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The Hottest Outboards for 2005
These new motors run cleaner and quieter than ever before!
By Keith Sutton
The 2005 model year brings with it a fresh crop of outboard motors that should continue reducing the blue smog that often surrounds marinas at dawn. Newer generations of direct-fuel-injection engines and four-stroke motors, which burn much less oil than previous models, will help rid the air of pollution-causing oil smoke.
For most boaters, the best news is increased fuel economy. With today's higher gas prices, every boater would like to see his fuel bill cut, and many of these new motors make that possible.
When compared to earlier outboards, most of the 2005 models also should have fewer mechanical problems and run quieter.
The new outboards, which are comprised mostly of complex high-pressure, direct-injection two-strokes and production-intense four cycles, will be more expensive than previous models. But if you put in a lot of hours on the water, your reduced fuel costs should make up for the added expense.
Here's a preview of some new outboards that will be available this year.
First released in 2003, Evinrude E-TEC brought to the outboard engine industry several unique features, including no dealer-scheduled maintenance for three years and a new styling package. E-TEC engines optimize oil and gas consumption and create 80 percent less carbon monoxide than a four-stroke engine creates at idle. They also use approximately 50 percent less oil than traditional direct-injection systems and 75 percent less than traditional two-strokes. (847-689-7090, www.evinrude.com)
The new power tilt and trim allows for easier control and improved handling with a minus-four-degree trim, and the gas-assist models make it easy to tilt the engine out of the water. It's designed with a two-speed system so it may be operated more easily than current models. Displacements on both engines have now been increased to 552 cc, providing four percent more torque in mid-range operation. Also, choking is not necessary with Auto-Start Enrichment; you simply turn the key.
The overall width of Honda's BF25/30 is 14.8 inches, with a dry weight of 155 pounds. The outboards are very quiet, environmentally friendly and meet CARB standards for 2008 with a three-star rating. (678-339-2600, www.honda-marine.com)
Verados also are the first production outboards to feature a supercharger, which significantly boosts power. It enables Verado to create outstanding horsepower with a smaller-displacement block. Traditionally, a minimum of 3.0 liters had been required to mass-produce a 250-horsepower outboard engine. Verado's strategy of smaller-displacement/ higher-horsepower allows it, in many cases, to outperform two-stroke engines of equal power.
Supplying fuel to the six-cylinder, 158.5-cubic-inch power plant of the engine is a computer-controlled, sequential, multi-port fuel-injection system. Precise fuel-delivery and metering provides Verado maximum fuel efficiency, no-smoke operation and excellent acceleration. The injector system also eliminates the need for a primer bulb, a first for the marine industry. All traditional mechanical cables have been replaced by a data cable that conveys information between the computer on the engine and the System Command Module under the dash. The result is a fully integrated propulsion system that offers a greater degree of control, performance and security.
Verados also feature Electro-Hydraulic Power Steering, SmartCraft Digital Throttle & Shift and Engine Guardian self-diagnostic tools. (920-929-5040, www.mercurymarine.com)
With a narrow-angle 55-degree block and Suzuki's offset driveshaft, these V6s have a compact design and a low center of gravity for reduced vibration, improved balance on the transom and a better fit on today's boats. Yet these motors boast a burly 3.6-liter displacement.
The DF250 utilizes an aggressive cam profile and Suzuki variable valve timing, an exclusive feature that continuously adjusts intake timing for stronger low- and mid-range torque, improved fuel-efficiency and reduced emissions. Multi-Stage Induction is used on the DF250 and DF225 to enhance engine performance by changing the way the engine breathes at different speeds. Using two intake manifold pipes per cylinder, the optimum fuel/air charge is everywhere from low speed to wide open.
Suzuki's multi-point electronic fuel injection is controlled by a 32-bit onboard computer. By constantly monitoring a network of sensors, the computer instantly adjusts the EFI system for optimum performance in all conditions. With a beefy new lower unit and an overall gear ratio of 2.29:1 (lowest of any outboard over 200 horsepower, two-stroke or four-stroke), these motors can swing a 16-inch diameter, high-pitch propeller for quick acceleration and top-end speed.
These V6 four-strokes feature a high-output 54-amp alternator designed to deliver the majority of its power at low rpm (32 amps at 1,000 rpm). This gives boaters plenty of juice for bait pumps, depth sounders, chart plotters and other marine electronics, even at trolling speed. In addition, Suzuki's advanced direct ignition system provides optimum spark strength and timing and reduces electronic engine "noise" that can interfere with marine electronics.
By keeping the engine cool, Suzuki helps increase durability and reduce maintenance. For example, the flywheel features fan blades designed to expel warm air out the side of the engine cowl. The engine oil lubrication system is water-cooled and features piston-cooling jets that spray a fine, precise stream of oil onto the backside of each piston. Another jet shoots a stream of oil onto the main cam chain and drive gear to keep these vital components cool and lubricated. Suzuki's maintenance-free oil-bathed timing chain with automatic tensioners further increases engine durability.
The DF200, DF225 and DF250 are available in 25-inch or 30-inch shaft lengths to accommodate a wide variety of boats. Available counter rotation is ideal for twin or triple installations on large offshore fishing machines. (www.suzukimarine.com)
The heart of the new VZ300 is Yamaha's 3.3-liter, 204-cubic-inch, 76-degree block that develops tremendous low-end torque, giving anglers that all-important hole shot. In addition, the VZ300 incorporates Yamaha's second-generation High Pressure Direct Injection (HPDI). Using twin high-pressure fuel pumps, the HPDI system delivers fuel at an industry-high 1,000 psi. This higher fuel-delivery pressure produces a much finer atomization of the air/fuel mix. The result is more complete combustion and better acceleration and speed.
The VZ300 features a water-cooled intake crankcase to wring more power out of the 3.3-liter block. For greater durability, the crankshaft and connecting rods are subjected to a special heat-treating process.
To handle the torque associated with 300-horsepower at the prop, Yamaha has also applied the heat-treating process to the gears in the lower unit for durability. In addition, Yamaha rates its engines at the prop, ensuring the angler gets all the horsepower he expects.
One of the biggest angler benefits of Yamaha's HPDI system is increased fuel economy and, more importantly perhaps, extended range for times when you must make a long run to a fishing site. Performance testing has shown that the VZ300 can deliver as much as 30 percent improvement in fuel economy and 20 percent improvement in oil consumption when compared to competitive 300-horsepower electronic fuel injection models. (800-889-2624; www.yamaha-motor.com)
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