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  Can I run a 235 with premix and VRO?

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Author Topic:   Can I run a 235 with premix and VRO?
LarrySherman posted 08-31-2001 09:00 AM ET (US)   Profile for LarrySherman   Send Email to LarrySherman  
I'm going to bring my boat down the sound this weekend, and I was wondering if I should premix the gas initially, until I can determine if the VRO is working. It's a 1985 Johnson 235, new powerhead and lower unit 2 years ago.

I don't want to damage the engine. I am guessing that it would be better to err on the side of too much oil, as opposed to too little.

If I did premix, what would this do to performance? The engine would be getting about 25:1, right?

Thanks, Larry

Peter posted 08-31-2001 10:34 AM ET (US)     Profile for Peter  Send Email to Peter     

Larry, you can add oil to the tank. If this were a new motor, they would probably add oil to the tank during break-in. With my 150 Johnson VRO, I was advised to add a some oil to the tank just in case the VRO failed. I actually never did because my VRO worked fine. I believe that all the extra oil will do is cause the engine to run smokey and perhaps foul up the plugs particularly at low speeds. Make sure you also use OMC's Carbon Guard or Yamaha's Ring-Free additive according to the directions to prevent carbon build-up.

LarrySherman posted 08-31-2001 11:17 AM ET (US)     Profile for LarrySherman  Send Email to LarrySherman     

That is great news. I'll mix it 50:1 in the tank, and add the carbon guard, if I can find it, or the ring free.

Is there any way to tell that it is working aside from watching the oil level?

bigz posted 08-31-2001 11:44 AM ET (US)     Profile for bigz    
Chuckle -- (big grin) you'll see a lot of smoke Larry!
LarrySherman posted 08-31-2001 11:49 AM ET (US)     Profile for LarrySherman  Send Email to LarrySherman     
Should I mix it 100:1?
Bigshot posted 08-31-2001 01:49 PM ET (US)     Profile for Bigshot  Send Email to Bigshot     
Got a 6 gallon tank? If so use that and see if the VRO works. you will not be able to see the oil level drop but you will notice the excessive smoke. I did it on my 90 Yamaha for a tank and could not wait to burn it up. Mix 100:1 just don't run it wot until you are sure. You will know in 10 minutes, especially at slow speeds and start ups.
Peter posted 08-31-2001 05:36 PM ET (US)     Profile for Peter  Send Email to Peter     
BS has a good idea but I'm not sure how you would hook up a six gallon tank without splicing into the fuel line. Typically, the V6s are rigged without a quick connect to make sure they don't leak any air to cause them to run lean.

I wouldn't mix it any richer than about 100:1. As BS says, just don't run at WOT until you know the VRO is working.

LarrySherman posted 08-31-2001 10:31 PM ET (US)     Profile for LarrySherman  Send Email to LarrySherman     
Thanks Nick and Peter, I'll do just that. I'll let you guys know how it worked out.
Eric posted 09-01-2001 03:17 PM ET (US)     Profile for Eric  Send Email to Eric     
Breaking in my new Johnson required 50:1 in the tank in addition to the VRO. Shouldn't hurt.
LarrySherman posted 09-02-2001 08:18 PM ET (US)     Profile for LarrySherman  Send Email to LarrySherman     
Well. I've got probems.

I mixed up a 6 gal can at 50:1 yesterday, ran around Fishers Island Sound on it. Performance was about 4k at WOT, top speed 30 knots. VRO tank seemed to be at the same level as when we started, so I decide that I should premix 50:1.

I replaced the old fuel filter with a Racor Outboard one, and all hose and fittings. Forward tank is the only one that works (this boat has brass tubing for fuel line from the tank to the baitwell, then hose.), and the gas is a real yellowish color.

The tank only has 35 gallons in it. So I run to the gas dock this morning on the 6 gallon tank, fill the forward tank with enough gas and oil to mix it to about 50:1.

We set out from mystic, and the boat runs smooth, but slow of the gas in the forwad tank. I figure that the gas is only providing about 1/2 the combustive power that it should, since only 35 gal of new gas, and the old stuff is damm near turned.

Performance, about 18 knots at 3k rpm. WOT is 3500, speed about 22.5 knots. We stop several times, engine idels fine, but hardly a trace of smoke. I know thagas is mixed 50:1 so dont't worry too much.

We get to Norwak about 4 hours later, and have burnt about 60 gallons of gas doing it. So I decide to fill up now to get to Greenwich. I fill her up with 93 Octane (which is all they have), and mix 50:1 with Penzoil synthetic (which is also all they have).

Start up and head out, get about 1/2 mile from the gas dock and sputter, sputter, blahhhh. Engine dead. Out goes the anchor in the channel.

Seems clear to me its fuel related, I'm thinking water in the gas. I check my new Reacor filter, no water. I check the VRO unit, why, I don't know. It has about 1 inch of oil in it. It has obviously been working, and we have been running at proably about 25:1 for 70+ miles on margional gas.

I add a gallon of oil to the VRO unit, thinking that It may have shut the motor down on low oil or something. No Joy.

I pull the cowl, and remove the air intake manifold cover. I connect the motor up to the tank it ran on last night, with 50:1 mixed gas from Noank. Prime is ok, buld hard. Move throtle fwd, no gas from needles in carbs that I can see. Gas does get to fuel filter in motor, but seems to stop at a pump at the lower right side of the motor (when facing aft), which is also connected to the VRO system.

Well, I futz aroud far a few min, and the CGA show up. But I know one of their shipmates pretty well, so they just stand by. I start up the kicker, and motor back the Cove Marina gas dock, where I got my gas. My boat is there now.

Please, tell me I can fix this. I thought that when the motor finally got good gas, performance would go right up. I think I've got to disconnect the VRO, at least until I burn up this load of gas. I guessing that I should just leave it disconnected.

I pulled the plugs (which are new) and they were black, not very oily, but that was of course after trying to start the motor for 30 min with out success.
Can you guys tell me what to do to get her running again?

Please?....thanks Larry

Peter posted 09-02-2001 10:11 PM ET (US)     Profile for Peter  Send Email to Peter     
Sorry to hear of the trouble. I'm no mechanic but the only time that the 150 Johnson on my former 18 Outrage wouldn't run above idle and was very hard to start was caused by dirty carb jets. I didn't have an inline fuel filter/water separator at the time.

While it could be anything, the original low WOT RPM and the faillure to start suggests you have dirty carb jets or some other carb ailment which really requires carb service by a good OMC mechanic. I believe that once carb jets are dirty, the carb jets need manual cleaning / rebuilding. If you can't get it running, give Dockside Marine on Cherry Street in Stamford a call and ask for Joey. Joey owns the business and is an excellent OMC mechanic. I highly recommend him as he really knows OMC motors inside and out.

By the way, VRO stands for Variable Ratio Oiling. On the OMC VRO system, very little, if any, oil is injected at low RPMS. The injection ratio is increased up to a maximum of about 50:1 at or near WOT. It doesn't surprise me that the VRO tank level didn't look different after using up the 6 gallon tank. Even if all 6 gallons of the test tank were consumed at a 50:1 WOT ratio, you would have only used about one-eighth of a gallon (16 ounces) of oil at most and about 6 percent of a 1.8 gallon tank, assuming it was full. Of course, it is unlikely that the 6 gallons were consumed at WOT so oil consumption would have been less and even more difficult to detect.

Hope it works out.

bigz posted 09-03-2001 07:50 AM ET (US)     Profile for bigz    
Larry I also am sorry to hear you had some difficulties. Beautiful weekend! You did get her out and you are learning about that cantankerous "thing" on the back end. So all in all cheer up :-). On a positive note you accomplished a lot.

Peter is 100% correct Larry have the motor checked out --- hindsight is wonderful at least I for one assumed (see what happens!) since you rarely brought up the motor that part of the re-build equation was handled! Until your recent post on the VRO system!

It needs a good mechanic to do a complete tune up and maybe rebuild the carbs (were these done with the new head? Doubt it),unless you feel comfortable and have the tools to do it. Final tuning should be done on the water, all you or he can do is a static tune with muffs on land at low rpms.

If you haven't checked the lower unit make sure he runs a pressure and vacuum test don't want to blow your seals and have to rebuilt the unit. Just because the lower unit is "new" (sure it wasn't a rebuilt head and lower unit?)doesn't mean it shouldn't be checked.

Keep us informed --- Tom

LarrySherman posted 09-03-2001 08:25 AM ET (US)     Profile for LarrySherman  Send Email to LarrySherman     
Thanks Peter and Tom,

Yeah, I ran into problems with the mechanic up in Noank, he was calling me behind my back, offering to do work on the side. Then he tried to sell me a 198 Johnson 9hp kicker for $1100 dollars. So I told the yard forman that all work on the boat must be authorized by me through him. that was the last I saw of the mechanic, despite 3 attempts to get him to work on the engine.

Durring the run yesterday, cooling water flow was good, engine did not get too hot. I checked the plugs, and it looks like I did have combustion in all cyclinders. I certianly sounded normal, and good, at least when it ran.

The little filter in the engine had some black particles in it, which mys have come either from the VRO tank or the hose in the engine. I've replaced everything else.

I suspect that if I replace the VRO pump and the hose in the engine, she'll be running again. I'll rebuild the carbs as well.

Now to look for parts and get to the boat.

Thanks guys, Larry

Peter posted 09-03-2001 08:44 AM ET (US)     Profile for Peter  Send Email to Peter     
It sounded like the VRO pump was working fine so why replace it? If you found little black particles in the engine filter, then it is highly likely that you have very fine black particles (the ones that get past the filter) in the carb jets. When you get a chance, have Dockside look at it. It will probably be the best money you ever spend on the engine.
LarrySherman posted 09-03-2001 03:58 PM ET (US)     Profile for LarrySherman  Send Email to LarrySherman     
Yup. I'm out of my area of expertiese on this one. I futzed around on it most of the day, got it running, kind of. sound like 4 or 5 of the 6 possible cyclinders. Does not idle, won't power up. I called dockside and left a message.

I think I'll ask him to do a compression test, and tell me if its worth repairing, and then go from there. I can see that it at least needs new ignition wires (which are not ANYWHERE to be found!!!), and a carb rebuild and adjustment.

I'd hate to throw money at this engine that could be spent on a new one, but if this one will run for a season or two, that would be best. It would give me time to make a good four-stroke decision!

Thanks for the refrence Peter.

PS: Do you know the mechanic at Cove Marina? Bill Lee, I think? I was also given his name, and am thinking of keeping my boat there, and was wondering if I should build a relationship with him, or should I go with Dockside...

thanks, Larry

Peter posted 09-03-2001 09:28 PM ET (US)     Profile for Peter  Send Email to Peter     
Don't know of him. Only one I've worked with the last 5 years or so is Joey at Dockside. If Joey looks at it and says its SPENT, then its SPENT.

If its running on three cylinders only then you may have a blown power pack. I had one go on the 150. The engine will run very rough with very little power.

Sounds like it at least needs a diagnosis to see whats ailing. Good luck.

LarrySherman posted 09-04-2001 10:20 AM ET (US)     Profile for LarrySherman  Send Email to LarrySherman     
I called Joey and spoke with him. 3 weeks before he can look at the motor, and he will not go to Norwalk. Bummer.

Got in touch with Cove's resident mechanic, name of Bill Landon. He is going to look at it this morning, and call me back.

As a side note, Joey said that the 2002 fichts would be 12 to 14k for the 225. not much of a firesale.

Peter posted 09-04-2001 01:17 PM ET (US)     Profile for Peter  Send Email to Peter     
Too bad. He must be pretty busy, which doesn't surprise me!

If a repower is required, take a hard look at the 2 stroke Yamaha 250 OX66 EFI. They are very reliable. A friend has had a 1998 for four seasons and the only problem he's had was a bad 02 sensor this year which apparently was a common design defect on the earlier EFIs. The design defect has been fixed by Yamaha.

I've got a 2000 225 OX66 EFI and have had absolutely no problems in the first year. It's pretty good on gas too. I've been averaging 2.5 mpg on a 22 Revenge consistently all season!

Also, due to the OMC crash last year, a lot of former OMC dealers in our area now seem to be Yamaha dealers. I don't know whether the switch over is temporary but there should be increased competition among Yamaha dealers.

As much as the Ficht problems may be solved, I wouldn't be willing to pay 12 to 14k for a Ficht at this point when I could get a Yamaha EFI for the same price. In my opinion, until the Ficht develops a proven track record for reliability, our short season up here is too precious to take a chance on it.

LarrySherman posted 09-04-2001 02:02 PM ET (US)     Profile for LarrySherman  Send Email to LarrySherman     
I'm of the same thought. And 17k unrigged for a 225 4-stroke is too steep for me, although it should pay for itself over its life in saved gas. I wonder if twin Tohatsu's would be a way to go.

If I have to make, this is going to be a tough decision. No call yet from the mechanic....

LarrySherman posted 09-04-2001 02:41 PM ET (US)     Profile for LarrySherman  Send Email to LarrySherman     
I can get twin Tohatsu 140's for $13,000. I do the rigging, pay the shipping, and buy props. No counter-rotation. Twin Hull boats in Bridgeport.
Peter posted 09-04-2001 03:41 PM ET (US)     Profile for Peter  Send Email to Peter     
Unless you're looking to hang 300 hp on the transom, or close thereto, then in my opinion, a single outboard rated at 250 hp might be a better choice for LI Sound. A single 250 should push a 25 Outrage to about 40 mph. The single will use less fuel and require less maintenance than twin 140s. Unless the hull requires twin power (25 Outrage probably doesn't) or you're going way off shore, I'm not sure twins are really necessary in LI Sound as the farthest from shore you could be is about 11 to 12 miles. Also, not that you would sell anytime soon, a single 250 (Yamaha, Bombardier, Mercury) might provide better resale value than twin 140 Tohatsus. Although Tohatsus may be good quality, I don't think that Tohatsu has a strong dealer presence and acceptance around here yet.
Bigshot posted 09-04-2001 04:10 PM ET (US)     Profile for Bigshot  Send Email to Bigshot     
Larry a compression test is the deciding factor here. If you had a carb go down(which would explain the WOT rpms) then you might have burned up a piston or 2 because they had no oil, etc. If compr comes back good or even a bit low on 1 or 2 cyls(low as 10-15%) then rebuild carbs and you may get another season or 2. If you want a new engine, here is your excuse. If comp is good, they should give you a decent trade for it. Carb rebuild is $150+/- so no biggie. Since you already have a kicker, stay with a single in my opinion. Let me know what the comp #'s are.
LarrySherman posted 09-04-2001 04:35 PM ET (US)     Profile for LarrySherman  Send Email to LarrySherman     
I think you guys are right. A single 225-250 would be best. I was compelled to get the Tohatsu quote by lhg's belief that the boat deserves twins, and that I assumed that the Tohatsu 140's would be the cheapist way to get there. I'll work up some other numbers on the Yamaha's.

Thanks guys.

lhg posted 09-04-2001 06:15 PM ET (US)     Profile for lhg    
Somebody has to stand up for Boston Whaler's parent company here, so it might as well be me. Put a pair of Mercury carburated 150's on it, and your problems will be over for the $13,900 that they will cost. For a lousy $900 additional cost, there is no way that the Merc 150's aren't a superior deal to the little known Tohatsu 140's. The Tohatsu's may be "fisherman reliable", but they're also low tech and slow within the given HP ratings. This pair of Mercs will "blow their doors off". These 150's are smooth, quiet, fast and highly reliable, basically de-tuned 2.5 litre 200's. If you want to spend another $3000, go for the 150 EFI's instead.

You want to get a lot of attention for your boat and at the dock? Put a pair of black engines on your classic Boston Whaler! Works for me.

Let me say it again - the 25's were really designed for only twin engines, usually 150's, unlike the smaller Outrages. Not one single BW catalog picture of a 25 Outrage or Revenge, 1981-1993 ever showed the boat with a single. Same for the CPD catalogs. The single engine solution was usually a dealership "el cheapo" solution, to keep the customer's cost down.

Recently, JD Powers did an outboard engine poll. The biggest complaint was inadequate HP, usually once again, caused by the Dealers, trying to keep the initial selling price low. Almosts all of these people wished they had the rated power on their boat! Under powering is a huge mistake, especially for the newer boat owner! Power it as close as you can get to the factory rating for maximum versatility.

Peter posted 09-04-2001 08:56 PM ET (US)     Profile for Peter  Send Email to Peter     
I have to agree with LHG that it is a wise decision to put as close to the maximum rated power on the hull. I also agree that the 25 was designed for twins. Counter rotating twin 150s is probably the ideal set up for the notched transom 25 Outrage. However, there is no denying that twins cost more to buy, to run, and to maintain.

In pondering whether to go single or twin on a repower for the 25 Outrage, one needs to consider that at the time the 25 Outrage was designed (~1978?), the displacement and output (shaft v. prop hp and torque) of the largest V6 outboard was considerably less than what it is today. Also, back then reliability was lower, so the need for twins was greater. Thus, today there are single power options for the 25 Outrage that weren't really available when it was designed and first introduced. By the way, I think that the 25 Revenge is a different story due to the extra weight in the bow. At rest, 25 Revenges with single outboards look bow heavy and stern light.

Finally, I would say that in Connecticut, Mercury still seems to be a minority player in our market. Not as much of a minority player as Tohatsu, but still a minority player. I don't know why that is, but for as long as I have been boating here (30+ years) it has been a minority. Until recently, this market was dominated by OMC. Now, I'd say Yamaha may have taken over the lion's share. Interestingly, when OMC went down last year, the dealers in this area predominantly switched to Yamaha, not Merc. Perhaps Merc's distribution agreements with existing dealers did not allow for new dealers in the area. Regardless, I'd be very surprised if Larry could get two 150 carbed Mercs for under 14k around here. While the Merc may be good, fast, reliable power these days, the fact that there are fewer dealers around here means fewer servicing options. Getting good service, in addition to a good price, is something that should be strongly considered when repowering. Even Mercs need servicing from time to time.

LarrySherman posted 09-05-2001 09:31 PM ET (US)     Profile for LarrySherman  Send Email to LarrySherman     
Well, it looks like my 235 is repairable, mores the better.

But, if I had to do it, the more I think about, I would have to put a 250 or 225 on my 25 and keep the kicker.

I simply can't justify the expense of twins, although I do admit there is something that says "I'm serious" when you see a Whaler rigged with them.

It would not be Merc, although I have found plenty of dealerships for them. I was offered a 8hr old Opti 225 for 9.9k from Canada. My friends at Spicers would, at this point, sell me one pretty cheap. But I just would not want to own one. Not after what Juris went through.

That leaves Yamaha, Honda and OMC. Well really, it leaves Yamaha. So, if it came down to it, the 250 Yamaha EFI is the winner. Until next season when the 2 stroke pricecs come down and the technology has matured for a season.

Bigshot posted 09-06-2001 10:30 AM ET (US)     Profile for Bigshot  Send Email to Bigshot     
What is the diagnosis on your motor Larry?
LarrySherman posted 09-06-2001 10:39 AM ET (US)     Profile for LarrySherman  Send Email to LarrySherman     
Just called them. They said its a charge coil. It started for them, but ran on 3 cyclinders, they said.

They did not run a compression test yet. I asked them to do the compression test before they fixed the motor. If the test is good, I'm going to ask them to tune it up and fix what needs fixin.


bigz posted 09-06-2001 10:51 AM ET (US)     Profile for bigz    
See you might have good news Larry -- one item don't over look have them pressure and vacuum check the lower unit --- if those seals do go and you break it up aside from no go, you won't have a motor worth the money to remove it from the boat.

Folks for some reason seem to always think the top end and sort of loose track of the bottom end. If it were a newer motor or if you couldn't afford a replacement that lower unit if needed rebuilding would cost close to a grand maybe more, where as just replacing the seals if needed about $400 or less ---

LarrySherman posted 09-06-2001 11:19 AM ET (US)     Profile for LarrySherman  Send Email to LarrySherman     
will do tom, and thanks for the advice! Is this a difficult test to preform?


bigz posted 09-06-2001 11:35 AM ET (US)     Profile for bigz    
Easy if they have the pumps and fitting.

Will cost you a lower unit oil change, in addition to the test time. Worth it though, in 2 years since the "rebuilds" a lot can happen.

Good luck,it's probably fine (as Clark says --- like chicken soup -- can't hurt --)Tom

Bigshot posted 09-06-2001 11:36 AM ET (US)     Profile for Bigshot  Send Email to Bigshot     
Nah! They drain fluid, hook up a pump, pump about 10psi of air in there and go grab a smoke. If in 3 minutes the pressure is still ok, you are good. Most shops do that with a lube job(they should anyway). Good news on the coil. Hold off on giving the "fix whatever" go ahead. Get it running and drive it first. Might run like a top. Compression is the key here to see if running on 3 cyls did any damage(probably not) since carbs were dumping fuel and oil. Plugs will be shongo.
bigz posted 09-06-2001 11:53 AM ET (US)     Profile for bigz    
Larry smart move to have it gone over completely. You don't need to be nit picked with minor problems cropping up. As you said not yet your field of expertise.
LarrySherman posted 09-07-2001 03:03 PM ET (US)     Profile for LarrySherman  Send Email to LarrySherman     
I'm off to pick up the boat. The compression was 100psi +/- 3psi in all cyclinders. Sounds good, right?

they found a bad power pack, and a hairline crack in the old fuel filter. Fixed both and tuned. I'll let you know how she runs!


Bigshot posted 09-07-2001 03:49 PM ET (US)     Profile for Bigshot  Send Email to Bigshot     
A bit low but all within limits. Most comp guages will give different readings so mine might read 115. Give her hell Larry and have some fun. She will give you some more summers, you'll see. Those 2-thirsty-5's are tough.
LarrySherman posted 09-07-2001 05:23 PM ET (US)     Profile for LarrySherman  Send Email to LarrySherman     
Tunrs out they did not tune her up, and it will be 3 weeks before I can get in. Where can I get parts for my beast?

I think I should start learning about her soonest!

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