Lean, clean, green machines

Jason Hall/Chris Beattie | VOLUME 21, ISSUE 1

Evinrude takes the wraps off its new E-Tec range

BRP/Evinrude has put a lot of effort into research and development in recent times, specifically in the areas of combustion efficiency, fuel economy, emissions, weight reduction and noise output on its range of two-stroke outboards. And the company has scored a few goals along the way, driven by the launch of its E-Tec injection technology three years ago.

The company chose Surfers Paradise recently to bring the media up to date on developments, launching some new engines and explaining the benefits of its most recent advances in fuel injection and exhaust systems.

Understandably, the company was keen to trumpet its environmental credentials. According to Evinrude, its E-Tec range now boasts the lowest reportable emissions levels of all outboard technologies, complying with the California Air Resources Board (CARB) 3-star rating as well as the EPA 2006 and European Union standards. The company is also the only outboard manufacturer to have received the US EPA’s Clean Air Excellence Award.

For 2006, Evinrude offers a broad selection of engines, from 40hp up to 250hp. Engine configurations vary from the smaller capacity twin-cylinder rigs (40, 50 and 60hp), triple cylinder engines (75 and 90hp), V4 (115hp) onto the existing and newer V6 platforms, with power outputs of 150, 175, 200, 225 and 250hp.

WIDE OPEN FROM SCRATCH

Features of the new line-up include an impressive 300-hour or three-year, no scheduled maintenance period for new engines, with no running-in required. This means owners can run at WOT right from the showroom, with no need to nurse their engines for the initial few hours. According to Paul Dawson, Service Training Manager at BRP, this is possible due to extremely accurate manufacturing processes that ensure much more consistent parts tolerances, allied with a special lubrication system that increases oil supply for the critical first few hours of engine life. A special boron-nitrite bore honing process also ensures that oil is always present to lubricate the pistons and cylinders, thus prolonging engine life.

The E-Tec direct injection has also come in for some attention, with a new injector that delivers more pressure and flow as well as being 25 per cent quieter – contributing to a not insignificant reduction in overall engine noise, according to the company. The injection system runs in two modes – Homogenous (above 1800rpm) and Stratified, for low-rpm operation. In Stratified mode – as in, trolling speeds – the ratio of fuel to air is significantly reduced, offering much improved fuel economy and emissions, says Evinrude.

All 2006 V4 and V6 injected powerplants also boast Evinrude’s I-Command CAN Bus interface, which links the engine management system to dash instruments, displays and diagnostics, allowing all relevant engine functions to be monitored at the touch of a button. The Evinrude system talks to any NEMA 2000-compatible unit such as those from Lowrance, Furuno, Ray Marine and Garmin.

New, high-capacity alternators churn out a total of 50amps from 2000rpm to WOT, while a healthy 15amps is available from idle.

With regard to specific models, beginning with the twin-cylinder range, the 60hp model is fitted with a new one-piece exhaust housing, thus eliminating 20 parts from the old design. Apart from reducing weight, the new design also provides better exhaust tuning, which is critical to two-stroke engine performance, says Evinrude. The new system also incorporates a solenoid-controlled water injector that sprays water (800cc per minute) into the exhaust chamber, reducing gas temperature and improving mid-range torque. According to supplied graphs, this improvement is quite considerable and does its job from approximately 2000 to 4700 rpm.

The 75 and 90hp models share the same inline 3-cylinder 1295cc power heads and high-output alternators, while weighing in at 145kg.

The 1726cc, 60-degree V4 115hp engine weighs in at 167kg and boasts a unique variable exhaust valve that is controlled by the engine computer in order to provide a broader, flatter torque curve.

Moving onto the new-for-2006 ‘small block’ V6 60-degree powerheads with a displacement of 2589cc, the choices are 150, 175 and 200hp, with a 150hp HO (High Output) included. These engines weigh 190kg and boast the new high-output alternators.

HO OPTION

To clear up any confusion with regard to the HO designation (used also on variants of Evinrude’s 200 and 225hp ‘big block’, 90-degree engines), it needs to be understood that the company typically errs on the high side when it comes to rating its engine outputs. US regulations demand that outboard manufacturers keep within a 10 per cent margin, up or down, of the actual labelled horsepower of any given powerplant. So, while Evinrude’s 60-degree V6 range comprises two 150hp-rated engines, the HO version actually comes close to producing 165hp at the prop, while the standard 150 is much closer to its labelled rating. In addition, the HO variants also come with a special ‘Lightning’ gearbox and contoured skeg, which allows the engine to be mounted higher, thus generating less drag and making for more top speed in applications where all-out speed is the prime consideration, such as in US-style bass fishing.

As for the big boys – the 90-degree V6 powerheads displacing 3279cc – power options are 200 HO, 225 and 225 HO and 250hp. These guys weigh in from 231 to 240kg, depending on configuration, and also have the high-output alternators.

The 200 HO, as mentioned, is tuned to produce around 218hp at the prop, while its lighter, 60-degree stablemate comes in much closer to 200hp.

Further up the scale, the 225 standard motor churns out approximately 232 at the prop, while the 225 HO is tuned to a much more hairy-chested 249hp. The range-topping 250 come in at around its rated 250hp, but minus the high-performance Lightning gearbox option.

While Evinrude had a number of boats from a variety of manufacturers available on the day to evaluate its E-Tec line-up, prevailing conditions and time constraints made it difficult to give definitive performance and economy comparisons. One of the most impressive match-ups, though, was the 150hp engine mated to Haines Hunter’s ProStrike competition fishing platform. This combo blurred the scenery fairly spectacularly, with speeds over 90km/h, while the whole rig remained rigidly glued to the water, even during full-throttle turns.

One thing I can vouch for is that the 2006 range is very quiet and smooth and, with Evinrude’s claims of environmental friendliness, it would seem that the E-Tec two-stroke range is powering into a bright, green future in Australia.

For more information, cruise to: www.evinrude.com, or visit your nearest Evinrude/BRP dealer.


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