The world's mineral resources are becoming scarce: fuel prices are rising and the engine industry is having to adapt. This is becoming evident in a revolution in the range of outboards hitting the market. Until 1997 only Honda built four stroke engines.The competition built two stroke engines with carburettors that used at least 25% more fuel. Now,only a few years later, the situation is as we see it in the table overleaf. Every company supplies four stroke engines over the whole power spectrum. The market now offers two stroke and four stroke engines - with or without carburettors. However, we should not be fooled when looking at the total number of engines: the majority (more than 90%) are still carburettor engines. The proportion of electronically controlled fuel injection engines is still less than 30%.
A second point that follows from this change is that the reliability of engines has improved and maintenance intervals have become noticeably longer. This means that today, if you service your engine regularly and replace parts that are subject to wear and tear, only serious damage will force you to bring your engine to a workshop for repair.
Thanks to the use of electronics the ignition has become much more reliable, and with the electronic steering of larger engines, reliability in this area has also improved greatly. Thus the outboard engine is now able to present itself as a simplified propulsion unit: compact, highly technical, but easy to maintain, robust and with the low maintenance of a lawnmower. Up to about 20 kW (about 70 kg) you can even transport it in your car, although heavier versions will have to remain on board and be removed by a workshop using a mechanical hoist. From about 30 kW upwards a combined gear lever and throttle are customary.
Generally, you should not have to visit a workshop if you maintain your engine properly. The maintenance plan is relatively simple, as are the tasks to be carried out.