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Author Topic:   Any "known" issues with the 2000 150hp Optimax?
Cole posted 03-20-2003 12:56 AM ET (US)   Profile for Cole   Send Email to Cole  
I know these motors had "problems" when they were first brought to market. Were most of these issues dealt with by the model year 2000 or is there reason to avoid a new 2000 motor?

Thank you for your input


bsmotril posted 03-20-2003 10:19 AM ET (US)     Profile for bsmotril  Send Email to bsmotril     
The OPTI problems were pretty much with the Big block 200/225 hp motors. The 125/150 small blocks have been pretty solid. In 98-99 they had some upgrades to replace tha alternator bracket, update the software, and add check valves to the oil system. But reliability wise, the 135s and 150s have had a good reputation. I would have the dealer service department check the version of the software and make certain it is the most current version and that the motor has received any applicable tech updates. The updates I mentioned above were all in 98-99, so a 2000 motor likley has them already.
bsmotril posted 03-20-2003 10:20 AM ET (US)     Profile for bsmotril  Send Email to bsmotril     
Oops...should have said 135/150 Optis, not 125/150s.
Cole posted 03-20-2003 11:34 AM ET (US)     Profile for Cole  Send Email to Cole     
thanks for the insight
TRAFFICLAWYER posted 03-20-2003 01:27 PM ET (US)     Profile for TRAFFICLAWYER    
'Pretty Solid'

RIGHT, mine [135 opti] was a solid *&yT^[expletive deleted].

BillD posted 03-25-2003 09:19 AM ET (US)     Profile for BillD  Send Email to BillD     

I have the 2000 150hp Optimax (saltwater series if it matters) on my 2000 18' Outrage. While I have only had the boat for 1 year we experianced no problems and the previous owner (who I would buy another boat from) also had flawless performance.

The prior owner did mention that there was a recall on the chip that in 2001 and the chip was replaced when he had it in for service, but he had noticed no performance issues either before or after the replacement. Because the chip records operating information (hours, time at various RPMs, etc.) what the chip replacement really did was cause this information to be lost for the first 70 hours put on the engine.

That being said I would not avoid a 2000 motor at all. I would have it serviced completly if for no other reason than to make sure there are no service updates / recalls and to get a print out of the engine history from the chip so you know where you are starting from.

Ed Stone posted 03-30-2003 11:12 PM ET (US)     Profile for Ed Stone  Send Email to Ed Stone     
I have two 135 Opti's with 400 hours.
They are the also 2000 year models.
I have had one motor over heat and cause
the alarm to sound.(temp.173)
Both motors still run great!
Ed Stone
Clark Roberts posted 03-31-2003 08:01 AM ET (US)     Profile for Clark Roberts  Send Email to Clark Roberts     
I ran a 135 Opti (2000) for 2 1/2 years on a 21 Revenge and not one problem! Great performance (45mph at WOT) and economy (approx 5 mpg at 28mph cruise).
John from Madison CT posted 03-31-2003 08:05 AM ET (US)     Profile for John from Madison CT  Send Email to John from Madison CT     
Please allow me to ask a question regarding the choice of a new outboard for your pride and joy, your boat.

I see here and on other boards people asking if they know if a specific model year and Horsepower and how that motor is overall. Recalls, upgrades, fixes, etc etc.

If the technology of the motor has fundamental flaws that need many new upgrades or changes to get them right, I personally would stay far away from it. It's not like there isn't a choice, but you are dealing with technology that was being fixed "on the go" by the manufacturer. I'm not talking about little fixes, but in the case of Opti's and Fichts, the fixed where ass backward hurried repairs/upgrades to keep the technology afloat.

When someone says, "oh the '99 150hp Opti's where good" but we all know that the 200hp's were disasters,then you can read between the lines. Don't hunt for a model year or horsepower rating within a quagmire of bad technology. If you are going to keep the boat for many years, you are, in my opinion, playing Russian Roulette. If you will resell the boat, then the prospective buyers are going to wonder and fret over exactly what you are trying to determine about this model year.

Why not find a boat with an engine with Proven successful technology ? You will enjoy your boat many times over.

Do a search on the internet for real and numerous Optimax nightmare stories. I am not talking about a couple of cases someone will ultimately use on a successful motor to discredit them. I am speaking of hundreds of problems that ruined many a season.

You can start with that of Jurisprudenze right here on our site. But don't stop there.

Personally I like:

Suzuki EFI and Carb.
Johnson Carb.
Merc: EFI and Carb.
Yamaha EFI, DFI and Carb.

John from Madison

kglinz posted 03-31-2003 11:10 AM ET (US)     Profile for kglinz  Send Email to kglinz     
Well said
bsmotril posted 03-31-2003 01:20 PM ET (US)     Profile for bsmotril  Send Email to bsmotril     
And some of us like High technology, HDTV, 2.5Ghz processors, DVD burners, 6 megapixel digital cameras, HSB radars, along with our DFI ourboards. We don't mind being early adopters of technology because we deal with it day in and day out. For us, product improvements and upgrades go with the turf. Luckily, in this country, there are enough products to keep the early adopters and commodity implementers both happy.
John from Madison CT posted 04-01-2003 07:07 AM ET (US)     Profile for John from Madison CT  Send Email to John from Madison CT     

The Optimax and Ficht engineers like people who don't mind being their market based R&D dept..

I find their release of this technology to the market to be inexcuseably unprofessional. Using "John Q Public" to be the Guinea Pigs for them is something that should not be acceptable.

If we were talking about minor glitches or small recalls things that is one thing, but to release technology that was so fundamentally flawed, then spending years screwing people as they try to work it out is simply wrong.

I find the boating public to be very unforgiving about things like this. Personally, if I was an '97-'01 Ficht owner or a '98-'01 Optimax owner, it would be fresh in my head.

John from Madison CT

bsmotril posted 04-01-2003 09:42 AM ET (US)     Profile for bsmotril  Send Email to bsmotril     
This thread started out referring to 150 Opti's, and that is where my answers were directed. I do not own a FICHT, I do not own a big block Opti. I own a pair of 135's which is the same platform as the 150, 175, and short lived V6 115 Opti. I have had zilch, zero, nada problems with my motors and have gladly accepted from the manufacturer:
1) New software which improved the throttle response in midrange and off idle
2) check valves in the oiling lines to make the motor more environmentally friendly
3) An improved alternator bracket for who knows what reason.
You expanded the scope of this dicussion using a broader context of all dfi motors and bringing in other manufacturers to defend your position, which seems to be more about quality control than it does about small block merc optis.
jimh posted 04-01-2003 01:56 PM ET (US)     Profile for jimh  Send Email to jimh     
One factor that is often overlooked in some of these accounts of engine failure: in one case the engine(s) were bought used, and the boat they had been on was part of a rental fleet. Precisely how they had been used is not known.

This reminds me of a great story from auto racing. A team was entering a Shelby AC Cobra in a 24-hour endurance race (Sebring?). They smashed up their car just a day or so before the race. At that time a car rental agency had the classic Cobra in its rental fleet. The racers rented a new Cobra for the weekend, disconnected the speedometer cable, and ran it for 24-hours in the race!

I would not be surprised to hear that that particular car in that rental fleet might have had more problems with its engine down the road than most of the others.

bsmotril posted 04-01-2003 04:44 PM ET (US)     Profile for bsmotril  Send Email to bsmotril     
One nice thing about the Opti series of engines is that you can attach a terminal and dump the computer log. It will tell you the total run time hours, plus the runtime in hours for each 1000 rpm range. It will tell you the number of times the engine bumped the rev limiter. It will tell you the number of times the engine received an overheat, oil, or check engine fault. With that capability, I would much rather by a used Opti with data dump in hand than a carb'd engine with unknown operational history.
jimh posted 04-01-2003 10:45 PM ET (US)     Profile for jimh  Send Email to jimh     
The present day standard for mechanical devices that are sold to the public is literally no-defects. Even as the devices become more complex than ever before, the standard to which the buying public holds them has been raised to a point where literally any problem or failure is intolerable. When a failed component is replaced for free under warranty or extended warranty, or field upgrade kits are provided for free to improve performance, some buyers are still not happy. They want perfection right from the start. Nothing else is good enough!

In the case of outboards, a charge is often heard that the manufacturers are negligent and are intentionally shipping untested products in order to let an unsuspecting buyer become the final quality control checker.

The level of quality in manufacturing in some industries now does approach perfection. It is very normal for a automobile engine to run 150,000 miles with no major repairs or failures. This was unheard of in the 1970's.

In manufacturing a complex product, it is difficult to keep the quality at such high levels. Recently an automotive company began to see a trend of failures in the field in one of their cars. After much investigation, the problem was traced to the assembly line, where the installation of a single particular bolt was being done with too much torque. This was the cause of the failures in the field a few months later!

And don't forget that in many cases the motivating factor for the complex and expensive re-design of the outboard engine has been to satisfy the requirements of pollution emissions in one particular state in the union who arbitrarily imposed a schedule of deadlines and emission levels.

John from Madison CT posted 04-02-2003 06:39 AM ET (US)     Profile for John from Madison CT  Send Email to John from Madison CT     
Jim: You are correct, the bar has been raised and very high I'm afraid.

Just like with the Automotive industry, the Japanese are the culprits of making higher quality products of both old and new technology.

Yamaha's release of new V6 EFI technology in '97, V6 DFI in '02 and V6 4 stroke in '02 was without the plethora of problems experienced by Merc and Evinrude. This pains me to see, as I always want to "buy American" but to me America always used this motto with quality on their side.

I'm afraid this has changed and "buy American" stands alone as a motto with no real strong reason other than, it's just good to do. This may sound crazy, but since we once made the highest quality products in the world and were proud of it, I think it's more American to buy any product of quality, than just blind loyalty to the country.

It took a good case of "ass whooping" in the 80's to raise our quality standards closer to that of our Japanese counter parts.

We still are behind them, and the data from various manufacturing fields proves this to be painfully true.

In the late 80's and early 90's we began to wonder how it is that they made products better than us, so we employed the management tools of the Japanese, who learned it from two American's, W. Edwards Deming and JM Juran.

As far as Outboards are concerned, I think you all know where I stand. When Merc gave up the V6 4 Stroke race and succummed to buying Yamaha powerheads, it pained me. Merc has a huge R&D department and many decades of experience on their side, yet they still lost. Why? It's probably a long story.

John from Madison, CT

jimh posted 04-02-2003 09:22 AM ET (US)     Profile for jimh  Send Email to jimh     
I don't have any hard statistical data on whose outboard has had field failures, but in general the popular wisdom is that Mercury and OMC have had the most.

At least in the case of Mercury, you could attribute a higher number of failures reported to the fact that they are the market leader and thus deliver more engines that might fail.

On-line stories of other brand failures are rare, but they are there. Honda has been mentioned, but of course not as often as Mercury. This is reasonable because the volume of Honda engines being sold is much lower that that of Mercury, perhaps only a tenth the volume.

I don't think I have heard of a Tohatsu engine going bad. That might be because their market share is so tiny that their failures just don't attract attention.

I also find it curious that I have never heard anyone accuse Yamaha of producing untested products and foisting them on an unsuspecting buying public back in the 1980's and 1990's. The Yamaha paint and corrosion protection was clearly sub-standard, and failure to use stainless steel for critical lower unit components often required expensive repairs or replacement of the engine. Nor do I recall anyone ever saying that Yamaha replaced the defective components for free under an extended warranty, or that Yamaha sent them new components for field replacement before failure.

What Yamaha appears to have done was to learn from the mistakes they made selling outboards into this market and slowly introduce better materials and techniques into their engines. The market has given them a pass on their earlier problems.

I have heard many people decry that they'll never buy another GM car again based on a problem they had back in 1975 with a diesel engine powered passenger car.

My wife used to own a Honda Prelude and there was no amount of money and no Honda mechanic alive that could make the brakes on that car work properly---they were a well known problem. Yet I have never heard anyone say "I will never buy another Honda."

I think it is part of an overall tendency of the American buying public to have doubt about the ability of its own workers to produce quality products. Perhaps because the level of technical sophistication is so low among the American public as a whole. Many unsophisticated (technically) Americans appear to have come to the conclusion that since they are totally unsuited for the task of designing and manufacturing a complicated and high-tech manufactured good like an outboard engine, that no one in the United States could do this, either. They then turn to overseas brands, which for them, based on a mystique formed in the media and in popular culture, makes their products better, their workers smarter, their managment craftier, etc.

bsmotril posted 04-02-2003 09:35 AM ET (US)     Profile for bsmotril  Send Email to bsmotril     
Jim and John, you are both absolutely correct. In the case of the small block Optis, the updates were not to address failures, but instead to enhance the motors.

Mercury has always been a performance oriented company. They use racing as a means to put their development ideas to the test and find weaknesses in the technology. With the fourstrokes, the performance just was not there that could compete successfully with EFI or DFI two strokes. Merc went with DFI as a means to meat the CARB and EPA standards without sacrificing performance. But, when other makers came out with their four strokes, and Mercury saw the market penetration they were gaining, and that buyers were willing to give up some of that performance, Mercury then came into the 4 stroke game a bit late. Their strategy to share components with other manufacturers lets them play the four stroke game, retain makret share, while developing their own 4 stroke products with newer technology that will leapfrog the competition with respect to performance.

The FICHT debacle is well known, enough so to be used as a case study in some quality management seminars. I am certain that Mercury is well aware that you have to test a product in a manner that closley emulates the anticipated real world usage of the product. That testing is where FICHT fell on its' face. They did not test mid range RPMs under heavy load, which was the failure mode for their sooting problem. I believe that Mercury's desire to bring a sound product to market with the new I6 four stroke is the reason why we still have not seen the formal introduction of that new tech outboard. Merc has not lost the four stroke race. The race has just started and they are running in second after the first lap.

John from Madison CT posted 04-02-2003 08:08 PM ET (US)     Profile for John from Madison CT  Send Email to John from Madison CT     

Yamaha's "design" flaw took at least 10 years to show itself, not like in the first months out of the box.

I'm sorry but that's apples and oranges.

While no one has hard statistical data on these problems, anyone who reads the "web" and peruses many of the boaters websites can see what I mean. I'd very surprised if they didn't reach the same conclusion as I.
I have the luxury of meandering around many boat yards and boat shops in the Northeast. (I'm on the road weekly) When a 25 year mechanics admit to me that the Optimax's are poorly designed and gives examples of boaters who are on wits end with their engines, (similarly to Jurisprudenze) you start to build your own database.

I'm not using just a case here or a case there to bolster my argument, I am talking about many problems of similar design and nature.

To me, evidence of my opinions is with the resale value of say a 25' Center Console boat. Nearly every broker I spoke with during my search for a larger boat claimed that boats with Yamaha's command a significant premium over those with Optimax's or Fichts. (in fact '97-00 Fichts were only worth their lowerunits.)

FWIW, I am only refering to large V6 outboards. I know nothing of the reliabilty of med to small outboards.

John from Madison, CT

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