V-6 FOUR-STROKE OUTBOARD
One of the most exciting V-6
outboards to hit the market in a long time is Suzukiís new DF250
four-stroke, which made its debut in the 2004 model year.
SECOND GENERATION FOUR-STROKE
Although Yamaha and Honda beat the Suzuki folks to the draw with the
introduction of their respective 225-HP four-stroke outboards in late
2001 and 2002, according to the Suzuki folks that I talked with over the
past two years, that was the plan from the get-go. Since Suzuki is among
the largest global manufacturers of four-stroke gasoline engines, they
were able to leverage all of that worldwide experience and perfect the
design of their saltwater V-6 four-strokes with proven technology.
Suzuki management has always taken a slow and deliberate approach when
developing and launching new outboard products and their V-6 four-stroke
series, which also includes a DF200 and DF225, is no exception to this
philosophy. Their penchant for engineering perfection is the driving
force behind this meticulous approach, as is their desire to produce a
product that will satisfy their customers the first time out of the box.
Their outboards are totally proven before they hit the water, despite
competitive pressures to accelerate a product launch before its time.
Because they were the last of the Asian outboard manufacturers to
introduce their version of the ultimate four-stroke V-6 outboard, they
were able to ďgo to schoolĒ on some of the competitive post-launch
marketplace experiences and make some last minute engineering tweaks to
ensure a successful launch of their own DF200/225/250 lineup. From what
I have seen and heard from my peer group in the boating industry, and
from average everyday folks down at the marinas, these new Suzuki V-6
four-strokes, with the big and brawny DF250 leading that group, are
enjoying quite a successful run, with demand usually exceeding supply.
With advanced features like a completely new 55-degree V-6 block, a dual
overhead cam (DOHC) design, a 24-valve powerhead, digital sequential
electronic fuel injection, a tuned multi-stage intake manifold, a
powerful 32-bit onboard computer, variable valve timing, offset
crankshaft design and a powerful new lower unit with a 2.29:1 gear
ratio, the DF250 is designed to deliver serious performance for a wide
variety of saltwater fishing boats in both single and twin formats.
Available in both 25-inch and 30-inch shaft lengths, in addition to
counter-rotation models, these motors are a good fit for any new
sportfisher under 33-feet, in addition to being an excellent candidate
for repower applications, due to their relatively compact design and
reasonable net weight (580-pounds in XL shaft). In researching the
repowering of my current MarCeeJay, a 1981 27-foot Phoenix Express, I
discovered that two competitive four strokes were too wide to fit my
vesselís transom, with another four-stroke requiring me to replace my
steering, throttle and instrument system with costly proprietary gear.
The logical choice was a pair of Suzuki DF225ís, which retrofit onto my
transom and steering perfectly, replacing my beloved Merc OptiMax 200
direct-injection two-strokes after six seasons of relative trouble-free
use. Factoring-in the elimination of my oil-injection reservoirs that
were mounted aft, the Suzuki V-6 four-strokes were almost a
pound-for-pound replacement, with my aft scuppers and waterline staying
in the same relative position after the exchange. Some of the
competitive four-stroke outboards can weigh up to 75-pounds more each
than these lightweight Suzuki V-6s, yet the Suzuki powerhead is
currently the largest of all the four-strokes with a huge 3.6-liter
displacement, and as we all know, there is no replacement for
displacement in an engine, especially an outboard.
REAL WORLD EXPERIENCE
I was able to get my hands on a few boats for a test spin of the new
Suzuki DF250 down in Florida earlier this year, both single and twin
The 31-Yellowfin CC was one my favorites, with its stepped hull design
hitting a top speed of over 58-mph at wide open throttle and netting
over 2-mpg at 3500 rpm, where it hit 32-MPH on my handheld Magellan GPS
while drinking only 15.6 gallons per hour. This is incredible
performance for a 31-footer with that type of speed, which also extends
usable range. Among the single engine rigs, the new EdgeWater 245CC was
my favorite, hitting a solid 48-mph at full throttle and netting over
3-mpg at 3500 rpm, where this fuel efficient combination hit 24.4-mph
while burning only 7.2-gph. My good buddy Kevin Falvey, the Tech Editor
at Boating Magazine, just bought a DF250 to repower his Regulator CC and
is getting a top speed of over 43-mph, with 3-mpg efficiency at 4000
rpm, where heís netting 27-mph at roughly 9-gph. According to Kevin, the
combination of the Suzukiís low 2.29:1 gear ratio in combination with
the huge 16-inch diameter elephant ear SS prop enables him to plane his
Regulator at a slower speed (14-knots) and at a flatter running angle
than its predecessor, yet produces the same top speed and slightly
better fuel economy than his old two-stroke fuel-injected 250 V-6, with
no costly outboard oil added to the fuel.
The Suzuki DF250 is the real deal and are as close to a two-stroke in
acceleration, transom weight and performance of all the V-6 four-strokes
that Iíve tested to date. It also carries a very-low emission CARB
three-star rating and is backed by a standard three-year warranty.
For more information, call Suzuki at 800-247-4704, or visit their
website at www.suzuki.com.