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Author Topic:   135 Optimax Confidence
eriedeary posted 07-05-2003 10:46 AM ET (US)   Profile for eriedeary   Send Email to eriedeary  
Forum appeciated greatly to begin with,
I wrote last year about my Opti problems. As it were dealership didn't install check valve system (merc service bulletin) that I had to uncover and contributed to rough running at low rpm's. eg. trolling That said, motor seems now to be running fine after intallation of check valves, but upon commisioning for the new season inspection of spark plugs still reveal bad carbon fouling. As I said motor seems to be running well, but I am deeply concerned and believe it's running way too rich. Someday I'll be 12 miles out of Cleveland and she'll conk out without being able to restart because of fouled plugs. Is this common to Optimax 135's? Mercury and dealer are NO help. In fact they refuse to acknowledge my observations. How many hours should I get on these plugs? Right now only have aboout 50 on them. Is there a substitute plug? Merc reccomends plats that go for 20 a piece. Seems kinda of excessive if I'm going to have to replace them every hundred hours. Frustrated to the point of getting [upset].
In earnest,
tully_mars posted 07-06-2003 07:22 PM ET (US)     Profile for tully_mars  Send Email to tully_mars     
Are you running the Optimax oil in these motors? I am finding out with the DFI engines over a lot of reading and talking to technicians the main problem with running any regular oil in a DFI motor is carbon buildup and problems associated with it. So far as I can tell everyone that has a DFI motor I personally know of, FICHT, OPTI, or Yam DFI are having no problems running the OEM oils. In the Evinrude case there are some synthetics and also anti-carbon additives to prevent carbon buildup.

I don't know of anyone who is running non-oem oils in their DFI motors, but hopefully someone will comment on their experience with it. Mine is only with those who use the oem stuff and they don't see any problems except for the cost of the oil.

Tully Mars

Dick posted 07-06-2003 09:38 PM ET (US)     Profile for Dick  Send Email to Dick     

Give me the seriel number of you motor and I will run it through Merc and check for problems and fixes.


BWdaunt18 posted 07-07-2003 05:47 PM ET (US)     Profile for BWdaunt18  Send Email to BWdaunt18     
I have a 2001 135 Opti. Bought it new last year. I changed the plugs this year, as recommended, with the $20 a piece plugs.

I use Merc Optimax oil.

My plugs were pretty fouled but the engine runs fine.

hugehugo posted 07-07-2003 08:39 PM ET (US)     Profile for hugehugo  Send Email to hugehugo     
I had a 99 135 opti and was only able to get about 30 hours out of a set of plat plugs if I did any idle speed trolling to speak of. I used only OEM oil. If I were offshore and had been trolling for Salmon, I would have to limp home unable to plane the boat. I also had injector problems. After realizing that the motor was going to be a continuous, ongoing, and never ending hassle, I traded it for a Honda 200 and am shocked at how nice it is not to have to worry about my motor. The four stroke is also very nice.
bsmotril posted 07-10-2003 06:22 PM ET (US)     Profile for bsmotril  Send Email to bsmotril     
Couple of things to verify:
Use the high dollar ($12)platinum NKG plugs and not their new cheaper ($7) replacement part number.

Make sure someone did not replace the thermostats with the cooler ones used for the 150hp and up Optis. The 135s have a warmer themostat for a three star CARB rating. Cool running makes Carbon

Use Merc Premium plus outboard oil

Make sure the motor's CPU is not stuck in break-in mode. There was a code bug or something where this was the case on one of my two motors. The dealer had a tech bulletin to resolve it.

Use Mid range gas with fuel injector cleaner (Techron) added.

If one or more of the above is a possibility, decarbon the notor with "Seafoam" and remediate the issue.

After you decarbon, take compression readings for all cylinders and log them for a future baseline.

If the carbon is limited to a single cylinder, then I would look for an injector or coil problem.

jimh posted 07-10-2003 09:13 PM ET (US)     Profile for jimh  Send Email to jimh     
This is not an expert opinion, but it is one I just deduced from all the comments on here about Optimax engines and, in great contrast, the comments I read recently over on the "Scream and Fly" website. Here, people are complaining about fouled plugs and rough running. On Scream and Fly they just love Optimax engines. These guys run them wide open for 24 hours in races and those big Mercury's run like mad. Mercury just won some famous 24-hour endurance race in France for the ninth time in ten years. Yet we got guys over here on our Whaler forum that can't tell everyone fast enough or often enough how rotten their Optimax experience has been.

I think it is becoming clear that the Optimax is probably not the right motor if you want to troll all day, or you have to spend an hour in a no wake zone to get to open water. From all the comments I have read, I don't think that extended operation at low speed ranges is what the Optimax was optimized for.

Also, I think people don't understand how much harm you can do by running the boat at certain engine speeds. Do you run your Optimax/prop/boat combination at around 2,000 RPM when the boat is not on hydroplane yet and is still in displacement mode, pushing a big wake? That is bad. At these conditions you can induce pre-detonation and rapid heat build up in the cylinders of the engine. You can do damage in a hurry.

I did not realize this when I was at the wheel of LHG's beautiful WHALE LURE. We were in a long slow stretch, but I was trying to cheat a bit and move along faster. Even with 400-HP on the transom, LHG informed me not to run the engines at that speed range as it was very hard on them. Either go slow, or go fast, but don't sit in that particular range where the engines are prone to damage.

Also, in some cases these problems were reported on boats that were not exactly overpowered. Twin 150's on a new Whaler that weighs 8,500 pounds is not exactly over powered. Set ups like this may have contributed to some problems.

And propeller selection may not have been good. If the prop has been tweaked for really WOT speed, it may not be right for slow trolling.

I also think that some people think an Optimax doesn't need special care and feeding. It apparently needs special oils and perhaps special attention during break in. If you just start them up and run them (slowly), you are probably heading for trouble.

Again, I am not basing this on science or my own Optimax expereince, but ratheron my observation from reading all the negative opinion tossed around this website, and trying to correlate it with all the glowing positives I read about Mercury Optimax engines on another (racing) forums.

ASIDE: I have been reading this thread and I thought the topic was "99-HP or 135=HP" Optimax, but then I realized that there is not a 99-HP Optimax, so I guess the author was talking about a 1999 Outrage of unspecified length. I think I will change the topic if that is what this is about.

jimh posted 07-10-2003 09:17 PM ET (US)     Profile for jimh  Send Email to jimh     
[Changed topic; was "99 OR 135 Optimax confidence".]
half shell posted 07-11-2003 07:23 PM ET (US)     Profile for half shell  Send Email to half shell     
Dad just got 1999 18 OR w/135 opti and loves it.
regards Bob
prm1177 posted 07-12-2003 01:26 PM ET (US)     Profile for prm1177  Send Email to prm1177     
I've had an Outrage II 17 with a 98 Opti 135, and I concur with Jim's observations. I have a 1/2 mile, 5 mph, no-wake journey to get to SF Bay and open water, and have noticed the Opti can run a bit rough at tidle if I don't give it some extended time at WOT or mid-throttle regularly.

I run some Merc Quickclean though it every other tank or so and make sure I use Merc DFI oil and that seems to clear the issue. I do like the engine, but can see some folks opting for a 4 stroke if they need to troll for long periods. That said, the 135 is a good match for the Outrage hull.

bsmotril posted 07-12-2003 09:58 PM ET (US)     Profile for bsmotril  Send Email to bsmotril     
I've got to disagree with you about the trolling, at least with the 135 Optis. My fishing involves a 30-40 mile run offshore, usually at 3200-3600 rpm. When I get there, the rest of the day is spent powering up to an oil platform, or to a wreck, then drifting down with the engines idling. After a drift, we troll back to the starting point, repeatedly, all day long. I spend a good 8 hours of every 10 on my offshore trips idling and trolling. On the way in when I hit the Intracoastal waterway, I'll run up to WOT and 5600 RPM for a minute or so just to confirm all is well throughout the RPM range. I also troll for stripers in fresh water, the only difference being my initial run is only 2-3 miles to start fishing. But, the balance of the day is trolling. O love these motors for trolling, smooth, no smoke in the cockpit heading downwind, and excellent speed range for trolling from 500-1400 rpm with either one or both motors running. These motors troll literally all day without a sneeze or a hiccup and then will jump on plane for the ride home. Maybe the big blocks are different, but the small blocks troll great IMHO.
lakeman posted 07-15-2003 07:02 AM ET (US)     Profile for lakeman  Send Email to lakeman     
I had serious doubts about buying a 18 used dauntless with a 2000 135 opti on it. It still has an extended warranty till 2006. I was assured by my friend and dealer that the 135 opti did not have all the problems of the larger motors. Not to say it is perfect all the dfi motors are very complicated. What I do not like about is the noise, sounds more like a diesel. I will see how it works out and if it doesn't meet my expectations, Johnson 140 4S could be my next option. Like, I have a lot of money, I need to get a grip.

I disagree with jimh that it will not troll very well, it has done well, make sure that you run dfi oil.

hugehugo posted 07-15-2003 06:59 PM ET (US)     Profile for hugehugo  Send Email to hugehugo     
I think Jimh's point about care and feeding is a good one. I used the right plugs and oil in my 135, but did not have the patience to work through the other issues. I had been running inboards for years and am used to spending very little time trying to keep the motor running properly. Michigan summers are so short that to loose a good weekend can be 10% of the season.

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