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Mercury optimax owner questions

Old 01-21-2018, 07:58 PM
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Default Mercury optimax owner questions

Looking at buying twin 2001-2002 Optimax 225’s. The serial # build date is late 2001 to early ‘02. Outboards are very clean, no corrosion or rust. They have about 700 hours and the paint is very good as well. Comes with new wiring harnesses, key switches and new analog gauges. Each outboard has skeg guards installed. Also comes with hydraulic steering helm/hoses and Gaffrig (?) binnacle. Looks just like a Livorsi style, but says Gaffrig on the shifters. The one with independent throttle and shifting. Don't really like that setup, but it comes with it. Owner repowered with Verados.

Main question is the air injectors. I read the following bulletin pertaining to the injectors and these injectors are the black with a very clean/bright blue dot.

MERCURY SERVICE BULLETIN #2001-01
2000 115hp through 150hp 2.5L Optimax outboards & 2001 135hp
through 225hp 2.5L & 3.0L Optimax outboards. Some direct air injectors could fail: internal part could break, resulting in hard starting, poor engine operation & possibly internal engine damage. Engines that were reworked will be marked w/ blue dot near/on serial number label or near direct injector. Injector may also have a blue plastic part. Mercury will install upgraded injectors no charge & add 3 mos to factory warranty if engines were registered before 2/1/01. Manufacturer set up special "Direct Injector Assistance Team" to handle complaints, 800-309-4743. Manufacturer sent notices to all registered owners.


That would lead me to believe they were replaced from the possible faulty injectors. As well as this is 2018, a long time to not show an issue right? The onboard tanks look pretty new. Serviced with new plug wires, plugs, thermostats, water pumps and cleaned fuel systems.

Last question on remote oil tanks, are the 1.8 gallon tanks sufficient or do i need 3 gallon tanks? My fuel tank is 126 gallons. They wont come with any and i would have to buy them. I offered $4700 cash for both and he agreed on that price.

Last edited by DoughnutToo; 01-21-2018 at 08:18 PM.
Old 01-21-2018, 08:11 PM
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Those are the motors that gave the optimax the name optipop. I wouldn’t take the chance. You can look at my post history and see I’m not an opti hater. I had a 2005 opti 150 and absolutely loved it and would buy another in a heart beat. That being said the early big block opti is a no no
Old 01-21-2018, 09:03 PM
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I did speak to a Mercury certified mechanic, who is used by a lot of my coworkers and my mothers husband. I had read all the horror stories, life stories, success stories, and remedies of the early Optimax's. His advice was basically if it is still running, and all the items were addressed by Mercury back then with issues, run them because they would have already blown by now.

I kind of thought of them as the HPDI 300's. Some were good, some not so good. Just a dice roll. However, maintenance and attention should play a huge roll. I have looked at some 2004-2006 model Optimaxes (200-250's) and there was a HUGE difference with just the hood off. These appeared to have been cleaned after each use. I mean, anyone can say "i spray it with corrosion X every time" and there is rust all over. Versus he said nothing of the sort and they are clean.

Last edited by DoughnutToo; 01-21-2018 at 09:09 PM.
Old 01-22-2018, 06:57 AM
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Originally Posted by DoughnutToo View Post

Last question on remote oil tanks, are the 1.8 gallon tanks sufficient or do i need 3 gallon tanks? My fuel tank is 126 gallons. They wont come with any and i would have to buy them. I offered $4700 cash for both and he agreed on that price.
I would go for the 3 gallon tank. I have that with a 175hp and the Smart Craft Gauge is always giving low oil alarms when there's only a gallon used and still 2 in the tank. With a smaller tank and a bigger engine I bet it would give an alarm after just one trip.

I've had multiple mechanics look at it and had the whole oil tank replaced under warranty but it seems like the oil level sensor system is just way too conservative.
Old 01-22-2018, 08:40 AM
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Thanks Mbowers, that was something I really did not see any input on regarding optimax remote tanks and was size is adequate. I was thinking about where I would put them, and did not want to take up additional space if I didn't need two large tanks. Specifically based on my fuel tank size.
Old 01-22-2018, 08:46 AM
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So I found a good deal on a boat with twin 2000 Opti 225's last year, and knew I was paying for the hull and not the motors but did get some life out of them before I was ready to repower...
That being said I squeezed every little bit out for another 200 hours before I started losing the rest of my compression


What to watch out for
Make sure your compression is tested properly and all cylinders check out, they don't like to run with any backpressure at idle in the water with low compression on a cylinder or two, you might not notice this on muffs. Start here and if even one cylinder doesn't check out run away
See if they are actually smartcraft capable, there was a transition period from "smarttach" and "smartspeed" around the early 2000's and you won't be able to buy replacement digital smartcraft gauges (only analog) if they don't have the right ECU serial
To replace the upper motor mount bolts the head has to be pulled, make sure the upper and lower motor mount bolts don't have heads rusting off
Check the air compressors, they have a tendency to overheat and blow from people not cleaning the water strainer on the block that feeds the water to the compressors, and when they blow they send junk into the injectors/can damage cylinders.. see if they've been replaced yet
Ask if they fuel and air pressure regulator diaphragms have been replaced, they aren't cheap and will cause running issues, make sure the fuel and air pressure are in spec and there is not a fast leakdown of fuel or air after shutting off


Basically you could end up with OK motors, but there are lots of things to go wrong... it can cost a fortune to start replacing worn out parts, not to mention frustration, time, and troubleshooting. Make sure they are checked thoroughly and you know what you're getting into
I don't hate Opti's but remember these are 15 year old motors
Old 01-22-2018, 11:30 AM
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If the updates were done and they're still running/everything checks out, then go for it. I am running a pair of 2002 225s (built September 2001) that have had the updates and run great, 1300 hours and counting. Most of my injectors are the blue dots, those were replacement for the green dot I think they were that were failing. Either way, 2001 was beyond the injector issues, those were mostly 2000 model year. Cleanliness is a huge part of that as well, if the motors were taken care of then that means the world to me as a buyer.
Old 01-22-2018, 12:29 PM
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I have a 1998 and 1999. Both have been excellent for me and I do not run them much. I usually do about 100 hours a year on them. I have the blue dot injectors as well.

Also, I paid $3500 for one, so you are getting a great deal!

Last edited by thejeepguy87; 01-22-2018 at 12:29 PM. Reason: added more information.
Old 01-22-2018, 06:07 PM
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You mentioned smart speed vs smartcraft, it has the 8 pin engine harness. Trying to look more into Smartcraft, but i think its not. Would like it, but it is what it is.
Old 01-23-2018, 05:46 AM
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I have the analog gauges. Not quite as accurate, but it works.
Old 01-23-2018, 09:41 AM
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All 2002 model year engines would be SmartCraft compatible, select 2000s and all 2001s were Smart Tach/Speed setup.
Old 01-23-2018, 09:43 AM
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02 and 03 Opti's are pretty sweet motors.
Old 01-07-2020, 07:13 AM
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Originally Posted by DoughnutToo View Post
Looking at buying twin 2001-2002 Optimax 225’s. The serial # build date is late 2001 to early ‘02. Outboards are very clean, no corrosion or rust. They have about 700 hours and the paint is very good as well. Comes with new wiring harnesses, key switches and new analog gauges. Each outboard has skeg guards installed. Also comes with hydraulic steering helm/hoses and Gaffrig (?) binnacle. Looks just like a Livorsi style, but says Gaffrig on the shifters. The one with independent throttle and shifting. Don't really like that setup, but it comes with it. Owner repowered with Verados.

Main question is the air injectors. I read the following bulletin pertaining to the injectors and these injectors are the black with a very clean/bright blue dot.

MERCURY SERVICE BULLETIN #2001-01
2000 115hp through 150hp 2.5L Optimax outboards & 2001 135hp
through 225hp 2.5L & 3.0L Optimax outboards. Some direct air injectors could fail: internal part could break, resulting in hard starting, poor engine operation & possibly internal engine damage. Engines that were reworked will be marked w/ blue dot near/on serial number label or near direct injector. Injector may also have a blue plastic part. Mercury will install upgraded injectors no charge & add 3 mos to factory warranty if engines were registered before 2/1/01. Manufacturer set up special "Direct Injector Assistance Team" to handle complaints, 800-309-4743. Manufacturer sent notices to all registered owners.


That would lead me to believe they were replaced from the possible faulty injectors. As well as this is 2018, a long time to not show an issue right? The onboard tanks look pretty new. Serviced with new plug wires, plugs, thermostats, water pumps and cleaned fuel systems.

Last question on remote oil tanks, are the 1.8 gallon tanks sufficient or do i need 3 gallon tanks? My fuel tank is 126 gallons. They wont come with any and i would have to buy them. I offered $4700 cash for both and he agreed on that price.
Can I look up Mercury outboard service bulletins on-line?

Old 01-07-2020, 07:15 AM
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can I look up Mercury outboard Service Bulletins on line?
Old 01-07-2020, 08:57 AM
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Originally Posted by TripleMMM View Post
Basically you could end up with OK motors, but there are lots of things to go wrong... it can cost a fortune to start replacing worn out parts, not to mention frustration, time, and troubleshooting. Make sure they are checked thoroughly and you know what you're getting into
I don't hate Opti's but remember these are 15 year old motors
Against which the OP has to weigh up the price he's paying - I guess the question really should be, "Can I get a better pair of modern tech 225hp outboards offering good fuel economy, that appear to have been well cared for, for less than $4700?"

Originally Posted by mbowers View Post
I would go for the 3 gallon tank. I have that with a 175hp and the Smart Craft Gauge is always giving low oil alarms when there's only a gallon used and still 2 in the tank. With a smaller tank and a bigger engine I bet it would give an alarm after just one trip.

I've had multiple mechanics look at it and had the whole oil tank replaced under warranty but it seems like the oil level sensor system is just way too conservative.

I would say you have a sticky sensor if you're getting low oil readings when there's plenty left in the tank - I had that issue and the mechanic (I wouldn't have got a mechanic in especially, but the engine - 150 Opti - was being serviced anyway) traced the problem - not sure how he freed it but he did it in less than 2 minutes.
Old 01-07-2020, 03:18 PM
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I would suggest reading the post date for this thread lol
Old 01-08-2020, 11:23 AM
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Originally Posted by Mad boater View Post
can I look up Mercury outboard Service Bulletins on line?
no, they are property of Mercury marine and not normally available online. You can go or call a local dealer and provide the serial number of your motor, they will be able to tell you if there are any TBs for your motor.

Originally Posted by MercuryMan200 View Post
I would suggest reading the post date for this thread lol
Yes, always best to check.
Old 01-08-2020, 04:58 PM
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Re-powered from 2001 225s. I have 3 gallon oil tanks, if you get to that point, PM me. Sold all 3 motors still running with 575 hours. Silver/unpainted housing air compressors old style (bad), black compressors new style (good). Motors will eat reed petals occasionally and it's a crap shoot whether it goes through or tears up the cylinder. I replaced my reeds with composites from Chris Carson. Weekend job. Look for corrosion on the bottom of the fuel/air rails. See if they come up to proper temperature. There were some problems with thermostats but given hours probably not yours. Motors looked ok but I think boat was in the water most of its life before I got it. Salt air takes its toll. In the 2 years and 150 hours I put on mine before re-powering I replaced (2) lower units (never hit anything), 1 set of reeds (broken petal), the other were pre-preemptive, a fuel pump, o-rings on rails. Little things go from age and it got aggravating. In my case it was probably not enough use. Most of my cruising was at 4200 rpm so I didn't run them hard. I just wanted reliability and a warranty. Good luck.
Old 01-08-2020, 06:16 PM
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Quality eth free gas, good oil( i used royal purple). And a very serious battery. These motor need the juice!! Once I got the gas oil and battery correct i put 1000 hours on my 2007 with out a peep. Never even winterized it.
Old 01-09-2020, 02:28 AM
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Originally Posted by MercuryMan200 View Post
I would suggest reading the post date for this thread lol
If OPs would at least have the courtesy to come back and update with a conclusion it would stop a lot of old threads being inadvertently and irrelevantly resurrected.

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