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Author Topic:   New Engine: When to Buy
jimh posted 09-24-2005 12:25 PM ET (US)   Profile for jimh   Send Email to jimh  

Start with $25,000 in the bank and an old engine worth $3,000
which is not very fuel efficient and is of low-technology,
or, in other words, a classic two-stroke outboard motor with

Assume you use your boat 100 hours each year and the old engine
burns 10-gallons of fuel per hour. Thus you use 1,000 gallons of
fuel. (These values have been chosen to reflect my own use;
see below for how this assumption and others affect the analysis.)
Assume fuel is a mixture of oil and gasoline at a 1:50 ratio,
and the costs are

Gasoline = $3/gallon Oil=$12/gallon

Your fuel costs are therefore

980 X $3 = $2,940 + 20 X $12 = $240 = $3,180 / year

If you buy a new engine you will eliminate the oil cost as a
fuel and reduce gasoline consumption by 30-percent (minimum).
You new fuel costs will thus be

2,940 X 0.70 = $2,058, or a savings of $1,122 each year.

We now look ahead five years to see how we make out with
each engine.


Sticking with the old engine, we have five years of fuel
expenses which total $15,900. Our old engine depreciates
in value to $2,000. Over the five years it requires about
$1,500 in minor repairs ($300/year). We end up with
$7,600 in the bank and an engine worth $2,000 that is
five years older than before, that is, a very old engine


We buy a new engine that gets better fuel economy. The engine
costs $10,000 plus the trade in of our old engine. Our fuel
expenses for the new engine are $10,290. All repairs are
covered by warranty so we have no repair expenses during
the five years. At the end of five years we have $4,710
in the bank and a relatively new engine worth about $5,000.


At the end of five years our position with the old engine is
a net asset value of $9,600, while with the new engine our
net asset value is $9,710. It appears we are better off with
the new engine!


During the five years we could have been using our assets
to generate income. Let's compare the two paths with this
in mind and see what our Net Asset Value (NAV) will be

With the old engine our bank account started at $25,000
and ended at $7,600. The balance was declining about $ 4,350
each year. Thus the balances would have been

$25,000 --> $20,650 --> $13,300 --> $11,950 --> $7,600

If we assume a net return after taxes of 5-percent, we should
earn about annual interest on this balance of

$1,250 --> $1,032 --> $665 --> $597 --> $380 = $3,924

Adding this to our bank account gives us a position of
$11,524 in the bank and an old engine worth $2,000, for
a new total NAV of $13,524.

With the new engine our bank balances are quite different.
We spend $10,000 to buy the new engine, then slowly spend
an additional $10,290, or $2,572.50 each year. Our balance
looks like

$15,000 --> $12,437 --> $9,855 --> $7,282 --> $4,710

generating interest of

$750 --> $622 --> $493 --> $364 --> $235 = $2,464

and building our bank account back to a total of
$4,710 = $2,464 = $7,174. Adding the $5,000 depreciated
value of the new engine gives us a new NAV of $12,174.

Again, we compare our NAV with old and new engine:

OLD ENGINE = $13,524
NEW ENGINE = $12,174

With this analysis, the new engine purchase has now cost us
slightly more, an additional $1,350 over five years, or about
$270 per year. Figuring that during this five year period we
ran the boat for 500 hours, this make the cost of the new engine
ownership to be about $2.70 per hour. Considering we were
burning about ten gallons per hour on average, or about $31.80
per hour, the cost of the new engine has only increased our
operating expenses by about eight percent.


New engine may likely function better than the old. This
improvement in performance has some value, and this can be
used to absorb some of the costs.

It is very likely that purchasing the new engine will increase
the enjoyment we experience while boating. It should also
increase the reliability. These are worth something.
The cost of the new engine thus becomes spread over these benefits.

The reduction in use of gasoline is also a general benefit
to the environment. This is another area to spread the cost
of ownership.


In this analysis there are many variables which could effect
the outcome. As the price of fuel rises, the savings in fuel
expenses make the new engine more attractive. If gasoline rises
above $3/gallon the new engine will become a better choice.

The increase in fuel prices will also effect the residual value
of the old engine. At the end of five years the old engine's value
could be much less than the $2,000 residual used. This also
helps make the new engine more attractive.

The amount of fuel used each year is an important variable.
As fuel use increases, the greater fuel economy of the new
engine will become more valuable. Conversely, if you use
less than 1,000 gallons of fuel per year, the improved
fuel economy of the new engine will have less impact

The new engine is covered by a warranty so we are insured against
expenses to repair or replace the engine in the event of failure.
With the old engine we are at risk for repairing the engine. If the
engine has a serious repair problem, it could easily make the cost
of operating the old engine rise to the point where it was more
expensive than having bought a new engine and saved fuel for five
years. Purchasing insurance against these repairs or replacement
would be expensive, and this would further add to the cost advantage
a new engine would have.


I think you can make several reasonable predictions about trends
in the future:

--the price of gasoline will tend to rise

--the price of engines will tend to rise

--the value of your existing engine will tend to fall

Expectation of a general rise in energy cost is almost a universal
assumption, so I do not think it needs much further explanation.

The price of new engines will tend to rise on two basis. First,
there is the general trend for prices to rise due to inflation.
Second, the current marketplace for outboard motors still contains
lower-priced motors of low technology (which tend to get worse
fuel economy). Shortly there will no longer be a market for these
less sophisticated and less expensive motors due to the impact of
regulations. Engine manufactuers have been constrained in raising
the price of their high-technology engines by the very presences
of their old, low-technology new engines with which they must
compete in the marketplace. Engine manufacturers have been explaining
to their investors that they have suffered reduced margins on
their new high-technology engines. No doubt they will try to
correct this as soon as the marketplace allows for some price

The value of your old engine will tend to fall from two factors.
First, there is a decline in value from increased age, although
this is a gradual depreciation. However, this depreciation curve
is not very steep for an engine that is already five years old.
A second factor which will tend to decrease the value of your
existing engine is its operating costs, which are likely to rise
as fuel prices rise. The more the price of fuel rises, the less
residual value your existing engine will have.

Mitigating this trend will be some potential for a rise in value
due to the rise in replacement costs. If new engines cost more,
a good used engine will be pulled upward in value because of the
higher replacement cost.

The collective effect of all of these factors seems to be that
the longer your old engine is used, the more expensive its
replacement becomes. If you wait for five years, you will have
to buy a new engine at a higher price and have less trade-in
value. If your existing engine fails during the five years and
becomes worthless as a trade in, you will have lost any chance
to protect yourself from high fuel costs. The additional money spent
on fuel, as much as $5,000 or more, will be lost.


Finally, if you have the money to buy yourself a new engine,
what are you waiting for? The sun sets on everyone's boating
career at some point. If you wait forever to get the new engine
you may not have time to enjoy it because of unforseen factors.

whalerfran posted 09-24-2005 01:16 PM ET (US)     Profile for whalerfran    
I had reached the same conclusion recently when I replaced a 16-year old 90 hp with a new model on my beautiful, used Montauk. I decided to make the switch when the old engine was still in good shape and had some value. Of course, I must keep the boat for some years to benefit financially because it is not worth what I paid for it plus the cost of the new engine minus the credit for the old one. I considered waiting until the winter-spring to do so, as the manufacturers often provide extended warranties at no extra cost during that time of year. However, the replacement engine is carbureted, and I wondered the manufacturer would 1) still be making the model by then, and 2) even if so, whether an extended warranty would be offered on it. So while I knew the old engine was still attractive to prospective buyers not willing to spend the substantial additional money for a new one, I took the plunge.
Bthom posted 09-24-2005 02:46 PM ET (US)     Profile for Bthom  Send Email to Bthom     
Excellent work on the above formula.
One factor not accounted for yet is the added cash flow contributed by your fishing buddies every time you take them out, to pay for their share of the gas,oil, bait and any other consumables agreed upon beforehand.
In my case that generally drops my own costs to one third
of the total, and conversely, when you invest in new power for your boat it is all on your tab. No one else should or would ever feel compelled to invest in the repowering of another persons boat, no matter how often they fish together.
Roarque posted 09-24-2005 03:42 PM ET (US)     Profile for Roarque  Send Email to Roarque     
jimh, I don't agree with your assumption that the price of outboard engines will rise over the next 5 years. I think they will fall because the BRP 2 stroke ( Evinrude Etec) will take market share from the 4 stroke competition. As people learn about the benefits of the Evinrude 2 stroke alternative, thinking buyers will choose not to follow the herd towards the 4 stroke purchase.

The 4 stroke manufacturers may choose to compete with the Etec with their own 2 stroke suitably re-engineered ( an unlikely alternative) or they may reduce the price of their 4 stroke offering which currently fetches a premium price in the market. Evinrude/BRP cost to build must be substantially less than Yamaha/Honda/Suzuki because of the simplicity of the design. They have the strategic advantage of lowest cost of production and can win a price war easily.

There will be a price war and we need to be ready when it happens. Battle stations, you consumers!! I predict the summer of 2007 will be a good time to buy.

jimh posted 09-24-2005 06:25 PM ET (US)     Profile for jimh  Send Email to jimh     
The cost to manufacture the four-strokes engine may not be as high as you think for manufacturers like Honda and Suzuki who are also automotive engine assemblers. Some of the components may be made in such a large volume that there are economies of scale that help reduce costs.

I think the most expensive engine (to manufacture) must be the Verado, as it is very complex and is made in the smallest volume.

Bombardier could price their engine at the same level as the four-strokes, and then they would enjoy greater profit margin.

Also, seasonally the best time to buy in probably in February when boat show incentives are added to entice buyers.

Prices in 2007 could be a bellwether for what is to come. By then there will be little alternative on the market except new, high-technology engines.

But if you wait until then you will have lost one full season of fuel savings, possible as much as a $1,000 lost opportunity!

ocuyler posted 09-24-2005 07:47 PM ET (US)     Profile for ocuyler  Send Email to ocuyler     

Thanks for that value approach. Forgive my ignorance, but can someone run that formula using borrowed money at 5%?

Yiddil posted 09-24-2005 08:37 PM ET (US)     Profile for Yiddil  Send Email to Yiddil     
That was an ear full but well worth the discussion points............I have a Nantucket "Das Boat" with a miserly 115-2 Merc. on her.....Since Early April I have been out like 45 times...usually for 3-5 hours each time, not running constantly, but running........every two long trips I usually top off the oil tank(seems to like oil this engine)but the gas costs have been Ive only filled up including tomorrow three times !!!!, usually 30-40 gallons of gas....My engine will hit two years old at the end of the season..........So I guess my question is "what am I doing even thinking about a new engine if were talking about economy issues only" I"m plenty happy running up to 34 with this set up, so speed is not an issue...although Im sure I could rev it up to 40's with a verado...whats the big deal??????? Would I be saving that much money on fuel and oil vs. what I have running?????????????? I could see if I was using a 1985 90 Evinrude...but a barly two year old engine that dosn't guzzel gas???? Weres the value to me...I dont see it....

I belive that if you have an old engine and it runs fine and is save the upfront cost on a new engine and swallow hard on the gas....seems to me its all a matter of paying now or paying latter...either pay....Id rather pay later...I used my old 85 Proline with that 90 for 12 years...never died once...and then sold her for what I payed for her:)

jechura posted 09-24-2005 08:47 PM ET (US)     Profile for jechura  Send Email to jechura     

Assuming you were going to repower your boat!

It would seem to me that the 10,000 plus trade is on the low side. You got to add, installation and all the needed goodies for that new engine. I believe we are talking a new 225hp +.

"The Sunset." If the Sun started setting 1 1/2 years after the new motor install, do you think you could recoup lets say 70% of that motor and installation buy in on your boat?

The Sun does set in many different ways. Jimh, I believe in the last 5 years the Sun came down on 2 or 3 of your boats and without repowering. Didn't you say recently "My Dream Boat." Dreams do happen.

I do agree with you if the boat is used 100 + hours a year and your committed to keeping it for 5 years to justify the expense and the old motor is at the end or not worth repairing, buy.

If you do repower, I'll bring the three grand and my truck to relieve you of that old gas hog.


Sal A posted 09-24-2005 09:02 PM ET (US)     Profile for Sal A  Send Email to Sal A     
I did exactly the same calculations over and over again before I repowered. Cough.
where2 posted 09-24-2005 09:30 PM ET (US)     Profile for where2  Send Email to where2     
I have an issue with the repair cost on the new engine factored into the above equations. By most manufacturers recommendations, water pumps should be replaced annually. I suspect this cost is "routine maintenance" and not "Warranty work". I also venture to guess that all scheduled oil changes on a 4-stroke are considered "routine maintenance" and not covered by most manufacturers factory warranty or their extended warranty.

Reading Yamaha's extended warranty information, the warranty specifically excludes repairs "due to normal wear and tear and aging".

Reading Mercury's extended warranty information, the warranty specifically excludes "water pumps and impellers (unless from a manufacturing defect); lubricants and other fluids; filters and screens".

So, I think we need to put the "routine maintenance" items back into the 4-stroke cost of ownership.

So, since Jimh offered up his ownership as our example, what's costing you $300/yr in "minor repairs"? Are those items "routine maintenance" or really "minor repairs"? My 20 year old 70Hp Johnson is not costing me $300/yr in "minor repairs". My father's 1997 200Hp carbureted Yamaha is not running $300/yr in "minor repairs", and it literally has your 100 hours/yr on it. It's 8+ years old and suffers from much of the drawbacks you noted in older 2-stroke technology, and since it sees nothing but salt water it should be considered "rough service".

jimh posted 09-24-2005 10:45 PM ET (US)     Profile for jimh  Send Email to jimh     
Some minor repairs:

--new vacuum switch sensor ($100); labor was $0 as I installed it myself, but figure probably $75 if dealer had done it.

--new voltage regulator ($230); labor about $75. ( I needed it done before the next weekend so had the shop install it.)

--new solenoid ($30); labor was $0 as I installed it myself, but figure probably $75 if dealer had done it.

Those expenses are all within the last 100 hours. Kingfish has the same engine, same year, about same running time, and he replaced a few other components. I think he needed a $200 Power Pack, another voltage regulator, maybe a timer base or stator coil (if I recall). I think you can expect $300/year in these little things that need fixing on an old engine.

I also installed a $330 upgrade kit to improve the alarm system to the System Check gauge level. Good thing I installed that baby myself, as that was many hours of rigging time.

I've owned this engine for two seasons now, and I bet I am at almost a $1,000 in little bills here and there getting it back into tip-top shape.

If you are running a 15-year old outboard and it only need $300/year in parts bolted on to keep it going, you are a happy guy. Just ask those guys who needed a new tilt/trim hydraulic system how happy they are.

And, really, $300 a year is conservative and based on having a really good mechanic who knows what the engine really needs. You take your engine to a mechanic who does not know what the problem really is and you'll spend that $300 every two weeks while he hunts around finding the thing that is actually causing your trouble.

Things like water pump replacement and new lower unit fluid are needed on both old and new engines, so I did not consider them as part of a cost differential. Yeah, I know the E-TEC says once every three years, but plenty of guys run their old engines for three years between water pump impeller changes, too. Those of us who don't perpetually boat in shallow muddy water can go longer between water pump changes. I think jimg went ten years on an impeller with no harm.

I intentionally did not consider cost of oil changes for four-stroke engines because I figure most two-stroke guys will spend that much money on additives to their fuel like Engine Tuner, Fuel System Cleaner, or QuicKleen to keep the engine running better once or twice a year. That washes out the cost of an oil change or two, if you do it yourself.

Jerry is right--you have to be betting that you will keep the boat and the motor for at least five years. Otherwise you just gave your used boat buyer a nice new engine at a huge discount. If I had the itch to change boats, I would not put a new engine on my boat and only run it for a year before selling it. On the other hand, a boat like that is a good buy if you can find one.

RocketMan posted 09-25-2005 08:17 AM ET (US)     Profile for RocketMan  Send Email to RocketMan     
A tiebreaker when considering price might be amount, for some. If gas is rationed or the amount you can purchase is limited in some way, then you have another constraint to contend with. Gas was rationed by the government during WWII. There were limits placed on the amount you could purchase by gas station owners during the AOE in 1974 and again in the gas hoax around 1980. Who knows whats ahead with such factors as China modernizing and world per capita demand increasing. Everybody wants what we have, or had.
TomG posted 09-25-2005 09:37 AM ET (US)     Profile for TomG  Send Email to TomG     
Jimh, this is a great analysis of the financial side of the repowering equation. I think the real hidden value is in the intangibles. In the intangibles column, you have to factor in the improved operating characteristics of new technology motors.

Unlike an older (and most likely carbureted) 2-stroke, a modern fuel-injected motor will start more easily and run more smoothly in any temperature conditions. It won't smoke, sputter, or require endless cranking and bulb-squeezing to start. And remember that lovely 2-stroke oil slick?'s gone forever.

Until you have used one of these motors on a daily basis, you can't believe the difference. You would never put up with something as cranky as a carbureted 2-stroke outboard in your daily driver...why would you choose to do it in your main recreational vehicle?


TRAFFICLAWYER posted 09-25-2005 10:40 AM ET (US)     Profile for TRAFFICLAWYER    
You have WAY too much time on your hands.....
andygere posted 09-26-2005 11:51 AM ET (US)     Profile for andygere  Send Email to andygere     
This topic is turning out to be more timely than I'd like.

After I hear from my Mercury mechanic, I may add a thread that includes analysis for replacing the powerhead vs. replacing the entire outboard.

JOHN W MAYO posted 09-26-2005 12:14 PM ET (US)     Profile for JOHN W MAYO  Send Email to JOHN W MAYO     
Good topic and interesting review of your calculations.
The Judge posted 09-26-2005 12:20 PM ET (US)     Profile for The Judge  Send Email to The Judge     
I think somebody is trying to convince their wife that buying a new engine for their revenge makes financial sense :)
jmarlo posted 09-26-2005 12:37 PM ET (US)     Profile for jmarlo  Send Email to jmarlo     
Excellent analysis. The "wife factor" should not be discounted. In my situation, I had been wanting to repower for quite some time, but it was hard to justify to wife buying a new motor when the old one worked just fine.
One day while harbor cruising, it was particularly calm (no wind to speak of), and my 5 year old got nauseaus from sitting in the stearn seat near the motor. I explained to my wife that it was the 2 stroke fumes that probably caused his nausea.

Then, later, at the ramp, a guy with a brand new Robalo, with a shiny new Yamaha 4 stroke, lanches, fires the motor up with mimimal sound and no exhaust, and cruises away. My wife points out, "what would something like that cost?". That was my key to begin a search a.s.a.p. before she changed her mind. And I got lucky and found, and bought, a "used" 2005 Yamaha 4 stroke that had swapped out for a Verado. So thanks to the Robalo owner, and a guy wanting the latest technology in the Verado, I found my new motor.

LHG posted 09-26-2005 04:00 PM ET (US)     Profile for LHG    
Actually, I think the figure Jim has used are more like my situation with my 21 Outrage and Merc 150HP engine, as in his fuel use example he is assuming 3 MPG. This is what I use on that boat, but I think Jim's own case would maybe be more like 15-17 GPH at 25-30 MPH cruise? I also think the 100 hour annual usage is low for some of us, so these things combined (greater use and lower economy) would amortize a new engine much faster because of much higher fuel costs.

Higher engine hours/year are not relevant under a new engine warranty, as they are based on calendar years, not running hours (something I have never understood, giving a HUGE benefit to the 12 mo/year FL people). But with your old engine, higher running hours/year does matter, as the old girl is more likely to need repairs as a result.

So to me, with revised calculations based on higher use and less mileage, the new engine is slam dunk. I think I'll go out a price a new Verado 175.

PS: I think Jim CAN discount the wife factor. Not long ago Chris said she wanted to see a pair of 150's on that Revenge WD!

whalerajm posted 09-26-2005 04:13 PM ET (US)     Profile for whalerajm  Send Email to whalerajm     
Great financial analysis and justification for new outboard when you need it.

Any chance you could work up a similiar analysis to determine when it would make sense to replace "the old wife" with a newer model? Don't forget to properly value the "intangibles" that may apply to yhe neweer model.

devildog posted 09-26-2005 04:16 PM ET (US)     Profile for devildog  Send Email to devildog     
You guys have way too much time on your hands.
JMARTIN posted 09-26-2005 04:28 PM ET (US)     Profile for JMARTIN  Send Email to JMARTIN     
When I buy something that depreciates rapidly, like an automoble, I buy new or new/used and drive it untill the wheels are falling off. It looks like boat motors fall in the rapidly depreciated department. My plan is to run my 200 hp 1992 untill the prop falls off or something similar.

Now if I was going 20 miles off shore on a regular basis, I would have a different attitude. John

RocketMan posted 09-26-2005 04:30 PM ET (US)     Profile for RocketMan  Send Email to RocketMan     
Good point about "sunset". It caused me to remember a discussion in the forum, back in the Spring I think, where about whether to bite the bullet and upgrade to a bigger boat or hang stay with what was working well for you. If I recall correctly, the answers to hold the line, you'll always want a bigger boat, there's nothing like a Montauk, etc. were mostly generated by those in their 20's-40's. But those in their 50's-60's responded more like what are you waiting for, its now or never, you've always wanted that bigger boat so go get it now before its too late. Think I just started my transition, getting hot flashes for an LOA upgrade.
Sheila posted 09-27-2005 01:20 AM ET (US)     Profile for Sheila  Send Email to Sheila     
Wife factor? Am I doing something wrong?
Bthom posted 09-27-2005 09:45 AM ET (US)     Profile for Bthom  Send Email to Bthom     
I just went through this after one of my 1989 150 HP Mercury outboards self destructed.
These were the options I had, in order of increasing cost.
(all prices canadian dollars)

- $4000 - a rebuilt powerhead from a repair shop,no warranty

- $7000 - a "new" powerhead, no warranty

- $11,500 - a demo 150 Optimax, 2 year warranty

- $14,000 - a new 2006 150 Optimax, 3 year warranty

As you can see it's hard to spot the point of diminished returns, you can always get a little more for an extra few thousand dollars. I knew I wanted to keep the boat, and I didn't want to have to worry about when the other motor was going to do the same thing. I also wanted some kind of warranty for an investment of this magnitude, so it wasn't long before I realized a new pair was the way to go.

If I lived in a place where there were a lot of used outboards for sale I would consider going that route,buying used and run them until they die, but up here that's not an option.


jimh posted 09-27-2005 01:10 PM ET (US)     Profile for jimh  Send Email to jimh     
At the old price of fuel--which according to some notes I keep was just $1.39/gallon when I topped off the tank a couple of winters ago--there was little justification for spending $10,000 on a new engine to replace one that was running well but burned a little more gasoline.

With fuel now generally over $3 a gallon at the shoreside fuel dock, the greater efficiency of a new engine becomes a significant factor in determing the real cost of a new engine versus the real cost of maintaining and using an old engine.

In light of this, the generally accepted lower-cost method of running the old engine until it drops may not produce the lowest cost.

JMARTIN posted 09-27-2005 02:53 PM ET (US)     Profile for JMARTIN  Send Email to JMARTIN     
But the question is: what is the price of fuel going to do over the engine's life span?

People forget what the price of fuel does over time. Being in the fuel business I looked back 10 years and grabbed some high and lows for 87 octane gasoline.

1994 1.149
1996 1.479
1998 1.059
2000 1.709
2002 1.169
2004 1.589
2005 1.859

and September 2005 3.059

as you can see, there hae been some 30% to 65% changes. If we had a 50% change now, we could have 1.529 or 4.589 gasoline. John

17 bodega posted 09-27-2005 03:39 PM ET (US)     Profile for 17 bodega  Send Email to 17 bodega     
I think boats that are used offshore in large bodies of water need to think like airplane mechanics. An airplane engine needs to be rebuilt to a national standard after every X number of hours. Wouldn't it make sense to think of an offshore boat in the same way? I think commercial passenger vessels do have such regulations, and the prudent offshore boater would be smart to follow similar safety guidelines.
andygere posted 09-27-2005 03:42 PM ET (US)     Profile for andygere  Send Email to andygere     
For those doing the math in California, I paid $3.48 per gallon gor 87 octane unleaded at my marina this weekend. That compares with $2.85 at the pump at my local neighborhood "discount" gas station. At lunch today, I stopped by the local Yamaha dealer to check outboard prices. I was quoted $19,200 for a 2005 F225 4-stroke. That is for the loose motor and stainless prop, no controls, gauges or rigging. The estimate for installation labor was $1000, assuming my old motor was removed by me. Contols and gauges are a la carte, prices varying depending on the flavor selected.

This particular dealer did not stock any of the HPDI models, nor was he planning to order any in 2006. He no longer sells any other brand of outboard, and had nothing nice to say about BRP, Honda or Mercury (Verado in particular). Suffice it to say, if end up buying new over rebuild, I'll keep on shopping.

elaelap posted 09-27-2005 03:43 PM ET (US)     Profile for elaelap  Send Email to elaelap     
"It is very likely that purchasing the new engine will increase the enjoyment we experience while boating. It should also increase the reliability..." (jimh)

Plus a five-year warrenty--End of analysis for me.


andygere posted 09-27-2005 04:00 PM ET (US)     Profile for andygere  Send Email to andygere     
I just checked the website for Ed's Marine Superstore, and the same F225 quoted locally for $19,200 is there listed at $12,999!

Tony, how was your Yamaha guy's prices compared to those posted at Ed's?

17 bodega posted 09-27-2005 04:10 PM ET (US)     Profile for 17 bodega  Send Email to 17 bodega     
Andy... I venture to guess he will wheel and deal with you... He was right on the money with the "internet low price" of the Nissan motors. He also deals in Honda, Yammy, and Nissan/Tohatsu. I was rather shocked to learn this as the guy is a cartoon character in person. He sells boats and motors as far as Los Angeles and beyond. He's getting into the "internet deal" thing as anyone who wants to make some coin should.. he was delivering one to So Cal when I had my motor serviced last week.
17 bodega posted 09-27-2005 04:14 PM ET (US)     Profile for 17 bodega  Send Email to 17 bodega
LHG posted 09-27-2005 04:41 PM ET (US)     Profile for LHG    
That Yamaha dealership should be investigated for price gouging, and he didn't even go through a hurricane. Shouldn't Yamahas be cheaper on the West coast than at Ed's on the East coast?

You can get a 275 Verado in FL for about $16K.

Why not haul the boat out of state and pick up a carbureted Merc 200 2-stroke for about $9000? Or an EFI for 10K?

Also check used engine section. There are a lot of engines there, and many are 25" shaft.

I'm sure you can get a great price on a Suzuki 225 4-stroke.
Word is it's a great engine. In FL they are going for $11,900 - $12,500. CA is also closer to Japan than FL

RJG posted 09-27-2005 04:42 PM ET (US)     Profile for RJG  Send Email to RJG     
Last spring my younger brother bought a 2002 24ft. Hydrosport with a blown 200 Johnson. He traded in the Johnson for an Evenrude 250 E-Tec. Tax,tag, delivered out the door was
$16k and change fully rigged. Though I desperately want to know how that E-Tec runs, I can not bring myself to going out with him as I know I will never be content with the perfectly good Yamaha that graces the WD on my 1988 22 Revenge. A cruell delema. With a hardtop he tops out at 46mph plus. Thankfully (mercyfully) he lives in Tampa.
Buckda posted 09-27-2005 05:02 PM ET (US)     Profile for Buckda  Send Email to Buckda     
Andy -

Recently I posted a topic called "How 'Full of it' are Ed's Marine prices?"

The answer came back: Very, unless you're willing to travel for your motor.

In my research in the past year, Florida has the cheapest prices for engines (installed) by far, however Custom Marine in Georgia will price match Ed's and beat them on shipping. That's for a "do-it-yourself install".

You may be somewhat "stuck" with prices that have been "californified" - why is that a suprise? You guys already pay californified prices on other things. Heck, I have to pay "Chicagified" prices here in Chicago vice driving 90 miles to Michigan when reality takes hold again and the world returns to it's normal pricing scheme.

(I think there is an economic doctoral thesis in there somewhere.)

Good luck on your engine search - you should be able to find someone locally who will do it at about a 15% upcharge from what Ed's is looking for.


elaelap posted 09-27-2005 05:53 PM ET (US)     Profile for elaelap  Send Email to elaelap     

I talked with Rob/ratherwhalering just after I bought Cetaceous and was shopping around for a new motor. He had just rigged his 'mail order' E-TEC, and almost had me convinced that I (we, actually, with his generous help) could mount and dial in a new motor, which would have given me as much personal satisfaction as pleasure at saving some bucks. I very much wanted to stick with a Yamaha motor, 1) Because I had had great luck with my Yamaha 50 hp 4/s on my Katama; 2) Because my 'new' Outrage 18 came with a Yamaha 115 hp 2/s and I could use much of the rigging, controls, gauges, etc already in place; and 3) Because I knew that it would annoy the blazes out of the Mercury fanatics at this forum (pace, Larry) ;-). Unfortunately, when I shopped around at Ed's and several similar internet/mail order dealerships, I was told that either they wouldn't ship Yamaha motors to anyone but an authorized Yamaha dealership, or that I'd lose the new motor warranty if I rigged the motor myself. (I posted about these things at the time, with the proviso that I was just repeating what I had been told, and wasn't necessarily stating the truth of the matter.)

As to Guenter's pricing, I think he's the original used car dealer, ready to 'accept' a healthy--perhaps exorbitant-- profit on a motor from someone who hasn't done his homework, but also ready to listen to reasonable offers and negotiate firmly but fairly. I can't give the exact cost of my new Yamaha 115 4/s EFI from Guenter's, because I traded my Katama straight across for the new motor, the cost of rigging it, the spiffy Yamaha digital multifunction tach, oil, wiring, a complete check-out of the 'new' boat, and best of all, no sales tax. I do know that he sold the Katama within a matter of days for eight or nine grand, so maybe that's an equivilent price.

Guenter's a tough guy to deal with at first, and some folks are put off by him, but he's a righteous fishing fanatic himself, almost always to be found out there on the ocean; he's a trained mechanic and his regular shop mechanic, Stewart, is a great guy and a skilled, trustworthy craftsman. Bottom line...I've bought two motors from Guenter; both have performed flawlessly; I like shopping local dealerships whenever possible even if I don't save the final couple of dollars compared with internet supposed-bargains; and though very grumpy at times, Guenter has been a straight shooter with far.


andygere posted 09-27-2005 07:27 PM ET (US)     Profile for andygere  Send Email to andygere     
Larry, when he quoted me the price I nearly choked, and when he told me that was for just the loose motor, I nearly choked again. I'm not particularly interested in the Yamaha because of the weight penalty, and because I live in CA, I'd prefer to buy a motor that I can use here without restriction (e.g. take to Lake Tahoe) than buy a 2-stroke out of state. I have checked out the Scream and Fly pages, and those guys really seem to love the 2.4 Mercs, and there are quite a few of them for sale. Unfortunately, 95% of them are in Florida, and I'm not sure if I want to do a private transaction on a used outboard sight unseen.

Regarding Ed's, I figured they might be too good to be true, but may help when bargaining with the local guys. I'm still hoping my otherwise fine Mercury 200 can be saved, but if not, it's time to do some shopping.

Finally, if I end up buying a powerhead, does anyone have a good reliable source?

daverdla posted 09-27-2005 08:17 PM ET (US)     Profile for daverdla  Send Email to daverdla     
It sounds like the 5 year old $5000.00 carefully looked after engine is the best choice - if you can find one.


gss036 posted 09-27-2005 08:56 PM ET (US)     Profile for gss036  Send Email to gss036     
When I was in town looking for oil injection tubing, I asked about the price of a new Merc 200 Opti-Max XL(30shaft) would be installed on the back of my boat and w/o hesitation, he asked,is your motor currently running? ,(yes), he said he would do the swap for $13000. I was quoted $16300+rigging and 4 hr labor to do a 250 E-Tec w/o trade at Cascade Marine in Chilliwack, B C Canada. So there is hope if you decide to buy new. One of our local boat builders,"ACB" just sent the Los Angles police dept a 26 footer w/twin 200 E-Tec's, so I would be too hesitant on hanging one of them on my boat in Calif if the police boats are using them.
rtk posted 09-27-2005 10:27 PM ET (US)     Profile for rtk  Send Email to rtk

My 2003 Mercury 250 EFI came from this place. I did not deal directly with them, my local Mercury dealer found the motor for me and installed the motor. They have excellent prices, no sales tax collected, Delaware.

Andygere, I think they move alot of powerheads. May want to give them a shout.

Smoking deal on the 250 EFI listed in the add. You can't beat the $9000. Mine was $11,600 rigged, $600 rigging credit from Mercury with a 4 year extended warranty (boat show season incentive, 2004 repower). The 225/250 Mercury EFI motors are going to be the repower deal this season- I don't think you will find a cheaper, tried and true new V6 motor out there.

If anyone is considering a repower, the past two seasons extended warranties were offered by most manufacturers during the winter boat show season. On a V6 motor that is worth around $1500-2000 dollars. I think that deserves some consideration in the equation.


LHG posted 09-28-2005 03:16 PM ET (US)     Profile for LHG    
Rich, Thanks for that tip. Those ARE great prices. A new bookmark for me.

$17,000 for a CR pair of 250 EFI's!
$13,500 for a Verado 200!

Andy - look at those 200 Optimax's for $8500!

andygere posted 09-28-2005 08:31 PM ET (US)     Profile for andygere  Send Email to andygere     
The 2004 'pre-owned' 200 Optimax for $8495 sure sounds great. Does anyone know what "Factory Certified" means, and can guess why they have 10 of these? Could they have been boat-show displays, demos or something of the like? Staying with a Mercury simplifies my rigging (I assume my old-style dual binnacle control will bolt up) and save me some serious cash. I'm going to give these guys a call tomorrow to see what the deal is.

rtk, how was the deal set up between your local Mercury dealer and Almars? My dealer is a very small shop, and he doesn't keep any big motors in his inventory. My guess is that he would be reluctant to buy a motor from another shop instead of from the factory. I would give him the rigging business if he'd get me the motor at that price, but don't know if he'd go for it.

andygere posted 09-28-2005 08:36 PM ET (US)     Profile for andygere  Send Email to andygere     
The price is down to $8k for the 200 Optimax, but the warranty is only a year. Still sounds like a sweet deal. Anybody running a 2004 200 Opti?
jimh posted 09-28-2005 09:17 PM ET (US)     Profile for jimh  Send Email to jimh     
There seems to be a steady supply of re-condition Mercury OptiMax motors being sold by dealers and other outlets. My understanding is these motors are ones initially used by boaters who are on programs with Mercury endorsements or subsidies. Typically they're fishermen or other boaters to whom Mercury has offered a discount on the purchase of a motor or has otherwise subsidized the use of their motor because Mercury feels it will gain some benefit from having their motor on these boats. Again, my understanding is these programs are quite attractive and it is common that the boaters who participate in them can trade-in the old engine and get a new model for little additional cost every year or two. Thus they often take advantage of these offers, producing a steady supply of used engines.

I have heard mixed reviews about how much re-conditioning and "certification" is done. One story had the engines being gone over from flywheel to skeg, and another story reported they just clean them up and see if they run. The used engines do seem to come with a warranty.

Another source of these motors might be engines which Mercury had to take back from retail customers who had major problems with them. Particularly with the OptiMax, Mercury seems to have been quite generous about giving retail customers (who raise enough fuss) replacement engines if their original engines had major problems. There are many accounts of customers to were given a new engine by Mercury to settle claims about engine failures under warranty. My assumption is that the engines in these cases are repaired and made "like-new", whatever that means exactly.

I spoke with my local dealer and he told me that these engines are offered to all dealers as they become available. They show up on a listing, and if a dealer wants to he can order one. I guess some dealers are more aggressive than others, and they buy these in lots for re-sale.

My dealer did not seem too enthusiastic about trying to snag one of these re-newed engines, and I can understand why: he'd rather sell a new engine at retail with a full warranty.

rtk posted 09-28-2005 09:26 PM ET (US)     Profile for rtk  Send Email to rtk

I honestly don't know anything about the certified pre-owned, but this is from the Mercury Marine website.

Apparently my local dealer and Almars work together on things, they are only located 90 miles apart. I don't know the specifics of the relationship, for all I know they went to high school together or are family. I told my dealer what I was looking for in January. He kept an eye out for an available motor.

Mercury Marine distributes a non-current/special pricing list to all dealers. They never know what is going to be on the list. When an engine showed up on the list my dealer let me know. I had to commit that day, the deals go fast sometimes. The motor happened to be located at Almars- maybe they had a deal go bad and they made my dealer aware of availability.

I did not need a motor, mine ran fine. But I did want to put a new motor with a warranty on the boat. If one did not show up that met my model and price requirement I would not have repowered. I specifically wanted a leftover Mercury EFI 225 or 250 V6.

Mercury was attractive to me because my local dealer is excellent and the boat was rigged Mercury.

The money worked out this way for me:

Repower was done April 2004

2003 Mercury 250 EFI: $11,600 rigged
Minus $600 rigging rebate from Mercury
Minus $4000 for my 1997 Mercury 225 Carbed V6 (dealer sold it outright for me in 1 month)

$7000 out of pocket for a new motor with a 4 year factory warranty.

I balanced the $7000 outlay to the cost of a new V6 powerhead at around $5000 and a lower unit at around $2000, if those two major components decided to go. I just purchased the boat the fall before, so I was unclear on the history of the 1997 Mercury.

The other factor was I did not want to go through the "nickle and dime" repairs that an older motor can put you through. I don't have alot of free time to use the boat so reliability was very important to me. Around here if you have a problem, 2-4 weeks is not unheard of until a mechanic can be available to even look at the boat.

Had I owned the 1997 as new and it had been reliable for seven years, I may have just kept running it knowing the maintenance performed and the history of the motor.


gss036 posted 09-29-2005 12:04 AM ET (US)     Profile for gss036  Send Email to gss036     
I just read through the preowned brocure and it is basically the same type deal Ford offers on thier used vehicles. I own a Ford minivan that was purchased under that type of program. It had a $100 deductible on repairs, although I never had to use it. These motors could come from anyone or anywhere and they fix them up and warrantee them for a short period of time. Merc only warrantees most new motors 12-24 months anyway. Sounds like a good way to save a few dollars.
andygere posted 09-29-2005 12:21 AM ET (US)     Profile for andygere  Send Email to andygere     
Rich, jimh and others,
Thanks for the info. From the brochure, it sounds as though these are low hour used motors that come with a one year warranty or service contract. I may look into this further, and find out if my dealer has the current list of available motors. What's the word on the 2004 Optimax 200 as far as reliability?
LHG posted 09-29-2005 02:02 PM ET (US)     Profile for LHG    
Andy, from what I have heard, any 3.0 liter Optimax 2003 and later, are considered FIXED. There have been no problems with them at all, and they get tremendous fuel economy with good power. Check out the recent report filed here by JimP, who has a 2003 225 on his Revenge.

I would have no reservation about a 2004 "program motor" at all. Many of these are demos and from fishing tournaments, factory boats or Merc executive users. These are not the well used "fishing camp" engines that I-boats sells.

For a boat like yours, or Mario's for that matter, this is a good way to repower so that one is not dumping so much money into a used boat. If I was a buyer for Mario's boat, this is what I would do in a heartbeat.

The 200 Optimax weighs about 80 lb more than what you have, but the 3.0 liter block will blow it away power wise. These are really strong 200's, running a very high 1.76 gear ratio. You will want a Rev-4 or Mirage Plus prop for it. In two years, max, the fuel economy will pay for the engine over the difference in cost of having your old one repaired. Figure you will save 4 gals/hour times 200 hours per year? That is 800 gallons saved, @$3.00 = $2400! Wow.

I think RTK did the right thing, and that is so hard for most of us to do. Sell a perfectly good engine and upgrade to better technology and reliability. Good financial planning if you ask me. RTK, thanks for all your great information on these Mercury repowers

andygere posted 09-29-2005 04:53 PM ET (US)     Profile for andygere  Send Email to andygere     
After talking with my mechanic, I've ruled out repairing the old motor. After more discussion, he believes the problem is a failed lower connecting rod bearing, and that the crankshaft and block are probably damaged. Mercury no longer makes a factory replacement powerhead for the 2.4 liter motor, but the estimate for installation of an aftermarket powerhead (from Outboard Parts Marine) was $6,500 complete. There's no way I'm putting that much cash into a 16 year old outboard.

I also talked with him about the Mercury "program" motors, and he's bought them himself with mixed results. Some have been like new, both mechanically and cosmetically perfect. Others have been pretty beat up (although good runners), and he said that Mercury won't provide photos, and you are committed to purchase the motor once the order is placed. He did indicate that pricing is similar to what was listed in the Almar's ad posted above.

I also asked him for pricing on a new 200 h.p. saltwater Optimax. The only 2005 available was a counter rotating motor set up for digital control. A new 2006 would be $14,300 + tax installed, including new shift and throttle cables, new wiring harness and aluminum prop. Ed's lists a 200 Optimax (not sure if it's saltwater or 25") on sale for $11,999. I'm assuming 10 hours for rigging and installation, and I know the cables and harness were $300, which puts my local guy within $1000 before shipping. I haven't haggled at all on price, $14.3k is his first quote. Overall, it doesn't sound too bad. Anyone care to weigh in on the pricing, or offer comparable pricing paid on other brands. If I stay with Mercury, my kicker matches, and I can reuse my binacle controls and keyswitch, a nice plus.

So far I have the following to consider:

*Used Mercury 200 motor, $?? + $1000 for intall and rigging
*"Program" 2004 (<500 hrs.)Optimax 200, $8000 + $1000 for install and rigging
*New Optimax 200, $14,300 + tax, out the door

My guy likes the Optimax 200, calling it a "very snappy 200" and said a 175 would probably perform about the same as my old carburated 200. He did say that they are sensitive to wet or dirty fuel, but that is the only thing that he has seen to cause them much trouble.

jimh, It seems that I've hijacked your thread, and if you'd prefer that I start a new topic about my replacement outboard, I'd be happy to do so. If you think it makes a good case study, I'll leave it here.

LHG posted 09-29-2005 05:23 PM ET (US)     Profile for LHG    
I don't trust your dealer's opinion. He's interested in selling you a new one, and at a pretty good price, too.

I would have Almar's, who already has these engines in stock, send you a photo, so you're not in the sight-unseen situation, and give you the hours from the computer. For the 8K, that price seems pretty good. I would think any engine out of the factory reconditioning unit would look like new. I think the information from your dealer is simply wrong on this.

Your rigging costs seem high. Your old throttle shift cables will work directly, and all you need is a new ignition harness/keey switch cable. I think they are less than $100. The engine will have Smartcraft, so some decisions will be needed there, but I think there is a transition cable so that analog guages can still function.
The two large Smartcraft tach and speedo gauges will give you access to all of the functions the engine puts out, including fuel flow, etc. Bolting the new engine on, installing the harness and control cables, etc couldn't be more than a three hour job. Install this engine in the middle set of bolt holes.

But if you must buy new, I would consider the 225 for the $800 it costs. Both the 2006 200 & 225 also can be had with DTS, something else to consider. I really like the new 2006 clean and simple engine graphics. Finally, there are both a 2 star and a 3 star 225 this year, with the 3 star version being called the 225 XS. That's what I would get!

Finally, did you also notice that the 200 VERADO is only $13,500. And that includes the DTS enablement. That's less than you were quoted for the conventional throttle/shift Opti. That's a no brainer if you ask me, if new is what you want. With the Verado, you'll never use your kicker again, since it trolls for 3 hours on a gallon of gas. Even a 175 Verado might be worth consideration

LHG posted 09-29-2005 05:55 PM ET (US)     Profile for LHG    
Two more things Andy.

Did you notice that they also have 115 Optimax's for $6300?
That is also a great deal for offshore use. Incidentially, this block is one-half of the 200/225/250 Opti block. A pair of those would be dyn-o-mite on your hull, since you have the forward weight of the Cuddy cabin, and even have the twin engine control. Their oil tank is integral, so no rigging there, and they are super quiet. See Jims' article on my 18 Outrage for hydraulic steering set up.

And finally, I just have to ask. Weren't you an old OMC guy? Did this 200 Merc win you over? Seriously, though, if you like OMC, you should consider a 200 or 225 Evinrude or a pair of the 115's, if they come out soon enough.

Lots of choices, that's for sure. Many of us, I'm sure, are living your experience in terms of what we would do. If you're going to be spending for a new engine, the pricing on the twin 115's is awfully attractive since you are an offshore boater.

andygere posted 09-29-2005 09:00 PM ET (US)     Profile for andygere  Send Email to andygere     
I called the Mercury 888 number on the 'Program' motor brochure, and the guy there seemed to have a different idea about the program. He told me that the motors are actual trade-ins to the dealer you buy them from, and they can actually be seen at the dealerships. He also told me that they go through an inspection program, not a reconditioning program. I plan to call Almar's and see what they say.

Regarding the rigging, my mechanic suggested replacing the throttle and shift cables as a precaution. Since I have no idea how old they are, and they can be a bit stiff at times, I figured it was a good idea. The actual prices quoted for the wiring harness and shift cables was $125 and $80, but I don't recall what paid for what. As far as the $1000 rigging and installation, that's just my estimate based on what others have posted here. His rate is $85 per hour, so perhaps that is on the high side, and the actual costs will be less. The $14,300 is the out-the-door-intalled-and-rigged price (less taxes) he quoted for the 2006 200 Optimax. Larry, are you saying this is a decent price, or a really high one? The shop I deal with is small (Jim and his sons) and they don't really keep any inventory. I do trust him in terms of his technical expertise, and he is a factory authorized dealer and repair shop. I would not expect him to offer the deep discounting of big places like Ed's or Almar's, but he's only the first place I've shopped, and would be where I went for service.

Regarding twins, I am still giving that some thought as well. I really do not want to wind up with a heavy transom and a boat that appears to be doing a wheelie all the time, so that really limits my choices. At 375 pounds per motor dry, I think the 115 Opti's would be pushing it. My current motor weighs 398 lbs, and the kicker is 80. The twin Optis push the total transom weight up to 750 pounds, 50 more than Whaler recommends. That's 272 pounds more than I've got back there now! I must admit, it would look totally bad to have two of those black beauties back there! I wonder if she'd plane out with just one of them?

The 200 Verado looks interesting at $13,500, but at 650 pounds, there's still a big weight penalty. I'd also be concerned about the recommendation for 92 octane; even if I could afford it, I can't get it at my marina. If the steering system is included, that would be a pretty attractive package for the money.

The E-TEC 200 has caught my eye, primarily because it's a CARB 3-star 2.6 liter motor that weighs only 31 pounds more than my smokey old Black Max 2.4. I also really like the indifference to low voltage and lack of belt driven alternators. Small features that become big ones if there's a problem out at sea. Another consideration for me is cowl profile. I have an aftermarket rail that is mounted just across the splashwell dam, and some of the taller motors might hit it before being tilted fully clear. I need it investigate this more, but the E-TEC seems to have a lower profile. Twin E-TEC 115's are interesting as well, but the 369 pound weight puts me at 738 pounds, still 260 more than I've got back there now. Twin 90's come in at a respectable 640 pounds total, and have a combined displacement of 2.6 liters. Is it enough? If the boat won't plane on one of them, there's no advantage in my book. Larry, any idea how I might get some performance info on the 22 you mentioned that was rigged with twin E-TECs? On the plus side, they are self contained, and have a very trim profile. The Ed's pricing puts me into a pair of these for $13k plus rigging, which compares to $14,900 for a new E-TEC 200 and a 4-stroke 15.

The final unknown is real world pricing. Can you buy and ship a motor from big operations like Ed's and Almar's and really get the advertised price? How close will the local guys come to the internet prices to make the sale and get the service? What deals lie ahead in the next few months in a sluggish economy with high gas prices?

Regarding brand loyalty, my outboard motor ownership to date is as follows:

1968 Evinrude Lark 40 (loved it)
1983 Mercury 40 (fast but a dog on reliability)
1979 Johnson 85 (loved it, and it's still running)
1980 Johnson 15 (liked it, and it's still running)
1989 Mercury 15 (love it despite the smoke, and it's still running)
1989 Mercury 200 Black Max (loved it until it died this week)

The bottom line is that I think Evinrude and Mercury both have some pretty good products out there. I don't have any first hand experience with Yamaha, but they certainly have a strong following, and I see a lot of them in my area. Honda's seem pretty good but there larger horsepower motors are just plain overweight, and they don't offer a DFI. I have had less than excellent experience with Honda reliability and dealer service on the 2 Honda cars I've owned, but I did just spec a BF 20 for a work boat at my company, and it's a nice little machine. I don't know a thing about Suzuki, so I can't speak to them.

Things that will influence my purchase will be price, weight, service (good Mercury guy is close, Evinrude guy not so close), warranty and fit for my type of boating. I may still put a used motor on there and run another year or two while I mull it all over...

Good ideas from the experts so far, keep 'em coming!

rtk posted 09-29-2005 11:33 PM ET (US)     Profile for rtk  Send Email to rtk     
Andy, you are asking yourself all the right questions, keep at it. There are alot more factors than bottom line cost in dollars that should be taken into consideration when repowering.

A big part of my decision to go with the motor I chose was the dealer. They are excellent mechanics, wonderful people and located about 2 miles away. If they were a Yamaha, Evinrude, Suzuki, Johnson or Honda dealer my boat would more than likely have what ever they offered, as long as I liked the motor and the price was fair.

A great deal on the motor is only the first step in being satisfied with your purchase. The ability to bring that new motor to a dealer you trust for service or warranty work will add greatly to your long term satisfaction with the purchase. I really think it could be beneficial to establish a good relationship with a local dealer. I would think it only logical, and appropriate for a dealer to give expedited service to a customer that purchased the motor from them as opposed to the customer that shipped their own motor from another dealer to save a few bucks.

I certainly would expect to be given priority in service scheduling over someone who did not do a good deal of business with the dealer. I have purchased two motors from them over the past two years, and I don't think it is unreasonable to expect my service needs should be considered before someone who purchased a motor from another dealer to save money.

Check to see if the Mercury dealers will actually ship the motor to you. This year I was trying to locate a Mercury 9.9 Pro Kicker. My dealer was having alot of difficulty locating one. I called Ed's Marine for ha ha's, they had it listed on their website. They stated they were to receive the motors in stock in a couple of weeks, but they were no longer allowed to ship Mercury motors, I would have to pick it up.


andygere posted 09-30-2005 03:18 PM ET (US)     Profile for andygere  Send Email to andygere     
I just spoke with the salesman (Jack) at Almar's Outboards and he told me the Factory Certified Pre-Owned 2004 200XL Optimax motors in the ad are camp or resort motors that come from Canada, and are used exclusively on freshwater lakes. He said they are cometically outstanding ("like new") and have been checked out by Mercury at the factory. He also told me he was willing to ship the motors, but needed to confirm that Mercury will allow that. He is not allowed to ship new Mercury motors out of state under current Mercury dealership rules. He seemed very willing to do business (promptly returned my out of state phone call), and was checking on pricing to ship the motor to the west coast. I'm still waiting for a return call from Ed's Superstore.
LHG posted 09-30-2005 03:27 PM ET (US)     Profile for LHG    
For those of you looking for great prices on Mercs., dont forget Sundance Marine down in Ft Lauderdale. They are a huge Merc dealership, and ship without gouging like Ed's does, and no sales tax. My 200 EFI's came from them.

Andy, regarding Mercs, single or twin, rig them yourself. It's an amazingly simple job and you certainly have the skills. Every Mercury engine comes with a step by step rigging and installation manual. It's actually fun work, and this way you will know exactly how every thing works and how to make future rapirs and adjustents. This alone is worth doing it and saving the $800 or so that most charge per engine. I have rigged all of my engines myself, including the twin 115's on my 18, and twin 200 EFI's on Whale Lure. All you need is to have the shop bolt it on, in holes pre-drilled by you (which you know will be done right) Merc gives you a hole drilling template also. With a rented engine hoist for about $25/day, you can also get the engine(s) bolted on yourself.

As for weight of the twin 115 Opti's, the boat will handle it easily, especially for your Cuddy cabin model with another 300# forward. You have a twin engine dreamboat there. My much smaller 18 Outrage handles 610#'s worth of twins, on 10 " setback brackets, no less, so on a 22, 750# should be a cinch. At $6400, that's a great deal I'd go for. You'll pay a lot more for the E-tec 115's, since they will be a new offering and command a higher price.

Verados only need 87 octane fuel, EXCEPT for the 275. I hear that if the 275 is run on 87, it still puts out 250.
If you compare the price of a DTS 200 or 225 Optimax to that Verado price, the Verado looks like a steal.

All this being said, the $8000 for the 2004 Optimax 200 seems hard to pass up. But after that, I'd buy the twin Opti 115's, then the Verado. I don't think there is enough difference between the Optimax and E-tec's new to justify giving up the opportunity to have Verado power. Take a Verado equipped Whaler for a spin, and you'll see what I mean.

elaelap posted 09-30-2005 03:50 PM ET (US)     Profile for elaelap  Send Email to elaelap     
Rich brings up an important point--the speed with which you can get your motor serviced or, more importantly, repaired if necessary. I sort of lucked into a situation with my local dealership, Guenter's, where I've never had to wait more than ten days for a routine service (every 150-250 hrs, as it's worked out, not counting the initial 10-hour service which I was able to schedule in two days in the Spring, no less, in time to make the NorCal Whaler rendezvous last year). I've never needed a repair on either of the Yamaha four stroke motors I've bought from Guenter's, but I suspect that I'd get shoehorned in almost immediately, since the dealer and the mechanic know how often I use my boat. I've heard horror stories from other CW members about one- and two-month waits for service/repairs, which would be a disaster during the height of the season, especially for some of the Eastern/Northern boaters with limited seasons.

Good luck with your eventual choice, Andy. There's really something to be said for buying from a local dealer if you luck into a good one.


andygere posted 09-30-2005 04:13 PM ET (US)     Profile for andygere  Send Email to andygere     
Do you know if Mercury requires an authorized dealer to rig in order to validate the factory warranty? I agree, the rigging does not seem that difficult, and if I purchased a mail order motor, I'd probably try to do it myself.

Regarding local dealerships, my Mercury mechanic has been generally very good, although I'm still a little bummed that he missed changing out the oil injector tubing that ultimately killed my outboard. I've always given him the green light to replace filters, plugs etc. when it's in for service, and he's never over or under done it in the past. I wouldn't feel too guilty about purchasing a motor out of state if the savings was substantial (e.g. >$1000), since I'd still be sending my service business to him.

I still do like the idea of twin engines, but I guess I'd have to see a 22 hull rigged with them before I was convinced that the static trim was going to be OK. Although the cuddy adds weight to the bow, the center console is farther aft than on a standard Outrage 22, which somewhat negates the effect. I am also planning to build a fold down stern seat, at the request of my family. Because of this, I am very sensitive to keeping the transom as light as possible. Although I could move the batteries to the console, I just rerigged all my heavy 12 volt electrical, and I don't really want to give up the valualble storage space. Lots to think about...stay tuned.

rtk posted 09-30-2005 09:35 PM ET (US)     Profile for rtk  Send Email to rtk     
Andy, if you are going to go with an Optimax, I do think it would be a good idea to have a dealer at least do the oil, fuel, harness and control cable hookups at the engine. Also have them do the initial start up and test run. That way you insure that a warranty claim cannot be "suspect" on the basis the install was done by someone other than a Mercury certified dealer. The DFI engines, any brand are very sensitive to proper oil and fuel delivery. A recent thread on an Evinrude E-Tech failure has blame going back and forth between the engine manufacturer and the boat factory who installed the motor. The same thing happened with the Yamaha 250 HPDI, alot of failures are blamed on improper initial setup of the two stroke oiling system. Who is right and who is wrong, I don't know, but I would not want to be in the middle of a warranty claim dispute. It would be very easy to lay the blame on an improper installation done by an individual who is not certified by Mercury to do the installation.

Most of the time spent rigging an outboard motor is running the control cables, harness, installing the remote control, running oil and fuel lines and intalling and wiring the gauges and related accessories. The actual hanging of the motor and hooking up the oil, fuel, harness and batteries is not time consuming, so you could cut you labor charge down with the dealer. Try to work out a deal with your local dealer. You do all the "grunt" work- have everything ready so the dealer only has to do the connections at the motor and perform the required rigging/initial start up checklist that Mercury requires. The important stuff is done by the dealer, they make a few bucks, they register the warranty and everyone is happy. There would also be no restriction on shipping if your dealer was willing to allow Almar to ship the engine to them. The restriction on shipping is only on dealer to individual sales.

I was able to work this deal out with my Mercury dealer when I purchased my 2005 Pro Kicker this season. I used to rig outboard boats for a living, so I was more than comfortable with the rigging job. I had them order me all the necessary control cables, the new dual binnacle remote control, harness etc that I would need. I did the complete installation minus the hookups at the engine. They did that, did the delivery checklist and test ran the motor. They charged me around two hours of labor, I saved around six or so hours of labor charges. They got a sale of the motor, a couple hours of labor and related accessory sales out of me. Win-Win in my opinion. By them doing the final hookup and initial startup/test run, I cannot be blamed for an improper rigging job if a problem does happen.

I am not doubting your abilities in doing a proper rigging job, in general it is not a very complex job. The initial start up procedure and test that all systems are operating properly is very important, and a problem may not be easily noticed by an untrained eye.

It won't cost you a penny to discuss this with your dealer.


andygere posted 10-01-2005 12:23 AM ET (US)     Profile for andygere  Send Email to andygere     
Considering that an oil system failure led to my current motor's demise, I think you offer good advice. The Almar's prices are great, and they seem willing to deal, but I'm still considering all the engine choices out there. The salesman returned my call a second time to quote me shipping costs, but I was out and he didn't leave them in a message. I also suspect that since those 2004 Optis were lakes motors, they are not saltwater editions. What else besides the stainless tilt tube is included in the saltwater motors?
kbalkovic posted 10-02-2005 09:37 AM ET (US)     Profile for kbalkovic  Send Email to kbalkovic     
I just want to go fishin'
LHG posted 10-03-2005 03:41 PM ET (US)     Profile for LHG    
Andy - Any pre-2006 25" engine is most likely blue graphics, which means an SS tilt tube. For 2006, all will have it and the Saltwater distiction has been dropped, as it was with the Verados.
andygere posted 10-04-2005 01:17 AM ET (US)     Profile for andygere  Send Email to andygere     
The salesman at Almar's confirmed that the program 2004 Optimax 200's are Saltwater Series motors. He quoted me $500 to ship to Santa Cruz, CA. Mercury would require him to ship to another dealership (no warranty if shipped to a private party) which would be OK with me. Since there is no sales tax in Delaware, I'd be looking at $8,500 for a loose 2004 Optimax 200 with a one year warranty. He also quoted me a good price on a new 9.9 pro kicker, a nice looking little outboard that weighs just 108 pounds including the power tilt and trim. This is looking interesting, to say the least.
jimh posted 10-04-2005 08:13 AM ET (US)     Profile for jimh  Send Email to jimh     
If you purchase a more fuel efficient motor at a lower price, then the amount of capital outlay you need to recoup with lower fuel consumption is significantly less. Buying a used motor is one way to get a more fuel efficient motor at a lower price.

There is more risk when you purchase a used motor because the coverage of repair and replacement costs will probably not be as great as provided in a new motor warranty.

The season is getting near the end for boaters like me who are in northern areas. So far my hour meter is still in the 50-hour region, not the 100-hour use I forecast in my cost analysis that began this discussion. Also, fuel prices have returned to lower levels, as low as $2.40/gallon recently. Both of these factors tend to make the potential for recovery of the capital used to buy a new motor less likely.

My cost estimate for a new motor may have been too low, and my estimation of the current value of my two-stroke motor also too low.

andygere posted 10-04-2005 12:04 PM ET (US)     Profile for andygere  Send Email to andygere     
You make an excellent point about a faster payback from increased fuel efficiency. I am a bit leary about purchasing a used motor, even though it does come with a one-year warranty. The price quoted is lower than NADA's average retail price, which tells me that at least it is ahead of the depreciation schedule, which offsets the risk somewhat. Still, it's a big capital outlay and I worry that a year from now I could be in exactly the same place: out of the water with a "hooped" outboard. There's something about a 3-year warranty that just feels good, and since the motor originally came with a 3-year warranty, Mercury is actually getting out of honoring as much as a year of that. Hmmm....
LHG posted 10-04-2005 03:53 PM ET (US)     Profile for LHG    

At 50 hours, you're not doing enough boating, nor buying enough gas! I have put 200 hours on the 21 Outrage alone since purchase.

scaleplane posted 10-05-2005 09:06 AM ET (US)     Profile for scaleplane  Send Email to scaleplane     
I agree with TRAFFICLAWYER. You need to spend more time on the water and less time in front of the computer! :)

The above is all rationalization under the blanket of calculations.

The key word is WANT. Sometimes, you just want a new engine! It doesn't have to make economic sense!

contender posted 10-27-2006 09:41 PM ET (US)     Profile for contender  Send Email to contender     
Just like [jimh] stated you first have to have $25,000 in the bank so you can buy a new motor when your other motor is paid for. I keep my stuff new and well working. I have 1985 140 Evinrude and I have towed a lot of new engine boats back home. Also what is not to say the new motor won't be a lemon? $25,000 buys a lot of fuel and repairs if you need them
Binkie posted 10-27-2006 10:17 PM ET (US)     Profile for Binkie  Send Email to Binkie     
After reading this entire thread, you make the most sense, in my opinion.
In fact nowadays, in real life, most people don`t have $25-grand in disposable income; they are in debt up to their eyeballs, and the only figure that they care about is how much a month. If they see something that they like, they will take on more debt. Hey, why not take out an equity loan on your home for 12 grand, and buy a new outboard. The mortgage goes up a little bit but so what. When the recession hits next year these folks will be screwed. In other words keep your cash if you have it, and let the suckers fall by the wayside

I believe that jimh analysis is pretty accurate. Actually it makes a good case for buying a straight inboard boat and repowering it with a brand new 260hp 350 Mercruiser FWC inboard, complete for 7 grand. This was a non computerized carb engine, something anyone can work on.A friend of mine did this this year, As far as the install, I helped him, and it was no more difficult that an outboard install. With the price and complexity of new outboards, straight inboards are making a comeback Unfortunately Whaler never made straight inboards to my knowledge.

jimh posted 10-28-2006 12:36 PM ET (US)     Profile for jimh  Send Email to jimh     
For most people, recreational boating is a discretionary activity and it is paid for with discretionary income. If you don't have the discretionary income, you won't be able to go recreational boating. The cure for that is not to be found in this discussion.

Going into debt to purchase assets with declining value is not good financial strategy. A new outboard motor will have a rather steep depreciation curve, particularly during the first few years of ownership. I would be surprised if one could obtain long-term debt financing to buy one. A discussion of debt financing of new outboard motor purchases would be a good discussion in itself, and worthy of a separate article and thread. Perhaps a banker or lender among us will start such a discussion.

Please note that a separate discussion presents an interactive spreadsheet calculator which can be used to make financial analysis of this investment:

Engine Cost Analysis Spreadsheet

hauptjm posted 10-31-2006 01:03 PM ET (US)     Profile for hauptjm    
jimh, what a difference a year makes. The only point I found to disagree with was your fuel cost assumption. As we see, that factor has been reduced by over 34% in just 12 months. As someone pointed out, the variance both up and down makes it very difficult to build a fuel trend. Maybe that will help illuminate the masses to the difficulty Futures traders have in guessing where the prices will be at any point in the future. Probably not!

Current cost of Regular Unleaded: $1.97 Gal. S.E. Louisiana.

gss036 posted 10-31-2006 01:22 PM ET (US)     Profile for gss036  Send Email to gss036     
Wish I were there, we are still paying around $2.50 @gal in the great pacific northwest. I look at the smoke stacks of 2 refineries every day and there are 2 more with 30 miles, yet we pay that much more. Doesn't make good sense to me.
Jakwolf posted 11-10-2006 08:25 PM ET (US)     Profile for Jakwolf  Send Email to Jakwolf     
Jim, thanks for another helpful analysis. Very interesting discussion. In response to the mild hijiack, my experience with the dealer mentioned in N. Cal would beg me to advise to 'GET IT IN WRITING', including the items offered as 'freebies'. I'd like to second the responses regarding the ability to enjoy a new engine offshore, with reliability and a warranty.
florida1008 posted 11-10-2006 08:55 PM ET (US)     Profile for florida1008  Send Email to florida1008     
kamie posted 11-11-2006 01:38 PM ET (US)     Profile for kamie  Send Email to kamie     
With a little tweeking that spreadsheet can also help determin if you should purchse engine#1 or engine #2, in my case between E-TEC or Merc. It's not all about the initial cost.
TIN BOAT posted 11-11-2006 08:06 PM ET (US)     Profile for TIN BOAT  Send Email to TIN BOAT     
I have had 130 hp Yamaha 2-strokes on my 1989 Outrage since it was new. I know I could get more efficiency with a 4-stroke, and cost is not a factor. However, that old 2-stroke is a reliable classic just like the hull, and I will stick with it.
johnneary posted 11-13-2006 01:25 PM ET (US)     Profile for johnneary  Send Email to johnneary     
when your old one has catastrophic falure of course!
Mambo Minnow posted 11-13-2006 04:00 PM ET (US)     Profile for Mambo Minnow    
JimH - Are you thinking of repowering with the new Optimax 250 XS? It would seem like the perfect replacement motor for a 22 Outrage or Revenge.
jeffs22outrage posted 11-13-2006 04:45 PM ET (US)     Profile for jeffs22outrage  Send Email to jeffs22outrage     
I think Jim's most important factor in picking a motor is his dealer. Anything but an BRP product and he will have to find a new one. As stated in my other thread, once you get the dealer experience you get at Lockemans it is tough to go to another.
poker13 posted 11-14-2006 02:28 PM ET (US)     Profile for poker13    
Just get a friggin' sailboat and fuggedaboutit!

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