Re-powering is an affordable option for those wanting to update their boat on a budget. SCOTT THOMAS downsizes outboards and fits a E-TEC 30hp to his Quintrex Hornet with surprising results in performance and fuel economy.

This year marks 10 years since I purchased my Quintrex Hornet Trophy. At a mere 3.9m it’s been, and still is, a very useful and versatile boat. It was originally intended to satisfy my need to reach bass and EP water along Sydney’s Hawkesbury and Nepean Rivers. Lately it’s had much more use in the salt, particularly Sydney Harbour, where it punches above its weight for such a small little tinny. Lately I’d been thinking of re-powering and replacing the old technology two-stroke that came with the boat with something more modern. Outboard technology has changed significantly over the past decade. My original decision to go with a 40hp carburettor two-stroke was based entirely on cost and, to a lesser extent, weight. At the time, four-strokes were expensive and heavy, and two-stroke direct injection technology was still a while off production.

Direct injection two-strokes, such as the E-TEC I’ve had fitted to my boat, have really evolved over the past few years. The E-TEC 30hp weighs slightly less than my old carby two-stroke. But I now only take one 20 litre fuel tank instead of two 24 litre tanks. So although the E-TEC is only marginally lighter, the overall weight saving is significant and I can really feel the difference. After shifting a few things around in the boat, the ride is back to perfect and I have more storage space where the second fuel tank was stored.
Going down
It seems odd to be downsizing from a 40hp to 30hp. Most people go up in power, not down. I wasn't sure how much effect downsizing would have until receiving the new motor. As it turned out I lost a small amount of top end speed – from 28 knots to 24 knots. The responsiveness of the new E-TEC comes very close to equalling my old donk, which is impressive given its 10hp difference.

Fuel savings have been incredible – I should have fitted an E-TEC years ago! As I mentioned above, I now leave a fuel tank at home and never have to worry about running dry on the one tank. Fuel savings at idle are really noticeable and the comparison tests. Tests by E-TEC technicians on both motors revealed the old engine took 40 minutes to burn a litre of fuel at idle, while the E-TEC took three hours and 20 minutes to use the same amount of juice. At maximum speed the fuel difference was less noticeable but the E-TEC still achieves a better fuel economy. At WOT 1 litre of fuel took four minutes 22 seconds to run dry on the old outboard and 7 minutes 28 seconds on the E-TEC.

Keep it quiet
The E-TEC has proven to be a quiet motor, significantly less so than the original carby two-stroke. I can now talk to my passenger while under way. I can also leave the engine idling while casting at schooling pelagic fish or while prospecting slowly along estuary shorelines. Add the fuel savings while at idle and I'm finding myself leaving the motor running more while fishing and using the electric less.

These smaller horsepower outboards – 25hp and 30 hp – were added to the Evinrude E-TEC line-up about three years ago. The E-TEC brand has been around for eight years now and is widely recognised as a popular alternative to four-stroke if you're looking for a responsive, quiet and fuel efficient engine.

The outboard weighs 83kg (long shaft) and features a 35.2 cu in/577 cc engine displacement. The E30DTSL comes with electric start and power tilt and trim. Another handy feature is the adjustable idle control. Anyone who’s spent time slow trolling dams or estuaries will appreciate the ultra slow speeds achievable by controlling the RPM at idle. Simply press the tiller switch down in increments of 50 RPM to slow the boat down or up to a normal idle speed. The power tilt button is also nearby on the tiller and is easy to operate single handedly while under way. Gear changes are smooth – no clunkiness.

While it's no surprise that the E-TEC’s fuel use and noise reductions are superior to my old two-stroke, other attributes such as weight and responsiveness were quite surprising. While I was initially a bit worried, stepping down from a 40hp to 30hp has turned out to be a good move.

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