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ContinuousWave: Post-Classic Whalers
180 DAUNTLESS Engine Choices
|Author||Topic: 180 DAUNTLESS Engine Choices|
posted 04-19-2004 08:20 PM ET (US)
I am new to this forum. I am looking at purchasing the 180 dauntless. My engine choices are the Merc 125 carburated two stroke, the Merc 115 four stroke with fuel injection or the two stroke Opti 115 or 135. For my type of usage (upper chesapeake) I think any of the above engines would work. I am leaning towards the 115 four stroke.
My question centers around the amount of amps supplied by the engine. Does the amp output affect the amount of electronics one can mount. I am looking at a fixed mount standard horizon VHF radio and a color Garmin Fishfinder. Additionally I expect to mount an am fm radio.
posted 04-19-2004 09:14 PM ET (US)
for the electronics you are considering, you have nothing to worry about with any of your motor choices.
regarding power, i would go for the opti 135. i say this because i was seriously exploring the dauntless 16 foot. the dealer recommended the 115 for it and i have a close friend with a honda 90 4-stroke on a 16' dauntless and he is somewhat disapointed in the hole shot performance. with an 18' i would think the better performance of the opti would be a good way to go.
posted 04-19-2004 09:20 PM ET (US)
Take a look at http://www.whaler.com/Rec/pdfs/180DauntlessEng.pdf for performance information about the 180 Dauntless with various engines. In my interpretation, any of the engines would be adequate, but note that the 115s are propped with only a 16" pitch, and need to run 3500+ RPM to run on plane. I'd prefer something that planes without breathing quite so hard.
On my 160 Dauntless, the 115 4-stroke delivers a great mix of economy and performance, but not the world's greatest hole shot.
posted 04-19-2004 10:05 PM ET (US)
I have a Dauntless 18 with a 135 Optimax. I would not go with a 115 hp motor. In my opinion, you will not be satisfied with the performance. The Dauntless 18 is a fairly stern heavy hull (mine has the "pocket" or "tunnel" in the hull which the newer models do not have; that may make a positive difference). The hull has a tendency to ride a bit high in the bow. Also, it's a large and heavy hull for an 18 footer. I think you would be making a mistake by getting the 115 hp motor, but that's just my opinion.
The 135 Optimax is ideal. It will get the boat right up on plane, and will push the hull to the maximum speed (under the right conditions, I can get 51-53 mph in mine). The 135 Optimax also has a very large alternator. I have never had a problem keeping my battery charged. I have only one battery for starting the motor and running all of my electronics (depth/fisfinder, VHF, and Garmin GPSmap 162) and my hydraulic trim tabs. The 125 Carbureted two stroke would probably also be a good choice (although less efficient than the Optimax).
posted 04-20-2004 12:39 AM ET (US)
I am no expert but here is something to think about.
2. 135 Opti weights in at 431# which the 125 HP Classic is just 348#.
Best way to tell is get a ride and see which handles the way you want it too.
posted 04-20-2004 04:37 PM ET (US)
Well...if you had half a 180 Dauntless (VBG!) then you could go with the Boston Whaler preferred engine, the 135 Opti. That seems to be the engine they are running on the Dauntless they cut in half and use for promotoional events.
posted 04-20-2004 05:47 PM ET (US)
I would go with the 135hp Optimax .The alternator is plenty to run all your electronics.The hull is heavy a 115hp four stroke would be under powered.A 125hp two stroke carb. engine is not fuel efficent and may detract from resale.I had a 18 with a 150hp Optimax it was not overpowered but the 135 would have been enough power.I had a 1998 model with the pocket at the transom a"Dole Fin" on the cavitation plate brought the rpm to plane speed down.
posted 04-21-2004 08:36 AM ET (US)
Lars, can you teach me how to get 51-53 MPH out of my 180 Dauntless with the 135 Optimax?
Is it the hydraulic trim tabs?
posted 04-21-2004 09:09 AM ET (US)
I would definitly not go for an engine under 135hp for the 18 Dauntless.
I took an 18-foot Dauntless for a test run a short while ago and it was fitted with a 150 optimax. With 4 adults it ran like a charm.
posted 04-21-2004 10:17 PM ET (US)
I just typed a long and detailed reply to your question, and I must have mistyped by username as my reply was "rejected." So I'll retype it, but probably not as detailed.
The trim tabs are not what enable me to get the speed I get (assuming my measurements of speed are accurate. I think they are at least reasonably accurate; I've used both my lowrance and GPS to measure the speed).
I have my motor mounted in the third (middle) holes, and have a 19 pitch three blade stilletto stainless steel prop. When I got the boat, it had a 17 pitch aluminum prop, and the motor was mounted at its lowest position. I first raised it two holes, then borrowed a 19 pitch stainless steel prop from a friend. When that seemed to be the right pitch prop, I ordered the stilletto from www.amarket.com on the advice of fellow board member Sal Mercurio. It's a very high quality (in my opinion) cupped prop that is reasonably priced. I was also impressed with www.amarket.com.
With just me in the boat, a full tank of gas, and the slightest bit of chop (i.e. 6 inches), I can get 51-53 mph at wide open throttle, and the motor trimmed out. At that speed the boat seems float on air (and that's probably what it is doing). The slight chop seems to help get the boat to "lift off" the water.
The only downside to raising the motor was that it seemed to cause the stern to sink more when coming off plane. It also seemed that the boat was a bit slower coming onto plane. I installed a hydrofoil, which helped a bit. I also learned to come of plane more slowly, and to lower the trim on the motor as I came off plane.
Since installing the trim tabs, I've removed the hydrofoil.
Raising the motor, installing the Stilletto prop, and installing the trim tabs were all modifications that were well worth the time, money and effort. I'm very pleased with my current set up.
posted 04-22-2004 12:07 AM ET (US)
Aside to Lars: Re having to re-type a posting when there is a failure at submission: this is a browser-controlled situation. I do this all the time and with my browser there is never a need to re-type the posting. The text is preserved and one just has to correct the password. Try a different browser to correct this problem.
Regarding the engine choice for the 180 Dauntless: there is much to be said for powering the boat at the maximum rated horsepower. It will generally always be better, but this comes at a price--literally! If you can afford the premium price, go with the larger motor and don't look back.
The 4-stroke 115-HP choice is also a reasonable alternative. This is a fuel-injected engine and by most accounts is a smooth performer. Please note the difference in the TIME-TO-PLANE numbers, as the 115-HP 4-stroke takes 50-percent longer to get on plane as compared to the same horsepower in the 2-stroke Optimax. If one looks only at the chart of speeds and RPM, you might make an incorrect interpretation regarding the performance of the Optimax 115-HP compared to the 4-stroke 115-HP engine. The 2-stroke is much faster to get on plane.
posted 04-22-2004 04:46 AM ET (US)
I just recently tested a 190 NANTUCKET fitted with an 115-Hp Optimax motor. This boat weighs approx. the same as the 180 DAUNTLESS. I must say I was disappointed with the performance of the motor. It took more than 11 seconds to get on plane. (this was also confirmed by another ContinuousWave member) I posted a small review in another thread.
Having tested the 180 Dauntless several times before (this was my first choice for purchasing before I changed my mind and bought my 170 Montauk) and long discussions with the salesmen and technical staff, the minimum hp for this boat should be at least 135-hp. They insisted that any 115-hp engine would not do the boat justice (performance wise). I would have bought it with a 115 engine because of the price difference.
After reading some first hand data from SalA with his 115-hp 4-stroke engine, it seems that this engine is a better performer that the 2-stroke 115-Optimax. It only took him 6 seconds or so to get on plane on his 190 Nantucket.
IMHO I think it would be wise to spend the extra money for at least a 2-stroke 135-HP Optimax on the 180 Dauntless.
This is just my 2(euro)cents (for what they are worth).
posted 04-22-2004 09:07 AM ET (US)
I think many people are attracted to the 4-stroke engine option because of the low noise at idle speeds. However, if the engine has to turn 4000 RPM or more at minimum on-plane speeds, there will be plenty of engine noise, 4-stroke or 2-stroke.
If the larger engine is purchased, it will deliver another advantage at moderate cruising speeds: the engine will be turning lower crankcase speeds and this will produce much lower noise. A large engine loafing along at 2900 RPM at cruise will produce less noise than a smaller engine running 4200 RPM to maintain the same boat speed.
Also note that in the comparison test there is a difference in fuel of over 30 gallons, a weight of about 200 pounds. The Optimax test was done with a heavier load than the 4-stroke test, yet the engine acellerated faster.
posted 04-22-2004 05:36 PM ET (US)
Lars, unless your 19 has been repitched, your motor must be turning near 6500 rpm to give you 53 mph. Have you disabled the rpm limiter to reach this speed? If you are overspeeding the motor like this. I would suggest adding TWC 3 to your main tank at about 100 to 1 for a little insurance. You should be ok at these rpms, but a few seconds of one injector leaning out and you'll have a hand grenade instead of a motor. MartyD
posted 04-22-2004 06:29 PM ET (US)
Thanks for all of your info re the engine choices. Regarding the 115 4 stroke, I did like the low noise factor at idle. However, your comments about the noise level at 4000rpm regardless of the engine type ring true.
Question - Is the 135 Opti, which I have gathered is the better choice over the 115 4 stroke, easy (relatively) to do minor maintenance stuff to?? I'm not a mechanic, but I do like to do small things for myself that don't require much savvy i.e., flushing the engine etc. Also, from my visit to the BW dealer, I can't remember if there is room in the stern storage/bilge area for two batteries as well as an oil resevoir. (one of my reasons for originally thinking of the 115 four stroke was that I didn't need an oil resevoir).
I am trying to stay away from putting anything in the console storage area except fishing tackle and tools. BTW what do you do for a fishbox with the 180.? I plan to use the pilot seat box for dry storage. The only thing I can think of for a fishbox would be the front console cooler or to bring on and stow (somewhere?) an additional cooler for the fishbox.
My dealer has factory rigged 180 with the 135 opti in his back lot....all I need to do is give him a deposit and he will take me on a test run......wow!!
posted 04-22-2004 10:07 PM ET (US)
posted 04-22-2004 10:22 PM ET (US)
I'll try that again . . . (Jimh, Obviously, I'm have a certain degree of incompetency when it comes to posts . . . Occasionally having to retype my posts is just a part of life for me.)
My prop has not been repitched. As to RPMs, I think I get to 5600 (redline for the Optimax). Having had my powerhead do the hand grenade imitation once before, I'm definitely not interested in seeing it do the same a second time. It wasn't entertaining at all the first time.
I would not be surprised if the 51-53 MPH measurements I'm getting are a bit inaccurate. I feel pretty certain that I get a solid 50 mph, but who knows. All I can say is that's what my instruments show, and accurate or not, it's faster than I ever need to go in the water (especially around here were stumps and floating logs are common, especially after Hurricane Isabel).
As to motor noise, my biggest complaint about the Optimax is how loud it is. It sounds a lot like a diesel due to the ticking/clicking sound the compressor or injectors make. It's a loud and heavy motor, but it pumps out a lot of horsepower, and is very fuel and oil efficient. I don't know whether the newer optimaxes are quieter.
posted 04-23-2004 12:28 AM ET (US)
I don't think the recommendation to pre-blend the gasoline and oil at 100:1 on an Optimax engine is good advice. The Optimax requires special oils, and I don't think it is recommended to pre-mix them with the fuel.
The Optimax engines do have a peculiar sound that results from the air compressor and air/fuel injectors.
Optimax engines require specialized spark plugs. Plug access has been reported on some models to be somewhat awkward. Plugs are also recommended to be installed in an indexed manner, that is, so that the position of the electrode in the cylinder is known and controlled. This takes more mechanical skill than just installing a plug in a lawn mower engine might require.
The Optimax engine requires a very strong starting battery. Generally a larger size battery (larger group size) is required. Problems have been reported when the battery voltage sags during start up. During extended low speed idle there has been some reporting of net current drain from the battery because of the heavy electrical load of the engine. That is, at very low speeds like a 600 RPM trolling speed, the engine may not be charging the battery, and in fact might be discharging it because of the current required to operate the electrical load of the engine itself.
In exchange for these demands, the Optimax engines return excellent fuel economy and performance. The fuel economy is often cited as being 40-percent better. They use less oil, too, although this is somewhat offset by the higher cost of the oil they do burn. They do not smoke. They emit less emissions into the environment.
Four stroke engines are generally more complex mechanically than 2-stroke engines. They require periodic oil changing and oil filter changing. You also have to discard the used oil. The maximum interval is 100 hours, and this could be somewhat tedious if you use your boat extensively. Four-stroke engines offer improved fuel economy, no smoke, and less emissions, too.
posted 04-23-2004 10:23 AM ET (US)
I just took delivery of a 2004 180 with the optimax 135. There is plenty of room to put a second battery next to the existing one. When we seatrialed the boat with the 115 - it was quieter at idle but no difference after that. Actually the 135 is much quieter than the older models and absolutely no smoke at all. The 115 would have been my first choice but it just doesn't have enough power for the 180, in my opinion. I'm looking forward to the second half of the break in for this motor and this time we hit the salt water of San Diego bay on Saturday.
posted 04-23-2004 06:55 PM ET (US)
I have a 180 Dauntless. I will be changing the plugs soon. I have previousley removed and re installed the plugs for winterizing. Can anyone confirm that my spark plugs should be indexed. The manual that was provided with the engine states to get them finger tight and then continue to a specified torque.
posted 04-23-2004 10:42 PM ET (US)
I lost my post again . . . I'm going to start copying my posts before submitting them since my browser disposes of the text when I hit submit (thank you, Bill Gates).
Jim, I agree with you that adding oil to the gas in an optimax is not a good idea. You should use Optimax oil, and let the oil injection system do what it's designed to do. I don't think putting oil in the gas will get the oil to where it needs to go anyway.
As to maintenance, all of the "routine" things are easy. I've never heard that the plugs have to be indexed, but before I change them the next time, I'm going to call my mechanic. I've changed my plugs regularly, never indexed them, and have not had a problem. The lower two cylinders can be pretty tricky when it comes to installing the new plugs; it's real easy if you have plenty of light and can shine one up the plug hole. If you try to install these lowest plugs by feel, be sure to give yourself a couple of hours, and keep your kids away, as you'll be cussing up a storm before long. Changing the filters (including the air filter) is simple and straightforward (the fuel filter is a screw on, and the air filter is under the top cover of the motor, and can be removed in 30 seconds.) The lower unit is just like any other mercury lower unit, so no big issues with changing the lower unit oil or the impeller.
The only "unique" item is the belt and belt tensioner pulley. I've not had to replace my belt yet, but the tensioner pulley will get "egg shaped" after a certain amount of use. It's probably a good idea to change that every 100 hours or so. That's not a difficult task, and the parts aren't expensive. If you start seeing some black rubber dust on your engine, it's probably your belt rubbing on your flywheel, which is a sign that your tensioner pulley is in need of replacing. I suspect that black dust would not be kind to your motor if it were ingested. I have a theory that may have been part of what lead to the demise of my first powerhead.
However, the motor is not a simple motor, and personally, I wouldn't go tearing into it. I've got a great mechanic (mercury Master Mechanic) who is reliable, reasonable, and honest, so I leave the "non-routine" stuff up to him. I bring mine in to him about once a year anyway for him to give everything a checkup. He says that without the computer reader, there's not much you can do with the motor beyond the routine maintenance. As with any motor, you need to find a good mechanic who you can trust to help you with any bigger problems you might have. Since getting my new "upgraded" powerhead, I've had absolutely no problems other than routine maintenance. My motor is a 1998, the first year they came out, and the bugs hadn't been worked out of the motor. I've heard all good things about the newer ones, and my 2002 remanufactured powerhead has been flawless.
posted 04-25-2004 05:40 PM ET (US)
Lars, what rpm is you motor spining your 17p stilletto to reach 53 mph? A prop calculator would suggest 6400 rpm at 8% slip, your motor redlines at 54-5600 and has a 2 to 1 gear ratio, If you are interested I have a like new 21p stilletto for 4 1/4 gearcase merc, my merc 4 clylinder 125 was able to turn this at 5500 on a light hull. MartyD
posted 04-25-2004 10:07 PM ET (US)
With the 19" pitch prop, I can only get to red line (not over) at full throttle. As to the speed, all I can say is that's what my instruments say (how accurate they are is anyone's guess, but I have a lowrance fishfinder with the speedometer, and a Garmin GPS, and they're both fairly close in agreement on the speed).
I think the 21 pitch prop would be too much for my motor. The 19 appears to be just right.
posted 05-16-2004 09:41 PM ET (US)
I took my boat out today with my 13 y.o son and one of his friends for some fishing and boating. While we were out, I decided to double check my top speed (although the conditions were not ideal).
With a nearly full tank, me and my two passengers, and our fishing equipment (rods, tackle, three cast nets etc.), including 4 rods standing up in the console rod holders (creating quite a bit of drag, I'm sure), we got to 49 mph according to my Lowrance, and 43 Knots per my Garmin GPS. The water was pretty smooth, but there were some gentle rolling waves that got us catching some air here and there, and kept the bow bouncing a bit. With the four fishing rods down, and the water conditions more ideal, I am certain we could have reached the 51 mph mark, or maybe even slightly faster. Even at 49, though, it's really too fast to be very comfortable, in my opinion. It's certainly not a speed I would want to run for any extended period.
The trim tabs also came in handy in reaching that speed. I don't necessarily think they make the boat faster, but without the tabs, it would have been hard to keep the bow down under the conditions we had today.
posted 05-17-2004 03:02 AM ET (US)
George, you should NOT have to give your dealer a deposit to test that boat !!! When in your life, have you ever had to put a deposit down on a car to test drive it? Good luck with the purchase, and watch your back at the showroom. Get the 135 like everyone here says.
posted 05-17-2004 08:39 PM ET (US)
Lars--Thanks for the details on the routine engine service.
In looking at one of these V-6 Optimax engines it appears the lower plug on the port side would be rather difficult to change. Any special advice on that one?
posted 05-17-2004 09:13 PM ET (US)
Yes, the lowest plug on the port side of the motor can be very difficult to put back in. You can't do it by "feel." I use a shop light to illuminate the hole the plug goes up into. You have to get the angle of the plug just right, and the only way to do that is to see the plug hole and seat. I spent about 30 minutes trying to put that one plug in one day (by feel), and was about to scream. My boat was backed into the garage, and there wasn't much room between the motor and the back wall. So I pushed the boat out a bit (to give me room behind the motor), got a light, and was able to put it in on the first try. You might also have to tilt the motor up to be able to see into the hole.
posted 05-25-2004 11:25 PM ET (US)
I have to disagree with Erik on the 115-2 and the nantucket, just got mine 2 weeks ago, been out 5 times and HAVE NOT BEEN DISSAPOINTED with the 115...She gets on plane very quickly, and cruises comfortably at3500rpms at like 30 MPH, Ive had her up to 38MPH at 4500, shes real smooth with the 115-2. I have not heard of anyone getting the Nantucket with any of the 115s that was sorry they did...The top speed which I havn't even needed to push to is darn near close to what the 150 will do, she gets up on plane just about as fast...SO WHY SPEND ALL THAT EXTRA MONEY?? for a couple of MPH at top speed????
Anyway, I know each have there own needs, but wanted to let others know that the 115 on my Nantucket is not an underperformer:) But if you need more, have at it...all a personal preference:)
posted 05-26-2004 12:26 AM ET (US)
Yiddil--I love your enthusiasm, but please tell me what in God's name is a 115-2 engine???????????????????
[Those multiple question marks are catching on...so...are...ellipses.]
posted 05-26-2004 09:51 AM ET (US)
I think that it is one of those motors that we can't buy if you are located in the state of California.......
maybe carbed 2 stroke ??
posted 05-26-2004 03:25 PM ET (US)
I have a 2002 Dauntless 180 with a 2002 Optimax 135 with a 17-inch pitch Mercury Mirage II three-blade stainless steel prop. According to my GPS, my top speed is about 41 mph with only me onboard and 3/4 of a tank of gas. The boat gets on plane quickly, and I am generally very satisfied with the boat/motor combination. After reading this thread, however, I am wondering if I can get 50 mph with a few tweaks.
Early in my ownership of this boat, I took it out on Lake St. Clair during a summer weekend, where I experienced a confused 1 to 2 foot chop which is common there as the result of extensive boat traffic. The ride on plane was very bad, with lots of pounding, so I added a hydrofoil to the motor. I was hoping to keep the boat on plane at a lower speed. In hindsight, this may have been a mistake. Prior to adding the hydrofoil, I never had the impression that the boat had any problem jumping up onto plane. Now that the hydrofoil is installed, I don't really get the impression that the minimum planing speed is substantially lower. Furthermore, I rarely take my boat on Lake St. Clair, and have not again experienced the choppy conditions which led me to install the hydrofoil. (I opted not to install trim tabs because I use the swim ladder frequently, and it appears there would be very little clearance between the trim tabs and the ladder.)
Regarding a spare battery, there is plenty of room in the stern storage area for an additional battery.
Regarding the amps delivered by the motor, I troll extensively at low rpm speeds, and have never experienced a problem keeping my battery charged.
Regarding maintenance, I will confirm that two lower (and especially the lower port side) spark plugs are a bear to change. Also, the spark plugs are expensive.
posted 05-27-2004 04:59 PM ET (US)
Has anyone ever considered the 140 hp Johnson 4-stroke for the 18 Dauntless? I want my new boat to have the "perfect" 4-stroke motor as I plan to keep it for the remainder of my natural life, and I'll cough up the dollars to ensure the best match. I won't consider a 2-stroke due to the potential (pending) EPA requirements on inland lakes and waterways.
posted 05-28-2004 04:07 AM ET (US)
I'm very happy for you with the purchase of your fine boat. I am pleased that you are satisfied with the results of your 115-hp 2-stroke carb. Mercury engine. It also pleases me to see your enthusiasm when reading your posts. With all due respect to your findings and experiences with your boat, the Nantucket I tested had the 115-hp 2-stroke OPTIMAX engine on it and it was and is a poor performer for such a heavy boat. If you look at the performance graphs here on the website, you will see a difference between the 115-hp, 2-stroke carb. engine and the OPTIMAX equivalent. Others, who also tested this boat-engine combination, have made the same conclusion as I have.
posted 05-28-2004 04:59 AM ET (US)
Have a new 220 and posted my performance results in an earlier post. The point of this post is the improvement in planing speeds due to my adjustable jack plate. Really glad I have it. Definetly think it was worth the money.
posted 05-28-2004 06:52 AM ET (US)
It is of course the 190 Nantucket and not the 180.
Here's the performance data:
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