Friday, February 22, 2013

Cruise Control on an Outboard Finally

Update: Down Under's Greg Hind tells me he now has Perfect Pass Systems working on Evinrude E-Tech 150's as well as the large V- 6 Evinrude and Mercury Motors. I can put you in touch with him is you like.

Many potential boat buyers have asked about a "Perfect Pass" system on an outboard water ski boat.  I'm happy to report that it now seems to exist for one brand of motor but in only one line so far.  Mercury has a "cruise control" system.  This information below is direct from Mercury. 

If you use our Mercury SmartCraft MercMonitor with SmartTow, you will have an option for cruise control. This option is only compatible with a DTS (Digital Throttle and Shift) engine. Our Mercury Verado line is the only engine that is Digital Throttle and Shift and compatible with the SmartTow feature.

Mercury offers the super charged four stroke Verado in a 150 hp version which matches up well with the horsepower capacity of Dyna-Ski 17.6 Open Bows as well as several larger Horsepower versions that would be great for our 20' models.  While I'm not a big fan of four strokes for water ski boats I must admit this may help change my mind some and it will influence buyers all over the world.  

With the ever increasing cost of gasoline I'm feeling more and more water skiers will be moving from a heavy V-8 powered inboard water ski boat to the much lighter and more fuel efficient outboard powered recreational water ski boat. Cruise control may speed the change over.

We did build a triple Verado powered Dyna-Ski several years ago.  I saw it in use at Tomahawk Division II Show Ski Nationals two years ago and it seems to be doing well.  The team using it won the tournament.

I'd love to try one on a single motored Dyna-Ski so I wonder if Mercury will lend me one for testing?   Hint, hint, hint . . . . . .

I have one long time 17.6 Dyna-Ski Owner (2007) that is repowering with the new Mercury 150 four stroke I mentioned in another blog posting.  I'm looking forward to a review of the combination from him once summer hits his skiing area. His previous motor was a Mercury 150 two stroke and the boat is pictured at the bottom of this post with that motor and a couple unique uses.

Here are some old pictures of the triple Verado Boat.  
The only show ski version that I know exists.

It has power assist Hydraulic Steering and Smart Tow which is Mercury's Digital Control and Engine Monitoring System.  It is pretty slick and very easy to drive.

The digital control systems make for a pretty clean and simple installation.

There are still a few flat wing kite flyers. This one uses a 17.6 Open Bow as a tow boat.

Please don't try this at home without proper training.

Please don't try this at home or anywhere else for that matter!

I wonder what pictures he will share with us in the future with the new 4 stroke 150 Mercury? 

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

New Mercury 150 Four Stroke

While I'm not a big fan of four stroke engines on water ski boats I have to admit that the new Mercury 150 four stroke merits some attention for use on Dyna-Ski 17.6 Open Bows.  It is not super charged like the much heavier Verado and there are lots of four stroke fans so this may be the motor for them on their next Dyna-Ski 17.6 Open Bow.

In the past four stroke engines on Dyna-Ski 17.6 Open Bows tended to be a little slower out of the hole and a few miles per hour slower than the same size two stroke engine from seat of the pants testing.  Given the specifications of this new engine it could very well reduce the difference.

The In-Line 4 has 183 cubic inches of displacement and a 1.92 to 1 gear ratio.  It weighs in at 455 lbs so it isn't a lot heavier than a 2 stroke 150.  As you know I like outboard motors with more cubic inches and torque for water ski boats.  This engine has the cubic inches and should have good torque.   Deciding what prop to use on this motor will be the challenge with its excellent gear ratio for water skiing.

You can read all about the new 150 four stroke at the Mercury website:

New Evinrude Engine

Evinrude is no longer producing the 4 cylinder two stroke 115 HO and 130.  This motor was a favorite of the owners of Dyna-Ski Boats on horsepower restricted Lake Dyna-Ski as I call it.  There is a story about the lake on this blog.
The 135 HO is a 2.6L V-6 two stroke E-Tec tuned to 148 HP.  It runs on the same block as the 150, but has been re-mapped down to the 135 HO.  The motor comes in Blue or White in the 20", and White only for the 25". The 20" model will have the high-speed lighting gearcase [same as the 150 HO] and the 25" will have the SLE case, available in standard and counter rotation. Dyna-Ski Boats are made with a 20" transom.  Being a V-6 means the motor can be used with Evinrude Digital Control system I-Con.  I-Con is an awesome control and engine monitoring system.  It is super smooth and allows throttle increases and decreases of 50 RPMs easily.  Try this with a cable controlled throttle system. It is not an inexpensive system though.  The retail cost of this new motor will be around $850 less than a 150.

Water ski boats like outboard motors that have more cubic inches and torque.  The more torque the better.  Horsepower gives boats their top end speed. With a 17.6 Open Bow Dyna-Ski running into the low 50's (GPS Speedometer) with a water ski prop I'm guessing that the 135 HO will be a little slower but still faster than any inboard currently being made.  I'd expect a slight improvement in fuel economy but the 150 is pretty stingy on fuel and oil already so the improvement may be hard to determine.

After trading emails today with some folks at Evinrude they tell me the low end torque is the same for the 135 HO and 150.  Top end should be 2 - 3 mph slower.  Fuel economy slightly better.

I'm going to get a 135 HO to run on a 17.6 Dyna-Ski or two this summer.  After I get some time using the motor I'll give you an update from seat of the pants testing.

The video on You Tube is interesting.