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Old 18 September 2006, 10:33   #1
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Country: USA
Town: Marblehead, MA
Boat name: Bouncy Pumpkin
Make: Avon Searider 5.4
Length: 5m +
Engine: Evinrude 90 E-TEC
Join Date: Sep 2004
Posts: 390
Searider 5.4 Repower: 75 ETEC vs. 90 Tohatsu TLDI

I'm fed up with trying to keep the 25 year old Mercury 80 HP running. I need a reliable motor for my Searider 5.4. I can't keep up with the recurring electrical problems on this old motor. I love it when it starts and runs, though it's thirsty...

My RIB is primarily used for safety and coaching of my wife's disabled sailing team. The boat spends a lot of time idling and low speed (displacement) running around practice sessions and races. There are regular, usually short duration high speed blasts about. It's important to me to be able to get to a dangerous situation quickly, if the need arises so speed matters. I also will tow their one racing sailboat (700 pounds plus 450 pounds of crew & gear) on a regular basis, planing at low speed for the RIB. I will occasionally need to tow numbers of theses boats in and out to the racecourse, possibly at planing speed if necessary to get them ashore in case of dangerous weather. May also occasionally tow larger 3000 pound displacement sailboats which can plane once enough power is applied (J/24 or Sonar), the Merc has done this, though a bit of a struggle. I'll probably use the boat for these purposes 90-120 days in the next 12 months. Fuel economy and noise at idle & low speed are also considerations. I'm tired of burning 6-8 gallons/day, and I need to be able to converse with the sailors while running at idle and low-med displacement speed.

As a non-profit, I've been quoted $7200 USD for a 75 ETEC, installed with new controls (less steering), battery, prop, etc. This is a 3 year old but brand new, 0 hour motor that my local dealer has in stock. Software will be flashed to the latest updates. It's not a saltwater version, which doesn't bother more than a tiny bit. Add 5% sales tax, so total will be $7560 back on the water. I might be able to negotiate a slightly better deal.

Alternative is a 90 Tohatsu TLDI. Still waiting for the non-profit quote from my dealer, but I can order one online retail, and have delivered for $6850 including prop & controls. I can avoid the 5% tax this way. I may be able rig it myself and just have a local dealer do the PDI (pre delivery inspection), or have the delaer install it for $300-$500. My guess is the local dealer will quote me a reasonably similar net number with the non-profit factory discount, installed. So the costs are roughly even with the 75 ETEC nearly $7500 out the door.

What I really want is a 90 ETEC. I'd love to just plunk down the cash for one, but at $9500 plus tax installed, after discount, the wife says no way (I actually agree). A new 2007 75 ETEC saltwater would be $8500 plus tax. I can sell the old Merc on eBay for $500-$900 intact, or split the lower unit, powerhead, electrics , controls and unobtanium trim motor, sell the bits and probably net $1200+, which is what I plan to do.

A large part of me wants the extra power of the 90. The old 80hp was measured at the flywheel, the new motors are measured at the propshaft, so a 75 will be essentially the same power as what I'm used to. There haven't been too many times where I felt I wanted more power. Most of them involved WOT running in flat water or towing a big keelboat on a plane (rare). Tohatsu 70 TLDI would probably be around $6100, not enough cheaper to go for even less power.

I like the ETEC for a variety of reasons, including better warranty, lower maintenance, more advanced technology, no need for battery once running, no belts or air pumps, looks & dealer. ETECs are not flawless, but I feel they're pretty well proven at this point. Tohatsu has the edge in historical reliability, cost and additional power. I'm sure I can't go terribly wrong with either choice.

Keeping in mind the usage requirements and costs stated, which would you choose, and why? Please don't suggest any 4 strokes, I don't want the added weight. The choice is between these 2.
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Old 19 September 2006, 14:25   #2
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Country: USA
Boat name: The Boot
Make: Avon SR5.4
Length: 5m +
Engine: Suzuki DF70
Join Date: Aug 2005
Posts: 270
I personally like the Tohatsus. They are really easy to service and the reliability of Japanese outboards has a proven track record. I know nothing of Etecs but have 2 Tohatsus 8hp and 50hp and they both have never given me problems.
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Old 19 September 2006, 16:02   #3
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Country: France
Town: Plougastel-Daoulas
Boat name: Kristha
Make: Narwhal HD580
Length: 5m +
Engine: Tohatsu 90hp TLDI
Join Date: Feb 2006
Posts: 41
As a non-profit, I guess money can be tight so the price of the Tohatsu is appealing but the maintenance schedule calls for service every 50 hours, not exactly free . On the other hand, the Evinrude has no scheduled maintenance for 300 hours, even though you can count on some expenses like a new spark plug set every 100 hours. How much does that count for ?
I own a TLDI 90 and I love it but it's rated 2 stars instead of 3 for the Etec. There was a big difference in price with the 90 Etec and I wanted a 90 so I went for the Tohatsu, the reliability is stellar so far (120 hours), starts at once, I use it to troll for hours or run the odd hour at WOT to reach a fishing spot, all of them trouble-free.
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Old 25 September 2006, 11:06   #4
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Country: USA
Town: Marblehead, MA
Boat name: Bouncy Pumpkin
Make: Avon Searider 5.4
Length: 5m +
Engine: Evinrude 90 E-TEC
Join Date: Sep 2004
Posts: 390
What sort of maintenence is required on the Tohatsu at 50 hour intervals? Is it do it yourself stuff or dealer only? what does it cost to have the dealer do it?
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Old 02 January 2007, 09:29   #5
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Country: France
Town: Plougastel-Daoulas
Boat name: Kristha
Make: Narwhal HD580
Length: 5m +
Engine: Tohatsu 90hp TLDI
Join Date: Feb 2006
Posts: 41
Oops, sorry, did not notice there was a question for me here

So, the 50 hours service is nothing difficult, just basic checks but it's mandatory for the warranty here so you must have it serviced by the dealer.
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Old 02 January 2007, 14:38   #6
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Country: USA
Town: Marblehead, MA
Boat name: Bouncy Pumpkin
Make: Avon Searider 5.4
Length: 5m +
Engine: Evinrude 90 E-TEC
Join Date: Sep 2004
Posts: 390
Thanks for the reply, but too late. RIB is at the dealer to be rigged with a shiny new saltwater 90 E-TEC Surprisingly, my wife accepted that I had ordered the 90 with no argument.

Filled out all the paperwork for the Professional Discount Program today

Now the only question is, will Evinrude be able to get a motor to the dealer in time for me to leave on Jan 11? They've been closed for two weeks, during which time I stripped the old Merc, epoxied the holes in the transom, rewired all the electrics, installed a bilge pump, glassed holes in the console top and painted it, dropped the RIB at the dealer with a deposit. Under this program, dealer can't sell me the motor they have in stock, has to be direct from Evinrude.

I can't wait to take it for a test spin, then off on a 1200 mile road trip to Florida for 2 weeks of daily use
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Old 03 January 2007, 05:14   #7
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Country: France
Town: Plougastel-Daoulas
Boat name: Kristha
Make: Narwhal HD580
Length: 5m +
Engine: Tohatsu 90hp TLDI
Join Date: Feb 2006
Posts: 41
I hope you'll get a terrific discount from Evinrude then, maybe your better half thought you'd be happier to follow her around with that shiny new eTec
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Old 03 January 2007, 08:23   #8
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Country: USA
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Boat name: Miss bad 61
Make: Crapko, AKA Mako
Length: 5m +
Engine: OMC Mod50
Join Date: Apr 2006
Posts: 398
ya need a tec to hang ether, thay have to be set up out of the box.
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Old 03 January 2007, 15:13   #9
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Country: USA
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Boat name: Bouncy Pumpkin
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Engine: Evinrude 90 E-TEC
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Posts: 390
Quote:
Originally Posted by le_forban29 View Post
I hope you'll get a terrific discount from Evinrude then, maybe your better half thought you'd be happier to follow her around with that shiny new eTec
I rationalized the hell out of myself, and kept quiet until I had placed the order. Still, the 10% incremental cost to have what I want pales in comparison to the total out of pocket. If the investment for the 75 is a sunk cost, you might as well spend the increment to have what you want, right??

And I think Evinrude is going to send me a shirt as part of the program. That's got to be worth something, right?

FF, Yeah, not like my old motor that I hung myself. Best I could do this time was strip the old stuff, epoxy up the holes and give them a clean boat, easy to work on.
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Old 08 January 2007, 13:38   #10
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Country: USA
Town: Marblehead, MA
Boat name: Bouncy Pumpkin
Make: Avon Searider 5.4
Length: 5m +
Engine: Evinrude 90 E-TEC
Join Date: Sep 2004
Posts: 390
Just got a call that I can pick up my SeaRider with the new 90hp E-TEC tomorrow. Can't wait! I asked to take a little test ride with the tech while he's harbor testing it, before it gets hauled. Should be chilly at 30-35ish knots in 40 degree (F) air! Next 2 weeks in Miami, FL will be a bit warmer, and I'll be out very nearly every day

YIPPEEE!!
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