After Outboard Marine Corp.’s bankruptcy in December 2000, the future of Johnson and Evinrude outboards was uncertain. Then in March 2001, Bombardier, a Canadian manufacturing conglomerate known for snow-mobiles, jet planes and high-speed trains, purchased OMC’s assets and set out to make its mark in the outboard-engine industry. Bombardier has a long history in the recreational business with its Ski-Doo and Sea-Doo brands, and is known for taking over troubled companies and making them successful again.
Bombardier’s first order of business was to get parts flowing to existing customers, to design a more efficient manufacturing facility and to improve the dependability, quality and reliability of Johnson and Evinrude outboards. Within weeks of taking over the ailing brands, Bombardier started parts distribution, warranty and technical-assistance departments to service the thousands of outboards in use. A state-of-the-art factory opened in Sturtevant, Wisconsin, in record time, even in the face of some legal problems. At the same time, Bombardier combed the engineering departments for ideas that would improve the engines, then implemented them as quickly as possible.
The 2002-model line benefits from some of those changes, such as enhancements in electrical, power and fuel-delivery systems, along with some new components. According to a Bombardier spokesperson, consumers will have fewer outboard sizes to choose from in 2002 so that the company can focus on quality, but the line will be expanded for the following season. Evinrude continues its tradition of low-emission, high-tech engines with its Ficht Ram direct-fuel injection. Johnson, on the other hand, will use standard technologies in its outboards.
Evinrude’s direct-injected Ficht Ram outboards range from a midsized 75 hp four-cylinder, all the way up to a powerful, EPA-approved 250 hp V-6. Displacing 3.3 liters (200 cubic inches), the 200, 225 and 250 V-6s can deliver quick holeshots and potent midrange acceleration.
New for 2002 are a heavy-duty V-6 gearcase designed to handle the increased torque, more reliable electrical and electronic components, and a starter motor with heavier windings for more cranking power. A new in-line oil filter will cut down on lubricant-contamination problems. The swept-back skeg has a larger surface area to combat steering torque, and the gearcase’s overall design assists trimming-out characteristics on most boats. Forward, reverse and pinion gears have a greater diameter, tighter tolerances and a new tooth pattern for better strength and reliability.
For the bassboater and the high-performance boating enthusiast, the new Evinrude 225 HO is available in a 20-inch shaft length. This potent outboard is an improved version of the highly successful ‘Rude Ram from last year. Standard with this engine is a special high-speed gearcase with lowered water pickups, allowing it to be mounted higher on the transom, yet delivering enough cooling water pressure. Like the other Evinrudes, the 225 HO benefits from the improved electronic, fuel and lubricating systems introduced this year.
Johnson Outboard’s carbureted engines will range from the twin-cylinder 25 hp up to the 60-degree V-6 175 for the 2002-model year. Design changes and better-quality electrical and fuel-delivery components are aimed at making Johnson outboards more dependable and reliable than ever. The V-6 models (150 hp and 175 hp) will have a larger, heavy-duty gearcase.
The warranty for Johnson and Evinrude 2002 outboards will continue to be the same as it’s been. Johnson outboards will have a one-year warranty, while Evinrudes will have a two-year warranty.
New graphics for both Johnson and Evinrude include laser stripes and the Bombardier logo on the back of the engine covers. The trademark is a sprocket with a Bombardier nameplate horizontally across the center. A deep metallic-blue graces the 20-inch-shaft Evinrudes, while the 25- and 30-inch engines are painted gloss white. Johnson uses a graphite-gray finish on its V-4 and V-6 long-shaft (20-inch) outboards and white for all the other models.
Although new to the outboard business, but no stranger to recreational products and engines, Bombardier is setting its sights on regaining the market share and dependable reputation that Evinrude and Johnson have held for over 80 years. Bombardier carries on the dreams of Ole Evinrude and the Johnson brothers.
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