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Author Topic:   1986 Johnson 150 problems
phred3717 posted 05-19-2003 09:00 PM ET (US)   Profile for phred3717   Send Email to phred3717  
A simple sailor but having contracted whaleritis many years ago I finally took the plunge and bought, sight unseen, a 1986 18' Outrage with a 150hp Johnson two weeks ago.

Having not completly taken leave of my senses I read many great posts in the forum and had the hull surveyed. In addition I had the mechanics at the brokerage/dealer check the engine - no problems everything checks out including (I am told) good compression - 90lbs even. Also hired a law firm to check title and liens.

When I get a copy of my hull survey report (while closing) the surveyor notes he saw some oil on the side of the engine and suggested it be checked.

The boat by now is mine and towed to another state (head office of broker)pending pick up by me. I call the broker whose OMC master mechanic calls me back to give me the good news that my engine needs approx $4000 overhaul ie reconditioned block etc (no use putting the old parts back in) - Excess carbon deposits etc - I was busy having a freeking heart attack while trying to remain calm in front of my wife and guests attending my birthday party earlier today - the rest is a bit of a blur - other than the bit about any vaguely competent mechanic should have been aware and or spotted this in the first place given the age of the engine.

To make a long story shorter I am now waiting for a call from the owner of the SeaRay/BW dealership who brokered the deal and whose's mechanic checked it out for me before I bought it.

My question: Given I can't afford a new engine,(my marriage won't stand it either)is $4000 a reasonable sum to rebuild such an engine. Any suggestions on what an appropriate contribution to the problem from the dealer would be (the mechanic's head would be nice but not too helpful)?

Your thoughts much appreciated

JBCornwell posted 05-20-2003 12:46 AM ET (US)     Profile for JBCornwell  Send Email to JBCornwell     
Hi, Phred.

First: Your engine probably does NOT need a major overhaul or a new powerhead. Decarbonization is routine maintenance and should restore compression to over 100 psi.

Second: If it did, $4 grand is too much. If the engine is an '86, you can buy good used engines for half that.

If you know nothing of outboards, hire an experienced OMC wrench who has no axe to grind to act as your agent in resolving the engine's condition and any NEEDED repairs.

If major repairs are truly needed, have your law firm "negotiate" with the brokerage to make good on their assessment of the engine's condition.

MY STARS!! Dishonest wrenches annoy me!! It is quite unlikely that both wrenches concerned are being honest.

Good luck.

Red sky at night. . .

phred3717 posted 05-20-2003 08:33 AM ET (US)     Profile for phred3717  Send Email to phred3717     
Thanks very much for the advise. Although I have spent most of my spare time on the water (and some of my working life) it has been sailing rather than power boating. This is all new to me.

I was pretty much in schock when the 2nd mechanic talked to me but I think he said that noone had ever dealt with carbonization in the engine and that the cylinders are now no longer round but in fact oval and were at the limit for tolerance ie could still run but may "grenade" the engine at some point- he pointed out no one can say for sure when this might happen.

He was pretty factual and I think he is trying to give me the full story and let me make a decision with as much information as possible. I told him I couldn't understand everying he was telling me and asked him to put it in writing and fax it to me which he seemed to agreed was a good idea.

He seems a fan of the engines and knows the North Atlantic where I live is not the place to find your self offshore without a way home.

Anyway I will start looking at engine prices, post more details. Thanks for the input - If this forum wasn't here I do not know what I would do - thanks!!!!!!!!!!!!

gvisko posted 05-20-2003 07:59 PM ET (US)     Profile for gvisko  Send Email to gvisko     
Before I spent $4000 on 86 rebuild I would
sell that motor for around $1,000 and
buy a new 2002 leftover carbed johnson 150 for $7,800 thats what I did when my
90 150 started to act up. you wont regret it

george visko (18 outrage 150 johnson )

acseatsri posted 05-22-2003 06:46 PM ET (US)     Profile for acseatsri  Send Email to acseatsri     
Buy a used kicker, about 8-10 horse, for emergencies. Run the old engine into the ground.
phred3717 posted 05-23-2003 11:06 AM ET (US)     Profile for phred3717  Send Email to phred3717     
thanks acseatsri

I was leaning that way myself. I just don't have the budget for new power right now. I have a small fund which I will build up over time.

On a better note the Dealership and I came to an arrangement and they are going to rebuild the engine for me (including sending the block to southwest marine to be bored out) for approx $2500 parts and labor. I am reasonably certain a rebuild is necessary given the state of the carbonization and rings (shot). I belive the engine would continue to run for a while ...but why take the risk.

All things considering, I think it was a fair settlement as I hadn't expected a rebuilt engine when I bought the whaler but did rely on their first mechanic when he told me things were ok. Turns out the former owner spent some time and money on the engine trying to work out the problems (there is about $1400 of new parts and labor apparently invested in it according to the "wrench" ie new power packs, carburator (sp), ignition etc.)

NOW for the road trip! Going to get a couple of friends together, some golf clubs, tunes and a big SUV - visit all the relatives on the way.

acseatsri posted 05-23-2003 12:04 PM ET (US)     Profile for acseatsri  Send Email to acseatsri     
I wouldn't spend the $2500 either. It's still an engine that's 17 years old with 17 year old technology, and a rather inefficient crossflow block at that. You could probably pick up a used newer looper for the kind of cash you're talking about. It could run another 5 or 10 years just the way it is. Maybe just do a decarb on it and go for the gusto. Mine is a 1988 model- I wouldn't put a dime into it other than minor repairs- it's still gonna be a 15-year-old engine. Purchase the insurance policy for the back of the transom and run it until it blows. Unless you're on a lake, you probably won't be pushing it anyways. Mine rarely sees more than 3500 RPM, and most of the time I run below 3000 RPM.
Whalerdan posted 05-23-2003 02:25 PM ET (US)     Profile for Whalerdan  Send Email to Whalerdan     
Where you going to pick up a 150hp engine in any kind of decent shape for $2,500 (installed, parts, and labor)? Maybe you could get a 90-115 for that price.

If this one looks decent (ie not a bunch of corrosion), and it's had all those other parts replaced already, $2,500 seems like a decent deal to me and you'll know what you have. Should last till your sick of buying gas for it, as it will be thirsty.

acseatsri posted 05-23-2003 02:51 PM ET (US)     Profile for acseatsri  Send Email to acseatsri     
All those other parts didn't increase the value of the engine- it was just routine maintenance and repairs. Maybe I was a little low on the estimate, but you'll pay a lot more than that in the fuel usage vs. a newer model- I know how thirsty mine is even loafing along. Like I said, I'd just run the crap out of it until it died. The mechanic said it COULD grenade- not it WOULD grenade. The insurance policy is a good idea anyway- new engines die too!

PS- for a new engine, I'd DEFINITELY opt for a smaller 115 hp or so. Where I operate (LI sound) it's rare to get a calm enough day to run over 25 knots or so.

phred3717 posted 05-23-2003 03:08 PM ET (US)     Profile for phred3717  Send Email to phred3717     
Thanks for the advice guys.

I hear you on the gas issue - but then I knew it would be an issue compared to sails!

Given the extent of the carbon build up (resulting shape of the rings) I just felt it was the better option - I priced rebuilt engines, new and rebuilding myself etc and figure a rebuild was best deal for me in the circumstances.

While I live on the ocean and plan to commute to work by whaler in the summer there are lots of quiet mornings and lakes to enjoy around here where I will be able to open her up. I bought a stern seat and new leaning post cover from Dave's (before engine troubles) and I plan to enjoy the boat for what it is - best damn boat of its size I ever layed my eyes on - gas bills will just have to get payed somehow!

whaler on!

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