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Author Topic:   3 cylinder Johnsons
soggy bottom boy posted 08-14-2004 01:42 PM ET (US)   Profile for soggy bottom boy   Send Email to soggy bottom boy  

I find myself having to replace my existing Yamaha F25 on a 1988 13' Sport. Cash is an issue, so I'm looking for the best deal I can find. I can buy a replacement F25 for $5K Cdn. or buy a New Old Stock 2001 35hp Johnson 3 cylinder for $1200.00 less. Given the cash crunch, I'm leaning towards the Johnson. The dealer has told me he will disconnect the oil injection before installing, and has enough confidence in the motor that he will give me a 1 year warranty through his shop. Any thoughts before I take the plunge?


Florida15 posted 08-14-2004 05:20 PM ET (US)     Profile for Florida15  Send Email to Florida15     
A 2001 35 hp for $3800 ? You should be able to get a 2004 40hp for around $3100. That's in US dollars. I don't know what the exchange rate is so I don't know if that's a good deal or not. Check out for comparison purposes.
It would also depend on whether it has PT&T and if that includes controls,prop and installation.
soggy bottom boy posted 08-14-2004 07:15 PM ET (US)     Profile for soggy bottom boy  Send Email to soggy bottom boy     

In today's money market it takes $1.31 Cdn to buy a US Greenback. So, that $3100 motor will set me back $4100.00 Cdn, plus our federal sales tax of 7%, shipping and, despite NAFTA (free trade!) there are probably some customs/duties to be levied. The Johnson has TnT, includes Controls, and installation. So does the Yamaha for point of comparison.

So, aside from sticker shock, anyone have any real world experience with these Johnson 3 bangers????


Florida15 posted 08-15-2004 09:10 AM ET (US)     Profile for Florida15  Send Email to Florida15     
Well heck, with TnT, controls and installation and after converting to U.S. dollars, that sounds like a deal.
JohnJ80 posted 08-15-2004 12:48 PM ET (US)     Profile for JohnJ80  Send Email to JohnJ80     
The three cylinder Johnsons are work horses - great motors.

I had problems with mine on the oil injection (VRO) but many have not. However, if you do have a problem it is a big deal (scored cylinders).

Why is he going to disconnect the VRO? If it is because the motor has already had problems with the VRO then that is one big warning flag. If it is because the mechanic is rightfully suspicious of the VRO, that is another. Most mechanics will tell you that they fail or they don't. However, mine failed by just putting out insufficient quantities of oil, enough the beeper didn't go off unless it was cold and the engine was idling. However, it never put out the proper qty of oil leading to cylinder scoring.

Make sure that you get a leakdown check. Also have a mechanic look in the cylinders to see if there is scoring. You can only do so many ring jobs on a block before you have to through it away. If you have VRO problems - or it had those in the past - that is what the damage would be to the motor.

You can also have a mechanic determine if he motor has had a ring job and how much block is left for new rings.

If there is scoring or the leakdown doesn't hold well - go get another motor.

If all that checks out fine, and this represents no more than a half an hour for a mechanic, you are good to go.

All of this goes without saying that you should use a mechanic that is independent of the dealer. Buy the motor contingent upon your mechanics approval.


soggy bottom boy posted 08-15-2004 06:36 PM ET (US)     Profile for soggy bottom boy  Send Email to soggy bottom boy     

Thanks for the feedeback. The motor has zero hours on it - brand new. Dealer is just weary of the VRO - he has confidence in the motor itself, just won't let the VRO out the door.

Any comments on this motor's quiteness, smoothness, etc.?


JohnJ80 posted 08-16-2004 04:09 PM ET (US)     Profile for JohnJ80  Send Email to JohnJ80     
That's great, a brand new motor.

They are older technology so they will be noisier than the EFI or the 4 strokes out now. other than that, these are great motors and will run for years. they will have the normal tendency of a 2S to smoke at idle and to occasionally sputter and quit at idle. If you have had a 2 stroke motor before, you will know what I mean. If you have never had a 4 stroke or EFI motor, you won't know the difference.

Enjoy it. Sounds like you found a good one.

Just make sure you know where the warranty is coming from - either an older OMC motor (no warranty since OMC is kaput) or Bombardier. If the later, have no fears.


Florida15 posted 08-16-2004 05:23 PM ET (US)     Profile for Florida15  Send Email to Florida15     
There was a really good article on VRO posted here several weeks ago. I don't know if JimH archived it or not but the thrust of the article was that VRO gets blamed for a lot of stuff that was caused by other problems. It was a very informative article. You might try a search.
Marco Whalo posted 08-24-2004 08:50 PM ET (US)     Profile for Marco Whalo  Send Email to Marco Whalo     
That is a great engine. The small OMC 3 cyl. engines (25HP, 35HP) run more smoothly than the classic 2 cyl. models. The Oil tank is part on the engine and under the cowling. I have a 1996 25HP on a flats boat. It have had it since new and it has always started within two pulls. Do not disconnect the VRO. Mine works very well introducing the correct amount of oil. Subsequently it doesn't smoke as much and the plugs last longer.
JohnJ80 posted 08-24-2004 10:56 PM ET (US)     Profile for JohnJ80  Send Email to JohnJ80     
I think you can be ok with the VRO as long as you are hyper about making sure it works well. When operating properly, they work great.

What happened to mine is that it didn't fail, it just didn't put out an adequate amount of oil especially at full throttle. It was enough that the little beeper alarm didn't go off so damage was occurring but it wasn't enough that the crude little beeper would indicate.

The only time it ever beeped was when the motor was cold, it was cold outside and the boat was idling - and then only occasionally. Also, when I got a new battery, even that seemed better.

I don't know if there is a gauge that you can install, but if there was, that would be a good thing and highly adviseable. The other advice is if it EVER beeps, haul the boat out and to the mechanic to get the VRO checked.

I bought the motor used, and had it only a little while. What my mechanic suggested is to mix oil in the gas to, like say 200:1 or something like that. Then if your VRO is marginal, you still have some lube to the engine and it would probably be enough provided the alarm didn't go off but the thing was marginal. I thought that was good advice and clever.

Also, every couple of years or if you have your motor winterized each year (don't do it yourself), have the mechanic check the VRO volume at that time.

So, the VRO is ok, but vigilance and instrumenataion (like an oil pressure gauge) is key.


seahorse posted 08-25-2004 03:09 AM ET (US)     Profile for seahorse  Send Email to seahorse     
The 3 cyl. 25-35 do not use a VRO system. Their oil pump is a constant 50:1 and is nothing like the combination fuel:oil system on other motors.

Since the motor is a 2001, Bombardier covers the warranty. You can call customer service to be sure.

Lil Whaler Lover posted 08-25-2004 08:36 AM ET (US)     Profile for Lil Whaler Lover  Send Email to Lil Whaler Lover     
Ther is no reason to disconnect the VRO. It is a gravity feed system right under he cowl. the problematic VRO's are with remote tanks that depend on a pump to get the oil to the fuel pump where it is mixed. If that style suffers a failure it can be catastrophic. For a gravity feed system to fail you have to forget to add oil are introduce some foreign object into the oil shich blocks the oil outlet on the tank.

Bigshot posted 08-25-2004 11:22 AM ET (US)     Profile for Bigshot  Send Email to Bigshot     
Do NOT disconnect that VRO. Engine has a warranty and is a good NOT disconnect or it will void your Bombardier warranty as well.
SS17 posted 08-25-2004 11:31 AM ET (US)     Profile for SS17    
I had a 1999 3 cylinder Johnson 25 I bought new in 2001. Great motor. Heavy, but very strong, quiet and smooth. It had the oil injection removed when I bought it. This tells me that there was a known problem with the injection.

Mine too started on 2 pulls when cold, one when warm. It is just a hard pull since it is a 3 cylinder. I sold it with low hours and got my whaler with electric start so my wife can use it solo.

The 3 cylinders are no longer sold in the US, but I think it is a great motor.

Adding a pint of oil to 6 gallons was not a big deal. I never wished I had the injection.

The only problem I had was that the plastic shift connector on top of the shift rod snapped. I had to remove the powerhead to replace it. Part was about $5.00, took me a few hours to change it.

SS17 posted 08-25-2004 11:36 AM ET (US)     Profile for SS17    
Forgot to say, I think I paid around $1,900 for the motor. (Tiller, no electric, in the box) As noted, it is not a VRO type injection system. Don't think you'll have a Bombardier warranty anyway, so there is no warranty to void, since you say the dealer is backing it anyway.

soggy bottom boy posted 08-25-2004 07:02 PM ET (US)     Profile for soggy bottom boy  Send Email to soggy bottom boy     

Thanks for your input.

I will be picking up the motor later this week, so I hope I've made the right decision! It is a nice looking motor, and runs much quiter than the 2 cylinders I checked out. Injection system will be disconnected pre-delivery, otherwise I have no warranty from dealer. Bombardier does not warrant the OMC motors - OMC having gone Chapter 11.
Dealer will be installing a 4 blade prop, which apparently came stock on this engine.

I will let you know how it performs.


seahorse posted 08-26-2004 02:41 AM ET (US)     Profile for seahorse  Send Email to seahorse     
Call Bombardier customer service with the motor's serial number. It was said that they would warranty the 2000 and 2001 models of OMC engines. 847-689-7090. Some promotional motors were not covered by warranty, though, or if the motor changed hands, but not thru another dealer.
happypappy posted 09-08-2004 11:52 PM ET (US)     Profile for happypappy  Send Email to happypappy     
Read again what Seahorse says about the constant ratio pump. It is not a VRO or "variable ratio". Therefore, if it's supplying fuel, it's also supplying the correct ratio.
That engine was originally designed as a race engine for Europe hence the 500cc displacement. It was built to take the rigors of extended high rpm running. OMC decided to market it in the US but they did a miserable job as they were extremely price driven at the time.
You have a wonderful engine!
jimh posted 09-09-2004 07:11 AM ET (US)     Profile for jimh  Send Email to jimh     
The fine article

VRO Questions

can provide some insight.

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