BoatTEST was contacted to do before and after tests on this boat to memorialize the repowering process on the boat, and to be an independent third party reporter of the performance characteristics of the boat before and after the repower operation.
First thing we did was to do a performance evaluation to get a baseline to measure those results by.
The 2007 EdgeWater had at least an empty weight of 6,500 lbs. (2948 kg). With 50 gallons (189 L) of fuel, and three people on board, it was estimated that the test weight would be 8,529 lbs. (3,869 kg). The props were installed with Yamaha’s Saltwater series 2 21” units.
WOT. With the twin 250 Yamahas spooled up to 6000 rpm, a top speed was reached at 49.9 mph (80.31 kph).
The best cruise came in at 4000 rpm at 27.2 mph (43.77 kph). At that speed, the 38.5 gph fuel burn translated to .7 miles per gallon (mpg) and a range of 190 miles (305.78 km).
It’s pretty easy to see why this owner was considering a repower. This should be a boat that gets into the 50s with its twin 250s. Its best cruise number should also be at least in the mid 30s, and she had lackluster acceleration and reached planing speed at 5.6 seconds, accelerated to 20 mph in 8.1, and didn’t hit 30 until 12.2 seconds. Clearly, the engines were tired.
Poor Handling. It’s hard to not notice the sluggish maneuverability. She took forever to turn, the steering was stiff and the props ventilated in all but the gentlest turns.
1. The first things to go are the cables, and the old controllers since the new engines are fly-by-wire. This is done with mechanical muscle by hooking on the old engines, draining the fluids, and unbolting them from the transom.
2. The mess in the engine well can go, too. The new E-TEC G2s have integrated hydraulic steering, so they don’t need external steering arms and hoses. The old brackets were pulled since the new engines mount right to the transom on integrated brackets.
3. In addition to losing the controls and gauges, one beverage holder was repurposed for the iDock joystick. It’s a simple plug and play device but the square peg won’t fit in the round hole. To fix this, a template was lined up and trimmed, a backing plate was fabricated, smoothed, and then secured into position.
4. Diagnostics Come Next. Naturally, the same thing is done with the digital controls in the binnacle which are also plug and play. The same sort of gauges won’t work for this new panel, so a new panel was easily fabricated for the sub panel below the main display screens. Then the new 4.3” (10.92 cm) ICON touchscreen was unpacked, and then fitted into place.
With this we can monitor both engines, fuel tanks, water tanks, batteries, and use it to access intelligent features, like iTrim automatic trimming. One can adjust the assist level of power steering, and even winterize the engines at the touch of a button.
5. Back at the transom, backing plates were fastened to bolts and an adhesive sealant was added before inserting into the transom. The bolts were tightened and the process repeated. Once installed, now comes the rigging process.
There are no more cables, since everything is digital and with NEMA 2000 compliant, so it was just a matter of wire runs from the components to the helm. Connecting the batteries to the engines, of course, took larger gauge wiring, but it all runs through the same conduits for a clean installation. The only manual connections are the fuel line and the two battery connections; everything else was networked. Finally, while the steering was integral, it still required a hydraulic connection.
Now with the new 300 E-TEC G2s into place, it was time to put them to the test and see how they performed. Naturally there couldn’t be an apple to apples comparison seeing as how we went from old 250s to new 300s, but this is about determining whether this sort of repower is right for the owner. And, also, to get an idea of the magnitude of the performance improvement that could be expected.
With the twin Evinrude E-TEC G2s turning 22 Rebel propellers, the 2007 Edgewater reached a top speed of 52 mph (83.6 kph) at 5750 rpm, which is an increase of 13%. Fuel consumption actually dropped for the higher speed on these new engines from 69.5 gph total from the old Yamaha engines, to 49.9 gph (263.1 lph to 188.7 lph) on the new Evinrude E-TEC G2 300s, a savings of 19.6 gph or 28%.
Best cruise for the Yamaha 250s came in at 27.2 mph (43.7 kph), while the E-TECs were at 38.6 mph (62.1 kph). Nearly 42% faster at best economy. The fuel burn dropped way down as well. From 38.5 gph (145 lph) to 27.6 gph (104.5 lph), a 28.3% savings per hour. That allowed the EdgeWater to nearly double the range from 190 miles to 377 miles (306.4 km to 607.7 km), with the same 300-gallon (1,136 L) tank.
Now do the math and the savings really add up, especially for someone who uses their boat a lot. Let’s see – save 10.9 gallons (41.2 L) per hour at best cruise, times $4.00 per gallon at the marina, times 100 hours usage a year, equals $4,360 in fuel savings per year.
If the owner of the EdgeWater kept his boat just 5 years, we would save $21,800 in fuel.
The high low-end torque of the 2-stroke Evinrudes pays off here as with them the boat was 2.4 seconds faster to plane – that’s 42% faster. And the Evinrude rig was also faster to 20 and 30 mph as can be seen in the picture above.
Then there’s iDock, allowing for joystick maneuvering at the dock. It works excellently, allows for precision directional control and really takes a lot of the work out of docking, especially in challenging conditions. It’s an easy system to use. Just push the power button on the joystick to activate it.
iDock is the Best Joystick Deal on the Market. Outboard engines from virtually any brand cost about the same. But their joystick systems don’t. Engine makers know repower and new boat buyers want a joystick, so they keep the price artificially high. Evinrude charges only $5,999. So, when comparing total cost of repower between one brand and another, repowering with an Evinrude rig with joystick will almost always be substantially less.
Now these are inarguably some impressive improvement numbers, and if range, economy, and improved handling were the goal, then this repower would be a no brainer. But we have to balance the cost of the conversion with the savings of fuel. So, let’s look at it.
Cost. For this job, the total cost was $49,900 all in – including the iDock joystick and all labor. Is someone going to save that much in fuel? He’d have to run about 10,000 hours, so it’s not all about the savings – but that’s not the end of the story.
Found Income. The two used Yamaha engines have value because they still run and while they are far from optimal, they are certainly serviceable. There’s a market for old 4-stroke outboard engines, and while it may vary around the country, we’ve seen a 2007 Yamaha 250s on BoatTrader.com for $18,000 a pair.
Increased Resale Value of the Boat. And, certainly the EdgeWater 318 CC is worth far more money with brand new 300-hp engines than it was with the tired old 250s. Our guess is that it should make the boat worth $20,000 to $30,000 more on the used boat market, depending on how long the owner keeps the boat before she is sold, and how many hours are on the engine.
We recently compared two 2008 Edgewater 318s and the one with 300 fewer hours on it was selling for $20,000 more.
Savings. We have already calculated that if the owner runs his boats 100 hours a year at best cruise, and he keeps the boat for five years, he banks $21,800 in fuel savings alone.
Then there is the cost of regularly scheduled maintenance required on virtually all 4-stroke engines. What does an annual trip to the dealer mean in terms of cost? And in the north, that will also include winterization. Our experience is that trips to dealers are always more expansive than we figured they would be. Call it $500 per year, to give dealers the benefit of the doubt. That is another $2,500 in savings.
The Bottom Line. What all of this means is that that if the boat after repower is kept for five years in good shape, the income from the used engines, higher resale value of the boat, and the savings in fuel and scheduled maintenance and winterizations could break an owner even on the cost of the repower. Amazing, but true.
But repowering is not only about money, it’s also about rejuvenating a boat that you love, that fits like a comfortable pair of jeans. This owner also got an updated panel, new digital controls with a bunch of new features, and with her new integrated steering system she handles much better, is much more responsive, and in the turns, shows no ventilation.