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Author Topic:   Opinions on 115 FICHT
hardensheetmetal posted 11-07-2001 10:31 PM ET (US)   Profile for hardensheetmetal   Send Email to hardensheetmetal  
(stop laughing!)
I am looking at a boat with a 99 model year Evinrude 115 Ficht motor. I was wondering if anyone had any general or specific opinions about these motors. I know there were several 'fix kits' put out by the manufacturer, but I don't know what to look for specifically. I have searched around a couple other forums and found some of the more common problems (leaking oil, carbon burn), but I would like to have it all in a nut shell if anyone could do that. The boat is at a dealer, thats really the only reason I would consider buying it.I had never realy considered these motors, so I would also like to know how the compare to 4 strokes in terms of noise, fuel/oil consumption, and maintenance

Thanks for the input,
Dan Harden

jimh posted 11-07-2001 11:18 PM ET (US)     Profile for jimh  Send Email to jimh     
Buying a used Ficht is a risk. Perhaps not so much a risk in how it is going to work for you, but maybe more of a risk financially (when you want to sell it or trade it in). They don't have a great reputation at the moment, and they might be hard to sell in the future.

Not every Ficht made was a dog, just too high a percentage of them to [make it impossible to] continue trying to sell them.

But Bombardier had enough faith to invest $70-million to buy them, and plans to keep making them.

People who have Ficht engines that run well are very impressed with them. It's just that about 20% of them did _not_ run well. That's the risk. [I was thinking about editing this to change the percentage to something more like 80% ;-) --jimh]

jbtaz posted 11-08-2001 08:12 AM ET (US)     Profile for jbtaz  Send Email to jbtaz     
Stay away from that engine. My brother had one and had nothing but troubles with it. He got rid of it.
bigz posted 11-08-2001 08:44 AM ET (US)     Profile for bigz    
Dan, JimH painted a pretty fair picture of the '99 Ficht situation --- that said I would stay away from anything in Ficht previous to the 2000 year models ----

It's to bad I have to say stay away, since they are economically fuel and oil proficient and very quite --- Tom

PS on a '99 Marintine Skiff heh heh ---

blackdog posted 11-08-2001 09:28 AM ET (US)     Profile for blackdog  Send Email to blackdog     
From what I have been able to get my hands on reading wise 98 and 99 were the worst years for the engines.
Try going over to this site and ask Rowdy the question on the Evinrude Forum.


Bigshot posted 11-08-2001 11:06 AM ET (US)     Profile for Bigshot  Send Email to Bigshot     
I agree with everyone above except this is a 115. Most problems were in the 200-225's like the opti's. Can you get a service history? Is their reputation & risk factored in the price?
lhg posted 11-08-2001 11:24 AM ET (US)     Profile for lhg    
From what I have heard, any 98 or 99 Ficht is just about worthless, and nobody will take them on a trade-in. Try going to some other dealer, pretending you actually own this rig and want to trade it in on one of theirs, and see what they tell you. We all know what Juris found out when he attempted to trade in his Opti's.

Contrary to what JimH said, I have heard that almost every single 98 & 99 Ficht was bad, as were many of the 2000's, no matter what the HP, and needed upgrades or replacement. These are the years that killed the Company.

Supposedly by the time they got the 2001's ready, they were better, but the warranty claims, and bad press, on the earlier models had already killed the Company by this time.

I would not buy any Ficht until Bombardier has had them on the market and operating for about 2 years. It takes that long to find out if a product is in trouble, or a really great engine. I would now say the same about the 200/225 HP Optimax's, and the Yamaha HPDI's. I'm also already starting to hear that the big Yamaha 225 four stroke has a power curve that many don't like compared with the 2 stroke EFI's they were used to.

jbtaz posted 11-08-2001 11:49 AM ET (US)     Profile for jbtaz  Send Email to jbtaz     
I agree..I would stay away from all Fichts. I wouldn't even consider a new one until Bombardier has them out in production for a few years. First, no one knows for sure that they can "revive" them successfully in consumer minds, and secondly they have to prove to be mechanically sound.
hardensheetmetal posted 11-08-2001 12:39 PM ET (US)     Profile for hardensheetmetal  Send Email to hardensheetmetal     
Thanks for the input, its basically what I exprcted to hear. I spoke to a dealer this morning (RI's largest OMC dealer) and he says he will not sell another one of these motors unless someone begged for it.


bigz posted 11-08-2001 01:05 PM ET (US)     Profile for bigz    
To try and place the Ficht problems back in perspective after Lhg "explained" HIS opinion ---

Dan the only reason I said to stay away was because there is no warranty available!
I am very familar with Ficht and aside from general maintenace and service (usual problems) like a standard 2 stroke one can handle --- the kicker anything to do with the injection system, system warnings and EMM your dealer will have to handle --- and that as I am sure your aware of doesn't come cheap ---

That said the '99 engines under 150hp are pretty solid citizens -- as BS mentioned it was the 200 and 225 which had real problems back in '99 when introduced --- might add '97 was the first year of introduction up to 175hp if I remember correctly of the Fichts, so "OMC" had two years to sort out the headaches with these engines --- chances are the 115 your looking at will be fine ---

I have posted these links before but if you haven't taken a look see might be helpful ---

and here is an article which gives you the factual low down on the OMC Ficht situation

bigz posted 11-08-2001 01:17 PM ET (US)     Profile for bigz    
Dan, your dealer is a fool and I would tell that to him face to face ---

Amazing why is it some dealers, which did have problems, were/are able to handle Fichts and sell a lot of them and others just wash their hands --- I have a good clue --- the dealer who would make a statement like yours did is generally high volume doesn't want the problems just the sales --- and that isn't related to just the Ficht but to all his product lines --- a type of dealer I would avoid -- because his after sale service on warranty would stink --- I know I am generalizing , I still think I'd be right more than wrong ---- Tom

lhg posted 11-08-2001 01:49 PM ET (US)     Profile for lhg    
Tom - I think you're being too hard on me!
Note that I said I wouldn't buy a Ficht or a big OPTIMAX until recent problems are proven, over a few years time, to be fixed.

I think the cost of these engines is just too much to be a "test pilot" for one of these companies, especially considering the low national regard for marine service these days (per JD Power survey). Even if they stand behind the problems, my on the water boating recreation is just too valuable to have what happened to Juris & others with Ficht problems. Getting any outboard repaired these days is just plain a hassle and a lot of wasted time. I'll wait until it's proven the "bugs" are out of these DFI's.

gf posted 11-08-2001 01:50 PM ET (US)     Profile for gf  Send Email to gf     


I assume you are looking at that older Outrage 18 in NY with the 115 FICHT?

Most of the comments already made apply only to the '97-'99 150 & 175 FICHT engines.

The 115 FICHT is a perfectly good engine. These V4 motors never had the fouling problems of the '97-'99 150 & 175 V6 engines, or the fuel rail problems of the '99 & '00 200 & 225 engines.

There have been minor updates to the V4s over these years but these engines have proven to be quite reliable.

I assume the dealer in RI is Ocean House Marina and I can't believe they would actually say that. Talk to Charlie at Atlantic Outboard in Westbrook, CT or Tom at Boat Works in South Windsor, CT. These dealers have hundreds of satisfied FICHT engine customers.

As far as a warranty goes, no 1999 outboard is still ging to have an original warranty left (OK, maybe a Suzuki with the 3+3) so don't let those comments sway you.

bigz posted 11-08-2001 02:53 PM ET (US)     Profile for bigz    
Ok Larry sorry, sometimes you do get extrapolating using a very small sample base :}

Gf -- I wasn't aware the 150 had the fouling only the early 175's. The rail and injector head problems were readily taken care of on the '99-'00 with this last upgrade kit -- actually to a great degree with the first upgrade kit a year ago this past summer -- though that one still had some failures I understand ---

Gf is right on the warranty --- but that's not the point now is it --- the Ficht 115 will probably be fine as gf points out but if it isn't then you have the weight the price your paying and the potential cost to have items fixed at dealer rates and list price for parts --- those usual problems of all outboards which crop up now and then have to expected --- the headache is the problems you need the dealer to handle and that would probably be the same for the Optimax and Yamaha HDFI as well as a Ficht ---

Gf makes a good point (if the rig is right for you and the price falls in fair) --- don't let the Ficht throw off the deal -----

hardensheetmetal posted 11-08-2001 06:31 PM ET (US)     Profile for hardensheetmetal  Send Email to hardensheetmetal     
Tom, thanks for the links, very informative.

GF - the dealer in RI is oceanhouse, and I don't mean to bad mouth him, he has been very helpful to me, cooincidentally, the boat is at Atlantic OB.

An extended warrantee for this motor will run $700.00 for two years, with a $25.00 deductable. This covers major component which I need to have clarified a little more, but very worth it in my opinion.

I am getting a little tired of dealers not admitting up front that a product may not be perfect I realize this is their job). I have asked dealers, about the FICHT motors and also a few Mercury dealers about Optimax, and they tend to just plow past any possible negatives, it makes it hard to trust them. I would rather hear " yes we have seen XYZ problems, and this is what we have done to correct them" wrather than the typical " Oh no, we havn't had any problems with these motors, where did you hear that? Answer: Um, have you heard of the internet, do you read boat magazines?

Anyway, I do have anoither question, I have noticed that the 2000 and newer fichts are all refered to as 'RAM' FICHT, I have not seen this designation on the 98 and 99 models, is this just marketing, or is there actually some added value?

Thanks for the great info, I am actually learning something


jimh posted 11-09-2001 12:22 AM ET (US)     Profile for jimh  Send Email to jimh     
The article that bigz mentions, is interesting.

Their analysis has some perspective to it, written from 12,000 miles away in Australia. And the artcile points out that part of the problem was not in the design but in the lousy manufacturing, poor quality control, and awful management of the company.

I've really only encountered one Ficht on the water, myself, and that guy was all-praise for his Ficht, which he used in commercial service in a dive-support boat.

But there certainly is a cloud over them, and as I said initially, by buying one you must take on some risk.


gf posted 11-09-2001 10:51 AM ET (US)     Profile for gf  Send Email to gf     

Is that an Outrage 18 at Atlantic Outboard? What year? If you don't buy it maybe I will!

The Outrage 18 I was thinking of is in New Jersey, not New York:

"RAM" is just a marketing designation for the newer FICHT engines. However, the newer models do have improvements made to them that go above and beyond what the OMC (now Bombardier) upgrade kits can do for the '99 and earlier engines.

If you are buying through Atlantic I think you can be pretty confident in the transaction.

bigz posted 11-09-2001 10:54 AM ET (US)     Profile for bigz    
The Ficht Ram Injection is in part advertising/marketing to differentiate the older models and the 2000/2001 units.

What that means is the 2000/2001 have had some upgrades --- some of these had already been done in '99 -- in reality these were done with the 150,175,200,225 and the 250 motors, the lower hp units have not significantly changed --- only the decals on the cowls --

Dan, the insurance 2 warranty is a good deal if it covers the areas I previously mentioned -- an EMM alone if blown will cost you more than a grand! ---

Priced out extended warranty for our 225's, they will be out of the Bombardier warranty this March, --- $1200 each for 3 year extension --- We did have the EMM go on the starboard engine and if not under warranty I'd still be crying! Must say Bombardier was quick with a relacement --- sent the defunct one FedX overnight -- they transfer the data into a new one so you don't loose the history --- received the new one 4 days later and installed and timing reset the following day. Tom

lhg posted 11-09-2001 02:42 PM ET (US)     Profile for lhg    
Tom - I bought aftermarket 4 year extended warrantees on my 1997 Merc 200EFI's for a total of $2500. They expire next June, and so far the minor repairs that have been done during the last 3 1/2 years covered have only totaled about $900. (most of it power trim components). I'm not sure I'd do it again, at least on EFI's. Admittedly, they are a very trouble free engine line.
bigz posted 11-09-2001 03:18 PM ET (US)     Profile for bigz    
Larry, we don't know whether we should or shouldn't purchase one -- Pinnacle(sp) is the underwriter and frankly our marina guys say they are a real bitch on claims.

Chances are these two 225's will be trouble free of major problems at this junction --- all upgrades have been performed and we have 40 plus hours on them (total hours is 135) since we got them -- the kicker was these when sold new came with an "OMC" extended 2 year warranty as part of a promo --- Bombardier (guess rightly so) threw all extended "OMC" promo warranties out -- if it had been a dealers sold underwriter's policy then would have still been good ---

If I was purchasing the 115 Ficht --- hell if I was purchasing any '99, for $700 I would take the policy if it as I mentioned covered the crucial major areas --- just need one major item to go boom and you've paid for it --- Tom

hardensheetmetal posted 11-09-2001 03:33 PM ET (US)     Profile for hardensheetmetal  Send Email to hardensheetmetal     

In the past, I have not been real big on extended warrantees, especially when it came to electronics and such, but I agree, for $350.00 per year (2yrs coverage) on a motor that is known to be a possible source of problems, It's a no brainer.


cnemier1 posted 07-08-2007 11:12 PM ET (US)     Profile for cnemier1  Send Email to cnemier1     
Having run a 2000 115 evinrude ficht for almost seven years with great success I would not hesitate to acquire another one. I am not saying that I have had no problems. After seven years I have developed a problem with the throttle sensing mechenisum. The part is on order and hopefully after I install it the motor will run a few more years as nicly as it has to this point. I have this motor mounted on a 1999 25 foot crest pontoon boat and it is a great combination.
Jefecinco posted 07-09-2007 10:34 AM ET (US)     Profile for Jefecinco  Send Email to Jefecinco     
To borrow a word from Tom W. Clark, we have a few "knuckleheads" responding, none of whome seem to have no first hand experience with the engine in question. Those with first hand information all know that the 115 HP FICHTs are all but bullet proof.

I have a 1999 model year 115 HP FICHT on a Dauntless 16 which I have had since 1999. It has had one recall. Such a big deal, the computor was remapped.

Here is a list of the problems I've had with the engine:

Here is a list of the maintenance work done on the engine since new: Lower unit oil changes. Lubrication of fittings and owner luberication points. Pressure testing. Computor checks for any recorded faults of which there were none.

If I was in need of a repower I would do it with a FICHT if that engine was available in new condition. As it is not I would do it with an E-Tec.

BTW, the 115 HP E-Tec is essentially an updated FICHT using evolving technology.

As to long term value of the 115 FICHT, I agree that it is not popular on the resale market. Few eight year old engines are. The good part of that picture is that it gives a buyer some extra bargaining leverage to steal a great little engine.

Of course, YMMV.


No offense intended toward the "knuckleheads" responding. We are all entitled to an opinion and to express it despite having nothing to add other than "once upon a time I heard".

Jefecinco posted 07-09-2007 10:43 AM ET (US)     Profile for Jefecinco  Send Email to Jefecinco     
Now that I've spouted off I notice the thread is from 2001 when there was little reliability history or experience available on the 115 HP FICHT.

I apologize to the "knuckleheads" for my over reaction.


Sal DiMercurio posted 07-09-2007 12:47 PM ET (US)     Profile for Sal DiMercurio  Send Email to Sal DiMercurio     
I'm responding to a 6 year old post.
The problem engines were "NOT" the 200s & 225s.
The big 90 degree engines such as the 200s & 225s had a recall to put bigger bolts to hold the injectors in, because the smaller bolts allowed a fuel leak, & put an insulated sleeve over the spark plug wires.
No major power head problems on the 90 degree 200s & 225s.
The problem engines were the 60 degree 150 & 175 hp engines, [ same engine, different codes in the emm ].
The 115s were not the problem engines either.

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