Tell me again how quiet 4 stroke outboards are?

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galamb
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Tell me again how quiet 4 stroke outboards are?

Post by galamb » Thu Mar 24, 2011 2:18 pm

Onplane (Charles) was asking my opinion about a brand new 50 Merc (2 stroke) that Bass Pro is selling. One of his comments was that he heard that they are "noisy" or "loud" at full throttle.

Anyhow, I did some digging through my collection of "on water" test done by boattest.com to try and see how much of the 4 stroke "hype" is true.

While I couldn't find a common hull that tested both a 2 stroke and 4 stroke 50 horse, I found a couple that were close which I will post below here so they can be compared.

The first is a 17 foot Tracker (764lb dry weight), plus motor/battery, 2 persons and full tank of fuel powered by a "new" 50 horse, 2 stroke Merc. "I'm" putting it head to head against a 16 foot American Angler (640lb dry weight), plus motor/battery, 2 persons and 1/2 tank of fuel powered by a 50 horse Honda 4 stroke.

All else being equal, the Honda is pushing about 200lbs less than the Merc and despite that the "mph" numbers are very very close. What may be more surprising to the "4 stroke junkies" is the gph numbers and the db readings at different rpms.

So tell me again please how I will save gallons of fuel with a 4 stroke and it will stop my ears from bleeding in the process...
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50 merc on 17 tracker 764 dry 2 pers full fuel.jpg
50 honda on 16 footer 640lb dry 2 pers half fuel.jpg
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Oyster
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Re: Tell me again how quiet 4 stroke outboards are?

Post by Oyster » Thu Mar 24, 2011 5:13 pm

Well sir a couple of issues comes to mind. First off you are using a Honda as the four stroke. While that maybe your personal favorite, Hondas are not being sold to the masses along the eastern seaboard, and I have covered every square mile from the canadian border to around the panhandle of Florida many times over.
Inland I cannot speak with any educated numbers though.

To be sure many Hondas have been used in the commercial industry if the boat owner works really hard to find a dealer that he can first purchase on for starters and one that is relatively close to him or her too. The worse is that they normally cost a wee bit higher too in the mid atlantic region. As a matter of fact in every single opportunity that I have had to price one they are the highest of all the brands avaliable.

Next, at least when I am running any and all boats there are very few times I run any engine at its top end rpm. So while the noise issue may come into play and the noise appears to be the issue that you are highlighing here, I for one am more interested in the fuel burn using the two items for our talking points and for the sake of this conversation.

So a more fair comparison for me for the sake of discussion needs to be how the two relates to the normal operating rpm which is comfortable all the way around. At 3 to 4 grand in rpm the four stroke wins hands down. To be sure the Hondas will out live any mercury in the water today too.

While the two stroke will probably by lighter in weight, I also wonder how that plays into the mid range speeds too since the two stroke appears to be quicker at mid range? Boat trim with the additional weight on the transom? Yea, Nea?
Respectfully submitted for consideration... :wink:

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kens
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Re: Tell me again how quiet 4 stroke outboards are?

Post by kens » Thu Mar 24, 2011 5:36 pm

I can say that the Y amaha 4strokes are in fact quiet at idle. very quiet at that.
However I have no idea about them at speed though.
I been watching many boattests also, especially with the new technology outboards. When you look at comparable power, I have yet to see a outboard that just 'beats the socks off' the setup I already got. and I got circa 1986 technology pushing my boat.
I believe that a great many of the boattest articles are written in the favor of the sponsor they are promoting. Especially in the terms of weight, noise, and fuel consumption. Most of the boats tested are heavier, noiser, and use more fuel than the article suggests.
Somewhere recently I read a article on the 4stroke vs 2stroke noise issue. At high power the 4stroke was noisy as any other outboard. I cannot recall the brands tested but I do remember the 4stroke lost its edge so to speak.
At the boat ramp I frequent, there are many center console boats of offshore variety, all with the latest & greatest technology. I recently went round trip to J-buoy. (60miles) I verified my fuel at 18gallons. With 3 of the other guys there I mentioned my trip of 18gallons. Not a one of the guys with their new boats could come forward and claim better fuel burn.
I still doubt that the outboards of any variety are all they are cracked up to be. After all, I can only compare them to my 1986 technology inboard.
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sschefer
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Re: Tell me again how quiet 4 stroke outboards are?

Post by sschefer » Thu Mar 24, 2011 8:52 pm

Two strokes are typically a little noisier if you're comparing the older carb'd and EFI versions. Those motors need exhaust reliefs to maintain a decent idle. The reason is that two strokes rely on retaining fuel in the cylinders in order to produce power on the bottom end but at idle with water in the mid section they would have retained too much fuel and fouled out if it wasn't for the idle reliefs. The idle reliefs are where a lot of the noise is comming from because they are still functioning all the way through the power band and they are always above water.

On the newer DFI two strokes the fuel can be more precisely controlled so loading up at idle is not as much of a problem and most no longer have idle reliefs and are as quiet as a four stroke. At WOT they are all about the same as the tests show.

Here's what a two stroke go fast motor sounds like during it's first startup.. Little louder than the average two stroke and a lot louder than any four stroke. Don't fall asleep the best part is at the end. Click on the picture to play the video if you dare. This one dyno'd at 190hp/8500 rpm and started as a 135. I had a lot of fun messin with bass boats out on the lake when I'd run this motor with the 115 cowlings on it.

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jcallends
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Re: Tell me again how quiet 4 stroke outboards are?

Post by jcallends » Fri Mar 25, 2011 5:33 am

Tests as submitted are only guidelines as noise is a personal perception. If you were hearing impaired as I am you would find such tests to be meaningless. All loud noises irritate me so comparisons of real noises are what I am interested in. There was a time in my life when an unmuffled V-8 was music to my ears and I believe most guys want a pleasing sound from their engines loud or soft. It's only when it does become an irritation that the argument begins. Do not confuse noise and sound levels they are not the same thing. As an expert in
rateing noise irratation I will tell anyone that a four stroke engine is much less irratating than a two stroke.

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Re: Tell me again how quiet 4 stroke outboards are?

Post by Oyster » Fri Mar 25, 2011 5:43 am

Do not confuse noise and sound levels they are not the same thing. As an expert in
rateing noise irratation I will tell anyone that a four stroke engine is much less irratating than a two stroke.

Good point, a whish and a thrashing beater are two different animals. :wink:

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Re: Tell me again how quiet 4 stroke outboards are?

Post by Bill Edmundson » Fri Mar 25, 2011 7:11 am

Do not confuse noise and sound levels they are not the same thing. As an expert in rateing noise irratation
You BET! Consider an Angry Woman vs a Happy Excited Woman :!: :wink: :lol:

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sschefer
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Re: Tell me again how quiet 4 stroke outboards are?

Post by sschefer » Fri Mar 25, 2011 7:12 am

jcallends wrote:Tests as submitted are only guidelines as noise is a personal perception. If you were hearing impaired as I am you would find such tests to be meaningless. All loud noises irritate me so comparisons of real noises are what I am interested in. There was a time in my life when an unmuffled V-8 was music to my ears and I believe most guys want a pleasing sound from their engines loud or soft. It's only when it does become an irritation that the argument begins. Do not confuse noise and sound levels they are not the same thing. As an expert in
rateing noise irratation I will tell anyone that a four stroke engine is much less irratating than a two stroke.
Precisely why I posted that vid.. I think it makes the point perfectly clear and is also why I will soon own a 4 stroke and will try to be content with a 40mph boat.
Steve Schefer
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Iggy
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Re: Tell me again how quiet 4 stroke outboards are?

Post by Iggy » Fri Mar 25, 2011 7:43 am

It's a good discussion.

In terms of gallons of fuel... at 3,000 RPM there is a 0.8 GPH fuel variance between the two engines, which is about a 29% reduction in fuel usage with only a 0.7 MPG or 6% reduction in speed. At that speed, you save almost a gallon of fuel every hour you operate it. Thats not insignificant.

Incidentally, there is a 6 dBA reduction it the same 3,000 RPM levels.

While these may not seem like 'major' differences, when we are talking engine technology and noise, they are still pretty significant.

What the chart does show pretty well is that BOTH engines are noisy and consume a lot of fuel at full throttle. At a slower crusing speed the 4 stroke 'advantage' is more noticeable in noise and consumption. And as others have mentioned the 'type' of noise between the two engines may or may not be as desirable to the operator & passengers.

Engines have always been sorta.. well.. hard to justify in terms of 'upgrading' for the sake of fuel economy alone.. and I am not just talking about boats. I've done a little bit of research and the 'extra' most auto manufacturers charge for better fuel effeciency engines (VW TDI for example) rarely ends up in a NET savings in lower fuel operating costs over the average OWNER lifespan of that vehicle. In other works, the extra you pay almost never pays for itself in lower operating costs. Again this is my personal observation and research, however I'd be happy of someone could show me I am wrong about it.

I think most of us operate boats for recreational purposes.. few of us use boats as our source of income (I think). Every bit of gas or every dime of boat cost is never intended to give us a financial ROI 'return on investment', but rather a Return on Enjoyment.

I think 2 strokes can do that as efficiently as 4 strokes in most cases, which is why I have a 2 stroke right now. In the future that might change... as gas prices keep rising and as I have less tolerance for cruising speed noise levels.. there will probably be a time in my future where a 4 stroke will be attractive to me.
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Re: Tell me again how quiet 4 stroke outboards are?

Post by jeffh » Fri Mar 25, 2011 8:30 am

The 115HP 4-stroke we have on our pontoon is very quiet at idle. It also whispers at a certain RPM...I think around 3000-3500 (can't remember), but after that, it is not so quiet. Before we had our own place, I kept it in a marina and the guy next to us had a 24ft boat similar to ours with a 115HP Honda 4-stroke and that thing made a horrible noise at idle. To be fair: I suspect they had some problems in the lower end of that motor. I know his wife hit a log or the bottom and shredded the prop one day. I am anxious to get my E-TEC mounted. From what I've read, they are quiet and start in one revolution just like my 4-stroke.
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Re: Tell me again how quiet 4 stroke outboards are?

Post by upspirate » Fri Mar 25, 2011 8:56 am

As far as fuel consumption,I have a 21' WAC with a 150 Mercury Optimax 2 stroke DFI motor.

It idles quiet sort of like a whisper,but is louder at higher RPMs.

On one trip where I ran about 3300RPM, maybe 24 MPH (I forget exactly) approx 37 miles outside,then the remaining 38 inside at anywhere from

No wake to 25 MPH with a WOT run of about 10 miles....I estimated on a chart about 75 miles total,I burned 20.5 gallons

This boat with motor and full tank of fuel is about 3800LBS and also Had a high Bimini top up which hurts too as far as wind resistance

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leakcheck
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Re: Tell me again how quiet 4 stroke outboards are?

Post by leakcheck » Fri Mar 25, 2011 11:08 am

Bill Edmundson wrote:Happy Excited Woman
Oximoron

Steve :roll:

Edit: I didn't say that I hear it often!

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galamb
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Re: Tell me again how quiet 4 stroke outboards are?

Post by galamb » Fri Mar 25, 2011 4:52 pm

It's probably very safe to say that we all use our boats and their motors in sometimes very different ways. If we didn't there would be one boat fitted with a common motor and no other options.

The point I was trying to make was that there is considerable hype about how quiet and fuel efficient 4 strokes are with the proponents often talking about the fuel sucking 2 strokes that cause your ears to bleed. (but to be fair, in the past 10 years or so the exhaust on the 2 strokes was tuned/tweaked making it quieter than it's predecessors)

And yes, at mid-range rpms a 4 stroke is almost always more efficient than it's two stroke counterpart. And agree, there definately is a different sound to a 2 stroke - you just don't mistake it.

I spend alot of time on smaller water and over 90% of the boats that lauch seem to only have 2 speeds - idle their way out the narrows from the dock and then immediately to full throttle. So for them the mid-range efficiency is not a significant factor.

But even if it was, I apply my "second" factor. Probably 8 out of 10 motors that come into the shop have less than 100 hours on them. We see many that are 10 to 15 years old (and some over 20) with less than 200 hours on them. So depending on how much the motor is used, saving a gallon per hour may not even cover the additional purchase cost.

Even here in Canada where gas is currently selling for about 5 bucks a gallon (and our dollar is worth more than the US dollar for a change), saving a gallon per hour on 50 hours of run time (the "average" motor probably sees alot less than 50 hours a year) comes to a savings of 250 bucks - ok, that's significant for most of us but:

(currently available discount prices (in $US) for "current" model year - not MSRP, for a power trim/tilt, remote, 20" shaft, without controls)

a brand new 50 horse 2 stroke (Merc is the only one in production) lists at - $4500

a 50 Merc 4 stroke - $5400 (so almost 4 years of gas savings to make up the price difference if you boat 50 hours a year at mid throttle)

a 50 Suzuki 4 stroke - $5425 (same)

a 50 Honda 4 stroke - $5700 (close enough - MSRP $6392)

a 50 Yamaha 4 stroke - $5700 (ditto - MSRP is $7575)

(threw in the MSRP for both the Honda and the Yami to dispell the "myth" that Honda's are so much more expensive. The fact is you are far less likely to get a significant discount on the Honda compared to all the other mfg's, and yes, absolutely agree you can sometimes drive for days without seeing a Honda outboard dealer - never a good thing since we all need service or factory parts at some point. I used Honda in my original comparison because the general concensus amoungst most of us who work on outboards is Honda really does make a superior product - not that the others are junk, just in the 4 stroke market they set the standard - Yami's are better engineered, just not built as well, all else being equal)

a 50 Evinrude ETEC (DFI 2 stroke) - $5600 and finally,

a 50 Tohatsu TLDI (DFI 2 stroke) - $5395

I was just trying to dispell some of the "hype". Sometimes a 4 stroke is a far more expensive option, even in the long run once you factor in the additional maintenance costs. Like I said earlier, if we didn't have different needs there would only be one choice. And for some, a two stroke - new or used, is still a very viable option that won't bankrupt you paying for "all the extra gas it guzzles" while you are shouting at your boat buddies so that you can be heard.

When rigging your boat you need to be quite honest with yourself about how you will use it and how often. If you are a "long weekend warrior" that drives it like a 2 speed (idle and wot) you may as well buy the cheapest motor you can find and put up with the "whaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa" sound for the (maybe) 20 hours you will spend on the water each year.

(most motors that end up as "5 year old junk" are exactly the typical 4 stroke that sees about 20 hours use a year that isn't maintained annually, which is a must with a 4 stroke - they are not forgiving - but hey, "I only used it a few long weekends and you want a couple hundred bucks to service it")

If you cruise at 3500 rpms for more than 100 hours a year then you can save many thousands of dollars in fuel over the life of the engine if you opt for a 4 stroke (which even beats the DFI's at mid-range). But even then if you consider a new 150 horse comes in somewhere near 13K and a nice 1990 something carb model can often be picked up about 2K, so you can spend 11K on gas before you hit a level playing field..
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harpoonhedd
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Re: Tell me again how quiet 4 stroke outboards are?

Post by harpoonhedd » Sun Mar 27, 2011 2:56 pm

very interesting thread...all I know is that I have a close friend that is an outboard mechanic...he tells me he has replaced more starters on the newer 4 strokes than he ever has done in twenty years of working on outboards...mostly two strokes...yes people turning on motors...that are already on!

and yes on note of the signature above...I know lots of folks that have done something for thirty years that still dont know what they are doing !...LOL...
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