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Evinrude Ficht Outboard Engines
|Author||Topic: Evinrude Ficht Outboard Engines|
posted 05-08-2013 09:57 AM ET (US)
Does anyone have a good thing to say about Evinrude FICHT outboard engines? Do we have readers that like them and will keep them long-term? Is there a trick or process to keep them happy and reliable?
posted 05-08-2013 10:18 AM ET (US)
The reliability of FICHTs seems to be dependent upon several factors. Some HP ratings of some years had more problems than others. All of the BRP FICHTs appear to be very reliable. Early FICHTs which had the OMC modifications and software updates also appear to be very reliable. FICHTs seem to enjoy better reliability when operated and maintained correctly as with virtually every engine made.
Hopefully you will get more than the above generalizations from knowledgeable folks such as Seahorse.
My personal experience was with a 1999 115 HP FICHT purchased new. A software update was performed by an authorized dealer in 1999. I used only OMC and later BRP FICHT specific oil. All maintenance was done by me except for periodic water pump impeller replacements. I was able to do all the maintenance because it was limited to spark plug changes and external lubrication. It's important to index the spark plugs. I used the engine until 2009 when I sold the boat with not a single problem. The gentleman that bought the boat and engine has continued to use it without problems. He has changed the spark plugs and water pump impeller. I helped him with the spark plug change as he had never indexed spark plugs.
I would call the 1999 115 FICHT engine extremely reliable.
posted 05-08-2013 10:49 AM ET (US)
I had two 2002 Ficht 225s for about 9 seasons. Would have no hesitation buying another and I would buy a 2002 to 2004 Ficht 225 before I bought a 2002 to 2005 Yamaha F225.
Upside -- Very frugal on fuel and oil. Very strong power. If you're familiar with the carb'd OMC 2-strokes, there isn't that much new to learn (they've just replaced the carbs with a DFI fuel injection system.
Downside -- The direct fuel injectors are noisy at low engine speed. The DFI system requires a good battery. The cooling circuit for the fuel/vapor separation system is subject to clogging if you run the motor in shallow water.
Key to operation -- Maintain the plug gaps to specification (need to be pulled and regapped every 60 hours or so, depends on how much they are idled), use XD-50 or equivalent oil and keep an eye on the fuel/vapor cooling circuit. If you get a check engine light and the engine speed is reduced by the EMM, chances are good that the cooling circuit got clogged.
posted 05-09-2013 01:06 AM ET (US)
Don J. has a BRP-era FICHT 115-HP. It is a great motor.
posted 05-10-2013 03:55 PM ET (US)
I was looking at a boat that has a Ficht on the back of her. She seemed like a really nice boat and the salesman said how wonderful the engine ran. I was seriously considering purchasing it but I asked around for some advice about the engines. The one thing that ultimately scared me away from the boat was, when someone made the suggestion, talk to your local mechanic to see if they even work on them. Turns out, after a conversation with the local BRP dealer, he said that while they do "work" on them, they no longer have any of the diagnostics to diagnose anything serious. Chance the oil, winterize...sure, but if something more serious was needed, they might not be able to work on her. That being the case, I walked away from her. Bummer, I liked that boat, too!
Hope this helps...
posted 05-10-2013 06:40 PM ET (US)
The FICHT engines use the same diagnostic cable and connector that the E-TEC engine uses. Any diagnostic software that used to work with a FICHT will still work with a FICHT.
posted 05-10-2013 07:14 PM ET (US)
Guess I need a new mechanic!
Had I known that...it would have made a huge difference to me. You learn something new everyday!
Thanks for dropping the knowledge on me.
posted 05-11-2013 10:08 AM ET (US)
My son-in-law had a late '90s FICHT 150. . .no, that is he had two FICHT 150s. Both blew up, in turn.
Don't remember exactly what the failures were. OMC replaced the first with the second. They then replaced the second with a carbed 150 that he still uses today with no problems.
Red sky at night. . .
posted 05-11-2013 01:25 PM ET (US)
The late '90s 150/175 Fichts were the problem motors that gave the Ficht a bad name. They had sooting problems and required updates.
If your mechanic doesn't have any Evinrude diagnostic software, get a new mechanic.
posted 05-12-2013 11:08 AM ET (US)
Had twin Johnson 175s on a Hyda-Sport 25' CC, the problematic small block V6. I bought the set up used had records back to new, with the former [owner] having an OMC mechanic follow all the service bulletins--there were many.
Mine ran great for the four seasons up to this last season I had them. My mechanic has the software, so I know any OMC/BRP should still have it. Sold the boat two weeks ago. A compression test went A+, still running fine for the new owner.
I believe the (more) problematic ones were folks who bought 'em and ran them without working with an OMC dealer--read shade tree mechanic. If the service bulletins weren't adhered to, they certainly could be a problem.
The carburetor and FICHT versions had the same soot or carbon build up. From what I read, this was a different probloem than sorting out the FICHT version fuel injection issues.
For carbon build up OMC recommended three things:
1) Run Carbon Guard at designated intervals
Mechanic also told me to try and run it WOT just before coming in for the day. He said it clears out the combustion chambers and prevents build up.
Also, any motor that's still running after 15 years could either run another 15 years or quit tomorrow--it's always rolling the dice, but having [prior service] records makes your odds much better.
posted 05-12-2013 11:49 AM ET (US)
I have a '99 Evinrude 90hp Ficht and have had no problems to speak of at all. The motor was on the boat when I bought it. I had a mechanic go over it and replace the plugs and generally service the engine. He said it looked fine to him and so far it has run great. I replaced the starter, but have had no other real repairs (knock on wood).
I learned, today as a matter of fact, that the engine is very sensitive to reduced water flow. My P tube was clogged with what appeared to be some sort of grit from either insects or maybe fine sand from my last saltwater trip. The engine would not idle for more than a few seconds and then would not start at all. The repair board let me know that the ECU is water cooled and sensitive to reduced water flow. I cleared the P tube and it runs great again.
Talking to the mechanic; he said the V-6 Fichts were the problem children. The problems with those really hurt the entire line as far as reputation. The V-4 90 and 115s are good engines. Mine is great on fuel and oil, runs very strong, starts immediately even after sitting for over a month. For whatever reason, it is a loud engine even at idle. The noise issue is my only real complaint.
posted 05-12-2013 04:52 PM ET (US)
My buddy had a 200 on an Outrage for years. Encountered long list of problems early that were resolved after considerable time and frustration like the second year he had it. He ran the guts out of it for years and lots of hours until intermittent electrical problems a couple of years. He tried to resolve that before he finally repowered with a new E-TEC 150.
Quotes to resolve electrical problems were extremely high, like $2,000, but, thanks to an86carrera on this forum, my pal was able to resolve at reasonable price which worked for a little over a year. Repeated incidents last year and he had enough. I think he will agree when the 200 FICHT ran it was awesome. Problem became dependability and trust, and, since he lives right next to Lake Michigan and channel out from his place to the big lake and has kids and family, unexpected shutdowns were not acceptable.
What is remarkable is he got a pretty dang strong trade in amount for the FICHT.
posted 05-12-2013 05:36 PM ET (US)
To add to the above, the V4's weren't too bad, as were the big block V6's. It was the 150 and 175 that were the worst.
I consider myself lucky to have gotten good service, for as long as I did, but I also have to attribute that to the mechanics taking notice of service bulletins and making the appropriate upgrades and fixes to keep them that way.
I really wouldn't blame anyone who would shy away from these. Being out on the water with that doubt in the back of your head, takes the joy out of it.
There's much more dependable choices you could make, but if you happen to be stuck with a FICHT, you need a mechanic who pays attention to detail.
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