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Contender 27 open repowered with Yamaha 300 4.2s

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Contender 27 open repowered with Yamaha 300 4.2s

Old 07-05-2017, 01:03 PM
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Default Contender 27 open repowered with Yamaha 300 4.2s

We just finished repowering a 2001 Contender 27 open (30' loa) with a set of Yamaha 300 4.2's and wanted to share our experience so far. Previously, we had a set of Honda 225's on the boat and they were great running engines but just didn't help the boat perform the way we wanted it to. When looking at repower options, the first choice was the Yamaha's due to their lower weight versus the other 4 stroke options. Going to two strokes or the 4 cylinder four strokes were not an option for us. During the hunt for a set of slightly used motors, we looked at the option of going with a set of Suzuki's because there seemed to be more used sets available or if we decided to buy new, they were going to cost less, but with the Suzuki's weighing about the same as the Honda's we decided to just hold out until we found a set of Yamaha's. There was no doubt that the boat wasn't handling the added weight with the Honda's very well and being able to shed 80 or so pounds off the transom was very appealing.

We started out mounting the engines as high as they would go based on all the reading on these forums and had a set of sws II 23 pitch props to start. We already had the wedges and decided to keep them on with the new motors. We ran the boat on the initial test run very light, 125 gallons of fuel, three guys, and nothing else on the boat. We had missed adding a harness between the controls and the hub so when we ran the boat the first time, we weren't getting any info from the engines to the Yamaha screen so the first run was almost worthless. Only info we got was the speed from the gps and the boat hit 65.3 mph. We were all excited about that but at the same time knew that was fairly useless without knowing the rpm's we were turning at wot. As far as the ride, the boat was running a little squirrely but we initially contributed that to the lack of gear, fuel, ice etc. We have always ran the boat loaded down with the old engines so we just were not familiar with the attitude of the boat running light, plus it was now running 20 mph faster than with the old engines.

We left the next night (with the harness connected correctly so we were getting all the info to the gauge) on an over-nighter with the boat loaded to the gills, six guys, all the fishing gear plus the extra gear guys bring for an over-night trip, and also an extra 55 gallons of fuel sitting on the deck in front of the console. When trying to plane off, the props wanted to break loose a little bit, not bad but you couldn't just shower down on the throttles, we had to ease it through getting up on plane. Then we were really struggling with the boat between 3500 and 4000 rpm. At 3800 rpm we were running 30 to 31 mph but when we bumped up to 4000 rpm, the speed jumped up to 40 to 41 mph. The worst part was the ride, there was no chance of letting go of the steering wheel or the boat would have darted off and hooked in a heartbeat. The boat was all over the place, I was constantly making adjustments back and forth trying to get the boat to run straight but it was impossible. At the end of the trip, we had run 247 miles and burned 195 gallons, no where near what we were hoping for. It was a very defeating and disgusted feeling.

We made a couple phone calls to some local guys and were told the engines were way too high so we moved the engines down two holes and put on a set of Bravo I 22 pitch 4-blade props and went for another test run. That ride brought back those smiles we had when the engines first showed up. The boat was a totally different animal in every way. The boat tracked dead straight, the bow would react to very slight changes in the engine trim, and it was a rocket out of the hole. This test run was done with very similar conditions as the first we had run with only three guys and this time about 70 gallons of fuel. At 3700 rpm we were running 38 mph and getting 2.0 to 2.1 mpg, at 3500 rpm we were running 36 mph and saw 2.2 mpg, and the boat topped out at 59 mph at 5800-5900 rpm. We loaded the boat down again yesterday and made a run offshore. We had 7 people on the boat, 205 gallons of fuel, the freshwater tank in the transom full and the live well full. This was the first time we've ever been able to run the boat without using the tabs to try and get the bow down. Just using the engine trim, we were able to run into a head sea and dial in the ride at 47 to 49 mph. It wasn't a 3-footer day but I would never have thought we could run that fast into any head sea at almost 50 mph with 2 girls sitting on an ice chest in front of the console without having to drop them off at the chiropractor after the trip. Running that hard we were getting 1.3 to 1.4 mpg and the boat ran with that flat attitude that usually gets lost on these hulls when you hang the big four strokes on the back. On the way back in, we decided to back off for just a little bit from the near 50 mph we had run all day just to see the fuel burn numbers and at 3500 rpm we were running 36 to 37 and getting 1.8 to 1.9 mpg.

In my opinion, the Yamaha 300 4.2's are the absolute best option for a repower on an older 27 open. I know a lot of guys say that the only option is two strokes, but I feel pretty certain this setup would change their mind if they got the opportunity to ride on this boat. I can't explain the how much different this boat handles and performs with these engines over the Honda's. We plan on still looking at some other prop options just to see if any other props will perform a little better but if the Bravo's turn out to be the best, there's still nothing but satisfaction with the boat after this repower.

Sorry for the long post, but I wanted to try and share some info that I struggled to find when considering this repower. I'm thinking the info has been limited because people are mounting these engines too high and don't want to admit they aren't happy with the results. They will think they are on a totally different boat if they drop the engines down.

Last edited by Tightenup1; 07-05-2017 at 01:04 PM. Reason: typo
Old 07-05-2017, 01:12 PM
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Great post. Any pics of it rigged? Sounds like a rocket now with 600 hp.
Old 07-05-2017, 01:40 PM
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Quick question, Having the wedges installed can you still tilt the motors all the way out of the water when tied up to a dock? Thanks and congrats on the new ponys.
Old 07-05-2017, 02:02 PM
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Most people that say no 4 stroke 300's on a 27 have never actually been on one. 65 is 1.5 faster than the Zukes ever did
Old 07-05-2017, 02:28 PM
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I will get some pictures to share. We've made changes to the electronics box portion of the console that work well for us but one of the best parts of the new rigging is that we decided to take the opportunity to really do some cleaning up inside of the console and it turned out quite nice. We moved the three batteries down into the bottom rather than up on the shelf, sitting as far back as they will go and they fit perfect running front to back inside of the plastic battery trays, then we built a shelf out of starboard with a hinged lid over the top of the batteries. It seems like we have doubled the space inside of the console.

KeywestJack, I bet you're spot on with your comment. The thing is, we aren't real sure that the weight was that much of a factor in changing the ride because we never tried different props of mounting holes on the Honda's. But I have a feeling that shedding some weight off the back did help a little. What I do know is that the boat has a completely different attitude now and we no longer seem to have an absolute must of dropping the tabs to keep the bow down.
Old 07-05-2017, 02:29 PM
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greeno, we haven't tried to raise the motors out of the water at the dock yet but next time we splash her, I will try to remember to check that for you.
Old 07-05-2017, 02:46 PM
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I think the 4 blades helped with stern lift, wich helps with riding flatter. Thanks for the info and glad you're happy
Old 07-05-2017, 03:01 PM
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Propmeup, I agree but I think the adjustment that has made the biggest impact on the ride was lowering the engines. From the get-go, we felt like a stern lifting prop would be beneficial but all we had at first was a loaner set of the Yamaha 3 blade props. We are going to put the Yamaha props back on there to see how they do with the engines lowered but I would bet the boat loses a little control of the bow with them, won't hurt to try though while we still have access to the props. I'm also wanting to try a set of the eco Enertia 3-blades that are a stern lifting prop and see how they do. I think we will be able to spin the 23's, which will help get the top end back but we are more concerned with the fuel burn numbers at cruising speeds. Not sure what to expect out of them in this area but in my mind, we will gain just a little bit of speed at the same rpm's as the bravos which should be a little more efficient.
Old 07-05-2017, 04:23 PM
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Thanks very much for the info and keep it coming I have an 03 27 that is gonna get repowered this winter with Yamaha's
Old 07-05-2017, 05:49 PM
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Wrong propellers often lead to a motor being labeled as a dog, even if it is not.

Thanks for the information.
Old 07-05-2017, 05:53 PM
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I have a set of 23" eco's I will sell if you decide you want to go with them

Originally Posted by Tightenup1 View Post
Propmeup, I agree but I think the adjustment that has made the biggest impact on the ride was lowering the engines. From the get-go, we felt like a stern lifting prop would be beneficial but all we had at first was a loaner set of the Yamaha 3 blade props. We are going to put the Yamaha props back on there to see how they do with the engines lowered but I would bet the boat loses a little control of the bow with them, won't hurt to try though while we still have access to the props. I'm also wanting to try a set of the eco Enertia 3-blades that are a stern lifting prop and see how they do. I think we will be able to spin the 23's, which will help get the top end back but we are more concerned with the fuel burn numbers at cruising speeds. Not sure what to expect out of them in this area but in my mind, we will gain just a little bit of speed at the same rpm's as the bravos which should be a little more efficient.
Old 07-05-2017, 07:30 PM
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Originally Posted by captkservices View Post
I have a set of 23" eco's I will sell if you decide you want to go with them
Shoot me a pm with your contact info
Old 07-05-2017, 07:53 PM
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Def following this one.. I have a 2002 27 Open and was concerned about the extra weight of 4 strokes.. currently running twin 200 HDPI's. in rough seas, do you get wet feet? Curious as to the profile as she sits idle in the water.
Thanks
Old 07-05-2017, 08:38 PM
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Perfect post for us 27 Open owners. Should be a rocket ship.

Always wondered what F300's would do as far as weight etc. No question it would be fast.

01 27C open here w 2 x F150, 46 WOT, 2.0+, no time to plane etc. No wet feet or wedges. OEM Reliance props as recommended by Contender, right out of the box. Same mounting height as the old 225 OX66's.
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Old 07-05-2017, 09:37 PM
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Please keep us updated. I have a 2003 27 and just replaced a powerhead on one of the 200 hpdi's. I toyed with the idea of re powering with these last fall but found a smoking deal on a powerhead. Next major problem with them I am repowering. My fishing partner has 97 and we have spent countless hours discussing our re power options. Everyone says they are too heavy, but they really aren't much more than a 250 ox66 or 300 hpdi which came on many of these from the factory.
Someone above mentioned but did you notice any water coming in the scuppers when at rest? And did you have the live well full? Thanks for the info.
Old 07-05-2017, 10:02 PM
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I'll be honest my numbers aren't that far off from those with 200 hpdis besides the top end. I hit 51 with a light load yesterday.
Old 07-05-2017, 11:06 PM
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Originally Posted by Madeira View Post
Perfect post for us 27 Open owners. Should be a rocket ship.

Always wondered what F300's would do as far as weight etc. No question it would be fast.

01 27C open here w 2 x F150, 46 WOT, 2.0+, no time to plane etc. No wet feet or wedges. OEM Reliance props as recommended by Contender, right out of the box. Same mounting height as the old 225 OX66's.
That Blue is amazing.. love it
Old 07-06-2017, 09:31 AM
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Here are a few photos showing the dash layout and the cleaning up we did inside the console. It's driving me crazy to post a picture with the one red wire out of place but that was one of those quick fixes in the middle of the night to get the underwater lights going again and just haven't had a chance to put it back together the right way.
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Old 07-06-2017, 10:35 AM
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Originally Posted by Beer money View Post
I'll be honest my numbers aren't that far off from those with 200 hpdis besides the top end. I hit 51 with a light load yesterday.
I haven't really studied the numbers on this hull with a set of the 200 hpdi's on it. Can you share your fuel burn numbers and reference the speed as well?

Personally, for our use of the boat and our experience with the Honda's, 400 hp even from a two stroke is not enough power on this boat. The reason I say that is because we run the boat in the GOM and while there are not many days that we could run the boat at WOT, on most of our trips we find ourselves running in a sea condition where the cruising speed with the previous engines didn't make for a comfortable ride. Anybody that has ran these contender hulls know that the boat likes to ride on top and there have been countless days where had we been able to bump up the speed from a 35-37 mph cruise to a low 40's mph, the boat would have been able to stay on top and land on the crest of the next wave rather than landing into the face of it. The problem was that at low 40's with the Honda's had us at almost WOT with a fishing load on the boat, which equals lots of fuel getting burned and way more stress on the engines. Now we can run in the low 40's, the motors aren't having to work hard and the fuel burn is still going to be in the 1.7- 1.8 range. If we want to optimize our range for a longer run, we can back way down to running low to mid 30's mph and get 2 mpg. The only other advantage that was there with the small two strokes is control of the bow. I feel like the boat now rides with the flatness that it was designed to run with, albeit we are getting that with wedges and a four blade stern lifting prop, which does cost us a little bit on the fuel burn, speed numbers, but well worth it to us to not have to deal with adding oil. If you burn 150 gallons of fuel on a trip with a two stroke running a 50:1 ratio, that's three gallons of oil at $28 a gallon you have to add to the cost of the trip. The mpg would have to be somewhere around .5 mpg better to break even on the cost.

I'm not trying to hate on people running two strokes on these hulls by any means. I now know the difference in the ride that people talk about when adding a bunch of weight with four strokes and understand their affinity to these hulls with the two strokes. It is a very different riding boat when it's running flat. I feel like we have been able to achieve the same ride characteristics with the yamaha's by making the right adjustments.
Old 07-06-2017, 04:34 PM
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On my 03 I have to run at least 4000 rpm to get it to run flat or add tabs at anything below that.I'm gonna put 300's on it but I really don't want to have to use wedges just to keep from doing the glass work.

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