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2003 Mercury Optimax Question

Old 07-10-2020, 06:27 AM
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Default 2003 Mercury Optimax Question

Hey guys, I havenít posted in quite some time but need some help, Iím looking into purchasing a new to me boat. Iíve found a 23í Seacraft Potter hull center console that is in very good shape. It has a 2003 Mercury Optimax 225, from what Iíve read on this motors are they are good motors, not like the earlier Optimax models. The only concern I have is there are three fault codes on the smart craft gauges:

1. Fault oil level
2. fault water in fuel
3. fault trim

The motor ran good on the hose, I plan on doing a compression check and sea trail before purchasing the boat. My only concern is should I be worried about these faults, I donít mind having a little repair but donít want anything major. Iíve read a little bit on these faults and they donít seem to bad. Maybe the oil level sensor on the in-motor oil reservoir is bad? The boat has been sitting for a little so maybe thatís why there is water in the fuel, maybe just needs to be drained at the filters or even flush the tanks? The trim unit seems to have a small oil leak, I would think that is what is causing the fault.

Any and all information will be helpful, even if it has nothing to do with the codes but maybe something else I should check on the motor or hull.

Thank you, Jack
Old 07-10-2020, 08:46 AM
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Check oil tank motor side and see if itís full. For the fuel in water there are 2 drain plugs on vst, drain both and see if there is water in there. The trim is probably a bad sensor or short somewhere in 5v circuit. How is the idle? Would check compressor as well, take belt off and check for play in pulley.
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Old 07-10-2020, 09:27 AM
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The computer wont know about the trim leak , the trim code is more likely just a trim position sensor. Oil could be as simple as the gauge is configured to read oil level from the tank but it's not hooked up. I keep forgetting to correct mine they complain about low oil every start up because it's not connected. If it was the sensor on the tank it should beep annoyingly. Do you get a beep when you initially turn the key on? Just to make sure the alarm is working.

I've been lucky to not have had water int he fuel so I',m not sure on that one. Check the sensor?
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Old 07-10-2020, 09:31 AM
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Personally, I would not worry about the faults, but perhaps consider using the trim one as leverage in negotiations.

If you can, remove the VST cap to check if the tank has corrosion. There is a special tool for this. If there is corrosion, crappy gas/water probably was sitting in it for a while. The good news is it can be cleaned up and the VST filters are around $40. Run a good remote fuel/water separator too.

The oil level could be any number of mostly minor causes, and you just have to spend some time trouble shooting. Make sure the oil tank on the engine is filled to the top.
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Old 07-10-2020, 09:45 AM
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Originally Posted by Eightpter View Post
Check oil tank motor side and see if itís full. For the fuel in water there are 2 drain plugs on vst, drain both and see if there is water in there. The trim is probably a bad sensor or short somewhere in 5v circuit. How is the idle? Would check compressor as well, take belt off and check for play in pulley.
Thank you! I will go ahead and make sure the oil tank on the motor is full, as I thought as long as the motor is getting oil itís something minor like a sensor. I will go ahead and drain both drains on the VST as well as the remote fuel water separator. The trim Iím not too worried about because it operates as it should. The motor started right up cold without giving it any gas, idled very well, around 560 RPM. I will also conduct a compression check but probably not pull the belt, not sure what the owner would think about that. Thank you
Old 07-10-2020, 09:49 AM
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Originally Posted by amcfall View Post
The computer wont know about the trim leak , the trim code is more likely just a trim position sensor. Oil could be as simple as the gauge is configured to read oil level from the tank but it's not hooked up. I keep forgetting to correct mine they complain about low oil every start up because it's not connected. If it was the sensor on the tank it should beep annoyingly. Do you get a beep when you initially turn the key on? Just to make sure the alarm is working.

I've been lucky to not have had water int he fuel so I',m not sure on that one. Check the sensor?

Thank you, it does beep upon start up and I believe it beeps 4 times every two minutes. Iím sure itís nothing major, the owner just put the smart craft gauges a couple weeks ago and maybe itís not setup correctly. I donít suspect it to be anything that should scare me. Iím not too worried about the trim because it seems to be functioning correctly, probably just a sensor. Hopefully you stay lucky and never have any fault with your motor. Thank you!
Old 07-10-2020, 09:55 AM
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Originally Posted by Timeless View Post
Personally, I would not worry about the faults, but perhaps consider using the trim one as leverage in negotiations.

If you can, remove the VST cap to check if the tank has corrosion. There is a special tool for this. If there is corrosion, crappy gas/water probably was sitting in it for a while. The good news is it can be cleaned up and the VST filters are around $40. Run a good remote fuel/water separator too.

The oil level could be any number of mostly minor causes, and you just have to spend some time trouble shooting. Make sure the oil tank on the engine is filled to the top.
Thank you, this is very good news to hear. I cannot negotiate any more on the price, Iíve beat him up on the price and got him to his absolute bottom dollar and I believe itís absolutely fair price for the boat. I will go ahead and check the VST for corrosion, hopefully it wonít be too bad. I will also go ahead and check the drains on the VST to see it there is any water. It does has a remote fuel water separator with a brand new filter, I will go ahead and drain that as well. I donít mind trouble shooting the oil level problem as long as itís nothing major. I will double check that the oil Reservoir on the motor is getting oil, as long as it is it should not be anything major. Thank you, it was good to hear that.
Old 07-10-2020, 03:43 PM
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I have basically the same motor. There is a float sensor in the engine mounted oil reservoir that will stick. Depending on the position, this can cause the alarm. You will have to replace the entire reservoir as the float is fused with it. It cost about $100 and is easy to do yourself. I had the same problem and was back in business the next day.
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Old 07-10-2020, 05:14 PM
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Originally Posted by jm526 View Post
Hey guys, I havenít posted in quite some time but need some help, Iím looking into purchasing a new to me boat. Iíve found a 23í Seacraft Potter hull center console that is in very good shape. It has a 2003 Mercury Optimax 225, from what Iíve read on this motors are they are good motors, not like the earlier Optimax models. The only concern I have is there are three fault codes on the smart craft gauges:

1. Fault oil level
2. fault water in fuel
3. fault trim

The motor ran good on the hose, I plan on doing a compression check and sea trail before purchasing the boat. My only concern is should I be worried about these faults, I donít mind having a little repair but donít want anything major. Iíve read a little bit on these faults and they donít seem to bad. Maybe the oil level sensor on the in-motor oil reservoir is bad? The boat has been sitting for a little so maybe thatís why there is water in the fuel, maybe just needs to be drained at the filters or even flush the tanks? The trim unit seems to have a small oil leak, I would think that is what is causing the fault.

Any and all information will be helpful, even if it has nothing to do with the codes but maybe something else I should check on the motor or hull.

Thank you, Jack
if you donít want a major repair first thing to do is get rid of that motor while it runs.
Old 07-11-2020, 07:45 AM
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Originally Posted by jm526 View Post
Thank you! I will go ahead and make sure the oil tank on the motor is full, as I thought as long as the motor is getting oil itís something minor like a sensor. I will go ahead and drain both drains on the VST as well as the remote fuel water separator. The trim Iím not too worried about because it operates as it should. The motor started right up cold without giving it any gas, idled very well, around 560 RPM. I will also conduct a compression check but probably not pull the belt, not sure what the owner would think about that. Thank you
If idle is good you most likely donít have water issue. Could be bad sensor, itís in bottom of vst. Draining both sections of vst will show if water is in there.
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Old 07-11-2020, 07:54 AM
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4 beeps water in fuel or oil tank sensor , if it running good itís not water
oil tank has become very common you need to change the tank not buy a New sensor
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Old 07-11-2020, 09:30 AM
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You don't say how many hours. Has the compressor been changed? Has regular service been performed that would make sure the oil line to the compressor are clear (little filters in it)
Had same motor. Had to change compressor twice. Once at 1500 hrs and once at 2300 hrs then lost a cylinder at 2800.
If that compressor blows it gets ugly and costly.
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Old 07-11-2020, 06:40 PM
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Originally Posted by Mero View Post
I have basically the same motor. There is a float sensor in the engine mounted oil reservoir that will stick. Depending on the position, this can cause the alarm. You will have to replace the entire reservoir as the float is fused with it. It cost about $100 and is easy to do yourself. I had the same problem and was back in business the next day.
I am no mechanic and I changed the engine mounted oil tank on a 2000 225 EFI due to bad sensor beeping when tank was full... 3 hrs start to finish and Iím slow
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Old 07-12-2020, 06:28 AM
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The oil level fault is for the remote oil tank in boat. If the oil tank has an oil level sensor it most likely bad. If there is no sender and you have smartcraft gauge you can go into the calibration and disable that function. For the fault trim that is most likely due to a faulty trim sensor. None of these faults are of major concern
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Old 07-12-2020, 11:02 AM
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Originally Posted by Mero View Post
I have basically the same motor. There is a float sensor in the engine mounted oil reservoir that will stick. Depending on the position, this can cause the alarm. You will have to replace the entire reservoir as the float is fused with it. It cost about $100 and is easy to do yourself. I had the same problem and was back in business the next day.
Yes, this is what I believe it is, it's not a big deal and can be fixed easily. Thank you.
Old 07-12-2020, 11:05 AM
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Originally Posted by Eightpter View Post
If idle is good you most likely donít have water issue. Could be bad sensor, itís in bottom of vst. Draining both sections of vst will show if water is in there.
Thank you, I drained the water and the fault went away, the motor idled very well, she runs great, picking up the boat tomorrow.
Old 07-12-2020, 11:08 AM
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I drained the water and the faults went away, I believe the oil reservoir on the motor will have to be replaced. Thank you.
Old 07-12-2020, 11:13 AM
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Originally Posted by rdiesel01 View Post
The oil level fault is for the remote oil tank in boat. If the oil tank has an oil level sensor it most likely bad. If there is no sender and you have smartcraft gauge you can go into the calibration and disable that function. For the fault trim that is most likely due to a faulty trim sensor. None of these faults are of major concern
This makes complete sense, the owner said he replaced the sending unit on the remote reservoir and since then he was having this problem. He said the technician said since he replaced it with an aftermarket unit and not a OEM unit it was causing this. I hope this is the problem because that is about as simple as its going to get. Thank you!
Old 07-12-2020, 11:14 AM
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Thank you all for helping, I will picking up the boat tomorrow, I'm sure Ill be back on with more questions, Thank you!
Old 07-12-2020, 02:08 PM
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I see you've already decided to buy the boat, but wanted to say a few things. I'm am by no means a mechanic. I'll never claim to be one. However, I'm getting pretty handy when it comes to working on my 2003 200. If I can do it, anyone can. Recently replaced the oil tank assembly, the sensor, the t-stats, and some other items on my motor. Routine maintenance and she'll keep running. Anytime this motor has crapped out on me, it was my fault for not maintaining her and running her hard.

As far as a fuel/water separator, I run the one pictured below.


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