Yamaha field-testing
  |  First Published: December 2005

Yamaha outboards have come along way since their first engine, the P7A, was produced in 1960. Yamaha is now the world’s largest manufacturer of outboard engines, producing an extensive range of two-stroke, fuel injected two-stroke and four-stroke engines. Over the years these outboards have gained a well-deserved reputation for being reliable in both recreational and commercial sectors.

The recent Yamaha media day gives boating and fishing writers the opportunity to hop in all sorts of boats with a good mix of engine styles and sizes, particularly at the high end. There were some pretty impressive rigs to play with and information to read through, including a swag of technical information.

For many people, the choice of which engine to put on the back of the boat can be a daunting task. A new outboard is no small investment. If you’re in the market for a new engine, here’s a brief rundown on Yamaha’s four-stroke range and the latest VMAX two-strokes.


What stood out to me most on the day, especially as I stepped from one rig to the next, was the reduction in noise and fumes when I jumped into a boat with a four-stroke fitted to it. Sure, there were some fast and sporty rigs, but if you’re like me, you have to consider the needs of the family when buying a boat/motor package. Ease of use and lack of smell, fumes make a lot of people feel sick, means a more enjoyable day out on the water. And the more enjoyable day you have, the more you, your family and your friends are going to want to be out on the water.

Four-stroke engines have come a long way in a short time, and there’s now a good range throughout the horsepowers from 2.5hp to the new 250hp.

The new 3.3ltr V6 engine features an Electronically Controlled Single Throttle Valve System and control module. This enables precise and smooth throttle and a variable camshaft timing system which increases low and mid range torque performance while maintaining stable trolling speeds, faster acceleration and better top end speeds.

New systems are also in place inside the engine to increase economy and further reduce emissions to exceed future EPA standards.

When the first smaller mid-range four-strokes were introduced onto the market a few years back it was common for boat owners to forget that the engine was even running when at idle speeds. They would go to start it only to find it was still running! The bigger block 250hp now joins those ranks with very quiet and smooth running.

The mid-range four-strokes from 40hp to 100hp are still as popular as ever, and they’re ideal for the popular 4-5m boats in both fibreglass and aluminium. These motors deliver substantial fuel savings, and the lack of smelly fumes make these engines very popular with families.

A more recent introduction to the four-stroke range is the V4 150hp engine, which weighing in at 220kg, comes in at the same weight as the 150hp VMAX engine. With no weight disadvantage, it’s ideal for aluminium and fibreglass boats in the 5-6m range.


Yamaha VMAX engines are popular with offshore anglers because they offer many of the benefits of a four-stroke engine. These outboards deliver substantial savings in fuel while retaining good performance.

The VMAX is basically a fuel injected two-stroke where fuel is injected under high pressure, forming a fine mist into the piston chamber, rather than squirted in from a carburettor. This uses less fuel and offers more response fuel. The VMAX is available in 150hp, 175hp, 200hp, 250hp and 300hp.

The 150, 175 and 200 hp engines are all basically the same engine. The V6 block weighs in at 220kg, so in this horsepower range there is a bit of room to move without affecting the performance of the boat:engine weight ratio. It’s simply a matter of working out which size suits your boat. Just keep in mind that too much horsepower on a small boat can be dangerous, and not enough horsepower will affect the performance of the boat and can increase fuel consumption as the boat struggles to achieve economical planing speeds.

I currently own a Yamaha VMAX and there are a couple of things that I enjoy on top of the performance and economy. The electronic ignition and fuel injection means that each time I turn the key, hot or cold, the engine starts. There’s no sitting at the ramp on a cold morning turning the engine over and pumping the fuel line, hoping for the best. Turn the key and it starts.

And even though the engine is still a two-stroke and oil injected, it is nowhere near as fumey or smokey as your standard two-strokes. It also runs quietly and smoothly.

If you’d like more information on the Yamaha range of outboards, visit www.yamaha-motor.com.au/marine or see your nearest dealer.

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