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4 stroke or 2 stroke?


Selmer

Question

I'm sure this has been beaten like a dead horse around here, but I couldn't find it in the search function. I'm looking to buy a used 16-17' boat for family fishing, but haven't really come to a conclusion on a 4 stroke or 2 stroke motor yet. Yes - the boat I buy will come with a motor, but right now I'm willing to go either way, 4 or 2 stroke, but I don't really know the major advantages/disadvantages, other than the 4 stroke will be heavier, quieter, and more fuel efficient, but possibly more expensive to repair. 2 strokes are lighter, have a higher top end, and are easier to repair, but are more polluting. I run a 2-stroke Johnson 7.5hp on a 14 cedar strip boat right now. I use my father's boat on bigger water, 16' Lund Laker with a 50 hp Yamaha 4 stroke. It flat out runs big, but look at my comparison factor, apples and oranges. Is it that big of a deal on a used boat? Can I get a decent trade value on a 2 stroke if trading in on a 4 stroke? Opinions needed!

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I would strongly consider only 4 strokes or 2 Stroke DFI (Optimax or Etec). Carb'd 2 strokes have gone the way of the Dodo bird. I had one and will not go back. They are smokey, loud, and can be difficult to start. The newer 2 strokes and 4 strokes start like a car. Even in the spring on 1st start...Priceless.

Etecs and Optimax motors are sometimes lighter than their 4 stroke brothers, but not always so. They are much quieter and less polluting than their 2 stroke predecessors. They do make power on every revolution, so they do show an advantage in "low grunt" situations (pulling slalom skiier out of hole for example). 4 strokes make power on every other revolution. No oil changes needed, but the oil that has the lowest consumption is expensive. I believe the Etec has a winterization mode, so thats kinda cool.

4 strokes can be a little quieter yet, have little pollution. My EFI Yammy starts like a dream and can troll all day long without fouling plugs. It has more valves/cylinder than my truck and it is silky smooth throughout the powerband. It jumps my 16' Lund on plane in a couple of seconds. The only time it could use a tad more power is pulling a slalom skiier, and I could get a dedicated ski prop to correct if I wanted to. I have a hard time not recommending any brand of 4 stroke with EFI fuel injection. Stabilize the gas and change the oil once per year. Should last a LONG time.

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And if the boat I'm considering buying has a 2-stroke 60 hp in excellent condition that runs great and the price on the package is very, very good? Buy it, run the motor until I can afford a 4 stroke? Or use the savings to trade out the 2-stroke and get a 4 stroke? I won't be able to make that decision until I run it and/or buy, but I suppose there is a used market in 4-strokes by now, right?

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Solbes pretty much nailed it. I used to say that they would have to pry my two stroke motors from my cold dead hands. But that was before I bought my Suzuki 4 stroke outboard.

I spent a LOT of time researching the various models. The only ones I considered were: Yamaha, Suzuki and Evinrude ETEC. I was looking for a 150HP so my decision weighs factors that wont impact you.

Reliability was a major deal for me. I know people who own large Yamaha 4 strokes, but I didnt know anyone with a Suzuki or an ETEC.

EFI is definitely the way to go, BUT make sure that if you do go EFI get a fuel/water separator or you are asking for trouble down the road with injectors (buddies had to replace their's twice on Yamahas).

The new direct injection 2 strokes are nearly as clean as some of the 4 strokes. In fact, some of them are more clean.

For the size motor you are looking at any brand is good. The larger displacements is where there is a separation IMO based on my findings.

I like never having to add oil, there is absolutely no smoke whatsoever and I can troll with my big motor an entire day and it doesnt load up at all making it run rough.

ETEC will talk about "no dealer scheduled maintenance" and push a button to winterize, well you really need to drain the lower unit and that is all I do plus change the engine oil. No fogging.

If it comes with a newer 2 stroke already on it, you could save yourself some money and just run that for a few years and upgrade. But buying a new DFI 2 stroke or 4 stroke you will NOT ever regret.

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Oil for our Etec is about $50 a gallon, and we go through about a gallon per weekend trip, untill the first 100 hours are on the motor then it should just sip oil. The payoff is the fuel economy compared to our old motor. Both 150 hp's, but we fill up the boat once per trip now where we would fill up twice before. But maybe we are better fishermen now and dont need to try a lot of spots grin? And the performance is awesome. Couldnt be happier with our Etec. When we bought ours 2 years ago, everyone on here told me to get a 4-stroke so dont take our opinions as gospel.

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The boat is a 16' 1989 Alumacraft Competitor, which has the floor layout that I want in a price range I can afford. Seller says the boat is solid, and I'll get to inspect and ride before I'd buy. Motor is a 60hp Evinrude 2-stroke, late 80s model. He's upgrading for his growing family with four kids fishing plus his wife. So as long as the current motor runs well, I'll probably stick with that until I could afford an upgrade/newer motor. I'm excited to check it out, it's at a good price point for the boat and motor, and I've discovered that I can buy "more" boat if it has Alumacraft on the side rather than Lund...

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Selmer I have owned alumacrafts for 18 yrs and agree with your comment on value. That motor will probably smoke a lot. You can buy different oils to help reduce it though like amsoil but make sure you use synthetic regardless of what you get because it burns cleaner and less smoke.

$50 a weekend on oil is a ton. I spend that on a complete oil change and I do that once per year after over 300 hrs of operation.

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"Should last a LONG time." That's the only thing that sticks in my mind over the conversion from 2 stroke to 4 stroke (all the other 4s advantages are a slam-dunk). 2-stroke reliability has been proven for many, many decades. I've personally seen 2s motors that haven't been run in a decade start on the third pull. 4 stroke outboards haven't been around long enough to have comparable data.

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Traditional 2 strokes are simple in design but when you get direct injection the get complicated. No cam shafts but the injection system is far from simple. Search etec injection issues once. You will find a lot.

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I upgraded to a 90hp Etec last year and am loving it.

Noise? Not quite as quiet as a 4-stroke at idle however, at WOT it is quieter than a comparable 4-stroke.

Emissions? Comparable to the 90hp Yamaha 4-stroke.

Weight? 70lbs. lighter than the Yamaha 4-stroke 90hp.

Maintenance? No oil change required. Automatic winterization, love it! Do have to spend $50.00/gal for the 2-cycle oil but at 100:1 ratio it only adds $.50/gal to the cost of fuel. Runs on 87 octane fuel too so the fuel savings makes up for it.

Fuel economy? Up to 40% more efficient at idle (trolling) than the comparable Yamaha. About equal at full throttle.

Cost? A bit more expensive up front than the Yamaha.

Performance? 4-strokes can't compete here. Mine has performed beautifully.

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I would say if you plan to troll alot with your main motor, then you will want a 4 stroke. If you plan on using an electric to troll then id buy whatever comes on the boat you like best. I love the slow idle on my buddies 50hp yammaha 4 stroke for trolling. My 30hp 2 stroke doesnt idle down well for trolling and so thats why i have my Terrova.

WOT usually is Wide Open Throttle

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Its your decision. Yes you will pay less for a 80's vintage 2 stroke. NADA values for such motors are pretty low, however here in the Midwest the market will bear much higher values. My 2 stroke was a 1984 Evinrude 90 Hp (2 stroke obviously). Cold blooded, but ran pretty good right until I had compression issues back in 2008 (blew a 32 psi on cylinder #4). So that prompted me to buy a new boat with Yamaha 4S EFI. Etec 75 was my second choice for some of the reasons Bob mentioned.

I have helped a couple of friends through these same decisions. One got a carb'd 2 stroke and somewhat regrets it. Once it's started it runs pretty good. But takes some coaxing. The other friend bought a 4 stroke and I've heard no complaints at all.

In regard to engine life, numerous resort and guide boats with 4 strokes have run over 3000 hours before needing a rebuild. Thats a LONG life. I'm sure there are 2 strokes out there that have similar lifespans. Again your call. I would see if you could test drive the boat your inquiring about, and then try one with 2S DFI or 4S EFI.

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$50 a weekend on oil is a ton. I spend that on a complete oil change and I do that once per year after over 300 hrs of operation.

Tell me about it. BUT...thats why there is no break in period on Etecs. The motor automatically runs more oil for the first 100 hours of operation. After that initial 100 hours it should drop way down. We havent got there yet since the boat stays up at Kabetogama, we only use it up there. And we do run\are set up for the 100 grade oil that is a little more than the 50 I think.

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I've had a Merc. 4 stroke for about 6 years and love it. Like others have said, the hole shot is a little weak and it takes me a little longer to get up on plain, but that's the only downside. It runs super quiet, uses very little gas and ALWAYS starts on the first turn of the key.

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I would say if you plan to troll alot with your main motor, then you will want a 4 stroke. If you plan on using an electric to troll then id buy whatever comes on the boat you like best. I love the slow idle on my buddies 50hp yammaha 4 stroke for trolling. My 30hp 2 stroke doesnt idle down well for trolling and so thats why i have my Terrova.

WOT usually is Wide Open Throttle

Something I didn't give good thought to when I listed my points was low end idle speed. I am willing to bet that a 4-stroke will have the edge here in idle speed rpm and therefore trolling speed can be lower. My 90hp idles at about 650rpm and pushes my 16' Sylvan Adventurer at about 3mph forward and 2.5mph reverse.

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I troll 2.4 mph with my 150 suzuki 4 stroke.

The only way I know its running is if I look to see the stream of water coming out of the engine or look at the rpms. My buddy has a 90 Yamaha and another a 90 Honda (both 4 strokes) and each of them have commented "something happened to your motor, it just killed". I just laugh. Its way quieter than their smaller counterparts and unbelievably smooth.

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Test drove a new Ranger 175T with a 75 HP ETEC on Saturday and was pleasantly surprised. Trolled down to about 2 mph forward. Plenty slow for what I do.

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Those 4-strokes do idle quiet. On more than one occasion my brother-in-law has hit the starter on his 115 Yamaha only to discover it was already running. You have to listen for the water stream hitting the lake to hear it run.

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Had my first 4-stroke OBM in 1975....a little Honda. Only way to go. Now we use 115 Yamaha and some smaller Yammies and Hondas.

Travel the world fishing and see what you find on the stern of 90% of the guide boats. That's right.....4-stroke Yamaha's.

I honestly cannot think of a solid reason to NOT go with a four-stroke outboard motor. You can cite weight and maybe cost but all the benefits outweigh those two.

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Suzuki is the ONLY outboard company that all of their outboards meet the ultra low emissions standards.

Yamaha makes great motors but if Suzuki had a better marketing and distribution team they would sell double what they currently do. Fine by me I am cool being of of the few with the sexy black beast on my boat.

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