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Author Topic:   320 OUTRAGE: Verado vs Optimax
im4bc posted 08-22-2004 08:21 AM ET (US)   Profile for im4bc   Send Email to im4bc  
I am considering an upgrade to the 320 Outrage. Here is interesting information on the performance of the 250 Verado vs the 225 Optimax: The only discernable difference in these two engines is the sound level! The 225 Optimax is actually a lighter engine with better fuel economy. Why pay the extra money if engine noise is not a factor in your decision? I am talking about performance only, not bells and whistles like DTS, drive by wire, etc.
TRAFFICLAWYER posted 08-22-2004 10:08 AM ET (US)     Profile for TRAFFICLAWYER    
Three reasons come to mind,

1. Much quieter, which you will appreciate.
2. The Optimax along with all other big block 2 strokes is already obsolete, 4 strokes are taking over. Yamaha and betcha Merc will no longer offer these products in the next three years.
3. The resale will be much better with a Verado than with Optimax. Optimax still carries the ghosts of motors past.

Peter posted 08-22-2004 10:27 AM ET (US)     Profile for Peter  Send Email to Peter     
Good question.

The $10,000 price difference buys quite a bit of 2-stroke oil and service, a slip for a few years, or a top tier electronics package of your choice.

Verado still unproven by consumers and surely will have higher operating costs over its life.

Big block 2-strokes are not obsolete, only Merc and Yamaha big blocks will be obsolete unless they do something to bring them up to a 3-Star rating.

If heavy (650 lbs) high-horsepower outboards and 33-foot Express-style boats with outboard power (i.e., Grady 330 Express or Pursuit 33) become widely accepted, watch out for a BRP 2-stroke big-displacement true 300-HP (or more) 3-Star-rated Verado-killer.

jimh posted 08-22-2004 10:56 AM ET (US)     Profile for jimh  Send Email to jimh     
If noise is a real concern, you could always invest in a several sets of BOSE noise-canceling headsets. For about $300/pair, you can cut the noise to almost zero.
SteviLad posted 08-22-2004 09:56 PM ET (US)     Profile for SteviLad  Send Email to SteviLad     
I tend to agree with "TRAFFICLAWYER" that you will appreciate the quiet of the 4 stroke motor. I had a small Yamaha 4 stroke on my former Whaler, that was so quiet it was often difficult to tell if it was running when at the slip. Cruising & listening to music, & talking were easy.
I currently have a 150 Optimax on a Nantucket, & I think that the performance & fuel efficiency is awesome. What a great motor! ....except for the noise. Its so much louder (to me anyway) then the 4 strokes. Music & conversation are difficult when cruising at 4000 RPM's. I would probably opt for the 150 Yamaha 4 stroke if it were an option.
Maybe the Bose headphones aren't a bad idea. Thanks JIm!
JoeyP posted 08-24-2004 10:56 PM ET (US)     Profile for JoeyP  Send Email to JoeyP     
Have you ever been in the 26" Edgewater, especailly on a windy day?
im4bc posted 08-25-2004 12:38 AM ET (US)     Profile for im4bc  Send Email to im4bc     
JoeyP - Your comment does not pertain to our discusion here. I am looking to establish an informative and thought provoking dialoge. Not to receive random comments about an Edgewater boat from a dolt.
TG_190 posted 08-25-2004 11:06 AM ET (US)     Profile for TG_190  Send Email to TG_190     
I'll toss in a comment or two here.

The original question is very valid, and I feel the responses are fairly one-sided.

If noise were the only issue than it would be a complete no-brainer.

Some 2nd hand info on the Verado's (which can be confirmed or denied by people in the know):
- Gas octane requirements are for high octane gas either requiring a marina that carries super, or continual octane boost supplements.

- Many service bulletins coming on the verados. New engines will need the bugs worked out.

- 4-strokes are usually more efficient at trolling speeds, which may be a big factor, but usually isn't that significant.

- Saving money on 2-stroke oil is a bit of a fallacy, as the periodic oil/filter changes require service out of the water, which may offset the savings significantly.

- Fuel economy of the verado over the optis is not there.

-Re-sale may be better with the verado's IF they prove to be better over the long term. The jury will be out on this one for a while.

- The controls and guages w/ the Verados are better.

My conclusion/opinion is that I would stick w/ the optis if I had to buy it now. Re-sale be damned, the optis are one of the best, if not The Best, outboards currently on the market, and are now bullet proof. People know how to service them, they are very fuel efficient, have great performance over a very large (not as large as 4-s) RPM range, and are lighter.


TRAFFICLAWYER posted 08-25-2004 04:39 PM ET (US)     Profile for TRAFFICLAWYER    
Now I'll tell you what i REALLY would do if I REALLY wanted the 32' Outrage. I would find a dealer who would order it with a single optimax and have the dealer install a pair of Yamaha 250 4 strokers! At those bucks it's not a big problem and thats exactly what I did on my 255 Conquest.
dhlaw posted 08-25-2004 05:29 PM ET (US)     Profile for dhlaw  Send Email to dhlaw     
As somebody who races offshore powerboats and has a lot of experience with blower motors I would not be too excited about Verados!! You need to let somebody else work out the bugs before stepping to the plate and putting those on. Mercury has always let the customer do the R&D and addressed the issues through warranty......
sportroyalwulf posted 08-30-2004 01:27 PM ET (US)     Profile for sportroyalwulf  Send Email to sportroyalwulf     
A review
captbone posted 08-30-2004 11:29 PM ET (US)     Profile for captbone  Send Email to captbone     
I disagree that 4-strokes taking over. The line up of Evinrude should say that the 2 stroke-4 stroke war has just begun. Stay away from the Verado's for several reasons: price, new untested technology, lack of people to work on them, no gain in performance or fuel economy, and--the biggest reason--the future. And it goes away from the K.I.S.S. theory.

It is very uncertain where the outboard motor industry is heading (2-stroke's or 4-stroke's) in the next few years. If the past has taught us anything it is that very large or speciality outboards have a very short market run and change comes very fast. In 10-12 years, I will bet that it will be very very difficult to find parts for the Verado.

The past has shown us this with the 3.4 liter Mercury 250-300hp and the 3.6-4.0 liter v8 Evinrude/Johnson 250-300hp. Both of these motor were available up until 1997 and here it is not 8 years later and parts are difficult to come by for these engines (new parts are virtually nonexistant) and they still had a 12+ year production run.

The Verados price and speciality will keep it from reaching the production numbers of the 3.4 merc and V8 OMC. This has also been shown on the speciality motors with intergal steering and trim such as the OMC Seadrive and the force L Drive. Anyone how has looked to get a Seadrive trim section serviced know about this. If I am going to spend $18,000 on a motor, I would want to know that parts will be available for 15-20 years into the future. Merc is switching it performance motors over to Optimax's in the next year. I would go with the Optimax in a heart beat. I will admit, I am not a big merc fan and have never run the verado but it is just too specialized for the marine industry. Truly feel Verado will be like the Seadrives in the future. People are taking big hits on boats with the Seadrives when they try to sell them. Just my 2 cents.

jimh posted 08-31-2004 12:02 AM ET (US)     Profile for jimh  Send Email to jimh     
Interesting comments from CaptainB. It does look like in the post-2005 era that Mercury's bread and butter engine will be the Optimax.
JoeyP posted 09-01-2004 12:26 PM ET (US)     Profile for JoeyP  Send Email to JoeyP     
The Opti's are special order for the Edgewater boats.
LHG posted 09-01-2004 03:05 PM ET (US)     Profile for LHG    
If CaptB would have run a 27 Whaler or a new 320 Outrage with a pair of 275 Mercury Verados on it, I doubt if the above post would have ever been made.

What I can't understand is why the Japanese manufacturers are burning the midnight oil to get out their copies ASAP. All of their 4-strokes need a lot of displacement to achieve the HP.

Remember the Verado can get 300 HP out of the same displacement as the 150HP Yamaha/Hondas. How much HP can Verado technology produce when they (inevitably) increase the cubes to, say, 3 liters? 400

captbone posted 09-01-2004 06:25 PM ET (US)     Profile for captbone  Send Email to captbone     
The fact that they get so much H.P. out of such a small block is just another reason NOT to buy one. The life of the outboard can not be as long as that of a large displacement O/B. If it was then I am sure other companies would have done with decades ago. A perfect example is the 671 DD natural and a TIB Johnson and Towers 671, the life expectancy is 10 more with less powerful motor. The heat and stress takes it toll on the life of the motor. Look at the high performance mercs, they get 300hp out of a 2.5 liter but no one is running to put them on a 32 whaler.

I can honestly state that I would still have reservations about these motors even if they were the best running motors I have ever seen and even if they were built by yamaha. My concerns are, Life expectancy of the motor, able to find part, fuel needs, people to work on them, future value, no real gain in performance or fuel economy and too complex with the fly by wire (which I have run on optimaxes) and the intergrated steering and trim systems. These concern have nothing to do with having run the motor.

I feel that they did too much on one motor. They should have put out one systems upgrade at time and once they are time tested then intergrate them on too one motor. The verado is a great step in the right direction but it is too soon. I would not want to trust my crews life and mine to all this untested technology 120 miles offshore in rough weather. I am a firm believer in keep it simple.

LHG posted 09-01-2004 06:57 PM ET (US)     Profile for LHG    
But keeping it simple is no longer an option, thanks to the environmentalists. Both the DFI's and 4-strokes (ten times the moving parts of a 2-stroke) are a lot more complicated than the good old 2-strokes, and we now have no other choice.

And look at EFI systems. When Mercury brought these out in the mid-80's, everybody thought they were much too complicated, would be less reliable and more prone to trouble, when compared to carbs. But EFI has proven to be MORE reliable and better than any carburator.

And now, finally, the DFI's are proving to be excellent. So will the Verado

divefan posted 09-01-2004 07:12 PM ET (US)     Profile for divefan  Send Email to divefan     
LHG may have the right answer.

I test drove the 32 Outrage with the Verados at the Stuart rendezvous and it was killer. Now I do NOT profess to be any kind of expert on the subject matter at hand. So I will NOT attempt to delve into the issues which you all have already so admirably done. BUT, for just seat of the pants FUN! they were great. The only comparison I could fairly give was against the 225 Yamaha 4 strokes I had on my 2002 31' Contender. I loved them. They were great, but the Verados seemed better. It was like putting a Porsche on the water. Smooth, very quiet, with lotsa power. I will leave it to the experts to decide whether or not they are worth the cost or whether or not they will hold up in the long haul.

captbone posted 09-01-2004 07:23 PM ET (US)     Profile for captbone  Send Email to captbone     
I do agree that the verado is a step in the right direction and have said that since day one. That is not the point here, I would not buy one at this time, even if it is a good motor. They have had a few service updates already and are still in development and have growing pains. The past has proven this time and time again! In 10 years, if it is still around then I would have no problem but not now. EFI has proven to be more reliable but it took time same with the DFI. They have to be refined and it takes time. This has been shown in the past with every single system, with the Early EFI systems- mid 1980s Mercury 220 hp laser with all it problems, Early Fichts-1998-2000 150hp-175hp motors, Optimax motors 225hp in 2000-2002, and now with the 250-300hp HPDI yamahas that are driving alot of their owners nuts.

Also, I do agree that it is hard to keep it simple with the choices of Outboards these days but I will not make it more complex with the fly by wire and intergrated trim and steering. Not until the bugs are out and they are time tested.

handn posted 09-04-2004 12:14 PM ET (US)     Profile for handn  Send Email to handn     
The Whaler website showed optional engines for the 320 Outrage were still EFI 225 4-strokes (Yamaha engines hiding under Mercury cowling). If these engines are still an option, they would be the best choice particularly if access to good service is inconvenient.
Mine are lighter than than the Verados, are amazingly quiet, give good performance on 87 octane gas (often only fuel available). and have a very good reliability, service record.
im4bc posted 09-05-2004 09:41 PM ET (US)     Profile for im4bc  Send Email to im4bc     
The four strokes are a good choice if you dont care about smart craft guages or the new dts system. I would have a hard time living without the information these two systems provide.
rocket posted 05-23-2009 12:19 AM ET (US)     Profile for rocket  Send Email to rocket     
I would stay away from the 3 liter optimax block as I have had nothing but trouble with them on my 260 conquest for 7 years running. I am on my 4rth repower this week! That said, the Verados are also pretty new tech so they carry some associated risk just becuase they have not necessarily been shaken down "en mass" by tens of thousands of buyers yet and had a real chance to show how well they age. I also caution that they just announced a 22% improvement in fuel economy. The 2004 WHALER PUBLISHED OFFICIAL test data for the 275 conquest (same hull as my 2001 260) showed the Optimax had much better fuel economy than the Verado.

There ws a very good reason the Verado was quite abit worse on fuel economy. Reliability.

The Optimax 3 liter problems Merc encountered were HUGE to the point that the comany could not afford another screw up of that magnitude when launching their new 4 stroke Verados. So they chose to run rich to assure the cylinder temps were conducive to reliability at the expense of efficiency. Now that they have a few years under their belt they have decided to lean up the mix. Go look at the latest press releases on Merc's web site and you will see the 22% Verado fuel improvement was just in the last few weeks.

So, since the horsepower did not go down and the fuel economy went up the only conclusion you can draw is that the mix is leaner than before which means higher cylinder temps. Even if I am wrong about my tech reasoning, I am not wrong about the recent change. They did SOMETHING to get that fuel economy up. Do you want to be the first on your block to proof that out?

I think the older Verados will have a longer life in regards to the rings/cylinder interface because they used more fuel and therfore ran cooler cylinder temps.

My advice, pay for the controls as Whaler wil not sell the boat without at least the controls installed and you will be charged for it but do not put either Verado or Optimax on it. Go for the big 4 stroke Suzukis as long as you can find a dealer in your area who is convenient.

BMack posted 05-24-2009 09:41 AM ET (US)     Profile for BMack  Send Email to BMack     
Work for the best deal with Verados, sell Verados, and repower with Yamaha F250s or maybe Suzuki DF300s.
nydealer posted 05-24-2009 05:13 PM ET (US)     Profile for nydealer  Send Email to nydealer     
This is a 5 year old Topic.

My Guess is that im4bc has either decided to purchase or not.

duckear posted 05-25-2009 11:02 PM ET (US)     Profile for duckear  Send Email to duckear     
Well, it seems TRAFFICLAWYER was wrong about Merc wouldn't still be making th Optimax in three years........


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