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Author Topic:   Restarting OptiMax After Long Storage
prm1177 posted 01-12-2003 01:32 PM ET (US)   Profile for prm1177   Send Email to prm1177  
I'm looking at buying a 1999 Outrage with a Mercury OptiMax 135. The boat has only 35-50 hours on it, but it has been in dry storage since the summer of 2000. I've heard some horror stories about this engine being left unused for so long.

Assuming it was fogged and the gas tank drained properly, what should I look for when the engine is inspected? I have heard that common problems with an OptiMax unused for so lon are clogged oil injectors and water pumps. If these need replacing, I've heard $1500 come up as a probable cost.

SuburbanBoy posted 01-13-2003 01:06 AM ET (US)     Profile for SuburbanBoy  Send Email to SuburbanBoy     
Why not run a little pre-mix through the first time? If the oil injection is clogged, you won't seize the motor (using the pre-mix). You can get a primative idea if the oil injection is working by marking the level on the oil tank, then burn up your small quantitiy of pre-mix (1 or 2 gallons). See if the oil injection tank level dropped.

Good luck,


Lars Simonsen posted 01-13-2003 08:01 PM ET (US)     Profile for Lars Simonsen  Send Email to Lars Simonsen     
I bought a 1998 Dauntless with a 1998 135 OptiMax with only about 60 hours on it. The motor ran great until it blew up on my sixth trip out. Fortunately, Mercury gave me a new remanufactured powerhead, I only had to pay for shipping and installation. But I'm not sure I'll ever trust the motor. I think that the low hours probably played a role in the motor's sudden demise. Personally, I would steer clear of the early OptiMax motors. But it sounds like OptiMax motors are most prone to fail massively if they are owned by lawyers (like me and several other folks who have posted on this site).
bsmotril posted 01-14-2003 11:52 PM ET (US)     Profile for bsmotril  Send Email to bsmotril     
What kills motors is lean running, so I would pay particular attention to the fuel system. Replace the fuel filter cannister external to the motor if equipped. Replace the fuel filter cannister internal to the motor. Drain and purge the vapor separator. If you are really paranoid, remove the injectors and clean them. If you are not mechanically inclined, your dealer may want to do this. If you are not real paranoid, fill the fuel cannister with half gas and half Techron/Chevron injector cleaner. Hook the motor up to the flusher and run it at idle for 20 minutes after pumping the primer bulb. I would also first set the engine back into break in mode (double oil) and prime the oil pump. Do that by pressing in the throttle shift inter lock button, turn the key to "Run", and pump the throttle from neutral to forward 5 times in the first 15 seconds after turning on the key. This will give the motor and iar compressor some extra oil for the next 8 hours running under load. If the motor was stored with fuel stabilizer, it is probably in good shape fuel system wise. It is not like a carb with fuel exposed to air via the jets into the float bowl letting the fuel evaporate and turn into Varnish. One last thing, Before cranking, remove the plugs and perform a compression test. Then spray carb choke cleaner liberally into each cylinder in case the rings are stuck. Let soak ten min, then crank the engine over with the starter to pump the liquid out of the cylinders. Spray fogging oil into each plug hole, let soak 5 min, then crank the motor again with the starter to lube the rings and cylinders. Replace the plugs, start her up on the fuel/cleaner mix, and idle away.
SeattleDauntless posted 08-10-2006 05:02 AM ET (US)     Profile for SeattleDauntless  Send Email to SeattleDauntless     
I will be taking delivery of a 2000 Dauntless with 135 Mercury Saltwater. It has a total of 20-hours run time, and obviously had sat a while. As a part of the deal, I had the broker/dealer (original seller of the boat) have their mechanic start it up and run it for 15 minutes. I am not sure what the pre-start prep work was but I was told it ran like a champ. I have to assume some of what was outlined in this thread was done so it would not blow up on them.

So now the questions (and yes, some of this is a little redundant so let me apologize beforehand):

1) How does the idea of straight pre-mix for the next month sound? and if so, how do I kill the oil warning system as I run this way?

2) Should I run a little rich for a while?

3) How hard is it to pull and clean the injectors? I am somewhat mechanically inclined and not afraid to do this if the manual is straighforward. Or is the 2000 motor a carb model?

4) I have replaced water impellers on older Johnson's in the past. How difficult is it on the Mercury OptiMax 135?

5) Where is the fuel filter canister located on this motor?

6) any final thoughts that were not previously posted?



bsmotril posted 08-10-2006 08:23 AM ET (US)     Profile for bsmotril  Send Email to bsmotril     
I'm assuming the Motor in question here is an OptiMax and not a carburetor or EFI motor because I think that is the only 135-HP offered then.

1) Regarding Premix - DON'T DO IT!!. You will destroy the motor. On OptiMax, the fuel/oil mix gets injected right into the cylinder. The mix does not first pass through the crank case like a conventional 2 stroke where it lubricates the rod ends, crank, and piston pins. DO NOT kill the oil injection system. It directs oil directly into the crank case and onto the pistons because these parts are not lubed by the fuel/oil mix. If you want to run extra oil, force the engine computer into break in/prime mode. You do this by turning the key to the run position, then quickly moving the throttle lever from neutral to forward 5 times in succession. The engine computer will now run the oil pump for about 2 minutes to purge all air, and will inject double oil for the next 10 hours of run time.

2) On an OptiMax, you have no way of setting the mixture. On a carbed motor, you would have to disassemble the carbs and re-jet them. Not worth the hassle. You'd be better off running a shock treatment with Ring Free.

3) The injectors are not user servicable. You cannot take them apart and clean them. Run 15-20 gallons of fuel through the motor at conservative cruise speeds with a shock treatment dosage of Yamaha Ring Free (concentrated Tekron) to clean the injectors. After this tank of fuel, replace the under cowl spin on fuel filter cannister.

4)Water pump is easier than an OMC. No shift shaft to disconnect under the carbs. The shift shaft on a Merc turns versus moving up and down on an OMC. The end that slips into the gearcase is spline and just slides into the lower unit. The rest of the change is just like an OMC

5) Fuel filter is on the vapor separator assembly which is the first thing the fuel line connects to when it enters the cowling. It is on the lower front port side of the motor. It looks like a spin on oil filter with an electrical plug/connector on the bottom to sense water in fuel.

6) Don't forget the lower unit. Remove prop, inspect seals for fishing line or damage. Drain lube checking for water. Replace lube, and replace sealing washers on the lower unit drain and vent screws.

bsmotril posted 08-10-2006 03:08 PM ET (US)     Profile for bsmotril  Send Email to bsmotril     
Let me clarify number 1 when I said don't do it. I was referring to disabling the oil system and just running premix. If you do that, no oil will ever get to the crankcase on a [direct injection engine like the] OptiMax. There is no harm in running premix if the oil system is also operating correctly to lube the crankcase. Also, don't go overboard on the oil ratio. The more oil, the less fuel per given volume pumped through the injector and that makes the engine run leaner than no oil in the fuel. BillS
sosmerc posted 08-11-2006 12:16 AM ET (US)     Profile for sosmerc  Send Email to sosmerc     
Here's my recommendation:
--Install a fresh water pump impeller
--Install new fuel filters
--Re-set the break-in mode
--Run 50:1 in your fuel tank for at least a couple of hours or until you have established that the engine is using oil from the boat mounted tank.
--Do not baby the engine, better to run it between 3500 to 4500 rpm to ensure that the oil pump will be pumping at an increased rate due to the load on the engine.
--Run Mercury Quickleen in your fuel all the time.
--Make sure the engine is propped to reach maximum rpm at wide open throttle.

You should also have a dealer check via your serial number to see if all available "updates" have been performed...the early OptiMax engines had a number of update campaigns to insure durability.

Clark Roberts posted 08-11-2006 06:20 AM ET (US)     Profile for Clark Roberts  Send Email to Clark Roberts     
Listen to bsmotril...he is right on the mark! Clark... Spruce Creek Navy
jimh posted 08-11-2006 09:14 AM ET (US)     Profile for jimh  Send Email to jimh     
I, too, recommend you have an authorized Mercury mechanic check the motor's serial number with the factory to determine if there are any field updates which are applicable to this motor, and to determine if they have been installed already.

It would be interesting to see what the position of Mercury will be regarding this motor if there are field service updates for this motor which have not yet been installed. At one time they were quite generous about performing field updates of their OptiMax motors.

The OptiMax motors have a bit of history and have caused Mercury to have to provide a great deal of free service and repairs under the terms of the original warranty and later some extended warranty coverage. However, the general reputation of the smaller V6 motors like the 135-HP is better than the larger ones, and there may not be much in terms of field updates that are applicable.

I would also suggest that you have your boat's battery system in top-notch condition. Any occurrences of low battery voltage will have an affect on the operation of the OptiMax. It requires a great deal of electrical current to operate properly and prefers the source to be a stable battery voltage.

Use the recommended premium oil to lubricate this motor. It will be more expensive but from all reports it is worth it because of improved performance and reduced problems.

Also check closely on the spark plugs. The recommendations for plug type and gap may have been changed. Installation of the plugs may also require indexing. A fresh set of spark plugs usually helps any motor run better. If you do run with double-oiling for a while, change the plugs when you return to the usual oil regime.

Peter posted 08-11-2006 09:59 AM ET (US)     Profile for Peter  Send Email to Peter     
Does Mercury's break-in procedure for the Optimax call for running a 50:1 premix? Evinrude's does not. What does running 50:1 pre-mix in a DFI do other than lubricate the internals of the injectors?

It would seem that a DFI motor runing a premix 50:1 ratio will still NOT have an air/fuel/oil mixture running through the crankcase before getting into the combustion chamber. Thus, if the DFI engine is not being oiled by the targeted oil injection system, the motor will either drop into a no-oil fault mode (hopefully) or it will fail for lack of crankcase lubrication whether or not you run a 50:1 pre-mix.

sosmerc posted 08-11-2006 12:33 PM ET (US)     Profile for sosmerc  Send Email to sosmerc     
Mercury has NEVER called for 50:1 in the tank on Optimax engines.
I've chosen to do it anyway in some circumstances where I think the extra lubrication might be good for the electric fuel pumps and the injectors. (such as after a "water in the gas" situation) or partial sinking.
But Peter is correct in that Optimax engines do not put any fuel/oil mix through the crankcase.....only oil/air get through the crankcase. So if the oil pump is not won't be long before bearing damage occurs.
I've been told these engines collect ALOT of oil inside the crankcase and that is how they can get away with such a lean oil ratio at low speeds.
XStech posted 08-11-2006 01:05 PM ET (US)     Profile for XStech  Send Email to XStech     
Do NOT run pre-mix. It will only foul your plugs, run lean, and not lube anything.

Have a dealer do an oil pump prime. It will check that the oil pump is functioning and add a little oil to the motor.

All other suggestions on filters etc. is good.

bsmotril posted 08-11-2006 03:23 PM ET (US)     Profile for bsmotril  Send Email to bsmotril     
On a 2000 Opti, you don't need a dealer do prime the oil system. You can do it yourself as I stated above without the diag tool. When I bought my twin 1998 Opti 135s, the shop mgr at the dealership had me run premix. He had just gotten back from Opti tech school to get certified and he said that is what they suggested. I agree with you though it leans out the mixture and is not needed if you put the oil system into break in mode yourself. BillS
SeattleDauntless posted 08-12-2006 03:05 AM ET (US)     Profile for SeattleDauntless  Send Email to SeattleDauntless     
[L]ots of good information here. Thanks all!

[I] send off the bucks today, should have boat at end of month. I know it has a new battery, and [I] KNOW from experience the havoc a bad or disconnected battery will do to the electronics on a boat. (That was a costly one).

I will try dropping it into break-in mode when [I] get it, and not add premix if that happens. [A]s long as it smokes like a sun of a gun, [I] feel safe that it should run well.

[T]he dealer assured me it was properly winterized last year, and that it started up just fine this year.

I am SO pumped to get a boat again. I had an OUTRAGE 18 in the past, but the wife hated it and wanted at least a small cabin to hide in with cool weather. [T]hen [I] stepped up to a REVENGE 25, but it was really too big, and motor repairs were killing me. [T]hen [I] had no Boston Whaler boat, and now this one!

SeattleDauntless posted 08-30-2006 06:35 PM ET (US)     Profile for SeattleDauntless  Send Email to SeattleDauntless     
Got the new used boat, but won't get a chance to even start
it before next week sometime. In the mean time, I will get
it all prepped, with new fuel filers, good Merc oil, etc.

When I stopped at the marina (a Merc dealer) he suggested I
get the new Yamaha filter, as it is longer and "better". (I
am not referring to the engine mounted one).

any comments on this???

sosmerc posted 08-31-2006 11:08 AM ET (US)     Profile for sosmerc  Send Email to sosmerc     
Despite the fact that Merc does not recommend adding additional filters beyond what the motor is equipped with, I recommend the Racor water seperator that has the clear plastic bowl on the bottom and a tap to open for quick fuel sampling. I also recommend positioning a MERC primer bulb between the fuel tank and the filter so that you PUSH fuel to the filter...this makes for much easier priming of the filter after a filter replacement.
jimh posted 08-31-2006 09:12 PM ET (US)     Profile for jimh  Send Email to jimh     
For information on fuel filters, see the article in the REFERENCE section. The Mercury fuel filter is not particularly good for filtering small particles; there are better choices. See the article for details.

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