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Author Topic:   Ficht...fatal or curable?
BabySitter posted 02-10-2002 10:39 AM ET (US)   Profile for BabySitter   Send Email to BabySitter  
'99 Johnson Ficht... I've read several posts
with comments ranging from - Dealer should give you the engine .. to .. love them, good fuel economy etc. Clearly there are problems
but can they be successfully cleared up with
upgrades? Looking at an 18' classic with this
power, price is right!!
bigz posted 02-10-2002 02:04 PM ET (US)     Profile for bigz    
The '99 - 150 Ficht in general is a solid engine. The experienced problems were mostly confined to the '97 and '98 when first introduced. These were centered around oil delivery and carbon fouling.

I sort of swore to stay off this subject mainly because a number of uninformed comments have been voiced most of which based on heresy, gossip, extrapolation of relatively isolated occurrences etc. --- the fact remains the folks who do own Fichts that have posted on this forum by in far are more than satisfied with their performance and reliability -- the ex-OMC admitted to these early problems on the 150's and did all they could to rectify them, didn't sweep them under the table like another manufacture did with their DFI engines.

If you want a professional opinion and your in the Wilmington NC area look up Johnson Marine and speak with Tim the service manager about your concerns. He is usually willing to give advice on Fichts. This particular dealer has sold hundreds of Ficht engines.

You can also have a local Johnson/Evenrude dealer run the diagnostic program which will give you the complete history of this engine. Which includes hours operated, percentage of operation at various rpm levels, any system problems that were recorded and corrected --- etc. --- and of course the current engine system status.

I would pull the spark plugs and check for carbon build up, of course with a 3 year old engine might do a compression test and also check for lower unit seal leaks.

Aside from the oil/fuel delivery system and numerous sophisticated sensors the motor is still a basic 2 stroke outboard.


jimh posted 02-10-2002 02:45 PM ET (US)     Profile for jimh  Send Email to jimh     
One nice thing about the Ficht diagnostics: I understand that you can get the software from OMC/Bombardier (for about $10) and use your own laptop.

Connecting the laptop to the engine with the appropriate serial data cable gives you the ability to read from the stored data in the engine control unit.

Every engine maker should be so open about this stuff!

BabySitter posted 02-10-2002 03:46 PM ET (US)     Profile for BabySitter  Send Email to BabySitter     
Thanks BZ and jimh, thats just the stuff I'm
looking for. I'm not in Wilmington, but am reasonably close ... I'll call tommorrow!


kingfish posted 02-10-2002 06:18 PM ET (US)     Profile for kingfish  Send Email to kingfish     

God love ya, I think that's "hearsay", not "heresy".

king the heretic fish

bigz posted 02-11-2002 02:12 PM ET (US)     Profile for bigz    
Dah Kingfish -- dare say you are 100% correct thank you --- though I wouldn't say you are heretically directed in all matters --- a few! ;) Z
blackdog posted 02-12-2002 09:26 AM ET (US)     Profile for blackdog  Send Email to blackdog     
I would follow big Z's advice and get the computer Read out and make sure the history is good.
These motors have a bad rap so resale will be low but hey- if the thing is already 3 years old it probably is OK. It really looks like they have the bugs worked out now and I love my 115. Carbon build up is the enemy of the older Ficht's
Bigshot posted 02-12-2002 01:58 PM ET (US)     Profile for Bigshot  Send Email to Bigshot     
Run ringfree and decarbonize every 50 hours. How is the newer oil as far as anti carbing agents? stuff better be good for what it costs.
BabySitter posted 02-12-2002 06:13 PM ET (US)     Profile for BabySitter  Send Email to BabySitter     
Thanks for the help...I looked at the boat and it turns out the engine is a '98. Tim
at Johnson Marine was great...based
on ser.# he was able to access the history on line and confirm upgrades performed etc. He still recommended getting a readout downloaded directly from the engine along with a compression check. His take confirms that most of the problems are related to carbon fouling ... problems are usually resolved with the upgrades, but apparently OMC was making multiple changes mid-year so you have to analyze each engine on a case by case basis. He says most major problems seem to occur around 100 hrs if they are going to happen.


lhg posted 02-12-2002 06:53 PM ET (US)     Profile for lhg    
When one buys any used Whaler, a smart buyer will break up the parts, and put a value on each part, the engine, the trailer, and what's left, is what you're paying for the boat. That's the big part of your purchase, and the hardest to value.

If the price is "right" on this Whaler, it's probably because the engine isn't worth much, at least on the open marketplace. A lot of those '98 150 Fichts did blow up, but I understand almost 100% were replaced with '99 engines, so the question is why this one wasn't. Maybe it was one of the good ones.

So buy the boat based on the value you're willing to pay for it, alone. Consider the engine a "throw away" if necessary, even though it could run for years. You can't lose that way. But buy the boat based on the possiblity that you may indeed have to buy a replacement engine. Figure that cost also, and then see if the total is in your budget.

Walk into another engine dealership, and tell them you want to trade a '98 150 HP Ficht on a new Merc, Yam, etc., and see what they tell you. That will be your most realistic market indicator, more valuable than what you can find out here. My guess is that another dealer won't touch one of those to re-sell as a used engine. So why should YOU pay much for it?

BabySitter posted 02-12-2002 08:55 PM ET (US)     Profile for BabySitter  Send Email to BabySitter     
lhg - you're right ... I've looked at the deal from several angles over the past few days and it looks like a no brainer even if
I have to hang new power. Thanks for the input.


Jerry Townsend posted 02-12-2002 11:38 PM ET (US)     Profile for Jerry Townsend  Send Email to Jerry Townsend     
I have seen the Ficht problem mentioned many times - but what is this specific problem? Are there specific engines that are characteristic of this problem. Is the problem characteristic of engines of a certain year?

I have a 1996 Johnson 115 OceanRunner (a V4)and wonder if I have this problem. I have looked in the sales brochure and see nothing giving me a hint of a design or anything else leading to the acronym of Ficht?
Thanks ---------- Jerry/Idaho

blackdog posted 02-13-2002 09:00 AM ET (US)     Profile for blackdog  Send Email to blackdog     
Is your engine Fuel injected? Do you have to choke it to start? You probably do not have Ficht. My guess
I am not an expert but basically the Ficht Engines are the Fuel injected or Direct Fuel Injected (DFI) engines. I thought they didn’t come out until 98 in the Johnson and Evinrude lines then later only in the Evinrude lines. Redesigned for 2000 as “Ficht Ram” injection. This is the newest version and so far so good.

Baby sitter should be fine with Ihg’s advice above. Maybe $0 for the engine is a little low but if this Ficht has been running since 98 it probably is one of the good ones. Upgrades to heads and plugs seemed to solve the fouling problems on the smaller engines. I like the Trade in advice LOL.

Use the Ficht oil and 2+4 fuel additive and you should be fine. You may want to decarb her also. There is a good info the Evinrude / Johnson forum on on how to do this.
Good Luck

SuburbanBoy posted 02-13-2002 10:35 AM ET (US)     Profile for SuburbanBoy  Send Email to SuburbanBoy     
I would assume that the engine was not used much, therefore it never displayed the typical failures. If this is wrong, he might have a good engine. But, lack of use may be the real reason it has not run to failure.


bigz posted 02-13-2002 11:03 AM ET (US)     Profile for bigz    

Happy to see Tim had the time to give you information and sound advice. All great folks at Johnson Marine Services.

Good luck with the boat purchase.


PMUCCIOLO posted 02-19-2002 01:55 AM ET (US)     Profile for PMUCCIOLO    
I suggest you read the February 2002 Southern Boating "Engine Room" regarding FICHT engines.
SuburbanBoy posted 02-19-2002 04:50 PM ET (US)     Profile for SuburbanBoy  Send Email to SuburbanBoy     
Enlighten me (us?) PMUCCIOLO, I have never heard of "Southern Boating". I am interested in what they had to say. It could be interesting.



PMUCCIOLO posted 02-20-2002 12:31 AM ET (US)     Profile for PMUCCIOLO    
The pertinent portion of the article is about six or eight paragraphs long. I will be happy to type them in--if the post can be that long. Let me know, and I'll help out however I can.
SuburbanBoy posted 02-20-2002 03:28 PM ET (US)     Profile for SuburbanBoy  Send Email to SuburbanBoy     
I thought you were up to something. Just a trick to get us to look for "Southern Boating". If it works for SI why not SB? Could not find any reference to Ficht engines, perhaps I was distracted? It may be print only.


BabySitter posted 02-20-2002 05:47 PM ET (US)     Profile for BabySitter  Send Email to BabySitter     
SB - I opened your link and got a page of
photos - well endowed young ladies - no
Ficht. Please follow up if you find that
PMUCCIOLO posted 02-20-2002 11:25 PM ET (US)     Profile for PMUCCIOLO    
The article is in the February 2002 Engine Room section. The swimsuits are in the January edition. I don't know if the contents of the different sections of magazines are available on line. If not, let me know, and I'll sit here and type it in. Thanks!
bigz posted 02-21-2002 07:41 AM ET (US)     Profile for bigz

The above gives you a good insight of the situation that OMC and subsequently the Ficht technology built engines found themselves faced with prior to OMC bankruptcy.
Australian article, so little prejudice is interwoven as you might find in domestic articles covering the same subject matter.

I should add that the Ficht engines particularly the 200 and 225 which experienced problems were or have been corrected with upgrade kits -- the 2001 engines 200,225 and 250 are all solid engines.

The only ones initially in the lower hp range back in '97 and '98 are the ones where heads were replaced due to the inherent problems of carbon build, and consequently the replacement.

This forum covered the OMC bankruptcy and the purchase by Bombardier a year ago about this time frame extensively. Z

hauptjm posted 02-21-2002 11:32 AM ET (US)     Profile for hauptjm    
Ummm Sub, did you say there were pictures of fichts at this site.....

If those are fichts, I'll take three!

Man, how is that some guys always pick the right career...oh to be a photographer!!

Bigshot posted 02-21-2002 11:37 AM ET (US)     Profile for Bigshot  Send Email to Bigshot     
What if he is a gay photographer?
hauptjm posted 02-21-2002 03:50 PM ET (US)     Profile for hauptjm    
Man, what a hornets nest! BS,I wasn't sure what your response was about, until I saw the other thread. Who is this genius?? You scared me there. "Not that there's anything wrong with being gay". Sorry, I had to steal a line from Jerry Seinfeld.

Maybe this is Makoman or whatever his name was. Could he be lurking in the shadows again????

Bottom line: No place for this type of comment. Tobes, either be a man and place the call, or keep your drivel to yourself.

Bigshot posted 02-21-2002 04:13 PM ET (US)     Profile for Bigshot  Send Email to Bigshot     
That why we hate computers and wish we had an edit key. When I went back I realized it sounded.... uh...questionable. I did not mean it that way. I try and be careful what I type because of that(and the Jap comment with Tsurbiki:) but sometime you think it a certain way and then you see it and see how it can be perceived.

Let's rephrase my last post to: What if that particualr photographer did not find women "sexy", would his job still be perfect or a living hell?

How is that?

Chesapeake posted 02-21-2002 06:57 PM ET (US)     Profile for Chesapeake  Send Email to Chesapeake     

I will take the Ficht in the lime green thong.

Thanks, in advance.

Chesapeake posted 02-21-2002 06:59 PM ET (US)     Profile for Chesapeake  Send Email to Chesapeake     
Secong thought, I am not sure my wife would appreciate "that" Ficht hanging on the whaler's transom...
Bigshot posted 02-21-2002 09:24 PM ET (US)     Profile for Bigshot  Send Email to Bigshot     
Thank God OMC engineers did not Freudian slip on their keyboards...the u is next to the i.
SuburbanBoy posted 02-21-2002 09:46 PM ET (US)     Profile for SuburbanBoy  Send Email to SuburbanBoy     
It may not be the same layout in Germany (the keyboard that is).


Bigshot posted 02-21-2002 10:06 PM ET (US)     Profile for Bigshot  Send Email to Bigshot     
Those Germans are sooooo clever! I just want them to explain to me why my clutchfan on my wife's Benz is $586. It's a clutchfan for crying out loud. I believe there is gold inside somewhere, I will investigate later.
PMUCCIOLO posted 02-22-2002 12:09 AM ET (US)     Profile for PMUCCIOLO    
Ok, here are the highlights from the February 2002 issue of Southern Boating:

"Huge piles of discarded ONC (former parent company of Evinrude and Johnson)outboards were dissected. The post mortem revealed exactly why so many of the old regime's motors had given-up the ghost. The reason was basic and inescapable: Flawed and poorly designed internal components.

For example, connecting rods had a ridge at the big end. The ridge nibbled away at its bearing until it failed. Piston ring locator pins (as opposed to the pin that actually connects the piston to the connecting rod) were also failing. The reason: Combustion chamber heat expanded the piston and its ring locator pin at different rates of expansion. As a result the tiny pin burrowed deep into the piston wreaking havoc.

The lubricant pump also had a problem. On assembly at the factory, the simple act of sliding its rubber hose onto the barbed connector sometimes sheared off a sliver of rubber. The rubber clogged a one-way valve, thereby starving the engine of oil.

The list of maladies goes on and on. Bombardier bit the proverbial bullet. Literally millions of new-in-the-box, but fatally flawed, crankshafts, connecting rods, and a myriad of other parts were unceremoniously dumped in a hole and buried.

That wasn't the end of it. Flawed components were redesigned. For example, certain starter motors were reengineered to more solidly engage the flywheel ring gear...
Obviously it's too early to tell what the outcome will be to this flurry of activity from Bombardier..."

I hope that this helps. The message is clear: BEWARE!!

lhg posted 02-22-2002 02:46 AM ET (US)     Profile for lhg    
Along the lines of the above message, see the thread in this section on Bombardier last posted 01-20-02. Some of the same issues are discussed by Bombardier in the article being quoted.
Bigshot posted 02-22-2002 10:04 AM ET (US)     Profile for Bigshot  Send Email to Bigshot     
Bombardier is a clas act company and personally I would buy their stuff. SeaDoo's have the best reputation on the water from what I hear and I doubt their engines will be any different. Would I buy a 1999 w/o warranty, only if a 4 stroke:)
over40 posted 09-08-2002 01:46 AM ET (US)     Profile for over40  Send Email to over40     
My son-in-law has a Ficht 175, 1998 model. It is impossible to find parts for it. Even something as simple as a fuel filter, or spark plugs. None of the marine supply houses carry these items. When you tell them what type of motor you have, they just We have yet to use it this year, each time we take it out, something goes wrong, it is in the shop now to see if they can make it fire.
SWarren posted 09-09-2002 11:34 AM ET (US)     Profile for SWarren  Send Email to SWarren     
I have personally put many hours on a 2000 90hp ficht on a 17 whaler cetecca page 33,(I think) and the engine is awesome. It cranks first try, does not smoke like my twin 115 johnsons, and is more powerful and faster than my 90 yamaha was. We have never had a problem with it, and It gets great gas mileage. I would get another one in a minute.

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