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Re-powering 20ft Bennington Pontoon

Old 11-09-2018, 11:11 PM
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Default Re-powering 20ft Bennington Pontoon

Hey everyone,

I am looking to re-power my 20FT pontoon over the winter and am looking to get some advise on what outboards I should be looking at.

I currently have a 2003 75HP 2 stroke Mercury on it, and I'd like buy something newer and more fuel efficient that will give me plenty of power. My hull is rated for 75HP so I am limited to that. I mostly use the boat for fishing and cruising the lake with friends. I may pull my nephew on a tube every now and then, but water sports aren't one of my main boating activities. I am just looking for a good, reliable motor to use on the boat. Also, I like to fish in the winter and plan to put an enclosure on my Pontoon for the colder months.

I have had my eye on the 75HP Etech. I saw that Evinrude makes a "Pontoon" outboard, but unfortunately it's only for 90HP and up. Can anyone clarify what the difference between Evinrudes 75HP and Pontoon series outboards is?

What other options would perform well on my boat? What pitch prop is optimal for my type of boat?


Thank you in advance
Old 11-10-2018, 01:41 AM
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If your boat has the 25” toon upgrade instead of the 23” it will run a 90 just fine.
Old 11-10-2018, 05:39 AM
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Originally Posted by oomph View Post
Hey everyone,

I am looking to re-power my 20FT pontoon over the winter and am looking to get some advise on what outboards I should be looking at.

I currently have a 2003 75HP 2 stroke Mercury on it, and I'd like buy something newer and more fuel efficient that will give me plenty of power. My hull is rated for 75HP so I am limited to that. I mostly use the boat for fishing and cruising the lake with friends. I may pull my nephew on a tube every now and then, but water sports aren't one of my main boating activities. I am just looking for a good, reliable motor to use on the boat. Also, I like to fish in the winter and plan to put an enclosure on my Pontoon for the colder months.

I have had my eye on the 75HP Etech. I saw that Evinrude makes a "Pontoon" outboard, but unfortunately it's only for 90HP and up. Can anyone clarify what the difference between Evinrudes 75HP and Pontoon series outboards is?

What other options would perform well on my boat? What pitch prop is optimal for my type of boat?


Thank you in advance
You sound like me, I have a 21 foot Bennington I am re-powering right now. I have a 75 horse Optimax, 2006 two stroke on the boat now. Yesterday I bought a 2019 Mercury 60 HP 4 stroke. With that motor I get the motor, new harness, labor and $1500 trade in for my 75. Total cost $6471

My 75 horse Opti pushed the boat to 21 MPH most of the time. But the 75 is heavy and makes my boat tilted in the stern. When I bought the boat new it had a 50 HP Johnson on it and the boat was mostly level when in the water. I don't remember what the top speeds were with the 50 HP. With the tilted stern I found I couldn't go to some places on the flats anymore because it wouldn't get past those shallower spots. I also have about a 4 inch crack in my transom now I believe from the bouncing when trailering with this heavier motor.

So now I will have a 4 stroke, not break the bank, lighter engine, better option for shallower water. I don't know what the speed will be but I'm really not in that big a hurry anyway.
Old 11-10-2018, 09:57 PM
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yeah I need more than 50HP. I'm on a big lake and some runs can be long.
Old 11-10-2018, 10:06 PM
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Originally Posted by oomph View Post
yeah I need more than 50HP. I'm on a big lake and some runs can be long.
This is easy- if you can handle the weight, a 70 suzuki (or 90 is the same weight). If weight is a issue, look at the Yamaha 70. It's a lot lighter.
Old 11-10-2018, 11:04 PM
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I have an F70 Yamaha and it seems to be a pretty good match for a round tube 20. These are never going to be speed demons until you start adding strakes and maybe the third toon.Then you are going to be running a big block outboard.
Old 11-11-2018, 04:59 AM
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Why not stick with Mercury? Their 75 FourStroke will utilize all of your current controls and rigging. Bolt on and go.

If if you’re not worried about rating, their 90 would be a better fit. It comes with an optional Command Thrust lower unit. It’s size allows larger diameter props to be used. This is very beneficial to pontoon boats. The weight of the 75 and 90 are the same.
Old 11-11-2018, 10:48 AM
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The extra 100 pounds over the 60Merc/F70 may be an issue.
The two do have virtually identical performance on a 20 foot toon tho.
I swapped an EFI 60 for the F70 with no noticeable change in performance.
Old 11-11-2018, 12:16 PM
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Originally Posted by oomph View Post
Hey everyone,

I am looking to re-power my 20FT pontoon over the winter and am looking to get some advise on what outboards I should be looking at.

I currently have a 2003 75HP 2 stroke Mercury on it, and I'd like buy something newer and more fuel efficient that will give me plenty of power. My hull is rated for 75HP so I am limited to that. I mostly use the boat for fishing and cruising the lake with friends. I may pull my nephew on a tube every now and then, but water sports aren't one of my main boating activities. I am just looking for a good, reliable motor to use on the boat. Also, I like to fish in the winter and plan to put an enclosure on my Pontoon for the colder months.

I have had my eye on the 75HP Etech. I saw that Evinrude makes a "Pontoon" outboard, but unfortunately it's only for 90HP and up. Can anyone clarify what the difference between Evinrudes 75HP and Pontoon series outboards is?

What other options would perform well on my boat? What pitch prop is optimal for my type of boat?


Thank you in advance
Looks like the pontoon series has a lower gear ratio and tuned differently for lower grunt. Instead of high speed.
The 75 and 90 pontoon wiegh the same. Go with the 90 pontoon!
Both are inline 3s same bore and stroke but the 90 must have different heads or pistons. ?
Old 11-11-2018, 07:31 PM
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The Merc "Big Foot" 60 uses the same LU as the 75-90. Swings a 14" prop
Old 11-12-2018, 05:05 AM
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Originally Posted by gfretwell View Post
The Merc "Big Foot" 60 uses the same LU as the 75-90. Swings a 14" prop
Yes, my 75 has a 14 incher. I'm thinking I may get around the same top speed with my new Merc 60 as I did the 75 because of the weight difference but will find out. If it's only a couple mph difference why spend extra money?

Last edited by SWF Pontoon Angler; 11-12-2018 at 05:07 AM. Reason: more info
Old 11-12-2018, 09:33 AM
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I had the old 3 cyl 75 2s merc/mariner. It is roughly the same weight as the 60 4s and the 60 will cost you about 1 maybe 2 MPH. (same boat) That is WOT. My cruise speed is pretty much the same.with far better gas mileage.
Old 11-12-2018, 11:01 AM
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Originally Posted by gfretwell View Post
I had the old 3 cyl 75 2s merc/mariner. It is roughly the same weight as the 60 4s and the 60 will cost you about 1 maybe 2 MPH. (same boat) That is WOT. My cruise speed is pretty much the same.with far better gas mileage.
That sounds good, my Opti 75 is over 100 lbs heavier than the 60.
Old 11-12-2018, 01:09 PM
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My neighbor just bought a brand new Bennington 20 and it came with 90hp Yamaha. Maybe the old 75hp Merc has the same power output as the new 90hp Yammie.
Old 11-12-2018, 01:49 PM
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My boat is only rated for a 75HP, would I be alright putting a 90HP on it?
Old 11-12-2018, 02:01 PM
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Maybe the older 20' pontoon frame could not handle a 90?

From what I've read (take it for what it is, do your own research) the 2 strokes have more mid range torque. I may be wrong, but if your power is marginal, that may affect tubing to some aspect. I have a 22' with a 140 and when I have a load of people and 2 teenagers on the tube, it taxes the engine probably more than anything else we do on the pontoon. Mind you, my son driving the boat is usually weaving back and forth to throw them off. Simple oval patterns are no strain at all.
Old 11-12-2018, 02:38 PM
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I assume the boat was rated for 75HP because of the weight of the motors back in the early 2000's. However most modern motors now weigh less. Has anyone had an success contacting their boat manufacturer and having the boats maximum HP rating increased?
Old 11-12-2018, 03:49 PM
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Originally Posted by oomph View Post
I assume the boat was rated for 75HP because of the weight of the motors back in the early 2000's. However most modern motors now weigh less. Has anyone had an success contacting their boat manufacturer and having the boats maximum HP rating increased?
No, the new motors weigh more than the older. Peel of the 90 and put 75 decals on the new one. If you don’t insure it , forget the hp.
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Old 11-12-2018, 06:11 PM
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The best HP to weight in a 4 stroke is probably the F70/Merc 60 (pretty much the same powerhead)
I dd not notice any real difference between them and I ran over 3000 hours on the merc and I am over 1500 on the Yamaha. Same boat
When I was looking last time and I looked at going bigger the 115 merc that shares the block with the 75/90 was the best bang for the weight but that extra 100 pounds would have been too much for my boat.
You are burning more gas for a modest increase in speed.
One other deciding factor is how much do you run in the sand/mud. The Yamaha L/U seems to have a bit better design under the water pump and it doesn't seem to pack sand in there. The merc does.
If you are always in deep water, the merc water pump itself is better (bigger, lasts longer) and the "big foot" L/U is tougher.
Old 11-12-2018, 06:40 PM
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Originally Posted by Dacman View Post


Looks like the pontoon series has a lower gear ratio and tuned differently for lower grunt. Instead of high speed.
The 75 and 90 pontoon wiegh the same. Go with the 90 pontoon!
Both are inline 3s same bore and stroke but the 90 must have different heads or pistons. ?

Also has motor mount rubbers to help with vibration. sounds kinky dont it lol.

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