Old vs. new: Yamaha puts outboards to the test

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After logging 8,700 hours, a 2005 Yamaha F150 can match the performance of a new F150, according to test results released by the engine manufacturer.

Yamaha had two F150s that had racked up thousands of hours over three years powering a Charleston, S.C., water taxi. Engineers took one of the old outboards, mounted it on a 21-foot runabout and ran performance tests, then mounted the new F150 on the same boat and ran identical tests.

The result: The old engine was just as quick out of the hole and achieved the same top speed and roughly the same fuel economy at 3,500 rpm.

"It comes down to forward thinking," Yamaha Marine Group product information manager David Meeler told Soundings. "Using materials and processes for high corrosion resistance serves as just one example of that forward thinking."

Introduced in 2004, the F150 has been Yamaha's best-selling outboard. “It has been a home run for us,” said Meeler. A long-shaft (25 inches) model retails for $15,615.

— Chris Landry