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Thread: Mercury 200 optimax sportjet question

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    Member Hoyt's Avatar
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    Default Mercury 200 optimax sportjet question

    Well I sold my old boat and for the first time in a long time I'm looking for a new boat. I've had both inboards and outboards. I'm leaning toward outboard. I've also looked at a few boats with the 200 sportjet. I'm familiar with their weight to power, and overall great performance. I work with several guys that have had them in the past. I've heard tons of horror stories from the guys at work about the terrible reliability of them etc. the multiple stories from different folks have me gun shy to consider one. Are the newernew sportjets more reliable than the older models? Any information would be appreciated! Thanks in advance.
    "If I could shoot a game bird and still not hurt it, the way I can take a trout on a fly and release it, I doubt if I would kill another one." George Bird Evans

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    Member skybust's Avatar
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    Ive got three hundred hours on my sportjet the boat is a SJX and havent had a problem. I did replace reeds last year but from what I understand thats normal.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Hoyt View Post
    Well I sold my old boat and for the first time in a long time I'm looking for a new boat. I've had both inboards and outboards. I'm leaning toward outboard. I've also looked at a few boats with the 200 sportjet. I'm familiar with their weight to power, and overall great performance. I work with several guys that have had them in the past. I've heard tons of horror stories from the guys at work about the terrible reliability of them etc. the multiple stories from different folks have me gun shy to consider one. Are the newernew sportjets more reliable than the older models? Any information would be appreciated! Thanks in advance.
    I have a 20'10 Wooldridge XL with a sportjet and I love it. I have not have any problems since I bought it. I will probably never buy a river boat again with a outboard. I prefer owning a inboard jet over a outboard. I'm pretty sure if the motor is maintained properly it will treat you good. Breakdowns do happen tho on new and old.

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    Member Sobie2's Avatar
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    The outboard Optimax is a proven reliable motor, the Optimax SJ is still really good. And yes the performance of a 200hp SJ may indeed be 2x better than a jet equipped 200hp Optimax outboard. Also the reliability of a SJ is probably better than an inboard.

    But they all have their pros & cons. Outboard jets are light and simple for a skiff, the SJ is middle ground but way fast, the inboard is for carrying massive loads.

    Sobie2

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    Member Hoyt's Avatar
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    I thought this video was interesting. Still hoping more respond. Thanks for the info already provided by you guys. New boats are not cheap and I want to make the best choice that will last.

    "If I could shoot a game bird and still not hurt it, the way I can take a trout on a fly and release it, I doubt if I would kill another one." George Bird Evans

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    A small block V8 coupled to a durable jet unit (Kodiak, Hamilton, or Scott) is really worth the additional investment over the sport jet if you intend to put higher hours on the boat or carry large loads. There is no denying the reliability and durability of a V8. If you go the route of an inboard don't waste your time with a 302, 305, or a V6. A Chevy 350 weighs the same but has considerably more power than a 302, 305, or a V6.

    It seems that the sport jet lifespan has been pretty hit and miss over the years. What turned me off from the sport jets is that all of the boats for sale have had new power heads installed and aren't really that old. When running, they are sporty little motors but lack the torque of an inboard V8.

    I personally would not consider running an outboard with a jet foot. Way too much power loss at only 65% efficiency when compared to an inboard at around 85% efficiency. I don't drive my boat fast, but when cruising at around 3200 RPMs with my inboard I pass up outboard jets like they are standing still.

    That is my opinion on the topic.

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    I just switched from the outboard jet world to inboard jets. No comparison in my book - inboard is the way to go. I ran a merc 115 hp outboard jet for a while and it performed great and was not too loud. Just picked up an 18' Extreme Shallow with 200 Optimax Sport Jet. I was in your shoes hearing horror stories about the motor and mechanics calling them the Opti-Pop. Anyhow, got a long warranty on the motor - I believe you can get up to 8 years. That said, warranties are worthless if you have to use the warranty a bunch. I have 10 hours on the boat already this year on the Opti SJ and it is badass. Lightweight, powerful package and pretty darn quiet - noise level comparable to my 4 stroke 115 outboard.

    Long term plan is to run the piss out of it the next 5 years under warranty and then look at re-powering with a diesel or 4 stroke with a big pump.

    Had it 52 miles up the Salcha last week.

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    Quote Originally Posted by RuttingBull View Post
    A small block V8 coupled to a durable jet unit (Kodiak, Hamilton, or Scott) is really worth the additional investment over the sport jet if you intend to put higher hours on the boat or carry large loads. There is no denying the reliability and durability of a V8. If you go the route of an inboard don't waste your time with a 302, 305, or a V6. A Chevy 350 weighs the same but has considerably more power than a 302, 305, or a V6.

    It seems that the sport jet lifespan has been pretty hit and miss over the years. What turned me off from the sport jets is that all of the boats for sale have had new power heads installed and aren't really that old. When running, they are sporty little motors but lack the torque of an inboard V8.

    I personally would not consider running an outboard with a jet foot. Way too much power loss at only 65% efficiency when compared to an inboard at around 85% efficiency. I don't drive my boat fast, but when cruising at around 3200 RPMs with my inboard I pass up outboard jets like they are standing still.

    That is my opinion on the topic.
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    V8 =bullet proof. regular maintance and it is the energizer bunny. 300+ hours on my 350 zero issues. Put new plugs, wires, cap and rotor in last year even though it did not need it. change the oil on it every season average 30 hours a season. doesnt use a drop. but hey im weird, i love the sound of a V8...... plus 10 gal an hour average i aint complaining to much
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    I don't disagree with the V8. Like I said I've had them. They are great no doubt, but they take up so much room in the boat, and weigh a heck of a lot more. Itís hard to beat a good ole V8 though. Anyway, like I said, I'm looking for information on the durability and longevity of the 200 optimax SJ. I have heard tons of bad stories. I have been in boats with them, and there is no doubt they are performers. However it doesnít matter how great they perform if they spend lots of time in the shop. Thanks again to all of those who have responded.
    "If I could shoot a game bird and still not hurt it, the way I can take a trout on a fly and release it, I doubt if I would kill another one." George Bird Evans

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    I purchased a new Hewescraft Sport Jet a few years ago ad I couldn't be happier. I can go to the lake and take the kids tubing. I can run the rivers un the interior (and the water gets real **** skinny in the fall) and I can run to valdez and fish without and hesitation. I love my SportJet. the performance is amazing. When I bought my boa, the dealer put 50 hours on and did a complete check to make sure that the engine was operating correctly and they went through the motor with me and showed me what I needed to do to maintain it. If I have any question I can call the dealer and they will gladly help me out. I completely wash my boat down and flush the engine after I run rivers or ocean. Often times ill stop at the lake on the way home and run the boat for a bit just to make sure she's clean. I am very happy with my sporty and I and getting ready for a trip out for memorial day weekend.
    What are ya...a fisherman...or a catcherman?

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    Member DanielApplin's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sobie2 View Post
    The outboard Optimax is a proven reliable motor, the Optimax SJ is still really good. And yes the performance of a 200hp SJ may indeed be 2x better than a jet equipped 200hp Optimax outboard. Also the reliability of a SJ is probably better than an inboard.

    But they all have their pros & cons. Outboard jets are light and simple for a skiff, the SJ is middle ground but way fast, the inboard is for carrying massive loads.

    Sobie2
    Not to sure about a SJ being more reliable than an inboard V8 engine, especially when you factor in the pump reliability as well. And it seems the OB jet performs as well as the SJ on a lake at least (video).

    I have driven a SJ and a V8 in the exact same boat (18' extreme shallow). Top speed is similar, both are to heavy for one guy to push off the rocks so the weight complaint makes no sense, and both burn the same amount of fuel (until heavy). I own the one with the V8 and never think about wanting a SJ.

    I personally dont have experience with the mercury engine failures i hear about so not much help there but there are thousands of them out there and hundreds more each year so they must work Ok.

    What will you be using it for mostly? That can narrow it down quite a bit.

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    Quote Originally Posted by DanielApplin View Post
    Not to sure about a SJ being more reliable than an inboard V8 engine, especially when you factor in the pump reliability as well. And it seems the OB jet performs as well as the SJ on a lake at least (video).

    I have driven a SJ and a V8 in the exact same boat (18' extreme shallow). Top speed is similar, both are to heavy for one guy to push off the rocks so the weight complaint makes no sense, and both burn the same amount of fuel (until heavy). I own the one with the V8 and never think about wanting a SJ.

    I personally dont have experience with the mercury engine failures i hear about so not much help there but there are thousands of them out there and hundreds more each year so they must work Ok.

    What will you be using it for mostly? That can narrow it down quite a bit.
    Like all of the boats I've had before it, I'll use it for everything. I spend a fair amount of time on the Salcha and Chena rivers though. What I'm really looking for is a Wooldridge Sport. I like its versatility. Just not sure if an outboard or SJ would fit my needs best. Plus like I said, I'm gun shy on the SJ durability. I know of at least 4 guys at work who have had major issues with theirs.
    "If I could shoot a game bird and still not hurt it, the way I can take a trout on a fly and release it, I doubt if I would kill another one." George Bird Evans

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    Quote Originally Posted by akfisherman View Post
    I purchased a new Hewescraft Sport Jet a few years ago ad I couldn't be happier. I can go to the lake and take the kids tubing. I can run the rivers un the interior (and the water gets real **** skinny in the fall) and I can run to valdez and fish without and hesitation. I love my SportJet. the performance is amazing. When I bought my boa, the dealer put 50 hours on and did a complete check to make sure that the engine was operating correctly and they went through the motor with me and showed me what I needed to do to maintain it. If I have any question I can call the dealer and they will gladly help me out. I completely wash my boat down and flush the engine after I run rivers or ocean. Often times ill stop at the lake on the way home and run the boat for a bit just to make sure she's clean. I am very happy with my sporty and I and getting ready for a trip out for memorial day weekend.
    Thanks for the info. I see you said the dealer put 50 hours on the motor for you? That's seems like lot of hours. Most people truly don't even put 50 hours on a boat in a season. I just looked at a new Hewescraft with a SJ at Compeaus the other day. Super nice boat. Sounds like your pretty happy with your boat. How shallow will that boat run for you?
    "If I could shoot a game bird and still not hurt it, the way I can take a trout on a fly and release it, I doubt if I would kill another one." George Bird Evans

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    Ive had my Extreme Shallow with a SJ for 5 seasons and have over 200 hours. The only item I have replaced is one fuel pump and that was at the end of last year. I would recommend a kicker to get you out of trouble or back to shore if your SJ craps out and help is not readily available.

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    Quote Originally Posted by DanielApplin View Post
    Not to sure about a SJ being more reliable than an inboard V8 engine, especially when you factor in the pump reliability as well. .
    I have to clarify that I live in Southeast AK and you have to run in the salt to get to the rivers, and that aspect makes for corrosion in exhaust elbows and manifolds, that and it is so soggy here that the motor iron always turns to rust.

    A 100% freshwater V8 will not have that problem and will be super reliable also.

    Sobie2

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    Hewescraft requires the dealer to run the new motor. Last year I was running the chena in about 4" of water and passed a thunder jet that bottomed out.
    Craig Compeau is a great guy to deal with.

    Last August I ran my sporty in Valdez everyday for a month


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    Quote Originally Posted by akfisherman View Post
    Hewescraft requires the dealer to run the new motor. Last year I was running the chena in about 4" of water and passed a thunder jet that bottomed out.
    Craig Compeau is a great guy to deal with.

    Last August I ran my sporty in Valdez everyday for a month


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    Thank you for the info. I'm just surprised its for 50hrs. That's a bunch of time. I guess they will know for sure its broke in right. What's the deadrise on your boat?
    "If I could shoot a game bird and still not hurt it, the way I can take a trout on a fly and release it, I doubt if I would kill another one." George Bird Evans

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    Member akfisherman's Avatar
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    31 forward 10 aft


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    Quote Originally Posted by Hoyt View Post
    Thank you for the info. I'm just surprised its for 50hrs. That's a bunch of time. I guess they will know for sure its broke in right. What's the deadrise on your boat?
    You're welcome to look it over if you're in fairbanks or North Pole


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  20. #20

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    50 Hours is a DEMO Boat.

    There is no requirement from Mercury to have a dealer or installer run a SJ for 50 hours. 50 min is what is in my Opti 200 SJ Owners manual.
    As requested in another thread, here is Mercury's Sport Jet Break In procedure. Because the Sport Jet has no thermostat, intake water temps play a crucial role in a successful break in, the warmer-the better. Avoid breaking in in water temps below 50F. While on the trlr, avoid going from 5000 +/- rpms to idle. , if you must shut down during a break in, turn the key off, do not idle.

    Step 1: First 40 minutes - Keep the boat on the trlr. Place the boat and trlr in water that is deep enough to submerge the water intake grate. Keep the bow attached and tight to the trlr, but remove or loosen the rear straps to allow the boat to float at the rear. Run the engine at the listed run time and at the RPM speed.

    First 10 min @ 2500

    Next 10 Min @ 3000

    Next 5 Min @ 4000

    Next 5 Min @ 4500

    Next 5 Min @ 5000

    Step 2: Next 14 minutes- Remove the boat from the trlr and run on the water. The run times for the first four WOT encounters are very critical. Keep the run time within the given range. Run the eng at the listed RPM speed.
    Quote Originally Posted by akfisherman View Post
    You're welcome to look it over if you're in fairbanks or North Pole


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