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Author Topic:   optimax?
george nagy posted 06-06-2003 03:00 PM ET (US)   Profile for george nagy   Send Email to george nagy  
I have read a few posts on mercury optimax engines and have noticed some negative comments. I undertand that mercury had some problems for a few years. What were the problems and what years did they occur? The reason I'm asking is I am looking at a boat with a 1998 200 hp optimax with under 300 hrs and want to get to the skinny quickly.
JBCornwell posted 06-06-2003 03:43 PM ET (US)     Profile for JBCornwell  Send Email to JBCornwell     
It is really hard to sort out the reported problems with late model DFI and 4 stroke engines, George.

We have recently discussed Ficht failures that had nothing to do with the engines, but owner errors in lubrication. I suspect the same is true of at least some of the problems with Optimaxes.

I have recently found that the highly publicized cam breakage on a couple of Suzuki DF70s was probably dealer wrench error in tensioning the timing belt.

I think that new-tech engines, if they are operated and serviced EXACTLY as the maker specifies, are reliable. They are clean, quiet and efficient.

My only objection to Mercurys is Brunswick's predatory marketing practices. Snarl!

Red sky at night. . .
JB

lhg posted 06-06-2003 03:50 PM ET (US)     Profile for lhg    
George, I would strongly recommend that you drop by Sundance Marine in Lauderdale, and try to talk to one of the *mechanics* back by the fork lift operation. These guys are the best in the business, and know the Opti's inside and out. They will give you the correct information, better and much more accurate than you can get here. They have sold & serviced hundreds of them each year.

If you're serious about the rig, pay them to check out the engine first. Best money you can spend. It's computer will tell a lot, including hours.

JBCornwell posted 06-06-2003 06:07 PM ET (US)     Profile for JBCornwell  Send Email to JBCornwell     
While I don't dispute your word about the knowledgability of the gentlemen you recommend, Larry, I doubt your qualifications to judge the value of input available here.

"At least as good and accurate as. . . ." I can live with.

Red sky at night. . .
JB

lhg posted 06-06-2003 06:26 PM ET (US)     Profile for lhg    
JB - please take no offense. First of all, my message was in composition mode when yours evidently popped in ahead of me. I was reponding to the initial request, not having yet seen yours.

My intention was that, because of all the "Opticrap" bashing and biased anti-Mercury "hate mail" coming from people like TRAFFICLAWYER, who inevitably show up on a thread like this, I thought I would direct the questioner to an experienced source who REALLY knows the pros and cons of the engines, right down to the model years.

TRAFFICLAWYER posted 06-06-2003 08:11 PM ET (US)     Profile for TRAFFICLAWYER    
1998 Opticarp,total loser, I had a 1998 135 hp that blew. If you want unbiased information go to the floridasportsman or hulltruth web sites and do a search. It'll keep you busy reading for days and I may add positive and negative. Mr. lhg has never had the misfortune of owning an opticarp, so his facsist views are reflective of his narrow viewpoint.
JBCornwell posted 06-07-2003 12:22 AM ET (US)     Profile for JBCornwell  Send Email to JBCornwell     
With respect, TRAFFICLAWYER, your experience is statistically insignificant and your conclusion about as valid as an insanity defense for Saddam.

Unfortunately, I find the referrerd sources similarly subjective.

I don't like Mercury products, I think I have made that clear, but it has nothing to do with the quality of the products, merely Bunswick marketing strategies.

Red sky at night. . .
JB

Jarhead posted 06-07-2003 07:29 AM ET (US)     Profile for Jarhead  Send Email to Jarhead     
lhg nailed this one George.

Very good advice indeed. :)

TRAFFICLAWYER posted 06-07-2003 08:56 AM ET (US)     Profile for TRAFFICLAWYER    
JB:

You're correct my experience with Mercury products or for that matter toliet paper is insignificant, Your experiences are also insignificant and meaningless to me, so what? Whose compiling statistics? I merely expressed my opinion to the inquiry re: the 1998 opticrap.

I do find it amusing that the biggest ctritics of dissent have no personal experience,i.e never have had the misfortune of owning one of these early disasterous motor experiments thrust upon the consumer by mercury.

Lars Simonsen posted 06-07-2003 04:33 PM ET (US)     Profile for Lars Simonsen  Send Email to Lars Simonsen     
I have a 1998 135 Optimax. Shortly after I bought it (used with about 60 hours on it), the powerhead blew. To Mercury's great credit, they gave me a new powerhead despite the fact that it was about a year out of warranty. I've probably got about 30 hours on the new powerhead, and I've had no problems. I'm not confident it's reliable yet, but I'm hoping in a couple of years that I'll be able to say it's been a great engine. I like basically everything about it except for my uncertainty about reliability. It's powerful, fairly quiet (the compressor and injectors make it sound a little like a diesel, which is disconcerting), very fuel efficient, and clean running. I have a suspicion that the low hours on the motor may have been its downfall. My theory (which is not based on any investigating or research) is that one of the oil ports in the engine clogged, and so the main bearing wasn't getting enough lubrication).

Lars

Lars Simonsen posted 06-07-2003 04:33 PM ET (US)     Profile for Lars Simonsen  Send Email to Lars Simonsen     
I have a 1998 135 Optimax. Shortly after I bought it (used with about 60 hours on it), the powerhead blew. To Mercury's great credit, they gave me a new powerhead despite the fact that it was about a year out of warranty. I've probably got about 30 hours on the new powerhead, and I've had no problems. I'm not confident it's reliable yet, but I'm hoping in a couple of years that I'll be able to say it's been a great engine. I like basically everything about it except for my uncertainty about reliability. It's powerful, fairly quiet (the compressor and injectors make it sound a little like a diesel, which is disconcerting), very fuel efficient, and clean running. I have a suspicion that the low hours on the motor may have been its downfall. My theory (which is not based on any investigating or research) is that one of the oil ports in the engine clogged, and so the main bearing wasn't getting enough lubrication).

Lars

Lars Simonsen posted 06-07-2003 07:06 PM ET (US)     Profile for Lars Simonsen  Send Email to Lars Simonsen     
Don't make me say that a third time!
TRAFFICLAWYER posted 06-07-2003 08:26 PM ET (US)     Profile for TRAFFICLAWYER    
Lars:
Since ONLY two of have had blown opticraps,it's insignificant and anecdotal.
prm1177 posted 06-08-2003 01:34 PM ET (US)     Profile for prm1177  Send Email to prm1177     
I also have a 1998 Optimax 135. I find the motor reliable and powerful (great hole shot) as well as efficient and clean. I've taken several 100+ mile trips to the Sacramento River Delta with no issues. No complaints.
Fishcop posted 06-08-2003 07:16 PM ET (US)     Profile for Fishcop  Send Email to Fishcop     
George,

I have a 2000 225 Optimax with 300+ hours.
Pushes my 25' Outrage really well.
Best motor I have owned to date (no smoke and great on fuel/oil).
Others have reported problems with the Optimax power head.
I agree with LHG, pay the $$$ to have the motor checked.
Have them look for any "fault codes" and any "updates" to the motor.
Total hours, RPM'S, Etc. can be verified.
Good luck.

Andy

BWdaunt18 posted 06-18-2003 12:29 PM ET (US)     Profile for BWdaunt18  Send Email to BWdaunt18     
I own a 2001 135 Opti. Purchsed new in 2002.

Although I was hesitant to buy the Merc due to questionable reliability, I have experinced no problems with the motor. It is powerful, responsive hole shot, and sips fuel. Reasonably quiet.

My only complaint to date is the finish. The Merc finish does not appear to hold up as well as competitors/Yamaha but that may not be a significant issue if you plan to keep the boat in your garage.

Perhaps Merc worked some of the bugs out post 1998.

Check with Merc, the motor may still be under warranty. Might be transferable. Merc issued me a warranty card, maybe current owner has one.

By the way, Optimax spark plugs run about $20 each.

I might buy a 150 HPDI in the spring. My Merc warranty is up in 2004.

BWdaunt18 posted 06-18-2003 12:29 PM ET (US)     Profile for BWdaunt18  Send Email to BWdaunt18     
I own a 2001 135 Opti. Purchsed new in 2002.

Although I was hesitant to buy the Merc due to questionable reliability, I have experinced no problems with the motor. It is powerful, responsive hole shot, and sips fuel. Reasonably quiet.

My only complaint to date is the finish. The Merc finish does not appear to hold up as well as competitors/Yamaha but that may not be a significant issue if you plan to keep the boat in your garage.

Perhaps Merc worked some of the bugs out post 1998.

Check with Merc, the motor may still be under warranty. Might be transferable. Merc issued me a warranty card, maybe current owner has one.

By the way, Optimax spark plugs run about $20 each.

I might buy a 150 HPDI in the spring. My Merc warranty is up in 2004.

bsmotril posted 06-18-2003 05:38 PM ET (US)     Profile for bsmotril  Send Email to bsmotril     
Opti 135 plugs are on sale from the Web. Check out my post in the "Post Clasics" forum.
BillS
george nagy posted 06-18-2003 06:09 PM ET (US)     Profile for george nagy  Send Email to george nagy     
After quizing a few mechanics who were merc mechanics they warned me about the 225hp 1998 model year engines. I would personaly tend to shy away from such technological devices such as these and other direct injection motors on the market. I still like carb motors but the simple efi engines are looking good now as well.
DaddysGirl posted 06-27-2003 10:21 AM ET (US)     Profile for DaddysGirl  Send Email to DaddysGirl     
My 2000 225 Opti with 177 hours on it just brought me to/from Green Turtle Cay in the Abacos Bahamas approx 170 miles one-way without a miss. I used a grand total of 85 gallons of gas during the trip! Merc bashers, bash away. I wouldn't trade my Merc for any other motor right now. Had to change out a fuel filter upon return because of the gas I got in GTC. Mercury, set the water on fire!!
Jamie 20 outrage posted 06-28-2003 02:00 AM ET (US)     Profile for Jamie 20 outrage  Send Email to Jamie 20 outrage     
I work for the only merc dealer in St. Thomas VI. I know of 6 Optimax. One was a 2002 150. I spent quite afew hours chasing codes. Finally merc sent me a new wire harness and ECU. This engine was traded in the week after I fixed it. Another is a 2000 225. It spit an injector tip through piston number six. Another pair of 225s on another boat are two different years, one a 2000, the other a 2002. I just had to replace an air injector on the older engine to the tune of 350 dollars. Plus a fuel injector and throttle position sensor. The owners claim that they have had few trips without some sort of an alarm to listen to. Recently a boat with an optimax 150 sank. The insurance company declared it a total loss, even though we pickled the engine. I bought it for 500 dollars, I could have gotten it running, but was afraid that I would have to give some sort of warranty with it or wouldnt be able to find a buyer. I took the lower unit off and will sell it. The boat with the new powerhead is for sale. The people with the alarms tell me that when they return in the fall, they will repower. A merc representative came down to give us some schooling and numerous times he said Optis are getting better, but he never gave me one specific example of a change. Where there is smoke......
1stwhaler posted 07-03-2003 12:19 AM ET (US)     Profile for 1stwhaler  Send Email to 1stwhaler     
My buddy has a 2001 225 opti,the first year was nothing but trouble,alarms in and out,overheating,fouling plugs,thru a injector tip into cylinder,merc.replaced power head,it was in the shop more than in the water,this year so far so good,good thing it has a 5 year warranty.
Jamie 20 outrage posted 07-03-2003 12:37 AM ET (US)     Profile for Jamie 20 outrage  Send Email to Jamie 20 outrage     
It may have a great warranty, sounds like maybe 2 engines may be in order to guarantee one to be working.
Jamie 20 outrage posted 07-03-2003 12:37 AM ET (US)     Profile for Jamie 20 outrage  Send Email to Jamie 20 outrage     
It may have a great warranty, sounds like maybe 2 engines may be in order to guarantee one to be working.

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