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Thread: 115 or 90hp for Wooldridge Ak repower?

  1. #1
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    Default 115 or 90hp for Wooldridge Ak repower?

    I need to repower my 17.5' Wooldridge Alaskan. My recovered Susuzki 115 gave up the ghost last week. The max HP for the boat is 115, but plenty of folks run 90HP. The boat is used in all sorts of areas: 20 mile, Susitna hunting, the Deshka of course and Kenai dipnetting.

    I am wondering if anybody has experience running the boat with either. The 115 seems heavy (416#). A comparable 90hp will be 75-100# lighter.

    Will the decreased weight make-up for the lack of H.P?

    The price difference seems to be $1k-$2k.

    Thanks

  2. #2
    Member Yukoner's Avatar
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    The 90 would be lighter, but a new E-TEC 115 will be gobs lighter than your old Suzuki
    With these hulls, i think run the max HP you can, then you can get a bigger load on step. Especially for hunting. I think a 90 just won't be enough for you.

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    Member atvalaska's Avatar
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    more HP. And get off the gas. But u will have it when needed. Look for wt to HP # many power heads are the same with the fuel delivery differnt, lower units are darn near all the same (in there size group), and jets come in about 2 sizes .... buddy of mine has a 20' w-alaskan with tunnel... got a DEAL on a 115 hp outboard threw a jet unit on it and it = no fun ( read, slow /no power with load etc)..really needed a 150hp+.. my .02 cents............. """"The max HP for the boat is 115""" ...........I READ them numbers as the least u would need in alaska, when was the last time the folks in the lower 48 tossed in a weeks worth of "camp" and went fishing...
    WHEN IN DOUBT> THROTTLE OUT.......

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    You will always kick your self for being under powered. There is no such thing as too much power, you can always throttle back if you don't need the speed, but to get it on step, there is no replacing hp. Likewise, alot of times you will get better fuel economy running the bigger motor at half throttle than a smaller one wide open all the time. I would look seriously at a new Suzuki 4 stroke.

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    Member atvalaska's Avatar
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    Cool do not try at home...

    "There is no such thing as too much power" .....well... er..... I put a 25 horse johnson prop on a coleman scanoe,... One time. ....
    WHEN IN DOUBT> THROTTLE OUT.......

  6. #6

    Default 115 minumum i'd say...

    I've was on a boat like yours that a buddy had, my first time on the big sue in a jet boat. He had a 115hp motor on it and it only had the two of us and fishing gear and a dog onboard. I thought it done well with that setup. If he was to throw a few hundred more pounds on board I think he'd be pushing the fuel effiecency thou. I'm just guessing from what it seemed to have for power. Hopefully someone else can clarify that for us.

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    Member theultrarider's Avatar
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    I assume you are going to and have been running a jet on that boat??? If so, The max hp rating your plate is most like for a PROP rating. Check with Woolridge themselves about that. If that is the case, You are probably legal out to about 150 with a jet. You go that route, and you will think you have a new boat. Worth the time to call or email Woolridge and let them know what you have and have you intend to run it. I ran a bayrunner with a 50/35 yamaha that I bought new and tried to run it both in the salt and in the Keani. It did both and worked. When my 50 finally bit the dust, I gave up on the river and put a 90 honda on it. WOW! That is the last time I will ever run an under powered boat. My dad has always preached that to me all my life. I fought that boat everytime the water got big in the salt and was always glad to get back to the trailer. The 90 gave me so much more boat control and flet so much safer. I also got better fuel economy out of it than I did the 50. Only picked up a couple of mph on the top end, but it was so much more pleasant and worry free in big water or heavier loads. Fyi, the boat was rated for a 90....

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    Member Dirtofak's Avatar
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    I have the Suzuki 115. I would opt for the DF140. Check warranty coverage. Only buy from a reputable dealer that will back up their product.

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    I presume this a older model w/ 53" hull width? If so they are rated for a 115 jet, less if prop, cant remember that number off the top of my head?
    I had a 04 model w/ 115/80 Yamaha and it worked fine. I would not want any less power in a 4 stroke. Was your old Suzi a 2 or 4 stroke? The Suzuki DF140 is actually lighter than the Yamaha or even Suzuki's 115.
    Its a great motor and very thrifty, some folks say not as much punch as a 2 stroke and that may be, I dont know. I like the fact that its quiet and generally burns less that 6GPH. The Yamaha burned between 4.6 and 6.4 GPH depending on load.
    So as said before, bigger is better unless you can say I will never want to carry a big load in this boat. Most times a big motor will allow you to throttle back some and use about the same fuel you would burn with a smaller motor, maybe less. Also a big motor will give you some reserve power you will never have w/ the minimum motor.
    Hope this helps some, the 17.5 wooly is a great boat, BTW
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    Quote Originally Posted by theultrarider View Post
    I assume you are going to and have been running a jet on that boat??? If so, The max hp rating your plate is most like for a PROP rating. Check with Woolridge themselves about that. If that is the case, You are probably legal out to about 150 with a jet. You go that route, and you will think you have a new boat. Worth the time to call or email Woolridge and let them know what you have and have you intend to run it. I ran a bayrunner with a 50/35 yamaha that I bought new and tried to run it both in the salt and in the Keani. It did both and worked. When my 50 finally bit the dust, I gave up on the river and put a 90 honda on it. WOW! That is the last time I will ever run an under powered boat. My dad has always preached that to me all my life. I fought that boat everytime the water got big in the salt and was always glad to get back to the trailer. The 90 gave me so much more boat control and flet so much safer. I also got better fuel economy out of it than I did the 50. Only picked up a couple of mph on the top end, but it was so much more pleasant and worry free in big water or heavier loads. Fyi, the boat was rated for a 90....
    I have a 93 17.5 which is still the narrow hull. I am not sure which year you have or what your hull width is so it may not be direct apples to apples. I am running an 01 Merc 90. The boat does ok and has gotten me and a buddy up on step pretty well. That said if I was to repower her today she would get a 115-125 horse motor depending on what I could find on the market.
    I actually did contact wooldridge about the Suzi 140 and they told me that it would not make a good motor for my boat. They commented on the gear reduction but I honestly have not researched the power plant much. They also highly reccommended that i stay within the power rating for my boat and that a 115 with their stainless impeller would do anything within the capability of the boat.
    For now my plan is to stick with my 90 untill the kids get to heavy to haul with it. I will be moving to a UHMW lined sleeve and a stainless 4 blade impeller in the fairly near future though. I certainly wouldn't cut back on power if I had a choice, as many other have said I have never wished for less thrust!!

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    [QUOTE=LuJon;527739]I actually did contact wooldridge about the Suzi 140 and they told me that it would not make a good motor for my boat. They commented on the gear reduction but I honestly have not researched the power plant much. [QUOTE]
    Funny thing about that, Dick Stalman at specialty never said anything negative about that motor, in fact Grant Wooldridge never said anything negative either when I talked to him. I dont know? maybe just polite folks and didnt want to hurt my feelings.......?
    I can say that motor will get a 2000 pound boat on step w/ 2400 pounds of stuff in it and burn 6-8 GPH doing so. Not many combos will do that.
    I have had guys tell me those motors w/ a jet are not speed demons either, suppose that could be true, my best speed figured on a 2-way average is 35mph, if light it is up in under 4 seconds.
    That brings me to another subject: Boat tests, why are they always tested w/o load? what is up with that? who buys a riverboat and runs around empty? we want to know how it performs under real conditions, not some meaningless lake test w/ a MT boat. Kudos to Wooldridge for testing their new XL w/ load, 4200 Pounds WOW, but 18-20 GPH, OH MY GAWD.....!!!! a long trip and most of your capacity is taken up in fuel, May as well have an IB. Ok, time to quit the rant......CTM...
    “Nothing worth doing is easy”
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  12. #12

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    The boat I was on was 2002 or 03 model. Not sure about the width on the bottom. I hear you Akgramps on the boat/motor tests.

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    I believe 05 was the first year for the 60" bottom, however the 53" was still available, almost bought an 06 over the phone and asked the seller to measure at the last minute, sure enuf it was 53", dang it...
    Some correction on motor weights ( as advertised w/ prop lower)
    115 e-tec 375
    130 e-tec 390
    115 Yam 4S 402
    150 Yam 4S 466
    115 Suzi 4S 416
    140 Suzi 4S 410
    so all (except the Yam 150) very comparable in the weight department, however the suzi would be the best on fuel. IMO
    I didnt intententionally discount the Hondas or mercs, for the sake of this discussion I just didnt look up the specs as they had not been mentioned.
    I think every motor has its pros/cons.
    “Nothing worth doing is easy”
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    Moderator Paul H's Avatar
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    I can't comment on that paticular hull, but I will say whenever you talk to someone that powered a hull with less than the max hp the hull is rated for, they regretted the choice.

    But I'm in the more hp is better camp. My hull design is recomended for 90hp, since I built the boat longer and carry more weight, I elected for a Suzuki 140, and I couldn't be happier with the choice. The suzuki 140 is the same weight as most 115's, and looking at the specs it's basically a 115 with a tad more displacement and tuned for more rpm. If the manufacturer ok's going with the suzi 140, I'd say it's an excellent choice.

    I can load my boat heavily and only loose a few knots of top speed and don't see much difference in fuel consumption.

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    I have been looking at and talking to Wooldridge for some time now. The newer 17.5 max horse is 135, not 115. They like the results from the 115 that they got from testing. Grant and I talked about some different motor options, and it came down to the etec or the Mercury. I'm a Merc man, and that is what I am going to go with. He has a dealer in Idaho (River Rat Marine) that only puts 150 on them (altitude reasons). Grants buddy has one with a 150. He said it moves. Grant is a speed guy, races motorcycles and all that, and that he thinks the 115 is plenty fast. He said his buddy’s gets out of the hole quicker, but seems almost out of control when it’s wide open. I asked him about the etec 130, and he said they have the same block size as the 115. He said etec gets the extra 15 horse using electronics, and so far they only notice a difference between the 115 and 130 when they run a prop. The testing with a jet has produced the same results using the etec 115 and the etec 130. Merc makes a 135 optimax, which has a bigger block size than the etecs. I called my buddy Reed at Reeds Marine here in Fairbanks, and asked him about the 135. He said it’s a great motor (obviously), but asked why I wanted the 135, when the only difference between the 135 and the 150 was a restrictor plate. He said they have the same block size and the weigh the same. The only difference is a couple hundred bucks. Hope I didn’t ramble to long, and some of this makes sense. Long story short, I think I’m gonna put a 150 optimax on mine (135 if I have to).

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    ohhh and a little side note. I told Grant that I wanted a Merc, but the Boat shop isn't a Merc dealer. I asked him how that would work. He told me that if I buy their boat, I can put what ever brand I want on it. He told me I would still go through the Boat Shop, but they would send the motor along with the boat. Basically, just because the shop you buy your boat from dosen't carry that brand, Wooldridge will work with you.

  17. #17
    Member wolfkiller's Avatar
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    Default 115 at least

    I have a 115 e-tec on my 17.5 x 60". I love the moter and the performance. Max speed is 38mp down the chena and 32ish up. I usually run about 4600 rpm, average load of 850 lbs at about 26 mph. Running like this I am burning 7.5 ish gallons per hr. I have over 200 hrs on my boat and motor with no issues. If I ever repower it will get a 150. I wont use all that power much but it will be nice for heavy loads. If you go E-tec I recomend the I command guage. It plugs in to the motor real easy and gives you gal per hr, rpm,ect.
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    Those etec's are supposed to be fine motors, and people really seem to like them. However the problem I'm having with them at this point is the whole computer thing. A buddy and I talked "off record" with a mechanic at the boat shop, and he said that would be his only concern. He told us that he was a big big big fan of the Honda. He said that if we were ever 40 miles up some river, and the computer in the etec had a hiccup, you would be screwed. I'm not knocking the etec, they are real nice, and from what he said, they have great power, but I'm not willing to bet my butt on a computer thingy not clunking out.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Hoyt View Post
    Those etec's are supposed to be fine motors, and people really seem to like them. However the problem I'm having with them at this point is the whole computer thing. A buddy and I talked "off record" with a mechanic at the boat shop, and he said that would be his only concern. He told us that he was a big big big fan of the Honda. He said that if we were ever 40 miles up some river, and the computer in the etec had a hiccup, you would be screwed. I'm not knocking the etec, they are real nice, and from what he said, they have great power, but I'm not willing to bet my butt on a computer thingy not clunking out.
    Are there any new outboards that dont have a "computer thingy" in them?
    “Nothing worth doing is easy”
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    Sounds like I should go with the max HP. The boat has the 53" bottom (old style). It has NEVER been under powered using the suzuki 115, even with almost double the recommended weight (unless there is a rock in the grate of course).

    I can repair my motor for about $4k less than a new one, so I will likely stick with the one I have. I just need a money tree. Looks like I will begging rides from buddies for silvers this year and not using the boat for hunting.

    Next year, look out blackies in the spring!!

    Thanks all.

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