Most Common Problems with Evinrude E-TEC 115 Outboard

Want the best of 4-strokes and the power of a 2-strokes engine in one? Evinrude E-TEC 115 outboard can be your answer. 

It is a sophisticated modern fuel-injected engine and has enough performance to convert even a Suzuki 4-stroke fanboy/fangirl.

The engine provides you greater speed across the whole rev range. It can carry a reasonably heavy boat. It can serve the boat with 3000-4000 RPMs. 

However, Evinrude is currently going out of business. Not all due to bad engines. But the E-TEC 115 does have some common problems. In this article, I will discuss those in detail.

A Quick Overview to Evinrude E-TEC 115 Outboard Issues and The Reasons Behind Them:

Engine Does not Start Bad software issues.Fuel issues.Engine water pressure issues.Bad spark plugs. Water in the system. Starters going bad. 
Bad fuel economy Old engine model.Bad exhaust issues. 

1. Engine Does Not Start

The engine usually does good. But in lower RPMs suddenly it may stop. This incident has been reported by many customers. 

They noticed the engine coughing, sputtering, and eventually coming to a stop. This happens especially in low RPMs. 

Sometimes the alarm doesn’t go out when this happens.  

You may also notice overheating before breaking down. This is a problem especially when your motor is filled with oil. 

You may also notice the engine cranking or idling. The engine may cut out at higher RPMs.

Reason for the Problem:

Evinrude users have reported suffering from this problem too often. The suspicion goes to Evinrude 115’s motor. The motor is deemed junk by few customers but few love it as well.

Let’s take a look now at what’s maybe the reason for this.

  • Sometimes the software cannot detect a bad engine. This is why the alarm doesn’t go off before stalling. 
  • Fuel and fuel pipe issues are very common. This is not Evinrude’s fault. However, the dealer that assembled it for you may have better answers. 
  • Engine water pressure issues.
  • Bad spark plugs. 
  • Water in the system. 
  • Starters going bad can completely stop your boat engine.

Possible Solution:

Check for smaller problems first. Check you have physical problems like fuel line issues or bad spark plugs. Update your software. 

If these seem okay, then go for the major problems. These include issues like water in the system or starters going bad. 

The possible solutions to each problem are given below. 

To fix this:

Troubleshoot 1: Software Issues

Consult a mechanic. He should be able to check the software issues with a laptop. If needed he will recommend you an update. 

Troubleshoot 2: Fuel Issues

  • Check the fuel level. Refill If necessary.
  • Check the fuel lines for air leaks. Clean and replace if you find any leaks. 

Troubleshoot 3: Engine Water Pressure Issues

  • Is your engine temperature lower than 110 F? Then time to fix the issue.
  • Check the water pressure. Adjust the water pressures and check if the temperature comes up. 
  • If the engine is still cold, take it to a technician. 

Troubleshoot 4: Bad Spark Plugs

  • Take out the spark plugs that are corroded or burnt.
  • Replace them with new spark plugs. Put the plugs in and check the engine. If there is no firing, the issue may be different. 

Troubleshoot 5: Water in the System

This is a rare case. If water enters the engine housing or the cylinders, take it for servicing. There is very little you can do on your own. 

Troubleshoot 6: Get the Engine Running When the Starter is Bad

  • Take the shroud off the flywheel
  • Take some thin rope and wrap it around the flywheel in the groove. Wrap only one time around the flywheel. 
  • Turn ON the engine key. Wait for a while. You should hear your transom which means the engine has started. 

2. Bad Fuel Economy 

The most common symptom is running out of fuel. Usually, 30-40 liters for a standard day’s trip as usual. This is 25% more than the new engines. Especially compared to the Suzuki 4-strokes ones.  

Owners reported losing power on one cylinder to cut the consumption. But it still did not work. 

Reason for the Problem:

  • The engine model is old. So it is not compliant with the fuel-efficient technology of the present. The engine will consume about 11 GPH at full throttle. Much older models can consume up to 18 Gallons in just 3 hours of moderate cruising.
  • The Evinrude E-TEC 115 has some bad exhaust issues. Leaks and corrosion can occur frequently. Customers have reported more fuel consumption due to bad exhaust previously. 

Possible Solution:

The situation of the hull, prop, and load matters here. Get a moderate amount of load on the boat. Change a prop that uses less power. 

You may notice the problem still persisting. Fix your exhaust. Corrosion and blockage of exhaust sometimes cause more fuel consumption. 

If all else fails, then get a new engine my friend. Possibly a 4-stroke one by Suzuki or Yamaha. 

Troubleshoot 1: Getting a New Propeller

  • Find a propeller that is less in diameter. Usually, a lot of power is consumed to move a larger diameter of the propeller. 
  • Take out the bolts from the sides of the prop. Remove the propeller and prop ring and prop nut. 
  • Install new prop with lesser diameter.  
  • Now check the hull integrity. Is the floatation saturated with water? If not then you don’t have the right prop.

I suggest consulting an expert to get the best prop for your boat. 

Troubleshoot 2: Fixing the Exhaust

  • To fix completely seized exhaust: soak the exhaust with a solution of acetone and ATF at a 50:50 ratio. 
  • If the exhaust valve has corroded, replace the valves. 

What Majority of the Users Feel About Evinrude E-TEC 115?

Despite the controversies and the bankruptcies, people actually like it. The reason is, it gives good RPMs and revving. 

There are a lot of forums where people bash the Evinrude. This is thought to be a marketing scheme. Especially given the marketing powerlessness of the company. 

But you see a lot of owners jump to defense as well. Even 4-strokers love it. It is perfect for a quiet boating evening. It runs smoothly too. 

Many reports suggest that it has been very easy troubleshooting problems. Especially that of the engine not starting. 

You can easily find parts at cheap rate. And the boat uses clean technology too! All the more reason for environmentalists to love it!


Evinrude E-TEC 115 has been reliable through and through. Although the company is going out of business. Its parent concern OMEC has already gone out of business and declared bankruptcy. 

But even after years of usage, the engine will run pretty smoothly. Old customers swear by it! You will definitely get value for your money out of those higher RPMs. And most people go by without any trouble with the motor. 

All in all, it is a great engine with many benefits. I don’t see any reason for not getting it as a chilled-out boater!

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