Looking at getting either a Ranger RT188 or a Crestliner VT 18. Both will have the same electronics, trolling motor, 115 hp, dual console. Both are priced about the same. I might get a E Tec on the Ranger. My ?s for you. How good are E Tec compared to Mercury? Anyone own either of these boats? Which one is better?
Need help picking a boat
I can't help you with the boat, but have you considered a 4S. Both Merc. and Yammy make good ones. Drawback is the hole shot unless you get the Verado, (which they don't make at that power), and you need to change crank case oil in the fall, but then you don't have to keep adding it all season. Upside is starting, idle, and fuel costs.
I too have had Mercury outboards over the years with good success, however in 2005 when they started making the 60HP in China, I just couldn't bring myself to buy one. I don't have a problem with purchasing products from Japan, but for some reason I do from China.
I currently have a 2012 F60 Yamaha that is the exact same engine as the Mercury. Actually Yamaha made the 60 four stroke for Mercury through the 2004 model year. Both motors are very light @ 249 pounds.
I've had a few Mercs in my day and don't have any complaints.
I've had my Etec for 7 years, and with the exception of a bad starter out of the box has been breakdown free and starts right up even after having been down for a winter nap. The self winterization is a great feature. I think the part I like the best is that the Etec has the fuel economy of a 4 stroke, but the weight and hole shot of a 2 stroke.
I am a Mercury guy through and through. However, that self winterization is a sweet deal.
The Etec is maintenance free for 3 years or 300 hours.
Per Etec, you only need to change the oil in the lower unit every 3 years. I'm too cautious for that though...
I'm sure Etec has the viscosity / longevity of the lube figured out, but what if you pick up some fishing line in your prop and end up with a leaky seal? Then all bets are off. I change the oil in the lower unit of my Etec every year. If I end up using my boat after I winterize it, I simply loosen the lower drain plug until a drop or two of oil comes out. Oil is lighter than water, and if you have an appreciable amount of water in your lower unit water will come out - not oil. If oil comes out your good to go. If water comes out you have a leaky seal or drain / fill plug.
Merc optimax was my choice. I have a 2010 75 hp which is the same block as a 115. No problems whatsoever....
I would go with the Ranger hands down. Imo that's the nicest boat of that class in that price range. I almost bought one with the 115 e-tech last time I made a trip to Cabelas. I was looking at the Lowes and the Alumacrafts they also had in stock and the Ranger just seemed much nicer all the way around.
I don't know too much about the Etec, but when it comes to the boat, it would not even be a question for me. I would buy the Ranger hands down. I have owned Rangers over the years and their service if needed is outstanding.
As always, the dealership is a huge part of the equasion when buying a boat. I have bought from good dealerships over the years, but then again, I have bought from two really bad ones. One went out of business and the other is still open, to which I cannot understand.
I do have a question for Etec owners though. After you have winterized your boat and then take it out again, do you drain the lower unit again?
I don't have those boats but have an E-tec. The winterizing and easy starting is what sold me on them. No need to use the throttle lever, just turn the key and its instantly idling. I have one issue from time to time though where it drops a few RPM at full throttle just out of the blue. I have to get that checked out after the season. I did get a 7 year warranty with it, which is nice.
I switched from Merc to ETec about 3 yrs ago I fish a lot into Dec.and I can winterize and un winterize my ETec in 3 min.Can't do that with a Merc. Other than that do you like Black or Blue!