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Author Topic:   Gelcoat repairs? older Merc engines?
JohnNorthEast posted 01-15-2002 09:39 PM ET (US)   Profile for JohnNorthEast   Send Email to JohnNorthEast  
Hello, I am researching a 1985 18-Outrage [that] I'd like to purchase, but need some advice. Can someone please share their thoughts on the seriousness of 1-inch damage to the gelcoat on the port rail and a few spots on the starboard rail. Also, there are a few gelcoat cracks inside on the deck where the bow steps up.

The engine is a Mercury 150-HP oil-gas [pre?]mix. Any knowledge on how well these Mercury motors holdup over the years would be greatly appreciated. Are parts still available for it should I need to have it worked on?. Any help greatly appreciated.
Thank you

jimh posted 01-16-2002 02:07 AM ET (US)     Profile for jimh  Send Email to jimh     
My experience with older Mercury engines and parts has been excellent. In the case of my 1976 Mercury 50-HP I have been able to buy OEM parts from my local Mercury outboard dealer. He often has them in stock! For example, I needed a carburetor linkage arm, a plastic molded part that had been broken because the previous owner had incorrectly set the throttle stops. (The plastic linkage was acting as the stop!). I got the part right away and at a reasonable price.

I also needed a new rectifier assembly. It was in stock and a bit over priced (for simple electronics) but still available and not unreasonable ($30). So my experience with my dealer has been very good. He has been selling Mercury engines at that location for 30 years, I think, and his parts and service guys are people making a career out of working there, not just some kids with summer jobs. I think that really counts.

If the engine is an older in-line 6-cylinder, I think these are highly regarded.

One item to look at in an older engine may be the power trim (or lack of it).

The 18-Outrage is a great boat, and a 150-HP Mercury is a good engine for it. I had a long trip on Tom Birdsey's boat and it has that exact set-up, even a Merc engine. (If you would like more comments see .)

As for making repairs to small areas of damage to the gelcoat, there is good news and bad.

The good news is that it is rather simple to make a good repair to the gelcoat and restore the water-tight integrity to the hull that it needs. You can use a variety of materials. I prefer West System epoxy, while others go with polyester resins. (Hyperlink to an article I wrote on this topic.)

The bad news is that it takes some skill to tint and match the gelcoat, and your repair may not blend invisibly with the rest of the boat. Some pre-tinted gelcoat pastes are available, but even these may need some extra tinting to match the shade that the rest of the boat has taken on after 17 years of exposure to sunlight.

Typically the gelcoat is oxidized to a paler shade of white from the original Desert Tan hue.

The location of the repairs and their visibility may affect your decision to undertake the gelcoat topcoat youself or to let a professional do it. Depending on where you are boating, there may be a raft of people in the fiberglass boat repair and re-gelcoating business that can do this for you with a minimum of fuss and not too much money. Then again, you might live on a small Canadian island and have to do it all yourself!

In any case, simple repairs to fiberglas laminated hulls are well within the range of skills of most do-it-yourself-ers.

I would not let a few spots of damage keep me from buying the boat if all else were right with it. I would suggest a reduction in price, asking for say $300 to $500 off to allow for the repairs.

I have great enthusiasm for the 18-Outrage. It is a great boat. You can tow it on a single-axle trailer with a modest vehicle, yet it will take you offshore with a feeling of safety.

JohnNorthEast posted 01-16-2002 10:06 AM ET (US)     Profile for JohnNorthEast  Send Email to JohnNorthEast     
JIHM, I cannot tell you how gratifying it is to get such a detailed and helpful response to my questions on this board. I am very excited about the possibility being an owner of the 18-foot outrage. I need to secure a good mechanic locally for the Mercury 150 I will begin to research this today!! Also, I will probably be able to view the hull again soon but I do think I can make the necessary gel coating repairs Thanks for the link to your article ( I had not seen this when I reviewed the wave pages earlier). I really appreciate the help here as I am very new to this. I do know to search for soft spots but any other obvious flaws you have writtne about would also be helpful.
Tom W Clark posted 01-16-2002 12:32 PM ET (US)     Profile for Tom W Clark  Send Email to Tom W Clark     

Let me just build upon some of jimh's comments above.

The 18-Outrage is a great boat, I know, I owned one. You are going to love it. A 1985 will have the benefit of the newest (classic) console shape with the instrument panels at a more useful angle.

I can affirm that parts are readily available for that Merc. The motor in question is the 60 V-6 which Mercury has sold about million of. It only comes with power trim and tilt. But I must be considerably less enthusiastic about the prospect of you owning such a motor.

First of all if it is a 1985 model it is 17 years old. That's old for any motor. Not necessarily disqualifying, indeed it may run like a top, I just doubt it. I should point out that I do not like Mercury outboards in general because of reliability issues. In other words I am prejudiced, so keep this in mind. I have never owned one and my personal experience is limited to a couple of friends with this particular motor.

I am also reminded of FORUM member Russ, who has an 18-Outrage with this very motor. He came to our rendezvous last summer and I remember him complaining about the motor throughout the event. It was continually stalling and running hot. We talked about the desirability of replacing it. Perhaps Russ can contribute some comment here. I also strongly suggest you run the boat if at all possible before you buy.

Regarding gelcoat patches, It is well within your ability to do the repairs. jimh is correct that matching the color is the hardest part but it is not so much a question of skill but of how good an eye you have. Start with a tinted gelcoat patch paste that is supposed to match and either lighten it or darken it with other shades of gelcoat patch paste. I use white and gray as my lightening/darkening agents.

Do not think you have the color figured out. I have done repairs where one hole repair was perfect and another on a different part of the same hull was way off. jimh is correct about the sun having a huge effect of the color. Pete Ferguson (aka Reliant) recently pointed out the importance of buffing out an old hull prior to repairs in order to bring back the original gelcoat color as much as possible. He did this on the extensive rehab of his 25-Outrage Cuddy.

This reminds me of my tile contractor, Rich, who had a client who insisted he grout his work to match the existing old grout. Rich strongly suggested the old grout be cleaned first. "No, no, don't want the expense of all that" the client said. Well a year later Rich got a call. The client had scrubbed to whole tiled area and guess what? The grouts were completely different colors. He had to have Rich come back and dig it all out and grout the entire tiled area over. Beware.

Bigshot posted 01-16-2002 01:51 PM ET (US)     Profile for Bigshot  Send Email to Bigshot     
Parts are readily available for that Merc. As far as reliability and is still running, eh! Have a mechanic look over the engine as far as compression test and lower unit seals, etc. If everything checks out and sea trial is good...why not. How much is the deal for and no matter what deal you score, start saving for a new engine. It is used and used engines(like new ones) can run 10 minutes, 10 months or 10 years. Plenty of 1975 engines still going so age is not a factor.
lhg posted 01-16-2002 02:23 PM ET (US)     Profile for lhg    
Tom - Just to be a nit picker, I think the "eased back" instruments panels on the Outrage/Montauk console began in 1986. This design is still being used today in the Montauk. I remember when I ordered my 1986 18, I had previously only seen the 85 models with the steeper panels and I was surprised when I picked mine up to see the change in design.

John - I'm one of the few defenders of Mercury outboards on this Forum, along with JimH and Clark Roberts. So I'll try to tell you what I know about them, compared to the other brands. This tends to be a Yamaha board, where there are also only a few defenders of OMC!

Anyway, since this Whaler is an '85 that you're considering, I am assuming the engine is also. It would be a V-6, 110 cube (2.0 Liter) engine, as mentioned, similar to the rig shown on Page 4 of the Rendezvous section. I happen to also have 1985 Merc engines on my 18 Outrage, non oil injected in-line 6's. (See picture in Reference section, Bracket article, or Rendezvous section, Pages 1-3). For power and performance, I'll put them up against any NEW 115 HP engine on the market today, including the Merc/Yam EFI four stroke. Not as clean, fuel efficient, or smooth at idle, but just as strong, and 100 lbs lighter each (305#'s).

The key, obviously, with any 1985 engine, is how they have been maintained. For some history on Merc, in 1984 they were the first manufacturer, by many years actually, to introduce the EDP painting process, and integral Power Trim pump. But they first only did this on the 85-115HP engines for some reason, the ones I have. This paint system lasts and lasts, and is the reason the Mercs hold up so well in salt, if taken care of. My 85's still look like new. Yamaha didn't bring this out until the Saltwater II series in the mid nineties, and I think OMC now has the system also. But, I'm not sure when this EDP system was first used on the 150's. I want to say 1986. Your model engine was also built before the power trim pump went into the V-6 mounting bracket, which I think was 1989. So this had to be mounted in the boat, not a good detail with an open transom Whaler Outrage/Revenge.

But if in good shape, the 150 is a fast engine and should do just fine for you. Unlike the OMC's of those years, the oil injection system is not a worry. The split cowling is noiser than the new cover introduced in 1989. If the compression is good, and carbs are in good shape, the engine should do just fine.

My '89 Merc V-6's looked so good in 1997, after 1200 hours in tropical salt, that they were STOLEN off the boat!

So have that engine mechanically checked out, and if good, you should be all right. If not, a new 2002 Merc carbed 150 is going to run you $7400.

Bigshot posted 01-16-2002 03:05 PM ET (US)     Profile for Bigshot  Send Email to Bigshot     
Larry not to nitpick but the 150 has an integral trim pump. My bud had a 200hp and I remember all too well removing the engine to replace the motor($500 back then). 1 month later his cyl wall delaminated and it was scrapped. I was pissed! OMC has been using the integral trim pumps since the 70's, Merc was a late bloomer on that area. My 79 115 had the pump inside the boat.
David Ratusnik posted 01-16-2002 03:59 PM ET (US)     Profile for David Ratusnik  Send Email to David Ratusnik     
John- Just a brief followup to jimh's post. One gelcoat paste available is thru Mini-Craft of FLA. I've used it on a 86 OR (desert tan) and the match was quite good. They are at as of 2 yrs ago. They took about a week to ship a pint but the match was dead on after it aged several months plus was hit by saltwater quite often. The 18 OR is a fine boat. Good Luck David
JohnNorthEast posted 01-16-2002 11:12 PM ET (US)     Profile for JohnNorthEast  Send Email to JohnNorthEast     
Well, I am set to re veiw this boat this weekend. I may take my digital camera with me to catch a few photos. I do not think I can get it in the water at this point (to test the motor or the ride) ... but, I will do the compression test. A local non whaler owner has reported exrtemely good luck with the merc 150 and described it as very powerful... So if it is at all reliable and passes the compresison test and the hull stands up to a few good knocks.. I will have to make an offer... I shall keep you all posted on the outcome and many thanks.
Bigshot posted 01-17-2002 12:32 PM ET (US)     Profile for Bigshot  Send Email to Bigshot     
What is he asking?
JohnNorthEast posted 01-17-2002 06:22 PM ET (US)     Profile for JohnNorthEast  Send Email to JohnNorthEast     
I think they are wanting around 12,000 with a newer trailer. This is way too high for me to consider so they will have to come down a fair bit... also it is really not coming with any extras !!!. I will not pay that price. The boat has been unpainted and I do not think well cared for. I've not seen it up close.

I've learned the Merc 150 is 1984 and is not the integral trim pump so it is mounted on the transom.... I am going to try to get it in the water for a test run. Will let you know how it turns out- any ideas on "fair price" or other concerns?


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