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Author Topic:   190 NANTUCKET: Winterizing Optimax 135
kline posted 12-17-2004 10:04 AM ET (US)   Profile for kline   Send Email to kline  
I just got my 190 NANTUCKET back from the dealer. I had them winterize since it was a new rig this year. They charged me for a tune up as well as winterizing the Mercury Optimax 135-HP engine. They performed the 30-hour service back during the summer. Does anyone know anything about the reason and/or need for a tune up at this time of use (about 40 total hours on the motor)?
LHG posted 12-17-2004 03:14 PM ET (US)     Profile for LHG    
I think you fell for the ultimate dealer profit center, WINTERIZING. I have never understood this concept. Did they hand you the loose battery, and ask you to store inside for the winter months? I hope so, because, if you can't trickle charge, that's all you need to do, plus MAYBE put a little fogging oil in the cylinders.

I've owned Whalers for 36 years now, never once have I had my Whalers and the Mercury engines dealer "winterized". Most here would say my boats still look pretty good and run quite well. As for a "tune-up" at 40 hours, I think they saw you coming. Did you request it, or agree to it

homey posted 12-17-2004 06:40 PM ET (US)     Profile for homey  Send Email to homey     
LHG, I totally agree.
jimh posted 12-18-2004 07:09 AM ET (US)     Profile for jimh  Send Email to jimh     
In the past, the term "tune up" meant that a mechanic would make adjustments to the fuel/air mixtures and to the ignition timing of an engine in order to restore it to optimum settings as a result of wear or misadjustment of mechanical or electrical components in the engine.

The Mercury OptiMax engine is a direct-injection fuel/air injected two-stroke with an electronic control module (ECM) that regulates all engine function related to ignition timing and fuel supply. It is impossible for a service technician to make adjustments to (i.e., to "tune up") the engine's ignition timing or fuel flow amounts, as this is all locked into a table of values stored in the memory of the ECM. Control of these parameters determines the emission level of the engine, and this is now regulated by law. Therefore, in almost all cases, the manufacturer places adjustment of these parameters beyond the access of the owner or field technicians.

If the technician connects the Digital Diagnostic Terminal to the engine, the ECM can supply the technician with information about the engine, however, I do not believe it allows the technician to fundamentally alter any of the ignition timing or fuel flow parameters.

The term "tune up" is probably not a good description of what can be done these days to an engine like the OptiMax. The only components that are likely to need periodic replacement are the spark plugs and fuel filters.

Routine replacement of spark plugs used to be quite ordinary, and it was often done at 50 or 100 hour intervals. In modern automotive four-stroke engines, it is not unusual for spark plugs replacement intervals to stretch beyond five years of service. In two-stroke marine engines this is not the case, and spark plugs are still often changed at 50 or 100 hour intervals.

In the case of the Optimax, spark plug replacement is probably performed at 100 hour intervals if the engine is running well and shows no problems with plug fouling.

Changing the plugs requires some special procedure for indexing the plug in the cylinder (to orient the plug electrode in a particular relationship to the fuel injector), but this task can be performed by an owner. You should have a good torque wrench because the plug must be installed with a controlled amount of force applied. You may also need a few extra spark plugs, as due to the vagaries of plug manufacture, not every plug can be indexed in every cylinder.

The high cylinder temperatures and lean-burning charge which is employed in low-emission two-stroke engines has led to use of specialized spark plugs which can operate in these conditions without failure or fouling. These plugs are no longer a $3-item. It is not unusual for the actual retail price over-the-counter to be in the range of $20 per plug, and sometimes on a dealer service shop basis even higher. Many owners look for alternative sources for these plugs at better prices and replace them themselves to avoid these high costs.

Other potential components for "tune up" replacement would include any fuel line filters under the cowling. Typically any engine with fuel injection will have additional fuel filters that must be periodically changed, but the interval for replacement is probably recommended as at least 100 hours, unless there are signs of blockage. Normally the fuel system will have it primary filter located outside of the engine, and this filter will catch most of the impurities. It is not unusual for the internal fuel filter to go several seasons without replacement.

It would seem to me to be somewhat unusual to have to replace the spark plugs or the fuel filter on an engine at only 40 hours of use.

The rest of a "tune up" would consist of inspection and checking for wear of belts and other mechanical parts.

A very important part is the Throttle Position Indicator (TPI). This sensor informs the ECM of the throttle position. Any defect in this sensor will cause poor engine performance. Routine replacement, however, is not specified. This component would only be replaced when defective. It can be the source of much engine performance trouble.

The lubricating oil in the lower unit should be changed as part of "winterization". This is often done by owners themselves, as it is not particularly difficult to accomplish.

It is also a good idea to clean the engine and spray it with a protective coating to inhibit corrosion before long-term storage or lay-up.

jimh posted 12-18-2004 07:22 AM ET (US)     Profile for jimh  Send Email to jimh     
Another part of "winterization" or lay-up is use of a fogging oil. A fogging oil is a lubricant applied to coat internal engine surfaces with a protective oil to inhibit corrosion. In the past, it was common that the oil was introduced by spraying it into the air intake of the engine while it was running. The oil was then drawn into the engine and reached internal bearings and surfaces.

You should check the owner's manual with your OptiMax engine to see if this procedure is still recommended. Marine outboard engines vary in the technique for introducing fogging oil, if recommended at all.

Many time fogging oil is introduced by removing the spark plugs and spraying the oil directly into the cylinder. This may no longer be recommended as it might lead to premature fouling of the spark plugs. In the past, many owners delayed changing spark plugs until after an engine was returned to service from lay-up. In this way, the fogging oil would be burned off using the old spark plugs. Once the engine was back in service and running, the new plugs would be installed.

In the past, it was often recommended that the engine be run with the fuel supply disconnected until the engine stalled from fuel starvation. This was done to remove gasoline from the engine fuel system during the storage period. You should check your owner's manual to see if this recommended for your Optimax. (I don't believe it is.)

These are two other procedures that may have been performed as part of "winterization".

K Albus posted 12-18-2004 10:42 PM ET (US)     Profile for K Albus  Send Email to K Albus     
I have a 2002 135 Optimax on my 2002 Dauntless 180. The owner's manual includes the following (paraphrased) instructions for winterization:

1. Add the appropriate amounts of fuel stabilizer and Mercury Quickleen to any fuel remaining in the fuel tank.

2. Remove the water-separating fuel filter and discard.

3. Fill a new water-separating fuel filter with 2 teaspoons of fuel stabilizer and 2 teaspoons of Quickleen, and install the new fuel filter.

4. Prime the fuel system, start the motor and let it run for 10 minutes (with proper arrangements for cooling water).

5. Remove each spark plug, put one ounce of engine oil in each cylinder, rotate flywheel several times, and replace spark plugs. (The owner's manual says nothing about indexing the plugs - it only says to hand tighten them, and then turn them an additional quarter turn, or torque them down to 20 lb. ft.).

6. Drain and refill gear case lubricant.

7. Store in upright position to allow water to drain.

When I took my boat to the dealership this year to have it winterized and shrink-wrapped, I specifically inquired about fogging oil because I did not want to spend $120 replacing spark plugs in the spring. The service department employee I spoke with told me that with Optimax engines, rather than fogging the cylinders as they would with any other outboard, they would hook my motor up to some special fuel mixture and let it run for a while. The special fuel mixture would supposedly accomplish the same result as using fogging oil in a normal outboard.

Finally, the owner's manual maintenance schedule does include any recommendations for a periodic "tune-up".

dauntlass 18 posted 12-19-2004 07:28 AM ET (US)     Profile for dauntlass 18  Send Email to dauntlass 18     
I do what I am advised to do.I was told to put Stabil in the fuel tank and run the engine for fifteen mintues on a garden hose at idle.I was told fogging Optimax engines or putting oil in the cylinders would cause injector problems.I also spray under the engine hood with Mercury Corrsion Protection.This has worked with no problem at spring start up time for three seasons now.I do come from the school of fogging engines or putting oil in the cylinders at winter storage time and some time I think I should be fogging the engine.I also change the gear lube at mid season and at winter storage time.
jimh posted 12-19-2004 10:16 AM ET (US)     Profile for jimh  Send Email to jimh     
I am somewhat surprised at the recommendation from the factory to run the engine on a brew of gasoline and Quickleen just prior to storage. My understanding is that Quickleen is some type of solvent to clean up the fuel system and even deposits in the engine. It is a good product to add to the fuel system periodically when operating the motor. It is interesting they recommend it in the lay-up procedure. Factory advice is probably the best advice.

Regarding changing the spark plugs and no indexing required: that is also interesting. I thought I had read somewhere that indexing was recommended, but I, too, could not find any reference to it in the OptiMax service manual. (I have the model year 2000 manual for OptiMax 135/150/175). Maybe it is in a service bulletin.

Plug changing is recommended at the initial 100 hours, with inspection at 100 hour intervals after that, but owner reports often cite much shorter intervals between plug changes in actual service due to fouling. This is generally reported on OptiMax motors that are used for long periods of trolling.

If you do undertake the task of changing the plugs yourself, be very careful changing the plug associated with cylinder #6. Removal/installation of this plug is difficult due to interference from other components on the engine. This plug is the lowest plug on the port side of the powerhead. I have not changed one myself, but it looks like it would a bugger.

jimh posted 12-19-2004 01:42 PM ET (US)     Profile for jimh  Send Email to jimh     
From the OptiMax manual:
Every 100 Hours of Use or Once Yearly, Whichever Occurs First
1. Lubricate all lubrication points. Lubricate more frequently when used in salt water.
2. Replace spark plugs at first 100 hours or first year. After that, inspect spark plugs every 100 hours or once yearly. Replace spark plugs as needed.
3. Replace water separating fuel filter.
4. Replace compressor air intake filter.
5. Check corrosion control anodes. Check more frequently when used in salt water.
6. Drain and replace gear case lubricant.
7. Lubricate splines on the drive shaft and shift shaft.*
8. Check power trim fluid.
9. Inspect battery.
10. Check control cable adjustments.*
11. Check tightness of bolts, nuts, and other fasteners.
12. Replace water pump impeller (more often if overheating occurs or reduced water pressure is noted).*
* These items should be serviced by an authorized dealer.


K Albus posted 12-20-2004 08:48 AM ET (US)     Profile for K Albus  Send Email to K Albus     
My owner's manual says that Quickleen should be added everytime fuel is added to the tank. My dealership service department also showed me a service bulletin which recommends that you add fuel stabilizer everytime you add fuel.
Yiddil posted 12-20-2004 03:13 PM ET (US)     Profile for Yiddil  Send Email to Yiddil     
Winterizing ...Ive always had a Marina do mine UNTIL THIS first year with the nantucket "Das Boat" In the past I had the dMarina even haul her out(my other boat)etc.

This year I decided with some help from friends to learn and do it myself. I found it not difficult at all to add stabilizer to the fuel(and run it a bit)before hauling, Kamie and I puled our boats together, and Scott helped me with the mechanical things, which I might add, were not difficult once I was told what to do in which order...

My biggest problem was hauling all my stuff off that damn boat! Its amazing what you keep on her after a season:))

I did change the sparkplus as well, even though I had maybe 50 hours(guesstamate) on the 115-2, not a biggie, but I never pulled the Battery off her, was told to just disconnect the negitive wire and leave it...its a real pain in the nantucket to get out with a bad back, so I did that. I hear it wont make a bit of difference in the spring as I can charge her then...we will see...

Other than that, I washed her down, will touch up some spots with bottom paint in the spring and be in the water I hope buy 1 APril:))with a full tank of gas, freesh plus and a clean boat:)

lakeman posted 12-28-2004 03:15 PM ET (US)     Profile for lakeman  Send Email to lakeman     
I have a 2000 opti 135 and there is no indexing of the spark plugs, at least at this time, I changed my own plugs 50 plus hour ago with no plug probems. Changeing the lower two plugs is a chalenge, There could be a new indexing sevice update as mentioned above??????. The OMC Flict motors have to be indexed with a computer.
I was told that in north Florida, since the boat is not used much during the winter, or should I say most winters, just to add fuel conditioner and quick kleen to the gas and start the boat about every two weeks. I swithced to PRI-G a somewhat newer product for fuel preservation and carbon control with some other benifits. I hope it works. Famous last words.
AQUANUT posted 12-28-2004 10:43 PM ET (US)     Profile for AQUANUT  Send Email to AQUANUT     
typically..when an inboard or outboard efi ,dfi, or carbed engine is properly is common in my area to charge the customer for set of spark plugs...due to the fact that there is a probability/possibility of fouling from the "fogging oil" in spring during de-winterization it is easier to start the season out with a fresh set of plugs.
Most dealers I know ,as is with the one I work at, offers various degrees of winterization...primarily due to the time involved..and the parts...inboard/outboards obviously hight..involves pulling the sterndrives.

in view of todays poor quality fuels...its obvious why winterizing is important in colder climates..where the fuel can sit unused for periods of 3 months or more...this is almost verbatumn from yamaha..and agrreed upon by mercury..
honda does not elaborate on this subject.

bsmotril posted 01-02-2005 02:33 PM ET (US)     Profile for bsmotril  Send Email to bsmotril     
I have the factory service manual for a 98 135/150 Opti, and there is no mention made of indexing spark plugs. Maybe that is something only for the big blocks. BillS
cankiwi6 posted 09-09-2009 06:03 PM ET (US)     Profile for cankiwi6  Send Email to cankiwi6     
Do I have to removed those black bakelite looking covers to get access to the spark plugs ?
Mambo Minnow posted 09-10-2009 08:35 PM ET (US)     Profile for Mambo Minnow  Send Email to Mambo Minnow     
For the V-6 Opti block, you do have to remove the lower cowling halves to gain access to the bottom 2 of 6 plugs. As JimH alluded to in this thread, they are a real pain. You risk crossing/stripping the threads trying to wiggle a socket wrench to get at these plugs. I have had others recommend using a piece of garden hose over the plugs to help ensure they are threaded on properly aligned.

I hope they made it easier on the Verado!

JoeyP posted 09-10-2009 08:54 PM ET (US)     Profile for JoeyP  Send Email to JoeyP     
Yes, Its much easier on my 150 verado than it was on my old 200 Opti.
Marsh posted 09-10-2009 11:21 PM ET (US)     Profile for Marsh  Send Email to Marsh     
I just run mine 12 months a year...much easier than winterizing!


cankiwi6 posted 09-12-2009 10:19 PM ET (US)     Profile for cankiwi6  Send Email to cankiwi6     
Lucky you ! Water gets a little hard up here.
Here's a question tho... Why does a two stroke need to have the cylinder walls sprayed with lubricant either thru fogging or thru the spark plug holes when winterizing ?
Oil is injected along with fuel during normal operations isn't it ? Wouldn't that be sufficient ?

jimh posted 09-13-2009 12:41 AM ET (US)     Profile for jimh  Send Email to jimh     
Extra oil is used before an extended layup of the motor so that there will be a heavy coating on the components of the drive train. This helps to prevent rust and corrosion from forming.

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