Bombardier's range of E-TEC direct-fuel-injection outboards are, in my opinion, without peer in their horsepower ranges. They're compact, lightweight and fuel efficient, and Bombardier claims that apart from lubricating the throttle/gearshift linkages, servicing of the range is not required for the first three years or 300 hours in recreational applications.
The E-TEC system has several advantages over its direct DFI competition - the most important being that a battery is not required to run the engine-management system. Should the battery be flat, the engine can be rope-started, whereas with the Orbital and Yamaha HPDI systems, once the battery voltage falls below about 11 the systems will not function.
Other advantages are that there's no air-compressor drive belt to fail or need replacing, and that all of the motors are fully run in at the factory, which eliminates the need for a formal break-in period.
Unlike other DFI systems and Bombardier Ficht models, the amount of oil required depends not only on engine revs, but also on load - so a range of fuel/oil ratios from WOT to Dead Slow Troll is not available. But judging from the total lack of oil fumes from the brand-new demo engine, the fuel/oil ratios must have been leaner than the 60:1 down to 300:1 listed for Ficht models.
Bombardier says that operating on Evinrude XD50 oil (previously Ficht Ram Oil), the under-cowl oil tank supplies enough oil for up to 35 hours of average usage, and using XD100 (Evinrude Biodegradable Oil) the time is 70 hours. But these figures are a bit vague - what defines average usage?
Tested on a Stacer 475 Bay Master Sports runabout and spinning a 14 x 17in pitch alloy prop, the demo E-TEC 75 had been chosen by the boat's owner for its ability to fulfil a range of uses - from wakeboarding and skiing to extended trolling periods.
Examining the available options, the owner found that all of the 75hp four-strokes and the OptiMax 75 were too heavy for the 475. He was also attracted by the lack of servicing required during the first three years.
Being a de-rated 90, the 75 has tonnes of torque - and whether pushing three or four adults with all-up totals from 860-910kg, there was no difference in planing, cruising or WOT average speeds. The demo 75 started instantly hot or cold with no oil smoke appearing at any time, and it warmed quickly from cold. Providing the anti-ventilation plate was kept at least three-quarters immersed, power astern was very good and no cooling water starvation occurred.
Unusually, the 75 idled at 400 revs in neutral, using 0.6lt/h according to the Navman sounder/flowmeter fitted. But when ahead or astern gears were engaged, the revs jumped to 500 and the consumption to 1.7lt/h, compared to 0.7lt/h on 700 revs for Tohatsu's TLDI 90 - which had higher vibration levels, though. The DST average for the 75 was 6.1kmh over ground.
Increasing the revs to 1000 returned averages of 11.0kmh and 2.3lt/h, while at 2000 revs the averages were 18.0kmh and 4.5lt/h. A clean plane was achieved at 29kmh on 2800 revs, and in a few seconds when the throttle was "floored" from DST - ideal for wakeboarding and skiing.
Maintaining a clean plane across a chop to 40cm on 3000 revs and 37.5kmh, the E-TEC used 9.5lt/h - and through tight figure-eight turns at 3500 revs, there was no prop ventilation.
At 4000rpm the averages were 53.5kmh and 15.6lt/h compared to 12.8lt/h at the same revs for the TLDI 90, while at WOT and 5150 revs the Stacer averaged 68.5kmh and the E-TEC 25.2lt/h, compared to 27.6kmh on 5600 revs for the Tohatsu. In comparison, a carburetted two-stroke Merc 75 used 34lt/h at WOT pushing a similar load to the E-TEC. The E-TEC was much smoother at WOT, with no vibration through the hull structure, while noise levels were significantly lower despite the Tohatsu being mounted on a 'glass hull.
Under-cowl access is very good, with all wiring and plumbing neatly routed and features such as a fuel filter with replaceable element. The spark plugs are instantly accessible, and for full power-head access, the lower cowl splits in two.
In my opinion, the E-TEC range is the natural low-emission progression from carburetted two-strokes without going down the four-stroke path. All E-TEC models comply with CARB 2008 and EU 2006 - the latter currently being the toughest exhaust-emission regulations in the world. The warranty coverage is three years for recreational applications.
|HOW IT PERFORMED...|
|* Optimum cruising speed.|
NOTE: Evinrude's E-Tec 75 was tested on a Stacer 475 Bay Master Sports aluminium runabout, spinning a 14 x 17in alloy prop and with a fully-loaded weight of about 900kg.
|EVINRUDE E-TEC 75|
|Engine type:Loopcharged three-cylinder DFI two-stroke|
|WOT rev range:4500-5500|
|Piston displacement (cc):1295|
|Bore x stroke (mm):91 x 66|
|Ignition system:Multi-strike computer-controlled CD|
|Charging circuit: 25amp dedicated battery|
|Fuel type:ULP 91 RON|
|Capacity (lt):22.7 plastic remote|
|Oil type:Evinrude XD50 or XD100|
|Capacity (lt):2.8 under-cowl|
|Transom height (in):20|
|Spare alloy prop:$260|
|All prices current as at December 2003. Demo motor and retail and prop prices from Hirecraft Marine, Toronto, NSW, tel (02) 4959 1444|