Being a part of the media definitely has its perks. The number one perk definitely has to be the opportunity to get out of the office and go somewhere beautiful doing the things we love. Our recent trip to the Florida Keys did not disappoint in that regard.
Throughout the year, different boat and engine manufacturers host media events where they show off all of their new products for the year. This time around we were invited to the 2012 Suzuki Marine media event at the Ocean Reef Club in North Key Largo, Fla.
While we wish we were there for some rest and relaxation, we had to remind ourselves we were there to work. It sure didn't feel like it though because, let's be honest, testing the latest and greatest from an award-winning manufacturer like Suzuki really isn't work at all.
Suzuki introduced its first outboard engine in 1965, a two-stroke 5.5 horsepower outboard, and they haven't looked back since. After the development of that engine, Suzuki has been focusing its research and development efforts on four-stroke engines with an unwavering commitment that shows in its engines.
When we arrived, one of the first things we did was check out the displays. Something that fascinated us was to see the cross section of the motors. It was amazing to see inside the engines and really understand what makes them work.
Being the boat lovers that we are, we were drawn in by the newest outboard engines that Suzuki was showing off at the event. Earlier this year, Suzuki introduced the DF300AP with several great new features. At the event, Suzuki took those new features down the model line and debuted the DF250AP with 250hp. This is great news for those who don't need 300hp or who own a boat that can't handle that much power but love the features of the DF300AP.
One of our favorite features the AP-line has to offer is the Suzuki Selective Rotation. On large pontoon boats with dual engines, one of the engines usually needs to have the prop running in a counter-rotation. This allows the boat to travel on an even keel and in a straight line.
For most manufacturers out there, this means that you have to buy a dedicated counter-rotation engine model. Selective Rotation eliminates that traditional requirement by using a special switch that, when connected to a circuit inside the engine compartment, turns a regular rotation outboard into a counter-rotation model.
Suzuki made this possible by engineering a unified design of gears, shaft and bearings in the lower unit. They are tested to be both reliable and efficient in either direction.
Perhaps the biggest benefit of this feature is quite evident come resale time, as it allows an owner the flexibility to sell or trade in the engines as either a regular or counter-rotation model.
"When selling the engine, it seems that the regulation rotation goes first and then you basically have to give away the counter-rotation," says Dean Corbisier of Suzuki Marine. "Well, now that motor can be reprogrammed to be a regular-rotation outboard."
Corbisier also mentioned that it eliminates the need to carry two different props as backup, as only one is needed.
The redesigned lower unit has another advantage going for it. The unit features a two-way water inlet designed to help the engine cool itself more efficiently. Positioning the forward inlet right at the gear case nose delivers a greater supply of water to engine when traveling at high speeds. The second inlet is positioned lower, allowing the outboard to operate in shallow water conditions.
Suzuki outboards are also some of the most compact on the market in their respective classes. This feat is credited to Suzuki's proven offset driveshaft system. Through the use of an intermediate gear reduction, the design places the crankshaft in front of the driveshaft.
The result of this design is that the outboard is more compact than an engine with a traditional driveshaft design. This also means that center of gravity for the engine is moved forward, resulting in a better weight distribution, balance, directional stability and less vibration.
Good For All
Suzuki has also strived to help the engines be even more environmentally responsible. Just like many engines across Suzuki's outboard offering, the engines feature Suzuki's Lean Burn System. This intelligent system works to deliver improved fuel economy when compared to its competitors.
The AP outboards improve on this with the addition of an O2 sensor feedback control system. The system constantly monitors engine performance and other operating conditions to determine the proper fuel-to-air ratio so that the engine has the optimum amount of fuel regardless of rpm. There are no compromises either, as testing at Suzuki has shown the system improves fuel economy without any sacrifices in power.
"It benefits everybody, especially with fuel prices these days," says Corbisier.
The system also helps to make the engines run cleaner. It has helped them achieve the strict European Union's Recreational Craft Directive (RCD) standards as well as receiving a Three-Star Ultra Low Emissions rating from the California Air Resources Board (CARB).
The Right Speed
The new engines also feature a system that is perfect for when you are trolling in your `toon. Suzuki's Trolling Mode system allows the operator to have greater control over the engine speed at lower rpms while trying to keep the boat moving at a constant speed. The system can adjust engine revs in increments of 50rpms anywhere from idle to up to 1,200.
All of this is controlled through a switch that you can mount anywhere on the console. It is also compatible with Suzuki's SMIS digital gauges.
Overall, we had a great time drooling over all the engines that Suzuki had to offer at the event. We have no doubt that with these features Suzuki has proven once again that its new line of engines would be a great match for any pontoon or deck boat. For more information, visit www.suzukimarine.com.