Having been the owner of a few four stroke motors in the past (a Honda 90hp and a Yamaha 60hp) I wasn’t really sold on the four stroke range. Yes the fuel economy was excellent and the lack of smoke and smell was another key selling point, but the out-of-hole performance was a real downer along with the lack of power throughout the rev range. Power in general was an issue.
It was on the back our experience with Four Strokes that we fell in love with the 2008 Evinrude Etec… Power to burn, comparable efficiency to the fours of the time and well powerful! That was until we rolled in for the 900hr service, mentioned some performance issues and a complete rebuild later… well the rest is history.
Post rebuild, we were somewhat stuck for options. We’d fallen out of love with our engine. Yet a conversation followed with the team at Jetty Boating and a proposed solution to our power problem was agreed upon, the new 115hp Mercury Pro XS Four Stroke was to be thrust upon our rebuilt 1980’s Cruise Craft Reef Raider. I had some doubts or perhaps even reservations around the capabilities of this engine, but we had nothing to lose so why not?!
Water test day… Initial impressions were “yeah that’s a sexy motor” and the tidy up work done around the hydraulic steering cables and electronic wiring system throughout the entire boat was to say the least, very impressive! But would the new donk perform??? One word… YES! I still can’t believe it actually (and NO we’re not paid to say this), I never thought the Merc Four would come anywhere near the Etec for performance. But it has! And more, it’s exceeded both the performance of the old and my expectations. Power out of the hole is incredible and this power flows through the entire rev range right up to 6,300rpm. Even at 4-5,000rpm if you hit the throttle you’ll rock back as the engine emits an impressively throaty growl. Though while at cruising speed you can easily hold a conversation and whilst at idle you need to check the water flow from the engine to know that the engine is still on!
We have put close enough to 100hrs on the new beast since July and don’t really have any fancy stats on fuel or anything. But when using the vessel view 7 (pretty fancy name for very awesome gauges) you can set the motor to ‘Eco Mode’ and that in turn provides the driver with a rev and trim range that allows max power and minimum fuel. Now, we’ve fished the Wooli Snapper Tournament and the Dave Irvine Memorial Snapper Tournament a few times and in years gone by Reece and I had to allow a fuel and oil budget of about $500 for both competitions (there’s some long days and long trips in there). This year we came in at below $250 for fuel and you guessed it ZERO for oil.
We’re still working on using the motor and the VV7 to their full potential, but the Eco Mode, Trolling Mode and the ability to link the VV7 screen to your Lowrance and or SIMRAD units are incredible features that really take this engine to the next level for performance.
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Name: Shaun "NEB" Cameron. Born: Coffs Harbour NSW 1999. NRL Team: Gold Coast Titans. Favourite Species: Pagrus Auratus - Snapper & Muddies aka Mud Crabs. Blurb; Hi, Shaun Cameron here. I'm a frother on all things oceanic and photography. There's...