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What horsepower can your pontoon handle?

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  • What horsepower can your pontoon handle?

    Folks my 20ft Triton Cypress Cay is somewhat underpowered for pulling my son and his friends with a Honda 40HP 4 stroke, if I wanted to upgrade how do i find out what max horsepower it would handle?

  • #2
    The answer is it depends....

    What you'll find is that engine power = engine weight.
    That makes the first thing to consider how well the boat would handle more weight.
    How well your pontoon will handle more weight is going to be mostly about the diameter of your pontoons (more diameter = more weight capacity). If the waterline now is at about the half way point when looking at the side of the 'toons toward the rear, I'd be really hesitant to put a heavier motor on the back of that boat.

    If the half way point on the toon is up out of the water, then maybe it WILL handle a bigger motor.

    Older boats (say pre 2000) tend to run smaller diameter pontoons (18" -20"). They were designed with 25-40 hp motors in mind. Newer boats (lets say 2010 and newer) tend to run larger 'toons (say 25" diameter).

    SO, all that in mind, 1. how old is your boat and 2, do you know the diameter of the tubes? or 3. do you know about where your current waterline is on the rear of the boat?

    A Honda 50 or 60 will be the same weight as your 40, but I'm not sure you're going to pick up enough performance with either of those to make a swap worthwhile.

    The Honda 75 and 90 are both 150 lbs heavier than your 40. Merc and Yammie both have 75, 90, and 115's that are the same weight as the Honda 75's and 90's. Any of those motors will have significantly more power that will be very noticeable when pulling.

    Last, there may be some concern regarding the strength/type of construction of the motor pod/transom. If this is an older boat with an adjustable transom height, I would not mount up anything bigger than what you have now. If it's not adjustable, I would still want a look at how the motor pod is fastened to the floor of the boat. Some use just 4 bolts to secure the engine pod to fairly light cross menbers. Something like that will need to be beefed up significantly prior to putting any of the bigger heavier motors on it. -Al

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    • #3
      ive got a 2019 Starcraft 20ft toon. max hp is 125.. I opted for a 115.. it's 359lbs.. check with your manf on specs, newer 4 strokes tend to be considerably lighter than older less powered 2 stroke motors
      "Na ise kalyteros anthropos apo ton patera sou"

      (greek= Be a better man than your father)....

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      • #4
        Originally posted by usmeagle View Post
        Folks my 20ft Triton Cypress Cay is somewhat underpowered for pulling my son and his friends with a Honda 40HP 4 stroke, if I wanted to upgrade how do i find out what max horsepower it would handle?
        you look for the capacity plate on your boat.

        Cheesehead boating the Gulf Coast of FLA 27.51° N, 82.53° W

        1988 Cruisers Rogue 2420 -VP 290 DP now powered by custom 468 - https://forums.iboats.com/forum/owner...988-rogue-2420

        Past Boats
        1970 Wooster Hellion - Merc 9.8
        2002 SeaRay 190BR - 5.0 - A1G2 - "Cheeseheads in Paradise"
        1984 Avanti 170DLI -3.0 stringer- "Ship Happens"

        What’s behind you doesn’t matter.Enzo Ferrari

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        • #5
          What's the min-max wot rpm range factoy stated for that particular motor, what's the max wot rpm achieved as currently loaded asumming the boat has an installed tach ? The actual prop powering said motor could be way over propped for that application. Will need to bump max wot rpm higher with less prop pitches. Won't have a speed demon, but will work much better than of right now, that's if don't want to go for a higher HP motor any time soon...

          Happy Boating



          Sea Rider 320, 380 Sibs, 450 Rib, 2 Strokes Tohatsu 5,18 & 30 HP Proud Smokers

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          • #6
            Originally posted by Starcraft5834 View Post
            ive got a 2019 Starcraft 20ft toon. max hp is 125.. I opted for a 115.. it's 359lbs.. check with your manf on specs, newer 4 strokes tend to be considerably lighter than older less powered 2 stroke motors
            since when? when I switched from 2 stroke to 4 stroke I nearly doubled my weight for the same hp

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            • #7
              Originally posted by jebby View Post

              since when? when I switched from 2 stroke to 4 stroke I nearly doubled my weight for the same hp
              I was going to say the same thing.

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              • #8
                40 hp Merc 2 stroke, about 190.
                40-50 hp Honda 4 stroke, about 250.

                All else being equal, 4 strokes are heavier, but not THAT much heavier (double). Unless you're increasing the hp.

                Noteworthy, is that most 4 strokes will have TnT. Many (most?) older 2 strokes did not.

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                • #9
                  Sign up today
                  10hp Johnson sea horse 2 stroke 68 lbs
                  15hp merc 4 stroke (same block as 10 hp) 126 lbs.

                  I used to put them in the truck and the boat upside down on the pop up camper. had to sling them regularly. I know how much that extra weight sucked

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