Pontoon Magazine: Feb 21 Engine Shoot Out

LaurencetheAdventurer

Well-Known Member
Messages
130
Reaction score
149
Location
Los Angeles / Lake Havasu
The February issue of Pontoon and Deck Boat magazine was waiting for me at home today (I would have left work early had I known...lol). Great article that did various side by side engine testing with great graphs. Most interesting was the data on top speed lightly loaded vs fully loaded with the dual prop system performing better under load, and their conclusion that 4 blade props did not enhance overall performance.

I suggest a subscription!
https://www.harrispublishing.com/pontoon-deck-boat
 

Attachments

  • PXL_20210217_031511611.jpg
    PXL_20210217_031511611.jpg
    227.4 KB · Views: 43
  • PXL_20210217_031524866.jpg
    PXL_20210217_031524866.jpg
    177.1 KB · Views: 45

DejaWiz

Well-Known Member
Messages
403
Reaction score
403
Location
Nebraska
Can't make out the details in the graphs. Would you be willing to paraphrase it, a bit?
 

PartyBarge

Well-Known Member
Messages
163
Reaction score
137
Ha, thought you were just messing with us until I opened the pic in a viewer and flipped it right-side up. Seems odd that there is a positive heavy-weight result for duel props (6 blades) versus 3, but no help with 4 blades? Maybe it's that those particular Solas props that don't have the tech of some others in those particular applications? The comparisons of top speed and acceleration versus weight are useful, but the conclusions about props is premature and not a good overall view. Suggest using opinions from Mercury and Yamaha (performance bulletins) at least as much as the info here.
 

LaurencetheAdventurer

Well-Known Member
Messages
130
Reaction score
149
Location
Los Angeles / Lake Havasu
Can't make out the details in the graphs. Would you be willing to paraphrase it, a bit?
Yes, I will get that done this weekend and posted - it's a LOT of info I am still digesting. It did then send me on a quest to understand the differences between the Mercury 300V8 and 350V6 - no easy task in regards to performance details.
 
Last edited:

BigKahuna

Well-Known Member
Messages
4,570
Reaction score
3,329
Location
North Carolina
Am I the only one that's upset they didn't know pontoon magazine was a thing?
Pontoon and Deck boat magazine has been around for years! I use to subscribe to it before I was a member of this forum. I'm also a member of pdb forum although I haven't been very active on it . They've got some good people on there!
 

LaurencetheAdventurer

Well-Known Member
Messages
130
Reaction score
149
Location
Los Angeles / Lake Havasu
As Requested:
Pontoon & Deck Boat Magazine, Feb 2021 – Real World [Engine]Testing by Bradly L. Kay - Summary

In December 2020 Carefree Boat Sales had 7 identical Premier TriToons in the water for a boat show, with 4 major engines rep’s onsite (Honda, Suzuki, Yamaha & Mercury) and decided this was a perfect time for head to head testing. The toon model was not provided, pictures suggested they were all 25’ TriToons. The test included dedicating a lot of time to finding the right propellers, testing the boats with the 2 people minimum load, a 1,200 lb half load, a 2,400 lb full load with 250-350hp engines, tracking Top speed, Loss in Acceleration, 0-20, 0-30, barrel racing (to simulate the constant turning of tube towing) and fuel economy. The data presented focused on the 300hp engines, with some data for 250s. You can expanded details at www.carefreeboatsales.com where he posted his findings.

The article concluded that in real life we pile a bunch of people in our boats, and that dramatically affects performance. No surprise here, though I was surprised that it took something over 6 people before performance loss became an issue. It stated that NONE of the engines tested could reach 40 mph with a full load (that’s 12 people). The data showed the average top speed of any engine was under 47 mph. Seems our Benny’s improve this figure by a few mph per reading our club blog!

At minimum load the Mercury 300 was the fastest, at half load it tied with the Suzuki 300DP, the Suzuki 300DP was the fastest at full load and Barrel Racing. However, the speed variance between engines was under 5mph at any specific load and barrel test ranged from about 123 seconds to 128 seconds on same boat testing. Top speed with half load dropped a few mph, but fully loaded the drop was about 10 mph +/-. 0-20 acceleration times were all within a second of each other with the Yamaha 300 being the fastest, though 0-30 the variance jumped to almost 2 seconds with the Mercury in last place when fully loaded.

The limited data on the 250s suggested they performed almost as well as the 300s with top speed being 5mph less, which dropped to 2mph less when fully loaded vs some 300s. The article concluded that taking the gas mileage and cost into account, it might be the favorite engine (though the gas mileage variance was not significant after about 3,500 rpms).

However it is important to note that while the absolute speed, time and fuel variances were not presented as dramatic, on a % basis most figures appeared to translate into 10% to 30% variances, those are meaningful.

The section on props was interesting and seemed swayed towards Solas, they had a prop rep onsite. They struggled with getting the right prop for Mercury’s figured out and needed more work here, but settled on the Enertia 16 for the 250, 17 for the 300, but stated the Solas 15.5x17 was the best performer on the 300. The Yamaha 300 was 15 5/8x15. They did not find a four blade prop any better than a 3 blade, and stated a 15 to 15.5 to a 16 will make a huge difference depending on the boat, engine and how used. The most critical factor was to determine how the boat was being used (speed vs tow vs cruise/fuel efficiency), and did not state if their prop selection was the best all-around, for speed, or for loads. They did conclude that often a lower pitched prop is best when loaded, and that while raising the engine did increase top speed it also could result in a loss of traction and increased blow outs when cornering hard (like with tubing).

Fuel consumption was easy – going fast isn’t cheap, concluding 13 to 18 gallons per hour turns into 22 to 28 when going from 5K to WOT rpms. Honda was acknowledged as the most fuel efficient and being easy on the ears. In the under 2500 rpm’s the difference was substantial, enough to suggest a Honda 250 was the best choice if speed is not a top priority.

Overall a great article but it was missing a lot of details and data points, and missing 350’s as part of the comparison (especially the Mercury V6) which would have really rounded out this article. Clearly, the answer is unlimited funds and just get the new Mercury 600, as previously noted. Right!?
 

Vikingstaff

Well-Known Member
Messages
2,664
Reaction score
3,777
Location
Michigan
As Requested:
Pontoon & Deck Boat Magazine, Feb 2021 – Real World [Engine]Testing by Bradly L. Kay - Summary

In December 2020 Carefree Boat Sales had 7 identical Premier TriToons in the water for a boat show, with 4 major engines rep’s onsite (Honda, Suzuki, Yamaha & Mercury) and decided this was a perfect time for head to head testing. The toon model was not provided, pictures suggested they were all 25’ TriToons. The test included dedicating a lot of time to finding the right propellers, testing the boats with the 2 people minimum load, a 1,200 lb half load, a 2,400 lb full load with 250-350hp engines, tracking Top speed, Loss in Acceleration, 0-20, 0-30, barrel racing (to simulate the constant turning of tube towing) and fuel economy. The data presented focused on the 300hp engines, with some data for 250s. You can expanded details at www.carefreeboatsales.com where he posted his findings.

The article concluded that in real life we pile a bunch of people in our boats, and that dramatically affects performance. No surprise here, though I was surprised that it took something over 6 people before performance loss became an issue. It stated that NONE of the engines tested could reach 40 mph with a full load (that’s 12 people). The data showed the average top speed of any engine was under 47 mph. Seems our Benny’s improve this figure by a few mph per reading our club blog!

At minimum load the Mercury 300 was the fastest, at half load it tied with the Suzuki 300DP, the Suzuki 300DP was the fastest at full load and Barrel Racing. However, the speed variance between engines was under 5mph at any specific load and barrel test ranged from about 123 seconds to 128 seconds on same boat testing. Top speed with half load dropped a few mph, but fully loaded the drop was about 10 mph +/-. 0-20 acceleration times were all within a second of each other with the Yamaha 300 being the fastest, though 0-30 the variance jumped to almost 2 seconds with the Mercury in last place when fully loaded.

The limited data on the 250s suggested they performed almost as well as the 300s with top speed being 5mph less, which dropped to 2mph less when fully loaded vs some 300s. The article concluded that taking the gas mileage and cost into account, it might be the favorite engine (though the gas mileage variance was not significant after about 3,500 rpms).

However it is important to note that while the absolute speed, time and fuel variances were not presented as dramatic, on a % basis most figures appeared to translate into 10% to 30% variances, those are meaningful.

The section on props was interesting and seemed swayed towards Solas, they had a prop rep onsite. They struggled with getting the right prop for Mercury’s figured out and needed more work here, but settled on the Enertia 16 for the 250, 17 for the 300, but stated the Solas 15.5x17 was the best performer on the 300. The Yamaha 300 was 15 5/8x15. They did not find a four blade prop any better than a 3 blade, and stated a 15 to 15.5 to a 16 will make a huge difference depending on the boat, engine and how used. The most critical factor was to determine how the boat was being used (speed vs tow vs cruise/fuel efficiency), and did not state if their prop selection was the best all-around, for speed, or for loads. They did conclude that often a lower pitched prop is best when loaded, and that while raising the engine did increase top speed it also could result in a loss of traction and increased blow outs when cornering hard (like with tubing).

Fuel consumption was easy – going fast isn’t cheap, concluding 13 to 18 gallons per hour turns into 22 to 28 when going from 5K to WOT rpms. Honda was acknowledged as the most fuel efficient and being easy on the ears. In the under 2500 rpm’s the difference was substantial, enough to suggest a Honda 250 was the best choice if speed is not a top priority.

Overall a great article but it was missing a lot of details and data points, and missing 350’s as part of the comparison (especially the Mercury V6) which would have really rounded out this article. Clearly, the answer is unlimited funds and just get the new Mercury 600, as previously noted. Right!?
A great write up. Thanks for the read. My magazine is back home, and I am up at the cottage. I look forward to reading the article when I get it next weekend.
 

PartyBarge

Well-Known Member
Messages
163
Reaction score
137

LaurencetheAdventurer, thanks for the rundown and the link! Sure would have liked more detail on the props tried as well as what prop was deemed the best. Seems the only mention of a specific prop was the Enertia. Pretty sure Merc has a better prop for heavy pontoons at less than 40 MPH (Yamaha has good ones too). Maybe there is more info in the full article? Can't get the full data chart in the link either.​

Nonetheless, great to see manufactures/dealers put this kind of effort into generating so many tests. Reminds me of the Merc/Stingray/Trailer Boats magazine "Prop Fest 4.3" tests of years ago. Good Stuff!​


P.S. Guess my age is showing...over the years the defunct Trailer Boats did many prop tests, but that one is in my treasured issue from March of 2006!
 
Last edited:

LaurencetheAdventurer

Well-Known Member
Messages
130
Reaction score
149
Location
Los Angeles / Lake Havasu

LaurencetheAdventurer, thanks for the rundown and the link! Sure would have liked more detail on the props tried as well as what prop was deemed the best. Seems the only mention of a specific prop was the Enertia. Pretty sure Merc has a better prop for heavy pontoons at less than 40 MPH (Yamaha has good ones too). Maybe there is more info in the full article? Can't get the full data chart in the link either.​

Nonetheless, great to see manufactures/dealers put this kind of effort into generating so many tests. Reminds me of the Merc/Stingray/Trailer Boats magazine "Prop Fest 4.3" tests of years ago. Good Stuff!​


P.S. Guess my age is showing...over the years the defunct Trailer Boats did many prop tests, but that one is in my treasured issue form March of 2006!
They did not provide a lot of the critical details, but I have not fully explored the dealers site that did the test http://www.carefreeboatsales.com/
 
Top