91 octane is recommended, but using 87 octane won’t compromise warranty coverage).  Mercury’s outboard joystick technology – a combination of the Axius system and the independent hydraulic steering for each Verado engine – is an option on new models of Verado 250 to 350hp models.
The two-stroke/direct injection OptiMax outboard line features ten different models.  The PRO XS line ranges from 115 to 250hp with eight different models to choose from with 1.5L, 2.5L and 3.0L powerheads. A new 115 Pro XS model was introduced in 2016 that features a 2.1L inline 4 cylinder engine and it’s lighter than the 115 Optimax it replaces. The 3.0L OptiMax powerheads’ two incarnations – 200hp and 250hp – complete the line.  The OptiMax engines have consistently lead the industry in power, fuel efficiency, reliability, and versatility tests.
The jet-powered lineup features four models of four-stoke outboards from 25 to 80hp; while the single inboard model available is a SportJet® drive based on the 200hp V6 Direct Fuel Injection (DFI) OptiMax engine.
The Mercury SeaPro line of commercial outboards features four models: 60, 75, 90, 115 and 150hp.  The SeaPro engines feature Mercury’s proprietary formula XK360 an extremely low copper content aluminum alloy, which leads the industry in corrosion resistance, the larger Command Thrust gear case, and twice as stiff upper engine mounts compared to the recreational model engines.
            Completing Mercury’s four-stroke outboard line are an additional twenty-five engines from 2.5hp to 150hp.  The 2.5 to 6hp portable models feature integrated fuel tanks for true portability.
Sterndrives.  The MerCruiser sterndrive line offers total of five configurable engines to choose from: the tried and true inline four cylinder 3.0L and V6 4.3L engines are both still available next season; the new-in-2015 4.5L, the new-in-2016 6.2L small block V8 engines, and three versions of the 8.2L V8 big block.  (The 5.0L and 5.7L V8 engines are no longer available – replaced by the new 6.2L.) When the 4.5L V6 was introduced as the world’s first purpose-built marine sterndrive, we knew it was merely a matter of time before Mercury would choose to create their own block for their larger displacement engines.  That’s exactly what they did.  The 6.2L V8 engine is new in every way: every part, every system, every idea was rethought and re-engineered.  It was built specifically for marine use rather than adapting and marinizing an automotive engine. So it is not burdened with automotive restrictions and unnecessary technologies that add additional cost and complexity without adding value or power. The result is a perfect balance of power, easy maintenance, superior corrosion-resistance and a quiet, pleasurable ride.  The new V8 comes in four configurations: with and without ECT, and 300hp and 350hp versions produced by the 377 CID/6.2L block that features a 4.0″ x 3.75″ (101.6mm x 95.25mm) bore and stoke.  All engines run on 87 octane fuel and can withstand 10% ethanol blends.
Inboards. The MerCruiser inboard line consists of six models from the 6.2L to the 8.2L H.O., with all being available with DTS.  There are two TowSport inboard engines in MerCruiser’s lineup, the 320hp and 370 hp, in both non- and catalyzed versions, and both feature customization options with either black, red or silver accents.
Diesel. The MerCruiser diesel family has six sterndrive models from 2.0L to 4.2L.  All engines feature thermostatically optimized closed-coolant systems, ultimate corrosion resistance, and fuel-injection systems that virtually eliminate the noise and harshness you expect from a diesel engine.
Although not entirely new engines, the Mercury Remanufacturing line offers completely rebuilt engines from outboards to longblocks to inboards (in standard and opposite rotation), and both alpha and bravo sterndrives.  This option lets you keep the boat you love but upgrade the power to regain some of the zip the tired old engine may have lost at a fraction of the price of a new powerplant.
Mercury’s new VesselView Mobile app for iOS and Android platforms, was introduced this past fall.  It instantly provides users with access to their boat’s SmartCraft® digital data via their smartphone and won a 2016 IBEX innovation award.
            For more information visit www.mercurymarine.com           
Evinrude’s original E-TEC two-stroke direct injection engine dates back to 2003.  In 2014, the design team started with an entirely new and clean sheet of paper with a single mandate: to design a truly all-new engine block on which to base their new outboards – the E-TEC G2.
Rather than taking a traditional engine block that was originally designed for a carbureted flow of fuel, and adapting it to perform with a direct injection fuel delivery model; the new G2 block was designed from the get-go to be a direct injection engine.  The end result is an outboard which Evinrude claims has  the most torque – 20% more, the lowest emissions – 75% lower, and the best fuel economy – 15% better – not to mention the longest operating time before a required scheduled maintenance period. Plus it’s available in over 400 colour combinations as well.  Originally, there were six G2 models from the 200hp in-line 3 cylinder, to the 300hp V6. In 2016, four new models were introduced to the mid-range line, all based on a 66-degree V6 engine: the G2 150; 150 H.O. 175 and 200. If you took your new Evinrude E-TEC G2 engine on its maiden voyage today, it wouldn’t require its first dealer-scheduled maintenance until – wait for it – January 2022!
The original E-TEC outboards are still a very large part of the landscape.  These tried and true workhorses remain unchanged for 2017. There are eight High Output (HO) engine in the E-TEC lineup from the 15hp HO to the 250hp HO. There are six V6 engines from 150 to 300hp that feature a unique mix of the largest displacement in their class and the lowest weight.  The single V4 115hp engine weighs in at just 390 pounds.
There are seven E-TEC two-stroke outboards inline models from 25hp up to 90hp.  In this same power range, Evinrude also offers a 55hp multi-fuel engine, and two commercial engines: 65hp and 90hp.
The purpose-built pontoon series offers four models from 65 to 150hp featuring rubber motor mounts, special gearing and larger displacements for more torque.  There are three jet outboards in the Evinrude lineup from 40hp to 105hp, which they claim are the lightest jet outboards available.
Finally, there are five portable outboard models from 3.5hp to 15hp, and one 15hpHO model.
All original E-TEC engines require no dealer scheduled maintenance for 3 years or 300 hours (even the iridium spark plugs don’t need changing), are 3-Star and EU rated with extremely low Carbon Monoxide emissions and require no oil changes – ever. And of course there are fewer parts on an E-TEC engine compared to an average four-stroke.
For more information visit www.evinrude.com
Yamaha Motor Canada offers exclusively four-stroke outboards in four different groupings in their engine line.
Their portable outboards range from 2.5 to 20hp.  The new F8B was released fall 2014, and just last January a new single cylinder 72cc (4.4ci) F2.5B was added to the line.
The mid-power line consists of thirteen outboards from the T25hp hi-thrust engine to the F90 and F90 jet drive. There’s nothing new in this range for next season.
The V MAX SHO family now offers eight different models from the new VF115 to the new VF250.  The V-MAX SHO 250 and 150 models are available in 25-inch shaft version, which Yamaha calls “x-shaft”.  Two new V MAX SHO models – a 115hp and a 175hp were introduced in the spring of 2015.
The high-power line now consists of thirteen outboards from the 115 jet drive to the original 115A and the new F115B introduced last year, all the way up to the F350 and a new upgraded F350C.  The 350’s are the world’s only V8 four-stroke engines.  The F115B weighs in at just 377 pounds and features a 1832cc (111.8ci) in-line four-cylinder engine, Yamaha’s patent-pending Shift Dampener System (SDSTM) to reduce the ‘cluck’ of shifting gears, and is available with mechanical controls.  It fits in a 26” mounting centre space which is great for the repower market. The new-in-2015 F175’s in-line four-cylinder 2785cc (170.0 ci) fuel-injected engine is matched with a 50 amp. Both new engines use regular 87 octane fuel.
Yamaha’s Helm MasterTM control system is more than just a joystick.  It is a fully integrated boat control system with an electronic steering system, throttle and shifting controls, an electronic key system and a joystick controller.  The system is only available on new installations (not the repower market unfortunately), but can now handle up to four engines!
You’ll have the option of specifying a Yamaha outboard as OEM equipment with even more manufacturers on your new boat this coming year.
For more information visit www.yamaha-motor.ca
Volvo once again changed the face of marine power with the introduction of their revolutionary forward-facing sterndrive in the spring of 2015.  The ‘forward drive’ was inevitable given Volvo’s IPS prop-forward pod drives.  The forward drive produces a much better and more customizable wake for water and tow sports, tighter turns thanks to the directional thrust, and a faster time to plane compared to an inboard engine.  However, it doesn’t trim up as high as a traditional sterndrive, which could create some trailering issues or water depth challenges around the dock.  The Forward Drive got a lot of marketing attention including its very own website: www.volvopentaforwarddrive.com and you’ll increasingly find it as standard equipment or the preferred power option in many tow sports boats.
It was 2012 when Volvo Penta released the new 364 cubic inch V8-380 based on GM’s fourth generation small block called the L96, and a new tuned-down 5.7L V8-225.    Both engines were innovative second generation engines that provided multiple advancements over the predecessors.  Then in November 2014, they introduced two more new second-generation sterndrive engines.  The new 4.3-liter catalyzed V6 engines – rated at 200 and 240 horsepower – will supplement Volvo Penta’s current V6 product line.  In addition to  reducing CO emissions at idle by 95 percent (WOW!), the new engines offer better fuel economy through common-rail direct fuel injection; higher torque and acceleration using Variable Valve Timing (VVT), and extended service intervals and simplified servicing given the common engine platform.  Both current and new engines are available with DPS, OceanX and SX drives as well as Electronic Vessel Control (EVC) options. The engines also come with constant RPM in turning maneuvers as a standard feature that’s great for tow sports.
In November 2015, they unveiled the new family of next-generation 5.3L V8 featuring the industry’s first direct fuel injection for better low-end torque and unmatched fuel efficiency. The new lightweight all-aluminum block allows these engines to offer unparalleled power-to-weight ratio, and a standard closed cooling system ensures a more consistent internal temperature, longer life with no internal parts exposed to raw or salt water.
The remainder of the Volvo Penta Aquamatic gasoline sterndrive line is driven by twenty-two different engines, available in non- and catalyst versions, from 200 to 430hp; while the diesel sterndrive lineup features ten different configurations from 130hp to 400hp.  Volvo’s IPS inboard engine lineup offers nine engines from 250 to 850hp for yachts from as little as 30 feet to up over 100 feet.
Their diesel inboard line offers over two dozen incarnations from 11hp to 864hp.  Two new engines were introduced in Dec 2016, in advance of the new EU emissions regulations.  The D2-50 (49hp) and D2-60 (60hp) diesel engines are available for both S-drive and shaft installations.
Volvo Penta’s entire marine leisure engine range is now compliant with the new European Union Recreational Craft Directive Stage 2 (RCD II) emissions regulations. To find the best setup for your boat try the ‘engine configurator’ app on their website.
The all new Volvo Penta Easy Drain system is designed with an anti-siphon vent that allows the engine to drain while still in the water. The anti-siphon vent is actuated automatically with the push of a single knob, without disconnecting any water hoses.  Easy Drain won a 2016 IBEX Innovation Award.
For more information visit www.volvopenta.com
As Suzuki enters the second half of their first century, the marine division in Canada has seen a supportive boost and now offers four-stroke outboards from 2.5hp to 300hp.
In the eight model portable outboard line, there are four battery-less fuel injection models – the DF15A and DF20Aintroduced in 2013 – and the DF25A and DF30A which won the 2014 IBEX Innovation Award.   The new engines allow smaller boat owners to benefit from the increased fuel economy and easier starting that fuel injection offers without the need for an external battery.
The mid-range line has twelve different models from 40hp to 200hp all of which feature the company’s Lean Burn Fuel System that uses up to 14% less fuel in the mid-range speeds where outboards spend most of their running time compared to the original engine models.
Finally, the high-power line has four models based on the 55 degree V6 block with power outputs from 225 to 300hp. While the standard colour for Suzuki engines is black, white is also available upon request.
For more information visit www.suzuki.ca
Honda offers outboards from 2.5 to 250hp.  They introduced their most powerful mid-range engine in the fall of 2015: the all new BF 100. The new engine is a 4-cylinder, 1,496cc (91.4 cubic inch) 4-stroke model weighing in at 366 pounds (166 kg).  Like all Honda Marine outboard engines, it’s based on the same design and technology that powers Honda automobiles such as the Accord, CR-V, Civic, Fit, Odyssey, and Pilot.  The new engine features a neodymium magnet flywheel that produces 44 total amps and 35 charging amps; Lean Burn Control that automatically adjusts the air/fuel mix according to speed and load while maximizing power throughout the acceleration range – providing best-in-class fuel economy in cruise mode (2,000 to 4,500 rpm); and Variable Valve Timing and Lift Electronic Control™ (VTEC™) first debuted in the Acura NSX sports car, VTEC™ technology offers a broad, flat torque curve and smooth power delivery throughout the outboard’s entire operating range.
Their flagship outboard – the BF250 was introduced in 2011.  The 250hp 3.6L 24-valve sixty-degree V6 outboard is based on the Honda Odyssey minivan engine and claims to have the best-in-class fuel economy.  That, along with a host of other innovations and advancements, went on to help the BF250 win an IBEX Innovation award that year.
Honda Marine manufacturers a total of eighteen four-stroke outboard models: from the lightest weight 2.3hp portable engine in the industry all the way up to the flagship 250hp outboard.  The entire line meets the rigorous California Air Resources Board (CARB) 3-Star standards. They also offer an industry-best True 5-year, non-declining limited factory warranty.
For more information visit www.marine.honda.ca
Tohatsu America Corporation is the U.S. and Canadian distributor of Tohatsu Outboards. Nissan Marine has discontinued outboard sales, but all Nissan outboards are fully compatible with Tohatsu parts and accessories.  Tohatsu is Japan’s oldest outboard manufacturer, has been producing high quality, durable outboard motors since 1956.
Tohatsu offers nine portable models from 2.5 to 20hp with their 4hp, 5hp and 6hp featuring a front mounted shift handle – an industry first in this horsepower category.  The eight Tohatsu mid-range four-stroke models are highly efficient and go from 25 to 90hp.  There are five larger engines from the in-line 4 cylinder DOHC 16 valve 115hp  to a 3.5L narrow design V6 with 250hp.  The TLDI (Two stroke Low pressure Direct Injection) Series features seven models from 25hp to 115hp.
All Tohatsu outboard engines meet or exceed the U.S. EPA emission regulations and have earned the California Air Resource Board (CARB) 3-star Ultra-Low emission rating, and come with a 5-year limited warranty.
For more information visit www.tohatsu.com
Advanced Power Sports has a lineup of nine portable four-stroke outboards ranging from 2.6hp to 25hp. All engines feature a 24 month limited warranty.
For more information visit www.tomoscanada.com
Cummins and MerCruiser transitioned away from their joint partnership and back to their parent companies in 2014.   Customers with 5 to 15 litre engines should contact Cummins directly for parts and service, while customers with engines up to 5 litres as well as drives and controls should contact Mercury Marine diesel division.
Cummins and Konrad Marine’s joint partnership has 480 and 550 horsepower diesel sterndrive package options.  The 480hp has both a leisure and commercial application approval. It offers 37% more horsepower and 129% more torque than gasoline outboards; and beats other commercial diesel sterndrives with 46% more horsepower and 54% more torque.
The 550hp is aimed at the leisure market and features 875 ft. lbs. of torque.  There are a wide variety of packages available utilizing one of six sterndrive models and 9 variations of the QSB 6.7L engine.
For more information visit www.cummins.com and www.konradmarine.com
Now in their 11th year, Torqeedo are those little grey and orange unmistakable outboard motors.  The electric outboard initially drew a lot of questions and nay-sayers, but they have now proven themselves in both power and reliability.  There are 14 different models ranging from a very portable 1hp outboard to an 80hp commercial grade outboard!  The Deep Blue line includes a hybrid drive system as a 40, 80 and 160 hp equivalent.
Torqeedo introduced an all-new electric inboard in 2016.  Called Deep Blue i-1400 or i-1800, it’s the first high-power propulsion system in serial production. Available in 40hp or 80hp versions, the true inboard design works as a shaft drive or sail-drive.  The battery comes with a long-term battery capacity warranty: 9 years after commissioning, the batteries will still have 80 % of their original capacity, even if you use them every day.
The “Torq Trac” is a dashboard for electric motors that tells you on your smartphone how far you have left to go on the battery. A solar powered 45W battery charger keeps both the travel and ultralight models topped up with free solar power.  Torqeedo’s Power 26-104 lithium ion battery features unique intelligence that protects against short circuits, overloads, deep discharge and wrong polarity, while providing an incredible performance of 2,685 Wh for only 55 lbs of battery weight. For lakes which ban or restrict the use of other engines, Torqeedo opens up a whole new world of powerboating with performance without breaking the rules or costing a small fortune.
For more information visit www.torqeedo.com
We first wrote about the then new Lehr propane outboard back in 2011. At that time, only a 2.5 and 5hp model were available.  In 2014, the company added a 9.9hp version.
A propane engine does not pollute the water, has no ethanol or fuel-related issues, produces zero evaporative emissions, starts easily with no priming or choke required, and requires no winterizing.  Propane has a 110 octane rating compared to 87 to 93 octane ratings for gasoline, which simply means more power per stroke.
In 2015, Lehr announced their all new 25HP (30.4 cu in / 498 cc) outboard motor with an internal battery that offers easy electric start with no rigging or battery clutter in your boat.  The new 25hp outboard weighs just 172 lbs (20” shaft) to 194 lbs (25” shaft) and comes with a full 3-year warranty.
For more information visit www.golehr.com

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