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Jan 23rd, 2013
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Outboard hours by RPM range #13319577 10/23/19 12:19 AM
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WattoFish Offline OP
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So I was reading an article regarding data recorded by modern outboards via the built-in ECU. The computer provides a breakdown of the total hours in increments of 1,000 RPM's.

It stated a typical use pattern one should see 40% of the total hour count at or below 1,000 RPM.

So I started thinking if 40% of the hours are basically at idle....where should the other 60% of the hours fall within the RPM range.

There are fisherman that operate at "cruise speed" or slightly higher based on their boat set up most of the time and others that feel WOT is the only way to go between honey holes.

Based on some research, I would propose a realistic "cruise speed" as an RPM level to maximize speed against fuel consumption. So for example, a Skeeter ZX250 with a Yamaha SHO 250 operating at 3,000 RPM is the most fuel efficient based on manufacturer data.

Clearly data retrieved from the ECU reveals how a motor was run and ultimately what the operating future of said motor might look like from a maintenance standpoint.

I'm interested to hear the opinions and/or facts related to this subject from fellow boat owners. Perhaps someone can share what an "ideal" motor history might look like on paper.

Certainly details to consider if purchasing a used boat.


Re: Outboard hours by RPM range [Re: WattoFish] #13319616 10/23/19 01:02 AM
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ssmith Offline
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since the invent of side imaging most of the motors I have hooked up have been about 70%under 1 k an the rest over.

Re: Outboard hours by RPM range [Re: WattoFish] #13319652 10/23/19 01:54 AM
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Pat Goff Offline
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You might think this is nonsense, but I've taken enough motors in on trade to have a decent opinion.
The motors that have been run the hardest, live the longest.


Pat Goff
Seadrift TX
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Re: Outboard hours by RPM range [Re: WattoFish] #13319855 10/23/19 12:12 PM
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Alumacraft 14 Offline
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Priority for me, high quality oil, fresh fuel, cooling system maintenance and proper warm up time before WOT. As for running speeds, these motors are designed to run hard. Running WOT everywhere is how I operate. Never had one issue with any of the outboards I haved owned. My experienced is 2 stroke only 90hp and below.

Last edited by Alumacraft 14; 10/23/19 12:13 PM.
Re: Outboard hours by RPM range [Re: WattoFish] #13320111 10/23/19 04:05 PM
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steve@hydrodynamics Offline
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i would think 3k rpms on a skeeter would barely keep it on plane without porpoising.

i'd rather see one like Pat said. idle or wide open. with cruising speeds around 5k ish


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Re: Outboard hours by RPM range [Re: WattoFish] #13320277 10/23/19 06:49 PM
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Gamblinman Offline
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If you do tend to idle around a lot, make a run at high RPM for a few minutes just before putting it on the trailer. That will help clean the carbon out.

Re: Outboard hours by RPM range [Re: Pat Goff] #13320540 10/24/19 12:23 AM
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WattoFish Offline OP
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Originally Posted by Pat Goff
You might think this is nonsense, but I've taken enough motors in on trade to have a decent opinion.
The motors that have been run the hardest, live the longest.


I'm certainly not doubting your experience, but for clarification when you say "run the hardest" are you referencing the RPM printout from said motors or other observations?

Also, is it reasonable to say these motors had regular maintenance performed?

Re: Outboard hours by RPM range [Re: WattoFish] #13320850 10/24/19 11:44 AM
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Pat Goff Offline
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Yes, let me be crystal clear.
Motors that were broken in right, used good oil and fuel, properly maintained.
When you read the ECM output, there's a large percentage of 5,000+ usually over 30%
Example, not bragging, just for reference...
I usually got one boat a year, some years two. I ran the snot out of them, 1,200+ demo rides a year, + 18 or so tournaments. My typical usage was 450 hours at the end of the year. With one exception (details to follow) as far as I know, every single motor I ran is still being ran since '84.
Now I broke them in hard, I used branded fuel and factory oil. I truly believe the break in will determine how long it'll live.
The ONE exception? In '99 just for test, I ran nothing but walmart oil. Merc 225 EFI. At the end of the year that motor was just worn out. No more hours than the previous year, no more than the next year, but that motor was just tired, 89 psi compression, bearings were sloppy, and a lot of carbon.
THAT was all I ever needed to see right there, I won't run that junk in a weedeater. If you think all oils the same, you would be mistaken.


Pat Goff
Seadrift TX
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