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Author Topic:   2001 Optimax
peterg posted 06-13-2001 04:21 PM ET (US)   Profile for peterg   Send Email to peterg  
What is the deal with these engines. I'm getting my 28 Conquest tomorrow and I'm scare about the horror stories I've heard about these engines.....
Tsuriki BW posted 06-13-2001 04:40 PM ET (US)     Profile for Tsuriki BW  Send Email to Tsuriki BW     

You might get more responses by posting again to the performance board. Lots of discussions there.


lhg posted 06-13-2001 05:14 PM ET (US)     Profile for lhg    
From what I have heard, the 225 Optimax's are great engines, with very few problems, the best of the clean 2 strokes. The current situation is only relatively minor, and nothing like the fires and blown powerheads that the Fichts experienced.

I'm sure your Whaler Dealer will have already installed the upgrade kit. I think it involves the "smart gauge system and sensors", but not sure. Ask him about the situation. Everybody that I know that has an Optimax loves it.

If you're really scared, have the engines replaced with the conventional 250HP EFI's.
They're a little faster.

Jurisproodenz posted 06-15-2001 02:41 PM ET (US)     Profile for Jurisproodenz  Send Email to Jurisproodenz     
I have 2000 Optis (2x225)-- probably not too far different, but my boat does not have the smart guages -- the dealer I bought it from said that it had a lot to do with the problems experienced by others. The other main problem was fuel -- you cannot put a separate fuel filter (racor or other) in the system: the engine does not have enough draw and starves for fuel (at least this is what I have gleaned from some other forums in which the Opitmax is "discussed" at some length).
Peter posted 06-15-2001 03:10 PM ET (US)     Profile for Peter  Send Email to Peter     
According to Powerboat Reports and Mercury, 2001 3 liter Optimax (225, 250) have experienced carbon buildup at idle speeds. It is apparently tied to the supply of a certain fuel rail by a vendor. According to Merc, apparently, under conditions of long idling followed by quick acceleration the engines were building up carbon and "running rough" with a few "failures".
dhlaw posted 06-16-2001 08:01 AM ET (US)     Profile for dhlaw  Send Email to dhlaw     
Funny you should ask......I was out in the 28 Conquest yesterday with twin opti 225's abou 50 miles offshore of Ponce Inlet fishing on the edge of the gulf stream. We did some bottom fishing while drifting and I was reluctant to shut the motors down. After idling for a while we would move to a new spot by jumping up on a plane. The only thing the motor did was puff a little blue smoke right at take off. At 2 o'clock I started to pick up storms on the radar over the mouth of the inlet so we packed up and ran toward home. After an hour of running at approximately 4250 rpms we were about home and right in the thick of a storm and poof....the port motor lost about 1000 rpms and started to stink like hell. The check engine light came on but due to the weather and such I just backed the starboard motor down to match rpms and pressed on figuring that I was going to grenade the port motor anyways so might as well be inside the inlet. Needless to say we got to the inside and I shut her down and tilted the motor up and idled back to the my dock. I called my dealer on a cell phone and explained the situation and they met me at the dock with the DDT machine and did the diagnosis. Injector five failed....(this is the second injector i've lost). He made a visual inspection and found the culprit, the injector was fine but there is a clip that holds the electrical connector on the injector and it had fallen off. He reattached it and reset the faults and now it is all back to normal. I love these motors because they perform well, the oil consumption is low and the mileage is fantastic. In fact we did a 100 miles last week, trolled for six hours and only burned 87 gallons of fuel and part of that time was spent with the generator running. You will be happy with the motors but follow these rules....always flush after salt water, run high grade fuel, and most important use the Mercury Optimax DFI synthetic oil, not premium plus or another brand. It makes a difference! I have other Optimaxes and have used this oil and have no sooting problems. Besides, if you are going to spend that much money on a motor why run cheap oil??
Jurisproodenz posted 06-16-2001 08:31 PM ET (US)     Profile for Jurisproodenz  Send Email to Jurisproodenz     
Well, spoke too soon. Went out today -- some 25 miles from the dock, tooled around (didn't catch anything), went into Cohasset and had lunch. Everything fine. Ran from Cohasset into Rowes Wharf (about 20 miles) at 3500rpm -- everything like a clock (swiss watch). Then after about 5 minutes at displacement speed, clonk, clonk, sputter - zilch the port engine. Nothing doing. Tilt up and back to dock on one. Argh. Something to do with ignition/electrical. Trying to get service here is going to be a nightmare. I will post diagnosis. Arghh.
bigz posted 06-17-2001 04:12 PM ET (US)     Profile for bigz    
My oh my guys it finally is leaking out the bullet proof Opti's aren't so bullet proof -- yet I do hear tell the 135 Opti is as solid as a rock, only the big guys seem to be having these little problems.

If you would like to "cry" with others use any search engine and type in "Optimax Problems" --- should find a lot of folks to commiserate with I do think. In fact read somewhere a group is being formed for a "class action" against Merc/Brunswick -- probably nothing will come of it though.

Ed Stone posted 06-17-2001 10:21 PM ET (US)     Profile for Ed Stone  Send Email to Ed Stone     
I've got twin 2000-135 optis on my 23.
With 80 hrs. on the motors only problem
has been over heating on the port engine.
The alarm goes off Around 173 degrees.
It only gets hot under 1000 rpms.

There was two recalls I got fixed.
A steering bolt between the two motors &
oxygen sensors.

I'm taking the whaler in to be serviced
and look at the overheating of the port
Ed Stone

Jurisproodenz posted 06-18-2001 05:41 PM ET (US)     Profile for Jurisproodenz  Send Email to Jurisproodenz     
I have tried with some failure to secure a rapid response to my Optimax plight. Two dealers of the outboard simply told me that they do not "do" outboards, notwithstanding their being listed as "Platinum Dealers" on the Mercury web site. Two more simply wont return my calls. One said that he could fit me in in a couple of months. Another said that the first booking date was July 12. Another simply declined to take me. Finally, one dealer agreed to come next Saturday and "have a look" and not "guarantee" anything. I smell what the Chinese have termed "fragrant grease" coming along here. This is depressing.

Mercury's customer service started giving me all sorts of names to try (right from the website) and even suggested a dealer in Nantucket ... the boat is in Boston. The dealer with the July 12 booking date told me, "we are still putting our customers boats in the water, and rigging new engines on boats and these are our primary concern right now." Understandable (sort of), but hardly what you would expect from membership in a dealer service network -- the motors have three years still to run on their warranties. So what is the point of a warranty if you lose a month out of a four month boating season (six if you are a die-hard)? What is the value? Does this mean that a warranty is only valid from the dealer you bought it from? What happens if you move? Tough luck?

I wonder if Yamaha dealers would have given me the same response?

lhg posted 06-18-2001 06:40 PM ET (US)     Profile for lhg    
Sorry to hear about your engine problems. I doubt if you'd do better with Yamaha. From what I've heard, their service situation for non-purchasing customers is even worse.

Your problem is the number one problem in the marine industry - horrible service when you need it most. A terribly understaffed industry, particularly in the north in summer, with a six month season. How do you keep a full staff all year round?

Here is what I would do. First of all you have a VERY SENSITIVE issue to Mercury, trouble with a new 3 litre Optimax. This should be on your side. The BW people have probably already read your post on this website. And you have one of BW's most expensive rigs. You can seriously hurt sales in today's internet environment. Remember BW forced Mercury on you, so they have an obligation here. Everything in boating service, as many here have previously pointed out, is that local customers get treated best. Others not so well. This means somebody else's customer (you) gets lousy service from the same brands of engine/boatmaker when you're out of town or on vacation. This is not right! Here's what I would do: (in order)

1. Call your selling Dealer and tell him to take care of you, or use his connections in his Dealer/manufacturer network to get you serviced and QUICK. He needs to call his "buddies" in the BW/Mercury network and get some service, from others, for HIS customer.

2. If he can't (and remember that he can't the next time you're buying),
get the names of his BW marketing rep and his Merc Marketing Rep. Call them and bitch.

3. If that doesn't work, call BW directly.
They stuck you with these Mercs, let them find you a servicing Dealer where you need it.

4. Do the same with Mercury. As I said, because of the Ficht mess, Mercury has got to be hyper-sensitive to bad publicity with the Optimax's.

5. If all fails, try to get to Buckley, Brunswick CEO, personally. He has said that marine service is his number one priority in improving relationships with customers. Let's see if he means what he says.

dgp posted 06-18-2001 10:42 PM ET (US)     Profile for dgp  Send Email to dgp     
Mercury Marine Consumer Affairs Dept.
Call 'em!
dhlaw posted 06-20-2001 10:13 PM ET (US)     Profile for dhlaw  Send Email to dhlaw     
OK, Ok, Ok, stop all of this talk of opti problems......your jinxing me!! Todays trip to the fishing grounds was a nightmare, lost the starboard motor 28 miles from the beach. The check engine light came on and poof, engine dead. It would restart and function under idle conditions or light throttle settings but when trying to get rolling it would die after about 30 seconds. Some hours later we reached my dock and the service guy met me there with the almighty DDT. 74 ignition faults on cylinder 3 and 20 on 4. More in depth found that either the spark plugs were fouled or the piston was holed. He took the plugs out of the suspect cylinders and you would not believe what was there......Nothing, no electrode or porcelin, gone. Compression was good in the cylinders (130), in fact all cylinders in both motors were strong. I replaced all of the plugs with new NGK Platinums ($270). It had Champions, which I suspect is part of the problem. A test ride showed that this was indeed a good repair, in fact the boat runs better than ever.
blackdog posted 06-21-2001 12:54 PM ET (US)     Profile for blackdog  Send Email to blackdog     
$270 for plugs? Yikes... Can you melt those bad boys down after you use them for a ring or some other piece of jewelry?
Jurisproodenz posted 06-21-2001 01:56 PM ET (US)     Profile for Jurisproodenz  Send Email to Jurisproodenz     
I took some advice from lhg: I wrote an e-mail to Boston Whaler and copied the Florida dealer. The e-mail was more or less a cut and paste from my post.

The following morning I received a fax from the dealer which stated that they were shocked that I had been "brushed off" by Russo Marine. The dealer stated that the president of his firm faxed a copy of my e-mail to Mr. Russo personally. The kicker is this; in the June 2001 issue of Boat & Motor Dealer (a copy of which was attached to the fax sent to me from my dealer), Mr. Russo had written an article, the first line of which reads, "[o]ne of this industry's most troubling issues is warranties." While the article mainly deals with the attitude of manufacturers towards their dealers and making good on warranty work, it is still interesting to note that Russo Marine is one of the dealers that has simply not returned the calls I have left on their service departments voice mail (nobody was available at any time to take the calls personally).

Additionally, when I called my dealer to thank him for such a positive and quick response, he stated that the head of marketing for Mercury Outboards had by pure co-incidence been at their showrooms that morning and he had given a copy of my e-mail to him directly. My dealer then stated that he would be very surprised if I did not have some sort of response [by close of business yesterday] at the latest.

I am still waiting.

In fairness, I can understand that northeastern dealers cannot maintain the facilities and overhead of providing the same sort of response that dealers in warmer climes can. It is simply uneconomic. What to do with the technician during the winter when work is virtually non-existent? How many technicians are willing to work seasonally? How many dealerships can afford to retain what would be sufficient staff in the summer through the leaner months? At some level it must be the manufacturer that must provide the surge capacity to support their product. Otherwise, they must in point of fact be consigning customers to inferior service and product experience. Or ensure that their products are truly "bulletproof" in the first place.

lhg posted 06-21-2001 03:54 PM ET (US)     Profile for lhg    
Did I do my math correctly? That's $22.50 for EACH 3.0 litre Optimax spark plug. And how long do they last? 100 hours?
bigz posted 06-21-2001 04:13 PM ET (US)     Profile for bigz    
"Juris" you make a very valid point about service and service people this goes a bit deeper though in that we as a society and the manufacturers of products such as outboards do nothing to promote the education and development of trained professional service people. This actually would encompass a whole realm of products where after purchase trained skilled service people are needed. Hell in the Northeast one trade school after another have shifted to areas unrelated to the "hands" on type of career which is needed to populate the service sector. We know no company is going to produce "bullet proof " products --- disposable yes! I believe this is the heart of the problem coupled with manufactures unwilling to pay the dealers for warranty work at rates where skilled service people can make a good living and on the other hand the consume balking at paying the labor rates of a dealer so when not warranty related can keep well trained people.

Hell why get my hands dirty --- when I can become a lawyer!! heh heh just kidding just kidding no offense couldn't pass it up -- ;)

Anyway for what it's worth (probably not much) here is a little dealer service story on our pair of 225 hp Ficht 2000's.

We purchased the 27 WA which the above mentioned motors are attached in Feb. past down in Holden Beach NC, the boat then was kindly moved north by our marine surveyor (no charge) to a boat yard about 15-20 miles north of Wilmington NC. This was done at the surveyors recommendation for the various items which needed to be taken care of including getting the Ficht engines upgraded (all I think know that story about the OMC bankruptcy and the recall on the Ficht engines).

Now this boat yard does not do outboards only big inboards gas and diesel so it was up to me to locate a local dealer willing to handle this Ficht upgrade as required by Bombardier and the CG (I was told the CG was stopping boats with Fichts and checking if they had been upgraded -- if not asking the skippers to return to port until done). Well there aren't many dealers around Wilmington and most don't have mobile service. I happen to be talking to a young fellow who runs sort of a commercial fishing supply house -- he mentioned the best in the area was Johnson Marine (he and all his buddies had big Fichts purchased and serviced from there) the service fellow name was Tim and said he was first rate. Well I gave them a call spoke to Tim explained our dilemma. I also mentioned we had the kits (I had my local Bombardier ex-OMC guy order them) so he didn't have to handle that part. He said really backed up but maybe in about week could do them. He called me the following Monday said even though they don't have a mobile truck he would get the necessary tools and his laptop and be able to do it that Thursday. I decide hell I'll drive down and be there when he does them to gleam a little bit more knowledge of the inter workings of these beast.

Sure enough at 11 am Thursday he was at the boat (Bombardier was allowing 3-1/2 hours per engine for the upgrade). Won't go into the details needless to say I in all these years hanging around mechanics never saw one that could work so quickly and precisely, he was finished with both upgrades in about 4 hours. He spent an hour explaining the finer points of feed and care and we decided even though they only had 90 hours to change the plugs and install new thermostats. I also said while he was at it change out the lower unit oil and check the props. This last part will be done this coming Monday including a test run fine tuning the engines I will be driving down for this service, in addition finishing her up so we can finally bring her north on the ICW week of the 4th). I will be charged just for the plugs, oil, thermostats and a total of $100 for the service calls.

Tim mentioned we were the 50th and 51st Ficht upgrades he had done since the recall and had another 160 plus to do on engines they sold. He related up until the bankruptcy OMC was bending over backwards for customer problems with any of the Fichts. He said the 2001 models were pretty solid citizens and to look for a complete redesign to the injector housing once Bombardier was back in production. Sorry getting away from the point.

The point is there are still super old time dealers out there who feel service of the product they represent and sell whether their customer or not should be treated fairly and serviced in a timely manner. I'm am afraid though with the BIG highway dealer this just isn't the case for the main stream boater. Johnson Marine if not mistaken has been in business for something like 40-50 years there in Wilmington.

Well the best of luck "peterg" with your new 28 Conquest sure you'll be happy as all heck.


Whaletosh posted 06-21-2001 04:41 PM ET (US)     Profile for Whaletosh    
One of the local boat dealers here in Kalamazoo solved the problem with keeping service techs. In the winter they sell snowmobiles. The motors are similar and they keep they're techs busy and employed.

This seems to be something that many PWC retailers realize carrying both Sea Doos and Ski Doos. The local Kawasaki Jet Ski dealer is also the local Honda, Suszuki, Yamaha, and Kawasaki motorcycle dealer. And in the winter they sell snowmobiles.

I would not like seeing my local Whaler dealer selling Ski Doos, but diversity does seem to make things easier to retain service techs.

peterg posted 06-21-2001 07:08 PM ET (US)     Profile for peterg  Send Email to peterg     
Thank you all. I guess it will be a matter of luck for these engines. Mine have only 12 hours each. Too early to tell if any problem will arise. I will keep you posted.
hardensheetmetal posted 06-21-2001 07:43 PM ET (US)     Profile for hardensheetmetal  Send Email to hardensheetmetal     

I am very interested in hearing how you makeout with your conquest. I vowed to not buy a larger Whaler (currrent boat is a 22 Revenge W/T)- That was until I started looking at 28 Conquests.I don't know what happened, I just fell for this boat, and all it has to offer.

I have become concerned about getting involved in seriously looking at them because of this discussion, but I spoke to a fellow at Nauset Marine today and he felt that the 225 Opti. motors effected were a small percentage of all that he had sold (he was not selling me a boat, so I put a little more trust into what he had to say)

Anyway, would love to hear impressions with the boat in general, where you found it, if it is used, pros, cons, etc... If you want, you can email me directly, as I have gone a little off the subject.

Anyone else have any input
Dan Harden

Macman posted 06-21-2001 08:34 PM ET (US)     Profile for Macman  Send Email to Macman     
After following this thread, my humble Montauk w/ it's simple 70 Yamaha is looking better and better.These technical engines sound great, but when you need a laptop to work on's enough to make me think about sailing again. Best of luck to all of you!
whalernut posted 06-21-2001 09:30 PM ET (US)     Profile for whalernut  Send Email to whalernut     
1975 85h.p. Johnson running like a top! Those old OMC`s are great engines, the new ones are very unproven, and obviously have some serious problems-OMC and Merc. No laptops for this boy! Regards-Jack Graner.
Clark Roberts posted 06-21-2001 09:32 PM ET (US)     Profile for Clark Roberts  Send Email to Clark Roberts     
Larry, your math is good! Today I replaced the factory Champion plugs in my 2000 Opti 135 with a new set of NGK Platinums at $19 per plug! The cost of the plugs dims in comparrison to the task of replacing them as there is scarce room to get at them.. but I never say die and got the job done in about two hrs. The Champions had 210 hrs on them and may have lasted a little longer. I also replaced the stock 143 degree thermostats with 120 degree because I don't like the high temp at idle speeds.. Seems as though these high temp thermostats are part of the 2008 low emission formula... and I don't need a hot idling engine in the near 90 degree water temp here in NE Florida and all the idle speed Manatee zones... drives me crazy... BTW, the engine seems to perform better with the 120 degree thermostats... could be my imagination but will verify a little later.. I still have a lot to learn about these new engines! Happy Whalin'.. Clark.. Spruce Creek Navy
dauntlass 18 posted 06-22-2001 06:31 PM ET (US)     Profile for dauntlass 18  Send Email to dauntlass 18     
Ck out www. there price on ngk plugs is not too bad .
Dan posted 06-22-2001 10:49 PM ET (US)     Profile for Dan  Send Email to Dan     
To Jurisproodentz: I'd be willing to write a letter to Mercury/Whaler and call Russo and ask why you're not being treated better. Maybe a few dozen members of this board could do the same. When marketing departments and CEO's get letters they get motivated.
bigz posted 06-23-2001 09:35 AM ET (US)     Profile for bigz    
Dauntless 18 thanks for the spark plug site -- they do have very good prices --- a set of 12 NGK Platinums $131.46 with free shipping for our two Ficht 225's. Super savings --- Tom
Jurisproodenz posted 06-23-2001 09:47 AM ET (US)     Profile for Jurisproodenz  Send Email to Jurisproodenz     
I feel like I may be turning this thread into an agony column. I apologize if this is the case. I called the dealer who was meant to come "have a look" this morning ... "no, that's next Saturday." In my current hyper-critical state, it is not likely that I made that mistake. So, I guess I can scratch another week off of my boating year. Still no word from Russo -- but I will drop by there today for a little face-to-face. See what happens.

It makes me yearn for my old Bertram 33. I could whip a water pump etc. off of those 454's in a long minute. Clever outboards are starting to leave a bad taste in my mouth. To Dan: I appreciate the sentiment ... I might still take you up on it. Let's see what the week brings.

dhlaw posted 06-23-2001 09:16 PM ET (US)     Profile for dhlaw  Send Email to dhlaw     
Well I went ahead and told the technician to call Mercury and see what they would say about my massive plug failure. An hour on the phone, digital photos of the plugs in question, detailed info from the DDT concerning the rpm ranges that the motor had been run and the total amount of hours (74) resulted in Merc telling my technician the following. The plugs that were in the motors were champions, according to Merc these have a life expectancy of 50 hours!!! What?? Told him to replace them with NGK's at my own expense. I am not pleased. They also told him that it would be necessary to pull the head off to see if the missing electrode did damage to the cylinder or head. Should I raise hell?? I would like to point out to Mercury that right now I own 4 brand new motors, 135 opti on a 17, 200 opti on a 21 Outrage, and twin 225's on a 28 Conquest. I feel that they should bear the cost of the new plugs. Its not about the money its just the principle. There is a design flaw in the Champion plugs or in the design of the combustion chamber that is causing detonation to destroy the plugs. There is no flaw in the way I use these motors........ Phew! I feel better now. Sorry to vent. By the way, my technicians are based in New Smyrna, Florida and they are the best....They are fast, know the systems and will do the work now. If any of you guys are in the central florida area call them. Extreme Marine Performance Center (386) 426-2628 and tell Tommy or Dwayne that Brett sent you.
Dick posted 06-23-2001 10:41 PM ET (US)     Profile for Dick  Send Email to Dick     
When did Merc start installing Champions in the Opits? I left the dealership a year ago and at that time the 2000s were coming in with NGK PZFR5F-11 platinums. Hard to believe they would downgrade to Champions on those engines.
lhg posted 06-25-2001 11:34 AM ET (US)     Profile for lhg    
I was beginning to think I was out of date with my Merc V-6 EFI's. Now I know I'm not!

As with any new technology, the standand story is to wait "'til the bugs are out of it". Looks like this is still true with all brands of the DFI engines. If I was seriously considering buying a new Whaler, I would insist on an EFI instead of Optimax. The trouble and expense seems to be to hard to justify at the moment. And the EFI's put out more power besides.

I am also wondering whether DFI technology is to be short lived, until they can get 4 stroke outboards up and running in the large HP versions.

If I'd just spent $100,000+ for a new Optimax Whaler, I'd have BW & Selling Dealer in court right now demanding a power swap to EFI's, and a credit for the difference in cost!

dhlaw posted 06-25-2001 12:21 PM ET (US)     Profile for dhlaw  Send Email to dhlaw     
As an attorney I can assure you that it is not worth the time.......
LarrySherman posted 06-25-2001 12:59 PM ET (US)     Profile for LarrySherman  Send Email to LarrySherman     
I am thinking of re-powering my 25, and the Optimax 225 was the top of the list. That was before I read this thread. Jurisproodenz, I will be glad to write a letter as well. Perhaps they will be realize that they not only hurting recurring sale, but new as well. I hope this works out for you.
Bigshot posted 06-25-2001 02:23 PM ET (US)     Profile for Bigshot  Send Email to Bigshot     
Black anchors, welfare motors?
lhg posted 06-25-2001 04:11 PM ET (US)     Profile for lhg    
dhlaw - Are you saying that Mercury and Boston Whaler would simply stonewall you in court, and drag it out as long as possible?
One would hope that they would see that you meant business, and would then rush to take care of the situation to your immediate satisfaction. Any engine that eats & spits out spark plugs would be considered a defective product.

If so, and you may be right, it sure doesn't speak well of the organization.

Even OMC, in their death throes, replaced every bad Ficht engine at no charge (thousands of them).

Does your small claims court have a $10,000 limit, like they do up here? If so, make a claim on the one engine with an electrode flopping around in it. Then when the other one goes, do the same thing again. That might get a quicker response.

Peter posted 06-25-2001 05:47 PM ET (US)     Profile for Peter  Send Email to Peter     

In our area you may want to consider Yamaha's EFI 225 or 250 for your future repower. I repowered my 1986 Revenge late last Summer with a Yamaha 225 OX66 EFI Saltwater Series. Although I'm sure that the DFI is more fuel efficent than the EFI, I purposely avoided all of the DFI offerings because I had no confidence in the technology. I ultimately went with the Yamaha big block EFI based on the fact that several friends each have hundreds of hours of experience with no problems. Also, it now seems to me that Yamaha is the dominant brand in our area with quite a number of dealers, large and small.

Merc has always seemed to me to be a minor player in our area. I don't know if there is any truth to this but when I was growing up, I was under the impression that the Mercs were meant for fresh water and the OMCs were meant for salt as the Mercs seemed to dominate the freshwater environs and OMC the salt. I realize that was long ago and things change.

Anyhow, despite having been an OMC loyalist for many years, I have no problem recommending the current EFI Yamahas.

LarrySherman posted 06-25-2001 09:09 PM ET (US)     Profile for LarrySherman  Send Email to LarrySherman     
Thanks Peter, I'll definatly look at the Yamies. You know, it really is a sad situation. I have been a director of technology, a CIO etc in my career, and bought literally tens of millions of dollars worth of equipment. When I had a problem and wanted a refund, usually the threat of loosing future business forced thier hand.

And that is why the response is less that satisfactory from Brunswick and company: You have no clout as an individual.

I have read several threads in which members suggested a "more formal union" (with flag) for the members of the site. If you consider the collective amount of $$ spent in the marine industry by the forum members alone, we actually have a significant amount of clout. The question is: how to we exercise it?

Perhaps a letter from the forum, with emails included from the forum members, indicating that as a result of the company's poor response to this issue, the company has fallen in respect to others in their buying decision.

I like to be part of this community. It would be really nice if we, on a community level, could help each other in situations like this. And more to the point, it WOULD work.

LarrySherman posted 06-25-2001 09:13 PM ET (US)     Profile for LarrySherman  Send Email to LarrySherman     
PS: I am by far the worst typist i know ( not apparently a prerequisite in my chosen careear), and an even worse speller (dyslexia is my excuse). So sorry about the typos and spelling in the posts; it pains me to read them, so I can only imagine...

Jim, How about a spell checker?


blackdog posted 06-26-2001 09:23 AM ET (US)     Profile for blackdog  Send Email to blackdog     
Bad Speller myself. I think many of us write in word than spell check, cut and paste over.


Jurisproodenz posted 06-26-2001 05:56 PM ET (US)     Profile for Jurisproodenz  Send Email to Jurisproodenz     
I received a phone call this morning from Larry Russo at Russo Marine. He apologized on behalf of his organization for not getting back to me sooner. He then explained to me that indeed the problem -- apart from insufficient resources -- was with Mercury Marine.

The Optimax engine does appear to have some problems. Apparently enough so that the repair backlog is "around the block." According to Russo, Mercury has promised their dealers a solution to current problems by June 30. The repair bulletin in which this was promised, was from April. He confirmed that munching sparks was not an uncommon problem, as well as powerhead failure at the 250-300 hour mark. The technology is great when it works, but it is simply not durable. Correctly, he pointed out that a 12-14 thousand dollar engine should not have a 300 hour life.

He promised to send someone out to plug into my motor to at least tell me what is wrong, but could not guarantee when. He says that his technicians are working 12 to 14 hour days and cannot keep up with the backlog. From the brief description my problem he felt that it might be a blown powerhead, in which case "I could get in line with the rest of the blown powerheads." When I suggested that this might mean that my boating summer might effectively be blitzed, he was unwilling to count that out. But at least I may know if it is something at simple as a messed up chip, fuel supply or similar minor troubles.

As to resources, he pointed out that with the demise and resurrection of the Ficht Mercury had experienced a surge in volume that most dealers simply couldn't cope with, including his. He rightfully pointed out that competent people simply were not become mechanics anymore.

Mr. Russo had gone back to check the repair call log and conceded that I had logged one call on the 18th. I told him that there were two on the 18th and one the following day. He said he would follow up to confirm that -- this is not what he wants out of his service department.

Net? If I can find out what the deal is, at least I can make plans. I am starting to think that perhaps the seller should back me on a claim to Mercury directly.

Mercury needs to come clean on this. I am thinking in terms of a general recall. Assuming what I have been told is true (and various posts on this board lend weight to the notion), if the dealers are totally swamped with broken motors, the product is defective. A powerboat with a broken motor is little more than a raft. Allowing people to put to sea with defective motors(particularly in the instance of a boat with a single outboard) is not that much different from letting cars roll on the highways with defective tires.


Peter posted 06-26-2001 07:19 PM ET (US)     Profile for Peter  Send Email to Peter     
Having looked at some of the discussion on other forums I think you may be able to make out a good case.

I can sympathize with your plight. There is probably nothing worse for a boater than being stuck on land with a non-functioning boat during the height of the boating season, which is short enough around the NE, except perhaps being stuck with a non-functioning boat out in some nasty weather.

I think Merc may have raced this DFI technology prematurely to market just like OMC did ultimately using its customer base as its testing ground. This is an unfortunate situation.

dhlaw posted 06-26-2001 08:56 PM ET (US)     Profile for dhlaw  Send Email to dhlaw     
If enough people were serious about dealing with the problem and were willing to pool resources I would give consideration to starting a suit in federal court here in the middle district of florida. Our firm does federal civil litigation and I just about aggravated enough to do it on principle alone.

My boat is coming out of the water tommorrow for a new powerhead after a lengthy 70 hours of use, using only expensive opti DFI oil and getting my $540 service done at 20 hours. Must be something I am doing wrong.... (takes medication now) OK, I am feeling better!

Whaletosh posted 06-27-2001 10:43 AM ET (US)     Profile for Whaletosh    
Not to defend or critisize Mercury, but the latest of one of my boating mags had another take on this issue.

The author was dealing with problems in general with the new DFI two strokes. His opinion was that some of the blame for the problems can be laid at the fear of the California Air Rescources Board (CARB). Instead of following the EPA's time schedule for phasing in cleaner engines CARB mandated an accelerated schedule. The result is that Mercury, Yamaha, Suzuki, and OMC had to put out motors that weren't as well tested as they could have been simply to keep selling engines in California. Honda was the only maker that didn't have to have this burden because their engines, being four strokes, already met the standards.

Begin soapbox.

The EPA had worked with the engine makers to come up with a reasonable time schedule for the emission standards. In their usual fashion California just couldn't be satisfied and went out on their own. This basically means that California gets to set the agenda for the whole US. Just once I wish some large company would tell California "nuts to you guys, we just simply aren't going to sell our products in California". Maybe if all of the GM dealerships in California suddenly didn't have cars to sell the politicians would suddenly start getting letters, e-mail, phone calls, and faxes from unemployed workers. Then maybe the politicians in California would start doing their job instead of letting 11 un-elected people rule supreme over the lives of millions.

end soapbox


Jurisproodenz posted 06-27-2001 12:35 PM ET (US)     Profile for Jurisproodenz  Send Email to Jurisproodenz     
Bravo, Sean. As a lawyer I have run up against silly Ninth Circuit (California) decisions before. Now, I wish I could remember the cite, but I recall reading an opinion from the Second Circuit (New York, etc.) in which they wrote "notwithstanding the interesting views of our bretheren on the Ninth Circuit...." That's about as close to judicial slap in the face as you can get. Sort of says, 'get in step with the real world.'

Larry Russo from Russo Marine has been on the phone to me twice since my last posting on the subject. He said that he was happy to report that my powerhead was intact, but they did not know what the problem was. They thought fuel, and have ordered various parts to try and fix the problem. He also stated that the sparks looked pretty much used up. Toast. He thought that they might be original to the engine -- I know pretty much for certain that these are relatively new plugs.

For the record, I am happy that I have managed to get a dialog with the dealer going. Russo said that he was not treating me any differently from other customers, and I hope that is true (but how many bosses of (very) large dealerships call to give status reports on a repair?). Might the fact that my dealer (who has been copied on all correspondence) is looking over his shoulder have had an impact? I cannot complain about that.

Although I am not out of the woods here, I may have some joy here and I should acknowledge it and Russo's (belated) response. For others who DO have blown powerheads, I can't help but feel that Mercury needs to respond at a corporate level. Even if my problem works out, I just can't feel confident to go seriously offshore to troll for tuna.

With my fingers crossed....

Sixer posted 06-28-2001 08:56 AM ET (US)     Profile for Sixer    
I also have a Opti, 225hp 1999. Although I have not had the problems described here, I may in the future. Is anyone a member of Boat/US. Perhaps some letters to them might help the situation. They do report of boat/engine defects and recalls. Just a thought, and good luck with your situation.
Sixer posted 06-28-2001 09:14 AM ET (US)     Profile for Sixer    
here's Boat/Us consumer complaint website.

Bigshot posted 06-28-2001 02:14 PM ET (US)     Profile for Bigshot  Send Email to Bigshot     
You know that is sad that you will not feel confident again. I know the feeling because I usually buy used. the reason you buy new is for that confidence. I hope after some hours it comes back. Hate like hell to buy a kicker just to go offshore!
Hoo posted 06-28-2001 02:56 PM ET (US)     Profile for Hoo  Send Email to Hoo     
You know, I'm not at all sure these Optimax problems are actually problems with the technology at all. In fact, there are very large numbers of 98-early 2000 Opti's (like my own) with very high #'s of hours that have no significant problems. I think it is likely a case of Merc making changes/upgrades to various components in order to 1)lower production costs through different supppliers, 2)diversify parts supply sources 3) add features to enhance the product. It seems they probably made these changes without any additional testing and the changes had unforseen effects on a design that had been reasonably proven before. The spark plugs are an example. I think they've been trying to get the cheaper Champion plugs to work (and last) possibly at the expense of reliability. Well, that's just what I've been thinking. I have (2) 1999 135 Opti's with 350 hours each and no significant problems to date. By the way, there are some online plug sources where I have been able to get the NGK's for less than 11 dollars each.
Peter posted 06-28-2001 03:27 PM ET (US)     Profile for Peter  Send Email to Peter     
Haven't done a lot of research here, but the impression I get is that the higher hp (200hp and up) Optis are the ones having the problems.
SeaWitch posted 06-28-2001 03:51 PM ET (US)     Profile for SeaWitch  Send Email to SeaWitch     
Man am I glad I followed a link over to this page suggested to me from a poster on the WMI
board. I'm about to purchase a 235 KenCraft CC tournament edition with a 2000 225 Merc Optimax. I caught wind of problems associated with these motors from a friend, and I posted a question regarding this on another board. I really appreciate all the info you guys are providing, and I've got to say, I feel for all of you who have experienced the problems first hand. I fish out of Cape Hatteras NC, and Cape Lookout NC, and often have to get out over 50 miles offshore to get into Tuna country. The boat I'm looking is has my name on it, and I love it, but it has a single 225 Optimax on it. I currently fish offshore in my small 18 CC SeaRay Laguna with a single 1993 115 Merc ( just not as far out ) now, and love the motor. If the motor is a reputable one, i.e. Mercury, then having a single reliable engine while fishing offshore works for me. I'm putting my purchase on hold, till I find out more about these problems, as I am not buying a boat and motor just to have the motor bite the dust, or have to put $270.00 dollars worth of plugs in it after 30 hours. Thatís crap, and as someone above said, that eats into my offshore trolling time. I'm staying glued to this page for a while till I find out whatís up. My dealer ainít saying sh&* about this issue to me, and if he wants me to dish out 50K, he better, or I'm history. Thanks everyone for the great updates about the Opti's and keep em coming.
Winston Salem NC
lhg posted 06-28-2001 06:19 PM ET (US)     Profile for lhg    
I would like to first say that I have been a 30 year owner of Mercury outboards (and Whalers), and I am sorry to hear of these difficulties, for many reasons. My own experience with Mercs has been superb, currently having a set of engines with over 2500 hours on them.
That being said, I would agree that those of you with Optimax trouble will have a difficult time ever trusting these engines for offshore duty again. I think the Ficht owners face the same fate, not knowing if or when the things will blow up or catch fire. Boating simply cannot be enjoyed under these circumstances, in my estimation. No matter who you are, you will not be happy & feel secure until other engines are on your boat. Who's been buying firestone tires lately?

I believe Boston Whaler would be prudent to just plain replace those engines that have failed, for those particular BW owners, and be done with it. And they should just do it, not hang up a customers boat for the summer boating season. Having these owners and disabled engines hanging around marinas, complete with "dock" talk, is bad news "with bells on" for Mercury and Boston Whaler. For me, I would demand the highly reliable 250HP EFI replacements instead, and put up with the idle speed exhaust. Small inconvenience for reliability. I would not let the BW Dealers push this off on Mercury. You didn't buy a Mercury product separately. That's the way it was in the old days, before boat "packages" were sold. Now the boat companies are finding out the downside of mandatorily selling a Whaler like a sterndrive/inboard, with a Mercury engine. They're responsible for the engine! If you buy a Hatteras, and you have an engine fail, it's Hatteras you go to, and sue, not Detroit Diesel, Crusader, etc. Now all this applies to the Mercurys being sold as the engine "in" a Boston Whaler. Your Boston Whaler Dealer is now the entity on the hook here, and if they can't perform, it's Boston Whaler's customer service department's turn. Forget dealing with Mercury directly. Since Mercury owns them, BW has more clout, for the sake of THEIR customers, with Mercury than an owner ever could. In the old days, BW has always had an impeccable reputation. Now they have a chance to prove it.

If you're being stonewalled out of a boating season, I would just have the Dealer give me a trade-in on the brand new Optimax's on my boat, and let him worry about fixing up the bad engines and reselling them. Then make a claim against BW for the additional cost. You're going to end up trading these things in anyway, so you might as well do it when you still have a defective product claim against BW. Book value on a still guaranteed new engine should be pretty good. If they won't take take the engine on trade, then they're REALLY telling you something.

I have heard that the 2002 Optimax 3 litres are back in production, so one would assume the product is fixed. Like someone else mentioned, this could be a problem with just some of the production, not all of them. That's even more reason to replace the bad ones.

tj posted 06-28-2001 07:23 PM ET (US)     Profile for tj  Send Email to tj     
I have a 1999 28' Outrage with twin 225 Opti's. I fish out of NE Fla and 100+ mile round trips are common.

In 250 total hours, I have rarely made a trip without engine lights and / or a lost engine. I have been through three #6 injectors on the port side engine alone. I have lost faith in these motors, and from association lost faith in Whaler.

If the leadership of the Whaler organization beleives that their valuable brand name is not being irreparably damaged by these motors, they are seriously in err. Mercury = UNRELIABLE = Whaler.

Because of these motors, I will likely never purchase another Whaler. Why should I when I can spend $40K less and have the same issues with a Proline?

Shame on you Whaler for not stepping up to the plate and being proactive on this. Our loss will eventually be yours.


Whaletosh posted 06-29-2001 08:59 AM ET (US)     Profile for Whaletosh    
And on the Proline you will get a 5 year warranty that covers everything that came as original equipment on the boat, including the engines.
Jurisproodenz posted 06-29-2001 10:05 AM ET (US)     Profile for Jurisproodenz  Send Email to Jurisproodenz     
This looks ugly. I wonder if Brunswick, Whaler or Mercury ever read these forums. You could not ask for clearer market research and feed back that what you see through these boards. I'd like to think that they are smart enough. But I would not bet on it. Perhaps if we, as contributors, were to feed these links to the various boating magazines it might have some effect -- that is, of course, assuming that there is a shred of journalistic integrity in those publications. You almost never see bad press on companies that spend large amounts of advertising in their pages. It takes something on the level of bad tires to breach that barrier.
Jurisproodenz posted 06-29-2001 10:05 AM ET (US)     Profile for Jurisproodenz  Send Email to Jurisproodenz     
This looks ugly. I wonder if Brunswick, Whaler or Mercury ever read these forums. You could not ask for clearer market research and feed back that what you see through these boards. I'd like to think that they are smart enough. But I would not bet on it. Perhaps if we, as contributors, were to feed these links to the various boating magazines it might have some effect -- that is, of course, assuming that there is a shred of journalistic integrity in those publications. You almost never see bad press on companies that spend large amounts of advertising in their pages. It takes something on the level of bad tires to breach that barrier.
Bigshot posted 06-29-2001 11:00 AM ET (US)     Profile for Bigshot  Send Email to Bigshot     
Guys! I hate Mercury's so I have no qualms with this issue but it is a disservice to Whaler and their owners. All somebody has to do is go to the whaler site, where they ask for your "Whaler story" copy and paste thi thread. Viola. We can all do it. Nick
jimh posted 06-29-2001 09:16 PM ET (US)     Profile for jimh  Send Email to jimh     
Regarding editorial content in boating magazines which is critical of advertisers' products:

You will never see this.

I was talking shop the other day with a former editor of a very well known boating magazine. He basically told me that advertisers dictate editorial content. (For the non-publishers, "editorial" means the magazine's articles' content as opposed to the advertising content.)

The bigger the advertiser, the more clout with the magazine in regard to editorial. At the absolute top of the heap, the king of the roost, is SeaRay. They spend more dollars on advertising than anyone. Whatever SeaRay wants in editorial they get. Otherwise you are not in the magazine publishing business very long.

SeaRay=Brunswick=Mercury, so you will probably not be reading headlines about blown powerheads on Opti-Max engines in any boating magazines.

On the other hand, the Internet, via postings to popular sites (like this one), permits individuals to have enormous access to others with similar interests. There might be only the most rare case of a problem with a particular product, but if it happens to a guy who is active on the internet, then look out! That one in million problem becomes amplified by an enormous amount.

At some point, however, if enough people have the same problem, and enough people post to the internet about it, you have to conclude that there is something happening.

This is the beauty of the internet, of the web. It has empowered us to communicate directly, without the intervention of magazine editors who depend on advertisers to pay their salary.

I don't know what the statistical incidence of Opti-Max engine failures is, but if I am an owner of $30,000 worth of Opti-Max engines on the transom of my Whaler, I don't really care about statistics. I just want reliable engines. And for $30,000 I damn well ought to get them.


SeaWitch posted 06-30-2001 12:15 PM ET (US)     Profile for SeaWitch  Send Email to SeaWitch     

You got that right!!! My problems is that I've done my research on the CC I want and I've found the boat for my offshore needs. It's a hands down winner compared to the rest I've considered in my area and price range. I should have purchased the boat by now but I decided to wait till mid summer, like now. Then I start hearing about the problems with the 200-225 Optimax's, and thatís the very engine on the boat I selected. Man, what a bummer!! The stories about the Optiís requiring these so called ďplatinumĒ $270.00 plugs is enough to make me change my mind. I was really excited about choosing my boat with Mercs DFI Optimax, as I was under the false assumption that it was not a lemon like the FICTS, but I was wrong. I always thought Mercury was a first class company, as my little 115 has performed flawlessly. That with over 1500 hours of mostly saltwater fishing on her. Iím really pissed about these turn of events with the Optimaxís as I should be offshore fishing where I want to be right now with my new CC and new 225 Optimax. This ainít gonna happened Iím afraid.

Jurisproodenz posted 06-30-2001 08:46 PM ET (US)     Profile for Jurisproodenz  Send Email to Jurisproodenz     
I "spoke" too soon once again....

This weekend is going down the drain of unfixed problems. And it looks that the 4th will head that way, too. Here's the critical path: someone DOES go down to my boat, I heard from the Boss (Russo) that my powerhead was not shot and that they ordered some fuel system items. Russo also indicated that I might reasonably expect to get the motor repaired by this weekend. Ha. I called service this morning to see if they had solved the problem (no message on machine or voicemail).

The reception was something akin to "lissen here guy, there are plenty of our customer's dead boats that need seein' to." I pointed out that I had foregone seeking other appointments for repair on the strength of Russo's representations earlier in the week. The response was "lemme check with the service manager." The clear implication was that the initial response was pure standard operating procedure. He came back saying that the service manager knew of the problem ... "we gotta get someone down there to plug yours through system by system to figure it out. And there ain't been time." I asked him for an idea of when I might reasonably expect a repair visit. The response was "whenever we can get to it." I pressed on trying to get some more definitive commitment for a date, "before the 4th or after? For next weekend or some indeterminate time subsequent to that?" He said "I doubt the 4th...."

In terms of using my boat I only know that the powerhead is not shot. BTW, Russo stated that if the powerhead is gone, you can "sometimes see daylight through the block." My wife's response was "sell the damn thing if it makes you so unhappy." In some ways sound advice, but I can't even sell a broken boat.

Going back to a Bertram, maybe a 31 this time with 454's or tasty Cummins 370Bs is looking better and better. Or a Contender with Yamaha EFIs. At least I can work on the motors myself! And then in a few years a nice classic 13 sport with four stroke Honda for my boys.

This is really starting to get me down. And a trifle litigious.

LarrySherman posted 07-01-2001 01:54 PM ET (US)     Profile for LarrySherman  Send Email to LarrySherman     
I'm sorry about your boat, and I can comiserate. I'm so far into the repair of mine that I could have bought a new one. I think with boats it is very tough to seperate the emotional context from the buying decision. How about calling your yami dealer and having a pair of 250's put on there, enjoy the rest of the season and sell the outboards on the web? I'll bet you can get 15k for the pair. At least you would have a usable boat. Mabey we can make the trip to the lady together?


lhg posted 07-02-2001 02:12 PM ET (US)     Profile for lhg    
Jurisproodenz - Your story is one of the worst I've heard, and speaks poorly for the BW Dealership in the east, BOSTON Whaler's home territory. As I mentioned above, I would get the boat towed or shipped back to the selling dealer, at his expense, and demand a pair of new EFI 250HP engines. (They cost about the same as 225 Optimax's)

Forget dealing at the Dealership level. None of them have any money to absorb a loss, and they won't take financial responsibility for anything unless it comes from BW/Merc. Get to Boston Whaler's management people, or Mercury's management people.

Here's some other very interesting information, and I will be quoting from an article by Melanie Winters, in the July 2001 issue of "Sounding Trade Only" magazine.


"Mercury vows customers will find the company much easier to do business with"

It is an article about Patrick Mackey, new President of Mercury Marine. This is the man with whom you want to get in touch, as a last resort!

"But there is one glaring weakness - a failure to respond to the changing dynamics of the business/consumer relationship"

"The boat business, Mackey says, lags behind other industries in recognizing customer ascendancy - the refusal of today's customer to do business with a company that is UNWILLING or UNABLE to deliver satisfaction."

"Now, Mackey says, all that is about to change at Mercury. What will emerge, he says, is a company that will do a much better job of pleasing it's customers."

"We will quickly transition to an organization that will be more responsive, more flexible, more adaptive and easier for all our customers to conduct business with."

"On the flip side are the industry's weaknesses - paramount among them the customer service gap, which much of the industry already has acknowledged exists."

"Boaters in the past have been very tolerant that quality standards in the marine industry weren't up to automotive standards.
However, that's beginning to change. People are more discerning about how they spend their money."

"Pointing to a steady decline in the number of new people coming into boating, Mackey says it's high time for the marine industry to not only catch up to the automotive industry, but surpass it."

"That was the thinking behind the restructuring now taking place at Mercuy. The company is in the process of realigning its organizational structure around customer categories........"

"From a boater/Dealer point of view, Mercury was not the most simplistic organization to deal with. It was cumbersome to do business."

"....there is one Dealer and Retail Channels Division." The new Division, headed by Bill Seeley, former president of the parts and Accessories Business Unit, will serve North American customers and direct Mercury's technical service."

"This industry is only going to succeed when our Dealers make money, WHEN OUR CUSTOMERS HAVE A PLEASURABLE EXPERIENCE, and when our suppliers make money."

So, you troubled Optimax owners out there, there you have it, straight from the horse's mouth. Start demanding the satisfaction you're entitled to.

On another note, Mackey also said Mercury's "outboard engine production is running flat out at the moment because they have picked up so much from OMC, even though the (Outboard) industry as a whole is down 15-20%." They also expect to have a mid-2002 or 2003 200HP+ four stroke available.

LarrySherman posted 07-09-2001 11:44 PM ET (US)     Profile for LarrySherman  Send Email to LarrySherman     

Can you let us know how you are making out? I hope things have taken a turn for the better.


Jurisproodenz posted 07-10-2001 04:13 PM ET (US)     Profile for Jurisproodenz  Send Email to Jurisproodenz     
Thanks for asking Larry. I was very happy to have a fellow Whaler ("X" -- he does not post to my knowledge) get into contact with me after reading this board. He also has an Outrage 26 with 225 Optis -- in Boston. So after a brief conversation, he took his boat over to mine after work to run through the systems with me: his boat is a 1999 he bought in Connecticut. His boat is beautiful, by the way. Pristine condition.

He thought he might be able to trouble shoot any fuel line snafus since he had to deal with the same on his boat. However, first we took the cover off the motor and started running through each system. Please bear in mind that Russo mechanics (ostensibly Opti qualified) had at that point already been to the boat twice without finding any reason for the general failure. After about three minutes checking leads back from the plugs to the coils(distributors?)(the first thing I did when the motor initially failed was to check the plugs), one lead came away without any effort at all. I looked at "X" and he looked at me. We both looked at the coil. Simple. There was no connection with that lead to the coil because the terminal must have been snapped, sheared or shattered off at some point in the past. No terminal head in the pan, in the lead/head or anywhere in sight.

Three minutes for two amateurs versus two service visits from mechanics. Granted, "X" is quite knowledgeable. I unbolted the coil from the motor and took it the following morning to Russo's part department: went to the desk and asked for "a number 4 coil for an Optimax 225, please." The gent gave me an odd look and told me that they would have to order one. A brief explanation ensued --"you need to talk with service."

So I went to the service dept. and asked whether they thought that a defunct coil might hypothetically prevent an Opti with electronic timing and safety features from running. He said it might. I then told him of the continuing story ... he consulted the computer and said that well, one of the visits was curtailed by rain, and they were only brief visits because they were so busy and they fitted me in where there was no real space and there were a ton of exceptions/messages and data on this engine anyway.... I repeated two visits by factory trained mechanics versus a few minutes by boaters futzing with checking the systems.... He said that this is probably not the only thing preventing the motor from running properly.... I added that it probably didn't help it much either.

Net: they kept the coil, the bolts and promised to overnight the part. When received they'd get someone out to mount it and clear the motor of warnings etc. I offered to come by and pick up the coil when it arrived and install it myself, but this was declined. So. Who knows? The coil should have arrived today. It should at least help.

My special thanks to "X" for his invaluable help. BTW, how could the computer diagnostics fail to pick up on that? Makes one wonder.

Wild Turkey posted 07-10-2001 04:55 PM ET (US)     Profile for Wild Turkey  Send Email to Wild Turkey     
How could the computer diagnostics fail to find the problem.... you ask?? Simple... Idiots operating the diagnostic computer.
Clark Roberts posted 07-10-2001 06:47 PM ET (US)     Profile for Clark Roberts  Send Email to Clark Roberts     
Juris, I think you have stumbled onto your Opti-Max problems! I would install the new coil myself as it's a real no-brainer.. everytime you have service done if's a good idea to remove cowling and check for loose wires, tools left behind... etc, etc... my mechanic once left his diagnostic computer on swim platform... should have kept it??? Also you should get familiar with the water-separating fuel filter (and sensor) replacement of the air filter and spark plug replacement... all so very , very simple! Just a few suggestions.. Happy Whalin'... Clark... The Old Man and the Sea
LarrySherman posted 07-10-2001 09:02 PM ET (US)     Profile for LarrySherman  Send Email to LarrySherman     

Wow, what a story! It is so true that there is no job that can not be done better by yourself! There is just so little time to get to everything though. The mechanics, in their defense, were proably anticipating that the powerhead was shot, and when the looked at the diagnostic information, they saw what they "expected" to see. That happens ALL the time in Information Technology. Techs end up trouble shooting routers and circuits for days, when the problem is a typo in some config file. Whenever I have a technical problem that gets difficult, and I have not solved it in a reasonable amount of time, I get someone to check my work, and then go over the basics with them. It looks like I'm not the only one! Congratulations, and I hope we can meet on the water this summer!

Jurisproodenz posted 07-13-2001 06:12 PM ET (US)     Profile for Jurisproodenz  Send Email to Jurisproodenz     
Another weekend down the drain.

Russo techs go out to my boat yesterday (not Tuesday as promised), install new coil and find that the motor still doesn't work. They don't call me (as promised), I call them today to check on the status. I ask what continues to be wrong?... Service manager says they don't know, they "ran out of time" yesterday and still need to trouble shoot whatever is wrong. Isn't that what they implicitly went out to do when they installed the coil(?) -- my eight year-old can install that coil!! So what about today, Friday? "Earliest we can get to it is Tuesday" -- but he promised that on Tuesday he would not let the tech leave until the problem was resolved. Wait, wouldn't that be the fourth visit?

To say that I have no confidence in that beggars belief. Couldn't they have given a "fixitnow" order before? Didn't they effectively promise to do that in the first place? iSn't that what a warranty should stand for?

A quarter of my boating year is now out of the door waiting for some sort of directed and efficient response. If then -- I'll bet some serious cash that they will "have to order some parts" -- check on earlier posts, that was what they supposedly did in June? Some mumbo-jumbo about fuel rail, etc.... What happened to those parts? Did the evil Klingon empire beam them up to juice their dilithium crystals? Am I being made to be a complete dork? Still not a word from Whaler or Mercury. Surprise.

Anyone want to buy a beautiful but crippled Outrage?

I am so completely disgusted that I fantasize about hiring a helicopter to lift that engine off of my boat, sling it over to Russo's, call the press for some on-the-scene local interest video, then drop that sucker from a couple of thousand feet. Fix that! Its under warranty! Maybe you can get to it in September. Or when the ice comes -- the next ice age that is.

lhg posted 07-13-2001 06:57 PM ET (US)     Profile for lhg    
Juris - just to clarify:

1. Is this Russo place where you bought the boat? If so, shame on them - If not, what's the story with the selling Dealer? How has he been able to wiggle out of this?

2. Is it really true that BW's customer Service person, Chuck Bennett, has not helped out at all? I'm shocked. Dealers you expect to not be the best, but the company should be on this, solving the problem.

I'd be furious - this is not the way Boston Whaler used to be. I'd still be insisting on a new set of engines, non optimax.

Incidentally, when this thread popped up, I asked my Merc Dealer about these engines. He
immediately said something about a fuel rail problem. What took Russo so long to get smart?

Jurisproodenz posted 07-13-2001 07:56 PM ET (US)     Profile for Jurisproodenz  Send Email to Jurisproodenz     

1. I did not buy the boat from Russo. I bought it from Lauderdale Marina -- a large BW/Mercury dealer (one of the "chosen" dealers to carry the 34 foot Whaler). It was a 2000 that had been used as a demo / executive lease boat. It has 2004 warranties on the engines and 2010 on the hull.

2. Chuck Bennett has done nothing at all to assist me. He has been copied on e-mail.

3. The dealer that sold it to me now does not return my e-mails or voicemail. And since the dealer is in Florida and I am in Boston, I can't exactly camp out in his office or picket his showroom.

4. Mercury customer service just wants me to contact the local dealers. Duh.

For about the same money I could have bought a wide variety of new boats or ... lets not get into it.

I am "at sea" and somewhat at the mercy of the local establishment. And somewhat depressed.

lhg posted 07-13-2001 08:05 PM ET (US)     Profile for lhg    
Thanks for the update. I know Lauderdale Marina well, and even though it's a long way from Ft Lauderdale to Boston, I would think they would, and should, help you out. They have a LOT of clout with Boston Whaler. It's too bad Bud Chamberlain is no longer there as the Sales Manager. He really knew his way around Boston Whaler.

This is a real boating horror story, considering what a boat like yours costs. Real sorry to hear about it, for many reasons.

Tsuriki BW posted 07-13-2001 08:13 PM ET (US)     Profile for Tsuriki BW  Send Email to Tsuriki BW     
Sounds like Certified letter, receipt required time has arrived.

"I'm trying to be reasonable, but..."

All parties, Russo..selling dealer...Mercury...and BW.

I'm sure you can draft a good one.

Feel your pain.


dhlaw posted 07-13-2001 09:43 PM ET (US)     Profile for dhlaw  Send Email to dhlaw     
just let me know if you need the "letter" sent from my firm. Obviously a Florida lawyer will seem more threatening than someone out of state (i think). Let me know.
LarrySherman posted 07-14-2001 12:59 AM ET (US)     Profile for LarrySherman  Send Email to LarrySherman     

I sorry this one hasn't turned the corner. I think you should start calling these guys, just beat the door down. Buckley's email is proably "" or "" The same address style should apply to all of them. I still think we should form "a more perfect union" with the members of this site, in a marine advocacy vein, and hit them with that. Let us know how we can help.


Brunswick Corporation
1 North Field Court
Lake Forest, IL 60045
Phone: (847) 735-4700
Fax: (847) 735-4765

George W. Buckley
Chairman and Chief Executive Officer

Dustan E. McCoy
Vice President and President - Brunswick Boat Group

William J. Barrington
Vice President and President - US Marine Division

Kathryn J. Chieger
Vice President - Corporate and Investor Relations

Marschall I. Smith
Vice President and General Counsel

Patrick C. Mackey
Vice President and President - Mercury Marine Group

Mercury Marine
6250 Pioneer Road
Fond du Lac, WI 54935
Phone: (920) 929-5000
Fax: (920) 929-5060

Boston Whaler
100 Whaler Way
Edgewater, FL 32141
Phone: (904) 428-0057 or (800) Whaler9
Fax: (904) 409-8559

Jurisproodenz posted 07-15-2001 11:38 PM ET (US)     Profile for Jurisproodenz  Send Email to Jurisproodenz     
Paid a visit to the boat this evening. Cleaned it. Ran the single motor to charge the batteries (at least some). Fresh water flushed both (why not?). Checked for a dry bilge and a sweet smelling console head compartment. In short all those little chores that need doing. Guy on the boat next to mine said, "this sure isn't a great ad for Mercury." No, guess not. The guys from Russo left the boat clean and battery switches off -- last time they left them on.

Tomorrow, time permitting, I am going to print out this thread and my correspondence to various parties and fax it to Buckley, Mackey and BW. CC to my dealer (and CEO). I am considering doing the same with Soundings, Offshore and any other mag that I think might take an interest, though clearly, as stated elsewhere, the major mags (read advertising mills) could care less.

In a lot of ways Russo and firms like them are not to blame -- they just woke up to a guy with a broken boat wanting attention. They really had nothing to do with it per se. I "picked on them." The countervailing argument is: "you chose to be a Whaler / Mercury dealer." No one forced you. Consonant with that merchandising opportunity are certain obligations. I want the warranty honored. Now. Make me whole. What is my summer leisure time worth? Is each hour worth the same as a working hour? Or is it simply far more precious than can be ascribed by a crass mathematical formula?

Isn't that the whole essence of owning a Whaler? A certain undefinable magic for each memory on the water? Teaching a son to fish for tuna or bass? Jumping off the bow into water colder than you bargained for? A picnic drifting along with no defined destination? Confidence in your boat as the platform for those moments?

That really is why Buckley and Mackey come in: they need to become REALLY aware of stories like mine and other people's. Unless they wish to scupper a few divisions, they need to do something positive and proactive.

Today was a beautiful day in Boston: low '80s and partly cloudy with a gentle breeze. Met a whole lot of people with sun-burned noses going home with grins on their faces as I walked down the dock to pay my ritual visit.... *sigh*

blackdog posted 07-16-2001 10:07 AM ET (US)     Profile for blackdog  Send Email to blackdog     
Not for nothing but as I was being stopped by PA Marine Police to check for fishing license (Which I didnít have) I started to talk with them about the Opti Max on the back of the boat. They just repowered from a Johnson and wanted to go with Johnson again but choose Merc because of the whole OMC thing. I asked him how it was running and he shrugged his shoulders and said it just started acting up with some loud pinging / knocking noise.
Any Lemon Laws in your state? I saw something about a bill in New York for a boat Lemon law.
Can BoatUS help Out?
hauptjm posted 07-16-2001 12:54 PM ET (US)     Profile for hauptjm    
Wow! Juris it's mountaintop time. As in, Scream from the highest!! Here's an idea, for what it's worth. Hook up the big gal, take her down to a highly regarded dealer with a good service department and get that baby going. Yes, it's going to cost you dollars, but it will fix the problem. Then bring it home with careful records of every PENNY spent to do the above. Now call your favorite barrister with the right L.L.M. and pursue your reimbursement. And I mean reimbursement. I hate like hell to involve the courts. But, this sounds like one of those times where it is indeed warranted. I know the great source of brethren here will offer many referrals to a good service tech. At this point your only course may be through the courts, so you may as well have the use of your vessel in the meantime. I truly wish you the best of luck in getting back on the water as soon as possible.
Bigshot posted 07-16-2001 01:55 PM ET (US)     Profile for Bigshot  Send Email to Bigshot     
something just caught my eye on the contact post. Why not contact the "investor relations person". say you are a shareholder, etc. It works at hotels, get 1st class treatment. Other than that, not really whalers fault but they should, being they are owned by the same co, try and speed things up. Any Mercury dealer will do warranty work. unfortunately,wrong time of year.
lhg posted 07-16-2001 02:20 PM ET (US)     Profile for lhg    
My limited legal mind tells me this is WHALER's problem. They sold the boat as a MANDATORY package, they installed the engines (of their choice) at the factory. Your sales contact was with a Boston Whaler Dealership. Mercury is their vendor and part supplier here, and a manufacturer is responsible for the total finished product. I have a Cadillac with a Chevy manufactured engine in it. If it fails, I go to Cadillac, not Chevy.

Boston Whaler built the boat (as in Ford Explorer) and purchased 2 engines for it from Mercury (as in Ford purchased 4 tires from Bridgestone/Firestone). Ford is taking the bath on these tires, and then trying to recoup their loss from Bridgestone/Firestone.
Whether Whaler collects from Mercury is THEIR problem.

Isn't this a similar situation to Ford?

Maybe boat manufacturers ought think twice about "packaged" outboard boats. With the profits come the risks.

The guy on the dock said the wrong thing. He said it makes Mercury look bad. It does. But he should have said it makes Boston Whaler look really bad! It does.

sorcerer posted 07-16-2001 02:27 PM ET (US)     Profile for sorcerer    
This situation is plainly a Mercury and dealer problem period. Boston Whaler remember is "just" the boat they are attached to!

This scenario could be replicated with say a Grady White and Yamaha HPDI engines ( for that matter Optimax)! Even though Grady packages Yamaha engines with their boats they are not the party liable for the reliability of the engine/s.

So get back on course here! The selling dealer (not Russo) is the first area to attack then Mercury if satisfaction can't be obtained. Lauderdale made their "margin" on the selling of this "rig" and it is their responsibility to make sure the problems are corrected, even if it "cost" them money!

Jurisproodenz, granted this is not much help in solving your problem but believe me I deeply sympathize.

Bigshot posted 07-16-2001 03:02 PM ET (US)     Profile for Bigshot  Send Email to Bigshot     
Ok got some info for you guys! Just called Hance and Smythe, the local BW dealer in NJ. They used to sell Johnsons only, then added yamaha, now have Merc too. They do come as a package and the 17' Montauk on the lot with a 90 Merc is $20,250 wo trailer. They can for 2002 and in years past, order a blank hull w/o motors and either pre-rigged for the motor you want or blank as well. There fore in my opinion it is not BW's fault because they offer the boat sans power. I would say it is your dealer's fault for telling you you have no choice, you do. The guy told me that a 90hp Yamaha would be 12-1500 more than the merc 2 stroke. He saiid that is the same for ALL outboard models. So therefore, just like mercedes who sells usually with michelin tires, gives you the warranty card for the tires from michelin. They also use Goodyear.
LarrySherman posted 07-16-2001 05:23 PM ET (US)     Profile for LarrySherman  Send Email to LarrySherman     
I think the theory is correct on the relationship between a boat mfg and a motor mfg, but when in fact they are both under one parent company, I believe the theory fails.

There must be tremendous pressure at the dealer level to sell Whalers with Mercs attached, in terms of pricing discounts, dealer support, vessel allocation, etc. Yes, the dealer can sell you a boat with another brand of engine, but proably at risk of not getting his order filled quickly, and without the discounts that he depends on to be competitive/profitable. This is exactly the type of behavior that got Brunswick in trouble in the outdrive market, so why would we believe the current situation to be any different?

I still think the Brunswick level is where a solution might be found. The CEO's of Merk and BW are both officers of Brunswick. Go to the top.

Bigshot posted 07-16-2001 05:41 PM ET (US)     Profile for Bigshot  Send Email to Bigshot     
Agree totally, just clarifying that you do HAVE a choice. Might be an agonizing choice but one nonetheless. I also believe that BC had that problem with outdrives but O/D's are not exactly off the shelf installations like O/B's.Whaler should know better, they did it with Bearcats and it got them in trouble with parts and reliability issues. BC on the other hand has been doing it for decades with Bayliners, seaRays, Robalo, Mako, etc. They just see $$$ and could care less. If Ford owned Firestone, then they would really be in deep doodoo.
lhg posted 07-16-2001 06:33 PM ET (US)     Profile for lhg    
Well, I respectfully have to disagree with you guys. I'm not a lawyer (although ladyfriend is), but I am involved in Product Liability insurance, and know a lot about contractual law from my background as an Architect and Insurance Broker. If Boston Whaler (not the Dealer) sells those engines as a factory installed "accessory", just like the gas tank, or an "X" brand bow rail, and there is a problem, believe me, BW is on the hook first. Whether or not they can lay off the problem to their supplier is another isse, THEIRS! I agree, the faulty engine(s) is not directly BW's fault, unless someone could prove they knew they were installing faulty engines on their product.

I'm real dissappointed that BW isn't owning up to this one. After all, who has more "clout" with Mercury, you or them? Many here are thinking like the "old" days, when a buyer bought an engine separately, and the boat manufacturer had NO control over what went on the boat. But this is not the case here. BW has put themselves directly in the line of responsibility. As an example, they made an INTENTIONAL choice to install 225 Optimax's in stead of the trouble free 225 EFI's. There's liability here! BW first, Mercury only secondary.

LarrySherman posted 07-16-2001 07:45 PM ET (US)     Profile for LarrySherman  Send Email to LarrySherman     
Youn know, I bet Bw has less clout with BW then another, non Brunswick botat co. Proably a lot of pressure to cause problems within the "Family." That said, you would think Mercury would make sure that the engines they put on one of the premire brands in the Brunswick family of products got first class service. They are only hurting themselves if people came to believe that you could not get a BW without Mercs, and that the Mercs were having problems that they were not able to keep up with.

Who, after reading a thread like this, would want either a BW or a Merc? Its a shame.

LarrySherman posted 07-16-2001 09:22 PM ET (US)     Profile for LarrySherman  Send Email to LarrySherman     
I ment to say that I bet BW has less clout with Mercury than does a non-Brunswick company.


bigz posted 07-17-2001 08:22 AM ET (US)     Profile for bigz    
Well well this thread has become quit something since June 13th. Whew it takes "hours" to load maybe we should start a new thread for what appears as the continuing saga of Mercury's big Optimax problems.

Sorry to "respectably" disagree with you LHG, as BigS states you get one warranty for the boat and one warranty for the motor/s from the respective companies. No different than before when you could order "pre-rigged" OMC or Mercury options and the dealer "set" the motors on the stern. As stated you still can order a boat without Mercury engines. So I don't buy the statement on either legal or common sense grounds that BW should to be held responsible for the motor choice much less the defects. However I will concede that it would be advantageous for BW to help if at all possible to rectify this situation.

Sorcerer also has a valid point, these problems are not confined just to BW rigged Optimax boats now are they!

Now we move to the broader scope of Mercury's problems with these 200-225hp engines (this forum is very micro due to it's inherent subject focus). This situation with BW's "packaged" Mercury is small peanuts compared to the magnitude of owners with other boat brands experiencing problems (in some cases these were also packaged deals on Brunswick's family of boats) with these Optimax engines. Sorry to say "Jurisp" your caught in a situation where you have a lot of company, sure that doesn't make you feel any better and I too deeply sympathize.

The selling dealer is the first to be held responsible for repairing or replacing the defect through the respective manufacture's warranty program, this is part and parcel to the dealers franchise agreement to be an authorized manufacture's dealer.

In this case as I see it, an effort is being made to correct the problem, granted to date it isn't working out very well. There is no "time" frame set in the warranty that states it has to be "X" time to correct the problem/s, now is there! I don't have a current Mercury warranty but would bet there just maybe be an exclusion that they are not responsible for any damages or income loss incurred while repairs or replacement are being made. Forget the "recreational" boater for a moment, remember there are many folks who depend on outboards for their lively hood and they are in real bad shape when something like this occurs. Spoke with a Sea Tow Captain who has two big Fichts waiting for power heads, he has been assured as soon as production begins the heads will be shipped regardless of the warranty time frame, he consequently purchased twin Yamaha EFI engines to keep his business going.

This confirms in my mind Merc's reluctance to fully disclose the multitude of problems with these big Optimax engines. Unlike the 135 and 150 Optimax and the Fichts in the same hp engine range, which are now pretty much "bullet" proof, it is becoming apparent once the threshold was extended to the 200+ hp other factors not accounted for in engineering have come into play --- this also includes the Yamaha HPDI and Evinrude Fichts (not just the "fire" hazard with the Fichts). I am inclined to now say that one problem is the diagnostic and "runtime" programming, aside from any faulty "hardware" design, could also very well be a major culprit in the improper functioning of these big engines. That's another story for another time from research I am compiling on just how the CPU handles or in some cases doesn't handle the running of the engine due to faulty programming, of course in my case it is the Ficht engines.

As for EFI and standard carb 2 stokes they are on the way out. The 4 stroke and Direct Injection 2 strokes will be the future as more and more regulations are placed on engine manufactures. I'll bet you'll see inboards gas and diesel including IO's come under EPA regulation in the not to distant future.

Hopefully whether we agree on the courses of action or who the finger should be pointed this type of discourse if read by the parties involved could be beneficial in waking them up to their failings. When you look at the economics it's about time these companies realize the large capital investment which is made by the consumer and like autos come to grips they have to be responsible for their mistakes and correct or replace in a timely manner.

Whaletosh posted 07-17-2001 08:46 AM ET (US)     Profile for Whaletosh    

I/Os and inboards are already covered by these regs, it is just that being 4-stroke gas motors they all pass EPA 2006 emissions. There is also EPA 2008 regs, which most people don't know about. Some of the DFI 2-stokes won't meet that, as well as some 4-stroke motors.

As a side note, as I mentioned on a thread in the General area, I got a letter yesterday from Mercury stating that my motor is going to be replaced. The whole motor, with Mercury picking up the tab for everything. As you are aware mine isn't an Optimax, but a 60 HP 4-stroke. Barely 20 hours on it. Mine works fine, but appaerantly there is a problem with the valve train. this is assuming the problem is with my 60 HP and not the 25 i had last year, still registered to me at Mercury.


bigz posted 07-17-2001 08:57 AM ET (US)     Profile for bigz    
Your right Sean! Just a mind lapse on my part.

Well as I mentioned quit a while back the manufactures still have a bit of time to hit the 2008 regs, currently I think only the 135 hp Optimax meets them and as you mentioned some 4 strokes.

Hmm, hope if it is the 60 you can get your dealer to swap for an EFI! What are they going to do with all these they swap out, I wonder?

Hope your new "toy" is behaving, Tom

Whaletosh posted 07-17-2001 10:10 AM ET (US)     Profile for Whaletosh    

I doubt that they will give me an EFI 2002. Maybe If I could pony up some extra cash. Don't want to sidetrack this tread to much, my Dauntless is running great. still a little slow out of the hole with two adults, but fine.


dgp posted 07-17-2001 10:12 AM ET (US)     Profile for dgp  Send Email to dgp     
Sean, it's hard to imagine Mercury sending out a letter announcing an engine "swap" program without including engine model and serial number. Don
hauptjm posted 07-17-2001 10:44 AM ET (US)     Profile for hauptjm    
BigZ, I'm curious. You state that the opti 135 is the only current 2 stroke that meets the 2008 regs. My question is, if that's the case, why is the Ficht engines the only 2 stroke to get an exemption on the Lake Tahoe regs.? I checked this morning with a friend that lives in the area, and he confirmed that no other 2 stroke passed their air/water quality standards. In fact his neighbor is currently using one on Lake Tahoe. I didn't even know about this until I read a thread today here on the forum. I'm not trying to start a debate, just confused. Are the regs. even tougher for 2008? If so, why hasn't the opti been given a pass at Lake Tahoe?
Whaletosh posted 07-17-2001 11:05 AM ET (US)     Profile for Whaletosh    
Two points:


I thought they should have included model and serial number as well. the letter is on official Mercury Marine letterhead and does mention a specificic service bulletin. After talking with myy dealer this morning, I now know that certain 30,50, and 60 HP 4-strokes are covered, so Mercury sent out a form letter. Doesn't really matter to me; they recognized a problem, notified me, and are fixing it. Unlike, Juris' I can run my boat. The whole engine is going to be replaced, so if I run the current one and it fails I still get another motor.

As far as lake Tahoe goes, California always is hard to figure out. Might have something to with CARB or the Lake Tahoe Authority.

I have antother thread in the general section. I would hate to see this thread get sidetracked..


bigz posted 07-17-2001 11:24 AM ET (US)     Profile for bigz    
Guess you'll have to ask Mercury why it isn't approved by Lake Tahoe.

CARB and the EPA are the ones who are settting the national standards --- Yes CA is in real terms setting higher ones than the EPA so if you want to sell your engine there it has to be in compliance.

Note lake Tahoe and a few others have set their own standards --- here are two links which might be of interest --


Foolish me shouldn't have thrown this topic in as an after thought, since it frankly has nothing to with the thread -- sorry lets stick with the Optimax situation

Bigshot posted 07-17-2001 11:32 AM ET (US)     Profile for Bigshot  Send Email to Bigshot     
Back to opti's. New name from Lake X....Welfare motor, they do not like to work!
lhg posted 07-17-2001 09:39 PM ET (US)     Profile for lhg    
Question: Why is Mercury RUSHING to replace defective 4 strokes, obviously before many are even aware there is problem, but not replacing 200-225 Optimax's, now widely know to have problems? One answer could be that the potentially bad 4 strokes are few and far between, and are smaller, cheaper engines, while the big Optimax's could be a huge loss. Witness OMC's huge collapse, mostly caused by the DFI technology.

But secondly, I sense another issue here. With big 4 strokes clearly on the horizon by Yamaha, Merc, Honda and Suzuki, I still think the big DFI 2 strokes may have numbered days. Mercury may be moving to IMMEDIATLEY protect it's new 4 stroke image, obviously where the future is in outboards, and willing to let it's DFI image take a hit, kind of like OMC did. After all, nobody expects much from DFI these days. I am wondering if the technology is partially faulty, or at least undependable when mass produced, and as Soros said with OMC's Ficht engines, can't be fixed. Bombardier has yet to conclusively prove it CAN be fixed, with engineers burning the midnight oil in Waukegan trying to do so. It could be that it doesn't work well with the larger displacement engines. Spark plugs for any 6 cylinder engine should not cost $120/set, and need to be replaced every 100 hours! It has been 6 months since Bombardier bought OMC, and we have nothing, no news, as to production of the big Fichts. Maybe they won't even make them. Maybe they're also going to bring out a large 4 stroke. Lots of silence here, and no new engines to look at.
And none of us can get much valuable information from Dealers. They're often the last to know, as in OMC.

What does one do who has to repower a boat with twin 200-250HP engines, right now? The 4 strokes aren't available in any number, and those few Yamahas that are, are hugely expensive, there are no big Fichts in production and yet proven, and now we have the Optimax problems. I'd buy the old fashioned EFI 2 stroke technology if it were me, either Mercury or Yamaha, and put up with the smokey dependability, as I have for 30 years already. There aren't any other real choices, incredible as it may sound. The EPA has managed to bring the outboard industry, at least the US outboard industry, to it's knees, and may be giving an American invention and industry to the Japanese. Where have we seen this before?

My guess is that in several years, Mercury & Yamaha won't even be making DFI's, but 4 strokes in all power ranges instead. The only 4 stroke gap left to fill is the 150HP range, which interestingly enough, is where the DFI's have performed best. So they don't need to rush out a new engine here. Why are they all rushing out the 200-225's instead? Because they know something they don't want to tell us! We're in one of the huge technology gaps right now, as they search for new answers in outboards.

LarrySherman posted 07-18-2001 07:48 AM ET (US)     Profile for LarrySherman  Send Email to LarrySherman     
This thread has taught me that rather then repowering (which I REALLY want to do), I should nuse along my old Johnson, and wait. These new outboards are EXPENSIVE! And for that much money, you would expect to be getting good technology, reliability and service, esp. considering that the markup is (as I understand it) so high.

While the EPA has pushed these new regs aggressivly, I can't believe the marine industry was incapable of anticipating the trend. In fact, I'm sure they knew this was comming. But why squander profits on new technology on the possibility of bills being passed, when you can spend less money on lobbying againt the bill?

Peter posted 07-18-2001 08:41 AM ET (US)     Profile for Peter  Send Email to Peter     

If I were in your position and could wait to repower, I would wait to repower until such time as Bombardier comes on line with product, regardless of whether you would consider buying one of its products. With the Bomber in the market, the overall supply of big outboards will increase relative to demand, and this increased competition can only help us poor consumers with pricing and deal making.

LarrySherman posted 07-18-2001 08:50 AM ET (US)     Profile for LarrySherman  Send Email to LarrySherman     

Makes sense. I would think that once all the mfg's have products in the 4 stroke arena, there should be more price compitetion as well.

Bigshot posted 07-18-2001 10:18 AM ET (US)     Profile for Bigshot  Send Email to Bigshot     
You guys are all right. Why did they come out with a 225 4 instead of a 150? Big gap between 115 or 130 and 225. Why are all the problems with the big guys in the DFI area and the 90's and 135's are great? Funny thing I have noticed over the years is that the smaller the engine, the longer it runs. Rental boat have 10hp motors that are run WOT for years and abused, they run like a sewing machine. How many ads do you see with a 97 boat with a new powerhead in 2000 with a v6, plenty. something is wrong with the bigger guns as far as the sensitivity to fuel and mixture. I think that when you have 6 carbs and 1 goes lean you barely notice it until you stuff a piston. When you have 3 carbs, you will lose 300rpms and that throws a flag. 1 carb it won't plane,etc. I think that is why they went to EFI in the bigger engines.
hauptjm posted 07-18-2001 10:46 AM ET (US)     Profile for hauptjm    
Bigshot you're on target simply because of the KISS theory. Keep It Simple Stupid. The bigger engine have always been more fickle, less dependable and have shorter life spans. I think lhg is correct as well in that it seems the 150 class motors are the edge of the envelope in this theory. I couldn't even begin to explain why, but it just seems to be that way. And I don't think this is a new phenominum. This has been like this since the 70's, when the big guys started to really roll out.

A side note: I still have the 1972 9.9hp Johnson my gardfather gave me in 1978. I can leave it untouched in the garage for a year, and start it up in the second crank every time.

hauptjm posted 07-18-2001 10:48 AM ET (US)     Profile for hauptjm    
triblet posted 07-18-2001 10:59 AM ET (US)     Profile for triblet  Send Email to triblet     
Bigshot posted 07-18-2001 11:11 AM ET (US)     Profile for Bigshot  Send Email to Bigshot     
My sister bought a new 6hp longshaft johnson in 1994 for her O'Day. She had the boat 2 months and sold it to our neighbor. He had a motor so they kept it. Still on the break-in gas. I got the motor last year after it sat for 5 or 6 seasons. I figured I would have to rebuild the carb and hoped it was not seized. My brother-in-law is not the maintenance guy and I thought that MAYBE I had winterized it. I guess I did along with my other motors. Anyway, my father-in-law brought it down to FL and it was not seized so I hooked up my 70hp tank and stuck it in a bucket. Started on the 1st friggin pull. You could have knocked me over with a feather. Sold it to a guy for $650. Should have kept it, would have looked good on my new Montauk.
Peter posted 07-18-2001 11:35 AM ET (US)     Profile for Peter  Send Email to Peter     

My guess is that Yami came out first with the 225F instead of a 150F for several reasons. Most importantly, I think it did so because it didn't have any 225hp product that competes with the DFI products on a fuel economy and emissions basis whereas it apparently does at the 200 and below level with its HPDI. Also, the percentage weight difference between the 225 EFI 2s and 4s is smaller than I believe it would be between a 150 2s and 4s, assuming the 150 4s is a V6 configuration and would weigh about the same. Thus, the additional weight of the 4s V6 doesn't look as bad at the 225 level.

Yami has a direct injection product that seems to work (haven't heard of any problems), yet Yami has never offered direct injection on a big block V6. Did they realize something the other's didn't? Are there some additional problems (thermodynamic, induction, lubrication, ???) that must be overcome when you get to the
"big block" level?

Bigshot posted 07-18-2001 01:56 PM ET (US)     Profile for Bigshot  Send Email to Bigshot     
From what I heard from a Donzi rep yesterday, Yamaha came out with that 225 and had it up and running in 98. Took them almost 3 years to bring it to the market. Donzi for the first time in decades has signed a contract with Yamaha and onda. They are SICK of Mercs and their problems and it is hurting their image so they are offering other choices. They are also sick of the performance variations and lack of factory support. They have stacks of motors with no parts and VERY angry customers(no shit). I hope this sheds some light as to other manufacturers and think twice about a new Merc Opti. This could be interesting!
Whaletosh posted 07-18-2001 02:17 PM ET (US)     Profile for Whaletosh    
My hypothesis, simple physics is the reason that large DFI 2 strokes won't cut it. Accerleration=Force/Mass. It takes more force to accelerate the higher fuel load for each power stroke. Aren't the various DFI systems all designed to operate at specifc pressure (force) settings? Isn't the pressure used in a 135 Opti the same as in a 225 Opti. The result of this will be less atomization and dispersal of the fuel, which will give hot spots and poor fuel burn.

I am certain that 4-strokes are the future of outboards. More so now than ever before. OMC talked about the difficulty of DFI when they first started developing Ficht outboards. I though then that this was going to spell trouble, I think it now. I remeber asking myself, why not just use 4-strokes. Honda was doing it. Yamaha, Kawasaki, Suzuki, and Honda all had ample experience in building good, strong, compact motors for motorcycles. I thought dump 2-strokes, bit the bullet and switch to 4-strokes. Looks like that may very well be the way things will pan out.

Just my opinion.


Bigshot posted 07-18-2001 02:38 PM ET (US)     Profile for Bigshot  Send Email to Bigshot     
Never understood why rotary never panned out. You can get 200 hp from a 1.3litre engine with a bunch of reliability. Much lighter too. I know they guzzle gas when comparing cc's to consumption but do you think a 200hp rotary will burn more than a 3.0 carbed Johnson?
Whaletosh posted 07-18-2001 04:20 PM ET (US)     Profile for Whaletosh    

Institutional inertia and lack of patent infringements. Anybody that would have wanted to use rotary designs would have had to pay royalties. Not on piston motors. Curiously, I saw a design for a very light motor that was even more compact than rotary designs.


Bigshot posted 07-18-2001 04:26 PM ET (US)     Profile for Bigshot  Send Email to Bigshot     
OMC was doing some research on it back in the early 70's for racing purposes but it fizzled in 73 with the gas crisis I believe.
Bigshot posted 07-18-2001 04:27 PM ET (US)     Profile for Bigshot  Send Email to Bigshot     
Nuts! That was Mercedes-Benz and even had a prototype that is still on the road tody. Mind is a rambling....
lhg posted 07-18-2001 04:34 PM ET (US)     Profile for lhg    
If larger DFI's have problems, I wonder where this leaves Bombardier, with nothing in the works as far as 4 stroke outboards. They seem to have been taken in by the Ficht vision. I wonder if it will pan out for them.
Peter posted 07-18-2001 05:44 PM ET (US)     Profile for Peter  Send Email to Peter     

I seem to recall a 1970s OMC brochure showing a hydroplane in action with a rotary clinging to its transom.


If your hypothesis is correct, i.e., there is a certain piston displacement limit above which DFI doesn't work well due to physical constraints causing inefficient atomization of fuel in the cylinder, then the solution to that problem is to make the cylinders smaller and provide more of them to get the needed displacement for generating the big HP. Guess what we need now is a revival of the V8 in a DFI incarnation. That would solve the carburation problem that I read somewhere the old V8 apparently had.

Whaletosh posted 07-18-2001 08:13 PM ET (US)     Profile for Whaletosh    
V-8s might due it. But don't forget EPA 2008 standards are looming out there.

For the record, this is just my hypothesis. I am an electronics/computer tech by trade. Analysis and problem solving are daily skills use. But, I am by no means a mechanical or automotive engineer. I am just applying a lttle logic coupled with some observations to come to the conclusion I did.


Whaletosh posted 07-18-2001 08:18 PM ET (US)     Profile for Whaletosh    

I just might be possible that Bombardier is right now working with Suzuki. this would benifit both of them. Bombardier gets big 4-strokes and Suzuki greatly increases their market share.

bigz posted 07-19-2001 06:39 AM ET (US)     Profile for bigz    
Holy Toledo, I wish I had your "crystal" ball LHG! For us poor unfortunates that have to depend on news print, trade publications, people in the business opinions and thoughts very hard to fathom your "predictions" based on current available information that I have. I must be reading and talking to the wrong folks!

I received word yesterday that Yamaha has suspended selling the DFI engines, that the 200-225 Optimax are still not available, and Bombardier is still selling the 2001 big Fichts (saw their latest inventory release sheet dated July 15th, have quite a bunch of the new 250 Fichts and also quit a few 4-stroke Suzuki re-labeled engines available plus a decent smattering of other 2-strokes). The rumor mill has it they are working towards a 4-stroke and will continue to build/refine Fichts based on the current working technology. Might add for anyone interested there has been no "real" problems associated with the big 250hp 2001 Fichts, some minor which I am told will be refined but none which has brought the engine down to an unusable or unstable condition.

One would be very much mistaken if you discount Bombardier's commitment or abilities to produce and market the Ficht technology. They have the resources (far and above say Brunswick) to have it work in multi-applications. That stated, the Ficht technology is pretty much "fixed" in the outboard segment, with continued refinement you will see engines using Ficht DFI not only in outboards high and low hp, but tractors, snowmobiles, PWCs (already used), and I think maybe in light aircraft, additionally Detroit is working on DFI auto/SUV/light truck engines.

Frankly I believe if one is also mistaken on this "silence" from Bombardier! The dealers are being kept informed, most parts are available, they have purchased a huge manufacturing compound and are in the process of moving equipment from other plants so that operations can commence in the Fall (might add here that their Southern plants are operating producing parts). In addition at the cooperate level have formed a new "recreational products division" based in the US, purchased the Florida test facilities and have both areas pretty well staffed. All this since the official purchase close in March! Ain't to bad in my book for a manufacture reorganization of this size.

Bombardier have in a remote sense "lost" a number of dealers, let me qualify this "lost" in effect dealers have taken on the Honda, Suzuki, Yamaha or even Mercury product but have not dropped their Johnson/Evinrude franchise! Hells bells dealers needed product early in the season when a lot of unknown factors were taking place, so the "smart" move was to get whatever wasn't blocked out in their market area --- the kicker is that boats under 30' meaning lots of outboard types are very poor sellers this season so in one sense these dealers including mine (who by the way I was influential in getting them into Yamaha) really haven't experienced any significant sales with the new addition whether Merc or Yamaha or Suzuki or Honda.

Ok ok, this little dissertation is not meant to defend Bombardier, the Ficht technology, slam Optimax or Yamaha DFI's or offer any predications---- it is a statement which I hope conveys the fact "what was -- was, and what will be will be" --- don't think we can clearly see the future at this juncture----- the fact remains the EPA and the environmentalist have forced the outboard folks to move ahead, without this push we would still be paying out big dollars for technology which not only is costly to operate and in real terms( because of the multitude in use) harm the environment we find so much pleasure in using with our boats. I say be thankful for this incentive to provide improved products even with the glitches which as time progresses will be forgotten.

Aside note Peter, the new 225 4 stroke Yamaha fuel figures are terrible compared to the same size Fichts, as well as the top end used on similar boats for an engine which will cost roughly $4000 or so more than a Ficht. The emissions in certain categories are also worse --- granted not by much --- oh well --- heh heh have to finally go have two of our autos tested for the first time on the NJ "tread-mill" for emissions today hope they pass!


dgp posted 07-19-2001 07:54 AM ET (US)     Profile for dgp  Send Email to dgp     
Z, back in the early '70s when I was in trade school in NJ the trick to pass the emission test was to drain the oil and replace it with STP. Absolutely no blowby!
Peter posted 07-19-2001 08:30 AM ET (US)     Profile for Peter  Send Email to Peter     

Thanks for the comparative info on fuel economy for the 225F v. Ficht. How does it compare to the Optimax? I don't believe that Yami's EFI products are remotely close in fuel economy and emissions to the DFI's, when they are working (he he).

Everything else being equal, clearly there is an energy cost associated with making and moving all of those extra 4S parts. If combustion could be controlled to the same degree with several solenoids rather than with DOHC and several valves, then one should think that 2S DFI should win the economy race.

I'm still sticking with my original statement that the 225F was introduced first over a 150F because Yami had no product that could be said to compete with the DFI products at the above 200HP range overall in terms of fuel economy, emissions, and, I should have added, reliability.

LarrySherman posted 07-19-2001 10:15 AM ET (US)     Profile for LarrySherman  Send Email to LarrySherman     
The Yami dealer in Port Chester CT (Catalano') told me that next 4S engine they will release is the 250, which gives Peter's argument some weight.

Still, on the main subject of this thread, it is really suprising that Merc/BW has done such a poor job providing service on the big Opti's. If the fuel economy estimates bigz mentioned are correct, then it would seem that the DFI technology will be cast to the side in favor of 4S.

If Sean's technical analysis were correct, it would seem that 2 DFI's per cyclinder in a 3.0 V6 would be able to deliver the correct fuel mixture to the cyclinder in a timely fashion. Perhaps we will see something along those lines?

Whaletosh posted 07-19-2001 11:22 AM ET (US)     Profile for Whaletosh    
But if we had 2 injectors per cylinder it would require a bigger head to allow the extra injector, which would change the geometry of the motor. And if one injector were to fail that would produce a lean mixture in the affected cylinder, and all the problems associated with running too lean. The only way to avoid that is to have a feedback loop to monitor the injectors for proper functioning; adding to the overall complexity of the system.

I knew when this all strated a few years back this was going to be wild ride. Only time will tell exactly what will happen.Whatever, happens it will prove interesting. But I stand by my prediction; 4-stroke motors are the future of outboards.


Whaletosh posted 07-19-2001 11:40 AM ET (US)     Profile for Whaletosh    
Tom (BigZ),

Larry (LHG) and I are just postulating on the future based on our own observations and thoughts. That is why I have been very carefull to state that I have a hypothesis rather than a theory.

As far as all of the information passed around via "news print, trade publications, people in the business", most companies hold some information as tightly as the CIA. Bombardier isn't going to back off of support for Ficht until they officially pull the plug. Maybe they will get the motors to work. Mercury and Yamaha may very well fix Optimax and HPDFI. But none of these companies are going to, for very legitimate business reasons, are going to stop publically supporting a product. Even if privately the company is planning on killing the product. It just isn't good business practice. The only time it makes sense is when there is real threat to public safety or if the "bad press" that might result if the news of poor product is spread.

Once again, time will tell. Frankly, it would be good for the industry if both technologies wre developed. That way consumers will ultimately decide which products will make it, rather than the industry making the decision.


bigz posted 07-19-2001 11:51 AM ET (US)     Profile for bigz    
Ought OH -- this thread has really disintegrated--- and way to long of a load time --- maybe Juris will kind enough to open another one and tell us what's happening with his problem currently. Someone else -- hey Sean --- can start one on the "future of outboards" ---

You very well could be right Peter, however the HIGH PRESSURE DFI Yamaha certainly rates up there with the Ficht, Optimax, also any 4 stroker available in economy and performance. Should say when the Yamahas are running tooo ;).

I maintain just might have been a bit more "bragging" rights which pushed to redesign from the ground up the 225 4 stroker and to avoid possible patent suits by Honda and Susuki! There are all ready 150hp 4 strokers available so why not one up everyone! The other point to bring out here is in the 135-150 class the Optimax and Ficht in 2 stroke and the Suzuki and Honda 4's would be tough competition.

If I was say pushing around a 25 instead of a 5 ton 27WA would go for believe it or not for a pair of 150 hp Opti, second choice a 150 Ficht, that 135/150 group of Opti's are dynamite engines.

I can't answer for the fuel economy of the 200-225 Optimax compared to say Ficht's or the preliminary figures for the Yamaha 225 4 stroke, chuckle each company publishes their own propaganda . In the case of the Yamaha in one sense the figures I was given are hard to believe since they were pretty bad for any 4 stroke! In my estimate once more "real world" use figures come to light will see that it probably is pretty close to the competition.

As just one small real world example with our Fichts, running at 4300 rpms, about a 2 foot sea in Pamilco Sound for approximately 3 hours which equates to a GPS figure of roughly 34 mph, the Floscan usage combination figure was in the area of 8.4 gallons per hour, works out roughly to 4.15 mpg with this pair of 225 Fichts pushing a loaded 27WA. ( about 180 gallons of fuel, 12 gallons engine oil, 25 gallons of water and enough extra stuff for this cruise to outfit Lee's army). Ain't too bad --- actually absolutely marvelous when compared to the pair of 200 hp Yamaha's we have on the 27 ccc! This digital older Floscan can't even read at 1000 rpms or below the usage it's so low.

To Don --- nice idea but as you know they are using a dyno set up now --- hmm, the STP might work neat idea --- only savings is they rate it on model year requirements, in this case it is our '91 Explorer and '89 Land Cruiser don't think it should be a problem (fingers crossed) thank you for the tip--

Larry that was a given since they will use the same head/system --- 225 to 250 ain't a quantum leap -- they are just praying to the gods that they can recover the development cost quickly and no other unforeseen problems occur as they did after the first announcement!

Lost something here about dual injectors per cylinder! There isn't any fuel delivery problem as far as I know of on any of these DFI's, other headaches yes but fuel timing/delivery isn't one of them! Appreciate someone can fill me in that this is a certified issue and not just conjecture.


LarrySherman posted 07-19-2001 01:01 PM ET (US)     Profile for LarrySherman  Send Email to LarrySherman     
Conjecture, but would seem to address Seans theory:

"My hypothesis, simple physics is the reason that large DFI 2 strokes won't cut it. Accerleration=Force/Mass. It takes more force to accelerate the higher fuel load for each power stroke. Aren't the various DFI systems all designed to operate at specifc pressure (force) settings? Isn't the pressure used in a 135 Opti the same as in a 225 Opti. The result of this will be less atomization and dispersal of the fuel, which will give hot spots and poor fuel burn."

You could get much better atomization, and higher pressure (although I don't understand why that is necessary) with two injectors per cyclinder. Plus, if you go to V8's to fix DFI, you create more frictive losses in the engine. I don't actually think pressure is the issue, rather delivering a well atomized fuel load for a given throttle setting to a larger volume cyclinder in a narrow time interval. I guess, given a certian type if injector, that more pressure would allow the larger charge to be delivered into the larger cyclinder in the same time interval, but wouldn't 2 lower pressure allow for the same with the potential for increased reliability?

lhg posted 07-19-2001 02:18 PM ET (US)     Profile for lhg    
Z- that's impressive gas mileage on your new 27! I am confused about why the DFI's are so much better on gas than the EFI's.

I understand the situation at low RPM. Very little unburned fuel is going out the exhaust. But I was under the impression that at 3500rpm, a 2 stroke was almost as efficient as a 4 stroke, within 10% or so. Since I get about 2.0 MPG on my 25 with the 200 EFI's, I'm surprised that you can get twice as much power from the same gallon of gas. (If I was running only one 200, theoretically I would get the same 4.0 mpg, but with only 1/2 the horsepower) Is the conventional 2 stroke still wasting more than 50% of it's fuel at that speed?

Can anybody explain to this to me? I'm already having a hard time following some of the engineering discussion on this thread!

Bigshot posted 07-19-2001 02:42 PM ET (US)     Profile for Bigshot  Send Email to Bigshot     
There is something wrong with that equation. I know opti's are good but now way is a 225 pushing that weight burning 4.2 each. Maybe 8.4 each compared to 12 or so on conventional. basically a opti takes 600 hours to recoup the gas in price difference. With 4.2 gals/hr it would take 1/4 that time. My buds 28 Mako cc with twin 225's 1996 Rudes burns about 25-30 GPH at cruise. i could see a opti or DFI doing 17-20 but not 8.
bigz posted 07-19-2001 03:32 PM ET (US)     Profile for bigz    
Larry and BigS, I was also surprised since it was the first long run at a relatively constant speed we made with her. However, my mechanic Tim informed me (remember Tim in a post way up the line) that she should do nicely in the 4000 - 4500 cruising range and after he tested her that the gph usage seemed to fall in the area of 3.8 to 4.2 per engine or 7.6 to 8.4 per hour combined usage I was not on the test trip --- now it very well maybe the Floscan is mis-calibrated since it reads the fuel coming out of the tank and like I mentioned it is an older model though digital. He also mentioned unless folks experience the efficiency of these engines for themselves it will be difficult to get them to believe the figures.

One last or well maybe not last statement --- this is the first time I have had any experience with these Floscan units so this in my mind isn't the best method to confirm usage --- when we get her re-rigged this week with a new controller (I still want a Yamaha dual --- marina wants to use the new OMC dual -- will see who wins) and new control cables then I'll get her out and run a set 10 mile course using the forward 77 gallon tank at an approx.. set speed then refuel from 2 - 5 gallon Jerry Cans, will make sure the Floscan is set up properly if not already to test it's accuracy

Anyway hope I didn't screw up with this initial finding --- about the only thing positive that occurred on a very rough trip land and sea getting her up to NJ --- don't want to think or even talk about it --- miserable --- everything worked out in the end she is safe in our marina down on the Delaware. Z

Whaletosh posted 07-19-2001 03:55 PM ET (US)     Profile for Whaletosh    
As per BigZ''s suggestion i started a new thread on the future of outboards over in the Performance section.


bigz posted 07-19-2001 04:20 PM ET (US)     Profile for bigz    
Ok guys on these Fichts burn rates, my first officer and "super cargo" of the 27WA just told me dumb dumb you was nuts to look at that darn Floscan, that usage couldn't be right --- she proceeded to EXPLAIN that she had recorded the departure point and the point where the 77 gallon forward tank we had filled died and that it was approximately 138 miles and the run time was about 6.5 hours or roughly 20 mph and we used 77 gallons to run it -- which works out to a half gallon per mile or about a little over 10 gallons per hour or 5 + gallons per engine --- this was at all range levels form near idle to 4800 rpms --- she informs me that is a better way to figure it since in real time activities rare your going to be cruising like I calculated at or around constants! Hope I typed this right ---

Anyway there you have it for now -- still will do my testing and Floscan checking heh heh -- and see what the instruments can tell me --- Z

jimh posted 07-20-2001 09:36 PM ET (US)     Profile for jimh  Send Email to jimh     
Because of the long length of this thread, I am closing it here.

The saga continues with this second message thread.


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