OC, I did not know that about the carbs on that kicker, good info. I hope the merc serves you well, sounds like a great deal.
Eddie, I'm not entirely familiar with the E-tec cylinder/valve cycle but I do think it's classified as a 2 stroke albeit a smart one. The Ficht had problems but I do think they were isolated to 1 year in the higher HP engines. The fact that they caught fire is of course tough to live down, rightfully so.
FWIW - I've heard from someone taking the marine engine tech course that there is a good chance we'll see next generation 2 strokes bump out the current 4 strokes in not so many years. Technology vs. Marketing still has to play out so I'll take a wait and see approach. Luckily I'm not in the position to ponder a purchase. I just hope my current motor turns over if I ever get the cover off.