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ContinuousWave: Post-Classic Whalers
2000 18' Outrage (Accutrack Hull), 225-OptiMax
|Author||Topic: 2000 18' Outrage (Accutrack Hull), 225-OptiMax|
posted 12-01-2006 02:29 PM ET (US)
[This article was originally posted elsewhere, and many responses were perhaps based on the notion that the hull was a classic OUTRAGE 18, not the heavier Accutrack hull--jimh.]
I'm looking into the purchase a 2000 18' Outrage [Accutrack hull] with a 1999 225-HP Optimax. I'm going to do a sea trial in the near future and want to know if there is anything I should know about the 225 OptiMax. I will check the compression , is there anything else I should check?
posted 12-01-2006 03:44 PM ET (US)
Check your pants after you run this thing. Holly crap that thing must fly!
posted 12-01-2006 03:51 PM ET (US)
You should give the engine serial number to a Mercury dealer and have them give you the warranty history on that motor and also check for any updates that may have been required. If the updates were not performed, they should be, and due to the age, it would most likely be at your expense. If the engine is in proper condition, it should start easily, idle perfectly, accelerate cleanly and run smoothly right up to its RPM limit. With a little internet research, you will find that the early Optimax engines did have some [problems] and they contributed to a less than stellar reputation. However, I have several customers with similar 3.0 litre Optimax engines and they have been very reliable. Perhaps diligent annual service and a steady diet of good fuel and oil makes a difference.
P.S. A Merc dealer, or anyone with a [Mercury Digital Diagnostic Tool] can download the run-history on that engine, and you may find that useful.
posted 12-01-2006 03:55 PM ET (US)
Wow, think you ought to consider installing seat belts.
posted 12-01-2006 03:57 PM ET (US)
Oh I missed that it is a 2000, still should run at a pretty good clip. I think the Mercury OptiMax engines have a computer. Best would be to get it to a dealer and see if there is anything on the computer. Also a dealer could pull warranty records. I had that done on the Yamaha I just bought.
posted 12-01-2006 03:58 PM ET (US)
Damn sos, I just can't type fast enough. :-) -- Bud
posted 12-01-2006 04:27 PM ET (US)
I would love to hear how it runs out. I'm thinking of re-powering my 18-footer. You can't have to much power in my opinion.
posted 12-01-2006 06:38 PM ET (US)
before you say yes, call your insurance agent.
posted 12-01-2006 07:08 PM ET (US)
My buddy has a commercial 18 with a 200 Merc (carbed), I believe it goes over 55-MPH.
posted 12-01-2006 08:00 PM ET (US)
The pre- 2002 Optimax 3.0 L 225/200 had occasionally problems with the injectors. There has been a recall and modification by Mercury to replace all injectors free of charge. The new injectors should have a blue dot on them. Check if this has been done. Further more the Optimax is a fine engine; nothing is faster and lower on fuel consumption.
We have a member in WhalerClubEurope who has same model 18 Outrage with Optimax 200, and he is doing 52 KN on the GPS WOT with 19 Ballistic prop.
Great Boat and lots of fun. I can reccomand her.
posted 12-01-2006 08:06 PM ET (US)
Be sure to insist the OptiMax owner turn over the discount coupons on future Mercury purchases that they received as part of the settlement of a class-action lawsuit against Mercury. They should be worth several hundreds of dollars.
posted 12-01-2006 08:44 PM ET (US)
I don't think 1999 engines were included in the lawsuit. In 2000 the 3-liter engines underwent a major up date. Motors before the up date had very few problems.
posted 12-09-2006 12:29 AM ET (US)
I'm going on the sea trial on Monday and have a few more questions. I've had a 1989 Outrage 20 and a 1976 Montauk. This 18' Outrage is a 2000 [Accutrack hull], I know that it is a different hull design than the earlier ones, but I'm having trouble finding much information on the 2000 18' Outrage hull. How does this hull ride compared with the other Outrages? I've noticed that is is rated for a 200-HP (higher than the earlier 18s). Is it quite a bit heavier?
posted 12-09-2006 08:30 AM ET (US)
The 18 Outrage (Accutrack) hull weighs 2,500-lbs. The classic Boston Whaler OUTRAGE 18 hull was listed as weighing 1,250-lbs. The boat you are considering weighs about 1,250-lbs more than a classic OUTRAGE 18, or basically twice as much. This probably accounts for the increased horsepower rating of 200-HP compared to the 150-HP maximum on the classic Boston Whaler boat.
posted 12-09-2006 09:39 AM ET (US)
The model-year 1999 Mercury OptiMax outboard motor is right on the cusp of the introduction of the Mercury SmartCraft system.
According to http://www.mercurymarine.com/smartcraft_faqs :
""The SmartCraft line of products are applicable to all Mercury/Mariner OptiMax outboard engines starting with Model 2000....The SmartCraft line of products will not retrofit to any previous Mercury... engines."
It would appear that if your engine is a 1999 model, it likely does not have SmartCraft nor can it be retrofitted with SmartCraft. This probably means its engine controller is of an older style.
While there are many stories ("dock talk") about all engines and their overall performance and reliability, the best way to determine the condition of the engine you are considering is to inspect it and operate it. If the engine has been running well for seven years, this is probably a good indication that it is not going to just disintegrate the moment you buy it. On the other hand, if it runs poorly, coughs, sputters, fouls plugs, and so forth, it may take some investment to get it into tip-top condition.
In spite of the tendency for some enthusiasts to try to sweep a lot of dirt under the rug, it is no secret that the 3.0-liter OptiMax engine gave some owners fits. I have never seen a good comprehensive history of exactly what models and what years of production were prone to the worst problems, and so it is difficult to say with certainty if the particular engine you are looking at is going to be a gem or a lemon. At one time Mercury was in a mode where they went to rather extraordinary steps to repair or replace at their expense OptiMax motors which had failed, both under warranty and out of warranty. (At that time the warranty period was fairly short, perhaps only two years. The outboard engine industry had not yet been forced by competitor Suzuki and its revolutionary six-year warranty to offer longer warranty coverage on their products.) Thus you get a mixture of anecdotal reports either from owners who received one or even two free engine replacements and are reasonably satisfied, or owners who were not made whole for their losses and are still unsatisfied. And of course there are owners who never had a problem at all, and they're satisfied with the engine, too. That is probably the vast majority.
The owners who were among the group which was not satisfied engaged in a class-action lawsuit against Mercury. This group was only for certain years and models, so the engine which you are considering may not be among the class covered by the lawsuit. The lawsuit, probably about the most embarrassing thing that could happen to an engine manufacturer short of going into bankruptcy (or showing up 1.0-MPH slower in a bass boat speed test), was settled with Mercury providing the OptiMax owners with some coupons for a discount on future purchases of Mercury products. There certainly is some irony in that, if you think about it.
As for any improvements, modifications, or changes to the engine since 1999, I really cannot speak to that. I will tell you that there is a group of outboard engine enthusiasts who think that any time an outboard motor manufacturer provides an update--even a free update--to their previously manufactured products that this is perceived as proof of bad engineering, use of the customer as a beta-tester, and evidence of the engine being a "lemon." All of these accusations have been made against manufacturers who have made changes in the production of their motors since the initial introduction.
With that as a background, I am somewhat surprised to hear about all of the on-going changes that have occurred in the Mercury OptiMax. Hearing that substantial changes were made to the injectors--there are 12 of them in a V6 OptiMax, six for fuel and six for air--sounds like a big overhaul of the product. I mean, that is a whole lot more re-engineering than just having a slight change made in the stored fuel map in the engine's controller. There have been people who absolutely start howling with words like "lemon" and "beta-tester" when an engine gets a free update to its software that takes about five minutes to perform, so I can only imagine what words you would use to describe an engine that has to have its entire fuel system torn off and replaced--even if it is done completely at the expense of the manufacturer--and puts the boat our of service for a week or more.
But those halcyon days of completely free engine replacements are probably now behind us, and only a Pollyanna would expect that Mercury would provide such largess to the second owner of a 1999 product.
Manufacturing a complicated product like an outboard motor is a difficult thing, and the OptiMax motor has been a good example of this. Even though this is a two-stroke motor, which people often think of as being a simpler sort of device than a four-stroke, the Optimax has a lot of extra stuff bolted onto it that a classic two-stroke motor does not have. An OptiMax has an mechanical belt-driven air compressor to boost the air pressure. An OptiMax has an electric fuel pump to raise the fuel pressure. An OptiMax has high-pressure fuel rails to distribute the fuel to the injectors. When you remove the cowling, an OptiMax does not exactly look like your father's old outboard motor. Getting all of this to work just right must not have been an easy task, but Mercury has now done it. They have turned the OptiMax around, and this year the OptiMax gave Mercury its first-ever J. D. Power and Associates award for highest customer satisfaction.
Now, why am I telling you all of this? If I were an an ingenue about to buy my first outboard motor and asked a question about it, I'd hope to hear the whole story, not just the sanitized version. So that is the whole OptiMax story, the warts and all.
If you really like the Boston Whaler boat and the engine runs well, I would not worry too much about it. When you buy a used Boston Whaler you are really buying the boat, and the engine just comes along with it. You'd hope that the engine is a good one, but if you can look at the boat as the primary investment and let the engine only account for a small portion of the price, then you'll be safe. Any used outboard motor is a roll of the dice. The future running quality of a used motor is most dependent on the individual motor and its condition, even when the engine might have a reputation, good or bad.
posted 12-09-2006 09:48 AM ET (US)
The class action Optimax suit involved only 2000, 2001 and 2002 model years. See the settlement notice at www.mindspring.com/~micarnut/pdfs/opti_class_settle.pdf .
posted 12-09-2006 10:23 AM ET (US)
The changes made it mid-2000 were more than updating a few parts. I don't have the manuals anymore, so I don't have the serial number break where the change occured, but the manuals were broken down to above s/n xxxx and below s/n xxxx. The "component location diagrams" were even different.
posted 12-09-2006 06:19 PM ET (US)
Informative post jimh
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