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Author Topic:   ID Johnson Outboard by Engine Cover
porthole2 posted 03-01-2015 08:56 PM ET (US)   Profile for porthole2   Send Email to porthole2  
I looked at a 1997 boat last week and was not told one way or the other the outboard year. I assumed it was also a 1997, but, from what I could gather, that that at least by appearances, the outboard appears to be a model year different from all the other c.1997 outboard engines I looked at.

It was [too] cold to pop the cover off, and I was looking without any of the yard personnel there (but with permission--of course--so I didn't want to remove the cover, not really knowing what to look for anyway. I was trying to get an idea on replacement cover cost to work into my offer.

Here is [the URL of some photo of] the outboard

I went through a bunch of model years on and can't find a matching cover.

Peter posted 03-01-2015 09:45 PM ET (US)     Profile for Peter  Send Email to Peter     
The cover is missing its stripes but it has a c.2002 to c.2003 Bombardier decal on it. They may have still used that Bombardier symbol in 2004 but at some time around then they changed to the current BRP symbol. If that is the original cover to the motor then it's probably a 2002 or 2003.

But you shouldn't judge the motor year by its cover. Rather you should figure out the model year of the motor by looking at the model number on the tag on the transom bracket. The last two letters on the model number will indicate the year using the code:


A 2002 model year will have a model number that ends with SN.

A 2003 model year will have a model number that ends with ST.

jimh posted 03-01-2015 11:38 PM ET (US)     Profile for jimh  Send Email to jimh     
There is a great OMC model number reference document at

With that information you can decode the model designator, once you come across it.

jimh posted 03-01-2015 11:43 PM ET (US)     Profile for jimh  Send Email to jimh     
Most OMC outboard engine cowlings can be removed without too much trouble and effort. Your apprehension about trying to remove it must be from trying to remove the cowling from Mercury engines. As Peter notes, the outboard engine model designator is on the transom bracket. They are usually quite legible.
porthole2 posted 03-02-2015 11:14 PM ET (US)     Profile for porthole2  Send Email to porthole2     
Thanks Jim, I hadn't seen that list before. Doesn't help me now, but I saved it as hopefully later this week the marina will have water and not ice so we can sea trial. I'll get another look at the OB then.

Right now I am hoping the boat may have a newer motor then what was advertised. I did find a similar cover on the evinrude link that matches. 2001 175. catalog_id=0&siteid=1

Peter posted 03-03-2015 08:37 AM ET (US)     Profile for Peter  Send Email to Peter     
I believe that Johnson went from the square cowling to the rounded upper and lower cowlings on the 90 through 175s in 2001 so that motor is not any older than a 2001.

But based on the fact that it has a Magnum gearcase and what appears to be a "Saltwater Edition" sticker on the pan, it is unlikely to be a 2001 and actually more likely to be at least a 2004. I had a 2003 Johnson 150 on my 2nd Outrage 18 and it did not have the "Saltwater" sticker on the lower cowl. I think they started applying that in 2004. So it appears that the old Bombardier "Gear" decal was still used on 2004s. If it is a 2004 the model number string will have the letters "SR".

You should compression check that motor. I don't know what the compression on a 175 was but the 150 was around 105 PSI.

Those were some very good motors, strong, pretty quiet for a 2-stroke but thirsty. I had not a single problem with mine in the 4 or so years that I had it.

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