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Author Topic:   Engine life
JimU posted 08-15-2002 01:02 PM ET (US)   Profile for JimU   Send Email to JimU  
Approximately how many hours will a typical 2 stroke engine in the 200-225 class last with proper maintenance? Any experience fator here in cyber-whaler land?
NEVER SCARED posted 08-15-2002 01:19 PM ET (US)     Profile for NEVER SCARED    
I was told by a dealer that 1500 hrs is the maximum life for outboards. But I see a lot of mid nineties engines that fail much sooner.
Seems like a 12,000 dollar engine should last a lifetime!

Never scared

Bigshot posted 08-15-2002 01:22 PM ET (US)     Profile for Bigshot  Send Email to Bigshot     
Depends on the type of hours. 1500 is what I use as a rule of thumb but I have seen guides with well over 3k on them. I have also seen stuff blow up during break-in but that usually pertains to Mercs(just kidding larry).
Bigshot posted 08-15-2002 01:23 PM ET (US)     Profile for Bigshot  Send Email to Bigshot     
I had a 1982 Johnson 35 that I swear had well over 2k on it. I also see those rental engines go almost 10 seasons, everyday at WOT, etc and still run.
bocadrew posted 08-15-2002 01:46 PM ET (US)     Profile for bocadrew  Send Email to bocadrew     
why do engines go bad afeter a certain amount of hours? what wears out? Can the parts that wear out be rebuilt and then do you start the hours all over again? I'm just a little "grasshopper" trying to learn from the masters', so one day I can walk on the rice paper without tearing it...thanks...drew
bocadrew posted 08-15-2002 02:01 PM ET (US)     Profile for bocadrew  Send Email to bocadrew     
Furthermore, I use my boat on average of about 7 hours a week, which means at 1500 hours a new engine would last me 4 years, since I just bought my Montauk with a 93 100 Johnson, I feel like I'm running on borrowed time.
JBCornwell posted 08-15-2002 02:48 PM ET (US)     Profile for JBCornwell  Send Email to JBCornwell     
It seems to me that sitting does more to shorten engine life than use.

Professional watermen and guides who use an engine 40 or 50 hours a week in season and meticulously maintain, winterize, and then restore in Spring often get several thousand hours before repowering. Even then, the engines are usually not "worn out".

When one of these guys "lose" an engine, it usually has had a catastrophic failure, not worn out.

Red sky at night. . .
JB :)

lhg posted 08-15-2002 03:04 PM ET (US)     Profile for lhg    
My experience is with Mercury's, and for me, they last and last, and I use hour meters.
I do over-power intentionally, which for means much lower RPM's for a given speed, engines not being pushed very hard, a lot less piston travel per hour.

A 1973 Mercury 150 in-line 6 powered my 16' Nauset for 11 years, and over 5000 hours before needing a re-build. A fantastic engine.

My 1986 18 Outrage has a pair of Merc 115 in-line sixes showing 2200 hours. One of the engines had new pistons at 2000 hours, since a ring went bad in one of the cylinders.

My 1989 Merc 200's were stolen 8 years later (they looked that good) at 2100 hours, and ran like a top.

My current 1997 200 EFI's have 1800 hours on them, and have rarely seen a Dealer except for water pumps and a rectifier. They're just now getting broken in!

Oil being used? Pennzoil TCW-3 by Walmart, at 4.95 a gallon, plus liberal doses of Mercury Quick-Clean decarbonizing agent (Techron).

Cpt Quint posted 08-15-2002 04:00 PM ET (US)     Profile for Cpt Quint  Send Email to Cpt Quint     
i was in a bind at the Walmart and grabbed the penzoil too. I was curious if the cheap price was an indication of cheap oil. Ive always thought penzoil (for auto) was a solid oil. They also tease you with the "synthetic blend" (probably 5 parts oil 1 part synthetic)?
Bigshot posted 08-15-2002 04:10 PM ET (US)     Profile for Bigshot  Send Email to Bigshot     
I have NEVER worn out an engine yet. I will let you know when I do. As far as the 100Gt....you are always on borrowed time so run the hell out of it as long as you can because outboards aint cheap. Rebuilds have never been good to me. Also seems like if the first engine lasted 2000 hours the rebuild last 800, etc.

Enjoy the 7 hours a week and hope you get 4 years out of it. I make it like a game and want to rack as much as possible. Reasale don't mean squat so get your money out of it like LHG does.

JFM posted 08-15-2002 04:50 PM ET (US)     Profile for JFM  Send Email to JFM     
Nick,

What about your 90 Yammi, did it wear you out?

Regards, Jay

lhg posted 08-15-2002 07:08 PM ET (US)     Profile for lhg    
I should clarify that although Walmart sells Pennzoil's own branded oil in the yellow bottles, I use the Walmart brand. NMMA certification says it is packaged for them by Pennzoil.

Walmart is big in boating these days, and sponsors a lot of the Bass tournaments along with Mercury. I don't believe they would sell junk outboard oil under their name. It's the HUGE quantities they buy and sell that probably allows the good price. The stuff looks EXACTLY like Mercury oil, same color. I'm betting Pennzoil also makes Mercury's oil? These sure are well kept secrets. I have tried Havoline and Exxon TCW-3 and don't like it as well as Walmart's Pennzoil. I add my own decarbonizing Quick Clean, then I really know I'm getting it, and still save in the process.

Incidentally, I tried an experiment with Pennzoil's 100% synthetic, also purchased at Walmart for about $20/gallon, and it was MUCH smokier in 50-to-1 pre-mix than the regular Walmart branded oil. Go figure.

dgp posted 08-15-2002 07:55 PM ET (US)     Profile for dgp  Send Email to dgp     
In essence, what most people are saying is, assuming proper maintenance.....engine life is a function of fuel consumed!
Larry is running high HP, big displacement 2 cycle engines at low speeds and others, like me, are operating 4 cycle engines closer to peak torque. This results in minimum fuel consumption which nets maximum engine life.
David Ratusnik posted 08-15-2002 08:15 PM ET (US)     Profile for David Ratusnik  Send Email to David Ratusnik     
lhg- I would have e mailed you on this one but no e mail.

I run Texaco Havoline which you note experience with in your Mercs. Did you move away from it due to smoke or another reason. If one were to switch over to Walmart 2 stroke would it be wise to blend the two oils for a short period or just go cold turkey to the Walmart oil. ??

I've had a couple embarrassing experiences lighting up my oldish 225 Johnson near other folks. While it runs like a top it smokes everyone out. Maybe Walmart oil would make me sweeter, prettier, and more congenial. Thanks for your thoughts. David

SuburbanBoy posted 08-16-2002 01:36 AM ET (US)     Profile for SuburbanBoy  Send Email to SuburbanBoy     
I would bet the latest 225 4-strokes from Mercury, Honda and Yamaha will double the life of the current exotic 2-strokes. I know there are more parts moving around inside the 4-stroke etc. But, 2-strokes are notorious for high wear and catastrophic failure. There is no such thing as a free lunch, and the lower cost, high output (vs. 4-strokes) comes with shorter life.

sub

SuburbanBoy posted 08-16-2002 01:38 AM ET (US)     Profile for SuburbanBoy  Send Email to SuburbanBoy     
One more thing, based on LHG's positive experience with twin 115's on the back of an 18' OR, imagine that same hull with one of the new 225 4-strokes. It could last forever... I for one would like to give it a try.

sub

Clark Roberts posted 08-16-2002 07:58 AM ET (US)     Profile for Clark Roberts  Send Email to Clark Roberts     
I put 2170 hrs on a 1995 Merc 90 and sold it (still going strong as far as I know) and most likely more than 3000 hrs on a 1985 Merc 50hp four cyl. Suggestion: keep up with maint. and don't overheat! These days it's a good idea to de-carbon at least once a year... Clark ... SCN
John from Madison CT posted 08-16-2002 08:55 AM ET (US)     Profile for John from Madison CT  Send Email to John from Madison CT     
I also believe that 2 Stroke motors seem to run best and longest when used regularly.

I believe that 2000hours is reasonable and obtainable with most (maybe not Fichts) outboards.

John from Madison

whalersailer posted 08-16-2002 09:10 AM ET (US)     Profile for whalersailer  Send Email to whalersailer     
OK, kindof a newbie question here, but can someone detail the de-carboning process?
bocaspiff posted 08-16-2002 09:36 AM ET (US)     Profile for bocaspiff  Send Email to bocaspiff     
BigShot,
What's with the dig on the 100 GT? I just bought one last week! I already pulled the VRO, is there something else I need to know? BocaDrew,
We have the identical boat. Didn't realize you had the 100GT as well. You gotta try my new prop.
Chap posted 08-16-2002 09:48 AM ET (US)     Profile for Chap  Send Email to Chap     
whalersailer here ya go, basic motor:

www.boatsetup.com/decarb_carb.html

Pretty heavy on the Tuner.

bocaspiff posted 08-16-2002 10:02 AM ET (US)     Profile for bocaspiff  Send Email to bocaspiff     
Chap,
I think that the above link and the process described is something different. This may be because I live in the south and don't winterize my motor. I ran my 18 Outrage with a 200 Johnson to the Bahamas a few years ago before I freshened (rings & pistons)the motor. After that trip of no idling, you could have eaten off of the heads they were so clean. Does carbon build up that heavily on your motor?
Chap posted 08-16-2002 10:23 AM ET (US)     Profile for Chap  Send Email to Chap     
Boca, if you have something different up your sleeve, give us the scoop. :) Seemed like a reasonable link.
I would like to think I could eat off my heads but I have no idea about the carbon. No motorhead here. Picked this puppy up the end of last summer and decarbed the motors without incident, lots of goo.
Some say decarb and some say don't waste your time because you may hurt something else. I think if you hit it once in a while and don't let it sit toooo long, it can't hurt, may even help. Kind of like beer.
Thanks
Chap
bocaspiff posted 08-16-2002 10:43 AM ET (US)     Profile for bocaspiff  Send Email to bocaspiff     
Chap,
Beer is good for some things (rust removal). "Lots of Goo". Hmmm...That sentence is usually precluded with an explanation of why I sawed my powerhead in half with the pistons not after I "cleaned" it. In my humble opinion less is more with outboards. God Bless you if that technique is effective. "If it's stupid and it works it't not stupid."
Swellmonster posted 08-16-2002 10:55 AM ET (US)     Profile for Swellmonster  Send Email to Swellmonster     
I think Honda should give me a 225 4 stroke so I can help all ya out.
bocaspiff posted 08-16-2002 12:00 PM ET (US)     Profile for bocaspiff  Send Email to bocaspiff     
Swellmonster,
My boss just ordered a 39' Midnight Express with 4 (Four) 225 Hondas. Como Se Dice' Tsunami Jumping?
Chap posted 08-16-2002 12:41 PM ET (US)     Profile for Chap  Send Email to Chap     
Amen
ewalsh posted 08-16-2002 01:15 PM ET (US)     Profile for ewalsh  Send Email to ewalsh     
Because Whaler doesn't make a 39 footer, I guess this is the logical choice!

http://powerandmotoryacht.about.com/library/weekly/aa061201a.htm

Bigshot posted 08-16-2002 01:25 PM ET (US)     Profile for Bigshot  Send Email to Bigshot     
boca...no dig on the 100Gt, read his post and mine again.

What rpm's are you spinning with that 21"? I had a 115 on my other Montauk and with a 19 it only spun 5300. That 21" 4 blade is way too much prop for a 100 in my opinion. A 90 will only run a 17", 10hp aint gonna get you 4". Why are you selling it?

bocaspiff posted 08-16-2002 01:36 PM ET (US)     Profile for bocaspiff  Send Email to bocaspiff     
Bigshot,
My Bad, misread your comment. Monty's racing modified the powerhead on the 100GT, heads, jets, exhaust. I use a slip-on nosecone which works very well. The 21" spins just about 5100 but the boat handles like crap. 51.5 mph on GPS.
bocaspiff posted 08-16-2002 01:39 PM ET (US)     Profile for bocaspiff  Send Email to bocaspiff     
ewalsh:
The Midnight Express is like a whaler in its utility but what a boat. I drove a friend's from Miami to Islamorada in a few hours and it was so comfortable.
BigShot:
Prop is not for sale. Which boat is yours?
bocaspiff posted 08-16-2002 01:46 PM ET (US)     Profile for bocaspiff  Send Email to bocaspiff     
Swelljumper,
The Midnight is being delivered in Jan03 with 225 Hondas but within 6 months the boat will have the 275 Hondas. Yes these motors are for real but not until next June. 4 -275s, the boat should go well over 70.
bocadrew posted 08-16-2002 01:55 PM ET (US)     Profile for bocadrew  Send Email to bocadrew     
Bocaspiff, why pull the VRO?..Let me know the next time you take the boat out.
bocaspiff posted 08-16-2002 02:04 PM ET (US)     Profile for bocaspiff  Send Email to bocaspiff     
VRO BAD. Notoriously unreliable. I believe there are many others who will confirm this. I am probably going out tonight to test another prop 18" Raker. I will probably launch at Silver Palm Ramp off of Palmetto after the rangers leave.
Bigshot posted 08-16-2002 02:58 PM ET (US)     Profile for Bigshot  Send Email to Bigshot     
5100 aint bad but blowout sucks. I thought 4 blades were not supposed to blow out as easily? A 3 blade will be faster than a 4.
Bigshot posted 08-16-2002 03:04 PM ET (US)     Profile for Bigshot  Send Email to Bigshot     
Jay....90 Yammie had low hours. Ran fine but had some weird exhaust leak that meant pulling the powerhead to replace the muffler gasket. It effected it's idle and after hitting a few docks I started looking at new engines. The compression was 130 top, 115 middle and 130 bottom so I figured why not start shopping. It was low when I bought it but still within guidelines....marginal. The engine ran fine for about 50 hours then started with the leak. I thought it was the base gasket and removed the powerhead and put a new one on. When I finally figured out there was this exhaust gasket, I did not want to remove powerhead again. That combined with a new 70 4 stroke for $2850, I could not resist.

Anyone need a muffler gasket for a 1990 Yamaha 90.....free!

bocaspiff posted 08-16-2002 03:36 PM ET (US)     Profile for bocaspiff  Send Email to bocaspiff     
4-blades might be giving too much stern lift causing the blow-out.
bocaspiff posted 08-16-2002 03:37 PM ET (US)     Profile for bocaspiff  Send Email to bocaspiff     
If I drop the motor a hole, I might find less blow-out but the RPM's will probably drop. I'll run the 18" Raker tonight and see what I get.
jimh posted 08-17-2002 12:07 AM ET (US)     Profile for jimh  Send Email to jimh     
I am curious on what basis people are positing the longevity of 4-stroke outboards to be greater than 2-stroke outboards. They don't have much of a track record to go on, save for the Bearcat or Honda engines.

Why do people think they're going to be longer lived?

SuburbanBoy posted 08-17-2002 01:01 AM ET (US)     Profile for SuburbanBoy  Send Email to SuburbanBoy     
The history of 2-cycles in other forms of transportation. For example autos and motorcycles and trucks.

sub

Peter posted 08-17-2002 09:28 AM ET (US)     Profile for Peter  Send Email to Peter     
The answer to JimU's question depends on how the 200-225 2 stroke is used. It may be a guess on my part but I believe the evidence, here and elsewhere, proves that engine life, 2 or 4 stroke, is most directly proportional to total distance of piston travel and average operational temperature and has little to do with fuel consumption, everything else being equal.

I'm not in the camp of those who think 4 strokes will last longer. While, unfortunately, there is no direct comparision in Yamaha's performance reports, it is my impression from the published data that to produce the same output across the operating range as its 2 stroke 225hp sibling, the 4 stroke Yamaha 225 has to operate at about 500 rpms higher across the board due to a higher gear reduction ratio needed to compensate for the 4 stroke torque curve, among other things. That equates to more piston travel in the 4 stroke than the 2 stroke to cover the same distance traveled. If the friction between cylinders and pistons is the same in both engines (an unknown here), I would expect the 4 stroke to wear out sooner under the same operating conditions. (This analysis does not take into account the effect of the valve train, positive or negative). I also wonder about how even the oiling is in a 4 stroke outboard during operation and over the long haul since some pistons are vertically further from the oil sump than others. In a 2 stroke (or 4 stroke in an automobile) the oiling for all piston should be the same.

I guess only time will really tell regarding the comparitive longevity of 4 strokes versus 2 strokes.

acseatsri posted 08-17-2002 02:19 PM ET (US)     Profile for acseatsri  Send Email to acseatsri     
Not sure if this relates to outboards, but when we picked out power for a power catamaran being built, Caterpillar said that engine life is directly related to fuel consumption. The difference in overhaul frequency between 1100 HP 3412E's running at 1900 Vs 2300 was almost HALF. The other interesting info is the fuel consumption and HP difference between 1900 and 2300 RPM.

2300 RPM- 1100 HP @55.5 GPH
1900 RPM- 620 HP @30.8 GPH

Let you know in a few weeks the difference in speed between these RPM settings when we sea trial her.

SuburbanBoy posted 08-17-2002 06:29 PM ET (US)     Profile for SuburbanBoy  Send Email to SuburbanBoy     
I am sure that fuel useage, rpm, and power cycles (with the 2-stroke having twice as many) will all have an effect on engine life.

As I recall, one of the reasons for a 2-cycles poor fuel economy has to do with the fact that a good deal of the fuel is passed through without combusting. It is used to help manage internal temperatures and lubricate the system. There is less of this effect with the injected models, but I would guess that they (2-cycles) all suffer with this to one degree or another.

sub

jimh posted 08-17-2002 06:40 PM ET (US)     Profile for jimh  Send Email to jimh     
I think it is entirely possible that there is a positive correlation between the amound of fuel burned and engine life expectancy.

However, as has been pointed out, part of the difference in fuel consumption between a 2-stroke and a 4-stroke engine is accounted by the waste of unburned fuel in the 2-stroke.

It seems hard to compare the engine life expectancy between a 2-stroke and a 4-stroke based on fuel consumption because of this significant amount of unburned fuel. Their individual life expectancies might still be positively correlated with fuel consumption, but I doubt that it is directly comparable.

dgp posted 08-17-2002 09:40 PM ET (US)     Profile for dgp  Send Email to dgp     
2 cycle (stroke) engines operate twice as many power strokes as a 4 cycle. During each one of those power strokes the piston rings are combustion pressure loaded to the cylinder walls therefore wearing twice as much as a 4 cycle.
jimh posted 08-17-2002 10:46 PM ET (US)     Profile for jimh  Send Email to jimh     
Following this same line of reasoning:

In a 4-stroke engine there are half as many power strokes. Each power stroke must be twice a strong as those of an equivalent horsepower 2-stroke. Therefore each power stroke in a 4-stroke places twice the pressure on the piston rings and scraps twice as much material off the walls...

Also, in a 2-stroke the lubrication is entirely refreshed on each stroke with new oil. A 4-stroke recirculates the same old oil over and over, leading to less lubrication...

SuburbanBoy posted 08-17-2002 11:09 PM ET (US)     Profile for SuburbanBoy  Send Email to SuburbanBoy     
As I recall, the lubrication is superior in a forced lubrication system (i.e. 4-stroke). Many 2-strokes outside of the marine world actually use primitive forms of forced lubrication, having small scavenge pumps for the crankcase. Perhaps some outboards do as well. The main advantage of a 2-stroke is light and cheap. Longevity is not its strong suit. I would argue one reason Whaler went to duals on the OR 18 and larger in the old days was the very uncertainty surrounding the finicky 2-stroke outboards. Statistically, at least one would function. I know that the hp ratings did not necessarily support singles as well, but I believe that the guy who invented an unsinkable hull was also concerned about returning to port under power.

sub

andygere posted 08-19-2002 02:09 PM ET (US)     Profile for andygere  Send Email to andygere     
Consider this analogy:
A car with 150,000 miles, driven an average speed of 30 mph will have 5000 hours on the engine, not including time not moving (stop lights, warm up etc.) Most of us would consider 5000 hours (150,000 miles) on a car engine pretty decent, so 1500 on an outboard seems pretty low, since it equates to 45,000 "miles" in this example.

Assuming the above is generally true, the question is why do outboards typically have a lower service life than car engines? A few key differences come to mind.

2-stroke vs. 4 stroke: 2 strokes are prone to carbon related failures; 2 strokes are prone to failures caused by carb failures/malfunctions (eg. a cylinder is not lubed due to a carb problem).

Cooling systems: Outboards rely on an external cooling system that may introduce contaminants and corrosion, and can lead to early water pump failure.

Use: I suspect that most outboards are used at or near WOT more frequently than most automobile engines. Larry's long outboard life seems to support this theory. Also, outboards are often used seasonally, then stored, and usually on a much less frequent basis than autos. This could magnify problems related to corrosion.

Chap posted 08-19-2002 02:53 PM ET (US)     Profile for Chap  Send Email to Chap     
Hello,
My brother sent me this a while ago.

www.coastaloutdoors.com/articles/0101/2strokev4stroke.htm

Thanks
Chap

acseatsri posted 08-19-2002 08:51 PM ET (US)     Profile for acseatsri  Send Email to acseatsri     
"Consider this analogy:
A car with 150,000 miles, driven an average speed of 30 mph will have 5000 hours on the engine, not including time not moving (stop lights, warm up etc.) Most of us would consider 5000 hours (150,000 miles) on a car engine pretty decent, so 1500 on an outboard seems pretty low, since it equates to 45,000 "miles" in this example.
Assuming the above is generally true, the question is why do outboards typically have a lower service life than car engines? A few key differences come to mind.

2-stroke vs. 4 stroke: 2 strokes are prone to carbon related failures; 2 strokes are prone to failures caused by carb failures/malfunctions (eg. a cylinder is not lubed due to a carb problem).

Cooling systems: Outboards rely on an external cooling system that may introduce contaminants and corrosion, and can lead to early water pump failure.

Use: I suspect that most outboards are used at or near WOT more frequently than most automobile engines. Larry's long outboard life seems to support this theory. Also, outboards are often used seasonally, then stored, and usually on a much less frequent basis than autos. This could magnify problems related to corrosion."

I think this reasoning is flawed due to the difference in load factor between a boat and a car. Other than acceleration, a car engine is probably at no more of a load than 25% or so, vs a boat engine at full load under all throttle settings.

andygere posted 08-20-2002 11:22 AM ET (US)     Profile for andygere  Send Email to andygere     
Acseatsri,
I agree that my example is crude and flawed, but my point was simply to compare what is acceptable working life in an automobile motor and compare it to the typical working life (based on info posted in this forum) of an outboard. Keep in mind that outboard hour meters log all those hours idling at the dock, trolling at low speeds, and crawling through no-wake zones, while odometers only log forward movement of a car. I agree that outboards tend to be run harder ("I suspect that most outboards are used at or near WOT more frequently than most automobile engines")than automobile engines, and that clearly contributes to a shorter working life. In any event, for the price of a new outboard motor, I don't think it is unreasonable to expect 5000 hours of life with proper maintenance. From the anecdotal evidence in this forum, it appears that most folks are getting (and expecting) considerably less than that.
SuburbanBoy posted 08-20-2002 01:12 PM ET (US)     Profile for SuburbanBoy  Send Email to SuburbanBoy     
The use of fuel injection in a 4-cycle engine will help to reduce the problems caused by short periods of use, followed by long periods of storage. There will be less tendency to "clog" the fuel injectors than there is with carburetors, and therefore fewer seizures or burned pistons. Why? For one they operate under much higher pressures and tend to blow the obstruction out. They (4-strokes) may last forever under the occasional use patterns of most boaters. (Not actually) Makes that hull selection even more important.

Think of motorcycles, how many older 2-strokes do you ever see any more? None is my answer. Yet I see numerous older 4-strokes (from Japan and elsewhere) still in service. I could go on with more examples, but I agree with to author of the article linked above, and that is within a short period of time, the 2-stroke will disappear from the waters here in the USA.

sub

newt posted 08-20-2002 03:08 PM ET (US)     Profile for newt  Send Email to newt     
Isnt the real issue of longevety (sp?) more related to maintainance and care, rather than 2 vs 4 stroke?

Probably most engine failures and problems can be attributed to poor upkeep, as opposed to worn out parts. Even then, parts can be replaced.

Suburban, I would venture to guess that you dont see many 2 stroke motorcyles on the road in part to the fact that there really were not that many made (and a lot of them were banned from the USA for emmisions reasons).

Can anyone dispute that the easiest motors to work on are the 2 stroke carburated models? For this reason, my guess is that the average home mechanic running a 2 stoke will get more life out of it than a 4 stoke.

Salmon Tub posted 08-20-2002 04:03 PM ET (US)     Profile for Salmon Tub  Send Email to Salmon Tub     
I must disagree with the opinion of the real issue being longevity. Longevity is a relative term. I see many boat with old engines that have not seen use in years. These engines will last another 20 years collecting spiders and dust. The real issue is use. If you use you engine every day and keep it for 2 years, and you paid $5000 for it new, then it cost you about $8 per trip. If you use it 10 times a year and own it for 10 years, then it's real cost is $50 per trip. This does not take maintenance or fuel consumption into account. I will probably repower in 3 to 4 years. Probably with a 4 stroke. I anticipate that a that point, 4 stroke technology with EFI will have been truly tried, tested and refined. I do not expect my current outboard to be tired at that point, and do not expect to be junking it at that point. Most people trade their car in every 5 years or so for a newer one, and not necessarily because there existing car is at the end of it's lifespan.
andygere posted 08-20-2002 05:30 PM ET (US)     Profile for andygere  Send Email to andygere     
It's too bad the outboard mfr's are not required to install a tamper-proof hour meter under the hood of every motor produced. Then, a buyer would know the true hours on any used motor, and owners would know how much life/use they are getting from a motor. Could it be that the outboard makers really don't want you to know?

ST, you have a point about what motivates people to repower. I imagine there are a lot of "junk" engines powering boatyard work skiffs that were supplied for free by customers. I also agree that there is a certain amount of reliability that (usually) comes with a new motor, and those who go offshore are probably more willing to pay for it. That said, poorly maintained "new" motors fail all the time. I'm from the buy it, maintain it and run it until it's dead (after a long life of course) school of thought, so long (running) engine life is important to me.

Salmon Tub posted 08-20-2002 06:50 PM ET (US)     Profile for Salmon Tub  Send Email to Salmon Tub     
I agree with the hour meter but I would go one step further. As advertised in a BMW commercial, the computers (ECU) on their newer vehicles keep track of how many times the engine was shifted, how it was operated and so on to give a better idea of the engine's history. I would imagine that a small unit could be installed that would keep track of such things in an outboard such as how many times each piston fired, how many hours the engine ran, how many times the gears were shifted f-n-r. As a matter of fact, it could also record the engine temp. and rpm at the moment the shift occured. This is helpful to know since you could tell if the engine was properly warmed up before going underway, or was it started and as soon as the water started to pee out the tell-tale, the driver put it in gear and took off. Heck, I just read about an MP3 player, the size of a walkman, that will have a 20 Gb. internal hard drive so I would imagine something could be fit under the cowel. This way if you go to buy an engine with 100 hours on it, and the computer show say 21,000,000 rotations, that comes out to an average of 3500 rpm, while if it showed say half that, you could figure many hours of trolling or idleing, much higher could mean more running at or near WOT.

If I used my boat in a lake where there is alot of traffic and relatively small waves, I would not be so scared to abuse my engine, but being that I use it only in the ocean, where you can't just drift to shore, beach it and walk home, or get towed in every other time by a passing skier, I have to make sure that my power is in tip top shape. Andy, you have most likely been out the Gate and could you imagine being towed in through the Potato Patch?
andygere posted 08-20-2002 07:30 PM ET (US)     Profile for andygere  Send Email to andygere     
ST,
A tow through the patch would not be fun, and reliable, late-model power is more than just a convenience where you boat and fish. Despite running an older motor on my Montauk, I keep it in tip-top shape along with my 15 hp kicker. It gets plenty snotty in Monterey Bay, and I don't like relying on towing outfits to save me. I'm saving my repower $$ for the next Whaler (a 22...)
lhg posted 08-20-2002 08:10 PM ET (US)     Profile for lhg    
All of Mercury's Opti's have computers that keep track of hours. I'll bet the Ficht's and HPDI's do too, and maybe the EFI 4-strokes. Any mechanic would know which engines have the feature.

What I find interesting here, is that only one person has brought up MARINE 4-stroke engines, I/O's and inboards, as a meaningful comparison. Autos are not really relevent. I once saw a Mercury commentary in an accessoriy catalog that indicated an engine pushing a boat at 30 MPH was the same continous load as an auto engine continuously going up a steep grade at 80 MPH. I don't really know what inboard 4-cycle's hour longevity is, but I don't think it's any more than 1500-2000 hours before re-build time. Almost any 2-stroke outboard will give that service if you take care of it. A Merc mechanic I know told me the 454 stern drive engine in a Go-fast is only good for about 500 hours.

I also am of the opinion that the 4-stroke has no significantly greater life expectancy than a 2-stroke. I just looked at Mercury's and Yamaha's 2002 catalogs, and nowhere does either brand advertize greater longevity for the 4-strokes. Considering all the testing (sometimes 'til an engine blows up) that they do, I would think they would know and advertize it if it were the case.

I also know of someone who thinks his Mercury 15HP 4-stroke, now evidently in need of a re-build, hasn't lasted as well as a two stroke would have. Don't two strokes have ten times the number of moving parts? What about valve train wear and valve jobs? Are these issues?

David Jenkins posted 08-21-2002 10:21 AM ET (US)     Profile for David Jenkins  Send Email to David Jenkins     
LHG, When you say, "Don't two strokes have ten times the number of moving parts?" did you mean to say "two-strokes" or "four-strokes?"
lhg posted 08-21-2002 02:36 PM ET (US)     Profile for lhg    
Thanks. Yes, I meant 4-strokes have more moving parts. Someone mentioned 10 times, but do not know whether that is actually correct.
SuburbanBoy posted 08-22-2002 12:34 PM ET (US)     Profile for SuburbanBoy  Send Email to SuburbanBoy     
When you add-in the complexity of the fuel injecton system, the number of moving parts becomes moot. That said, the new big 4-strokes have complex valve trains, with mucho rotating and sliding parts. I would bet the hit rate for Merc, Yamaha or Honda on their big engines is very low for the the engine mechanicals, and highest for the electricals. Marinizing (sic?) the engine management systems is an area where there will be much advancement over the next decade.

sub

jstachowiak posted 08-22-2002 06:05 PM ET (US)     Profile for jstachowiak  Send Email to jstachowiak     
RPM's and how long an engine runs at WOT in it's life has to be the single most important factor in longevity of engine life. So many people I've boated with (especially guides who get new engines for nothing every two years) run at WOT a lot. Why?

Some of the comparisons, outboards to cars, are relavent but cars do not operate at 5000 rpm's for any length of time if ever.

If you want engine life for any combustion engine don't run over 4500 RPM's.

lhg posted 08-22-2002 06:39 PM ET (US)     Profile for lhg    
David R - Sorry, I missed your question way above. I did indeed find the Texaco Havoline TCW-3 to be a "smokier" oil on start up. I also didn't like the dark look of it compared to the blue Mercury oils I am used to. I think the Walmart TCW-3 (Tech 2000 label) runs cleaner, and as I said, visually is undetectable from Mercury's oil in color and consistancy. But I'm not sure if a Mercury V-6 is a good indicator, as for some reason Mercury's V-6 injection system produces more smoke on start-up than the other brands, particularly Yamaha. Some Yamaha guys think it's the Yamaha oil that is cleaner, but I remember one time with JimH's Yamahas where after running out of the YamahaLube, tried some of my Walmart oil. We could see no difference in start-up or idle smoke at all.

Run a tank-full of the Walmart branded Pennzoil oil through your engine and see what you think. Certainly the price is right at $5 a gallon.

Bigshot posted 08-27-2002 02:06 PM ET (US)     Profile for Bigshot  Send Email to Bigshot     
Most engines run at WOT will last roughly 10% of their expectancy. Since you really can't run a boat WOT all the time I would say 25%. So if an outboard should last 2000 hours if you run hammered down it may last 500+/- hours. Diesels can cruise 90% of WOT or less and gas engines(2 & 4 stroke) should be run at 75% or less to maintain maximun life.
EddieS posted 08-28-2002 02:27 AM ET (US)     Profile for EddieS  Send Email to EddieS     
Lhg I beleive hit the mark in making comparisons to 4 stroke marine engines. I had twin 354 turbo diesels in my last boat with a life expectancy of around 5000 hrs. These motors had maximum RPM range of 2800 RPM's and cruised at 1800 to 2100. A 4 stroke outboard is not going to last anywhere near as long. I would agree with the 2000 estimate, but really time will tell. Certainly inboard marine gassers do not have a great reputation for longevity, it is rather for relatively inexpensive replacement.

For saltwater users corrosion will play the major role in longevity.

Ed

Clark Roberts posted 08-28-2002 07:12 AM ET (US)     Profile for Clark Roberts  Send Email to Clark Roberts     
LHG (Larry, I checked with my local super WalMart yesterday and could not find anything but Penzoil and Lubriplate outboard oils... No Wal-Mart brand and no one knew what I was talking about! Is the oil you use actually branded "Wal-Mart"? If you have a good track record with it, and recommed it, I will change from Quicksilver Premium Plus... reason is I get far from Merc oil sometimes but never far from a Wal-Mart and also I use lots of oil. ????? Happy Whalin'... Clark... Spruce Creek Navy
Bigshot posted 08-28-2002 10:06 AM ET (US)     Profile for Bigshot  Send Email to Bigshot     
Ed....did you have 2 stroke or 4 stroke diesels?

I know that the Yanmar claims 10,000 before rebuild on their 420's and my neighbor has 16cyl Mercedes(MTU) that he goes 25,000 before he replaces them. The last YEAR he never turns them off because they are too hard to start without ether. So the last 8-9k hours are done in one year.

EddieS posted 08-30-2002 02:21 AM ET (US)     Profile for EddieS  Send Email to EddieS     
Big Shot,

I had Perkins 354-6T's in the boat, they are 4 stroke six cylinder turbo's. These motors were built in 1972. I spoke to a Perkins shop in Sausalito when I was having some work done on them and asked him how many hours these motors typically lasted for. The 5000 hour range is what I was told, it may just be this motor, or it could be that the newer diesels have a longer life expectancy. Running them commercially for long periods of time will also substancially increase the life, as starting puts a lot of wear on the motor. I also understand that non turbo'd diesels have a longer life expectancy.

Ed

jimh posted 08-30-2002 09:07 AM ET (US)     Profile for jimh  Send Email to jimh     
Re diesel engine life expectancy:

These modern diesel engines are now producing horsepower-to-weight ratios like gasoline engines. They also operate at much higher crankcase speeds, and produce very high horsepower ratings thanks to turbo boosting, intercooling, etc.

While you might expect some slow, heavy, old fashioned diesel to run for 50,000 hours, I don't think these newer diesels will last nearly as long.

That said, last time I saw our old sailboat there were over 6,000 hours on the YANMAR 2QM diesel and it was still running strong.

Sal DiMercurio posted 09-01-2002 01:03 AM ET (US)     Profile for Sal DiMercurio  Send Email to Sal DiMercurio     
It totally depends on how it was run, was it proped right, was it maintained correctly ?.
Theres no reason, with proper maintenance & proped right, the right fluids, & run at a reasonable rpm, not wot 90% of the time, for an engine to last 3,500 - 4,000 hours.
Whoever told you 1,500 hours, dosen't know what their talking about, or only works on bass boats.
I usually sell mine around 2,500 hours, but have a buddy who guides, & had twin 150 Yams, with 4,000 hours on them, he sold them 2 years ago, & the guy that bought them, runs them at least once a week, & their still running fine today.
I'm a Johnson Evinrude person, & mine have all reached 2,000 hours before I sold them, & they all had excellent compression & ran beautiful.
Take care of em, they last, beat em & don't feed em the right fluids, you will fall into that 1,500 sindrum.
Sal
Sal

Chap posted 09-10-2002 03:21 PM ET (US)     Profile for Chap  Send Email to Chap     
Hello,
Spoke with a gentleman over the weekend who sold a cat with twin 90 Hondas on it at 2000+ hours and the new owner has added about another 1000. Zero problems under multiple uses including towing.

He now has a pair of 225 Hondas on a 28 Scout and loves them, several hundred hours. He related that their technology is along the line of supercharging but I don't know for sure.

Thanks
Chap

lhg posted 09-10-2002 03:44 PM ET (US)     Profile for lhg    
Clark - Sorry I didn't catch your message earlier. Walmart's own brand of TCW-3 oil is called something like "Tech 2000" and is in a grey-blue gallon bottle, for $5.95. I have never been in a Walmart that didn't have it, unless they were temporarily out of stock. the stuff sells like hot cakes in Florida, I know.

Give it a try and let us know what you think.
Sure looks like Mercury oil to me. NMMA lists this oil as coming from the Pennzoil refinery.

I think I will try an experiment on the Merc 200's, and put Mercury oil in one oil tank and Walmart in the other, and compare the two side by side from a smoke output standpoint.

David Ratusnik posted 09-10-2002 04:07 PM ET (US)     Profile for David Ratusnik  Send Email to David Ratusnik     
lhg- Thanks for the info on Texaco vs Walmart 2 stroke oil. I'm going to switch over based on longevity of your Mercs, cleaner look possibilities from my 225 Johnson, and it would seem I might save a few bucks. Hey, I put 100 hrs on the engine the last 3 months- running Walmart over Texaco might buy me 15 gal of gas. Why throw $$'s away. Appreciate the response.. David
Bigshot posted 09-10-2002 04:21 PM ET (US)     Profile for Bigshot  Send Email to Bigshot     
David...I know technology has changed but back in 1983 my dad got a deal on Texaco pints for $10 a case. He bought 3 cases. We wound up giving them away or selling at a garage sale because they would not only foul the plugs in my 35hp but in my injected zuki 140. After a case and a half we went to OMC again and never had the problem again.

Then again....maybe that is why it was so cheap. To this day I am scared to run anything other than OEM(Yamaha, OMC, Merc, etc). Like I said technology changes and many here have had zero issues with aftermarket oil. Keep us posted.....you 2 Larry. Interesting comparo there.

Moral....I would run snot before I ran Texaco:)

David Ratusnik posted 09-10-2002 04:40 PM ET (US)     Profile for David Ratusnik  Send Email to David Ratusnik     
Biggs- Appreciate the analysis. For 3 years I've been running the Texaco. I rack up 400 hours per year- yea, alot of hours, many of which are at WOT or yanking a kid out of the hole on a slalom. Tough use, tough engine. The Texaco lubes just fine although it may be abit smokey. It works or my engine would be history.

Now lhg is a devotee to Walmart. Claims less smoke, longevity on his Mercs, and $5 per gal. Why not give it a try. ?? Do you think it will break my old 225 Johnson (1989 with rebuilt fine compression powerhead)? May even save a few bucks over the Texaco- I have plenty of other places to spend money on the Whaler then oil/gas. Tell me more??? Thanks David

Bigshot posted 09-10-2002 05:21 PM ET (US)     Profile for Bigshot  Send Email to Bigshot     
Go for it....I was just saying I would run anything other than Texaco. But that was 20 years ago and times change. Funny how we can get stuborn on certain things. Kinda like your father saying in the year 2002 that he had an Edsel and would NEVER buy a Ford again.
David Ratusnik posted 09-10-2002 05:50 PM ET (US)     Profile for David Ratusnik  Send Email to David Ratusnik     
Biggs- Thanks for the input. Hey, I didn't buy the Outrage for the engine. Figured if I got a year out of it- win, win, win. My mechanic keeps shaking his head every 100 hrs when I bring it in for its' top to bottom. Fine/honest mechanic (many yrs in Port Canaveral) who wants to sell me a new 225/250 Bomb Ficht. You know, the crab guys run nothing but old OMCs. Put the least expensive gas/oil into them as possible. Hey, if Walmart oil trashes the head, I get to repower. The engine could last 5 minutes or 5 yrs (kidding). Actually, I've become attached to the old girl. Service reliably. Put a really cool Bomb corportate logo decal smack in the middle of the cowling. Looks like a 2003 hea, hea, hea. Regards David
lhg posted 09-10-2002 07:09 PM ET (US)     Profile for lhg    
David, with that Walmart oil, your old OMC could last longer than you want it to! I've always thought Pennzoil puts out reputable oil products.
Clark Roberts posted 09-11-2002 06:20 PM ET (US)     Profile for Clark Roberts  Send Email to Clark Roberts     
Larry, thanks for the info and I will go check WalMart for Tech 2000 and will change to that brand based on your success/satisfaction! Happy Whalin'... Clark.. SCN
Jim Bennett posted 09-11-2002 08:09 PM ET (US)     Profile for Jim Bennett  Send Email to Jim Bennett     
Checked in my local Wal-Mart today and their brand of 2-cycle Outboard oil is named Super Tech
Clark Roberts posted 09-12-2002 08:08 AM ET (US)     Profile for Clark Roberts  Send Email to Clark Roberts     
Thanks, Jim! The search is on! Happy Whalin'.. Clark... Spruce Creek Navy
Clark Roberts posted 09-12-2002 01:44 PM ET (US)     Profile for Clark Roberts  Send Email to Clark Roberts     
Just called my local Wal=Mart and they have plenty of Super Tech oil.... Thanks again to Larry and Jim... wonder if they sell it in 55 gal drums.. hummmmm????? Beam me up... Clark... SCN
lhg posted 09-12-2002 01:57 PM ET (US)     Profile for lhg    
Clark - in all seriousness, based on your considerable experience & knowledge with 2-strokes, let us know how you like it, especially in comparison with the Mercury brand, pros and cons. Thanks.

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