Concern Over Low Engine Hours

A conversation among Whalers
Bc55
Posts: 10
Joined: Wed Jan 23, 2019 5:29 pm

Concern Over Low Engine Hours

Postby Bc55 » Thu Jan 24, 2019 10:01 am

Hello all. I recently purchased a 2010 Montauk 150 with a Mercury 60 FOURSTROKE. The boat overall is in mint condition. It was a freshwater lake boat, there was never any bottom paint, and it was always garage kept. The owner had regular receipts of annual oil changes.

I had the 60 FOURSTROKE engine winterized and the water pump changed because it was never done. I asked the marina if they could hook it up to the [proprietary Mercury terminal] and check the engine hours. It turns out the engine has 130-hours after 10 years. It was a older couple that owned it and just putted around a lake. I had the boat for six weeks, and ran it hard--and it runs great.

I read all these articles about never buying engines with low, low, hours. Should I be concerned?

Is there any maintenance I should do?

Thanks.

jimh
Posts: 6634
Joined: Fri Oct 09, 2015 12:25 pm
Location: Michigan, Lower Peninsula
Contact:

Re: Concern Over Low Engine Hours

Postby jimh » Thu Jan 24, 2019 10:26 am

Bc55 wrote:Is there any maintenance I should do?

Eight or nine years on the water pump is probably a bit too long, particularly for a Mercury engine, as I believe Mercury recommends water pump service at much more frequent intervals. I wouldn't stretch the water pump service interval too far past the factory recommendation.

Typically modern engines have an in-line fuel filter under the cowling. Certainly after eight or nine years that filter is due for a change.

As for other maintenance to perform, I suggest you read the Mercury owner's manual. The owner's manual will usually have clear instructions about what service is required at what intervals. This guidance will be the most appropriate advice you can get.

jimh
Posts: 6634
Joined: Fri Oct 09, 2015 12:25 pm
Location: Michigan, Lower Peninsula
Contact:

Re: Concern Over Low Engine Hours

Postby jimh » Thu Jan 24, 2019 10:31 am

Bc55 wrote:I read all these articles about never buying engines with low, low, hours. Should I be concerned?


I think you are past the stage of being concerned--you already bought the engine. I would not have any anguish about the low-hour running time on the engine based on something you read. From your own account the engine is running fine. If you have questions about how engines with low running hours should be avoided, return to the locations where you read those articles and contact the authors of those articles for more advice and explanation.

Bc55
Posts: 10
Joined: Wed Jan 23, 2019 5:29 pm

Re: Concern Over Low Engine Hours

Postby Bc55 » Thu Jan 24, 2019 10:35 am

I have purchased a new fuel filter (small filter inside cowling) that I plan on changing after the first run or two in the Spring, once I clear out all the fuel stabilizer and fuel that sat all winter in lines.

I did have the water pump and impeller changed. The mechanic said there was a seal that was dry rotted and allowing some water to leak by.

Lower unit oil was changed and the prop hub was changed; it had play in it.

The previous owner has receipts that the plugs were changed a year ago.

Thanks.

User avatar
Todd
Posts: 70
Joined: Wed Apr 05, 2017 8:56 am

Re: Concern Over Low Engine Hours

Postby Todd » Thu Jan 24, 2019 11:43 am

I had a similar experience buying an older boat with low hours. I purchased a 2003 160 Dauntless with 75 hours on the Mercury 115 four-stroke-power-cycle engine with an hour meter. The owner planned to use it as a dinghy for his 100-foot yacht but never followed through with the winching system so it sat in storage most of its life. It was a saltwater boat so there were a few problems, such as the water pressure gauge tubing drying out and cracking, that we had to address. I had a Mercury dealer go through the engine. They recommended a complete tune-up and replacing the water pump and all filters. It was a bit expensive the first year but I am a play-it-safe boater and wanted to be sure it was in great condition. The Mercury dealer did give me one piece of advice that will likely pay dividends in the future: only use non-ethanol gas with the older engine. Congratulations on a great find.

Todd

jimh
Posts: 6634
Joined: Fri Oct 09, 2015 12:25 pm
Location: Michigan, Lower Peninsula
Contact:

Re: Concern Over Low Engine Hours

Postby jimh » Thu Jan 24, 2019 3:01 pm

Any outboard engine made in c.2010 will be fine running on fuel of ethanol-gasoline blending at a 1:9 ratio. If you can easily find gasoline without ethanol, that is a reasonable choice, as long as that gasoline is fresh and from a source that has uncontaminated fuel. I'd rather get fresh, pure highway gasoline with 10-percent ethanol than no-ethanol-gasoline from a bad tank at a marina that is contaminated with water and other debris. Gasoline-ethanol blended fuel has been very common since the 1990's. And it does not seem to be going away. If you can avoid it, that's fine, but I would not obsess about using it if there is no alternative.

Bc55
Posts: 10
Joined: Wed Jan 23, 2019 5:29 pm

Re: Concern Over Low Engine Hours

Postby Bc55 » Thu Jan 24, 2019 3:09 pm

I do not access to non-ethanol fuel. I do run star-tron fuel stabilizer in my tanks.

User avatar
Todd
Posts: 70
Joined: Wed Apr 05, 2017 8:56 am

Re: Concern Over Low Engine Hours

Postby Todd » Thu Jan 24, 2019 4:23 pm

I imagine the fuel treatment does the trick but if you're interested, here's a site that lists non ethanol gas outlets in the US. https://www.pure-gas.org/extensions/map.html

Tesoro
Posts: 10
Joined: Sat Jan 05, 2019 8:44 am

Re: Concern Over Low Engine Hours

Postby Tesoro » Sat Jan 26, 2019 8:34 am

I have had some experience with low hours old engines but just with 2 strokes. Main concern was blown head gaskets. I also had one blown base gasket. But there is no way to really tell condition. Older couple put putting around a few weekends a year probably didnt even break in the engine well. You did what I would have done which is to run it hard and hot! Looks like it passed the test. Now change the fluids one more time, torque the heads and check torque on all rest of the bolts. Then good to go!

jimh
Posts: 6634
Joined: Fri Oct 09, 2015 12:25 pm
Location: Michigan, Lower Peninsula
Contact:

Re: Concern Over Low Engine Hours

Postby jimh » Sat Jan 26, 2019 11:04 am

I don’t recommend using advice based on older two-stroke-power-cycle engine experience as the basis for what should be done to a modern Mercury FOURSTROKE engine. Check the Mercury owner’s manual for advice. Since the engine is reported to run well, I wouldn’t start looking for problems that aren’t there. If routine maintenance is necessary to re-set the torque on cylinder head bolts, then Mercury will specify that task in the maintenance schedule for the engine, and also give detailed instructions on how to perform the task. There is no point in adjusting the torque on a fastener if you do not know the manufacturer's recommended torque and the specific procedure for performing the readjustment of the fastener torque.

User avatar
Dutchman
Posts: 641
Joined: Wed Oct 14, 2015 7:48 am
Location: Kalamazoo, MI (South Haven)
Contact:

Re: Concern Over Low Engine Hours

Postby Dutchman » Tue Jan 29, 2019 10:22 am

Bc55 wrote:I read all these articles about never buying engines with low, low, hours. Should I be concerned?


I never heard about low hours being bad. [Engine condition] is all about maintenance, and you said there was a good record.

When I bought my Montauk 150 its engine also had low hours, which I discovered during a dealer motor check before final payment. I thought it was a good point for buying the boat as it had only ran three-percent of the operating time at WOT, 10-percent at 75-percent throttle, 50-percent at half throttle, and 37-percent at idle. The reasons [for the engine running time at various throttle settings] were the older owners didn't use the boat as they originally intended, they didn't have the time to use it, and the short season here in Michigan [didn't permit much use].

The boat was three-Michigan-seasons old and had less than 40-hours on [the engine].

Hundreds of hours later I have a great running engine that had warranty replacements of the coils by dealer: one with original owner and three with me.

I replaced fuel filter and oils. There were problems with a fuel hose due to ethanol-gasoline fuel, but overall this 60-HP ELPT has been a great Mercury outboard that always starts on the first try.

I rather buy a 2000 model car with 30,000 miles than a 2017 with 80,000 miles.
EJO
"Clumsy Cleat"look up what it means
50th edition 2008 Montauk 150, w/60HP Mercury Bigfoot

Rascal
Posts: 18
Joined: Thu Oct 29, 2015 10:07 pm

Re: Concern Over Low Engine Hours

Postby Rascal » Tue Feb 05, 2019 9:07 am

As others have mentioned, catch up on any items in the Mercury maintenance list that haven’t already been done. Impellers dry out and can send rubber pieces into the cooling system so good you took care of that. My preference is to use a Mercury dealer for that first big catch up service. Other than that, if [the Mercury 60 FOURSTROKE is] running fine and reaches peak RPM at wide open throttle, then that’s a great sign; I wouldn’t have any concerns.

Enjoy your 150 Montauk, it’s a great boat.
Rascal (Scott)
2015 170 Montauk

zigzag930
Posts: 58
Joined: Thu Nov 08, 2018 2:04 pm

Re: Concern Over Low Engine Hours

Postby zigzag930 » Tue Feb 05, 2019 10:44 am

For other looking at engines with low hours. Here's something to consider.

Regular use of any motor, gasoline or diesel is better than long periods of no use. No use allows seals to dry out. AC compressors, engine seals, etc all like to be kept wet.

I just purchased a 2007 Verado 200 with 105 hours on it. Before accepting the engine it was closely inspected and guess what? The lower engine seal was bad and leaking oil. This was an expensive repair for the seller as the powerhead had to be pulled off to change what amounts to $20 in parts. Several thousand dollars later, the motor is running perfectly - but this is one example of why regular use is important.

Granted low hours means very little wear and tear on the components but seals can be a different concern.

Just my experience (over many years), others may disagree ....

Jefecinco
Posts: 967
Joined: Fri Oct 09, 2015 6:35 pm
Location: Gulf Shores, AL

Re: Concern Over Low Engine Hours

Postby Jefecinco » Wed Feb 06, 2019 9:02 am

Modern engine seals are not prone to cracking due to long periods without "exercise". Otherwise shelf life would be limited and we would have "use by or before dates" on the boxes. I spent most of a 35 year career in the engine powered generator business. We stored turbocharged, supercharged engines for several years with no damage to the seals.

I do not believe seldom used or stored engines suffer any significant damage. Fogging is often recommend for engines placed in long term storage.

Vintage engines with rubber seals may be prone to storage damage but rubber has not been used for engine seals for many years.
Butch