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Basseyes

225 Optimax started running rough?

14 posts in this topic

Have a 2000 225 Optimax and on Friday it started running rough.

Saturday morning changed plugs. All NAPA had at 7 am was champion would have preferred NGK's.

The fuel tank was about half full so put a can of sea foam in and filled her up with non oxy fuel.

Put her in Mille Lacs yesterday afternoon and seemed to run a bit better but still a bit of a cough and sputter while idling. Starts and runs good just a bit of a cough at idle that I don't like and am a bit worried about it?

Not familiar with the fuel injection system on bigger outboards so any help would greatly be appreciated.

Thanks!

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How did the plugs look? Unless you have a good understanding of direct fuel and air injectors, combination fuel and air compressor pressure gauges and other diagnostic tools and equipment, you can get over your head really quick. Trying parts on recommendations from others based on what was wrong with an engine they once had on these engines will add to big bucks wasted and a very high level of frustration. Sometimes its best to just face the facts and bring it to the dealer, spend the time doing what you do to make money and let them do what they do best to get you up and running. While your pocketbook may not like it, your blood pressure and overall well being will thank you. These are not entry level engines if you want to start doing your own work.

Good luck

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Yep that's where I'm at with it.

But...

Had a very bad experience with my diesel suburban with what is supposed to be one of the best diesel repair shops in the cities. Ended up doing 2 head jobs over $2,000 each along with un needed parts throwing from the shop. Was completely flabbergasted the second time back and the vehicle was still over heating. They threw their hands up and told me even after close to $5,000 that they didn't know what was wrong with it and could do no more?

R U serious?!

I'm a very easy going guy and was overly patient and learned a very painful expensive valuable lesson about how some people do business and what real bad customer service looks like. Did mountains of research and found out the vehicles water pump, clutch fan and fan size were not adequate to cool the engine. Put about $800 and a summer of time into the truck and fixed the problem something that what was suppose to be a very good shop couldn't for a lot less money.

Have had enough other not so great experiences with other repair shops that I've learned to do most things on my vehicles. Even split a 4,000 lb tractor last summer along with help from 2 of my kids and put a clutch in it. Not a gear head but have learned to do things through a lot of patience and reading.

So short story long I do not trust to many shops and am willing to learn. Look at manuals and tools as long term investments.

Plugs looked great but replaced them anyway's.

When it started I was idling through a no wake zone and it seemed to happen quick. Seems like it runs alright at idle then hits intermittent points were it starts up again.

Have yet to do a fuel filter in it and am sure that should be replaced.

One other thing was the primer bulb was not hard when it started. Pumped it but it didn't seem to make an immediate difference and now it stays hard.

It starts, runs and at higher RPM's has no problems. This seems to point to stale fuel or a plugged injector to me. Is there a good injector cleaner I can add and run through the motor to see if it's something simple like that or stale fuel before moving on to more in depth issues?

Any good reliable shops in the cities?

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Without knowing if the motor threw any codes it's pretty tough to tell where to start with this.

It sort of sounds like water in the gas, but the seafoam should have helped that problem... unless there's more gas in the tank than one bottle of seafoam can treat.

I'd be inclined to pump some gas from the bottom of the tank into a clear bottle and let it settle to validate that's not the problem.

If it's not that I'd find a shop you trust and take it from there.

marine_man

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Agree with the possibility it's fuel related.

Next question if there's water in the fuel what's the best way to empty the tank on a Lund pro v?

The fuel consumption seems off a bit also.

If there's water in the fuel would replacing the fuel filter/ water separator help with that or as I would assume would it be best to just empty and clean the tank?

Anybody have any recommendations on the process of how to clean a marine tank out to help prevent future water contamination?

Anybody have any experience with Mercury fuel additives?

I committed the cardinal sin of not filling the tank all the way to the top last fall and am now paying the price I' m guessing.

The place I get my non oxy fuel from has closed and is only pay at the pump now. Had some bad gas in my lawn mower late last year from them and am wondering if their gas is getting stale because of lack of business?

Might try and find another place to get non oxy fuel but the only other place I know of is in the wrong direction by 20 miles so that stinks.

Does anybody run ethanol in their outboards with any luck along with an additive?

I am very concerned about using it because of all the problems I ran into before using non oxy fuel in all my small engines that don't go through the gas in less than 2 weeks or so.

I am looking at getting a manual for the motor I would assume a shop manual directly from Mercury would be the way to go?

Also what kind of scanning tool is needed to check codes on an Optimax?

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I am not a mechanic by any stretch smile but I do know that that year Opti 225 has a history of issues... It is probably jsut fuel (as I learned the simplest answer is usually the correct answer), but I personally would take it to certified Merc/Opti guy just to have it checked out.

As for ethanol, we have run almost exclusively ethanol blend through our '97 150efi since it was new, and not one issue.

We did have water in fuel issue a few years ago when our vent cap fell off, or baybe we didn't tighten gas cap enough. We just emptied the seperator, then put it back on. Did that until we didn't collect anymore water, then we put a new filter/seperator on, and not an issue since.

Good luck.

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I had this issue with my 175 EFI I bought in the end of winter from a guy. Both gas tanks in the boat were half full and untreated. The fuel went bad, and water contaminated. My motors wouldn't even idle if I could even get them to start!

I didn't put fresh gas in, but I drained the tanks. I seem to recall disconnecting the hose running to the motor and siphoning the fuel out, or pumped it out with the fuel line bulb.

I run regular 87, fill the tanks every fall for storage, use Stabil...never had a problem. I do use Mercury fuel stabilizer/cleaner through the summer too.

Good luck.

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I can understand your hesitation with repair shops, but, poking around and replacing parts is the wrong approach. I don't know what champion plugs cost, but NGKs for a 225 are expensive enough that I won't replace them if they are ok. This is where knowledge and experience come into play, knowing how to read a plug so they are not replaced needlessly. A bad fuel filter it more apt to show up at high rpm, high load as fuel flow is higher, not likely at lower or idle rpm and it contains a water separator. As far as water, get a sample from the bottom of the tank and let it settle, I don't think you will find any substantial water. My 3 boats have a combined total fuel capacity of 3090 gallons and I have never "topped them off" at the end of the season, and have never had a water problem and know numerous boat owners practicing the same. My fishing boat with the Mercurys has a fuel capacity of 300 gallons, I have over 900 hours on the engines and have never had water issues and have never stored the boat with the tank full, its just too much weight, I do just the opposite, run them nearly empty, add stabil, run til its in the motors and get it out of the water.

I wish there were a "crystal ball" approach to help you but there isn't, I know, I've been there. I don't have any options where I live, the Merc dealer in Thunder Bay gave me a service manual because he had never worked on an opti before and felt with my 16 years as a drivability mechanic for Ford I would have a better chance of diagnosing it than him. and this was for a simple oil level alarm. I personally have found a good optimax mechanic in Florida, not because they have better mechanics in Florida, but because there are a lot more of these motors there and they run them 12 months a year. So, more broken motors, more opportunities to get the experience needed to properly diagnose, then and only then, make a repair, not like your Suburban nighmare. I am confident that there is a good optimax mechanic in twin city area, these motors have been around for ten years, I buy all my parts from Supreme Marine in Minneapolis and they seem to know whats going on. (Not that I'm recommending a non sponsor or anything, just trying to help a fellow fisherman.)

Its hard to walk into a service agency and trust them to do what you are paying them to do, you hear alot of horror storys. Remember, more often than not the work is done correctly, the problem is solved, the bill is payed and all is good. Those storys just don't seem to be told though.

P.S. I run both 87 pump gas from my tanker or 91 non oxy from the marina pump, (all depends on how much difference in price as the marina pump is much more convenient) with no differences whatsoever in performance or economy and we are talking hundreds of gallons a season.

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Good post Capt Don.

If you have a fuel / water separator then water in the gas is about out of the question.

Time to bite the bullet and take it in.

marine_man

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Agree good post.

Understand what you're saying about throwing parts but changing plugs is a bit more of a maintenance issue and never think of changing plugs, oil, lower units, transfer cases, differentials, packing bearings, new air filters or putting a new fuel filter on as being parts throwing but more over regular preventive maintenance and never a bad idea.

An ounce of maintenance is worth a pound of twenties or something like that.

But I also drive most of my vehicles straight into the ground and only get rid of them when all four wheels fall off at the same time. My suburban has 300,000 miles on it. I've been telling the wife for the last 3 years maybe we can get one more winter out of it. The last car the wife had was a 1993 Toyota and we drove that till 2 deer decided to total it and the insurance company gave us a great total value on it because of the condition of the car and it was a Toyota.

Still think it might be a fuel related issue and am going to try and resolve that then bit the bullet and take it in to get it checked out.

The place mentioned seems like they have a bit more experience with the bigger motors and have been in business a long time. Use to get parts for a smaller motor years ago when they were in their other location so I'll try them and go from there.

Appreciate all the help what a great site!

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Also, I an not sure if this would be agaisnt the rules (I have not connection with them other than I use them) Denis at Nelson Marine in WBL is an incredible Merc certified mechanic, been working on them all including verados and optis since they came out.

Good luck Basseyes!

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Excellent recommendation, I have a friend that swears by him and has had him work on an opti he once owned that he bought new from them.

bass,

I didn't mean to offend you, sorry, I must of misunderstood the reason for spark plug replacement.

best of luck to you

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Capt. Don,

You did not offend me in fact I appreciate the posts greatly. You obviously have experience seeing guys throwing parts at stuff. Was a lack of stating that the boat was bought used a year and a half ago and I had no idea how old the plugs were so thought even if it wasn't the problem I'd just like to replace them.

My bad.

Was going to see what the fuel looked like so inspected the fuel line and in the process of taking it off between the bulb and the motor noticed there was fuel leaking out of a spliced in joint between the bulb and the motor.

Filled a jar with the fuel and was gin clear not even a hint of water, yellowing or separation.

Cut an inch off both ends by were the splice was and put new clamps on to replace the old plastic ones that were so brittle they broke when taking them off.

Pumped the primer bulb and was harder than before and was happy till I heard a hiss by the out end of the bulb. Cut the hissing end off by and inch and put it back on the bulb. Been checking and re checking it and hard as a rock.

Hopefully that was it but am still going to bring it in and get it checked out.

Appreciate the recommendation BoxMN and the affirmation Capt Don and all the helpful suggestions from everyone!

Thanks

I like putting in line glass filters on my small engines to observe the fuel and bought one for this boat. But in looking at it before putting it in it said not for use in fuel injected vehicles? I didn't put it in but would really like to. Anybody know why that is?

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I'd bring it in to a tech and have them plug it into their computer. Since it sounds like you covered all the bases it could be electrical.

I would recommend Frankie's in Chisago City. I've taken my opti to 5 different places in the metro and most of them did more harm then good. Frankie's is the only place that's been able to keep the "Anti-Christ" running (2004 225 opti).

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