The Yamaha F150 Is Most Popular Outboard Motor for a Reason

When boating, like when driving, you want to know you’re using a reliable engine that’s both powerful and lightweight. Whether you own a fishing boat or a pontoon, deck, flats, deep V, or a different type of boat, you might be considering repowering it at some point. The Yamaha F150 is one of the most popular motors from one of the most trusted companies. Here’s a look at what’s so great about this Yamaha motor.

Yamaha: a trusted name in outboard motors

Yamaha is one of the top manufacturers of outboard motors. Originally a manufacturer of musical instruments, Yamaha produced motorcycles after World War II. In 1958, the Yamaha corporation first began developing outboard motors, and they appeared in the United States in 1970, according to Crowley Marine.

Yamaha then started developing four-stroke outboard motors in 1980, releasing the first one in 1984. These cleaner motors were already in place when emissions regulations were implemented in the ’90s, giving Yamaha the edge over some of its competitors without four-stroke motors.

The Yamaha F150: a bestseller

Weight of a yamaha 150 4 stroke
Yamaha outboards on display | Ben Pruchnie/Getty Images

Yamaha announced its first 150-hp four-stroke outboard motor in 2004, according to Bass Resource. It offered a quiet and fuel-efficient option for medium-sized fishing boats. Rather than the V6 ordinarily used for this size boat, the F150 is a 2.7-liter inline-four.

The motor weighs just 478 pounds (for 20-inch shaft models) and has a slimmer width than the two-stroke motors. The F150 is good for single installation on 17-foot to 22-foot boats or dual installation on 23-foot to 27-foot boats. It can be installed on most models of boats.

Yamaha gives a few reasons why the Yamaha F150 is the best-selling 150-hp four-stroke “of all time.” Its “proven reliability” tops the list. In addition, it is “powerful, light, nimble, and compact.”

The F150 is now a part of a bigger family line, including the F175 and F200. The motors are now compatible with both digital or mechanical rigging controls. According to FishTalk magazine, the Yamaha F150 produced after 2005 is often considered “one of the most reliable four-stroke outboards ever produced.”

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The Yamaha F150 motor

The Yamaha F150 motor is powerful but also strong, light, quiet, and environmentally responsive. The motor has outstanding performance, with four valves per cylinder to maximize its combustion efficiency. It also has great acceleration. Its 10mm offset crankshaft permits more intake volume. The four tuned intake tubes increase the torque at low and medium speeds, allowing for faster acceleration.

Its crankshaft, connecting rods, and gears are heat-treated, which adds to the motor’s strength. The motor also is built from lightweight forged pistons. It includes a flywheel dampener to minimize the crankshaft vibration and produce a smoother ride.

The water-sealed outer walls and special exhaust system also help to minimize the motor’s noise. Despite the motor’s power, it still stays quiet thanks in part to an air silencer box and a surge tank. The motor’s technology is handled by the Engine Control Module (ECM) and six sensors located around the motor.

The motor exceeds the requirements of both the 2006 Federal EPA emission standards and the 2008 California Air Resources Board (CARB) emission standards. The Yamaha F150 is designed to resist corrosion. Built of a proprietary alloy, its anti-corrosive paint is electro-deposited in five layers.

A front-mounted freshwater flushing device makes it easy to flush the motor with a garden hose to help prevent corrosion. No tools are needed, and the motor doesn’t need to be running while it’s being flushed out.

The Yamaha F150 motor is a great option for a variety of medium-sized boats. There are plenty of reasons to trust both the motor and the company that manufactures it. For boat owners who need even more power, the F150 is part of a family with more powerful options too.

— Update: 08-01-2023 — found an additional article Yamaha Outboards Mid-Sized Motors: the F115 and F150 from the website for the keyword weight of a yamaha 150 4 stroke.

If you’re looking at hot new fishboat options in the 18 to 21 foot range, there’s a good chance you’ll be choosing between the Yamaha F115 and the Yamaha F150 as outboard motor options. There’s a big jump between these two size ranges, which is because stepping up from the F115 to the F150 means going from a 106.2 cubic inch displacement engine (the same powerhead as is used for the Yamaha F90) to a 163.0 cubic inch displacement engine. That’s a big deal, especially in a size range where these very different powerplants could be used on the very same transom. So let’s take a deeper look at each.

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Weight of a yamaha 150 4 stroke
The Yamaha F115 four-stroke outboard is extremely popular on relatively small, open fishing boats.

The Yamaha F115 Four-Stroke Outboard Engine

The Yamaha F115 is a 1832cc in-line-four with EFI, a 35 amp alternator, optional Command Link with variable trolling speed control (which allows for 50 rpm adjustments to dial in trolling speeds), and is available in 20- and 25-inch shaft lengths. It weighs 377 pounds, and received a do-over in 2014 when Yamaha went to a new throttle body (60mm), a new exhaust design, and large diameter intake and exhaust valves. The original F115 came out in 1999 and there are still plenty of these motors shredding the water today; both the original and new versions score high marks for reliability and longevity.

Weight of a yamaha 150 4 stroke
The Yamaha F150 four-stroke ups the ante, as compared to the F115.

Yamaha F150 Four-Stroke Outboard Engine

The Yamaha F150 is also an in-line-four, with 2670cc – 2785cc, 35/50 amp alternators, EFI, and the same Command Link capabilities. It tips the scales at 487 pounds maximum (though we note that Yamaha published weights excluding oil, gear lube, and propeller). The F150 is one of Yamaha’s all-time most popular outboards, and was refreshed just three years ago with a new cowl design, and a smoother clutch dog. Despite a (easily remedied) counter-balance issue early on with pre-2005 models, through time the F150 has developed an awesome reputation for reliability and longevity. In fact, many people consider post-05 F150’s to be one of the most reliable four-stroke outboards ever produced.

So, just exactly what does all this mean, in an apples-to-apples performance comparison? An Alumacraft Dominator 185 Sport (which weighs 1,530 pounds) rigged with the F115 cruises at 27 MPH while spinning 4500 rpm; at this speed it gets 4.7 mpg. At wide-open throttle, the F115 propels the Dominator to 39 mph and gets 3.8 mpg.

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The exact same boat rigged with the F150 turns just 3500 rpm to get up to 27 mph, while it cruises at 37 mph at 4500 rpm, and gets 4.4 mpg at this speed. At WOT, the boat hits 48.1 mph and gets 3.1 mpg.

What do these numbers tell us? For starters, the F150 obviously provides one heck of a lot more speed. But interestingly, it doesn’t chug any more fuel to do so at reatively low but realistic cruising speeds. In fact, at 27 mph it actually burns less fuel. So if you believe a F115 will fit your needs better because it’s more economical to run, it’s time to revisit that consideration. True, few of us would be able to resist goosing the throttle well beyond 3500 rpm on a regular basis, and the 150’s advantage would evaporate along with running it harder. But it’s also true that on boats of the size which these engines are appropriate for, quite regularly sea conditions may force you to slow down, anyway.

Weight of a yamaha 150 4 stroke
An apples-to-apples speed comparison is eye-opening, and at least at relatively low speeds, the F150 comes out ahead. Note: we haven’t tested identical boats with these different motors but Yamaha did, so we used Yamaha Performance Reports for these numbers. Time and experience has shown Yamaha’s reported numbers to always be within 10-percent of those we’ve gathered with our own eyes and usually within five-percent.

Where the F115 does save you money, however, is in initial cost. The F150 will run you around $12,000 or $13,000, and the F115 is usually $2,000 to $2,500 less. While 20 percent or so in cost is certainly significant, for most people buying a new boat, it won’t be a make-or-break difference. The weight of these engines, however, is a more important consideration. Remember that the F150 weighs in at a solid 110 pounds heavier. On a small boat, this can be a big deal.

Which engine will be the right choice for you, and the boat you’re looking at? That’s a question we can’t answer, since every boat and every owner is a bit different. But we can say one thing with confidence: we don’t think you can go wrong choosing either of these powerplants.


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About the Author: Tung Chi