There was a time when a boater could pick a boat, choose an engine based on horsepower and then hit the water. But engines have become much more purpose-built as of late, and consumers are becoming much more sophisticated. Offshore fishermen have engines built for rugged use, bass fishermen have engines built for WOT speed, and now, thanks to the design team at Evinrude, pontoon boaters have engines specifically designed to meet their needs. The Pontoon Series from Evinrude is designed to produce more torque and thrust, run quieter and smoother and therefore produce a more comfortable ride in keeping with the pontoon boat experience.
Evinrude E-TEC 115 Pontoon Series Captain's Report
The Evinrude E-TEC 115 Pontoon is part of a new 4-engine lineup specifically built for pontoon boats.
All boats are a tradeoff in one form or another. Conventional sportboats look cool and can go fast but are not really designed for entertaining. Pontoon boats take care of that problem by having flat decks that hold a boatload of people, but as an efficient tool for traveling through the water, the hull design is sorely lacking. The simple truth is that it takes a lot more force to get the pontoon through, and ultimately on top of, the water. Any outboard will do it (if it is big enough), but it definitely puts more of a strain on the engine as opposed to when it’s mounted on a typical sportboat.
Evinrude has stepped up and become the first to develop a series of engines that address the specific needs of the pontoon application. Available in 65-hp, 90-hp, 115-hp, and 150-hp these engines are purpose built to meet the needs of not only the pontoon boat, but also the pontoon boater. In this manner they improve the performance of the boat and improve the boating experience. And since V-hull boaters are converting to pontoon boats in droves, it’s about time someone stepped up to the plate and dedicated some expertise to this market segment.
There are some specific attributes that make the Pontoon Series family of engines so well suited for pontoon boats. Here is a look at some of them.
Rubber Motor Mounts.
The rubber used in the pontoon series engine is made from a softer density than the rest of the line. This is where the reduced vibration comes from for a smoother ride.
Unique Software Mapping.
Specific to the adjusted gear ratios, this unique software mapping provides performance benefits that pontoons require, and owners demand.
Optimized Gear Ratios.
Another feature that provides the low-end torque to get the rounded hull shape of the pontoon through the water more efficiently. Here the ratio is 2.44:1 over the usual of 2.0:1 to 2.25:1 of the standard Evinrude E-TEC 115 outboards. This is an important factor to consider given the shape of the pontoon vs. the shape of a typical v-hull sportboat. It’s easy to see that it takes much more effort to get that pontoon going fast enough to bring it on top of the water, and then maintain that speed while maneuvering. The regular engines could certainly do it, but the pontoon version of the Evinrude E-TEC 115 does it much better.
Evinrude E-TEC Series
Of course the Evinrude Pontoon Series are, first and foremost, part of the Evinrude E-TEC Series of engines, and they have their own list of features that make them attractive in their own right.
2-Stroke Two Step.
2-stroke outboards are rapidly becoming the engine of choice over 4-strokes for smaller applications. Because they fire at the top of every stroke they have greater torque at low rpm settings and that makes them great for getting skiers out of the water, and guess what else… pontoon boats!
"Stratified" Combustion Process.
This is one of several attributes that helps to distinguish the direct injection Evinrude E-TEC from any other 115-hp 4-stroke on the market. At idle and slow speeds, only part of the combustion chamber is used, thereby saving fuel when there are no real demands for power. The onboard computer uses just a small portion of each cylinder to provide superior fuel efficiency and ultra-low emissions.
This cutaway view of the "stratified" combustion process shows how the process uses a small amount of each cylinder to create the combustion.
Evinrude E-TEC Pontoon Series engines are designed to run cleaner while still putting out the power demanded by boaters. They have a 3-star CARB rating due to the direct injection fuel delivery process unique to Evinrude E-TECs. This translates to a smoke free environment with ultra-low fumes.
The path that the sound takes, coupled with sound reducing foam, helps to tune and reduce the noise levels making an Evinrude E-TEC among the quietest engines on the water.
More Efficient and Economical.
Evinrude E-TECs come with an onboard computer, called an EMM or Engine Management Module, that Evinrude says makes more than 8 million calculations per second (no we didn’t count them). It provides precise amounts of fuel getting delivered to the injectors so that not a drop gets wasted. But wait… there’s more.
• Quiet Operation.
Throttle bodies remain closed to 15% throttle, pulling air through an idle air bypass on the back of the plenum. The combination of the closed air intake plenum and the muffler provides quiet sound at idle speed and through the entire RPM range.
Evinrude E-TEC Injectors.
The fuel injectors on an Evinrude E-TEC work very much differently than typical plunger type injectors. Rather, they work like the speaker coils in a home stereo speaker -- where an electrical impulse can make the speaker give a barely audible tweet of a fife, or the booming resonance of a kettle drum . A wire coil goes around a magnet stack in the injector housing. Evinrude is able to define the amount of current going through the coil and causes it to oscillate and move the coil to pump fuel. An interesting feature of these injectors is that at idle they actually inject about 5 cubic millimeters per shot, which is about the size of a champagne bubble, we're told. That is part of how these engines are so fuel-efficient.
A typical Evinrude E-TEC injector with the inlets and outlets on the bottom side.
When the Evinrude E-TEC engine is shut down, a small amount of fuel remains stored between the nozzle and a check valve, so that when the engine is restarted, there’s less cranking to get to the initial fire up.
Fuel these days is not getting any better. This Evinrude E-TEC features a 10 micron water separating fuel filter, providing maximum water separation and filtration to protect against dirty or water laden fuels.
Specialized Aluminum Alloy.
This alloy was developed by NASA (yes, really!) and it’s 2.5 times stronger at operating temperatures than conventional aluminum, according to Evinrude.
No Maintenance for 3 Years or 300 Hours.
No inspections, no tuneups, no nothing…
No Break-in –
Remember having to break in an engine? Forget about it… The EMM, Evinrude E-TECs onboard computer doubles the amount of oil during the automatic break-in process, and once that time frame is achieved, cuts back to normal levels. All without any interaction from the owner.
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.
Auto winterization –
So your buddy spent hard earned bucks having his engine winterized at the end of the season, and now there’s a week of 70-degree days coming and the fish are biting. Too bad he’ll have to pay to have the engine winterized all over again if he turns the key. Not the Evinrude E-TEC owner though. Go ahead and head back out on the water. With just a sequence of key and throttle, the Evinrude E-TEC will self winterize in just four minutes.
Less Parts, No Alternator But More Alternator Output –
With a magneto system driven from the flywheel at the top of the engine, and it’s output is up to 50% higher than competing engines. The Evinrude E-TEC 115 puts out a full 133 amps, with 50 dedicated to low speed output. This means the stereo, 12V refrigerator, GPS, fishfinder, and whatever other electronics are on the boat will all run longer while still being able to offer a restart when it’s time to head back. This also means that the Evinrude E-TEC has the unique ability to keep itself running without any external power connection. Go ahead, disconnect the battery and try it.
Here’s an example of the magneto on an Evinrude E-TEC 150, which provides more charge than a belt driven alternator.
Better Grounding -
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.
Spark plug wires are covered with a metallic shroud to reduce emissions noise to the electronics.
As the ink is barely dry on the brochure for this new engine, we haven’t tested the Evinrude E-TEC 115 Pontoon Series yet, but we will be shortly and will have full specs and commentary on just how she performed and handled.
Given the fact that so many boaters are gravitating from V-hulls to pontoons, last year over 30,000 toons were sold, it seemed inevitable that someone would start dedicating resources to this market segment instead of having it cross feed from the other markets, like a remora stuck to the back of a shark.
Finally, Evinrude has broken new ground with this target-specific group and in all likelihood will grow with it.