Recently, we followed a repower that took a pair of ’07 Evinrude 250’s and replaced them, along with the controls and gauges, with a pair of brand new Evinrude E-TEC G2 300's. In effect, this boat went from a 3.3L older technology outboard putting out 250-hp to a 3.4L all-new technology engines putting out 300-hp. Let’s take a look at one man’s journey toward getting the boat of his dreams... again.
The boat to be repowered was a 2007 Hydrasports 2900 CC, a premium level center console that was in meticulous shape, inside and out. For the owner, the decision to invest money in his boat was an easy one. He loved the boat, used it a lot -- 1200 hours in eight years -- and kept it in great shape. There wasn’t so much as a blemish on the upholstery, and the gelcoat looked like it just came from the factory.
The HydraSports 2900 CC is a big boat. She has a 9'8" beam, a high freeboard, and had a test weight of over 10,000 lbs.
But its performance was not keeping up with the newer kids on the block. Its handling was sometimes difficult, acceleration was okay but not remarkable, and top speed was on the low side. Worse still, the fuel burn was negatively impacted by years of use and older technology. Let’s take a look at how she fared in a preliminary performance evaluation.
Our test boat had a pair of Evinrude 250s with 1,200 hours. They were turning a set of 14 ¾ x 19 Viper 3-bladed SS props.
We reached a top speed of 36.4 mph at 5200 rpm. At that speed we were burning a combined 42 gph that translated into a range of 234 statute miles.
Best cruise came in at 4000 rpm and 26.9 mph. That speed produced our best economy with a 24.1 gph fuel burn that allowed us to keep going for 301 statute miles with a 10% fuel reserve.
These numbers explain why the owner decided to repower: marginal top speed, increased fuel burn, and lackluster acceleration.
The Handling Isn’t Much to Write Home About Either. Most notably, the boat exhibited a tendency to porpoise. By putting the trim tabs almost all the way down and trimming the engine, that tendency could be eliminated for a smooth ride, but at some cost.
As for the helm, we have an old set of mechanical controls with push/pull cables that really offers nothing but shift and throttle. There wasn’t even a function to synchronize the two engines, so the throttle levers were never really set together to get a matched speed; they’re always offset from each other.
Further, the cables were so worn that it took some strength to get them to move. And they were sticky. So much so that we had to use more of a lift on the sticks than a push, considering the angle that the controls were mounted at in the first place. So these things needed to go.
There was a triple set of I-Command gauges that were still functional but an upgrade would be helpful. The steering worked fine and was connected to Sea Star hydraulic steering that felt stiff. Clearly, we had work to do.
The first step is to pick what we want for the new power. That decision all comes down to how much for how fast. After wrangling with the decision our guy settled on going from old Evinrude 250s to a set of new Evinrude E-TEC G2 300’s. He came to that decision because he knew about the engineering that had gone into the all-new E-TEC G2 design.
The new Evinrude E-TEC G2 300s were designed from scratch a couple of years ago by Evinrude working in concert with the University of Wisconsin to develop what is the most advanced and sophisticated outboard engine design on the market. Old direct-injection engines were generally re-worked versions of existing carbureted blocks. But the E-TEC G2 is a whole new block and engine designed around the direct injection system.
Innovative Design. Combining computer-modeling at the University of Wisconsin with its wealth of empirical engine data, Evinrude engineers were able to create a combustion chamber that could maximize power and fuel efficiency. By carefully designing the location, size, and shape of the intake and exhaust ports; the shape of the piston and cylinder head; the timing, direction and amount of the fuel spray, the spark that ignites the explosion, and the exhaust exit of the burned gas after the explosion, Evinrude was able to achieve remarkable fuel efficiency, virtually complete combustion, and the lowest emissions in the industry.
First, it was time to pull all the old material out of the boat starting with the old engines. With those gone, we could pull the controls, cables, old control binnacle, and since the new engines have their own onboard oil, we could pull out the oil reservoirs that were mounted in the boat.
Next the re-power crew focused on the helm where they not only removed the old controls, they also ditched the old gauges. The E-TEC G2 engines have their own steering units, so the old Sea Star rams were no longer needed.
The new engines were bolted on, new gauges were put in that included a pair of new Icon Pro 3.5 units and a 4” (10.16 cm) Simrad digital unit. New Icon II Premium controls were added that incorporates a whole host of features that includes cruise assist, engine sync, and single lever operations.
By the time the job was done, there was a cleaner looking console, and an even cleaner looking engine well.
WOT FUEL CONSUMPTION
0.9 MPG to 1.1 MPG
Astonishingly, we went from a top speed of 36.4 mph with the old engines to 52.7 mph. That’s nearly 45% faster. But at what cost? Fuel consumption at top speed went from 42 gph to 48 gph, an increase of just 14.3% for 45% more speed with the resulting 22.2% increase in miles per gallon.
1.1 MPG to 1.5 MPG
RANGE at BEST CRUISE
301 S. MILES to 406 S. MILES
And Now for Best Cruise. We went from 26.9 mph at 4000 RPM burning 24.1 gph to 19 mph at 3000 burning 12.7 gph. While best cruise was not as fast 19 mph vs 26 mph -- speed is not the objective when successful bluewater fishing trips often depend on range. And with the new E-TEC G2 300s her max cruising range increased from 301 statute miles to 406 statute miles, both with a 10% fuel reserve.
Remarkable Range. 406 statute mile range means most of the Bahamas are within range from Nassau, and that anglers from Miami can go over to The Tongue of the Ocean, troll around for a day or two, stay at a nearby resort, and come back on a single load of fuel. The boat looks great with the new E-TEC G2’s hanging off the transom, and the excitement level grows as the boat rides the forklift towards its re-launch.
How About More Cruising Speed? For coastal cruising when maximizing range is not so important, most anglers we know would like to be going faster than 19 mph. When we compare the old engine’s best cruising speed of 26.9 mph with the new E-TEC G2s at 26.7 mph, we once again see that the new E-TECs blow away the old engines by a wide margin in fuel consumption -- 1.1 mpg to 1.4 mpg for an improvement of 36.4%
OLD ENGINES 4000 RPM -- 26.9 MPH -- 1.1 MPG
NEW ENGINES 3500 RPM -- 26.7 MPH -- 1.5 MPG
36.4% Better Fuel Economy
The reasons why we are seeing such improvements are several.
As it turns out, the handling was greatly improved as well. That porpoising habit that the boat had that required heavy use of tabs was gone. Now, because we were able to actually apply engine trim to the boat, we were able to achieve a whole new level of speeds and performance. It’s literally handling like a new boat.
We attribute the improved stability to the fact that the total engine weight went from 1,006 lbs. (456.31 kg) to 1,074 lbs. (487.16 kg). The new engines are offset another 4” (10.16 cm) further back on the transom, and the 4’-bladed props are giving more of a bite. All that combined help keep the bow up and more stable.
The engine controls made RPM adjustment considerably smoother. The steering still had the nine turns from lock-to-lock but that was more of a function of the steering system that still existed at the helm. The internal hydraulic steering on the engines themselves served to eliminate the clutter in the engine well and also allowed us to adjust the feedback to desired parameters. For our application, it got stiffer as lower speeds and eased up at higher speeds.
Of course, none of this makes sense unless we can justify the expenditure and for that, we have to know the cost. Evinrude offers control packages at several price points. For this application the MSRP was $62,912 and with dealer incentives (-$13,435) the price was lowered to $49,477.
For that, our repower boat owner got a whole new performance experience and much better fuel burn. Of course, these are the top-of-the-line engines, so they’re the most expensive. Smaller 150-hp G2s will run between $16k and $17k each, so there’s definitely some room for doing math before the process begins.
Things that can drive the price up are the options. Some to consider are the controls.
If you’re not happy with the controls on your boat, you have three choices:
Keeping the old control binnacle is another option, but there’s a caveat. The new engines are controlled by digital inputs, not push/pull cables. But not to worry, Evinrude has created a work-around.
The existing cables are taken out of the engine and moved to the interior of the boat where they then connect to a digital controller. It allows for a push/pull cable to attach to a slider that then sends a signal to a sensor. Connect that sensor, actually sensors… one for shift and one for throttle, to the engine with plugs and just like that, your old mechanical controller is directing your digitally controlled engine. And it works so well that we even lose the feedback from our old controller. This new control box retails for $950 per engine.
This entire process was done by a man that puts a LOT of hours on his boat, upwards of 150 hrs/yr. And that alone made the decision to upgrade the power plants an easy one. He’ll reap the benefits in fuel savings alone in a matter of years. On top of that, he has far greater speed and better handling.
For others, the math has to work, but whatever the case may be, it’s still far less expensive than getting a new boat. And for most of us, that’s the deciding factor right there. Further, it is hard to put a price tag on the joy of having a sweet running boat with an engine that is low maintenance (no scheduled maintenance for 5 years), auto winterization/storage, and has a 5-year warranty, among other attributes.
Greater Resale Value. Obviously the general condition of the boat is important and this one was in fine condition, making her and ideal candidate for repowering. For all practical purposes she is actually better than new.