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Yamaha Marine F200 InLine-4
Outboard Motor

Yamaha F200 2.8 Liter I-4 Powerhead
Replete with Dual Overhead Camshafts
Enviable Strong Acceleration and a Potent Mid Range Punch

Yamaha F200 outboard motor is the lightest 200-horsepower 4-stroke on the market weighing in at just 487 pounds. For the record, that's 119 pounds and 22 percent lighter than Yamaha's F200 V6, or what a comparable 2-stroke weighs.

Yamaha F200 InLine 4-cylinder outboard motor

Heart and soul of this machine is the narrow profile of its four cylinders stacked one on top of the other, as opposed to a V-6 with two banks splayed out at an angle. The payoff is light weight. As of the date of its October 2012 introduction it is the lightest 200-hp four stroke on the market. And its diminutive profile and weight reduction the transom means it is an appropriate replacement for lower horsepower or larger V6 outboards powered boats in the 21- to 26-foot range, a repower guaranteed to improve performance. With 26-inch mounting centers and a standard bolt pattern, it's a worthy candidate for center consoles, pontoons, sport boats, bay and flats boats, deep-V aluminum and fish and ski boats.

Besides the inline cylinder configuration another critical build element is the two, overhead camshafts that open and close four-valves per cylinder. With four small valves flowing intake and exhaust, as opposed to two bigger valves, the air velocity stays high. Razor sharp throttle response is the payoff.

Also there is the Variable Camshaft Timing a hardware package that modifies the precise moment when the intake valves begin to open, relative to crankshaft top dead center. Depending on rpm and load either advancing or retarding cam timing pays big dividends in throttle response in the low- and mid-rpm. And once again there's a pay off in acceleration. Besides raw performance fuel economy also benefits, with numbers ranging anywhere from 30- to 40-percent better. Curious to learn VCT mechanical details? It's as simple as the sea is salt. The camshaft sprocket has two oil-filled chambers. The ECM sends oil to either one or the other traversing timing chain sprocket either clockwise or counter-clockwise (within a 20 degree range).

You should also know the engine needs 89 octane gasoline in order to build maximum horsepower. Topping off with 87 octane is not a problem other than the fact that spark timing is retarded to prevent engine damage, effectively dialing back horsepower.

Two versions of the F200 I-4 are available: The F200F throttle and shift functions are controlled mechanically. While the more sophisticated F200G, is electronic with drive-by-wire throttle and shift. It's compatible with Yamaha's Command Link Plus rigging system and Yamaha Y-COP theft prevention system.

During test drives at Yamaha's on the water facility I experienced The F200's nearly silent gear engagement thanks to a Shift Dampener System, or what Yamaha Marine affectionately refers to as SDS. In short, there is no clunk when going into gear. Similarly, in the interests quietude, the powerhead spins twin counterbalance shafts for vibration-free, quiet running.

Got alot of electronics on board? No problem. The Yamaha F200 I-4 is equipped with a 50-amp alternator, a 13-percent increase over the existing F200 V6. Also during on the water testing I came to appreciate Yamaha's Variable Trolling RPM Switch that let me dial in precise trolling rpm in 50-rpm increments. Finally, the Yamaha Marine Group, based in Kennesaw, Georgia, and boasts more than 2,000 U.S. dealers.