E-TEC 90 Pontoon Series
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Evinrude E-TEC 90 Pontoon Series Evinrude E-TEC 90 Pontoon Series
It has always been known that pontoon boats needed low-end, high-torque outboards and that 2-stroke units, such as the ones Evinrude makes, were best-suited for the job. Now, Evinrude has taken the next step, and designed a series of engines specially designed for the unique demands of this popular application. Today we take an in-depth look at the Evinrude E-TEC 90 Pontoon Series (PS) outboard and at 4 tests on 4 different brands and size toons powered by this new engine.

Key Features

  • Lightest Weight in Class
  • 2-Stroke Technology
  • Stratified Combustion Process
  • Special Injectors
  • No Break-In Period
  • Fail-Safe Engine Protection

Evinrude E-TEC 90 Pontoon Series (Outboard) Specifications
Horsepower 90-hp
Type of Engine 2-Stroke
Number of Cylinders 3 Cylinders
Configuration In-line
Weight (lbs/kg) 320.00 lbs / 145.15 kg
Fuel Delivery Fuel Injected
Displacement (cu/cc) 79.10 cu / 1,296.22 cc
Shaft Length Options 20''
CARB Rating 3-Star
Recommended Fuel 87 Octane
Alternator Output 81 A

Evinrude E-TEC 90 Pontoon Series Captain's Report

Evinrude E-TEC 90 Pontoon Series

Pontoon boats are like no others on the water, so Evinrude decided that they needed outboard engines specially made for this unique application. The special series runs from 65-hp to 150-hp.

Evinrude E-TEC 90 Pontoon Series

While it is not much talked about, pontoon boats are not very easy to push. The reason for that is that their displacement is concentrated in two or three long round tubes that -- while buoyant -- have far from ideal running surfaces. Most are simply round.

Evinrude has created a specific 4-engine Pontoon Series: 65-hp, 90-hp, 115-hp, and 150-hp. Each of these engines are targeted to a tight length by weight range of pontoon boats.

Brief History. Indeed, when first introduced in the early 1950s, pontoon boats were intended to be relatively small, but stable platforms that could hold a lot of people, be pushed by a 2-hp to 10-hp outboard, and be inexpensive to buy. They were intended for poking around small lakes in the American Midwest and to be used as a swim platform and as a sundown cruise venue.

Modern pontoon boats do all of that and a lot more. Now they are used extensively for towing sports, including wakeboarding, as well as 5-star entertaining. The boats have naturally gotten bigger, heavier, and more complicated. Pontoon owners are now coming from all types of monohulls in droves. Last year about 35,000 new ones were sold in the U.S. alone.

Most of the new buyers aren't geriatrics looking for a slow boat into the sunset, but rather all many of boaters from all types of boats -- mostly fast monohulls. Most are moving to pontoon boats because of the room and price, but they also expect more of the thrilling kind of performance that they were used to in sportboats, fast fishing boats, and even express cruisers.

Mission of the Evinrude E-TEC 90 Pontoon Series. The Evinrude E-TEC 90 PS is targeted at twin pontoon boats that are from 20' to 22' (6.0 to 6.7 m) long and weigh from 1,850 to 2,300 lbs. (840 to 1,045 kgs.). Its job is to provide fast hole shots, lots of electrical power, good idle and mid-range fuel-efficiency, as well as smooth, quiet operation. Further, the new engine also had to have superior stopping power -- an attribute lacking in most pontoon boats.

Evinrude E-TEC 90 Pontoon Series

This Sylvan 20-something pontoon boat with twin tubes is the target vessel for the new Evinrude E-TEC 90 PS outboard.

Distinguishing Features

Lightest Weight in Class. The Evinrude E-TEC 90 Pontoon Series is the lightest in class at 320 lbs. (145.45 kgs.) with a 20" (0.51 m) shaft. It's closest competitor is 21 lbs. (9.45 kgs.) or 6% heavier, ranging up to 79 lbs. (35.9 kg.) or 25% heavier for the heaviest boat in class. This is one of the important factors that makes the Evinrude E-TEC 90 competitive on fuel consumption and towing performance.

2-Stroke Technology. Of the six 90-hp engines on the market, only one other is 2-stroke. These 2-stroke engines are well known, generically, to have higher torque at the low rpm range (because they fire at the top of every stroke, unlike a 4-stroke engine) and are thus able to get skiers and wakeboarders up out of the water faster.

Evinrude E-TEC 90 Pontoon Series

"Stratified Combustion" saves fuel when only a light touch is needed to keep the engine turning over.

"Stratified Combustion Process." This is one of several attributes that helps to distinguish the Evinrude 2-stroke from the other 2-stroke on the market. This combustion process was specifically designed for the Pontoon Series of engines. At idle and slow speeds, only part of the combustion chamber is used, thereby saving fuel when there are no real demands for power.

Evinrude E-TEC 90 Pontoon Series

This is one of the secrets of the success of the Evinrude E-TEC engines. It is the fuel injector that pulses thousands of times a second to provide just the right amount of fuel to each cylinder.

Special Injectors. Perhaps the most important thing that separates the Evinrude E-TEC 90 Pontoon Series from other 2-strokes as well as 4-stroke engines, too, is the company's use of an injector system that is very much like a stereo speaker. It vibrates thousands of times a second to atomize precise amounts of fuel as directed by the Engine Management Module (EMM). No other outboard brand uses this highly-regarded system. Each pulse of the injector can inject as little as two champagne bubbles into the engine. This, together with the "Stratified Combustion Process" is an important fuel saver at low rpms.

No Break-In Period. Because Evinrude uses boron-nitrate cylinder boring, has pistons made of a space-age alloy called Nasa-loy which the company says is 2.5 times stronger than other aluminum pistons in class, and has vitreous nitrate hones, the Evinrude E-TEC 90 PS is designed for WOT speeds right out of the box. Since the EMM knows the engine is new it automatically calls for extra oil lubrication, there is no engine "break-in" period required as is necessary with most other engines on the market. The EMM knows when its properly broken in, seamless to the user, thus eliminating the worry of following a manufacturer's specific break-in instructions.

That means that just when the new owner of a pontoon boat wants to open her up and let 'er rip, it can be done right from the get-go with the Evinrude E-TEC 90.

Evinrude E-TEC 90 Pontoon Series

Evinrude E-TEC engines are high-tech, using the latest alloys and some of the most imaginative systems in the field. Here we see a piston made of Nasa-loy alloy.

Fail-Safe Engine Protection. Again because of the space-age materials used in the pistons and cylinder walls and because of Evinrude's lubrication system, in the event of running out of oil, the engine automatically reduces power and can be run for 5 hours without damage.

Evinrude E-TEC 90 Pontoon Series

Here we see the top of a magneto on a Evinrude E-TEC 150-hp. The Evinrude E-TEC 90 also has a magneto which is a fail-safe concept that has proven itself for over 100 years.

Magneto for Highest AMP Output. Evinrude uses a maintenance-free magneto charging system instead of a belt-driven brush type alternator to generate electrical power for the engine and boat's electrical needs. Belts can break and brushes can wear out and leave a boat stranded. The Evinrude E-TEC 90 PS generates 81 gross amps, more than any other 90-hp engine on the market . This system produces 25 "net" amps to power the electrical systems on the boat and charge the batteries.

Evinrude E-TEC 90 Pontoon Series

The oil distribution system measures precise amounts of oil into the cylinder sleeves relieving the operator of having to change oil every 100 hours or every year.

No Crankcase Oil to Change. The days of mixing oil and fuel and 2-stroke engines are long gone. With an Evinrude E-TEC, just fill the oil tank which is contained in the engine house itself and let the engine draw on it as needed. Because the system puts precise amounts of oil where it needs to be and when it needs to be, This means there are no oil changes required with the Evinrude 90 every 100 hours as required by most 4-stroke engines.

Evinrude E-TEC 90 Pontoon Series

No wonder the Evinrude E-TEC technology was award-winning when first introduced. And it has stood the test of time and continues to have the lowest emissions on the planet.

Lower Emissions. The Evinrude E-TEC 150 H.O. has received a three star rating from the California Air Resources Board (CARB) which administers the toughest emission standards in the world. No other brand has lower emissions.

No Dealer Scheduled Maintenance for Three Years or 300 Hours. This is an important feature for Evinrude E-TEC engines and it can be worth quite a bit of money as compared with some engines including 4-strokes that require 6 months or 100 hour maintenance.

Automatic Winterization. To winterize, the Evinrude E-TEC fogs itself automatically with a simple throttle/ key stroke sequence which the owner can execute in just 4 minutes. There is no expensive dealer winterization required.

In addition to saving money every year and a trip to the dealer, when a warm day pops up in the dead of winter, the boat can be launched and the engine is ready to get under way at the flip of a switch.

3-Year, 300-hour Spark Plugs. Evinrude uses advanced iridium spark plugs which can handle a longer spark and have a longer life.

Evinrude E-TEC 90 Pontoon Series

Evinrude's unique rubber engine mount reduces noise and vibration.

Unique Engine Mounts. Evinrude uses a soft rubber formulation of dampen vibration and noise. The mounts absorb, thus much less is passed along the C-clamp and the outboard bracket.

Fewer Parts Than 4-Stroke Engines

The Evinrude E-TEC 90 PS 2-stroke engine has fewer moving parts than 4-stroke engines because they have no belts, cams, valves, valve springs, valve lifters, push rods or lots of other parts that are required to make a 4-stroke engine run. Fewer parts mean less weight, but it also means fewer things to go wrong, and less power-robbing friction.

Engine Management Module (aka the "Black Box")

The EMM or Engine Management Module is basically the brain of the Evinrude E-TEC system. It controls the oil distribution system, fuel management, spark timing, engine diagnostics, fail-safe over-heating intervention, as well as remembering virtually everything that the engine has done or was done to it.

Talking Back. The EMM transmits monitoring and diagnostic information to the gauges at the helm. All of this electronic thinking creates heat which is why Evinrude runs cool water through the EMM to keep it at appropriate temperatures for trouble-free operation and long life.

Charging System

At the top of the engine is a flywheel with magnets attached to it. Beneath the magnets are coils of wire. As the magnets pass over the coils they generate electricity. (This is sometimes called a magneto.) It is a tried-and-true system that has been around for over 100 years, and is so low-tech, that it has become high-tech because it is so trouble-free and powerful.

Evinrude E-TEC 90 Pontoon Series

Two torturous turns for intake air in the Evinrude E-TEC 90 shroud plus 3-dimensional foam lining inside greatly reduces engine noise.

An Acoustically-Tuned Engine

Evinrude engines make a very distinct sound, and a lot of engineering goes into generating that sound. The upper and lower shrouds work together to form soundproofing based on the needs of the horsepower and the output of the power head. Instead of having air and sound flow directly into, and out of the enclosed engine, Evinrude engineers a complex route, and by bending the sound waves are able to produce that trademark Evinrude sound.

Take for example the upper shroud. Air travels in from the back of the shroud and makes nearly a 180-degree bend to travel down, and then makes a 120-degree turn up again. This brings air in but inhibits the sound from getting out producing a quieter engine. It also prevents water from entering the engine shroud.

Well-Grounded Design

In addition to using Iridium spark plugs, which give a longer and more efficient spark, Evinrude E-TEC spark plug wires are covered with a metallic shroud with wires leading to a common ground. In this manner, ignition noise is prevented from reaching the electronics at the helm, a pivotal consideration for reducing noise in high-end depth sounders and other electronic equipment.

Evinrude E-TEC 90 Pontoon Series

Spark plug wires are covered with a metallic shroud to reduce emissions noise to the electronics.

The ignition system includes two major components. The injectors are electronically controlled and distribute precise amounts of fuel into the cylinders for better performance, and better fuel economy whether idling for extended periods or operating at cruise or max speeds.

Engine Management Module

The EMM or Engine Management Module is basically the brain of the Evinrude E-TEC system. It controls the oil distribution system, which in turn provides the no break-in period feature that we've just discussed. Also, should the engine inadvertently run completely out of oil, the EMM will kick into a fail-safe mode allowing only a reduced power setting for up to five hours enabling boaters to get home.

Further, the EMM controls the electronic fuel injectors for precise fuel measurements and is also the connection point for the electronic helm gauges and easy diagnostic connections. Plus, there's auto-winterization. Work the throttle twice with the key on and the EMM will add a minute and a half of fogging to the cylinders winterizing the engine. And this can be done at any time. In other words, when a stretch of warm weather occurs in the winter, boaters can fire up their winterized engines and get right back on the water, and then re-winterize it upon returning.

Evinrude E-TEC 90 Pontoon Series

In low-speed cruising mode, the Evinrude E-TEC 90 is remarkably fuel-efficient: 11.8 mpg to 16.0 mpg in the four tests below at 1000 rpm.

4 Tests of the New Evinrude E-TEC 90 Pontoon Series Outboard

We have not tested the new Evinrude E-TEC 90 Pontoon Series outboard as the ink is still wet on its brochures at this time. We hope to test it in the near future. However, the folks at Evinrude have tested it and have shared their test results with us.

What we learned from the Evinrude tests is that pontoon boats are weight sensitive and the heavier boats will go slower than the lighter ones, and 200-lbs. (90 kgs.) makes a difference. We also learned that it is very difficult to say that these boats plane like a monohull, as only two of the four actually had an improvement in MPG over 12 mph -- and even those examples were modest.

Performance Parameters. Based on the test numbers on this page we can say that buyers of pontoon boats -- with twin toons only -- powered with Evinrude E-TEC 90-hp engines can expect WOT speeds from 23 mph to 28 mph, depending on weight and the prop geometry. Further, boaters can expect this engine to propel a toon from 12 mph to 14 mph at 3000 to 3500 rpm and get from 4.2 to 4.9 miles per gallon.

Evinrude E-TEC 90 Pontoon Series

2014 Sylvan Classic 8520. She is 20'10"x102"x1850 lb. (840 kg.) dry weight.

Evinrude E-TEC 90 Pontoon Series

Evinrude E-TEC 90 Pontoon Series. Data provided by Evinrude.

Evinrude E-TEC 90 Pontoon Series

2014 Montego Bay 8522 DLX. She is 22'0" (6.35 m) x102" (2.59 m) x 2,100 lbs. (945 kgs), dry weight.

Evinrude E-TEC 90 Pontoon Series

Evinrude E-TEC 90 Pontoon Series. Data provided by Evinrude.

Evinrude E-TEC 90 Pontoon Series

2014 Premier 22’ (6.71 m) Gemini. She is 22'5" (6.83 m) X 102" (2.59 m) X 1,950 lb. (886 kgs.) dry weight.

Evinrude E-TEC 90 Pontoon Series

Evinrude E-TEC 90 Pontoon Series. Data provided by Evinrude.

Evinrude E-TEC 90 Pontoon Series

2014 Sylvan 8522 PB. She is 23'10" (7.26 m) x 102" (2.59 m) x 2,295 lbs. (1,043 kgs.) dry weight.

Evinrude E-TEC 90 Pontoon Series

Evinrude E-TEC 90 Pontoon Series. Data provided by Evinrude.


Comparison Tests. We have tested 7 pontoon boats over the years with 90-hp 4-stroke engines. Interestingly, when we compared our 4-stroke test numbers from three different brands with the Evinrude 2-stroke numbers provided, the Evinrude 90s were more fuel-efficient at cruising speeds in five of the seven cases. These are by no means "apples-to-apples" tests and most were done several years ago.

Nevertheless, these comparisons do indicate to us that the Evinrude E-TEC 90 Pontoon Series is competitive with 4-stroke 90-hp outboards in the 12 to 14 mph range -- where most of these boats are cruised when not towing -- in terms of fuel efficiency.

Beyond that important factor, we think the features of this new engine speak for themselves.


Boats Tested with this Evinrude E-TEC 90 Pontoon Series
Sweetwater SW 2286 (2014-) Sweetwater SW 2286 (2014-)

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