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  1998 150 Johnson Ficht, Good to buy?

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Author Topic:   1998 150 Johnson Ficht, Good to buy?
witness posted 04-12-2001 01:38 PM ET (US)   Profile for witness   Send Email to witness  
Ok, I know that there are a lot of people out there that strongly dislike the 1998-1999 Johnson Ficht technology (or at least people who have seen trouble with its application). But I am considering buying a boat with twin 150 Johnsons 1998(with Ficht). The owner has had it "upgraded" each time johnson came out with something new. He said computer as well as "hardware" upgrades to stop the spark plugs from blacking out. I would be getting a survey of the engines, from the guy who did the upgrades. He is selling because he bought a larger whaler (has had 5). I had hoped to never get into this whole discussion, but I love the boat! So, any insight would be great! Also, I would consider selling them as soon as I bought the boat, if I could, is there a good market for these guys?
Thanks,
LarrySherman posted 04-12-2001 01:48 PM ET (US)     Profile for LarrySherman  Send Email to LarrySherman     
I might buy them from you if you can get the guy down far enough. I can't afford to repower with new engines, this might be a good option for me. What model/year whaler are you buying?
Peter posted 04-12-2001 01:53 PM ET (US)     Profile for Peter  Send Email to Peter     
Personally, I would heavily discount the value of the Ficht 150s. Given the current reputation of the Ficht technology it's unlikely that they are worth very much on resale as loose motors. For new motor replacement with Merc or Yami fuel injection, you're probably looking at close to and maybe more than $20k with rigging. Given your stated interest, before you buy you might also want to check to see if loose 150hp CR motors are available as it has been suggested that there is a scarcity of loose motors this year due to the OMC collapse and the boat/motor packaging preferences. I have also heard that Bombardier will not be making motors for model year 2001 so the scarce supply, if true, might extend into 2002.
lhg posted 04-12-2001 03:41 PM ET (US)     Profile for lhg    
Sounds like you're looking at a 25 Outrage in NC. Boat looks beautiful - but the engines??? No way.

I'm going to be harsher than most, but I would say the motors are all but worthless.
If you must have this boat, take Peter's advice, and DEEP DEEP discount the engines. I doubt if you'll be able to sell or trade them. But find out for yourself first. Go to your local Merc or Yamaha etc dealers, and find out what they'll give you in trade. Let the marine marketplace in your area be your guide. You'll be shocked. My Merc/Yamaha dealer told me he's had five people come to him looking to trade a 98 or 99 Ficht for a Merc/Yamaha. Told them to go away! The information he has is that they're basically worthless, and says drive them til they drop, (which they will) then give them away. Bombardier wants nothing to do with them either, and will not stand behind them, except for the CG shoving it down their throat on the '99 200's. Bombardier is saying don't blame us for these engines - we didn't make them. And the Company that did is history. So where would you turn for help? Not a great investment in my opinion.

Everything I seen or heard is the 98 & 99 Fichts were terrible, the worst product OMC ever put out. By OMC's own admission, almost everyone sold failed from carbon build-up in the heads, and had to be replaced, often more than once. These are the engines that Bankrupted the Company. I think the 2000/2001's are OK in that HP range, with current problems only on the 200/225's. Owners/Brokers/Dealers with these things are so desperate to get rid of them on an unsuspecting buyer, that you may not be able to get the straight story. Use your own, trusted sources. Go to RBBI.com and read the archived E-mails.

My guess is that the ones you are looking at have already been replaced. Pay for that boat what the boat and trailer is worth to you, plus what a trusted dealer tells you he'd give you on trade in's. My guess is that boat, powered with new engines, will cost about $55000 as presently listed.

Keep us posted on what you find out about the engines. Many here would be interested.

bigz posted 04-12-2001 04:20 PM ET (US)     Profile for bigz    
Mike,

The situation on the early Ficht engines is not very encouraging --- it basically is a crap shoot --- as my guys said some that have hundreds of hours are still running strong with nothing more done than the upgrades as needed but that is a minority many had to be replaced early on --- I would pretty much discount the motors out of the pricing -- you may get many years then again ----???

Larry forgets that these engines are all repeat all out of warranty so no reason for Bombardier to warrant them --- however if owners purchased outside extended warranties these insurance companies are still standing behind them is my understanding.

The Coast Guard got involved at Bombardier's request when it was found that OMC had issued a service bulletin in November on these injector upgrades which frankly was somewhat misleading since dealers thought it was the same kit they installed last summer on some '99 and 2000 engines consequently very few were up graded to this new one and of course OMC shut down soon after in Dec. ---

Bombardier went to the CG to make sure consumers/marine industry were directly warned that the situation with the injector/s working loose and leaking was serious --- (in retrospect excellent move by Bombardier since they are serious about keeping the E&J outboards including Ficht on the market) they in the mean time had their handful getting out the necessary information to the dealer and service net work --- this has been pretty much accomplished ---

Oh what year is the 25 OR? Good luck --- Tom

bigz posted 04-12-2001 04:23 PM ET (US)     Profile for bigz    
Oh by the way the thought is they will be in production with 2002 in July --- also just they received the formality re-certification on the current engines and will start shipping the inventories they do have in stock to dealers this month ---
lhg posted 04-12-2001 05:09 PM ET (US)     Profile for lhg    
Tom - Thanks for the additional input on the Ficht problem. I know you have knowledge on these that most of us do not. Sounds like you would agree on the 98 & 99's.

My comment regarding Bombardier is not that they had any obligation to warrantee the 98's or 99's (which are obviously expired), but that they may not even be supporting the replacement part situation on such a troubled design. It may not be worth trying to keep them running. They may be better to let them die a slow death, and not continue to hurt the reputation of the name they have just purchased. I'm sure they're trying to figure out how to handle the bad PR from the 98 & 99 Ficht situation. There are a lot of unhappy, and internet vocal owners of those year's engines, who rightfully so, think they've been had by OMC.

dreid posted 04-12-2001 05:18 PM ET (US)     Profile for dreid  Send Email to dreid     
One more report on the Fichts. I purchased a standard carbed 2000-model OceanPro 150 in October 1999. Like the other OMC's I've owned, its a great piece of machinery, and I'm extremely happy with it. The dealer in New Orleans that sold it to me is reputed to be the largest OMC dealer in the southern U.S. He said at the time to stay FAR away from the Ficht engines, including the so-called vastly improved 2000 models. He'd seen a ton of them come back for warranty work, often with very few hours on them. Good luck trying to convince a seller that's had few problems on his 1998 engines though, if one actually exists out there.
Peter posted 04-12-2001 05:58 PM ET (US)     Profile for Peter  Send Email to Peter     
Generally, now that the boating season in the northern half of the country is just coming upon us, I think that it is worth repeating here in this thread that the reported Ficht fire hazard is real. Last summer I saw the charred remains of one of the two Ficht 200s on the back of our town PD's 27 BW Vigilant. It was an absolutely horrifying sight. If you have a Ficht take the CG and Bombardier warnings seriously!

David, if the original 14 year old 150 Johnson ever died on my 18 Outrage, the carbed Ocean Pro 150 looper is the motor I would have repower with, assuming it will still be vmade. I think you made a really good choice and your dealer steered you right. I've heard that its very torquey and, in my view, the time tested simple carb is much better than a complicated electronic fuel injection system when you're way off shore, even if it burns more fuel and is less environmentally friendly.

lhg posted 04-12-2001 09:47 PM ET (US)     Profile for lhg    
Peter - I would like to clarify your "fuel injection" comments from the perspective of brands other than OMC, more specifically Mercury or Yamaha.

Ficht, like Optimax and HPDI, are called DFI (Direct Fuel Injection) engines. Except for OMC's problems, which people were smart to avoid, these have been quite reliable. These are your clean 2 strokes.

But Mercury, and now Yamaha (OX66) also make EFI two strokes, although not clean burning. At least with Mercury, these are some of the most reliable outboards ever built, and superior to the carbureted models. Similar to the way EFI has taken over the auto engine. OMC, mistakenly, never got into this market, and I'm sure lack of experience with EFI hurt them in their DFI (Ficht) adventures. With Merc and Yamaha, only a few smaller V-6 models are even made with carburetors. Everything is EFI or DFI. I think that's why some are wondering if Bombardier is even going to bother cranking up production of the conventional carb V-6 2 strokes.

I also expect EFI or even DFI, to take over the 4 stroke market, with carburetors soon disappearing on the larger ones, maybe 40HP and up. The Merc/Yamaha 4 stroke 115 is ONLY available in EFI. Many think Mercury's new 250HP 4 stroke is going to be a DFI/Optimax system.

Maerd posted 04-12-2001 09:49 PM ET (US)     Profile for Maerd    
Value must be carefully thought out and then make a offer. If he doesn't take it - so be it. Another boat will come along. I know - I know - you want THAT damn boat. LOL Been there with cars.
Diver posted 04-12-2001 10:33 PM ET (US)     Profile for Diver  Send Email to Diver     
I thought that the Evinrude Brand was the only Ficht Motors???
The Johnson's are either carb or Efi not Ficht....
Peter posted 04-12-2001 11:10 PM ET (US)     Profile for Peter  Send Email to Peter     
Larry,

I think you're right about clarifying my comments -- my remarks to David were with respect to the Ficht system since that is the only fuel injection system OMC used on two cycle outboards.

I haven't any significant personal experience with the other brands yet, although I recently acquired a Yamaha with OX66 EFI. I expect it to be reliable but only time will tell.

lhg posted 04-12-2001 11:10 PM ET (US)     Profile for lhg    
Diver - another interesting story in the late history of OMC trying to save itself from disaster.

All of us know that forever, it seems, the Johnson and Evinrude lines were parallel product offerings, everything except the name and color.

Then, in September of 1998 at the Chicago IMTEC (trade only) show, and I remember it well, because I was there, OMC came out with their latest marketing brainstorm. Their exibit was incredible - no engines at all displayed, a real bottom line cost cutter of an exhibit, with Irish dancing girls and other theatrics! The Dealers must have been appalled! The Mercury and other engine manufacturers had full blown product displays. This was the first hint that OMC was in SERIOUS trouble, and it really was a bad image for them. But we all know how well they concealed it, especially from the consumer. But anybody at the show knew they were in trouble and desperate for some new ideas.

Anyway, all the fanfare was about a change in their marketing strategy of the E & J brands. Evinrude was now going to be the performance, High tech clean line, including Ficht, Suzuki four strokes, and the dark blue (how close to black can we get) colors for the freshwater fishing market/pro circuit (completely dominated by Mercury).

Johnson was to be relegated to the low tech, old 2 stroke technology, with the old, classic Johnson logo and silver grey colors.
The saltwater models of both would still be the Ocean Pro white.

I think they were trying to have Evinrude products to compete with Mercury's main line, and the cheaper, low tech Johnson line, to compete with the Force line. Yamaha also did this with their C-series. Then, Mercury suddenly dropped Force, and left OMC with an advertized low tech line, not a good situation to be in. I'm sure the Johnson Dealers were furious, being left out on the new stuff.

So, before this new marketing took effect, in 1999 I think, Johnson Fichts had been produced in 1998, in all sizes!

This was still the marketing strategy as OMC collapsed. It will be interesting to see if Bombardier maintains it, or goes back to the dual, equal branding of prior years.

lhg posted 04-12-2001 11:15 PM ET (US)     Profile for lhg    
Peter, if your new OX66 is anything like my Merc EFI's, you will love it! I hear they're excellent.

You mentioned your 18' Whaler has a Johnson. You must have a second boat!

Diver posted 04-12-2001 11:36 PM ET (US)     Profile for Diver  Send Email to Diver     
The OMC- Johnson Website calls the Johnson Carb models.
I own twin 200 Ficht motors and I have no problems with them.
Yes, they are in right now getting the most recent updates.
The recent information regarding the new owners of the OMC engine lines are standing behind these motors 100%. This affects me like nothing at all happened.
The Owner of the shop I get service is also a Ficht supporter. He is not only the Owner he is the Lead Mechanic. (He does more service than sales by the way) He believes this is a simpler DFI system that works better.
I get a little tired of all the Ficht bashing from people who have had no first experience.
I have always had good service from the former OMC engines, and I will remain a customer as long as they still offer me good service.
Diver posted 04-12-2001 11:40 PM ET (US)     Profile for Diver  Send Email to Diver     
PS. It really was more that just The Ficht problems that caused the problems at the former OMC.
If you really look at the last few management teams closely you might see this.
CDN posted 04-13-2001 12:13 AM ET (US)     Profile for CDN  Send Email to CDN     
lhg is right. In 1998, and 1998 only, OMC made Johnson FICHT motors in parallel to the Evinrudes in at least the 150's. Marketing split between the two lines just as he outlined from 1999-2001.
dreid posted 04-13-2001 08:54 AM ET (US)     Profile for dreid  Send Email to dreid     
Peter, Larry confirms what I recall about the pre-2000 Johnson Fichts. Evinrude became the exclusive bearer of the Ficht name only after several years of Johnson's use of it as well. As I recall, the 2000-model Ficht I was steered away from wore an Evinrude decal. Carbed motors may be "low-tech" compared to other options out there, but we're not talking about going to the moon here, just fishing. As OMC has proven in spades, new technology can take a while to wear in properly, to the dismay of many tech-oriented buyers during the wear-in phase of the product line. My decision reflects maybe an old man's desire to avoid "new and improved" marketing pitches until the few greasy mechanics I know can all tell me, "yeah, that's a pretty good idea, and it WORKS". As to my OceanPro, it is very "torquey", as you say. Runs the 18' faster than I'm usually comfortable at WOT, topping out at about 50mph on the GPS, trimmed high and just me in the boat. Where OMC's updated technology is apparent is how quiet it runs and its fuel economy. Having fished the same waters for years, my routes don't vary a lot. Remarkably, the 150 uses the same amount of fuel on a nomal fishing day as my old 1985 Johnson 90h.p. used pushing around a Montauk. That's enough new and improved high-tech for me! I'll take another look at a fuel-injected outboard, in about 15 years or so.
Peter posted 04-13-2001 02:07 PM ET (US)     Profile for Peter  Send Email to Peter     
Larry,

You don't miss a trick. I picked up a 1986 22 Revenge WT in reasonably good condition late last summer in response to my wife's desire to have a cabin so the kids can nap. Came with the original 1986 Johnson 225. Although the engine seemed fine, having had a friend with the same engine which ultimately blew up (block had a crack in it which was thought to be caused by severe expansion and contraction due to cooling problems -- this apparently was a typical problem for that particular motor), I decided to take the plunge and repower with a Yamaha 225 SS while it was conveniently at a very reputable OMC/Yamaha dealer/marina. Having always been an OMC customer and having had generally very good experiences with OMC, I would have loved to done the repower with an OMC product if they had a 225 which was reliable. However, the dealer advised against OMC. Obviously, it was good advice for several reasons and I'm glad I took the repower plunge last year before the OMC collapse. I bet it would be hard to find new loose power in the big V6 size for it this year.

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