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Author Topic:   2002 Mercury 135 Optimax
gw204 posted 01-30-2003 03:53 PM ET (US)   Profile for gw204   Send Email to gw204  
OK, I'll start off my admitting that I don't own a Whaler, but a 1985 Grady White. No beef against Whalers, I like them both them and the Gradys.

I'm here because I need some advice on a repower for the Grady. I have found a great deal on a 2002 (new, in the box) 135 Optimax. $6995, $500 rebate and a 5 year non-declining warranty. The boat is currently powered by the original 1985 150 Merc. (2.0 liter). The boat weighs 1995 lbs. dry and holds 80 gallons of fuel. On the few occasions that I may fill it up and head offshore for tuna, do you think the 135 will be enough power? I have read it dynos at 147 and who knows what my 150 is outputting right now. I do know it pushes the boat to 41 with about a 1/4 tank of gas and a 14x19 SS three blade prop and 180 lbs. of me in it. Given the limited amount of information I have provided, should I expect better, worse or similar performance.

I'm not looking for the boat to scream. I run her mainly in the Chesapeake Bay where conditions often prohibit 20' boats from running any faster that 30 mph or so. That is about where the 150 would cruise me turning 4000 and burning 7.5 gal/hr. I've been told that the 135 will knock my socks off compared to my old 150 and I'll definitely get better performance and fuel economy, but I've also heard the 135 won't be enough.

I'm just trying to get all the opinions and hear of all the experiences I can so I'm able to make a well informed decision that I won't have any doubts about. Thanks for any help and advice you can give me.


Bigshot posted 01-30-2003 04:17 PM ET (US)     Profile for Bigshot  Send Email to Bigshot     
15hp....would not worry about it. Being your engine is older I doubt you are getting 135 now. Go for it!
BillD posted 01-30-2003 04:49 PM ET (US)     Profile for BillD  Send Email to BillD     
I have a 2000 150 Opti on a 18' 2000 Outrage. The 150 has plenty of power for me (WOT in the 40s cruises at 28-30 mph) and gets great gas mileage. The Outrage weighs in at 2500 pounds dry and holds 90 gallons of gas. Most Outrage came with either the 135 or 150 when they were sold. I can not imagine you losing any significant performance with the 135.

I have been told that the 135 and 150 Opti's are essentially the same engine (same block) the only difference comes at the top end where the additional 15 hp is generated (I am sure someone else can explain what is changed to get the extra hp).

Sounds like a great deal.

TheSkipper posted 01-31-2003 09:14 AM ET (US)     Profile for TheSkipper    
I have a 2002 Optimax 135 with a 17" Mercury Mirage SS prop on my 2002 BW Dauntless 180. According to BW's website, the dry weight of my boat is 2000 lbs. With this setup, my boat goes about 42 mph. Although I get some rather significant bowrise, the boat jumps up on to plane quickly. I have about 60 hours on the motor with no problems to report.
gw204 posted 02-03-2003 09:38 PM ET (US)     Profile for gw204  Send Email to gw204     
I'm still a little hesitant to pull the trigger on the 135 Optimax engine. In searching the various online boat sales sites, I didn't find any comparable boats equipped with any less than 150 HP. I'm concerned that should I ever decide to sell the rig, perspective buyers would consider it underpowered. And the Opti reputation won't help either, regardless of how many years it's been running perfect (knock on wood). Heck, I'm still paranoid of it myself.

Fully loaded w/ 80 gallons of fuel, three adults, full fishing gear the boat will weigh in the neighborhood of 3500 to 4000 lbs. That just seems like a lot for a 135 HP engine. Throw in some rough water and ripping currents and I just think I could be in for some trouble. I don't want to seem like I am doubting you all but I want to be 100% confident in my decision. The dealer can't promise a particular level of performance and if I buy, i can't take it back if unhappy.

I found another dealer that I should be able to get a 2003 carbed 150 for basically the same price as the 135 Opti. I can't help but wonder about the cost of repairs once the warranty on the Opti expires. Granted the Opti warranty is five times longer than that of the carbed motor, I can do most repairs and diagnosis (as well as regular service) on the carbed motor myself. The 18 years of relatively trouble free operation of my current carbed 150 says something to me as well...

Setting fuel consumption aside, which should be the better performing, more powerful engine for my application? The 135 Opti or the carbed 150?

Sure the carbed motor will burn more fuel, but it should also be cheaper to maintain. No $200 bills every 100 hours that I've heard of, spark plugs don't cost $15 each. Right there is almost $300 yearly additional cost. $300 buys a lot of gas and oil. Even if I burned high test at say $1.80/gal, that's over 160 gallons (my average trolling trip burns 25 gallons w/ the old motor).

I just don't know. Never expected this decision to be so hard when I saw the Opti at the boat show.

Thanks again for the replies.


captbone posted 02-04-2003 02:50 AM ET (US)     Profile for captbone  Send Email to captbone     
If you look at the difference in performance between a 150 and 175 or a 175 and a 200 that are all based on the same block, it is nothing. Displacement CCs, is where it counts, since the 135 and 150 are the same engine only detuned alittle the difference in perforance will be 1 mph perhaps 2 mph. Go for the 135 optimax, the carbs are old tech, if I was buying you boat used I would want the opti over the carb.
captbone posted 02-04-2003 02:57 AM ET (US)     Profile for captbone  Send Email to captbone     
I was just talking about this and heard from a darn good source that the 135 optimax was dynoed at 147hp and the same with the 150 optimax. It has to do with the 10% tolerance in the rating allowed and by puting out around 147hp, all merc has to do is switch the stickers to make a 135 or 150, it makes sense.
bsmotril posted 02-04-2003 11:19 AM ET (US)     Profile for bsmotril  Send Email to bsmotril     
The 135 has a different gear than the 150. Tests I have read also show different fuel burn at similar rpms and same props between the two. So, there is a different fuel/air map, or possibly some kind of intake port restriction on the 135 vs 150. I wish I had access to the Parts list for each to dig into this in detail and figure out just what else is different between the two.
kglinz posted 02-04-2003 12:15 PM ET (US)     Profile for kglinz  Send Email to kglinz     
The parts lists are on Mercury website. You need to come up with a couple engine serial numbers. One for a 135 and another for a 150.
newt posted 02-04-2003 12:44 PM ET (US)     Profile for newt  Send Email to newt     
Here is the link that kglinz mentioned. I used it once to compare part on "saltwater" series vs. classic.

lhg posted 02-04-2003 05:31 PM ET (US)     Profile for lhg    
I also would guess the 135 Opti and 150 Opti are pretty similar in output. But there must be some difference, as the 135 is cleaner running, as a matter of fact, the only DFI engine made, any brand, that gets 3 stars. With a five year warranty, you can't go wrong at that price.

But the carbed 150 at about $7500 is awfully tempting. The Opti's are not as quiet at running speed, because of the air compressor noise. If you can swing it, look into the extra cost of a super quiet & highly reliable 150 EFI and call it a day.
You will love the engine!

captbone posted 02-04-2003 08:06 PM ET (US)     Profile for captbone  Send Email to captbone     
you guys are right, but I still dont think performance would be greater than 2 mph from 150 and 135 and nothing over 4 mph between optimax, carb, efi or another brand.
LiquidDiet posted 02-04-2003 09:33 PM ET (US)     Profile for LiquidDiet  Send Email to LiquidDiet     
there is a difference between a 135 and a 150 hp Opti. A 135 swings a 2.00 to 1 lower unit and a 150 swings a 1.87 to 1 lower unit. I Personally own a 150 Opti (1999) and honestly am happy as can be with this motor on a 17' Outrage. I hope this info proves useful.


gw204 posted 02-04-2003 09:42 PM ET (US)     Profile for gw204  Send Email to gw204     
I wanted to thank you all for you input. I have made the decision to pass on the 135 Opti and scrounge as many pennies as I can for the 150 EFI. If I can't pull that off, 150 carb. it is. Pricing for the two at in VA is as follows:

150 Carb: $6899
150 EFI: $8499 - $300 Merc. rebate for $8199

And I might be able get the original dealer who had the 135 Opti (Almar's Outboards in DE) to beat those prices.

Thanks again for your help.


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