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Author Topic:   Which V-6 outboard technology to buy?
lhg posted 01-07-2002 10:59 PM ET (US)   Profile for lhg  
For anyone with a Whaler larger than a 16/17' Classic, and in need of, or considering, repowering, I have come across some interesting cost numbers regarding the V-6 engines (135 HP to 250 HP) you will be considering. The "new engine actual selling price" figures I have are for Mercurys, from one of their largest US Dealerships. But the issue, and point of interest, is not a particular brand, but rather the pricing relationships on the various technologies of Carburated 2 stroke, EFI 2 stroke, DFI 2 clean stroke, and four stroke. Mercury happens to give us an excellent picture of the pricing. I am sure the price relationships with Yamaha and Johnson/Evinrude would be similar within a given brand's price structure. (Note, however, that J/E never offered EFI engines).

I have intentionally put the listing in PRICE order, for lowest to highest, so one can see what you get for money, regardless of HP.

A general point of interest should first be mentioned, at SAME HP ratings:

1. an EFI 2 stroke engine is about $1500 more than a carburated 2 stroke engine.

2. A DFI 2 stroke "clean" engine is about $3000 more than a carburated engine, and about $1600 more than an EFI 2 stroke.

3. A 4 stroke engine, at 225HP, is about
$4000 more than a EFI 2 stroke. (no carburated 225 strokes are made anymore, but if so, would be about $5500 more)

All prices listed below are for 25" shaft XL Saltwater models:

150 HP Carb--------$7454
200 HP Carb--------$8845
150 HP EFI---------$9127
135 HP Optimax-----$9146
200 HP EFI--------$10227
150 HP Optimax----$10584
225 HP EFI--------$11083
175 HP Optimax----$11327
200 HP Optimax----$11825
250 HP EFI--------$11966
225 HP Optimax----$12699
225 HP 4 stroke---$15000(approx Yamaha price)

A final point of interest, is that using the same prices and Dealership from last year's 2001 engines, Mercury has increased the price of the engines as follows:

Carburated 2 strokes: +8.7%
EFI 2 strokes: +7%
Optimax: +4.5%

They are telling us something here, although I'm not sure what. But it is obvious they want to move people away from the low cost carbed engines to the DFI engines. There is now less of savings in going with the old technology.

Other notes of interest:

The extremely popular 150/175HP range has no four stroke offerings, by anybody. But they can't be far away.

Yamaha is only building the HPDI engines up to 200HP, so as not to compete with the 225 4 stroke.

Mercury is only building the Optimax up to 225HP, so as not to compete with the soon to be announced 250HP inline-6 4 stroke? True to Mercury's speed traditions, I'm betting they are building this Chevy based 4 stroke to blow the doors off the Yam and Honda 225 4 strokes. (only MY hunch, please) After all, all of Merc's 4 stroke Mercruisers are based on Chevy/GM blocks, where they have +80% of the market.

Bombardier is building the Fichts up to 250HP, so they can compete with both of the "big" guys. They're supposedly pretty fast.

So, if you're in the market for a new V-6 for your Whaler, maybe some of this will help with a very difficult decision as to where & how to spend your money.

SuburbanBoy posted 01-08-2002 12:58 AM ET (US)     Profile for SuburbanBoy  Send Email to SuburbanBoy     
I am not sure that a chevy six will blow the doors off of the Honda six. ("I'm betting they are building this Chevy based 4 stroke to blow the doors off the Yam and Honda 225 4 strokes") It seems that GM has chosen Honda to supply them with v-6 motors for their new Saturn suv. They were desperate for a new design, efficient, reliable, quiet and light weight V-6. And for smaller mills, I can't think of a great GM 4-cylinder, ever. Yes, I know all about the old iron duke (better know as the iron dog). Merc better hustle, their competitors are closing in fast.


SuburbanBoy posted 01-08-2002 01:02 AM ET (US)     Profile for SuburbanBoy  Send Email to SuburbanBoy     
I forgot the mention the GM Quad Four. It made the Vega look reliable.

Get those carb equipted Merc 2-smokes while you can. They are true classic's and a great value as well. The 4-strokes will be a risk.


jimh posted 01-08-2002 02:00 AM ET (US)     Profile for jimh  Send Email to jimh     
[administrative post]
lhg posted 01-08-2002 02:58 AM ET (US)     Profile for lhg    
I don't know, Sub. From the reports I've seen, there hasn't been a Honda outboard made yet that is faster than the same HP Merc, or Yamaha, for that matter, regardless of the technology. We'll have to see if the new Honda 225 can keep up with a Merc 225 EFI, or a new Evinrude 225 Ficht. The Yamaha 225 4 stroke won't. As far as I can see, Honda's not ahead of Merc or Yamaha at all in 4 strokes. They might have made them longer, but that doesn't mean they're better, or faster. Most of theirs need to be re-designed with EFI systems, and the 115/130's need to be smaller and more powerful. I think they even buy a lot of their lower units from Mercury. None of this is to say they're not fine engines. We're only talking speed/power output here, a characteristic of little value to most Whaler owners here.

And I hear the new GM in-line dohc 6 runs pretty well, and puts out a lot of HP for it's size and weight. So if Merc is going to use this in the outboard, it might just be a good engine. The last Merc in-line 6 was a screamer for it's size. Nothing OMC ever put out could match it in the 99 c.i. size.

Mercury has a lot of experience in "marinizing" GM's 4 stroke auto engines for marine use. That's why the Mercruisers dominate the stern drive market. Time will tell how well they can design, or modify, a large 4 stroke outboard.

I don't understand why one would think Mercury's in trouble in the outboard and marine engine business. Nothing could be farther from the truth. They sell more outboards than all of the other manufacturers put together, and have little competition at all in the I/O business.

When the OMC bankruptcy occurred, and Mercury tried to buy them, the Fed's said "no" because the combined companies would control 80% of the outboard market in the US. Since OMC had 28% at the time, the rest of the 80% can be assumed to be Merc's. Which also means that Yamaha, Suzuki, Honda, Tohatsu and Nissan had the remaining 20% of the US market combined.

I know this an anti-Merc/Brunswick board, but somebody's got to defend the black motors, so it might as well be me! I've owned them since 1970. Besides, like it or not, Mercury owns Boston Whaler.

But none of this was the original intention of this thread. I was more interested in presenting the comparative price of technologies rather than brands. Maybe one could care less.

hauptjm posted 01-08-2002 09:45 AM ET (US)     Profile for hauptjm    
I always wondered why the manufacturers have ignored the 150-175hp range for 4-strokes. I'm just guessing, but I would think this has got to be the biggest selling class of engines in the v-6 category. I've never seen a breakout of sales by horsepower. Most bigger (200hp+) probably represent less than 10-15% of the mid-range sizes(150-175) and less than 5% of total engine sales for any manufacturer. These are pure guesses as to the figures, but find it interesting as to how they make their choices. Of course, the 225 and 250 (even 300hp OMC) do make for sexy rag cover-articles.
george nagy posted 01-08-2002 11:59 AM ET (US)     Profile for george nagy  Send Email to george nagy     
Actually I was thinking the same but a friend pointed out to me that most twin engine rigs are 200+ hp. Boats have gotten bigger and so has hp capacities. If you look at a 1985 25' whaler it was rated for 300 hp max. now I think the new 26' its sudo replacement is rated for 450 hp. All the super centerconsole boats are rigged with twin 250 yamahas in contender and intrepid's case they are even rigging triples (ridiculous IMO).

Most boats are either smaller 18's with less than 130 hp to accomodate 4 stroke availablity I think, and then jump to 22' with a single 225 hp. Thre are not a great deal of 19'-21' boats manufactured anymore and if there are a few they are rigged with larger outboards.

Even whaler dropped thier 24' twin engine rig outrage for a single setup 23' and a larger twin engine setup 26' outrage.

I think the boosting economy was the cause of this marketing based decision but as LHG points out in his research these new tech engines are expensive to buy and maintain. As a result we may see the smaller 150-175 hp boats come back as well as the smaller twin rigs.

As an aside; I'm noticing that the 23' cat boats tend to be popular twin rigs probably due to thier stability and lower hp requirements.

SuburbanBoy posted 01-08-2002 12:54 PM ET (US)     Profile for SuburbanBoy  Send Email to SuburbanBoy     
If speed is the determinant, try this Honda, a 1,200 cc, 165hp, personal watercraft. As Honda continues to flex its technical muscles, watch for a much broader line of water sports based products. Perhaps some fresh ideas for the outboard motor market?


lhg posted 01-08-2002 02:47 PM ET (US)     Profile for lhg    
I'm not interested in yet another brand of these hideous foreign made hot rod PWC's being imported to the recreational waterways of the United States. The focus of this website is Boston Whalers. Try the "Whole Truth" website if you want to talk PWCs & Motorcycles. It's also another hate-Mercury site.
SuburbanBoy posted 01-08-2002 06:46 PM ET (US)     Profile for SuburbanBoy  Send Email to SuburbanBoy     
The Honda is designed in America, and manufactured in America. I don't hate Mercury. To the contrary, I want Merc to succeed. My first outboard was a Super 10, and I have owned a number of others up to a Black Max. The "Whole Truth" web site appears to be an anti-tobacco site trying to save a few tobacco junkies.


lhg posted 01-08-2002 08:41 PM ET (US)     Profile for lhg    
I'm sorry, it's The Hull Truth. There's a big Mercury bashing thread going on right now by the Yammie guys.
SuburbanBoy posted 01-08-2002 10:44 PM ET (US)     Profile for SuburbanBoy  Send Email to SuburbanBoy     
I just dropped in to get a whiff of the "Hull Truth". There is some bashing going on but I'm not sure there is much rational thought. And, MY dad is stronger than your dad... Ooops, wrong post.

This is the Golden Age of Outboards. Think about it. As lhg points out, there is more choice today then ever before. 2-stroke, 4-stroke, carbed, injected, and soon turbocharged. We are quite fortunate to have so many choices.

I consider the big V-6, multi-valve 4-strokes to be the lap of luxury. My personal choice would be a classic 2-stroke with carbs. But, I don't fish much, and never troll. Power to weight is my main parameter, and the classic's have it over all others. I never could get comfortable with the fuel injected 2-smokes. It is almost like adding jewelry or guilding to a claw hammer.


lhg posted 01-09-2002 05:11 PM ET (US)     Profile for lhg    
Yes, it's good to get this thread back to my original intention - one's thoughts on the various technology choices vs cost new.

I think I basically agree with Sub, in that looking at these comparisons, the highly reliable, lighter weight and lower cost two strokes are still difficult to pass up when the "chips are down". Unless one does an awful lot of 700 rpm idling or trolling, and a lot of turning the engine on and off, where the exhaust smoke is produced, I just don't think it's a big deal. Yamaha's oil injection system is so clean that I can hardly tell whether the engine's a 2 stroke or 4 stroke anyway.

fester posted 01-09-2002 10:58 PM ET (US)     Profile for fester  Send Email to fester     
I purchased a new 175 horsepower outboard about three weeks ago. By far the most important factor in my decision was price with the second being reliability.

I was shocked by the cost of outboards. Most dealers were quoting me prices from $13,000 to $15,000 for a new 4 stroke or direct injection motor in similar size to what I wanted. I can't justify spending this type of money on an outboard. So I did what Bigshot suggests, shop. I eventually found a new 1999 Johnson carburated 2 stroke Oceanpro from a dealer who was losing his OMC line and was able to get it for $4,032. I did not get a warranty but for that price I did not care.

Had I been able to afford one of the new technology outboards, I do not think I would by a direct injection 2 stroke by any manufacture. In my opinion, the long term reliability of these types of engines is unknown. I probably would buy a 4 stroke if I was willing to part with $15,000.

I am very comfortable with the reliability of the carburated 2 strokes in that these motors have been around a long time and have proven themselves as being reliable.

SuburbanBoy posted 01-10-2002 12:33 AM ET (US)     Profile for SuburbanBoy  Send Email to SuburbanBoy     
I have to call the Optometrist tomorrow. I thought I read that a fellow Whaler purchased a brand new 175hp outboard for $4K. I've got to breath into a bag for a while! What a deal. Will you help me buy my next house? Wow.

Good Luck,


Bigshot posted 01-10-2002 11:21 AM ET (US)     Profile for Bigshot  Send Email to Bigshot     
Good job Fester! Where did you get that? There was a guy in Sarasota where I got my 1999 70hp 4 stroke($2850) that had a charcoal 175 25" Johnson for around that price. JBC was interested but could NOT overpower his 18. Hell for that price if it had a 20" shaft it would be on my Montauk:)
george nagy posted 01-10-2002 02:40 PM ET (US)     Profile for george nagy  Send Email to george nagy     
Actually am very interested in a 150-175 johnson at that price could somewone please point me in the direction of thier sources?
Kelly posted 01-10-2002 03:52 PM ET (US)     Profile for Kelly  Send Email to Kelly     
I think the reason that the carb 2 strokes went up more that the others is that they could. They are by far the lowest priced option, and there are many people that think they are still the best in terms of weight, performance, and reliability. There are many buyers that still prefer the "C" model Yamahas.

Regarding the reason the 150 4 strokes have not come out. I think there are two reasons. First, I think overcoming weight in this range is harder. For that reason, I think the 150 four strokes will be a slightly more advanced technolgy than the other 4 strokes. Second, I think manufacturers were hoping their 2 stroke direct injection models would work out and they would not have to rush 4 stroke models to market. Third, I think this range is hardest hit by the weight of the 4 stroke switch and gets the least benefit. Most single engine boats with a 150 already have a fairly large gas tank and will probably not go out any farther even if they could increase their range. I have always thought of the boats of the size that use a 150 as being primarily "go fast quick" boats where the 2 stroke is still better. I also think the boats with the 150 hp motors are still more price sensitive than the bigger or smaller boats. Kelly

fester posted 01-10-2002 10:42 PM ET (US)     Profile for fester  Send Email to fester     
Bigshot and George

I purchased my motor from the Dockside Marine in Sarasota. When I bought the motor, they only had a 225 horsepower engine left. I have been looking for a motor for about six months but never saw a price close to the Sarasota. I have to thank you Bigshot in that it was your thread about your 70 4 stroke that made me call the Sarasota dealer. In addition to the cost of the motor, it cost me about $300 to ship it. Finished having the motor mounted yesterday and plan to try it for the first time Saturday.


lhg posted 01-11-2002 03:02 PM ET (US)     Profile for lhg    
I think Kelly's ideas are right on. The 150-200HP niche usually require 6 cylinders, and that is where the huge weight increase occurs with 4 strokes. The manufacturers are between the proverbial rock and a hard place.
Honda is suffering from this lesson, with the huge 130HP 6 cylinder engine. This size still may be the place for the V-6 DFI's, like the Mercury super clean 135 Optimax, and the 150. Ficht and HPDI are in this market also.
WSTEFFENS posted 01-11-2002 04:22 PM ET (US)     Profile for WSTEFFENS  Send Email to WSTEFFENS     
I find your posts interesting and well informed. However I don't get the feeling this is an anit-Mercury Marine string or site. You don't have to defend them they can do it all on their own.

They make a very good, well engineered product and it shows in the market place. They had the very good fortune to have deep fincincal pockets due to their dominance of the IO bussiness so when it came time to re-work the outboard product line they were in fat city.

We differ on several points however. (This is not personal just obsveration. As I was an old OMC guy.)

First I seriously doubt the 4 stroke will ever make an echnomical high power (150 & up) alternative to a 2 stroke. One, unless you can whip the weight problem it will be impratical; example last fall I was reading a marine magazine that was whooping up the latest Yam 4 stroke design in the 150 hp catagory. It was however in the range of 150 lbs plus heaver than my '91 old fashoned 2 stroke V6's. No bargan here as the reason you get an OB is power to weight ratio.

You might be able to get there in the P/W ratio by using technology used by Lycoming and Continential light aircraft engines,(hollow cranks & rods etc.) however I don't believe the adverage recreational boater will be able to afford it or its upgraded maintince.

Second, I find it hard to believe that Mercury Marine would go back to old design technology that they had extensively developed (the inline 6) as it would make them retool again and abandon their modern shallow V6 confiuration. This would also get them back to the long heavy inline crankshaft and more complicated induction problems due to the taller engine. On the cosmetic side it would also put them back into the days of the original and awsome looking "Black Max". It was intiminating to its competition as well as its potential customers. As well as hard to fish over and around.

I personally belive that the 2 stroke will continue to be refined and continue in production for many years thanks to electronic technology. (Yea some sort of ficht). Mercury picked the correct short term solution with the belt driven pump injection system, despite its weight penality.

When it comes down to it, it will be electronic fuel injecton and management, along with a bio-friendly lubricant that will get the EPA off their backs for water polution. As I was in the commercial garage business for 25 years, I can remember how bad the original computer controlled cars were in the 70's, now nobody thinks anything about it as it is so reliable.

As for the Yamm boys on your back, just look at it this way. When you see and early and even current high HP "V" engine (as well as inline 3's) they sure appear to be well refined "reverse-engineered" product courtesy of OMC of the late 80's & early 90's, right down to the cowls & cowl lock latches.

As for your current advice, I agree get the V6 carb engine & go on.

gss036 posted 01-08-2003 05:48 PM ET (US)     Profile for gss036  Send Email to gss036     
I talked with a Mercury sales person about a 225 4 stroke to replace my 1989 200 carbed merc OB. He told me the the lowerer end was Mercury and the Powerhead was YAMAHA, any truth to that? I would like to repower w/a 4 stroke. I have friends w/Honda 130 and 225's, they say they are happy. Any thoughts?
TRAFFICLAWYER posted 01-08-2003 08:26 PM ET (US)     Profile for TRAFFICLAWYER    

F.Y.I. Yamaha is also building 250 hp HPDI.

kglinz posted 01-08-2003 08:30 PM ET (US)     Profile for kglinz  Send Email to kglinz     
Is the wind still blowing in Bellingham? Looked bad on NWCN the other day. I'm told the Merc 225 4 Stroke is all Yamaha except for the cowling.The cowling was changed to allow mounting twins on 26" centers. I have a pair of them sitting in Portland,which I'm going to visit on my way to the Seattle boat show next week. I'm counting on using my current gauges, steering, and controls.
Kemp Lindsey
TRAFFICLAWYER posted 01-08-2003 08:47 PM ET (US)     Profile for TRAFFICLAWYER    

Your Merc salesperson must have flunked product-line school.The 225 4 stroker is virually all Yamaha, other than cowling,color and cheesy gauges.

whalersman posted 01-08-2003 09:22 PM ET (US)     Profile for whalersman  Send Email to whalersman     
This thread was ONE year old yesterday.
kglinz posted 01-08-2003 09:46 PM ET (US)     Profile for kglinz  Send Email to kglinz     
Yes, I know. gsso36 made his enter today.(01/08/2003)
Sal DiMercurio posted 01-09-2003 12:13 AM ET (US)     Profile for Sal DiMercurio  Send Email to Sal DiMercurio     
Theres absolutly "NO" advantage of getting a 4 stroke over a 2 stroke DFI.
The Evinrude Ficht gets better much fuel economy, runs cleaner then all of the 4 strokes [ less emissions ], is lighter & far more powerfull.
Example, a buddy of mine insisted the Yamaha 4 stroke 225 was "THE" engine to get, he got it.
We left the dock together, ran together at the same speed, trolled all day right next to each other & ran back in together, the next day we did it again.
We both had filled our tanks together at the same gas station before we left, now it was time to fuel up again.
His gps said he traveled 102 miles, he took on 52 gallons of fuel,....yes 52 gallons,.....I took on, are you ready for this,.......18 gallons for 103 miles.
He got "LESS" then 2 mpg, I got "OVER" 5+ mpg.
Yes the DFI technology is expensive, but if you look around on the net, you can get them for half price.......for instance, my 2,000 - 200 hp Evinrude FICHT is about $14 - $15,000 installed, I got mine for $7,800 & installed in myself.
In case your interested, my boat is a "V" 20 & she runs right at 61 mph in 1' chop, mounted up on the 3rd holes, twisting a 14.25 x 21 Stiletto 3 blade s/s.
This speed is myself alone with less the 10 gallons of fuel,.....with 2 or 3 guys & average 25 gallons of fuel, she runs 59 - 60 mph depending on the water.
Your going to see Evinrude as #1 again as the FICHT technology is far ahead of efi & Yammaha fuel injection.
This is fact, not just because I own one.
gss036 posted 01-09-2003 12:59 AM ET (US)     Profile for gss036  Send Email to gss036     
He! Thanks all for the info. I will have to price out the Merc225 up in BC Canada. Merc's seem to sell much cheaper there with the exchange rate and there is no duty involved.
Yep, I'm new here, just ran across the site while surfing for engine info.
The wind is about gone and summer is here, upper 20's at night w/upper 40's low 50's during the day. :-}
weekendwarrior posted 01-09-2003 04:53 PM ET (US)     Profile for weekendwarrior  Send Email to weekendwarrior     
I appreciate the comparason, but unless the hulls are identical and the props adjusted for equivalent performance then I'm not sure how much you can rely on the result. Kinda like saying my little V6 tacoma took less gas than my neighbors v6 4-runner to drive the same distance. They may have the same basic motor, but with so many other differences the comparason isn't completely valid.

That said, I would be very interested in seeing any comparaons between the 2 motor types on identical hulls.

27Walk posted 01-09-2003 05:28 PM ET (US)     Profile for 27Walk  Send Email to 27Walk     
I beleive Sir Merc posted the same results on another board and finally admitted that his buddies bot was a heavy deep-vee 23'er and proped and loaded differently than his. He finally just disappeared after everyone chastized him enough. If it's a different person then I apologize, but the decription he gives is identical.
27Walk posted 01-09-2003 05:29 PM ET (US)     Profile for 27Walk  Send Email to 27Walk     
I beleive Sal posted the same results on another board and finally admitted that his buddies bot was a heavy deep-vee 23'er and proped and loaded differently than his. He finally just disappeared after everyone chastized him enough. If it's a different person then I apologize, but the decription he gives is identical.
Sal DiMercurio posted 01-09-2003 07:59 PM ET (US)     Profile for Sal DiMercurio  Send Email to Sal DiMercurio     
Yes my buddy does have a 22.8', but it only weighs like 300 lbs more then mine, we were on the same water at the same speed, same load.
You must own a 4 cycle, sorry for you.
2 mpg verses 5+ mpg is pretty darn bad for any new engine without carbs, unless it's on a houseboat.
Please tell me & the rest of us, the advantage of owning a 4 stroke over a FICHT, if there is any.
Sorry I hit a nerve.
masbama posted 01-09-2003 09:47 PM ET (US)     Profile for masbama  Send Email to masbama     
Somebody release BIGSHOT from his straightjacket so he can respond to Sal's post. By the way, I'm with you Sal; the Fichts are awesome!
Sal DiMercurio posted 01-09-2003 10:43 PM ET (US)     Profile for Sal DiMercurio  Send Email to Sal DiMercurio     
I'v never been chastized or ever had to dissapear from any board.
My 55 years of racing boats , commercial fishing, & sport fishing, not to mention 30+ years as Captain of my 3 commercial Salmon boats on the Bering sea.
I call it as I see it, & that 4 stroke Yamaha 225 on my buddies boat, is the poorest excuse for any engine i'v ever seen.
$18,000 for an engine that can't even break 2 mpg on a 22.8' boat running under 4,000 rpms, guys, thats a hell of a deal, better run out & get one.........for an anchor.
27Walk posted 01-09-2003 11:31 PM ET (US)     Profile for 27Walk  Send Email to 27Walk     
Point is Sal, that you are comparing(Bashing) an engine based on a comparision of 2 completely different boats/setups. I find it hard to beive that the 23' Regulator, which is the heaviest and deepest vee of all the 23' class boats, can get 3 mpg with the F225 and your buddies boat which is ONLY 300#'s more than a V-20' Wellcraft gets only 1.96mpg. Something is wrong here, either he is not proped right, had a dirt dobber or air bubble in the vent line when he first filled up and he really didn't start on a full tank or something.

Your comparision is along the same lines as Mercs new 135 ad where they compare the fuel efficieny of a Whaler with the F225 and twin 135 optimaxes. The fact is, and the competeing manfactures have figured this out, the 225 4 strokes from any current manufacturer are not the best setup on single engine 22-24' heavy boats. However, set them up in twin configuration on a 25-29' boat and they compare very favorably to the DFI's.

The new Ficht seems to be a good motor, after all you're getting 5.72mpg?? However, giving 1/2 the story on an apples and oranges comparision is not right.

Sal DiMercurio posted 01-10-2003 10:28 AM ET (US)     Profile for Sal DiMercurio  Send Email to Sal DiMercurio     
His boat is a 22.8 Scout, mine is a "V" 20 Whaler..............darn near 3 times the amount of fuel is insane.
I agree, there something very wrong with either the setup, or the engine just isn't what their cracked up to be.
He brought it back to the dealer after I told him he got screwed, the tech told him, everything is fine & the sister boat with the same engine gets the same fuel economy.
Theres no doubt in my mind a FICHT would get far better economy on that setup then the 4 stroke Yamaha.
Don't get me wrong, I think Yamahas are great engines, but his boat isn't the only one getting horrible milage, many others have told me the same thing about theirs.
Until someone shows or proves to me, that a 225 hp 4 stroke can & will get better fuel economy then what i'v seen, I can't honestly support they theory or adds.
I put alot of time around boats & engines, & so far, i'm not impressed at all with the performance of that big Yamaha.
The only plus for them is, yes, their very quite, but I can here you fart while running mine at 4,000 rpms, so mine must be pretty quite to.
Bigshot posted 01-10-2003 11:22 AM ET (US)     Profile for Bigshot  Send Email to Bigshot     
Straight jacket is off and I am gonna end this once and for all. I have the Boating magazine shootout from a few months ago that takes the same....the SAME...23' scout that your buddy has and drops a 225 Ficht, Honda, Opticrap, Yamaha 4S and the Merc 4S on the same hull with the same crew and the same gas and the ficht had the best holeshot and top speed of roughly 52mph. The worst was the yamaha 4s at 48+ mph. Gas milage was within 1 gph on ALL engines...maybe less. Unless you have an experimental, one of a kind Ficht Sal....I call bullshit that he drinks that much more. If you really burned 18 gallons he should have burned 20max. My 17' with a 70hp 4s would take 12gals to do that trip and my 20' Hydra-sports with a 225 carbed OMC would burn 30-35max. No way in hell did he burn 52...not on 2 trips. Now with that said:

You claim his boat is only 300lbs heavier...ok then how do you get 61.7mph out of yours? In order for a 200Ficht to hit that speed with a 21" prop you either need to spin 6400rpm Wot(10% slip) or 6000 with only 4% slip. Now no factory boat I know of has a 4% slip, hell 10% is great. Most high perf boats range from 7-12%. Whalers are hardly "high-perf" but we'll give it the benefit of the doubt. That is right from Bombardiers mouth. This is fact and research conducted by trained professionals. I rest my case and jacket is back on.

lhg posted 01-10-2003 02:01 PM ET (US)     Profile for lhg    
OK, Nick. Take your jacket back off. You refer to all of the above engine brands by their correct name except Mercury. What's your hang-up? This is getting old and not funny anymore. Besides, in all of your wisdom, you are also misinformed. There are thousands more functioning Mercury Optimax's on the water than there are Ficht and HPDI combined. The bugs are out of those engines, and they are now excellent performers.

How about you stop using "Opticrap" and we won't refer to your engine as a Su-pukey?


gss036 posted 01-10-2003 02:12 PM ET (US)     Profile for gss036  Send Email to gss036     
I would never have guessed that a Ficht is that much more economcial. It just sounds too good to be true. But what I do know is that the Honda 4s gets the following w/ a fuel flow meter on a 22 ft Habercraft:
2K RPM 2.9 Gallon Per Hour
3500 rpm 7.5 GPH
4500 rpm 12.5 GPH @ 38.5 MPH
5000 rpm 15GPH @ 44.5 MPH
WOT 5800 rpm 21 GPH @ 52.8 MPH /2.51 MPG
That being said, my 200 Merc carbed beats that on a 23 Tracker WA carrying 115 gal fuel. I guess I am not impressed with the Honda 225, nice and quiet but a fuel hog to say the least. I guess I will keep looking. I need to check with my friend with 225 Honda w/bracket on his 24 ft Orca to see what he is doing. He charters, so I am sure he keeps track of those things.
diveorfish posted 01-10-2003 02:49 PM ET (US)     Profile for diveorfish  Send Email to diveorfish     
Bully for you lhg. To verify what you said about getting the bugs out, a couple of months ago one of my 2001 Opti 135s threw and injector and messed up the Powerhead. (I guess you could call that a blown Powerhead) Of course I was upset, and after reading all the bad stuff about Optis here and on other forums I started to develop an Optimax nervous tick. (Thatís what led to my performance post regarding re-powering) My dealer though, was Johnny-on-the-spot and promptly replaced the power head and put new 2003 injector sets in both of my engines. (All work done under warranty)

I donít know the technical differences but now my engines run noticeably quieter and smoother. They may even be a little more powerful although it could just be my imagination. Mercury has definitely done something to improve the injectors since 2001. If they have made any other improvements in the 2003ís these are very sweet engines and I wouldnít hesitate to get one.

lhg posted 01-10-2003 03:22 PM ET (US)     Profile for lhg    
A recent trade journal has just published an article on the Optimax engines. Fred Kiekhaefer was the spokesman, and he said that Mercury has worked very hard to help their suppliers furnish better quality parts.
And their assembly line operations have also been improved to get "Optimax right". He said 2002 warranty claims on Optimax have decreased 80% over the 2001 models. He says Optimax problems are now solved, and the engines are "absolutely, positively" fixed.

Mercury has also said the new Supercharged 4-stroke won't be released until they are sure it is bulletproof, and it's taking some time. Yamaha outsmarted both OMC and Mercury by letting them go forward, evidently too fast, at least for OMC, on the DFI technology, while they held theirs back for 3 years watching results. Now, this is what Mercury is evidently doing in the large 4-stroke arena, watching Honda and Yamaha struggle with early, but poor, performers relative to the EFI's and DFI's.

None of this is to say, however, that the Yamaha 225 is not a current huge seller, with no competition except Honda. So holding back can cost market share, as happened with the Yamaha DFI's. Don't see many of them relative to the Opti's.

Finally, I'm suddenly starting to see a lot of new Bombardier Fichts on local police boats. Too many for normal market conditions. I'm guessing that Bombardier is giving these away in exchange for the visiblity factor. All manufacturers have programs like this, but Bombardier needs the exposure right now. This is only a hunch, but last year these same boats had Mercs or Yamaha's on them.

Bigshot posted 01-10-2003 03:56 PM ET (US)     Profile for Bigshot  Send Email to Bigshot     
You say tomato...I say tomato! I referred to the other Merc 4S as a Merc did'nt I? You don't even own an opti so why do you care?

Opticraps...Pantyliners....SeaPigs....Can't print what I call pre-2001 Fichts....just a name is all. But I have no problem with Su-pukey especially since I currently own 3 Evinrudes(1985,1988,&1999) 1 Johnson(1993) and 1 Mercruiser. Which all run perfectly and have NEVER been to a dealer or had ANY warranty work except for a voltage regulator on the 1993 Johnson back in 1994. I'm were saying?

Just busting...I'll lay off the opti jokes. Now the key here will be when you repower...will you buy an opti...max?

lhg posted 01-10-2003 04:30 PM ET (US)     Profile for lhg    
Thanks, Nick. I'm hoping I'll never have to repower! 1200 hours on the 200 EFI's so far, after almost 6 years, only a rectifier has needed replacement on one of them. A power trim is showing signs of leaking, however. Guess I can't complain.
gss036 posted 01-10-2003 04:46 PM ET (US)     Profile for gss036  Send Email to gss036

Check out this article, it seems to say the DFI more than holds its own against the 4 strokes. That is good news. Maybe the OptiMax Merc is worth looking at for repowering, considerably cheaper.

kglinz posted 01-10-2003 05:36 PM ET (US)     Profile for kglinz  Send Email to kglinz     
Apparently some Merc dealers haven't gotten the word that the Opti problems are solved, or don't believe. I recently talked to two high volume Bass boat and Merc dealers, and neither of them would even talk Optis. All they would say is buy EFI.
Kemp Lindsey
Sal DiMercurio posted 01-10-2003 05:48 PM ET (US)     Profile for Sal DiMercurio  Send Email to Sal DiMercurio     
Ok Bigshot.
The speeds i'v been clocked [ shot ] at, were with police radar just after our annual offshore boat races.
On 2 other occasions, couple of my friends [ police officers ]also shot me on their radar, same speeds came up, take it from there.
My gps says 59 to 63 mph, but dosen't take into concideration the speed of the current in the river, just the speed over the bottom of the river, my speedo tops out at 60 & she pegs it.
Remember one thing, i'v raced boats since the early 60s, topping out at 196.56 mph [ in 1971 ], just 2 weeks ago ran my buddies 36'off shore with 4 - 280hp mercs at 114 mph.
Yes, my engine was a test engine for OMC, they tore it down like 5 times in the 13 hours they tested it, checking for wear.
She's putting out 222 hp at the prop.
I got the engine directly from omc, but had to run the papers through a dealer.
Shes up on the 3rd set of holes.
She's twisting a Stiletto 14.25 x 21 with a little bit more cup put in.
Not 61.7 mph, the best was 60.7 out of 3 runs, the other 2 were 60.3 mph.
This spring I took 2 friends striper trolling, dropped them off at the fishing grounds, where his brand new GMC pickup was, the levee road runs right along the river & I was really poring the coals to her, trimmed out so far she was ballancing on the last 6" of boat, I was only about 30 yards from the levee.
My buddy was right along side of me in his truck for over 2 miles, when I got to the launch ramp, all he could say is, holy sh!!, that thing flies, he said I was steady at just over 60 mph, bouncing to 61 mph.
This engine peaks out at 6,100 rpms at that speed & trimmed to the point of almost breaking loose.
Yes, I agree, 10% slip is perfect, but according to the computer, i'm running at less then 10% slip, yes, it's tough for me to believe to, but thats where it's at.
Breaking 60 is only when the air is cold, on a hot summer day, lucky to get 58 - 59.
The water has to be perfect, at 1 ft chop, as she dosen't like smooth water at all, but not over 2 ft, as she gets a bit squirelly at that speed.
lhg posted 01-10-2003 06:47 PM ET (US)     Profile for lhg    
I don't doubt Sal's information at all. It would seem entirely possible that his earlier 20 Outrage, at 1600lbs, rated for 180 HP, with an only 12 degree deadrise, could run 60 with a 225 V-6. A single 225 is a lot of HP for that boat.

Louie Kokinis has indicated his loaded 22 Guardian, a larger, deeper V and heavier hull, will run around 54 with his Merc 225 EFI. On Sal's boat, the Merc 225 EFI could easily do the same 60 he is getting.

Tom W Clark posted 01-10-2003 06:58 PM ET (US)     Profile for Tom W Clark  Send Email to Tom W Clark     

Sal's motor is 200 Ficht, not a 225. Evinrude's own web site state's very bluntly that the Evinrude 200 Ficht puts out close to 225 hp at the prop. The fact that Sal's puts out 222 hp at the prop makes it pretty much run-of-the-mill.

Sal DiMercurio posted 01-10-2003 11:32 PM ET (US)     Profile for Sal DiMercurio  Send Email to Sal DiMercurio     
Lets straighten it out.
My boat is not a 20' Outrage, it's a "V' 20 Outrage, only 19'10" long, much flatter then the normal 20' Outrage, 1,600 lbs, maximum hp rating is 175 hp [ per the CC tag ].
I'm running very near 50 hp "OVER" max recommendated hp.
I also know how to get every ounce of hp out of engines & how to get max performance for boats.
The engine is powerful enough to hold the whole boat out of the water & just ride on the very last 6" or so.
Most people think you just put the hammer down & trim out a bit to get all she's got, thats not all there is to it.
You trim her up as high as you think is safe, then you give her more trim to just hang her on air, as much weight as possible aft, it's when you give her more trim then you feel is safe, is when she really breaks loose from the water & starts riding on air, thats when you know she's maxed out.
I'v run & raced gas engines from 5 hp to 3,000 hp that maxed out at 11,000 rpms, twisting a 2 blade 12 x 35 Spinelli prop getting 196.56 mph in a 1/4 mile, tried my very best to break 200 mph but never could.
Quit racing professionally when my good buddy "Mac," came apart at 180 mph at the Oakland esturary while I was waiting to run next, DOA in what was left of my sister boat.
Mac & I had identical boats & engines [ 20'Hondo hydros shovelnose] with blown full race Keith Black Chryslers breathing fire, Mac held the world record at 204 mph.
When we got our engines back in 1961, they were putting out between 2,400 & 2,600 hp, most people were making only 5 to $8,000 a year, that engine cost us $10,000 back then, when I asked Keith what kind of warranty I had, he said...........30 seconds,.... she turned 11,300 rpms balls out.
Kinda got off the subject there, sorry.
prm1177 posted 01-14-2003 01:48 PM ET (US)     Profile for prm1177  Send Email to prm1177     
Regarding Mercury Optimax engines:

I've posted in other areas some questions regarding buying a Whaler with a 99 Optimax 135 (low hours - around 30). Aside from some recommendations to replace the water pump, most folks are recommending a go ahead.

Some messages in this thread mention issues with early Optimaxes. Am I heading into a sink hole buying a 99 Optimax 135?

lhg posted 01-14-2003 02:13 PM ET (US)     Profile for lhg    
Generally, I would not think so, although I personally have no experience with the engine. But many here do, and there have not been any problems except for "diveorfish". The Optimax problems were mostly the 225's of 2000/2001. I have always heard the 135/150 2.5 liter Opti's were excellent, and very powerful for their rating.

The onboard computer in the engine will tell you everything you need to know about it's running/repair history, including hours. Be sure someone gives you that information, with you looking on.

Bigshot posted 01-14-2003 02:15 PM ET (US)     Profile for Bigshot  Send Email to Bigshot     
Ditto...the 135's ahev been pretty much carefree. I would have the computer checked like Larry said and make sure all upgrades/recalls have benn performed along with a compression test and look into an extended warranty if still available.
TRAFFICLAWYER posted 01-14-2003 08:19 PM ET (US)     Profile for TRAFFICLAWYER    
My 135 Optimax [1998] was carefree, at least for the first 20 hours before the powerhead blew. Than it became not so FREE$$$.
bsmotril posted 01-14-2003 11:40 PM ET (US)     Profile for bsmotril  Send Email to bsmotril     
My pair of Opti 135s (1998) are going strong with no problems. So here you have it, solid facts.....based on our forum sampling, there is a 33% failure rate for 135 Optis.
TRAFFICLAWYER posted 01-15-2003 12:35 PM ET (US)     Profile for TRAFFICLAWYER    
Read the post from lars simonson, his also was a 135hp 1998 that had a catastrophic failure. So that makes it a 50% ratio. The end and I've moved on.
lhg posted 01-15-2003 01:15 PM ET (US)     Profile for lhg    
Like everything else, as soon as the lawyers get involved, everything goes downhill.

There are thousands of Mercury 135/150 Optimaxes out there all performing fine.

TRAFFICLAWYER posted 01-15-2003 05:04 PM ET (US)     Profile for TRAFFICLAWYER    
I thought it was when the Mercury salespeople
get involved it went downhill.
Clark Roberts posted 01-15-2003 06:30 PM ET (US)     Profile for Clark Roberts  Send Email to Clark Roberts     
My money would be put on Merc two stroke V6 EFI technology! These 60 degree V6's in any of the displacements (122,153 or 185 cubic inch/2, 2.5 or 3 Liter) typically give reliable, powerful and economical performance while being unencumbered (sp?) with the piping, plumbing, belts and extraneous sensors (read oxygen) that can be and are troublesome. I find that the 150hp EFI (mine is a Mariner Magnum...Merc) is quieter at mid to high speed than my 115 Merc 4S or my neighbors 50hp Yamaha 4S and in my old age I really like quiet! This is the old "choice" discussion again and others will have their choices but as of now I'll go for the tried and true technology while they are still available! Pass me that can of "Power Tune" will you! Happy Whalin'.. Clark.. SCN
lhg posted 01-15-2003 07:31 PM ET (US)     Profile for lhg    
Very interesting, Clark, especially since you have had considerable experience both with DFI and 4-stroke. Didn't know you currently have a 150 EFI. On what Whaler?

Obviously, I agree, since I have found my twin 200 Merc EFI's to be the quietest outboards I have yet encountered, and most trouble free. They are truly excellent, the best of the best. My twins are quieter at speed than friend's 150 or 200 single Yamahas. They are also quieter than a pair of Opti's or the new Yamaha 225 4-strokes.
They are even much quieter than my twin in-line 6 Mercs! The pricing is very favorable, and the smooth power is unbeatable.

I like them so well that I am planning on replacing my 1997's with the 2005 models at the time, their last year. That way I will have them well into the future.

Clark Roberts posted 01-15-2003 11:10 PM ET (US)     Profile for Clark Roberts  Send Email to Clark Roberts     
Larry, since I've had the 135 Optimax, a great engine by the way (but noisy) and the present 115 efi 4S (I love this engine!) I can be objective about my statements. The 150Efi was trial fitted to my project 19 lo pro and performance was phenominal but the quietness was the biggest plus for my old ear drums... the engine is back on the stand and I now have to finish the hull work... maybe by this time next year I'll be finished. The 150 Mariner has the bob's nose cone with low water pick up and cast aluminum anti-cav plate extension. I test ran on a manual T&H 6" set-back jack plate and this will most likely be the final mount (am considering a power jack plate!????). I too might snag one of the last 200hp 2.5L EFI's in 2005 and mount it in my living room! Happy Whalin'... Clark... Spruce Creek Navy
Bigshot posted 01-16-2003 09:36 AM ET (US)     Profile for Bigshot  Send Email to Bigshot     
Ok friend has a 225 merc EFI and although it is much quieter than my 225 is nowhere NEAR as quiet as a 4 stroke. Maybe at that certain throttle position or WOT but overall no way. If you are cruising at 2500 rpms and the same 225 4s is at 3800 of course yours may be quieter but lets compare apples top apples please.

Clark is that 115 an EFI?

lhg posted 01-16-2003 04:41 PM ET (US)     Profile for lhg    
Clark - Wow, you must be going after the world Whaler speed record with a jacked up Merc 150 EFI on a Lo-Pro 19. Sounds wild, and you will love the engine, if you can keep it in the water! Tempest or small hub Trophy prop?

Nick, Clark and I are talking about the super quiet Merc 2.5 liter block. Maybe the 3.0 liter 225/250/300 block is not as quiet. Have no experience with it, but I LOVE the sound of a PAIR of them loafing along at idle speed.

Bigshot posted 01-16-2003 04:48 PM ET (US)     Profile for Bigshot  Send Email to Bigshot     
His is a 1994 or 1995. 1st year of 225 offshore EFI(25" and no clamshells) I think. It is quiet, especially for a 2 stroke. I was also impressed with my 90 yammie, especially compared to a cross flow or 3cyl OMC, thing was like a Singer. But compared to my 4s.....
gss036 posted 01-28-2003 01:50 PM ET (US)     Profile for gss036  Send Email to gss036     
It looks like the topic slowed to a crawl.
I talked w/our local Coast Guard people here in WA and asked them for their opinion on which engine they would perfer, seeing that they have run the twin Optimax,Evenrude Fitch,Yamaha and now the 225 Hondas on the SafeBoats built in Bremerton,WA.. Their choice of the four was the Yamahas. I asked why the switch from them to the Hondas? It was a warranty issue that Yamaha would only give a (1)one year warranty for the goverment built safeboats, Honda is giving them a 3 year warranty. Thye said the only trouble they knew about was with the lower end on the Hondas counter roating gears but thet had been resolved and they like the Hondas now that they have used them for a few months.
SaintGeorge posted 01-28-2003 07:01 PM ET (US)     Profile for SaintGeorge  Send Email to SaintGeorge     
My dad's 1975 vintage 21 Revenge runs just fine with the 200 Optimax (Orbital direct injection 2 stroke). About 1/3 the fuel use of the 175hp Carb Merc it replaced. An reaches a top speed of 53 mph with a Hi-Five 21 pitch prop.

Mercury will sell you a 3 liter Optimax up to 300 hp.

They will sell you a 2.5 liter optimax from 175 hp down to 115 hp. They all weigh over 500 lbs though, being the same engine actually.

They still have the 115 four stroke (Yamaha powerhead).

Yes, there are lots of options and choices.

Yes, the companies want to get away from the carb models. But even more, they need cash to support the current engineering crush to meet emissions requirements. DFI, whether Orbital (Merc, Tohatu), high-pressure (Bobardier, Yamaha) or other wise works well as long as the electronic controls do not fail. Current wisdom is that early computer units (ECU) were sometimes not resistent enough to interference, and created some errors in controlling the injection. Leaned out fuel mix is what destroys these motors if there is a computer problem. I have hear none of this from more recent EVINRUDE, MERC, or others.

4 Strokes are somewhat harder to build from the machining end of the job, what with with the entire valve train and all, but 2 strokes require the tedious installation of the needle bearings at every wrist pin and crank journal. Maybe a close trade-off in cost of manufacturing. Hard to say, except that making new 4 stroke designs will take new tooling and processes at the factories.

4 strokes are being sold at 200 and 225 hp, and mostly only in xl and xxl length, primarily because of volume demands. There are only two builders. They can't make enough to meet the lower hp demand, and they would have to charge a lower price. The 4 stroke v6's are expensive to make. They seem to run nice though don't they?

Aside. Considering that Stern Drives of same power are less than half the cost of 4 cycle outboards, and most of these go on BIG boats with a raised deck and room for IO under the rear deck. A question is why????

Regarding Mercury new 4 strokes. Of course they are getting ready to go that way as you can buy a Yamaha 4 stroke with Black Paint and Merc decals at your Merc dealer now. 225 and 200 HP.

But I bet you are wrong about their new line of 4 strokes. I heard it is called Project X. I understand that these motors are 100% Mercury, all new from fly-wheel to skeg. It appears they have an inovation in using a lower than usual mounting point for the powerhead, keeping the height of the motor and center of gravity low. Mercury have installed an entire machine line, spending over $100 million to manufacture this motor. This motor is designed specifically to be an outboard, is not an automotive modification, and every effort is being made to cut weight and complexity in manufacturing. Both of these targets will result in superior reliability.

I expect you will see that this engine will use a one piece cast in head block (no separate heads), 100% aluminum. If possible it will be die-cast. Otherwise lost-foam casting. This will produce an extremely strong and stiff web, and for reasons involving assembly it will require an in-line design. You will see an inline six cylinder motor, with a single overhead cam, belt driven. The exhaust manifold system will be cast into the block, requiring only a cover plate (with tuning attached) with cooling jacket. Likewise the intake system will be mostly cast-in, with tuned runners leading to a single throttle plate, probably near the flywheel on top. Fuel delivery will be by direct injection, using the Orbital system. Reason for direct injection: all possible effort will be taken to avoid ever needing a catalyst on exhaust. Plus it is lighter and will perform excellent on 4 stroke too.

My personal opinion is that the direct injection 2 cycle outboards are so much better than the carbs for emissions, that should have been good enough for a long time to come. For all of the builders.

However, with California threatening more than once to "ban" two strokes from sale or use in the state (yes, they actually came close to banning a technology, instead of focussing on performance); even with the current reprieve how can a major business rely on the legislature there? Mercury, and all others right now have no choice but to develop a full library of 4 stroke engines. Even if they cost more, and for all the effort only give you an unmeasurable improvement in air quality over the injected 2 strokes.

And one thing is for sure. Prices are not going down.

so it goes


gss036 posted 02-21-2003 09:47 PM ET (US)     Profile for gss036  Send Email to gss036     
Have you heard anything more about the inline 6, 250 hp that Mercury is developing?
I was on the mercury site looking and could not find anything on it. I did run across a promotion on the Optimax, a 5 year warranty if bought during a certian time span. Is Mercury hurting? or just keeping up with the 4 strokers?
lhg posted 02-23-2003 07:15 PM ET (US)     Profile for lhg    
The new 250HP Mercury 4-stroke (not the Yamaha version) is evidently alive and well, and has already been demonstrated and shown to the boating press and dealers. The comments by people running the boats indicated that it is a "hot" engine, suffering none of the typical 4-stroke acceleration lag, and top-end faster than their 250 EFI's. The article I saw indicated that Mercury is in no rush to bring it out, first wanting to be sure it is "bulletproof". I guess it will be a 2004 model. Does anybody know if it was shown at Miami? I have heard nothing new lately.

I have read that there are also in-line 4 cylinder versions of this engine in the works, 135-225 HP output.

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