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Author Topic:   OUTRAGE 21 Re-power: OptiMax 225 v. Verado 225
pat88 posted 01-23-2007 02:56 PM ET (US)   Profile for pat88   Send Email to pat88  
[I may buy] a two-year-old leftover Optimax 225 and would like to hear your comments. Last year my season ended with a blown powerhead on my Mercury 200-HP EFI. My boat is a 2000 Outrage 21. Both boat and motor are 2000 models. I started looking right away at the end of summer for re-power options. I looked at the new Evinrude, Honda, Yamaha, and Mercury motors, including the new Verado. A few boat dealers gave me prices, $19,000 to $22,000. High prices so I stop. After letting things sit a little, I started again with these winter shows

I just talked to a Mercury representative at one of the big boat shows. His recommendation to me was to go with the OptiMax. I talked about moving up to the 225-HP, and he assured me that the Optimax 225 had the best power-to-weight and fuel consumption on the market today. By the way, that whole conversation we had, we where standing next to a shinny new 225 Verado. His point was that the Verado was an excellent motor with the latest four-stroke technology, but not best choice for me. The Optimax is much lighter, higher performance, and lower cost to me to re-power with. I'd say he was steering me away from putting the Verado on my 21 footer. I asked about the noise difference? The answer, so what? From the specifications I have, about 7-dB less between the 4,000 and 5,000-RPM range.

I get the most use of my boat during those summer vacations. I almost always have a full boat, that's usually 6 to 10 passengers, most of them being kids between to ages 8 and 11. The boat gets a lot of hrs just joy riding, then there is the tubing, and skiing. Not the best use of a fishing machine like this, but I defiantly love those times I can sneak away with one or two to just fish. The boat travels a lot, we start in the Middle Chesapeake in the spring, then North Carolina for a few, up to Connecticut for a few more and then back to the Chesapeake until it is too cold for me to get anyone to joint me.

After talking with the Mercury representative at the show, the Optimax seems like the way to go. I got a quote from the Mercury dealer that had motors on display at the show. He has discounted leftovers, both 2005 and 2006 Optimax. The price difference on the Verado 225 including rigging was about $4,000. All of these prices are about $5,000 less then the boat dealers I talked to at the end of summer.

I like to hear your comments on purchasing motors that have been setting around for two years. Are there improvements in the 2006 or 2007 Optimax I should be considering?

Have fun,

jimh posted 01-24-2007 01:54 AM ET (US)     Profile for jimh  Send Email to jimh     
Mercury has dropped the model year designator on their products. This became effective in 2006, I believe. So there is no such thing as a "2006" motor from Mercury. They don't track them any more by model year.

The Mercury OptiMax motors have all been completely renewed and re-badged as OPTIMAX THE NEXT GENERATION (OTNG) or as OPTIMAX GEN 2 (G2). The most changes were made to the big V6 motor, and that is your 225-HP motor "leftover" model at the boat show.The OTNG or G2 motors have a diminutive logotype on the cowling that includes a globe; this is the distinguishing feature.

The implication I get from your description is the motor they are proposing is the prior model, that is, not the OTNG or G2 motor. So the "leftover" won't have any of the improvements in the OTNG or G2 motor.

I wrote a comprehensive summary of all the differences between the old and new OptiMax in

When you re-power and re-use all of the engine rigging, it is a big cost savings and a big time savings. If you go with another Mercury two-stroke motor you can probably bolt it on the transom and be back in business in a day.

There is not much argument to the performance of the OptiMax. It is a powerful motor. It gets decent fuel economy, on par with the four-strokes or perhaps better in some situations.

The fundamental beefs with the OptiMax (of the older generation) are the noise signature, the weight, the size, and the reliability. They are noisy, heavy, and big motors. The went through a period of poor reliability, but they evolved from that. They are now considered to be of good reliability. Do not forget that the OptiMax--a motor like this "leftover"--brought Mercury its ever first J. D. Power Customer Satisfaction Award for an outboard motor.

The Verado is quite an interesting alternative for you. The cost differential seems very modest. You can figure the rigging kit for a Verado is $2,700 extra, so if the differential between the motors is only $4,000, this implies that the dealer is only charging you about $1,300 more for the Verado and for all of the (very considerable) extra labor needed to install it. If price is not a deal breaker, let's look at the Verado.

The Verado is also a big, heavy motor, but it brings a lot more with it to make up for all of the size and weight. You will get digital throttle and shift (DTS). This alone is a $1,000 up-charge on an OptiMax, and the electronic DTS controls are much more expensive than conventional controls. (The controls are, I am assuming, included in your package price for the Verado.) DTS is very nice. It is much more convenient with twins than with a single, so it is not quite as much of a factor in this deal. But, hey, DTS is cool. It is worth something.

The Verado will also have power steering. If you added an after-market power-assisted hydraulic steering to your boat it would be at least a $1,000 upgrade. This come with the Verado. Again, it is a luxury on a single engine installation. But it is a nice luxury.

The Verado will be very significantly quieter than the OptiMax. In measurements by magazine testers the sound difference is simply HUGE. There is no comparison. Do not discard the sound factor. There is a big difference. The Verado is much quieter. Does this matter to you?

On gas mileage the Verado will be close to the OptiMax. You probably do not put enough hours on your boat to make a factor out of the real-world difference between the motors. I would say this factor is not influential.

On performance, the OptiMax may have more raw power, but again it is a bit "raw." The Verado will be more refined. The OptiMax might be faster, but the Verado will likely be smoother.

The cost of ownership will probably be higher with the Verado. It will need more oil changes and service. And you need a really strong dealer for the Verado. He must be specially qualified. The OptiMax will need less routine service (if all goes well) and more dealers can work on it.

Usually the money carries a lot of weight, so I am guessing you are leaning toward the OptiMax. And the dealer sure seems to want you to get one--he'd like to sell that "leftover" before spring. I'd be tempted to look closely at the Verado. Your hull is one of the few Whaler hulls that can handle that motor, and it is an intriguing choice to make.

dropanchor posted 01-24-2007 01:04 PM ET (US)     Profile for dropanchor  Send Email to dropanchor     
Spot on Jim! The only comment I would have to add is the Verado will provide better resale value of the boat.

Pat88 - Please see my posting in "Performance" titled "c.2001 Outrage, 250HP". It might help your decision making process.

jimh posted 01-24-2007 11:31 PM ET (US)     Profile for jimh  Send Email to jimh     
Good point on the resale. When you buy a two-year-old motor, the resale value is immediately lowered compared with buying a current-model motor. This especially affects the OptiMax because of the totally new generation just being introduced. You'd have the last of the old, not the first of the new.

Scott Grey posted 01-25-2007 12:00 AM ET (US)     Profile for Scott Grey  Send Email to Scott Grey     
I have a 150-HP Verado on my 190 outrage. I am very happy with the performance, but it is very different compared to the OptiMax. I would think if you were to spend that much money on a re-power that maybe the dealer could take you out on a test ride with a simular setup to what your looking for. You could see which one works the best for you. My dealer in Florida would. You have more oil changes with the Verado but no two-cycle oil to fill often and no smell. Oil change on Verado is every 100 hours or once a year, whichever comes first. Any way you choose, you will have a great motor. The DTS is worth every penny.
Peter posted 01-25-2007 09:22 AM ET (US)     Profile for Peter  Send Email to Peter     
I find the comment regarding resale value interesting as I have often seen that as justification for buying one motor over another. However, I think its a mistake to use that as a basis for selecting one motor over another, everything else being equal, because it relies on an assumption that different outboard motors have different rates of depreciation. I believe that all motors, barring any post product launch systemic catastrophic failures, depreciate at roughly the same rate. So the Verado will actually cost more in terms of a capital depreciation cost and opportunity cost than the Optimax.

Let's look at this a little closer. For example, if we say that the value of all outboard motors depreciate 5 percent per year, and if the Verado package cost $20,000 and the Optimax $16,000 then at the end of 3 years, the value of the Verado is $17,150 and the Optimax is $13,720 (boat value is a non factor as it is the same in both cases). Although the Verado resale value is higher at the end of 3 years, the depreciation cost of the Verado was higher $2,850 > $2,280. Also, when you throw in the fact that about $500 could have been earned on the $4,000+ not spent on the Verado over the three year time frame, the capital cost plus lost opportunity cost difference is over $1,000. So, even though the resale value of the Verado may be higher at the end of 3 years, the Verado buyer's wallet is over $1,000 lighter after 3 years, everything else being equal such as all operating costs being the same i.e., 2-stroke oil costs same as 4-stroke oil and filter parts and labor cost, valve jobs, inspections, etc.

So choosing one motor type over another based on a higher resale value outlook sometime in the future does not make any financial sense to me.

Also, when one buys a leftover motor, presumably they are buying the motor at a discount relative to a current motor, otherwise there is no good reason to buy a leftover motor.

sosmerc posted 01-25-2007 12:08 PM ET (US)     Profile for sosmerc  Send Email to sosmerc     
Great discussion here.
I would only add that DTS IS available on the 200 and 225 hp Optimax motors and should be strongly considered. It will add alot to the cost of rigging, but the added pleasure of use is priceless.
The latest 225 Optimax is supposed to be significantly quieter, and that may be worth the extra dollars as well.
Scott Grey posted 01-29-2007 11:28 PM ET (US)     Profile for Scott Grey  Send Email to Scott Grey     
I know the opti's use less oil than the standard 2-strokes, but what is the average use of 2 stroke oil in a opti? How many hours of run time on how many gallons of two stroke oil? What is the cost of this oil, especially the synthetic that's not supposed to smoke as much? This is where the verado is nice, no oil tanks to top off before you go and no 2-stroke smell. I have 14 hours on my new motor and haven't added a drop. My wife thinks its great because its quiet and doesn't smell like most 2-strokes. Also, you won't foul plugs from idling all day. I'm not sure down the road about the maintenance and reliability on the verado, but the extended warranty is 1 year longer on the verado than the opti. I think picking the motor is based on what you plan on doing with the boat. If it was me and the guys fishing all the time, I would get the opti (it is a little mor fuel effeciant). If your using it for the family, you owe it to yourself to check out the verado. The motor sells itself.
Jordi posted 01-30-2007 08:06 AM ET (US)     Profile for Jordi  Send Email to Jordi     
You own the Verado 150 so I assume you need information on the Opti 135/150 which are comparable engines. Do a search on the site and you will find a LOT of discussions regarding the virtues/pitfalls of Opti’s. The Opti 135 has a ratio of 50:1 (gas/oil) WOT and 100:1 at idle (APPROXIMATELY). Depending on how you run your engine will determine how much oil consumption you have. The 135 Opti has a three gallon oil reservoir which I fill with one gallon @ $30 (West Marine DFI opti oil) when needed. The Opti 135 does not foul plugs if you use the correct oil and use gas with Techron (Chevron gasoline) or Quickleen gas additive every 2/3 gas fills. You can troll all day long….many of us do….The Opti 135 has a long track record of reliability and fuel efficiency which many of us enjoy every weekend. Some prefer 2.5L V6 others will opt for the I4 cylinder supercharged. The Verado 150 is an excellent engine with many virtues although its reliability is unknown. “If you take care of the engine the engine will take care of you”.
Jordi posted 01-31-2007 08:00 AM ET (US)     Profile for Jordi  Send Email to Jordi     
An article worth reading for those debating the DFI vs. 4S

Scott Grey posted 01-31-2007 01:58 PM ET (US)     Profile for Scott Grey  Send Email to Scott Grey     
Jordi, I read the article you listed on the two strokes and four strokes. The article is very good but they compare a 2- stroke to a regular four stroke in acceleration (idle to plaining speed)which is probably quite accurate. A supercharged four stroke is a totally different motor. Adding a supercharger to any motor not only increases the horsepower, but increases engine acceration big time compaired to a standard four stroke. I bet that the supercharged four stroke is very close to the 2-stroke in acceleration, maybe even better.
Jordi posted 01-31-2007 04:48 PM ET (US)     Profile for Jordi  Send Email to Jordi     
The Boston Whaler site under performance has a chart comparing the different engine performance test for the 190 Outrage. Even taking the results as…. “Somewhat accurate”….. the performance difference in these engines does not seem to be very large. Enjoy your rig…and in time let us know the good, the bad, and the ugly….so we can all become better informed consumers.
Mambo Minnow posted 02-10-2007 11:14 AM ET (US)     Profile for Mambo Minnow    
I would have to agree with Scott on the "family friendliness" for lack of a better term, of the Verado.
I have a Conquest 21 with the Opti 200. I enjoy the performance and economy compared to the older Merc 200 Offshore two stroke, but cruising/WOT it's difficult to talk over the noise level.

Nice think is my hull is still sold as the Ventura and it is rated for Verados, so after a few years to observe reliability track, I think that will be my repower option.

One caution: How many Merc shops have trained their folks on the Verado? I would want to know I have a highly knowledgeable Verado mechanic nearby. A salty buddy of mine has been to training in Edgewater, but here in North FL where largemouth bass fishing is big, there are many more mechanics with years of experience working on Optis on bass boats. That's even true to some extent with the SKA crowd, as well.

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