Selecting a new outboard motor can be a difficult task. This is especially true with all the options one has today.
Outboard Motors have become more efficient and environmentally friendly and manufacturers are offering motors that are more reliable and are technological improvements over past models. Each manufacturer bestows their own virtues and choosing between them can be perplexing, so much so that some important factors might be overlooked.
When Selecting a NEW Outboard Motor Watch the WEIGHT of the Engine
One commonly overlooked issue to consider when selecting an outboard motor is that of weight. It was perceivable to the novice consumer that an outboard manufactured by one company would be the same or pretty close to a similar motor from another manufacturer. This was and is not necessarily so.
Indeed, some thought that vessel in need of re-power rated for a certain horsepower two-stroke motor could handle a new motor of the same rating. Again, this has proved to not always be true.
As two stroke motors were being replaced by newer four stroke motors some consumers were finding that their boat sat a little deeper at the transom and scuppers were going under with just a little weight in the transom. Top end speed and hole shots weren’t quite what they were with the two strokes. The simple answer as to why was that the newer four strokes were heavier.
Because of the mechanics of a four-stroke motor compared to a two-stroke motor (discussed in detail in Should you Buy a Two Stroke or Four Stroke) there are simply more internal parts in a Four Stroke Outboard Boat Motor than are found in their older two stroke outboard cousins. More parts equated to more weight.
Four Stroke Outboard Boat Motors are “On a Diet” and Losing Weight!
This problem of heavy four stroke outboard boat motors is being addressed by the ever-evolving new outboard. New four stroke outboards are now on a diet and are shedding weight in some interesting ways.
Almost every four stroke outboard motor manufacturer has put their motors on some kind of diet to bring overall weight down
This has been accomplished in a variety of ways such as using lighter alloy materials for the engine block and gear cases.
Some have even found ways to shed weight by eliminating internal parts and simplifying the internal components of the engine. Mercury did just that with their new 150 HP four stroke with 15% less moving parts than some of their competitors helping to make it one of the lightest four stroke 150’s on the market.
Other ways of shedding weight have included composite lightweight cowlings and replacing traditional steel components such as piston sleeves with new lighter and more durable technology.
As manufacturers have reengineered and developed their power plants they have been able to get more power out of smaller engine blocks and as a result they have been able to get equivalent horsepower ratings from new technology.
Known as improved power to weight ratio, Yamaha for example has recently introduced a new 200 HP motor that is similar in weight to a 150HP motor. Instead of using their V6 or V8 designs they went with a completely new inline 4-cylinder motor that produces 200HP at a weight saving of over 100lbs from its previous model. Being 18% lighter also helps the motor be more fuel-efficient. Honda and Suzuki have done the same with some of their motors by going to smaller new technology blocks and producing comparable power to older larger blocks.
No matter how companies have found ways to shed weight from their motors or what diets they have put them on, if you are in the market for a new four-stroke outboard, take weight into consideration. It might just save your wallet from having to diet too.