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Author Topic:   Optimax SmartCraft Warnings
Tates posted 04-29-2006 07:04 PM ET (US)   Profile for Tates   Send Email to Tates  
Today I had a "faulty injector" alarm and message pop up [on my SmartCraft engine instrumentation]. The 2002 OptiMax engine (120-hours) shut down. What could have caused this? Then, [the SmartCraft instrumentation showed] a "comm bus error." I resolved that by replacing a blown fuse. I suspect both warning messages related. It was enough to [anger] a grown man. The engine is still under warranty. [Are these problems due to] just a matter of dirt in the fuel? Are they a sign of a problem Optimax? Any info would be appreciated. Thanks--TT
bsmotril posted 04-29-2006 08:05 PM ET (US)     Profile for bsmotril  Send Email to bsmotril     
If an injector is blowing fuses, it is likely shorted and drawing too much current. Another possibility is the battery is week, or the connections to the battery are loose or corroded. Check the battery first. If it looks OK, keep running it and see if it happens again. If it does, you've got a bad injector, let the dealer replace it under warranty. BillS
sosmerc posted 04-29-2006 08:51 PM ET (US)     Profile for sosmerc  Send Email to sosmerc     
For the benefit of all, can you tell us your engine serial number and the particular SmartCraft guage that displayed the warning? Was this a System Monitor, or a SmartTach or SmartSpeedo or SystemView unit? Do you recall the EXACT message or characters that were displayed?
Thanks for any info you can provide...I'd like to look into it more.
Tates posted 04-29-2006 10:44 PM ET (US)     Profile for Tates  Send Email to Tates     

The Batteries are marine optima less than 2 years old with solid connections I don't think that is the problem they are showing 12.8- 13.3 volts when the engine is running. .

The Smartcraft gauges are system tach & speedo, the error was: Fault injector.

It also showed a Data bus error,

The fuse I replaced was the 20 amp electric fuel pump/ ecm driver power / oil pump circuit.

The engine would not start untill I replaced the fuse ,then both errors showed up again.The horn continues to beep beep beep with a interval between.

Warranty should cover it.

sosmerc posted 04-29-2006 11:32 PM ET (US)     Profile for sosmerc  Send Email to sosmerc     
Thanks for the info. It does sound like a shorted injector...and this would blow a fuse. Sounds like you will be taken care of under warranty, but even so, it would be interesting if you have an ohm-meter to compare the resistance across each injector lead to see if you can pin the problem to a particular injector.
I have a number of Optimax owners as customers, varying from 1998 models to 2006 models. I have yet to see an injector problem. I have seen some tracker valve problems, and fouled spark plugs, but that's about it.
My personal 1998 Optimax 135 (recently aquired with a used 18ft. Ventura)...has presented a few TPI error codes...but until I put some more time on it, I'm going to delay taking any action. I believe that history will show that from 1998 to about 2003, the Optimax engines were still undergoing numerous enhancements as Mercury was still "learning" what it takes to make these engines tick.
I've sold a few 2003 and newer models and they have been rock solid. I would not hesitate to buy or sell a new one...but the 2002 and older ones have not been trouble-free. The EPA forced Merc and others to introduce these DFI engines into the market before all the bugs were worked out. I believe the auto industry had similar problems while trying to introduce smog control on early 1970's engines. Alot has been learned since's car engines run flawlessly and I would expect new outboards to do the same.
rtk posted 04-30-2006 09:57 AM ET (US)     Profile for rtk  Send Email to rtk     
I think your voltage reading while the engine is running is low. A healthy charging system usually reads a bit over 14 volts.

I would have that checked out also.


Fishcop posted 04-30-2006 03:11 PM ET (US)     Profile for Fishcop  Send Email to Fishcop     


If you have a fault code on your SmartCraft, take it to your dealer for immediate inspection/repair.

If you want to play with your motor and look for the bad injector/s, clean or replace the plugs. Then start the motor and run until the fault code resumes. Stop the motor and pull the plugs. The plug/s that is/are clean will most likely have a bad injector/s.

RTK is correct about the 14 volt as an indicator. These motors need as much juice as you can give them. Your system should show the 14 volt on your SmartCraft or something is not correct with the charging system. Get the biggest MCA batteries you can. A small price to pay for a multi-thousand boat/motor.

And for my .02, use only OptiMax Oil, QuickClean for the fuel and make sure you have a fuel/water seperator in-line with your main fuel cell.

If you need anything, feel free to contact me anytime.


Tates posted 04-30-2006 06:40 PM ET (US)     Profile for Tates  Send Email to Tates     
Hopefullly the dealer can get to it in a reasonable time frame otherwise I will pursue the self analysis on the engines. I be moving the boat back to the house this week Breakdowns are never good ,we are in the mist of a good White Seabass Bite and Halibut bite @ The Channel Islands.

Thanks for all the tips

BIG O posted 05-01-2006 08:25 AM ET (US)     Profile for BIG O  Send Email to BIG O     
I have twin 225-HP OptiMax engines on my Outrage 25 and have had a similar fault. I call it a "gremlin." I replaced the TPI [possibly means Throttle Position Indicator] replaced, all the injectors (both motors), and the batteries (1,700-MCA). Last week ran 40 miles offshore. Snapper season started April 21. Nno problems. Sat on the hook for a few hours. Cranked motors back up. The starboard engine alarm goes off. Dropped her back into neutral to reset. Had to do this two times, them ran in without another problem. I have never had the motors go into safe mode. The Mercury technician tells me that when [the motors go into safe mode], shut the motor down and limp in on one motor due to the fact the onboard instrument will only hold information for 15 minutes. Well it seem to happen when I am offshore, and a limp back home in three-foot seas is not very good scenario. I will be going out again this week, and maybe the gremlin will remain asleep.
Big O
jimh posted 05-01-2006 09:19 AM ET (US)     Profile for jimh  Send Email to jimh     
With the OptiMax having both fuel and air injectors, replacing all of them for two V6 motors must have been quite expensive!

If I understand you correctly, your Mercury technician is telling you to shut off the motor which has given an error code in order to preserve the stored diagnostic information because the Engine Control Module only preserves it for 15-minutes. I would have expected the error code to be written into nVRAM and be there until the Engine Control Module was told to erase it.

One of the new features of the Mercury SmartCraft VESSEL VIEW display is supposed to be better diagnostic messages.

I believe that the injectors coils are connected the +12 volt source and the Engine Control Module (ECM) pulls the injector to ground to operate it. If the injector develops an internal short to ground, it can become stuck in the ON mode. This, of course, spoils the operation of the engine. It can also discharge the battery. I do not believe the contamination of the fuel with dirt could cause an electrical short circuit to occur in the injector. However, if the injector orifice is blocked with debris, the effect of this on the engine might be the same as if the injector where being held in the ON position by a short circuit, and the ECM may interpret this in the same way.

BIG O posted 05-01-2006 09:53 AM ET (US)     Profile for BIG O  Send Email to BIG O     
On this particular service (which was done on 3/23/05) on the invoice are 12 air injector kits ($2,148.00) $179/each. The plugs, lower unit oil, and fuel filters were replaced. TOTAL was around $2,500. On 5/9/05 replaced both TPS [Throttle Position Sensor--an electronic sensor which signals the position of the throttle to the Engine Control Module so that it can know how much fuel to deliver via the fuel injection system. This is a crucial component of any electronically controlled fuel injection system--jimh.] at $121.55/each. At that time most faults were on the TPS, and one hit on the Port overheat. I am by no means a mechanic. This work was performed by the dealer. What he told me to do was to shut the motor down and limp home. Then he would be able to determine the exact fault. I love my boat and the motors have never left me stranded (yet). According to the OptiMax manual that particular Light/Alarm may represent: Sensor, injector, ignition coil or even a horn warning that is not working correct or voltage too high or low. --Big O
VI Jamie 22 posted 05-02-2006 10:03 PM ET (US)     Profile for VI Jamie 22  Send Email to VI Jamie 22     
Big O, I wouldn't be surprised if the cost of replacing 6 air and 6 fuel injectors would be in the 4,000 dollars range. I assume somebody will come back with the correct price? Did they give you a part number of the injector kits? I wonder whats in the kit..
BIG O posted 05-04-2006 06:53 AM ET (US)     Profile for BIG O  Send Email to BIG O     
Reading right off the invoice "12 - 883078A4 Air injector kit Price $179.00 total $2,148.00 Labor $476.00. Well to continue my saga went fishing yesterday NOA was dead on seas 1-2. Motors fired up in the morning from the marina to the pass I have to run at 1,000 rps no wake zone takes abt 15 min
no alarm. Ran to a spot for some live bait then ran offshore, around 20 or so miles found my spot set the hook, fished for three hours caught some nice snapper, fired up the boat and while pulling the hook here comes the gremlins reset the throttle twice no more alarm ran to another spot fished a couple of hours. fire up and there is the alarm again. reset it, and run back home at 3,900 rpms doing about 38-39 mph flawless. Idel speed back to the marina no alarm. Like I said
I do not think that the motors will leave me stranded, but there is always the doubt in the back of your mind. Love the boat, and the penny pinching quality of the optis are great
I do not have problem in paying someone to determin what is causing this, may think about repowering even though the motors have 300 and so hours.
Big O
Tates posted 05-04-2006 09:03 AM ET (US)     Profile for Tates  Send Email to Tates     
Well the # 4 Air injector was open and shorted , two faults, my warranty covered it,The mechanic did a great job was very helpful also did a test run everything works fine,
( battery showed 13.7-13.9 volts)

The only downside is that air injectors which are black with a blue dot on them are more problematic than the all blue injectors. I have 4 remaining black & blue dot injectors on the engine. However Mercury Marines policy is to replace only the faulty parts. Hopefully these blue dots won't burn me again.I ve run Mercury for 20 + years and expect reliability , No one likes to compromise safety for corporate policy

John Brasher posted 08-18-2008 02:44 AM ET (US)     Profile for John Brasher  Send Email to John Brasher     
150 optimax beeps 4 times at idle. When throttled, it turns into a constant beep and governs back down to idle. When I back it off it goes back to 4 beeps. (about every 2 minutes) I turned it off for about an hour. I then turned the key on without cranking it and it started the 4 beeps again.

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