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Mercury optimax - opinions wanted


f1sh-0n

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I have found a Trophy with a 115 optimax. My last two motors have been a Yamaha 4 stroke and Honda 4 stroke (the yamaha to me was better). From what I hear the new 2 strokes (optimax and e-tec) are alot quieter than the older two strokes. How do they compare with a four stroke. Will trolling with the optimax be about the same as trolling with a four stroke? What about fuel economy? I realize that the oil can be expensive but overall how does fuel economy factoring the oil compare? Should I forget about a 2 stroke for my application?

I do ski and tube once in a while so the extra torque if it exist anymore on the two stroke would be nice.

I checked the difference in a EFI and Optimax and the EFI is about a $700 upgrade if bought new.

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If you do alot of trolling I wouldn't buy a 2 stroke I would stick with the 4, or get the 2 stroke for main power then a 4 stroke kicker as you'll be able to tap into the same fuel line. 2 strokes are louder than 4 that's without doubt as you know you can barely hear a 4 while running. Opti's and 2 strokes have come along way, one turn starting, hardly any smoke, powerful and great on gas and often better when running wide open or close to wide open but for hours on end trolling I would skip it. You'll chew through plugs and with today's fuel you'll have carbon issues eventually. I run a 250 Optimax Pro XS and absolutely love it but I wouldn't ever troll with it. I get better milage than my friends with comparable yammy 4 strokes and Verado's on average.

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Thanks for your opinion. All the stuff you mentioned are things I worry about with a 2 stroke. Its not uncommon for me to troll for 12 hours straight. My record is 18 hours straight. Fowling plugs, fuel problems, and noise are my main concerns. I really don't want to add a kicker engine as its just another engine to worry about. Weight really isn't an issue anymore as it seems the 2 strokes weigh almost as much as the new four strokes.

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Fish on I run twin 225 optima's they troll fine, I take turns running them couple hours then I will shut one off and switch to the other to keep the hours even. I run them at about 4000 rpm on the way back to port to clean any gunk out. If you are going to be skiing and tubing as well the optima's has great hole shots.

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Fishon I have the 115 opti I troll with it no problem,I put a troll-o-matic plate on works great for me.I put stabil in every tank of fuel never had a plug problem I've owned the this set-up for 3yrs and I just bought my 2nd gallon of oil.

Good fishing.

BARRY

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I wouldn't troll a 250 either but with a 115 you should be fine. If you don't want to get a kicker then this is a good all around choice IMHO.

My boat wont take a kicker and I troll my 135 opti and have had no problems. I always run quickleen and blue stabil in mine as well as usually opening it up above 3k on the way back to the ramp. No fouling issues to date after a few hundred hours trolling (supposed to replace the plugs at 100 hrs anyway). Merc has come a long way in refining the opti fuel curve timing, idle temp etc to prevent fouling on the newer year models.

Yes it will be somewhat loud as it is a 2 stroke with an air compressor, but not unbearable by any means, though the 2 stroke exhaust can get nauseating at times trolling downwind. Gas milage should be good trolling, around 1/3 gph unless you are trolling 3-5 mph for muskies like I do. ;) and yes the opti will have a lot more torque than a comparable 4 stroke.

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DFI is the type of motor that all optimaxs are classified as (vs EFI or carb etc). It does refer to direct fuel injection. No intake manifold, both fuel (and air) are injected directly into each cylinder, so no you will not find a carbed opti.

Can't say for sure why they would change the name, but I seem to recall that in the first year of this motor ('97 I think?) it was called simply 'DFI'. Second year they started calling it the Optimax. The DFI terminology was probably too new and confusing back then but today with a few mfgrs having dfi motors it likely made sense to brand it as a dfi.

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If your trolling 12 hours a pop I would add a kicker . If you buy a kicker build for trolling ( high thrust / big foot ) they will troll all day on a fraction of the fuel and won't coke up. Why put that kind of hours on a bigger motor that would cost $10-20 k to replace .

just my $.02 ... Good Luck !

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Jack,

I live in CT and only make it up to Lake Ontario about 4-5 times per year if I'm lucky. Yes on those days I troll for hours on end. But for the most part I'm in CT fishing the smaller lakes and the CT river or joyriding with the kids and wife. Nothing much worth trolling here except for walleyes in a few certain lakes. I hate owning a motor and being afraid to use it. Plus theres the extra weight, another motor to maintain, battery charging issues and the motor being in the way. I beleive if you maintain your motor it should last for awhile. And if your looking for resale than you shouldn't buy a boat. Ofcourse this is just my opinion but after fishing lake ontario for soo many years and watching the trolling motors sit up in the air I kind of get a laugh out of it.

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Hi, I have a 2005 115 fuel injected optimax I bought new in 2008. I have trolled 877 hours at 2.5 or so miles per hour with no problems. it pushes a fiberglass aquasport 18ft Osprey center console that weighs in about one ton. Trolling gas consumption is about 4/10tenths of a gallon an hour. never a problem. It is much quieter than my old 50 two stroke yamaha ....in fact it sounds like a four stroke to me , just slightly noiser than a new four stroke. Runs very clean, no smoke. I run in at high RPMS back to port. Always have used non ethanol both 87 and 89 octane. Treated at every fill up with Mercury quicklean and mercury fuel stabilzer.

Always keep the idle port up out of the water when trolling .

I also dont want a troll motor because of the weight.

Great Motor.

Mike

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2 years ago I repowered my Whaler with a 75 Optimax,( 1.5 L, same as 90/115HP ) replacing the original 1970 , 70 HP Merc. I troll with it for hours on end with no problem, smooth and quiet, I too add Marine Stabil to every tank of gas and have had no problems to date. I passed on the 4 strokes, too many moving parts , Good luck

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I bought a 200 Opti 6 yrs ago for my Trophy 23. With the right prop, trolls fine 2.0 to 2.5 To go slower, trolling bags work great. I used two (to keep the boat from pulling to the side w/ the bag. Never had a plug fouling problem. Just run the boat @ 2500 rpm or better for 5 - 10 min when yer done to burn off the oil deposits. The 200 is a little noisy, but that's mostly from the compressors for the HPDFI. Also, I run it with front & side curtains on most of the time which captures the sound. It's not near as loud with bridge opened up.

Probably not quite as economical as a 4 stroke. I used about 0.5 - 0.7 gph at trolling speed. 18 gph at full throttle 5200 rpm and at cruise (3300 rpm) 5.6 - 6 gph. 17 mph. I've had the motor 6 yrs & have replaced the plugs once. Motor runs great. Last year I bought a 9.9 bigfoot long shaft on a Panther powwer bracket which I now use for trolling. It's quieter and uses even less of the expensive stuff. The dealer I bought the 200 from said to put in Merc Quickleenevery time i gas the boat. I have & it's all been great. Good luck!

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  • 3 weeks later...

oh you mean optimax oil? ;) absolutely!

trolling with an opti ya really have to, to prevent fouling....that and religous about the merc quickleen in every tank. the cost of plugs on that motor are rediculous, not to mention the damage that can come from carbon that could build on the pistons and rings....no use grenading a motor over what amounts to a few cents more per gallon of gas for the good stuff...that motor sips gas, and as a result sips oil too. love it.

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Just blew my 150 opti comming back from combat in front of th SR. On my way back to catfish and rpm's started dropping , no warning beeps no indication just a big ole hole behind the starter and actually nocked the starter off taking pieces of the block with it. Always ran quickleen. Just one of those misfortunes. It did troll great and always ran great.now see what I can get for what's left on eBay . Oh yea those plugs are expensive I have a brand new set in the boxes and some other new xtras if anyones interested.hope Santa brings me a new verado!!

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For now I'm saying oil injection. The way it lost rpm's it seemed to be getting tight just b4 the pieces flew! What I can't believe is no warnings, beeps. I wonder if the gauge warning center malfunctioned. I know it was using the opti oil from the aux tank and the motor tank was full. These optis burn so clean you can't do the old yep she's smoking so she's gettin enough oil saying!!even when trolling for hours you could smell some 2stoke but never really see it! I did notice it stalled on me 2-3 times when at low run rpm's the day it blew. But I was using the kicker all day so I didn't pay much attn to it. But when I started it to come back it idled rough I kind of thought maybe a plug or an injector , but it cleared up and cruised normal until rpm's started fading away , dropped the throttle back and b4 the r's came down all the way the sound of horror. Maybe someone has some input here , I won't pull it apart I'm just gonna look for another motor , I guess!

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