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Outboard Engine Life Expectancy

Old 06-15-2010, 11:09 AM
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Default Outboard Engine Life Expectancy

I'm new to boating and this forum (only my second post).

How many hours can one expect to get out of a four stroke Yamaha or Mercury outboard if the engine has been maintained properly?

I'm looking at used boats and don't know where to draw the line on a limit, 600 hours, 800 hours, 1000 hours, where should I draw the line?

Phil
Old 06-15-2010, 11:21 AM
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If it was maintained properly it should last more than a thousand hours. But how do you know it was maintained properly? Boats don't like to sit either. So a very low hour but older engine is not necessarily better than one with more hours. Not changing filters, bad gas, and just bad luck can affect the longevity.
Old 06-15-2010, 12:43 PM
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do some research on here....corrosion is more of an issue than hours....not saying that hours don't matter....just be careful which models your looking at and the potential for very expensive corrosion issues.....especially if you are looking at Yam 225's......not bashing....but since your looking....do a search on yamaha corrosion....it may save you alot of money and headache...
Old 06-15-2010, 01:37 PM
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merc's don't hold up anywhere near as well as yamahas period the end.

..my last set of yamahas had over 6k hours and were under water 3 times and still running when i got rid of them. current set 3k+ hours and 2 dips in the salt and they're still fine.

you will have electrical issues and starter rebuilds maybe even replace a trim pump but there is no reason that these motors shouldn't last several thousand hours.
Old 06-15-2010, 01:39 PM
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Here's what I found when I did a search on the subject of 4S Longevity:

- Post # 24 ( on P. 2 of the link below ) reported over 8,000 hrs on several 2002-2004 Yamaha F225s, other same F225's 4,500-5000 hrs, F115 and F150s with 3,500 hours plus, etc.

http://www.thehulltruth.com/boating-...trokers-2.html

- Post # 93 ( on p. 5 ) is from a very experienced THT vendor ( who BTW did an excellent job helping me sell a boat, thank you ! ) who mentioned he has yet to hear of someone with a corrosion issue on a Yamaha 4S. And this is from someone who sells over 600 boats a year !!!

http://www.thehulltruth.com/boating-...ke-yami-5.html

- Even though you ( the OP ) only asked about Yamaha and Mercury it appears Suzuki 4S's also have excellent reliability and longevity. Post # 7 is from a large multi brand outboard superstore dealer who reported less than 1% failure rate on Suzuki's.

And post # 8 is from a Suzuki dealer who sold over 750 suzukis in the last 5 years and had only 4 powerhead failures.

http://www.thehulltruth.com/boating-...immie-6-a.html

Keep in mind everyone of these posts is from a professional in the marine business, not from a single etec owner with an ax to grind. Decide for yourself just how much you think corrosion is an issue.
Old 06-15-2010, 01:39 PM
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They will usually outlast the hull if maintained & run properly
Old 06-15-2010, 02:11 PM
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Originally Posted by deuceroadster View Post
I'm new to boating and this forum (only my second post).

How many hours can one expect to get out of a four stroke Yamaha or Mercury outboard if the engine has been maintained properly?

I'm looking at used boats and don't know where to draw the line on a limit, 600 hours, 800 hours, 1000 hours, where should I draw the line?

Phil

I have kept a couple of engines close to 5,500 hours. Many fishermen I know have more than 6,000 hours. My current Yamaha is pushing 1300 hours in 3 years. I have almost zero problems with my motors. Around 5,000 hours I had to replace the lower unit seals on the Rude. About 5300 hours I had to replace lower unit zeals on the Merc. The Rude was sold 3 1/2 yrs ago and is still tearing up the shallows in the FL Keys. Probably has close to 7000 hours by now. I have not followed up on the owner of the Merc because he moved to parts unknow and left not forwarding address.

Use does no kill an engine. Lack of use kills engines readily. Cars are reliable because they get used daily. Park a car for long periods of time and you invite a lot of grief.

The biggest problems that show up on this forum are from outboards that are stored for 4 to 7 months or longer up North. 50 hrs and then 6 mos. stored is tough on an engine. A lot of rust develops inside it and the fuel tends to clog the fuel lines and injectors.

Of course there are people here that would replace the engine at 200 hours on their 4th year because it fails a lot (lack of use)

Hulls have a tendency to develop gelcoat hairline cracks and seams after one year because the gelcoat warranty is only for one year. So boats over 1 year are almost guaranteed to have a hairline crack somewhere. This although I had a pos Sunbird that never developed any gelcoat cracks or detachments in 12 years. The Whaler I had developed hairline cracks after 4 yrs. The newfangled gelcoats are a pos. but very well marketed and pushed.

.
Old 06-15-2010, 04:34 PM
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Originally Posted by FloridaDan View Post
Here's what I found when I did a search on the subject of 4S Longevity:

- Post # 24 ( on P. 2 of the link below ) reported over 8,000 hrs on several 2002-2004 Yamaha F225s, other same F225's 4,500-5000 hrs, F115 and F150s with 3,500 hours plus, etc.

http://www.thehulltruth.com/boating-...trokers-2.html

- Post # 93 ( on p. 5 ) is from a very experienced THT vendor ( who BTW did an excellent job helping me sell a boat, thank you ! ) who mentioned he has yet to hear of someone with a corrosion issue on a Yamaha 4S. And this is from someone who sells over 600 boats a year !!!

http://www.thehulltruth.com/boating-...ke-yami-5.html

- Even though you ( the OP ) only asked about Yamaha and Mercury it appears Suzuki 4S's also have excellent reliability and longevity. Post # 7 is from a large multi brand outboard superstore dealer who reported less than 1% failure rate on Suzuki's.

And post # 8 is from a Suzuki dealer who sold over 750 suzukis in the last 5 years and had only 4 powerhead failures.

http://www.thehulltruth.com/boating-...immie-6-a.html

Keep in mind everyone of these posts is from a professional in the marine business, not from a single etec owner with an ax to grind. Decide for yourself just how much you think corrosion is an issue.
Did you do a search on yamaha corrosion?

didn't think so.....the op should be aware of this if he's looking for a used boat/motor.....don't bring an agenda around here.....give the guy honest, real world advice....that's what this forum is all about....just like if he were looking at a 2001 Evinrude....I'd tell him to be extremely cautious.........all engines have issues....dont' dis-service a user because you are a basher


FloridaRob
30 Grady Marlin
250 ETECS
Former F225 Yamaha user
30 years of outboard boating experience......real world....
Old 06-16-2010, 09:44 AM
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Here's my opinion....I agree that use is the key,,,I have a 98 ox66 250 that has been saltwater run its entire life, I have had it for about a year...I get 50/50 fresh/salt use out of it....It runs,starts, pulls, like a champ.I knew the original owner, I knew he used it alot and took really good care of it, so the age didn't bother me.
It gets used almost year round and maintained regularly...I think that is the key, regular use and regular care. I think you should be able to look at a boat and motor and tell it someone took care of it and did regular maint. to them.. Buying one from someone you know and trust is the key to an "older" motor.
Old 06-16-2010, 10:06 AM
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Originally Posted by floridarob View Post
Did you do a search on yamaha corrosion?

didn't think so.....the op should be aware of this if he's looking for a used boat/motor.....don't bring an agenda around here.....give the guy honest, real world advice....that's what this forum is all about....just like if he were looking at a 2001 Evinrude....I'd tell him to be extremely cautious.........all engines have issues....dont' dis-service a user because you are a basher


FloridaRob
30 Grady Marlin
250 ETECS
Former F225 Yamaha user
30 years of outboard boating experience......real world....
So if etecs are better than 4S's tell me how many salt water fishing boat manufacturers install them exclusively ? NONE !!!

At last count 22 boat manufacturers use 4S's exlusively ( with a rare Mercury Optimax to be fair ).

If you've got a problem with that reality then go argue with the market and tell them how you, and all your "experience", knows better and they've got it all wrong.
Old 06-16-2010, 10:34 AM
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I will be using this boat primarily in fresh water. Someone mentioned to me about changing the anodes (I'm not positive that's what he called them) out if the engine has been run in saltwater.

Does this make sense to anyone?

Also, thanks for all the previous replies, I appreciate the input.
Old 06-16-2010, 10:37 AM
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Originally Posted by FloridaDan View Post
So if etecs are better than 4S's tell me how many salt water fishing boat manufacturers install them exclusively ? NONE !!!

At last count 22 boat manufacturers use 4S's exlusively ( with a rare Mercury Optimax to be fair ).

If you've got a problem with that reality then go argue with the market and tell them how you, and all your "experience", knows better and they've got it all wrong.
Did I say Etecs were better than 4strokes in that post?????? You already got banned for this once.....let's go again, shall we?

My point is, there are issues with all brands, certain models and years that should either be avoided, or checked...if ANYONE is buying a used boat, should they not try to find out what weaknesses an engine may have, so that it can be checked......??

The issue was not which engine was better, the issue was what should he look out for buying a used boat/motor.....The F225 is a very popular engine, per your last post.....some users of this board are having a very expensive problem with that engine that is consistent between quite a few users.....should the op not be told he should check for this?....All you are concerned about is bashing products, you are a troll.....no where did I say etecs were better, If you had more real world experience in boating, you would not try to push an agenda over someone who is simply trying to get honest REAL WORLD advice.....why don't you go grow up for a while and then come back.
Old 06-16-2010, 10:39 AM
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Being that my boat is the first powered boat I've owned, I really don't know, but my engine is a 1981 model judging by the model number. It's still kicking.

Buying used is always "buyer beware". I once bought a very clean looking used Chevy pickup for a decent price. It blew a head gasket on the trip home, about 10 miles.
Old 06-16-2010, 10:50 AM
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Originally Posted by floridarob View Post
Did I say Etecs were better than 4strokes in that post?????? You already got banned for this once.....let's go again, shall we?

My point is, there are issues with all brands, certain models and years that should either be avoided, or checked...if ANYONE is buying a used boat, should they not try to find out what weaknesses an engine may have, so that it can be checked......??

The issue was not which engine was better, the issue was what should he look out for buying a used boat/motor.....The F225 is a very popular engine, per your last post.....some users of this board are having a very expensive problem with that engine that is consistent between quite a few users.....should the op not be told he should check for this?....All you are concerned about is bashing products, you are a troll.....no where did I say etecs were better, If you had more real world experience in boating, you would not try to push an agenda over someone who is simply trying to get honest REAL WORLD advice.....why don't you go grow up for a while and then come back.
Same ole with you - you can't dispute the reality of the market so you resort to your nonsensical "basher" comments. When the respected professionals I referenced start comlaining about all the "Yamahas with corrosion problems" I'll take notice and not from a highly biased etec user like you.

And I am more than happy to "go there again" with you over any topic.
Old 06-16-2010, 11:06 AM
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Originally Posted by deuceroadster View Post
I will be using this boat primarily in fresh water. Someone mentioned to me about changing the anodes (I'm not positive that's what he called them) out if the engine has been run in saltwater.

Does this make sense to anyone?

Also, thanks for all the previous replies, I appreciate the input.
If they are zinc and you will be in freshwater they won't do the job. You need to change them to magnesium or maybe aluminum if you are in brackish or use it in both. Here is an explanation.
http://www.defender.com/html/zincs_info.html
Old 06-16-2010, 11:33 AM
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Corrosion is not more of an issue then hours only in your mind. I would say that more people are affected by Etec fuel injectors then Yamaha corrosion, do a search on that on this site along with the etechowners site. I do not remember ever reading about any other manufacture having injector issues, copious complaints by etec owners about this. Not bashing simply facts... don't put your head in the sand.

Originally Posted by floridarob View Post
do some research on here....corrosion is more of an issue than hours....not saying that hours don't matter....just be careful which models your looking at and the potential for very expensive corrosion issues.....especially if you are looking at Yam 225's......not bashing....but since your looking....do a search on yamaha corrosion....it may save you alot of money and headache...
Old 06-16-2010, 11:57 AM
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Hi all...I am a regular on THT but finally found a thread that drove me to start an account. I am a tried a true Floridian with hours upon hours on the water with many different outboards. I also service them as well. My personal favorites are Mercury and Yamaha. That being said there are advantages and disadvantages to nearly all outboards....This is the focus of my reply:

Four strokes: Four strokes are a wonderful, fairly recent addition to the marine market. They are quite, boast better torque figures in the midrange, and offer fantastic fuel savings. Four strokes, especially those over 100 h.p., tend to be heavier than 'traditional' two strokes *note traditional. Also, four strokes add some additional maintenance to owning a boat in the way of additional fluid changes, timing and valve adjustments (on high hour engines) and belts for belt driven cams. In addition, four strokes have more moving parts and are more complicated that simple two strokes.

Traditional two strokes: An older, tried and true technology. My family recently replaced a 1992 Merc 115 with over 12,000 hours. Only major failures in the life of the engine were clogged water jackets (at about 9000 hours) and a failed lower unit (at 200) from hitting a submerged rock. Pretty bulletproof if you ask me. Traditional two strokes, whether EFI or carbureted, are less efficient. They are lighter, and less costly to service in most cases.

DFI/HPDI two strokes: Direct fuel injection has been a theory since the 30s when it was prototyped on stationary diesel engines. However, it is only now becoming a fully functional technology. DFI is different from EFI and oil injection and should not be confused with either. Direct fuel injection works on the premise of altering the stoichiometric properties of the fuel air mixture. A perfectly stoichiometric mixture would be one molecule of fuel broken down through combustion into simple water and carbon dioxide. However, perfect stoichiometry is too lean for real world applications and would result in burnt cylinders. Instead DFI atomize fuel directly into the cylinders just before combustion resulting in a fuller burn. They also inject less-than-stoichiometric mixtures during periods of deceleration or no load to further aid in fuel savings. DFI outboards include the E-Tec, HPDI V-max, and Optimax. Typically, they are lighter than four strokes but heavier that traditional two strokes. DFIs are more efficient than all other engines when running but less efficient than four strokes at idle. If you troll or day cruise, go four stroke, if you run and stop, go DFI.

Next, is corrosion...Yamaha and Mercury have the best corrosion coatings. PERIOD. They are hardened and multi-layered. They also use alloys that contain less copper, which reduces corrosion in the marine environment. Remember, Mercury's second biggest thing next to propulsion and building race engines for marine and auto use (the first version of the Corvette ZR1 LS9 motor and prototype LS7 for the ZO6 were both built by Mercury) is metallurgy.

Corrosion isn't just external, it can occur in the water jackets inside the block of any motor as well and at points elsewhere. Stainless steel doesn't mean it won't corrode. In fact, stainless requires air in order to achieve passivisation which is a film corrosion that occurs on the top layer of the metal. That's how it works. Submerged stainless will corrode...doesn't matter on type.

Specific problems: Early Optimax engines were prone to problems with injectors with led to incorrect cylinder head pressures. These problems were notorious and almost lost the company its foothold in the market. (I'm sure someone got canned for opting for cheaper injectors)

Yamahas are known to have problems in the 115, 150 and big block V-6 engines for balancer shafts.

FICHT and E-tecs both present fuel management and oil delivery issues.

Engine design: Finally there is engine design. Most engines are designed for size and weight constraints, but you should be familiar with why an engine is designed a certain way. Engine design all deals with harmonics, which is the oscillation of a material based on a load disturbance. Harmonics can occur in any material (air and water included) and can be brought on by friction, load dynamics (a revolving crank and piston), and other factors. Primary and Secondary harmonics are the most pronounced vibrations, therefore, they must be counteracted...limiting all other levels of harmonic disturbance just provides an ever smoother design. There are only 4, yes FOUR, perfect engine designs that are inherently balanced, and a fifth if you count one exception. These are the flat or boxer 6 (commonly found on aircraft and motorcycles or in Subarus), straight 6 engines, flat 12 engines, and V-12 engines. Flat 4 engines are the exception if they are built with two, geared crankshafts. All other engine designs REQUIRE balancer shafts rotating and double the engine speed in the opposite direction to achieve balance. Balancers are included on nearly all engines to improve all harmonic problems.

These are the items that should be viewed when picking a new outboard.

BTW...I have a degree in Communications and a degree in Mech. Engineering (High-performance vehicles spec.) and designed a complete poling skiff. I can answer any questions that you might have on epoxy resins, vinylester resins, polyester resins, gel coats, paints, fibers, and anything else boating technical....just don't ask me to walk and chew gum cause that gets me every time.

Please ask if you have any questions about my post, it is meant to be informative only.
Old 06-16-2010, 12:06 PM
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Welcome aboard finsleft258! Excellent first post.
Old 06-16-2010, 12:07 PM
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Great post finslet. The only thing I see that may need some editing is that the DFI Merc optimax burns less fuel than 4 strokes at idle. The optimax 225-300's burn 0.3 gph at idle. What is it about the opti that allows this miserly fuel consumption. I know the hpdi's are thristy at idle. Not sure about the etec.

BTW, at idle, with all 4 engines running I get 4 mpg in my quad 300 opti boat. (5-6 mph)
Old 06-16-2010, 12:08 PM
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That's another good point Highspeed put up...just because you are in freshwater does not mean you are protected from corrosion. Lakes still contain electrolytes which will cause dissimilar metals to corrode. I love it when people post a boat for sale and say it was run in freshwater only...it really makes no difference if you didn't maintain and flush the motor...that being said, seawater is still the worst enemy.

Be careful not to over-zinc the boat. It is possible to throw too many anodes on a hull and speed up the process of corrosion.

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