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  1. #1
    Seaman
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    Default Honda vs. Mercury vs. Suzuki vs. Yamaha?

    I have a 17ft Boston Whaler (Montawk) and am looking for a new engine - thinking 4 stroke 115hp. I live in a very remote community in the Canadian Arctic with no local dealers so reliability is a must. Which engine (this year's) is generally considered the best on the market? I've searched the threads but only found comparisons from 2003 and a lot can change in 5 years.

    All help is very appreciated.

    Cheers,

    Bozol

  2. #2
    Moderator JB's Avatar
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    Default Re: Honda vs. Mercury vs. Suzuki vs. Yamaha?

    If your Montauk 17 is the classic (16'7") it is only rated for 100HP, Bozol.

    On my 16'7" Whalers (1966 Sakonnet and 1981 Montauk) I used 2 100HP V4s, a 70HP 3 cylinder Johnson and a 2001 Suzuki DF70.

    The Suzi was by far the most user friendly of the 4 engines but it is a heavy, complex, computer controlled EFI 4 stroke. It was also the cleanest, quietest and most economical. If I had another Montauk today the DF70 would be my choice.

    The V4s didn't offer significantly better performance than the 70s. They had a higher top speed, but that was about it. Both were thirsty but reliable as a wheelbarrow.

    The simplest, most straightforward engine was the Johnson 70. Performance was good and agility was better than with the heavier engines. I could do all routine maintenance in the garage. The big problem is that they don't make it anymore.

    Many discussions on the "best" engine for a Montauk take place on the forums at continuouswave.com, a Whaler owners' website. I believe that the DF70 is the most popular choice.

    If your Boston Whaler is a Montauk 170, rather than the classic Montauk 17, forget what I have said. It is a bigger, heavier boat that might just love a 115. That should probably be an etec or a Suzi DF115.

  3. #3
    Chief Petty Officer
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    Default Re: Honda vs. Mercury vs. Suzuki vs. Yamaha?

    I also had a Montauk 17. I ran an Johnson 88 SPL, and it was without a doubt the best boat I have had. I would say that any of the V-4's would be a great fit for that boat. The motors do not have to work very hard to get the boat up on top, so the fuel economy is great. Also, I would look at the 2 stroke Merc 90 for a newer motor.

  4. #4
    Seaman
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    Default Re: Honda vs. Mercury vs. Suzuki vs. Yamaha?

    Great advice guys, thanks so much. I was initially leaning towards the Suzuki. Now you've got me thinking about my boat size. It came with the 88hp Johnson (1992, 4 cylinder 2 stroke) and I have had nothing but problems with the engine. However, when it was (occasionally) working it would push the boat around 39 mph. How do I check the max hp rating for the boat - would the serial number be able to help me out? Is it written on the boat anywhere? I would love the suzuki 115 blasting away on the back if the boat can handle it!

    Also, when I talked to the dealer he said the 115 came with either a 20" or 25" leg - when I measured it looked like my transom was about 22" - does this make sense? Does anybody know the standard leg length for a Mantauk?

    Again, any help is appreciated.

  5. #5
    Moderator JB's Avatar
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    Default Re: Honda vs. Mercury vs. Suzuki vs. Yamaha?

    Your Montauk, like all of the classic Boston Whaler 17s (actually 16'7") made from 1966 to 2000, is rated for a maximum of 100HP, Bosol. It has a 20" (long shaft) transom. You can take that to the bank.

    The transom weight is limited to 400#, which makes the Suzi DF115 (420#) and all other 4 strokes over 100HP too heavy. The "biggest" 4 stroke that is light enough to stay under the 400# limit, I believe, is the Honda BF90. I don't remember what the Yamaha F100 weighs, but I think it is over the 400# limit.

    My Montauk would do 42mph (GPS) with the 100HP V4 and 38.5mph (GPS) with the DF70 on a 4" setback plate. The V4 burned a bit more than twice as much gas. The Johnson 70 (100# lighter than the DF70) would do 39mph and burned about 1.5 times as much gas as the DF70. My son's identical Montauk with a Merc 90 2 stroke got 40mph.

    I would expect a JohnnyRude 115HP 60* V4 looper to get it to about 44-45mph. That would get you a ticket in many places and really upset an insurance agent who knows boats.

    In the real world, on the water, a few mph top speed is only detectable with instruments and only flat out. User friendliness is detectable the instant you turn the key and fuel usage is detectable every time you pull up to the pump.

    If you want a safe, good handling boat do not exceed the manufacturer's ratings on power or weight.

  6. #6
    Supreme Mariner Silvertip's Avatar
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    Default Re: Honda vs. Mercury vs. Suzuki vs. Yamaha?

    I have a new pontoon on order and it will be powered by a Suzy. I chose that engine primarily because it is one that I've not seen any problems of any significance with. Only time will tell whether I made a good choice. Plus they have a six year warranty but hopefully I won't need to test it.

  7. #7
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    Default Re: Honda vs. Mercury vs. Suzuki vs. Yamaha?

    I know you said 4 stroke but:: Etec 115 is 369lbs,the 90 is 320.No service scheduled for 3 years or 300 hours. 115 on a Hydosport 17.6ft 1770lbs dry
    41 mph,5.5 mpg @ 24 mph,90 on Aqua sport 175 17.4ft 1740 lbs dry 38 mph
    6.6mpg @ 24 mph.

  8. #8
    Seaman
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    Default Re: Honda vs. Mercury vs. Suzuki vs. Yamaha?

    Talking with a friend of mine who knows boats and he seems to think the 115hp is a good idea up here due to the idea you can always throttle back but can't push past your 70 or 90hp limits if needed. The Yamaha 115 4stroke is rated at 401 lbs, which is the boat's limit. None of us can get insurance up here (Arctic) for boats due to isolation. Does that change any opinions above?

  9. #9
    Moderator JB's Avatar
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    Default Re: Honda vs. Mercury vs. Suzuki vs. Yamaha?

    Having experienced a Montauk with engines of several different weights and power ratings I would avoid overpowering or even pushing the transom strength limits, Bozol. Yes, the Montauk is strong enough to probably survive abuse. I have heard of Montauks sporting carbed 2 stroke 150 JohnnyRudes. But as a matter of policy I will not support violating the manufacturer's ratings.

    Remember that the Yammy F115 is weighted without fuel, oil or prop.

    An etec 90, Suzi DF70 or Honda 90 will do everything any 115 will do, except maybe a couple of mph, and they will do it safely and efficiently.

  10. #10
    Lieutenant scoutabout's Avatar
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    Default Re: Honda vs. Mercury vs. Suzuki vs. Yamaha?

    Quote Originally Posted by Bozol View Post
    ...None of us can get insurance up here (Arctic) for boats due to isolation. Does that change any opinions above?
    Sounds like the kind of insurance needed in that part Canada is two engines...I don't know anything about Whalers -- could you put say two 40 horse motors on it?
    Give me a picture and a thousand words!


    2004 Scout Dorado 175 Dual Console
    Yamaha 90 4-Stroke

  11. #11
    Moderator JB's Avatar
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    Default Re: Honda vs. Mercury vs. Suzuki vs. Yamaha?

    Montauks with twin JohnnyRude 50s are fairly common in the Bahamas. That really pushes the 400# transom weight limit but it might be different with the weight distributed by twins.

    I do know that a Montauk with a single JohnnyRude 100 is faster but not quite as quick on plane as one with twin 50s.

  12. #12
    Lieutenant scoutabout's Avatar
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    Default Re: Honda vs. Mercury vs. Suzuki vs. Yamaha?

    Quote Originally Posted by JB View Post
    Montauks with twin JohnnyRude 50s are fairly common in the Bahamas. That really pushes the 400# transom weight limit but it might be different with the weight distributed by twins.

    I do know that a Montauk with a single JohnnyRude 100 is faster but not quite as quick on plane as one with twin 50s.
    Thanks for the info JB. OK, so I vote small twins with in that environment. I'd rather give up some top end to know I could get home on at least a slow plane with the other engine up.

    A little kicker ain't worth nuthin if you've got 100 km of near frozen water between you and civilization with night coming on. And since they are twins, I don't then much care who makes em beyond can I get parts and service easily.
    Give me a picture and a thousand words!


    2004 Scout Dorado 175 Dual Console
    Yamaha 90 4-Stroke

  13. #13
    Seaman Apprentice
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    Default Re: Honda vs. Mercury vs. Suzuki vs. Yamaha?

    2 etec 40 at 240 pounds=480
    If it ain't a Turbo, yer just spinnin' yer wheels

  14. #14
    Senior Chief Petty Officer Navy Jr.'s Avatar
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    Default Re: Honda vs. Mercury vs. Suzuki vs. Yamaha?

    Quote Originally Posted by Silvertip View Post
    I have a new pontoon on order and it will be powered by a Suzy. I chose that engine primarily because it is one that I've not seen any problems of any significance with. Only time will tell whether I made a good choice. Plus they have a six year warranty but hopefully I won't need to test it.
    Hi Silvertip! Is this the pontoon boat you were shopping for at the Mnpls Boat Show in January? Did you order it at the show or after? Which brand/model?

    I think you'll love the Suze. From my research they are efficient and reliable. From my brother-in-law who has a good friend with one, the Suzuki is very quiet as well. Sounds perfect for a toon.

    All the best.

  15. #15
    Cadet
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    Default Re: Honda vs. Mercury vs. Suzuki vs. Yamaha?

    I live in Alaska in the same situation. I use my boat mostly on the Yukon and other remote rivers. After alot of reading and checking out different brands I went with a 115 hp Suzuki (2007). Put alot of hours on it with no problems. Gets good gph easy basic mait. I have been watching the forms and have not seen any problems at all. Now the only thing is to wait untill may for the rivers to break up and get back on the water.

  16. #16

    Default Re: Honda vs. Mercury vs. Suzuki vs. Yamaha?

    From what I'm reading the boat you're talking about is only rated for 100hp. In that case I would recommend an Evinrude E-Tec 90hp. If you still want to get a 115, than get an evinrude etec 115. Evinrude doesn't have break-in periods and maintanence is scheduled every 3 years and evinrudes have more torque, due to less weight, and they are very fuel efficient. (Hope I didn't post this too late)

  17. #17
    Commander
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    Default Re: Honda vs. Mercury vs. Suzuki vs. Yamaha?

    Hey, this thread is over a year old, why revive it now?

  18. #18
    Seaman
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    Default Re: Honda vs. Mercury vs. Suzuki vs. Yamaha?

    Hey everybody,

    I originally posted this thread over a year ago! Just to let you all know that I went with a 90HP 4 Stroke Yamaha. It was the lightest of the 90hp 4 strokes. I also have an old 15hp Evinrude as a backup to at least get me to shore should I need to. I knew I was pushing the weight limit and in the end I am too heavy. But I think it's because the previous owner custom built the console and it's way aft of center. This winter I'm going to rebuild the console in the garage and actually put in a dual dash as close to the front as is safe and comfortable. Also going to move the gas tank and batteries up there too. Makes more sense here in the cold arctic as it provides a lot more protection for all passengers and gear. Look for other of my posts for advice on this, or go to continuouswave.com for Whaler specific posts.

    As for the motor - it's awesome. Quiet, starts on the first turn of the key, gets the boat up on plane without much effort and isn't too thirsty. I also bought it when the Cdn and US $$ were almost identical - $4000 less in the US!

  19. #19
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    Default Re: Honda vs. Mercury vs. Suzuki vs. Yamaha?

    Quote Originally Posted by scoutabout View Post
    Sounds like the kind of insurance needed in that part Canada is two engines...I don't know anything about Whalers -- could you put say two 40 horse motors on it?
    i think you are right, you can always go less hp when you got twin motors under the single motor rating so i thik 2x 40 hp is perfect and reliable

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