CAPTAIN’S REPORT: BoatTest.com Review Evinrude E-TEC 90 H.O.
By being able to provide more low-end power (torque) than any 90-hp engine on the market, Evinrude has provided a solution to a growing problem: boats that are sluggish even when they are powered by their max rating of a 90-hp engine. Typically the boats in question are aluminum multi-specie boats, fish & Ski boats, bay boats, sportboats and even pontoon boats — all pretty much in the 16′ to 20′ (4.87 to 6.09 m) range.
Mission Statement for the Evinrude 90 H.O.
The mission of the Evinrude E-TEC 90 H.O. is to be the fastest 90-hp engine off the starting line. It’s optimal when strapped on the stern of a flats, bass, multispecies or even a sportboat. Anglers will be impressed by its remarkable time to plane as its 106 cubic inches displacement engine delivers considerably more torque to its prop than competitive engines.
Sportboat owners will appreciate the raw pulling power of this engine as it jumps on plane, pulling even the heaviest skier or wakeboarder up to the surface of the water with alacrity. Even in a boat full of passengers, the Evinrude E-TEC 90 H.O. will perform better than any other 90-hp engine on the market — by definition — in this crucial towing task.
Seven Little Engines. Ironically, there were until recently seven 90-hp outboard engines on the market and all to one degree or another had the same problem for some boat owners: They needed more power but had hit the boat’s designed max horsepower limit. By thinking out of the box, the folks at Evinrude have come up with a solution and in the process have created competition for its own standard Evinrude E-TEC 90-hp engine that has been offered for a number of years.
One Big Little Engine. Now there are eight 90-hp outboards on the market. But one is very different than all of the others.
De-Tuned for Low-End Power. The new Evinrude E-TEC 90 H.O. outboard is a de-tuned 115-hp E-TEC engine with four cylinders (not 3 as in the standard 90), with 105.4 cu. in. (1726 cc) of displacement (not 79 cu. in. as in the 90). At low rpms — where more power is needed — the new Evinrude E-TEC 90 H.O. has the torque that an E-TEC 115-hp produces. But at the top rpm levels where horsepower is measured — in accordance with SAE standards — the engine’s EMM software makes sure it can produce no more than 90-hp. Thus, the Evinrude E-TEC 90 H.O. meets ABYC/NMMA standards for this class of boat.
In addition to the adjustable trim limit switch, a trim bracket can be dropped down to hold the weight of the trimmed engine for towing, taking the load off of the hydraulics.
Evinrude E-TEC 90 vs. Evinrude E-TEC 90 H.O.
Obviously the Evinrude E-TEC 90 H.O. engine costs more than the standard Evinrude E-TEC 90 (but not nearly as much as the 115-hp Evinrude), so it is important to understand the difference between the two engines. When we compare the new E-TEC 90 H.O. with the standard Evinrude E-TEC 90 engine we discover that it is a completely different platform.
• Displacement Matters. First, the 90 H.O. has 4 cylinders in a 60°V configuration instead of being an in-line 3-cylinder engine. Not surprisingly, the HO’s displacement is larger — 105.4 cu.in (1726 cc) compared to 79.1 cu. in. (1295 cc) for the standard E-TEC 90 outboard. That works out to be 33% more displacement for the H.O. version — no wonder it’s called “High Output.”
• More Juice, Too. The magneto on the 90 H.O. puts out 133 amps, and 50 amps are dedicated exclusively for boat usage. The standard Evinrude 90 puts out 81 amps, of which 25 are dedicated for the boat — so, amperage is another area where the 90 H.O. has higher output.
• The lower unit gear case on the 25″ Evinrude E-TEC 90 H.O. the same beefy gear case used on the company’s V6 engines is used to handle the greater torque. This change provides not only a far greater prop selection, but it also protects the drive train from abuse. (More below).
• Digital Control is Optional. The Evinrude drive-by-wire control digital system is available on the 90 HO, but not on the standard 90. This opens up a whole new world of possibilities. (See below.)
• Weight. The 4-cylinder Evinrude E-TEC 90 H.O. with the V6 gear case weighs 390 lbs. (177 kgs.) compared with 320 lbs. (145 kgs.) for the standard 3-cylinder 90-hp engine.
LED indicators are correlated to this guide on the top of the EMM to allow the owner to diagnose engine problems at home.
Evinrude E-TEC 90 H.O. vs. All Other 90-hp Outboard Engines
• Displacement. There are six other 2-stroke and 4-stroke 90-hp outboards on the market beyond the two that Evinrude makes. Four of them have 4 cylinders and two have 3 cylinders; displacements vary accordingly. Among the six non-Evinrudes in the 90-hp class, the E-TEC 90 H.O. and one other model have the greatest displacements at about 105 cu. in. (1726 cc). The other five 90-hp outboards have from 7% to 34% less cu. in. of displacement.
• Amp Output. When it comes to electrical output, at 133 amps, no other model comes close in class and the Evinrude E-TEC 90 H.O. which has from twice to over 10 times more amp output than others on the market.
• Low-End Torque. When it comes to the important issue of low-end torque among 90-hp outboards, the new Evinrude E-TEC 90 H.O. has a compelling story to tell —
First, because it is a 2-stroke engine every stroke is a power stroke and that means from 0-to-planing speed it can provide more low-rpm torque than even large displacement 4-stroke engines.
Second, because it has 4 cylinders it has much more power than 3-cylinder 2-stroke competitors at the low and mid rpm ranges.
Third, because its “long stroke” engine architecture (the stroke length is greater than the bore width) it develops peak torque at low speeds, unlike short stroke or “square” configurations.
Fourth, Evinrude’s electrically activated and variable-control fuel injection system can “punch up” the fuel mixture at low RPMs by means of the engine’s pre-programmed EMM software, thus maximizing power like no other unit.
• Weight. The Evinrude E-TEC 90 H.O. is the heaviest of all engines in class at 390 lbs. (177 kgs.). At that weight the other engines are from 3% to 13% lighter.
• General Evinrude Features. All of the above attributes are in addition to those of the generic Evinrude E-TEC architecture that is described below.
Spark plug wires are covered with a metallic shroud to reduce emissions noise to the electronics. A wire runs from the shroud to a bolt to ground the shroud.
Distinguishing Features of the Evinrude E-TEC 90 H.O.
Coming up with distinguishing features for any of the Evinrude E-TEC models is fairly easy as they offer some distinct advantages not found in their 4-stroke counterparts. There are features such as…
• No Dealer Scheduled Maintenance. For three years or 300 hours, whichever comes first.
• No Break-in Required. The computer-controlled engine knows how many hours are on it, and automatically doubles the oil distribution to the cylinders for the break in period. After 2.5 running hours have been put on the engine, the oil distribution reverts to normal levels. The consumer takes no action.
• No Crankcase Oil to Change. With Evinrude E-TEC, just fill an oil tank and let the engine distribute it as needed. The oil in 4-stroke engines should be changed every 100 hours or every year.
• Auto Winterization. The engine fogs itself automatically in minutes with no trip to the dealer. Boaters in the northern latitudes will especially appreciate this as they can winterize their engine and still be able to take advantage of a winter warm spell and get out on the water again, and then just as easily re-winterize it.
• Fewer Parts. 195 fewer than a 4-stroke. No valves, belts, camshafts or pulleys to adjust or replace. No fuel pump or alternator to wear out.
• Self-flushing Cooling System. Just connect a hose at the exhaust port and let her run… or not. The engine will flush just from running the water from the hose.
• Tougher Gear Case. The gear case on the 25” (30.48 cm) shaft version of the 90-hp high output engine is the same gear case that Evinrude uses on its V6 engines and it has a special gear ratio. Rather than a .54 V6 gear, this one utilizes a .44 gearing. That means instead of 1.86:1 ratio it uses a 2.25:1 ratio. So that means we can now use V6 propellers on this 90-hp engine. And there’s a much wider selection of propellers for the V6 configurations, which means better efficiency for the applications that it will be used on. The 20” shaft version has the standard V4 gear case.
• Ultra Low Emissions. These are among the cleanest running engines available. It’s approved to meet emissions standards for both the European Union (EU) as well as having a 3-star CARB rating, without having to make any adjustments or calibrations in the field.
Evinrude E-TEC 90 H.O. Performance
We tested the Evinrude E-TEC 90 H.O. on a bay boat with an LOA of 19’ (5.79 m) and a beam of 8’6″ (2.59 m). With an empty weight of 2,250 lbs. (1,021 kg), 26 gallons (98.4 L) of fuel and two people on board we had a test weight of 2,665 lbs (2,111 kg).
With the Evinrude E-TEC 90 H.O. turning a 14 3/4” x 17 ” x 3 SSP propeller we reached a top speed at 5700 rpm of 42.1 mph. At that speed fuel burn was 11.0 gph. Best cruise came in at 4000 rpm and 27.9 mph which reduced the fuel burn to 5.7 gph.
Hole Shot Times. We recorded a time from 0-to-plane of 2.8 seconds. Our time to 20 mph was 5.3 seconds and we reached 30 mph in 7.8 seconds.
A Good Test of Low-End Torque. As we look over past tests we have done with both 90-hp and 115-hp outboards we find the in other cases the boats were considerably lighter and most carried less beam. That indicates to us that our test boat was a good one for the purpose of getting a real-world feel for what the Evinrude E-TEC 90 H.O. can do.
Getting on Plane Fast in All Conditions. The strong suit of the new Evinrude E-TEC 90 H.O. is low-end power for getting on plane fast, getting the bow down quickly when alone, and getting on plane fast, not wallowing onto plane when the boat is heavily loaded.
Likewise, when towing, particularly someone overweight, or a neophyte, or when the boat is loaded with spectators, it is important to have the muscle to be able to get the skier up on top of the water fast without dragging him or her interminably.
Comparison with Other Engines
When a new product comes out we can’t help but compare it to other boats and engines we have previously tested to see how it stacks up. We compared our test with 12 others we have done over the years on 6 boats with 90-hp engines and 6 boats with 115-hp engines. The engines were from all major brands except one and included both 2-stroke and 4-stroke engines; the boats were made of aluminum and fiberglass. All were monohulls.
Weight Comparison. The average dry weight of the 6 boats powered by 90-hp engines was 1,223 lbs. (555.9 kgs), which is 1,027 lbs. (466 kgs.), or 45% lighter than our test boat. Nevertheless our test boat with the Evinrude E-TEC 90 H.O. performed about the same as boats half the weight. The 6 boats powered by 115-hp engines averaged 1,725 lbs. (784 kgs.), or 23% lighter than our test boat. Again, the Evinrude E-TEC 90 H.O. test boat far
exceeded numbers we got with 115-hp engines.
Significant Evinrude Features While the technological features are numerous, they do little to impress most end-users. Boaters don’t care about injector droplet size or EMM controls in milliseconds. Thankfully the folks at Evinrude do, and it’s thanks to these technological advances that the engines are so reliable, but let’s focus on the advances that directly affect the end-user and the boating experience.
Digital Gauges. The Evinrude E-TEC 90 H.O. can take advantage of the optional use of a system called I-COMMAND. These gauges offer complete, accurate information on water pressure, fuel, battery, engine hours and engine trim. Plus, you can change the format at the touch of a button – digital or analog with single, dual or quad viewing. The digital world that this engine lives in also comes into play with the I-Command gauges. They’re multi-function and totally customizable.
The Sound of an Evinrude. Evinrude engines make a very distinct sound, and a lot of engineering goes into generating that sound. The upper and lower shrouds work together to form soundproofing based on the power needs. Instead of having air and sound flow directly into, and out of the enclosed engine, Evinrude engineers a complex route, and by bending the sound waves are able to produce that trademark Evinrude sound.
Take for example the upper shroud. Air travels in from the back of the shroud and makes a 90-degree bend to travel down, and then up again. This brings air in but reduces the sound getting out, producing a quieter engine. It also prevents water from entering the engine shroud.
The lower exhaust port is in the shape of a “V” causing the exiting sound to make a series of 180-degree bends which again, serve to tune the sound. It’s a small feature to be sure, but one that makes the Evinrude E-TEC produce a very distinctive sound as the boat flies across the lake.
Approved for Saltwater. 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. The company’s engineers tell us that their anti-corrosion approach is a four-part process –
- A Lyfinite Treatment – this is a trademarked process and Evinrude owns the trademark. It puts the first protective coating on the metal components.
- 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.
- Primer is then added.
- The finish coat, is the icing on this anti-corrosion cake.
Sacrificial anodes (zincs) are added and their job is to deteriorate before any other metal components. They literally sacrifice themselves and are easily replaceable by the end-user. Lastly, all of the fittings are stainless steel, there’s no nickel plated steel anywhere on the engine. Walk up to a competitor’s engine with a small magnet and count the number of fittings the magnet has to cling to. Worse, in some cases these fittings are simply painted over.
Sacrificial zincs add to the anti-corrosion process on E-TECs. Here’s one just above the anti-ventilation plate. Another is behind the propeller in the bearing carrier, and still another is located underneath the swivel bracket. All are easily replaceable by the owner.
Electric Trim. Electric trim is not new on outboards but it’s a convenient feature to have. Recognizing that boats come in different shapes and sizes, the Evinrude E-TEC 90 H.O. comes with a trim limiter switch that is easily adjustable by the owner. This limiter switch will automatically stop the trim function once it reaches a customer preset limit.
Well Grounded Design. In addition to using Iridium spark plugs which provide a longer and more efficient spark Evinrude E-TEC spark plug wires are covered with a metallic shroud with 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.
Efficient Direct Injection Fuel. The injectors are electronically controlled and distribute precise amounts of fuel into the cylinders for better performance, and better fuel economy, whether idling for extended periods or operating at cruise or maximum speeds. They work by pulsating, much like a stereo speaker, to provide exact fuel amounts based on signals sent from the EMM.
The “IDI” or fast rise inductive ignition works in conjunction with the injectors to provide better economy and smoother running engines. It also causes the spark plugs to ignite longer rather than more often, greatly extending the life of the plugs, and insuring more complete combustion.
Pinpoint Oil Injection System. With Evinrude E-TEC, boaters simply fill an oil reservoir and let the engine manage its own oil supply. With Evinrude E-TEC the engine management system automatically recognizes that the engine has been operating for a lower amount of hours and correctly adds the additional amounts of oil to the cylinder sleeves. Once the proper break-in period has past, the oil distribution reverts to its normal levels all without the operator having to take any action, thanks to the EMM.
Additionally, because the system puts precise amounts of oil where it needs to be and when it needs to be, the Evinrude E-TEC burns significantly less oil.
Engine Management Module. The EMM or Engine Management Module is basically the brain of the Evinrude E-TEC system. It controls the oil distribution, which in turn controls the no break-in period and winterization features that we’ve just discussed. Also, should the engine inadvertently run completely out of oil, the EMM will kick into a fail-safe mode allowing only a reduced power setting for up to five hours enabling you to still get home.
Further, the EMM controls the electronic fuel injectors for precise fuel measurements and is also the connection point for the electronic helm gauges and easy diagnostic connections.
On the side of the EMM are the LED lights. These indicator lights work in conjunction with a label at the top of the EMM to diagnose the engine in both start up and running modes. Being able to diagnose problems at home is a significant improvement as boaters don’t have to go to a dealer to pay an hourly charge just to hook up a component to tell them what they now already know.
Fuel Protection. Evinrude E-TEC engines have one of the easiest to change filters in the industry. They come with a 10 micron fuel filter/water separator that simply unscrews much like an oil filter. This is a significant advantage for boaters that tend to be plagued with bad fuel.
Beltless Magneto Charging System. At the top of the engine is a flywheel with magnets underneath. Beneath the magnets are coils of wire. As the magnets pass over the coils they generate electricity. In this manner, the Evinrude E-TEC generates 133 amps of electricity, 50 amps dedicated to charging the batteries alone. It’s the highest output alternator in its class.
More importantly, this is done without belts or pulleys. And 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.
Our comparisons seem to strongly indicate that if our test had been conducted on a boat weighing 23% to 45% less our comparisons would by necessity be even better.. This is certainly a strong affirmation of Evinrude’s concept, showing remarkable low-end torque and speed.
The Evinrude E-TEC 90 H.O.’s performance at WOT speed is also noteworthy even though the engine was not bred for that characteristic. Again, that engine on a lighter boat could well be expected to go even faster.
Finally, de-tuned engines generally have far greater durability since the stresses they endure are less than what the engine is designed for to handle over a normal lifetime.
For the full report and to see other reports like this one go to: http://www.boattest.com/engine-review/Evinrude/18500074_E-TEC-90-H-O-_2014