Two years ago Evinrude introduced a pair of new engines that were designed to hit the mid-horsepower range of the outboard market which was primarily fishing boats. The new engines were specifically designed for boaters who wanted to repower, but didn’t want the initial expense of a 150-hp engine. The new engines were also intended to address new boat sales in the 16’ to 23’ range where 40% of all outboard boats are sold. The resulting products were the Evinrude 130-hp and 115HO V-4 E-TEC 2-stroke engines. But the timing of the introduction of these two new engines couldn’t have been worse, thanks to the world economic meltdown and resulting recession during the 2008-09 seasons. But now, as the world’s economies slowly climb back toward normality, and boaters move their new-boat buying and repower plans to the front burner, it is time to once again take a look at these two powerful, mid-range engines.
We tested the Evinrude 130-hp E-TEC and came up with some pretty surprising results.
One of the advantages of being the last out with a new product is the ability to see what your competition has done, and do them all one or two better. To a great degree that is what Evinrude has done with its 115HO and 130 E-TEC models. Because the new engine is 2-stroke the most obvious area where it could clock the competition was in the all-important parameter of weight.
The Evinrude 115 E-TEC has a dry weight of 375 lbs. (170 kgs.) which is the same weight as a competitive 2-stroke engine, but from 24 lbs. (10.9 kgs.) to 121 lbs. (55 kgs.) lighter than 4-stroke 115-hp models on the market.
When it comes to the 130-hp Evinrude, the weight difference is even more striking – the Evinrude 130 is lighter than all of them, because there aren’t any others! This important “sweet spot” has been abrogated by the two biggest engine makers who let their 150-hp models cover this important range. It is easy for the ‘Rude 130 to be lighter than the 150s by from anywhere from 93 lbs. (42.27 kgs.) to 135 lbs. 61.36 kgs.) In most parts of the world that could be the weight of one genuine adult angler.
Because the Evinrude 2-stroke engine has over 190-fewer parts than most 4-stroke outboards, it is easy for any 2-stroke engine to be lighter. In the case of the Evinrude 115 and 130 models, the weight savings equals from 6% to 10% less than all but one of the 115-hp outboard competitors, and up to 20% less weight when the 130 is compared to the 150s.
That one important product detail – less weight -- cascades into a whole series of advantages for the Evinrude 115HO and 130 engines – higher top speed and more fuel efficiency (all things being equal), to say nothing of fewer parts to break or wear out, and therefore lower maintenance requirements.
Because the Evinrude engines are 2-stroke they have twice as many power strokes than do 4-stroke engines and that, along with the gear ratio in the 115HO and 130 20”-shaft units of 2.00:1 gives these engines tremendous torque to the prop. In fact, they have a reputation for having “a lot of bottom-end grunt,” said one prop expert, even when over-propped. This translates into fast hole shots for fishermen and an easier start up for skiers.
At around 4,000 RPMs the tuned exhaust of the 115HO and 130 engines open a valve to retune the exhaust, resulting in another burst of speed. This phenomenon was experienced by our testing captain recently and we have captured it on video. Evinrude says that its tuned exhaust system “brings alive” the engine and is worth another 10 horsepower, effectively giving the 115HO ‘Rude more hp than any other engine in class. We’ll be testing the 115HO to see if that is true.
Boaters considering repowering must carefully consider what they are doing. Until the last 10 to 15 years or so, boats were designed for the weight of 2-stroke outboards. Putting a heavier 4-stroke engine on an older boat designed for a lighter engine is likely to move the boat’s CG aft and harm performance.
The Evinrude 130-hp engine in particular also gives boaters at the large end of its boat-size range the option of going with twins rather than a single 250 engine and thereby have built-in redundancy for offshore work and peace of mind. Because of the dramatic improvement in fuel economy of the new generation of E-TEC Evinrude engines over the old 2-stroke technologies of all the brands, Evinrude 115HO and 130 engines are on virtually everyone’s short list of outboard models when considering repowering.
While the Evinrude 130-hp engine will not push a boat as fast as a 150, neither will it burn as much fuel. Evinrude claims that typically their 130-hp engine will burn 12 gph at WOT, compared with 16 gph on the same boat at WOT with a 150-hp engine. If true, that is a whopping 25% fuel savings in exchange for five to seven mph less in top-end speed. That is a trade-off that many boaters will consider.
Perhaps the most dramatic difference in operating expense of the Evinrude 2-stroke engines over 4-strokes is its very light required maintenance schedule. There is no break-in period required for Evinrude E-TEC motors and the first dealer-scheduled maintenance does not come until 3 years or 300 hours of operation has been reached. Then, after that, the next time to see a dealer for maintenance is in another 3 years or 300 engine hours. The NMMA says that the average boater only runs his engines 75 hours to 100 hours a year, and in that case, the engine won’t need a trip to the dealer for three years. It doesn’t get much better than that.
Because Evinrude has such faith in its product, it has a standard 3-year warranty, which is “non-declining.” That means that the engine value, and the value of its parts, are not reduced over the 300 hours by the number of hours used if there is a warranty issue. During certain promotions we have seen Evinrude’s warranty period even longer.
Check out our new tests of boats with Evinrude engines...