CAPTAIN’S REPORT: BOATTEST.COM REVIEW EVINRUDE E-TEC 135 H.O.
Evinrude’s E-TEC 135 H.O. has a weight of 433 lbs. (196 kg) and a shaft length of 25” (63.5 cm). It’s also available in 20” (50.8 cm) versions that weigh 418 lbs. (190 kg).
The mission of the Evinrude E-TEC 135 H.O. is to be a workhorse providing high-performance, competitive fuel economy, and very low maintenance over the lifetime of the engine — which should be greater than normal because the engine is de-tuned. Further, the 135 H.O. is designed to provide high-torque that can handle heavily-loaded boats in both saltwater and freshwater applications across a wide range of boat types.
Distinguishing Features of the Evinrude E-TEC 135 H.O.
• 148 Horsepower? It is not often discussed, but the Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE) has long had a provision whereby the actual horsepower of an engine can be off by as much as 10% from the rated number and still quality. (This is because it is very difficult and expensive to get individual internal combustion engines to have exactly the same horsepower output for even those that are identical. Remember, this is 19th century technology).
That not only means that a 135-hp engine could actually have 122-hp and still be called a 135-hp model, it also means that it can have as much as 10% more horsepower, yet still be rated at 135. Evinrude has purposely made sure that the Evinrude E-TEC 135 H.O. is on the high side. It has actually been de-tuned very little and we are told by techs at the factory that the engine produces nearly 150 hp. That is why it carries the “H.O.” (High Output) designation — it is, indeed, quite high.
• 50% More Displacement. At 158 cubic inches (2,589 cc), the Evinrude E-TEC 135 H.O. has 50% more displacement than does the Evinrude E-TEC 115-hp (105 cu. in./1728 cc) model even though it is rated for only 17% more horsepower. Similarly, it has from 9% to 71% more displacement than all other 2-stroke and 4-stroke 115-hp engines on the market.
• Double-Fast on Plane for its Rating. It is well known that 2-stroke engines are generally faster on plane than 4-stroke engines because every stroke is a power stroke, a benefit that every Evinrude engine has. In the case of the Evinrude E-TEC 135 H.O., since it has the cubic inch displacement of a 150-hp engine, it has a second way to create greater torque at the low rpm range.
• High-Performance Gear Case. In the 20″ shaft length models that are often used in bass boats or other types of boats that might have the prop come out of the water at high speeds in choppy conditions, Evinrude has fitted a high-performance, stronger gear case to these units. The 25″ model has the standard gear case because it is unlikely to be abused in this way.
• More Amp Output for Accessories. The Evinrude E-TEC 135 H.O. puts out 133 Amps, of which 83 Amps are used to provide ignition spark and run the other aspects of the engine such as the EMM and the fuel injection system, and 50 Amps are left over to run the electronic accessories on the boat and recharge the batteries. In fact, when we look at both 115-hp and 150-hp engines among all competitors we find that their engines produce from 25 Amps to 60 Amps in total, leaving far less power for other on-board duties.
Evinrude E-TEC 135 H.O. Performance Test
We have tested the Evinrude E-TEC 135 H.O. on a 20’1” (6.12 m) deckboat with a loaded test weight of 3,573 lbs. (1,621 kgs.). This is an ideal application for the Evinrude E-TEC 135 H.O. because deckboats are typically used for towing watersports as well as for cruising protected waters. The key test number for towing was 4.4 seconds time-to-plane and 7.4 seconds from 0 to 20 mph.
Top speed for the test was 41.4 mph with a fuel burn of 13.5 gph. Best cruise was measured to be at 3500 rpm and 22.7 mph. That reduced setting showed us getting a fuel burn of 5.6 gph. With a typical 52 gallon (197 L) fuel tank that translates into an endurance of just under 8 ½ hours while still holding back a 10% reserve.
When cruising a lake in the evening with a crowd aboard at just under 5 mph, she burns .5 gallons (1.89 L) per hour.
Appropriate Applications for the Evinrude E-TEC 135 H.O.
The Evinrude E-TEC 135 H.O. has a broad range of applications from boats as small as 17′ (5.18 m) in a single engine configuration to, perhaps, 22′ (6.71 m). Some of the obvious boats appropriate for this engine are–
Entry-Level Sportboats. For the last 45 years or so “entry-level” sportboats have typically been powered by the smallest sterndrive engines available, 183 cubic inches (3.0 L) 4-stroke engines developing 135-hp and weighing 1,040 lbs. (455 kgs.). Boats from 16′ to 19′ (4.87 to 5.79 m) often have this small marinized automotive engine as standard equipment.
However, these days more and more builders are designing sportboats and deckboats in the 16′ to 23′ range (5.18 to 6.7 m) to be powered with outboard engines instead of sterndrives. Nowhere is this trend more promising than in the low end of the range. That gives boaters a greater choice of not only the type of power, but more horsepower options as well.
The Evinrude E-TEC 135 H.O. is an ideal replacement for boats that traditionally had small sterndrives as standard. Not only does the Evinrude E-TEC 135 H.O. provide the same horsepower, because it is 2-stoke it develops powerful low-end torque. An added benefit is that because the engine is not longer inside the boat, more space is available for guests and more comfortable moving around aboard.
Deckboats and sportboats usually have the shallow draft and weight characteristics that are appropriate for the 20′ shaft version of the Evinrude E-TEC 135 H.O. Water skiers and wakeboarders will appreciate the quick hole-shot times. Once again, low weight and high-torque at the low-end pay off in lower bow rise.
Bass boats are good candidates for the Evinrude E-TEC 135 H.O., especially the lighter aluminum ones, which should reach speeds in the mid 50s if they are on the light side, depending on beam, bottom shape and prop geometry.
Multi-species boats are typically lighter and WOT speeds in the high 40s can be expected for boats weighing something on the order of 1,500 lbs. (681.8 kgs.). For example, the techs at Evinrude have tested the Evinrude E-TEC 135 H.O. outboard on a popular brand aluminum 17’3″ (5.26 m) fishing boat with a 7’9″ (2.36 m) beam and a dry weight of 1,450 lbs. (659 kgs.).
They recorded a WOT speed of 47.7 mph with a 14-1/2″ x 19″ prop which was obviously fitted for high-end performance. Interestingly, according to the techs, the boat also performed very well from 0-to-plane at 3.1 seconds.
A fiberglass fishing boat that Evinrude tested which was about the same size, but weighed about 400 lbs. more (1,850 lbs/840 kgs.) had a WOT speed of 44 mph and a best cruise of 29.6 mph getting 4.5 mpg.
Pontoon boats are also good candidates for the Evinrude E-TEC 135 H.O. to drive them in the mid 30 mph range if they are tri-toons, and in the mid to high 20s if they are twin toons. Remember that twin-toon pontoon boats are harder to push. We would usually recommend that those wishing to tow skiers or wake boarders opt for a tri-toon, but the powerful low-end torque of the Evinrude E-TEC 135 H.O. may make that a harder decision.
Because this e-tuned high-output engine has so much low-end torque it has the power to both bush a twin toon through the water and get a wakeboarder up as well.
WOT speed of the tri-toon tested by the Evinrude techs was 33.6 mph at 5500 rpms. Best cruising fuel efficiency was found to be at 2500 rpms where the boat traveled at 12 mph and got 4.2 mpg. Evinrude tells us the time to plane was 4.0 seconds.
Bay boats, flats boats and skiffs are all ideal candidates for the Evinrude E-TEC 135 H.O. because of their low draft and light weight. Remember that the Evinrude E-TEC 135 H.O. comes in both a 20″ (51 cm) and 25” (64 cm) shaft length versions. Depending on the usual factors, boaters can expect WOT speeds in the mid to high 40s, depending on the weight of the boat. Typically, best cruise speeds will be somewhere in the 20s, depending on prop selection.
Center Consoles and Dual Consoles. Small center consoles and dual consoles are also prime candidates for the Evinrude E-TEC 135 H.O. outboards. Evinrude has even tested a 28′ (8.5 m) offshore center console weighing 4,500 lbs. (2,045 kgs.) dry with twin 135 HOs. WOT speed was recorded at 42.4 mph by Evinrude with the engines fitted with 14-3/4″x16″ ss props.
Fuel Efficiency and Range. But most important of all for offshore fishermen was the fact that fuel efficiency was pretty much constant between 25 mph and 31 mph — just where most boaters like to run offshore. At those speeds the Evinrude E-TEC test boat had a range of 296 statute miles with a 10% fuel reserve in its 160-gallon (608 L) fuel tank.
Inflatables, RIBs, and Yacht Tenders are categories of boats where the Evinrude 2-stroke’s low-end torque and light-weight can make a winning combination. Mid-size inflatables and RIBs are weight sensitive and need powerful low-rpm torque to get them on plan fast to get the bow down. This is something that most heavy 4-stroke outboards with low-torque-at-the-low-end simply can provide.
The Major Advantages of 2-Stroke Outboards
Brief Back Story. In 2003, Evinrude introduced the revolutionary Evinrude E-TEC Series of outboard engines which brought 2-stroke technology into the 21st century and allowed its engines to go toe-to-toe with the best 4-stroke engines on the market.
Greater Power. Because a 2-stroke engine fires at the top of every stroke it can theoretically have twice the power of an identical 4-stroke engine, which fires at the top of every other stroke. The engineers at Evinrude tell us that this causality gives the Evinrude E-TEC 135 H.O. significantly more torque than 4-stroke engines of the same horsepower. The Evinrude E-TEC 135 H.O. has —
- Greater power than a 4-stroke of like HP rating
- Faster acceleration than a 4-stroke
- Greater low and mid-range torque than a 4-stroke
Fewer Parts. 2-stroke engines have fewer moving parts than 4-stroke engines because they have no belts, cams, valves, valve springs, valve lifters, push rods or lots of other parts that are required to make a 4-stroke engine run. In the case of the Evinrude E-TEC 135 H.O. that means about 195 fewer parts than most 4-stroke engines. It has–
- Less weight
- Less friction than 4-stroke engines
- Fewer parts to break than 4-stroke engines
How the Difference Pays Off
At the Low End. The result of these two important advantages of 2-stroke outboards is that it gives them greater torque at the low end which means faster acceleration, quick hole-shot times, more power to lift heavy loads or beginning skiers out of the water quicker, lower bow rise on acceleration, and the ability to get a loaded boat on plane faster.
Mid-Range and Higher. In the mid-speed ranges, 2-stroke outboards develop higher horsepower at lower rpms than a 4-stroke and therefore have greater and faster response to the throttle.
Distinguishing Features of Evinrude E-TEC High Technology
• Special Injectors. Evinrude E-TEC engines use an injector system that is very much like a stereo speaker in that it vibrates thousands of times a second to atomize precise amounts of fuel as directed by the Engine Management Module (EMM). No other outboard brand uses this highly-regarded system. Each pulse of the injector can inject as little as two champagne bubbles into the engine.
• Easy, Quick Starts Every Time. Because Evinrude uses exclusive Fast Rise Inductive ignition, it provides instant starting through extremely fast spark generation. This isn’t the only benefit though, also giving extremely low emissions through complete fuel burn, incredible low fuel consumption at idle and low rpms.
• No Break-In Period. Because Evinrude uses boron-nitrate cylinder boring, has pistons made of a space-age alloy called Nasa-loy, and because the EMM knows the engine is new and automatically calls for extra oil lubrication, there is no engine “break-in” period required as is necessary with most other engines on the market. It knows when it’s properly broken in, seamless to the user, thus eliminating the worry of following a manufacturer’s specific break-in instructions.
• Fail-Safe Engine Protection. Again because of the space-age materials used in the pistons and cylinder walls and because of Evinrude’s lubrication system, in the event of a lack of oil, the engine automatically reduces power and can be run for 5 hours without damage.
At the top of the engine is a flywheel with magnets attached to it. Beneath the magnets are coils of wire. As the magnets pass over the coils they generate electricity. (This is sometimes called a magneto.) It is a tried-and-true system that has been around for over 100 years, and is so low-tech, that it has become high-tech because it is so trouble free and powerful.
In this manner an Evinrude E-TEC generates 133 Amps of electricity, 50 Amps dedicated to charging the batteries alone. More importantly, this is done without power-robbing belts, pulleys, or delicate diodes.
More Power To the Boater. With 50 Amps dedicated to the batteries alone, boaters are able to operate a significant amount of electronics at the helm without worry. Additionally, if the batteries go bad the engine will still run completely free of any connection to the batteries. As long as the engine can be started, it will run on its own.
• No Crankcase Oil to Change. The days of mixing oil and fuel and 2-stroke engines are long gone. With an Evinrude E-TEC, just fill the oil tank and let the engine draw on it as needed. Clean, fresh oil is used to lubricate providing the least wear possible in any engine… anywhere.
This compares with a 4-stroke outboard’s oil, which is getting dirtier every hour that it’s used. That’s why it should have its oil changed every 100 hours, or more often, if long periods of slow speed use or wide-open throttle.
• Lower Emissions. The Evinrude E-TEC 135 H.O. has received a three star rating from the California Air Resources Board (CARB) which administers the toughest emission standards in the world and is even approved for emissions standards in the European Union (EU) with no calibration required. No other brand has lower emissions.
• No Dealer Scheduled Maintenance for Three Years or 300 Hours. This is an important feature for Evinrude E-TEC engines and it can be worth quite a bit of money as compared with some engines, including 4-strokes that require 6 months or 100 hour maintenance.
• Automatic Winterization. To winterize, the Evinrude E-TEC fogs itself automatically with a simple throttle/ key stroke sequence which the owner can execute in just minutes. There is no expensive dealer winterization required.
Engine winterization by a dealer can be a major expense for the owner of a 4-stroke engine and shorten your boating season. If nice days appear in the middle of winter, the Evinrude engine can be immediately be put to work, then re-fogged later. This is also advantageous for boaters in the southern latitudes for seasonal lay-ups.
• 3-Year, 300-hour Spark Plugs. Evinrude uses advanced iridium spark plugs which can handle a longer spark and have a longer life.
High Output Features
The Evinrude E-TEC 135 H.O. engine comes with a high-performance lightning gear case that is hydro-dynamically designed and able to handle higher engine height settings than standard engines can. The H.O.’s motor mounts are more heavy-duty, as well. And finally, the E.M.M. or Engine Management Module has been remapped for maximum performance.
“Pin Point” Oil Injection System
Evinrude calls it’s oil lubrication system the “Pin Point” oiling system because it uses many pin-point placed oil injection locations to meter oil to needed areas. The EMM decides how much oil needs to be passed along and when, burning significantly less oil.
Fill and Forget. With an Evinrude E-TEC, boaters simply fill an oil reservoir and let the engine manage its own oil supply. This is particularly important during the break-in period. The Evinrude E-TEC engine management system automatically provides additional amounts of oil to the cylinder sleeves during the break-in period.
Once the proper break-in period has passed, the oil distribution (which is controlled by the all-knowing EMM) reverts to its normal levels all without the operator having to take any action.
Engine Management Module (aka the Black Box)
The EMM or Engine Management Module is basically the brain of the Evinrude E-TEC system. It controls the oil distribution system, fuel management, spark timing, engine diagnostics, fail-safe over-heating intervention, as well as remembering virtually everything that the engine has done or was done to it.
Talking Back. The EMM transmits monitoring and diagnostic information to the gauges at the helm. All of this electronic thinking creates heat, which is why Evinrude runs cool water through the EMM to keep it at appropriate temperatures for trouble-free operation and long life.
Water-in-fuel was always a slight problem but with the advent of ethanol, water is now an even bigger concern. The Evinrude E-TEC 135’s fuel filter is also a water separator, and if water does get into the system, a signal alerts the operator to the need for a filter change.
Tidy Filter. The fuel filter deserves a mention. First it’s mounted with the screw-on end of the unit facing up. Some engines have filters facing down or horizontal for some reason, and when unscrewed, they dump fuel all over the place. The Evinrude system keeps everything nice and tidy and is easily removable without major component removal.
Evinrude outboards are specifically designed to fend-off saltwater corrosion. 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, easily accessible and visually inspected sacrificial anodes (zincs) are added and their job is specifically to deteriorate before any other metal components. Obviously the engine should be flushed with freshwater after every use – although it does completely drain as the motor is lowered.
Trim Switch. 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, the attached trailer bracket can be lowered to take the load off the hydraulics while trailering.
A Fuse in Hand Is Worth… The main electrical harness is conveniently located and for once someone got the brilliant idea to mount a spare fuse right at the harness connection.
Well Grounded Design. In addition to using Iridium spark plugs Evinrude E-TEC spark plug wires are covered with a metallic shroud with the wires leading to a common ground. In this manner, ignition noise is prevented from reaching the electronics at the helm, a pivotal consideration for reducing noise in high-end fishfinders.
Evinrude 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 by the number of hours used if there is a warranty issue. During certain limited-time promotions we have seen Evinrude’s warranty period be even longer than three years.
That one important product detail – fewer parts — cascades into a whole series of advantages for the Evinrude E-TEC 135 H.O. engine as enumerated above. However, for us the big take-aways are three things: 1) More power and torque at the low end; 2) Lower maintenance costs both short term and long term; 3) Because the Evinrude E-TEC 135 H.O. is a de-tuned 150-hp engine it is more durable and should have a longer life.
For the full report and to see other reports like this one go to: http://www.boattest.com/engine-review/Evinrude/21000084_E-TEC-135-H-O-_2014