Evinrude E-TEC 250 H.O. and Action Marine - 10/05/2012
We tested the Evinrude E-TEC 250 H.O. on an Action Marine 23 offshore two weeks ago and we were impressed by the performance numbers we got.
Capt. Steve Says...
I’ve seen bigger engines, but apparently Evinrude has gotten the hang of putting a lot into a little package. This engine had quite a bit going for it, and judging from how she performed, this one is going to serve Evinrude well for a long time to come. But before getting to the engine's performance, let’s take a look at some of the features that make this a high output engine.
"High Output" Features
The Evinrude "H.O." models not only feature outstanding performance, they also include many features exclusive to the series. For example, the test engine had a stainless steel, three bladed 14x22 propeller. It was also ventilated at the hub for improved performance. Just behind the prop is a performance gear case that’s able to withstand more abuse than the standard gear case, Evinrude engineers tell us. The motor mounts are more heavy-duty, as well. And finally, the E.M.M. or Engine Management Module has been remapped for better performance. Does it work? Let’s go over the performance figures and see.
The Evinrude E-TEC 250 H.O. system on the Action Marine 23 had fly-by-wire throttle controls which eliminates a lot of potential problems.
We had the Evinrude E-TEC 250 H.O. mounted to the stern of an Action Marine 23 Offshore, and while this isn’t a boat report, the combination was awesome. Action Marine is a very small builder (it doesn't have a web site) that makes high-performance center console boats. Our test boat had a 24-degree deadrise, a 7'8" (2.35 m) beam and a dry weight of 2,650 lbs. (1,204 kgs.). Loaded up with the 250 'Rude, full fuel, me and the cameraman, the test weight was just over 3900 lbs. (1,772 kgs.).
We recorded a top speed at 5600 rpm which was a very respectable 63.4 MPH. That gave us a fuel burn of 26.1 gph and 2.43 mpg. Dialed back to a more reserved pace, 3500 rpm showed a best cruise speed of 38.5 MPH, a fuel burn of 10.2 gph, and 3.79 mpg.
Time to plane was 3.6 seconds, and we reached 30 MPH in 7 seconds flat.
In my opinion these are all very good numbers. When it comes to fuel consumption, the historic Achilles' heel of 2-stroke engines, I think 3.79 mpg is quite competitive when compared with 4-stroke outboards.
"H.O." stands for more than just High Output - with Evinrude it also means that there is a special package of upgrades to improve the overall outboard experience.
The Evinrude E-TEC Features
The skeg is large enough, starting at 6” and increasing to 14” as it rises above the prop.
The anti-ventilation plate measures 20.5”x7” and I was surprised to see that there was no trim tab hanging underneath. Probably because in this application, it was connected to hydraulic steering so there was no feedback for the tab to counter. (Once you’ve gone to hydraulic steering, you never want to go back. But I digress.)
I love that there is an engine mounted trim switch, and even though that’s not a new or even a unique feature, this one has a limiting switch that prevents the cowling from coming into contact with a splash-well or high transom. Plus, it’s adjustable by the end user with no tools. And while the engine is tilted up, you can lower the attached trailer bracket to take the load off the hydraulics while trailering.
The main electrical harness is conveniently located, as you can see in the video, and for once, someone got the brilliant idea to mount a spare fuse right at the harness connection. Thank you, Evinrude.
At WOT the Action Marine 23 went over 63 mph on a hot day in southern Florida.
You ever get bad gas? I mean in the engine! Well, that can start an engine knock that can cause serious damage. Evinrude E-TECs come with a “knock” sensor that detects a bad burn and corrects it, saving the engine from damage, the company says.
We’ve all had senders that have had to be replaced now and then. I couldn’t help but notice that on the 250 H.O., the thermostats were easily accessible, and believe it or not, they’re replaceable with just a spark plug wrench.
Speaking of self-servicing items, the fuel filter deserves a mention. First it’s mounted with the screw attachment facing up. Some have these facing down for some reason, and when you unscrew them, they dump all over the place. These keep everything nice and tidy. The fuel filter is also a water separator, and if water does get into the system, a signal alerts you to the need for a filter change, and likely a fuel change as well.
Capt. Steve liked the handling and ride of the 24-degree deadrise Action Marine 23 and said it was a solidly built boat that could handle the square ones at speed.
Fly by Wire
The Evinrude E-TEC 250 H.O. is an easy to operate engine. It uses a system Evinrude calls I-CON. A digital throttle control sends a signal to an electronic servo that is in turn connected to the shift and throttle linkages. The result is a gentle control for both shift and speed. This is a great feature as you won’t experience cable stretch or linkage problems affecting your control travel.
The downside is if you’re one of those people like me who tend to rest your hand on the control at all times, then each bounce of the boat will result in a speed change. Small price to pay and I just moved my hand from the top of the engine control to the base, then wrapped my fingers around the shaft of the engine control and problem solved.
The digital world that this engine lives in also comes into play with the I-Command gauges. They’re multi function and totally customizable. We had three separate ones that were showing dual bits of info that we set them up for. One had engine oil temp and pressure, another showed RPM and GPH, and another showed MPH and MPG. I like that these are customizable as different operators like to have different choices on what they like to have displayed at a glance.
...or, at least “see ya later.” While nothing can eliminate corrosion in metal parts when combined with warm salt water, Evinrude has gotten on the stick to slow it to a crawl so that it takes a longer time to show itself, according to company engineers. (We have yet to test this aspect of the Evinrude engines, but we plan to.)
The company's engineers tell us that their anti-corrosion approach is a four-part process:
1. A Lyfinite treatment – this is a trademarked process and Evinrude owns the trademark. It puts the first protective coating on the metal components.
2. EDP – Electro Deposition Paint – this is based on the fundamental physics principle that opposites attract. The metal parts are charged with direct current and then immersed in a bath that has oppositely charged paint particles in it. This allows every corner, crack, and crevice to have a continuous even coating over the entire surface of the part.
3. Primer is then added.
4. Finally the finish coat.
In addition, sacrificial anodes (zincs) are added and their job is specifically to deteriorate before any other metal components.
At 3500 best cruise the test boat went 38.5 mph and got 3.79 mpg.
Now while there is still a thru-hub exhaust, there is also a pair of exhaust outlets above the waterline... one for engine exhaust and one for cooling water. The lower port is for cooling water and it comes with a “tell-tale” screwed into place. This sends a stream of water into the air to make you more visible (like a PWC) and you can direct it however you’d like. I’ve always questioned these. I can’t see a stream of water being more visible than the boat itself. On the other hand it is easy to see if your water intake is clogged up and there is no stream, I guess. With the tell-tale unscrewed, you can connect your garden hose for fresh water flush outs. That, I like.
All said, I have to say I was impressed with the Evinrude E-TEC 250 H.O. Not only was it a great performer, but it has the features that separate one engine from the other in critical areas where the rubber meets the road.
When buying an outboard motor there are seven things that seem to me that everyone should want –
*Enough power for the job
*Low maintenance costs
Because the Evinrude E-TEC has over 190 fewer parts than a conventional 4-stroke outboard engine there are a lot fewer things to go wrong, which goes a long way towards addressing the issues of reliability and longevity. The performance numbers printed above speak for themselves when it comes to fuel efficiency and power. Evinrude’s required dealer maintenance is once every 3 years or 300 hours, and the maintenance itself is basic. The company offers a three-year warranty.
Taken together, all of that is a strong recommendation in itself.