Review: Evinrude E-TEC 75 outboard

By: Andrew Norton

Presented by
  • Trade-A-Boat

As Andrew Norton discovered while revisiting his Evinrude E-TEC 75 outboard, even after a decade there are still only three DFI 75 engines on the market.

Review: Evinrude E-TEC 75 outboard
The E-TEC 75 outboard: there are still only three DFI 75 engines on the market.

I can’t believe 10 years have passed since I first tested an E-Tec 75. Back in the those days, mid-range DFI two-strokes were relatively new and slowly beginning to win acceptance in the recreational boating industry.

But other than Tohatsu’s TLDI range gaining OEDA three-star compliance in line with the competition, not a whole lot has changed since then. There’s still the Mercury OptiMax 75 and more recently the Tohatsu TLDI 75 (up-rated from a 70), but no new DFI engines.

So how does the E-Tec 75 stack up after all these years? Well, it’s still the only one of the three to have self-contained DFI (direct fuel injection), eliminating the need for a battery to run the system. And it’s still the lightest of the three, despite having a slightly larger piston displacement than the Tohatsu.

 

EVINRUDE E-TEC 75

Like the Tohatsu TLDI 75, the E-Tec 75 is de-rated from 90hp, which means it’s significantly under-stressed. Its three-cylinder loop-charged 1295cc powerhead develops 75.1hp at 5000rpm with a WOT range of 4500-5500rpm. Like all E-Tecs, the 75 has a mix of stratified and homogenous combustion, with only fuel sprayed into the combustion chambers. This is unlike the OptiMax and TLDI, in which atomised air and fuel are injected.

The under-flywheel alternator produces up to 75A and the powerhead-mounted 2.8L oil tank feeds the variable-ratio oil injection, from about 60:1 at WOT to 300:1 when trolling. The 75 will normally be set-up to run on synthetic Evinrude XD100 oil, but if the engine is to be trolled extensively semi-synthetic XD50 will eliminate the possibility of cylinder bore glazing. The (dry) longshaft weight is 145kg and gear ratio a low 2:1.

Powerhead access is excellent and servicing isn’t needed for the first 300 hours, but that applies only to freshwater usage. For saltwater, the 75 should be serviced every 100 hours or annually, and this will likely include changing the gear oil and lubricating the throttle / gearshift linkages.

 

PERFORMANCE

Mounted on a Stacer 475 Bay Master Sports runabout and swinging a 17in pitch alloy prop, our demo 75 had plenty of poke for three to four adults. It started instantly hot or cold with no oil smoke appearing at any time, nor any oil smell when backing upwind. The remote-control box had a positive shifting action with barely a "clunk" when engaging gear and, provided the anti-ventilation plate was kept at least three-quarters immersed, power astern was good, useful for backing off sandbars in estuarine fishing.

Like all E-Tecs the 75 had plenty of mid-range grunt and easily planed our 860kg at fewer revs than a comparable four-strokes would have needed. No prop ventilation occurred through tight turns at 4000rpm and the 75 was quiet across its entire range, though noisier than Honda’s BF75 at WOT. Vibration levels were also low, less than the E-Tec 60.

 

THE WRAP

I love DFI two-strokes, and the E-Tec 75 makes a great case for DFI engines over four-strokes. The owner of the demo boat and engine said he loved two-stroke outboards, but wanted a cleaner engine without the complexity of camshaft timing belts and valve clearance adjustments, so the E-Tec 75 was the natural progression for freshwater and saltwater fishing, and family fun.

The lighter weight of the E-Tec 75 is a significant bonus when you’re re-powering an older boat that may not have been designed to handle the extra bulk. Add the instant throttle response and mechanical simplicity, and DFI engines are the way to go for us old-timers weaned on carbie two-strokes.

The Evinrude E-Tec 75 has a five-year recreational-usage warranty and a price of $12,090 in March 2013. The price of a spare propeller is about $300.

Thanks to Bombardier Recreational Products Australia, 54 Canterbury Road, Bankstown, NSW (02 9794 6600, www.brp.com), for the loan of the demo engine for this test.

 

PERFORMANCE

3.3kts (6.1kmh) @ 700rpm (trolling)
5.9kts (11kmh) @ 1000rpm (fast troll)
9.7kts (18kmh) @ 2000rpm (offshore troll)
15.6kts (29kmh) @ 2800rpm (clean plane)
20.2kts (37.5kmh) @ 3000rpm (min. cruise)
28.8kts (53.5kmh) @ 4000rpm (cruise)
36.9kts (68.5kmh) @ 5150rpm (WOT)

 

THE COMPETITION

Outboard

Mercury OptiMax 75

Tohatsu TLDI 75

Weight

170kg

150kg

Cyl / Hp / Rpm

3 / 73.9 / 5375

3 / 74 / 5500

Displacement

1526cc

1267cc

Price

$12540

$13460

Warranty

5yrs

3yrs

OEDA stars

3

3

 

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