Evinrude E-TEC 75: REVIEW

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The Evinrude E-TEC 75 is just made for family runabouts...

One of Bombardier Recreational Products' earlier models, the 75 is de-rated from its E-TEC 90 counterpart and has tonnes of midrange torque. Yet it weighs substantially less than the direct four stroke competition.

With all the current emphasis on four stroke outboards from all other manufacturers it's easy to forget about Direct Fuel Injection two strokes, which combine traditional carbie two stroke performance with four stroke fuel efficiency. And even less fuel when trolling due to the use of "stratified" combustion.

THE NITTY GRITTY

The three cylinder 75 utilises the same pistons and con rods as its twin cylinder 40 to 60 counterparts and the V4 115/130 models. BRP has applied the traditional two stroke design of big cylinder bore and short piston stroke for lower piston speeds at or near Wide Open Throttle, increasing piston ring and cylinder liner lifespan. Commonality of parts not only reduces manufacturing costs but also creates more spares availability when touring remote regions.

The E-TEC system of stratified combustion injects fuel in narrow conical spray patterns near the spark plugs. The normal air/fuel ratio of 14.7:1 is used in the spray area but the overall air/fuel ratio in the combustion chamber may be as lean as 70:1. This results in lower trolling fuel fuel consumption than most of the direct four stroke competition.

At around 1500rpm the system switches over to homogeneous combustion where the overall combustion chamber air/fuel ratio is 14.7:1. The lean burn of stratified mode doesn't enable an engine to develop enough torque to plane a hull or provide the upper end performance demanded by boaters. However because the Californian Air Resources Board (CARB) requirements adopted by OEDA in Oz take into account that 40 percent of usage cycle is at trolling rpm, E-TEC engines easily gain a "3 star" rating.

The under flywheel alternator produces up to 81 amps with 25 dedicated to battery charging, while the self contained DFI means that only a standard automotive starter battery is needed and if the battery is flat the engine can be started by hand (though a 1.3 litre triple would sure give a workout). Of the DFI 75s only the E-TEC 75 has this feature. A 60 amp/hour starter battery weighs around 15 KG, whereas a 100 amp/hour deep cycle unit needed for the direct DFI two stroke competition weighs upwards of 80 KG. Although this weight is ahead of the transom it does tend to negate any weight savings from opting for a DFI two stroke over a four stroke. This is one of the reasons lightweight four strokes are being promoted by Mercury and Tohatsu over DFI two strokes such as the OptiMax 75 and TLDI 75, both of which need hefty battery capacity.

Lubricating oil is injected where needed via a variable ratio system that not only alters the fuel/oil ratios according to rpm but also engine load, so a range of ratios cannot be provided. But the 2.3 litre integral oil tank should provide more than enough for a full day of fishing, especially when using fully synthetic Evinrude/Johnson XD100 oil. As every engine is run in the Sturtevant Wisconsin factory no formal break in period is required. Just as well as most boaters I know don't run-in their new engines, despite copious info on how to do so in owner's manuals. Strange considering the investment many boaters make but I guess time-poor people don't really think of the consequences of not running-in an engine. Especially in our disposable society.

Power head access is good with the fuel filter having a replaceable element. And of course no oil filter to change. For full power head access the engine pan splits in two.

Ever since the three years "no servicing" concept was promoted by BRP there has been debate amongst dealers as to whether the engines should be serviced more frequently or not. Every E-TEC dealer I've spoken with has suggested changing the gear oil annually and greasing where needed. The prop should be removed at least annually if not more frequently to check for any stray fishing line around the prop shaft which could eventually "chew out" the gear case seal. Prevention is always better than cure!

The recreational usage warranty is a total of five years which compares with the same period from Suzuki and Tohatsu (four strokes only).

ON THE WATER

The demo 75 was mounted on a Stacer 475 Bay Master owned by a family who wanted a the performance of a carbie two stroke with four stroke fuel efficiency for wake boarding and fishing in the NSW Snowy Mountains. The family had owned carbie two strokes for years and didn't want the complexity of a four stroke. Swinging a 17 inch pitch alloy prop the 75 had no trouble pushing our 910 KG total including four adults.

The 75 started instantly hot or cold with no oil smoke appearing, just a slight oil smell when backing upwind. Providing the anti ventilation plate was kept immersed no cooling water starvation occurred and power astern was good, useful for backing out of skinny water.

When trolling vibration levels were lower than the direct DFI competition with just a slight tremor through the hull, nowhere near enough to affect my copious flab. And lower than the twin cylinder E-TEC 60 or the old carbie three cylinder 1197cc Suzuki DT75C, which at 113 KG was substantially lighter than the E-TEC 75. Few younger boaters realise just how light larger carbie two strokes were compared to the direct four stroke competition, so the E-TEC 75 is a good compromise. And without the oil smoke when trolling!

As the rpm increased there was absolutely no vibration through the hull, though at or near WOT noise levels were higher than the direct four stroke competition, all of which run four cylinder engines. When the throttle lever was "floored" from trolling rpm the hull planed in a few seconds with none of the "lag" inherent in naturally aspirated midrange four stroke outboards.

Through tight figure of eight turns at 4000rpm the alloy prop hung on like a stainless steel unit with plenty of bite, just like the old standard 17 inch alloy prop fitted to the Johnson 70.

Compared to the four stroke competition which all like to rev out close to 6000 to develop maximum power, the E-TEC 75 was reminiscent of the Johno 70, with tonnes of midrange torque and maximum power developed at relatively low rpm. Running the 75 really was like a blast from the past where engines planed hulls at 2500 to 3000rpm and not 3500 to 4000 as with the four strokes.

THE WRAP

BRP has done an excellent job in producing a 75 that combines two stroke performance with frugal fuel consumption. It has effortless performance yet with minimal maintenance should provide countless years of boating and angling fun.

Outboard manufacturers seem to forget that someone has to pay for four stroke complexity when it comes to servicing. Every hour a service technician spends replacing components really adds to servicing costs. Or even fiddly little things like checking valve clearances.

Frankly the 75 is very appealing for not only its midrange torque but also inherent simplicity. Like most two stroke devotees I like not having to change camshaft belts or perform oil changes. Time in the workshop is replaced by time afloat enjoying your investment.

For the location of your nearest dealer Google Evinrude E-TEC, click on "Find a Dealer", enter your postcode and hit "search".

Evinrude E-TEC 75

QUICK SPECS...

Engine typeLoop charged three cylinder DFI 2 stroke

  • Rated BHP/MHP*76.1/75.1 at 5000rpm
  • WOT rpm range5000 to 5500
  • Piston displacement1295cc
  • Bore x stroke91 x 66 mm
  • Gear ratio2:1
  • Dry weight long shaft145 KG
  • RRP$11,700 fitted
  • OEDA stars3

*Brake horsepower/metric horsepower or PS

PERFORMANCE TRIALS

Single E-TEC 75 on Stacer 475 Bay Master aluminium runabout, swinging a 17 inch alloy prop and pushing a total of 910 KG. Average of two way runs on Lake Macquarie NSW, chop to 40cm. Range is from a 25 litre fuel tank in nautical miles with a 10% reserve.

RPM  Kts Lt/h Range
500/trolling  3.3  0.6 124
1000/fast idle  5.9 2.3 58
2000/semi planing 9.7 4.5 49
2800/planing  15.6 6.5 54
3000/min cruise  20.2 9.5 48
4000/cruise 28.8 15.6 42
5150/WOT 36.9 25.2 33

** Note low trolling rpm and incredible fuel efficiency and the best planing fuel efficiency at just 2800rpm.

 

Check out the full review in issue #504 of Trade-a-Boat magazine. Subscribe today for all the latest camper trailer news, reviews and travel inspiration. 

 


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