Evinrude - E-TEC 50-hp
Weighing in at 250 lbs. (113 kg.) and hailing from Sturtevant, WI, is the Evinrude E-TEC 50-hp. It's had an outstanding season putting all of its 52.7ccs to work plying the waters of the world. It's not an engine that you'll put on a fiberglass bowrider, but as for an aluminum fishing boat, it's downright ideal. That's why when it came time to test the Evinrude E-TEC 50-hp we sought out it's ideal match, a 16'4" (4.98 m) aluminum fishing boat.
Our test boat had an empty weight of 895 lbs. (406 kg.), and with our Evinrude E-TEC 50-hp, 10 gallons (37.8 L) of gas, two people and test gear we had a test weight of 1,580 lbs. (716.7 kg).
We reached a top speed at 5600 rpm of 29.6 mph. At that speed we were burning 4.7 gph and getting 6.36 mpg for a range of 114 miles.
Best cruise came in at 4000 rpm and 19.2 mph where we were burning only 2.1 gph. That translated into a whopping 9.16 mpg for a range of 165 miles. Time to plane was 3 seconds and we reached 20 mph in 6.4 seconds.
Aside from the great performance and economy, there are really a lot of impressive features about this Evinrude E-TEC 50-hp. Let's take a look at some of the standouts.
The two Evinrude E-TEC injectors work very much like the speaker coils in your home stereo. 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 cause 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. That is part of why these engines are so fuel efficient.
At shutdown, there's fuel stored between the nozzle and a check valve, and that fuel will allow you to do a one-pull start next time you go to run your engine.
The onboard 2 quart oil tank is set up so that you will be able to run a minimum of 30 hours on the standard oil. If you switch the engine EMM (computer) to the premium oil, you can easily double that. The reasoning is that Evinrude wanted to have the capacity to carry the engine through an average season for the average operator without having to refill. Clearly, your results may vary.
The vapor separator pressurizes the fuel system and sends 30 PSI to the fuel injectors. In this manner Evinrude is able to eliminate the need for a fuel pump. The vapor separators on all Evinrude E-TECs are water cooled.
The mechanical linkage is a common architecture throughout the Evinrude E-TEC range. It's extremely easy to swap out to a tiller control. If you purchase a tiller kit, you plug into the same connectors in the control box and you use the same links to connect to the mechanics. The neutral lockout is actually on the power head making a tiller conversion even easier than you would normally find. The tiller is in effect, plug and play. Remove two bolts from the front and you run the cables through. Longer cables allow you to control remotely from the helm.
So part of what confuses people with small, or large for that matter, outboards is how to determine what shaft length you need. Our Evinrude E-TEC 50 was a 20", and that measurement is taken as a length from the top of the transom to the top of the anti-ventilation plate. Now you can start to see the logic of why builders will notch a lower portion of their transom to accommodate an engine.
Taking a look at the lower unit shows a clear view of the sacrificial zinc that is designed to deteriorate before the other metal components of the engine. It is easily replaceable, and should be if you see that yours is eaten away, or missing. Behind the zinc are the six holes that make up the water dump. This is the cooling water for the engines-water cooled components. The intakes are just below. At the bottom is the skeg that is designed to provide directional stabilization as well as protection for the prop. This gearcase is actually modeled after their commercial grade engine, providing maximum durability and cooling for heavy usage situations. Also note the larger size of the gearcase, definitely not your normal "50-hp" design, which is standard and will work exceptionally well on displacement hulls and absolutely shine on a pontoon application where larger props create much better control and thrust.
The EMM or Engine Management Module is basically the brain of the engine. It's divided into two halves, with the voltage regulation and battery charging done in the bottom half, the remainder of the engine control is done at the top half. The high-current drive circuitry is in the water-cooled passage in between. And yes, I did say "water-cooled", just as your computer needs to be cooled with a fan, this computer circuitry is cooled by flowing water through and acting as a heat exchange.
The starter is connected to the flywheel and activated by a high power solenoid. In this manner, the starter engages with a "bang" rather than a casual "clunk". This will ensure that you have positive starts, no problems with a sticking starter, and mainly it's the reason that Evinrude's starters are good for so many thousands of starts.
Whether buying a new boat, or re-powering an old one, you owe it to yourself to explore the advantages of bolting an Evinrude E-TEC onto the transom.