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2003 Mercury Optimax 200

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scbassfanatic

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I am looking at a Ranger with a 2003 Mercury Opti 200. For those that are in the know, what is the good, the bad, and the ugly about this motor. This is my first fiberglass bassboat and probably my last. Provided compression checks out, which my mechanic will be completing before purchase, are there any problems I should know about going forward?


apenland01

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Good strong engines generally.  Do not go full throttle on the engine until it has hit 120 degrees and preferably cycled once.  If the engine won't come up to temp, you may need to replace the thermostats to make sure it is hitting operating temp.  This prevents cold seize.

The older "Optipops" as they were called had a bad problem with cold seize and compressor failures.  The 2003 is a better model.

You need a good mechanic that knows Optimax engines to do the testing and checkout...


Bud Kennedy

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Just remember the boat and motor you are considering will soon be 20 years old.  With this age will become more likely that additional problems will arise.  Your budget and willingness to accept the risks and challenges are obviously yours to take.  Take it from an owner of an older rig.  Things will break or wear out and can be very demanding on your wallet.  I wish you well on your decision.

scbassfanatic

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Thank you for the prompt reply. The seller has agreed to meet me at any location to have it checked out. The boat is a one owner. I appreciate the feedback, it is reassuring.

scbassfanatic

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Just remember the boat and motor you are considering will soon be 20 years old.  With this age will become more likely that additional problems will arise.  Your budget and willingness to accept the risks and challenges are obviously yours to take.  Take it from an owner of an older rig.  Things will break or wear out and can be very demanding on your wallet.  I wish you well on your decision.

Thanks Bud. That does weigh heavy on my mind. I know I am accepting risk either way, but this old boy can't afford a rig new enough to have a warranty. I have waited 15 years to get to this point LOL. I know I am taking a risk and have looked at a lot of boats. I didn't realize there were so many motors to avoid. I know why people trade boats so much, its for the warranty on the outboard. I am still antsy about it, but excited at the same time. I have been waiting a very long time.

Bud Kennedy

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I fully understand your position.  Another thing to also be aware of is the condition of the the boat trailer. Tires, brakes, bearings, axles and frames can need service.  So spend a bit of time during your check out to review this as well.  Here in our brackish water at the coast, my old ranger trailer was eaten alive and rusted to the point of no repair.  I had to have a new trailer built.  At least if you check out your potential new to you rig, you can determine what might need attention.

scbassfanatic

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I most definitely will. Thanks for that reminder. A lot of times we forget that part. I will say this guy is the original owner, according to the dash plate. It has the original seats and they look brand new. The carpet is the same. It appears to be a very well maintained rig. I have my fingers crossed it works out. I have always wanted to own a Ranger.

Bud Kennedy

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Sounds a bit like you may have found a gem.  Good luck on the check out.

BarryFL

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FWIW, I had a 2001 Opti 225 up until 18 months ago. Never had any issues other than the oil tank on the motor but that's not a major issue. Ran like a scolded dog and would push my 2001 Triton TR21, which was a heavy boat with Talons and 4 31 series AGM batteries, over 65mph per GPS. Annual maintenance was all I ever did for the 4 years I owned it. Did compression check when I sold it and all 6 cylinders were with specs. It was loud, though. Weren't sneaking up on anyone. :)

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apenland01

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I will second the engine mounted oil tank sucking.  I have now replaced mine twice.  First time was when I first bought it, the magnetic sensor inside the tank came unglued and caused a low oil alarm, even though the tank was full.  The second one was about 6 months ago when I had an oil leak and it was coming from the lid on the engine mounted oil tank...

BarryFL

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Same exact problems. Magnet came loose. Replaced tank. Rubber O ring in cap on 2nd one leaked but I just replaced it. All on all, for a 20 year old motor, that EFI ran great otherwise.

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I've got an 08 250.  Other than an injector issue in 2015 it's been perfect.

Still screams like a banshee at WOT.

FYI - SPEND THE MONEY on a good starting battery and most of the gremlins on a opti stay away.

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WTodd

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It was loud, though. Weren't sneaking up on anyone. :)

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FWIW, I had a 2001 Opti 225 up until 18 months ago. Never had any issues other than the oil tank on the motor but that's not a major issue. Ran like a scolded dog and would push my 2001 Triton TR21, which was a heavy boat with Talons and 4 31 series AGM batteries, over 65mph per GPS. Annual maintenance was all I ever did for the 4 years I owned it. Did compression check when I sold it and all 6 cylinders were with specs. It was loud, though. Weren't sneaking up on anyone. :)

~Barry~
Barry wasn’t yours one of the EFI motors and not one of the Optimax motors?

Very similar in look.  The EFI was Mercs first Electronic Fuel Injected motor. The Optimax came next.

Both were sold during the time period of say 2001-2005 or so. Due to the early “Optipop” issues a lot of guys wanted the EFI motor. Worst fuel mileage and oil use though with the EFI.

After the Optimax issues were figured out they became pretty flawless machines.


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Yep the old OptiPOP's... as mentioned it was a temperature issues. Folks would back them off the trailer and WOT down the lake. Those that let them warm up and paid attention to them with regular maintenance  got years of use.

Just make sure your mechanic gives it a once over and then continue with good bi annual service and you should be good to go.

Over my years I've learned that a motor that makes it first the first couple hundred hours is generally a solid build and if taken care of will continue to be reliable. Meaning don't be afraid of an old motor, if it's been taken care of, it will take care of you. Now if it's had head replacements, or other major issues I'd probably be leery.
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BarryFL

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Mine was an EFI, sorry, Fred's right.

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Bassinkorea

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I have a 2005 150hp Opti and it has been and still is a great motor. I've had mine for almost 10 years and like others have mentioned, I too had issues with the motor mounted oil tank, replaced it last year and all is fine.
Back in 2014 one of the bolts that hold the compressor onto the block came out with me knowing and that lead to the compressor coming loose and actually snapped the casing. Not a cheap repair?replacement, so just check all the bolts on a regular basis.
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scbassfanatic

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Thanks for all the information guys. I really appreciate it.