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Thread: Outboard motors

  1. #1

    Default Outboard motors

    I expect to buy my first boat, probably a Bennington 20 SLL, at the Columbia Boat Show this week. There' a choice of engines: Mercury, Yamaha, Evinrude, Honda, and Suzuki. The boat is rated for a maximum 115 hp. I was thinking about the Mercury 115 hp 4S Pro XS CT 25in. Online reviews of the command thrust engine seem favorable, but I read a lot of negatives about Mercury's customer service, failure to honor warranty, etc. Of course, people who are angry are more likely to write negative reviews than satisfied customers are likely to write positive reviews. I'd be interested in knowing what opinions are out there, if any.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2013
    Location
    Edwardsville, IL
    Posts
    275

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    I can't speak about newer outboards, but my I would never have anything but a 2-stroke engine on my boat. Their fuel mileage is horrible, but they're stupid reliable & very low maintenance. They also come up to full power instantly, which you might need if you get into a bad spot. Over the years, on several different types of vehicles, I've always had better luck with 2 stroke engines than 4 stroke ones. Fewer moving parts makes for better reliability.
    1994 Tracker Party Cruiser
    115 hp Merc, 2 stroke

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jul 2006
    Location
    Raystown Country, PA
    Posts
    2,181

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    As alwqays my advice is to get as much HP as the boat is rated for. I would go with a direct injected 2 stroke (Optimax, Etec), from a dealer with a stellar reputation, all of the big brands have good motors with warranties to back them up. One big boat show "special" is warranty extensions, I would pile on as much as possible. Fuel consumption on modern direct injection 2 strokes is comparable to 4 strokes, they are lighter and do provide that snappy right now power that comes in handy on pontoons, those things and simpler maintenance are all 2 stroke positives. I would question the 25 inch shaft, I'm not up on the latest and greatest things, but most pontoons use a 20 inch midsection. If whoever you are talking to at a dealership is not familiar enough with the products to make this kind of mistake i would be concerned about the dealerships ability to provide good service after the sale. Installing a 25 inch motor on a 20 inch transom would create all kinds of issues, none of them good.

    I have read good things about the pro SX, including that the 115 ECM can be flashed to push it up to 135 hp. I have also heard of one with low hours and a midsection rattle that Merc will not concede is a bad motor, inspite of the dealer calling it one. The comments I have seen are way more positive than negative, most people are tickled with the new Merc's.

    Whatever you get, don't second guess yourself, there are lots of good boats and lots of good motors and your choice is just that, your choice. Once you decide, just get the boat and enjoy it, don't fret about what you did or didn't do. Of course this last statement doesn't apply to horsepower, if you don't get the max, you will regret that the first day.

    Good luck and have fun with your shopping.
    2006 Forester 19 Fish (new deck and carpet, Pontoonstuff interior, 2019)
    1996 Mercury 50 ELPT4S
    1983 Sea Nymph FM171 Striper (complete rebuild from hull up, 2014)
    1985 Johnson 70 J70ELCO

    Raystown Country, PA

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Feb 2014
    Location
    Boat at Lake of the Ozarks Missouri
    Posts
    577

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    I agree with belercous on the 2 Stroke vs 4 Stroke choice. Simpler and more efficient on early torque and thrust. The oil/gas mixing is done automatically and these engine are smokeless unless you screw something up.
    On a pontoon which may stay in the water, (or on a lift) the maintenance is really easy. At end of season change the lower unit lube, put a new air filter in place & maybe change a small fuel filter.

    No 4 Stroke oil & filter change needed, no worries about valve adjustments, no timing belt stretching, and they still need a maintenance schedule through a qualified marine dealer on a regular basis.
    HP vs HP 2 strokes are also lighter than 4 strokes and that helps with the weight & balance on the stern of your ride. Obviously you would go through maintenance with a 2 Stroke also while in warranty
    to protect your investment but afterwards just follow the winterization if stored outside and you should get many, many years of service.

    Now the hard part: While I prefer the 2 Stroke I hear really good things about the Mercury 115 pro XS command thrust engine for pontoons. Mercury has a good warranty and the difference in good service or bad service
    rests with your dealer. Research your marine provider carefully and ask for a contact list of a few long time service customer that you could contact. If they won't provide that, citing privacy concerns, hang around the store for
    a few busy time hours on a few days and interview service customers on the lot. You would be surprised at the frank answers you get.

    Go for the mercury, you will be pleased - It's a lighter weight, by over 20 pounds, smaller compact design than some of the competitor's 4 stroke engines.
    Captain Tony
    2005 Summit by Triton - 220T Platinum 3Log
    2005 115HP Mercury Optimax - 228 Marine Master Trailer
    St. Louis & Lake of the Ozarks, MO.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Oct 2018
    Location
    Live in the Raeford NC area.
    Posts
    52

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    Whichever way you go.....be sure there is a qualified mechanic NEAR BY to work on it or you will towing that boat long distances just to have the engine worked on.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jan 2020
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    1

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    Is it difficult to find qualified mechanics for these engines nowadays?

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Feb 2020
    Posts
    2

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    I prefer Yamaha or Suzuki.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Oct 2018
    Location
    Live in the Raeford NC area.
    Posts
    52

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    Quote Originally Posted by Vester View Post
    Is it difficult to find qualified mechanics for these engines nowadays?
    In my area there are Merc and Tohatsu mechs....I am looking for a Suzi mech but haven't found one yet. And, yep, my motor is a Suzi. Didn't do my research.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    May 2013
    Location
    Edwardsville, IL
    Posts
    275

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    Vester: A (true) mechanic can fix anything. A technician is someone trained to fix a few particular things. An engine is an engine is an engine; the same mechanical principles apply to every engine. Outside of their area of expertise, technicians are best used for handing tools to a mechanic. I'm a mechanic: I've never met an engine I couldn't fix. I may not be as fast as someone trained on a particular engine, but I can fix any engine (& much more) presented to me. I take it as an insult to be called a "technician" because I'm a mechanic. Find yourself a good mechanic & you'll be good: don't bother looking for someone trained to fix your particular engine. It's much better to have a mechanic than a "technician."
    1994 Tracker Party Cruiser
    115 hp Merc, 2 stroke

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