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Author Topic:   Classic v Post-Classic Power - is 175 enough?
bkoelbel posted 05-04-2011 07:23 AM ET (US)   Profile for bkoelbel   Send Email to bkoelbel  
I am looking at a 1999 21' Outrage with a 175 Mercury EFI. If my research is correct, dry weight is 3000 pounds with a beam of 8' 3".

My 1986 20' Outrage has a dry weight of 1850, 7" 6" beam.

The 2004 Mercury Optimax 175 is excellent power on my '86 hull.

If the newer hull is wider and much neavier, 175-HP seems as if it could be under-powered. Any thoughts?

jimh posted 05-04-2011 08:12 AM ET (US)     Profile for jimh  Send Email to jimh     
I believe that that catalogue specifications for the OUTRAGE 21 in 1999 showed the HULL WEIGHT = 2,300-lbs. The BEAM was 8-foot 6-inches, and LENGTH was 20-feet 7-inches. My impression is the OUTRAGE 21 will be every bit of that 450-lbs heavier than your classic OUTRAGE 20.

The maximum horsepower was 250-HP, the minimum 135-HP, and the catalogue photographs showed the boat with a 175-HP. The Mercury 175-HP EFI engine of that epoch I believe to be a 2.5-liter V6, which has a terrific reputation as one of the best outboard engines ever.

I don't recall ever having a chance to be underway aboard an OUTRAGE like this 21-footer from 1999, but I have admired a few of them from both land and sea. I think it is a very nice boat, and I especially like the console design. When I have seen one of these boats on a trailer I was impressed at how big it looked--like a tank, really.

Robert V posted 05-04-2011 08:53 AM ET (US)     Profile for Robert V  Send Email to Robert V     
I believe, from what I have read, the standard engine for the boat was a 175 HP. There was an upgrade to 200 HP available for additional cost. Here is a snapshot that I found on the web that has the basic specifications:

21' Outrage

Click on image for full view

LOA: 20'9'' (6.33m)
Beam: 8'6'' (2.60m)
Draft: 15'' (0.38m)
Weight: 2500 lbs (1250 kgs)
Swamped Cap: 6000 lbs (2720 kgs)
Persons Cap: 11
Recommended Horsepower: 200
Standard Features
COCKPIT/DECK - Self-bailing cockpit with nonskid deck; Bow anchor locker with fiberglass cover and gas assist spring lift; Bow storage locker; Welded 316 stainless steel bow rail; Heavy-duty rub rail; Motorwell drains; 8" stainless steel cleat in anchor locker; Stainless steel bow chafe plate; Stainless steel cleats (2 bow, 2 spring line, 2 stern); Bow eye/bow lifting eye; Red striping and graphics
CONSOLE - Large electronics box with removable door; Flush-mount electronics face; Compass flat; Gauge panel; Stainless steel tilt steering wheel; Chart/electronics flat with hinged, removable see-through cover; 2 folding drink holders; Welded 316 stainless steel grab rail; 2 large storage access doors; Switch panel with circuit breakers
MECHANICAL - Navigation lights; 2 Battery boxes; Teleflex no-feedback cable steering; Battery switch; Saltwater washdown; Bilge pump
SEATING - 2 pedestal seats with footrest; Cushioned cooler seat mounted forward on the console
FISHING - 2 large, guttered fish boxes with through-hull drain, drain to sump or optional pump-out; 4 vertical rod holders forward of console with drains; 2 gunwale-mount rod holders; 4 under gunwale rod racks
Notable Options / Accessories
Welded 316 stainless steel cockpit side rail; Blue or green striping and graphics
SUPER LEANING POST - 30 gallon livewell with raw water fill; Bait prep area with cutting board and rigging storage bin under cutting board; Welded 316 stainless steel grab rail; 2 rod holders, 2 side storage bins, hinged top for access to additional storage
SEATING - Full width removable stern seat; Backrest for leaning post
FISHING - Pedestal leaning opst with bait prep area, cutting board and rigging storage bin; 2 additional gunnel mounted rod holders; Fishbox pump-out; Forward and/or aft coaming bolsters
FISHING PACKAGE#1 - Fishbox pump-out; Compass; Aft coaming pads; Console tackle drawer; Extra rod holders (2)
FISHING PACKAGE#2 - Super leaning post with livewell; Compass; Fishwell pump-out; Console tackle drawer; Extra rod holders (2); Super leaning post with livewell
COCKPIT/DECK - Bow cushion; Swim platform with folding ladder and grab rail; 15 gallon freshwater shower; Anchor roller
MECHANICAL - Compass; Dual engine ready; Mercury or OMC pre-rig; 30'' transom; Hydraulic trim tabs
COMFORT PACKAGE - Bow cushion; Cooler seat; Swim platform
CANVAS - Sun top with boot; T-top with electronics box; T-top weather curtain enclosure; T-top topgun outriggers, elbows and 15' poles

Moose posted 05-04-2011 09:11 AM ET (US)     Profile for Moose  Send Email to Moose     
Great boat.

As you already know, the specifications state a minimum horsepower of 135 and a maximum of 250. I'd find it hard to believe that anyone would've opted for the 135, but a 175 should do the job well. I've seen a handful of those 21's, I'd say the split between 200HP and 175HP was pretty even. The dealer I purchased my boat from almost had me in the same 21' with a 175 Optimax he had in inventory, he made it very interesting price-wise.

I believe the boat does tip the scales at the 3,000 lbs. you stated, not the lower figure stated. I have the smaller version of that boat, the 2000 18' Outrage, it weighs in at 2,500 lbs. Mine is a fat little spud, but there is very little chance my boat weighs more than the 21'. The 150 Optimax does a good job on the 18'. If I own it long enough to re-power it I'd likely go with another 150. outrage21.html

Phil T posted 05-04-2011 12:32 PM ET (US)     Profile for Phil T  Send Email to Phil T     

While i think it will perform adequately, given the heft weight of the post classic models, I would proffer you will be disappointed in it's acceleration and WOT performance given the boat/motor you currently have.

I would suggest a 225-250hp motor would be more to your liking.

SJUAE posted 05-04-2011 01:53 PM ET (US)     Profile for SJUAE  Send Email to SJUAE     

I have the Outrage 210 2006 fully fitted extras bar fresh water plus a 9,9 Kicker which is very similar to the 1999 20' outrage but with the newer deck layout although I do prefer the older ones like the 1999 with the head and different bow locker arrangement.

I would say the 175HP would be the min I have the 200HP ETEC which is great and the 225HP would just be a nice to have

If you are lightly loaded and no T-Top then OK.

With the 175 fully loaded with fuel and options plus 2 persons expect just under 40mph at WOT and 24-26mph at 3600-3800 cruise add another 2-4mph with the 200hp and 4-8mph with the 225hp.

Dont even contemplate a four blade prop with a 175 if you were considering an economy option as the pitch size would be a massive drop over the 3 blade 17 or 19" pitch to maintain optimum revs at WOT. These are heavy boats with a good V shaped hull


bkoelbel posted 05-05-2011 07:46 AM ET (US)     Profile for bkoelbel  Send Email to bkoelbel     
Thanks to all for the GREAT feedback Test cruise on Friday. Will advise outcome.

How did we do this prior to Continuous Wave? ESPN SportsCenter and CW: can we remember life without them?

bkoelbel posted 05-09-2011 02:55 PM ET (US)     Profile for bkoelbel  Send Email to bkoelbel     
Unable to sea trial last Friday....yard was quite behind....but aesthetically and structurally....she seems flawless.

The extra foot of beam and the higher freeboard make this 21' a 'lot of boat' vs. my old 1986 20'.

Seats and console also seem to be much higher...should be interesting to see how she handles.

Thanks again for the feedback!

bkoelbel posted 05-16-2011 03:20 PM ET (US)     Profile for bkoelbel  Send Email to bkoelbel     
Gents - appreciate some more feedback as I got more detail from the broker.

The existing power is a 1999 175 EFI with 225 original hours....and according to one dealer.....the '99 EFI vs. an Optimax is probably 40% - 50% less fuel efficient.

The broker for the boat said "maybe 20% less efficient, but no more than that..."

Apparently the local yard in CT added a "Brucato ECM, a Mercury engine upgrade piece that allows for more fuel control in the engine and better fuel economy"

Anyone ever heard of the Brucato ECM?

Appreciate your thoughts......please advise!

phatwhaler posted 05-16-2011 10:07 PM ET (US)     Profile for phatwhaler  Send Email to phatwhaler     
I think that boat needs 3 liter power. A 225 Opti for instance. A 175 will plane the boat, however it would be a bit of a dog. This is by modern standards of course. I think your looking at a low 40s (mph) with the 175. I also agree that over the course of a day of boating the Opti would burn 30-40% less gas.

The Brucato ECM was probably bought to either optimize the power, or replace a faulty EFI computer with a cheaper part.

If I'm not mistaken the 1999 21 Outrage was a one hit wonder, only offered for one year. If it was me I would look around for a 1994-1998 vintage 21 which is nicer looking boat, with lots of deck space, and ability to handle these newer heavy four stroke motors.


Moose posted 05-17-2011 01:07 PM ET (US)     Profile for Moose  Send Email to Moose     
This model 21 Outrage was offered for three years, as a 1999, 2000 and 2001 according to the product catalogs I have. It was replaced by the 210 in 2002. The hull continued on in production with the 21 Ventura for about 10 additional years.

I could be wrong... but... as far as being able to handle a heavier outboard, I'd be surprised to see confirmation that there is another 21 foot (recreational) Boston Whaler that could exceed this model. Unfortunately the catalogs in my possession only include maximum engine weights for the 14, 16 & 18 Dauntless and the 16 & 18 Ventura.

225 hours? Wow, someone using their boat less than me!

Good luck.

bkoelbel posted 05-25-2011 11:01 AM ET (US)     Profile for bkoelbel  Send Email to bkoelbel     
Gents - did the sea trial......fabulous boat....immaculate......perfect Boston Harbor / Cape boat.

The Merc 175 EFI on a 3000 lb dryweight hull did seem a bit sluggish at times.....but I guess I'm just used to flying with my 175 Optimax on a 1850 dryweight hull. only debate is....will I be happy with 6 cylinder performance when I'm used to 8 cylinder?!?!?!?!?!

Anyone else stare down this conundrum?

bkoelbel posted 05-25-2011 11:41 AM ET (US)     Profile for bkoelbel  Send Email to bkoelbel     
..."6 cylinder performance when I'm used to 8 cylinder?!?!?!?!?!"

Car reference here.....not a Mercury Outboard reference ;-)

L H G posted 05-25-2011 05:46 PM ET (US)     Profile for L H G    
The boat is underpowered, and I don't ever think it's a good deal to buy a used boat that is underpowered. You will always be unhappy, but stuck with your purchase decision, and forced to run at much higher RPM. The only way I would buy it to budget into the real purchase price the additional cost of trading out the 175 for a 225 or 250. When you look at that, the boat may no be much of a deal at all, and there may be other, better, options on the market at the higher price.

A classic 25 Outrage, a much more efficient hull, only weighs 300# more, but needs a pair of 150's to perform properly.

That particular model run of a 21 Outrage is not much in demand, hardly one of Whaler's best designs, and may be ever harder to sell. Whaler's own 3 year model run of the boat alone is revealing. If you can't afford to drop a 250 Optimax on it, and then own the boat long term, I would take a pass.

bkoelbel posted 05-25-2011 08:17 PM ET (US)     Profile for bkoelbel  Send Email to bkoelbel     
Sage advice as always Larry.....any rough number I might use as a 'swap out amount' for a 225?
L H G posted 05-25-2011 11:40 PM ET (US)     Profile for L H G    
Well, assuming the low hour 175EFI might bring 4K on a craigslist sale, the best price I have seen on a 225 Optimax (at is 13.1K, with labor it's probably looking like a 10K swap out. You might be able to find a good used 225 Opti, but I would not go older than 2004.
bkoelbel posted 05-26-2011 04:56 PM ET (US)     Profile for bkoelbel  Send Email to bkoelbel     
LHG - as ever.....your insights are terrific.

I decided to pass on the 1999 21' Outrage with the 175 EFI.

As fate would have it....after reading your post....a brand new to market 2001 21' Outrage w 225 Optimax / 200 hours appeared on it this morning just after the shrink wrap came off...under deposit, sale pending sea trial next Thursday.

Much better 'value' with the low hours 225 Opti...and you're 100% correct, I would have regretted the 'underpowered' decision.

Muchas Gracias!

Moose posted 05-26-2011 07:49 PM ET (US)     Profile for Moose  Send Email to Moose     
Nice. The extra HP, same low hours, the Optimax efficiency and the same model. Good deal.
boatdryver posted 05-26-2011 08:24 PM ET (US)     Profile for boatdryver  Send Email to boatdryver     
Not to rain on your parade, but LHG gave some additional sage advice on 6 cylinder Optimax's in his last post:

"You might be able to find a good used 225 Opti, but I would not go older than 2004."

I passed on a 2001 230 Dauntless with a low hour 225 Optimax on it. I was going to trade the motor in on a Honda 225 but my Mercury/Whaler dealer wouldn't give a cent for the 2001 Optimax for trade in, saying he'd never be able to sell it.

I am kind of sorry to post this info since you are so excited about your find.


bkoelbel posted 05-27-2011 08:28 AM ET (US)     Profile for bkoelbel  Send Email to bkoelbel     
Hmmmmm......bought my current 175 Opti new in 2004.

We're there significant problems with prior years?

boatdryver posted 05-27-2011 10:45 AM ET (US)     Profile for boatdryver  Send Email to boatdryver     

try a search on CW. ( this section gets less traffic than the GAM, Performance, etc. )

I'm surprised some of the veterans haven't picked up on this. I'm not an expert on the problems with the early Optis (circa 1998-2000) and when they were worked out by Mercury.

You might post the question in a new thread in GAM

Or you might email sosmerc who is a professional Mercury Tech.

good luck with your decision.


Moose posted 05-27-2011 10:47 AM ET (US)     Profile for Moose  Send Email to Moose     
You'll hear some anecdotal, at best, stories on the problems from the early years, 2000 and older (mostly older) is what I've always heard.

I've got a 2000 150 Optimax that had, in hindsight, a few relatively minor problems early on, never stranded, no explosions. The first couple of summers I had a few over heating and alarm problems, repaired after a couple of visits to the selling dealer. I had years of problem free operation since. The only recent trouble was in late 2008 and early 2009 some sensor incorrectly reported a low oil level, a few dealer visits and bucks later all was fine.... knock wood...

I'm a follower of the school of thought that the problem Optimax engines have all had their troubles and are either long gone or properly repaired. The ones that had serious failures had them fairly early in their use, I'm not aware of any evidence of those type of early era problems taking place with 10 year old engines with plenty of hours on them. Make sure you get all the service records from the seller, see what kind of history that engine has had.

bkoelbel posted 05-31-2011 06:51 PM ET (US)     Profile for bkoelbel  Send Email to bkoelbel     
Great feedback all....certainly good 'data points' for decisions. Seems to run the gamut from great to gruesome.

Hoping to sea trial on Friday....but in the interim....

1. Is there a list of 'serial numbers' that can highlight potential trouble?

2. Does anyone know of a certified Mercury mechanic in Southwestern CT who might conduct an independent assessment, knowing 'what to look for?'


L H G posted 06-01-2011 03:22 PM ET (US)     Profile for L H G    
2001 was a nighmare year for the Mercury 3.0 liter Optimax engines, so bad that I would not buy one. I have forgotten all of the details, but I remember talk of many #6 cylinder failures relating to fuel rails. Mercury stood behind all of these problems and replaced many blocks and whole powerheads.

I would DEFINITELY check the warranty history on the engine YOURSELF, or through a dealer and Mercury mechanics you can trust. If there is no history and no warranty work upgrades, I would not buy it, even though it may be one of the good, trouble free ones, because non-warranted trouble could be ahead. If it already has a new powerhead and other recall upgrades, it will be modernized and should be OK, but check the dates that work was done.

By 2003, Mercury declared the 3.0 liter Optimax problems figured out and fixed, although I think there were a few scattered lingering problems in 2003 models. Hence my recommendation to stay with 2004 or later.

None of this relates to the 2.5 liter blocks.

bkoelbel posted 06-02-2011 06:25 PM ET (US)     Profile for bkoelbel  Send Email to bkoelbel     
LHG - thanks so much.

For the moment, let's assume this engine has had no warranty/recall work done...and no problems.

If I were to buy the boat....can you estimate what my 'worst case' repair bill might be if #6 cylinder problems arose in this 225 Optimax?

boatdryver posted 06-02-2011 07:23 PM ET (US)     Profile for boatdryver  Send Email to boatdryver
jimh posted 06-05-2011 09:37 PM ET (US)     Profile for jimh  Send Email to jimh     
An engine made in 2001 is ten years old. If the engine runs well now, and it has been running for ten years, I don't think it is just going to stop in the next week or two. Even at the worst case for engines with really bad reputations, perhaps the failure rate might have been 20-percent. Than means that 80-percent of the engines did not have problems. If a particular engine has not shown a problem in ten years, it will probably run for a few more years.
Peter posted 06-06-2011 10:16 AM ET (US)     Profile for Peter  Send Email to Peter     
Do a google search on "Optimax air compressor failure". In purchasing a used Optimax of any year, its a good idea to have someone knowledgeable check the condition of the air compressor and to determine whether the filters have been maintained.
bkoelbel posted 06-13-2011 11:07 AM ET (US)     Profile for bkoelbel  Send Email to bkoelbel     
Many thanks to all....the sea trial on the 2001 21' Outrage w the 225 Optimax was excellent.

Private 'audit' of the computer showed low hours, high maintenance, and limited time in the 4500+ rpm range.

Fuel rails had been replaced in 2001....all warranty work complete...cylinder compression strong and consistent, with special attention paid to cylinder #6.

Performance with the 225 vs. the other 175 was simply night and day....and LHG, you were correct, I would have regretted the decision on the 175 - clearly underpowered.

So, we'll welcome the new addition "back home" to Boston Harbor from CT later in the month!

Greatly appreciate all your input......and again, how on earth did people buy used boats prior to the Internet....especially Continuous Wave! What an incredible resource!

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