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Author Topic:   Optimax Satisfaction
jbtaz posted 10-03-2001 02:58 PM ET (US)   Profile for jbtaz   Send Email to jbtaz  
I just wanted to put my two cents in on The Mercury Optimax..I have owned two..They are 2000 225's. I have had no problem with either of them, run them offshore frequently and am completly satisfied. You're situation is an unfortunate one however, and one that could of happened with any brand. I would not hesitate to buy another Mercury and certainly would before Yamaha or Johnrude.
dauntlass 18 posted 10-03-2001 04:41 PM ET (US)     Profile for dauntlass 18  Send Email to dauntlass 18     
I second JBTAZ coments the only complaint I have is excessive noise level.I owned a 150hp Optimax and now a 200hp optimax.
Wild Turkey posted 10-05-2001 11:25 AM ET (US)     Profile for Wild Turkey  Send Email to Wild Turkey     
Looks like the Optimax Malaise thread has generated some interest. So jbtaz..... How long have you worked for Mercury?
acseatsri posted 10-05-2001 01:41 PM ET (US)     Profile for acseatsri  Send Email to acseatsri     
jbtaz, in response to your comment "it could have happened with any brand", I believe it has happenewd with every DFI out there now, meaning NONE ARE RELIABLE! No thanks, I'll wait for the 4-strokes to cevelop a longer track record, but in the meantime I'll just continue to run my old reliable 2-stroke.
LarrySherman posted 10-05-2001 01:51 PM ET (US)     Profile for LarrySherman  Send Email to LarrySherman     
But we have no other such examples of how not to conduct business as we do with Juris's case.

At least from companies still conducting business.

Dick posted 10-05-2001 03:02 PM ET (US)     Profile for Dick  Send Email to Dick     
From my experience dealing with Mercury Marine, they have allways been a customer oriented company. If they got a customer complaint you got a letter and the factory rep was there to follow up. There may be a lot more to this story than we are hearing.
bigz posted 10-05-2001 03:15 PM ET (US)     Profile for bigz    
You may be right Dick. Just happened by a bit ago and read this new thread so I decided to chime in and snap a bit ---

Well we will just have to see now won't we acseatsri (it does happen with every brand 2 stokes included) , Sherman and all the rest of the soothsayers on this forum. Would be nice if all of us could have such a far sighted crystal ball!

DFI systems will be found in the very near future in autos, all terrain vehicles, trucks and various other mechanized vehicles in one form or another in the coming years. The majors are all working with various applications (been reported in various trade publications -- auto, truck and even farm over the past couple of years, nothing new). I also won't be shocked to see 4 stoke outboard incorporate this fuel delivery system -- EFI is what is the technology going the way of the --------- (so are 2 strokes as has been mentioned)!

My non-knee jerk reaction over these various "micro" post -- (the net is truly wonderful however it only represents a small percent of folks willing to either praise or condemn) is like this forum in many ways where a few comments are taken as gospel yet we have only a very small audience expressing their opinions, knowledge, experiences consequently one has to remember extrapolating these in light of the over all larger picture is sort of like the definition of "assuming" --

Juris bought his rig in FL, and I believe he saved considerable by doing so, might be mistaken though.

He proceed to bring it north consequently the engines developed problems at a very crucial point in time. That is very one and his brother with engine problems rushed the local dealers, usually the case in late Spring - Early Summer, where they had purchased their products. I am not saying just Optimax engines or DFI's just darn outboards and I/O's of any make shape or size.

Here comes our lawyer Juris with a couple of misbehaving Optimax engines that weren't purchased from any local NE dealer and wants the world to flip because hey they're under warranty. All dealers have their limitations of resources one of which happens to be qualified shop/service personnel, the other time -- yes time -- and who should get a crack at the time window? Well dang it folks who are their customers in the first place. This might have happened to anyone's engine/s new or old no difference. His dealer got around to it as they could --- might remember fellows Boston and surrounds isn't Podunk city it his pretty densely populated with recreational boat owners ---

I do sympathize with Juris plight and that's about it.

If I can quote Clark Roberts (in fact I do think he brought this up before) -- on his navy's name sake creek there are 2 - 225, and 4- 135 Optis plus a 115 Ficht (which he says the owner runs the piss out of and loves it) that are all running strong with out a single failure. In conjunction with this the dealer we used in NC had sold in the past 2 years well over 200 Ficht 200hp plus engines and the fact is about 3 had any major problems that warranted taking them out of service. We have two 225 hp Fichts that had some minor problems but were readily fixed by Bombardier and my dealer which are running like tops. No smoke, as noiseless or as close to the four strokes I have had experiences, good fuel economy and lastly use next to nothing in oil.

I can surf a bit and also pull up I do believe more positives than negatives on the DFI motors. Maybe wrong here, not that there might not be more, but it's human nature to write about and to love to read negatives. Then gossip about the negatives -- the old saying, garbage goes in and garbage comes out even if the person or persons have only read or heard about the garbage with no knowledge whether universal or isolated true or not, they love to spread the word. Yep more interesting that way I guess. Case in point Juris post which if you add part one and part two are close to 200 maybe more ---

As I started out --- we will just have to wait and see --- though I reckon the pundits will continue pontificating until what will be will be stares them in the face ---

Well them's my thoughts agree or disagree really don't give a hoot --- at least I feel comfortable with my opinions and the research behind them ---

Bigshot posted 10-05-2001 03:57 PM ET (US)     Profile for Bigshot  Send Email to Bigshot     
What if someone lived in say NJ and was relocated to FL shortly after buying their new boat? Would that person be just as pissed as Juris because he bought "out of state", of course. If the warranty stated it is only covered by the purchasing dealer, then you know that going into the deal that "you are on your own". Being it is a national or worldwide warranty, that is BS. The dealers get paid for warranty work just like anything else. How would you feel if your car broke down on vacation and the local dealer did nothing to help and it cost you $500 to have it trucked to your dealer or your car spent 4 months in a shop?
lhg posted 10-05-2001 04:18 PM ET (US)     Profile for lhg    
I recently had a chance to compare twin Mercury Optimax's, also on a 25' Outrage, to my twin EFI conventional two strokes. Now, as everybody knows, I am a "diehard" Mercury fan, and they are the only brand of engines I have owned (all bought new) since 1970.

But after careful examination, I currently would not buy an Optimax, any HP range. They may be higher tech, but I don't like them as well as the EFI's. I assume the same would apply to a Ficht or HPDI, BUT, I have had no direct experience with those brands. They all seem to require frightfully expensive spark plugs, requiring frequent changes. This expense would certainly offset any savings in oil usage, and adds a reliability factor if the routine changes are done.

The two types of Mercury V-6's involved in this comparison (Optimax vs EFI)
are very similar, so I thihnk it's a valid comparison. Both from the exterior look identical, except the Optimax is about 50 lbs heavier. Both have Mercury's tried and proven 2.5 liter 60 degree block, probably the best V-6 ever designed. The Optimax's only put out 150HP, the EFI's 200HP. That's a major difference alone.

In performance on the same Outrage 25 models, the performance of the EFI's were definitely superior in all categories except idle speed exhaust and fuel economy (unable to compare this, however). The EFI's had a better power curve, with as good or better throttle response, were a LOT quieter at all rpms, particularly most used range of 3000-4000RPMs, and of course, were more powerful given the higher HP. In top speed the EFI's would run away from the Optimax's on a given boat. The cost new on these engines is also about the same. The Optimax just can't squeeze the same power out of the same block as an EFI can. Compared to the super quiet EFI's the Optimax's were downright noisy, with an irritating sound, similar to the 200 Yamaha's I've seen and heard.

Considering the similar cost, operating noise, high maintenance items like plugs, carbon build-up reliability risk, and weight, I just can't see the reason to get a lot less HP and performance for the same dollar. I realize eventually Uncle Sam is going to impose these engines on us, but until then, no thanks.

Jurisproodenz posted 10-05-2001 04:53 PM ET (US)     Profile for Jurisproodenz  Send Email to Jurisproodenz     
Mea culpa: I saved some money by buying in Florida ... at the time (early April) there were no 26 Outrages for sale north of the Carolinas that I could find -- except new from the dealer. So I bought a demo boat -- from a dealer and saved. Yup, that's true -- "our lawyer Juris" (what's that reference about, anyway ... some insinuation concerning the habits and propensities of people in my profession?) was visiting family in Ft Lauderdale and bought the first one he was able to test and have surveyed.

But I think that the point here may be missed somehow: if the Optimax engine design was so reliable, why did they stop producing them for a while? Why did they send "fixes" to the dealers that they then retracted within a short period of time (sometimes days) - essentially, "try this and see if it works?" Why did the dealers have a sit-down conference with the Mercury management in August to complain about the excess workloads caused (in their eyes) by the unreliability of the Optimax engine? Why are they "stacked like cordwood" awaiting repairs? Why did Mercury have to send teams of technicians around to help cut down on the backlog of Optimax repairs? All because they are reliable? Similar to other designs, like EFIs?

The notion that I am angry merely because I had to wait to get in line with repairs is misplaced. I am angry because only 1 dealer in an entire region would even agree to honor the warranty and try to repair the engines. I am angry that I lost a WHOLE summer awaiting a solution (NOT service -- they came to my boat no less than 6 times) and that no-one, not even the factory tech, was able to diagnose the problem -- such that in the end they simply replaced whole systems to try whatever they could until it would run properly (thanks again Alex). I am angry that when I called Mercury they told me to call the local dealers. I am angry that Mercury has repeatedly promised to address my problems, honor my warranties and "get my motors running" and then fail to follow up on their promises (over two weeks since they promised to get back to me last). I am angry that my selling dealer has not lived up to its representations and stood behind me -- and Mercury has not put the squeeze on them to stand behind their product and sale.

I am scared of these motors and unwilling to go offshore with them. Too many other people have had similar experiences with Optimax engines for this to be happenstance. How many others simply haven't had access to a forum to describe their experiences? How come dealers who know nothing of my engines' history won't consider taking them in trade?

I readily admit that I may be more sensitive to the issue because it relates to my boat. However, simply because it is directly relevant to me doesn't discount the validity of my experience to warn others of the possibility of similar fates that await them if they choose the same power option.

To those that have perfectly functioning samples of the design, I wish you tight lines, smooth seas and a sweetly purring motor behind you.

If you go offshore, bring an EPRIB.

jimh posted 10-05-2001 07:09 PM ET (US)     Profile for jimh  Send Email to jimh     
Tom Zeno makes a good point, we are getting a small sample. It could be that the only person to have a problem with a his Optimax engine just happens to be a person who posts to this website.

The trouble is that we'll never know what the true distribution of problems is. That is probably one of the closest held secrets in the marine industry. Except if required by some Federal regulation to disclose it, I doubt that any outboard maker would willingly publish the field reliability results for their engines, unless they just happened to show practically no defects.

The global open competition of the automobile market has resulted in some amazing quality improvements in their engines. I recall meeting a GM Engineer at the Auto Show (during Media Week) who told me that a new engine design they had in production was so reliable and failure free that they had an offer to their dealers of several thousand dollars cash if they had a failed engine. GM would send them a new engine and pay to install it. The engineers wanted to see one that had failed in service and so far they had not a single engine come back, with over 100,000 in use.

Modern manufacturing techniques can be so precise and consistent that once they get a good design, they can manufacture that design with amazing repeatability. There is very little variation from engine to engine.

I don't think the marine engine makers have achieved anywhere near that level of manufacturing precision. Their production runs are smaller, and the parts suppliers they use probably do not produce parts as consistently as required for global automotive vendors.

Prior to the internet, there really was no way for a consumer to get any feedback on marine product reliabilty, at least not from the marine press. There isn't a advertising-based magazine that would dare to run a feature article that said an engine from a major producer (and major advertiser) was flawed.

The internet provides a way for direct consumer to consumer interaction, and it can contain valuable information.

Tom also makes a good point, that it can be difficult to judge the authority of some opinion-makers. As New Yorker Magazine postulated, on the internet, no one knows you're a dog.

I tend to think that "people are what they write." By this I mean that after a person has posted or written a fair amount of material, it is not too hard to gauge their credentials. I think everyone makes their own evaluation of what people say, and assigns weight to it as they see fit. There has been plenty of content posted on this website that I thought about editing or removing, but ultimately I have decided that it is more effective to leave 99.99% of it alone, as people tend to eventually reveal themselves by their own words, and create, for good or bad, their own reputation.

As for Mercury and their Optimax engines, I tend to think that they must be producing a good product--I mean they can't ALL be bad or NO ONE would buy them--but that they have had some inconsistencies in the production that have resulted in there being a few dogs out in the field.

I don't think it is unusual for this to have happened, given the problems of small production runs, new technology, supplier problems, etc. Someone is going to get a bad engine now and then.

What is more important are the steps they take to correct it and how they treat the consumer.

The consumer is willing to forgive the engine maker for making a bad engine once in a while, but the consumer is not willing to forgive or forget getting bad support and service when they try to get the bad engine corrected.


B Bear posted 10-05-2001 10:59 PM ET (US)     Profile for B Bear  Send Email to B Bear     
I know this is a little off topic, but what JimH has said about the Marine engine manufacturers ability to produce engine parts consistently for smaller production runs struck a chord.

This chord goes back to the discussion of some marine engines that have ties to the automobile manufacturing world. Some implied that these engines might not be as good as marine engines that have no ties to the R&D in automotive engines and are designed from scratch for the marine environment.

Case in point, Honda. Honda uses many internal components that have been tested and proven over time in their engines such as the cranks, valves, etc. while using engine blocks and heads that are designed for the marine environment. These parts are of consistent quality and finish. And has been a major factor in Honda obtaining a reputation for reliability.

Diesels have had direct fuel injection for decades. Quite honestly the two stroke marine engine is not very far off from being a diesel with the exception of the ignition and lubrication systems. Instead of spark plugs of a two-stroke there may be a glow plug with the heat of compression in a diesel, or just the heat of compression. The diesel also uses splash lubrication and rings for the cylinders while the two-stroke introduces the lubricating oil with the fuel. And the fuel-oil mix for a two-stroke is not that far from diesel oil.

So it would seem that DFI would be a logical direction for two-stroke technology to follow. Maybe these guys should hook up with some automotive and truck engine manufacturers like Isuzu, GM Detroit, Cummings, and Volvo. They then would be able use some of their expertise, R&D, and maybe engine components.

Sorry to get off topic, I just felt this perspective should be aired.

SuburbanBoy posted 10-05-2001 11:16 PM ET (US)     Profile for SuburbanBoy  Send Email to SuburbanBoy     
Anyone can engineer and produce a D.O.G., Mercury does not have sole possession of this title. I personally would not choose an Optimax, nor a Tohatsu/Nissan Optimax clone. Yes, DFI and other hi-tech 2-stroke tricks will become more common over time. And yes Mercury has been successful introducing new technology in the past (was it CD ignition, first in Mercury?, etc.). I do agree with the chap who suggested one of the new, 4 stroke V-6's. They are probably a safe bet for the eco fans. But it is still hard to beat a big ol' 2smoke with carbs.


dauntlass 18 posted 10-06-2001 06:28 AM ET (US)     Profile for dauntlass 18  Send Email to dauntlass 18     
My thought on both warranty and non warranty repairs of outboards and many other consumer products in use today, repairs should be performed at manufacture set up and operated centers. Dealers in a lot of cases today do not have the equipment or personel to repair some of our hi tec.consumer used products.Dealers compete to sell us a product but when it comes to repair mainly warranty repair the manufacture should directly handle repair.
dgp posted 10-06-2001 07:36 AM ET (US)     Profile for dgp  Send Email to dgp     
Just to correct a few misstatements by B Bear;

“Case in point, Honda…engine blocks and heads that are designed for the marine environment”. Actually the B115 and B130 outboards are engines right from the Honda Accord. Marinized yes, but just like any other automotive engine that’s been recruited for marine duty. Certainly not a clean-sheet-of-paper marine engine design.

“….the two stroke marine engine is not very far off from being a diesel…” You forgot about robust construction to withstand the heat of compression fuel ignition and the resulting torque.

“…diesel also uses splash lubrication and rings for the cylinders…” Lawn mower engines use splash lubrication. Diesels, like all modern 4-cycle automotive and marine engines use a pressurized lubrication system. Diesel engine connecting rods have rifle drilled oil passages from the big end bearing to the piston pin. Turbocharged diesels have piston-cooling nozzels that direct oil to the underside of the piston to provide cooling and lubrication.

Detroit Diesel had 2 cycle industrial and marine diesels up until 1999. They were direct injected and even with full authority electronic controls they could not meet the 2001 EPA emission regulations. From the diesel perspective, the two cycle is dead.

B Bear posted 10-06-2001 12:13 PM ET (US)     Profile for B Bear  Send Email to B Bear     
Thanks for pointing out some things, which are not entirely true. But with all things there are exceptions to the the rule.

Most these staments were made in general as to the close resemblence to the delivery systems that is DFI and where the longest R&D has been for those systems.

The Pressurized oil system is for the bearings not for the cylinders that is one reason for wet sumps. You must be thinking of dry sumps. Also it is true about the use of pressized for nozzles for the underside of a turbo charged diesel, but I only made statments about diesels in general, not all diesels are turbocharged or supercharged.

I run a B90 which uses componets from the CIVIC engine and the engine block and heads are not the same as in the automobile, of wich I have had two- a CIVIC wagon and a CRX at different times in my life. I am sure by now I can tell the difference between the two.

While emission standards are enforce for gas powered automobiles diesels are exempt. I may be at fault in thinking that these air quality standards would also include marine engines.

Certianly the days of Iron engine blocks and heads for diesels may be numbered with the new alloys that are avalible today. Remember when they first intoduced the aluminum engine block, I belive the same setiments you have mentioned were voiced back then.

I guess I must have gotten the pressurized fuel delivery system somewhat right with the use of injectors, which in essence is a DFI system, since you failed to remark on that point.

Thank you for sharing your engineering expertise with me.

B Bear posted 10-06-2001 12:32 PM ET (US)     Profile for B Bear  Send Email to B Bear     
I see I was a little fast in typing.

The spray nozzles you mentioned are use for the cooling of the piston spraying on the underside, not for the cylinder walls.

Having worked on Catapellers, Detroits, Allsions, Bermister Waynes, Peelstick and Selzers, I hope I would have an understanding of the diesel engine.

I ment to say that the use of DFI and HPDFI have been used in diesels for decades and that the two stroke and four stroke diesel engines have been around for a very long time. So maybe the two stroke outboard industry which is trying to use some of the same technology may benefit from this past R&D even though these are not the same but may be simular.

dgp posted 10-07-2001 10:35 AM ET (US)     Profile for dgp  Send Email to dgp     
The Fed’s Clean Air Act of 1990 established emission standards for all on highway diesel vehicles. The standards for light duty vehicles which include passenger cars, light trucks, SUVs, mini-vans and pickup trucks were phased in between 1994 and 1997. The difference between gasoline and diesel standards is a more relaxed NOX limit for diesel.
Please reference for complete information.
Bigshot posted 10-08-2001 01:51 PM ET (US)     Profile for Bigshot  Send Email to Bigshot     
Mercedes no longer imports diesel cars as of 1999 I believe. Same deal and They might resume someday. The reason VW still has diesels is they are the biggest performance dogs that they probably conform.
bigz posted 10-16-2001 06:03 AM ET (US)     Profile for bigz

Consumers report to be least satisfied with time dealerships took to service boats

JD Powers news from BII

hauptjm posted 10-16-2001 11:11 AM ET (US)     Profile for hauptjm    
BigZ,B Bear, dgp, & others, we're seeing more and more independent repair facilities becoming 'factory authorized' repair facilities. These are not 'selling dealers'. That does not mean they cannot sell you a motor, new or used, but that is not their principle income generator. I'm curious if in the N.E., Mid-West, East. Seaboard, etc., are you seeing any activity like this going on? It may be a way to take pressure off of the "dealers", and at the same time provide a much needed service. We generally don't have a problem with our dealers down here because the boating season is year-round, providing servicing needs year-round. Even still, we are seeing these independent guys popping up giving the dealers competition. And as everyone knows, in competition, we the consumer win.
Peter posted 10-16-2001 03:46 PM ET (US)     Profile for Peter  Send Email to Peter     

Interesting that you point this out because I recently discovered here in the NE that Yamaha has significantly expanded its factory authorized sales and service network. My favorite Bomb (OMC) mechanic is now authorized to sell and service Yamaha. Last year, he was very reluctant to do any basic maintenance work on my 2000 Yamaha (I had to twist his arm). As a consumer, I'm very pleased with this development because I had a good relationship with him before I bought my Yamaha.

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