2001 Ventura 210 OptiMax Engine Failure

Repair or modification of Boston Whaler boats, their engines, trailers, and gear
acg123
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2001 Ventura 210 OptiMax Engine Failure

Postby acg123 » Sun Jun 06, 2021 9:19 am

In 2019 bought my [third--please spell-out simple five letter words] Boston Whaler boat, a 2001 Ventura 210 with a 2001 Mercury OptiMax 225-HP engine.

The boat was barely used, having just over 400 hours on the engine. I've had it serviced at a Mercury dealer spring-and-fall since the (private party) purchase. Up until yesterday, it has been the most reliable boat and outboard combo I have owned. I'll also note it's the first motor I have not done any work to myself, other than flushing it with fresh water after any ocean boating.

In June 2021, after launching, the 2001 Mercury OptiMax 225-HP engine ran fine for five minutes, but, when I gave the engine more throttle, it died.

I was able to restart the 2001 Mercury OptiMax 225-HP engine and use it for just long enough to get back to the dock. Then later and after many tries, it would not start.

The fuel pump was working, the primer bulb was hard, and the battery and starter motor were strong. The 2001 Mercury OptiMax 225-HP enginet cranked and caught for a half-second, then died.

The fuel was the same fuel used on four prior boating trips, which was heavily treated with StaBil--as always.

I called the mechanic who does seasonal service for me--yes, he answered his mobile telephone on a Saturday--and he said to bring in the engine. He said the OptiMax engines are very complex, and the cause of the no-start problem could be anything from an air compressor to a fuel rail.

I'm concerned. that at some point, the cost of the repair is going to exceed the value of the engine. I'm not in a position to re-power, but recently I read Jim's post [see below] and watched the video from Quicksilver's re-manufactured Optimax power heads.

FOR READERS WHO HAVE BOUGHT A REMANUFACTURED OPTIMAX POWER HEAD: tell me about your experience.

I didn't see any estimated costs, but there are a lot of pro's from this process.

I like my two-stroke-power-cycle engine for its weigh, its power, and up until yesterday, its simple reliability. I also don't want to miss my entire summer with repairs, so the two-to-three hour labor estimate is attractive. I live in Maine, where our summer just started and will be over by Labor Day. We look forward spending as much time on the boat as we can.

FOR READERS WHO HAVE AN OPTIMAX ENGINE AND HAVE HAD REPAIRS TO THE AIR COMPRESSOR OR REPAIRS TO THE AIR OR FUEL INJECTION SYSTEMS: tell me about your experience.

FOR READERS WHO HAVE PURCHASED A QUICKSILVER REPLACEMENT POWERHEAD FOR THEIR OPTIMAX ENGINE: tell me about your experience.

Thanks for sharing experiences and advice.

Jefecinco
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Re: 2001 Ventura 210 OptiMax Engine Failure

Postby Jefecinco » Sun Jun 06, 2021 10:02 am

I believe it's too soon to consider a replacement powerhead. The solution to your engine problem could be as simple as a blown fuse or loose connection. I believe the air compressor is a common failure point on Optimax engines and is readily available and easily replaceable. I'm unfamiliar with the fuel rail so won't comment.

Re-powering is an option if you are lucky enough to find a new replacement engine. New engines are becoming almost impossible to find and demand high prices when available. I believe your best course of action will be to repair your existing engine.

You could also consider re-powering with a used engine but that is risky.
Butch

roundle1979
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Re: 2001 Ventura 210 OptiMax Engine Failure

Postby roundle1979 » Tue Jun 08, 2021 5:04 pm

Hate to speculate but suspect [the cause of the problem is] related to the air compressor.
2004 Nantucket 190 w/ Mercury Optimax 135

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Phil T
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Re: 2001 Ventura 210 OptiMax Engine Failure

Postby Phil T » Tue Jun 08, 2021 5:56 pm

OptiMax engines can last 4000 hours. Your engines shows problem associated with lack-of-use.

You need to find a mechanic who is more enthusiastic on troubleshooting.

Having a certified Opti mechanic go through the engine from top to bottom and make a list of items that need attention will be worth the cost for the inspection.

…cost of the repair is going to exceed the value of the engine


Outboard engines do not retain value after seven years. Disabuse yourself of this notion.
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Mambo Minnow
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Re: 2001 Ventura 210 OptiMax Engine Failure

Postby Mambo Minnow » Wed Jun 09, 2021 7:35 pm

I own same the hull and the same engine. Unfortunately, 2001 was the worst year for these Mercury OptiMax engines. If you search on the forum, you’ll get the details. I won’t repeat here.

Given the long wait on new engines, a repair is your best option to save the summer.

The Mercury OptiMax engines are very complex engines. The air compressor is a high failure part. In 2001 Mercury changed suppliers for injectors; check the injectors and the fuel rails carefully. The air and fuel pressures have tight tolerances to function properly.

Since you are in Maine and ethanolfree gas is not an option, check the vapor-separator tank (VST) and the high-pressure and low-pressure fuel pumps. They are susceptible to ethanol-induced damage over winter layup.

acg123
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Re: 2001 Ventura 210 OptiMax Engine Failure

Postby acg123 » Wed Jun 09, 2021 10:30 pm

These replies are very helpful. The marina (one of largest in the area) is a Boston Whalr and Mercury dealer, so I expect they have the expertise to diagnose and repair as needed. They have had th engine for three business days. I have not heard any updates. My hope is they get to look at it before the weekend so any needed parts can get ordered.

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Phil T
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Re: 2001 Ventura 210 OptiMax Engine Failure

Postby Phil T » Thu Jun 10, 2021 9:54 am

Given the last two years, I would not expect a quick turn-around. Yards are busier than normal with staff shortages and many short tempers.

It could be a few days, it could be a few weeks. Maybe longer.

You may find better service and turnaround with an independent shop that services Opti's
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dtmackey
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Re: 2001 Ventura 210 OptiMax Engine Failure

Postby dtmackey » Thu Jun 10, 2021 12:31 pm

Much of what's been said. 2001 was one of the worst years for Opti reliability and Merc settled a class action lawsuit against them over this and provided owners extended warranties and a host of upgrades/modifactions to improve reliability.

If the dealer (specifically the mechanic) has been around working on Mercs since 2000, he should be able to nail down the failure pretty quick. Personally, I'm leaning toward the compressor since they were a known weekness in the early Optis.

D-

jimh
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Re: 2001 Ventura 210 OptiMax Engine Failure

Postby jimh » Thu Jun 10, 2021 6:16 pm

acg123 wrote:...I read Jim's post...

When you refer to "Jim's post" the reference could be to any one of several thousand posts.

Were you referring to my article about the end of production of the OptiMax as I posted on Monday, March 15, 2021? Compare at:

https://continuouswave.com/forum/viewto ... 245#p36592

acg123
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Re: 2001 Ventura 210 OptiMax Engine Failure

Postby acg123 » Fri Jun 11, 2021 7:57 am

Here is a link to the post I referenced. I found it very insightful and interesting.

https://continuouswave.com/forum/viewto ... 275#p35275

acg123
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Re: 2001 Ventura 210 OptiMax Engine Failure

Postby acg123 » Wed Jun 16, 2021 10:34 pm

Update: it turns out two ignition coils were bad.

I picked up the boat [from the dealer and] immediately launched it at the nearby ramp. The engine Mercury OptiMax engine rad better than before it died. The OptiMax engine idled more smoothly, ran more smoothly, and I think [accelerated to a] higher top engine speed. The test was conducted with just me and my son in Portland harbor, so the true test will be with the whole family aboard this weekend.

I’m wondering if one or both bad coils were weak before they died. Considering I was thinking I’d need a new air compressor, fuel rail, or powerhead, this is very good news.

I appreciate all the forum replies. I read a ton on here, and rarely post, but it’s a great group of people with terrific knowledge, so thanks for you help.

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Phil T
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Re: 2001 Ventura 210 OptiMax Engine Failure

Postby Phil T » Wed Jun 16, 2021 10:49 pm

A--your news in good news. A Ventura 210 is a great model for Portland and Casco Bay-- a great hull for the slop and snotty conditions.

I will be in Portland next week for a week to visit family and friends and hope to be out on the water.
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acg123
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Re: 2001 Ventura 210 OptiMax Engine Failure

Postby acg123 » Thu Jun 17, 2021 10:01 am

While we tested it in Casco Bay, our regular boating is usually in Sebago, which frequently has bigger waves and rougher water than Casco Bay or Saco Bay, which we also frequent. The Ventura 210 is my [third--please spell out simple five letter words] Boston Whaler, and also my favorite.

roundle1979
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Re: 2001 Ventura 210 OptiMax Engine Failure

Postby roundle1979 » Thu Jun 17, 2021 10:54 am

acg123 wrote:Update...
That's great news.

Did [the dealer] change all coils and all plugs?
2004 Nantucket 190 w/ Mercury Optimax 135

acg123
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Re: 2001 Ventura 210 OptiMax Engine Failure

Postby acg123 » Sat Jun 19, 2021 2:03 pm

They replaced 2 bad coils. The repair bill did not include any spark plugs, possibly because they were replaced a month ago in the spring commissioning. At $150ea, I don’t see any reason to relate the other 4 good coils.