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  • Opitmax Sport Jet Life Expectancy

    Hey All. I am in the early stages of looking for a new river boat. Looking at all the standard setups. While talking to a respected boat shop, the topic of life expectancy of the 200 Optimax Sport Jet came up. The answer was 700-900 hours is about all one can expect do to the nature of the engine, after that by a new power head. I thought this was kinda crazy and asked others and the answer was the same. The shop in question was not trying to talk me out of the motor they were actually pushing it. The logic is its cheaper to buy a new powerhead for around 6-7 versus having to buy a new outboard. I also asked if after the 7-9 hundred hours why not rebuild and the response was it wasn't an option.

    I come from an outboard back ground and it just seems crazy that a motor would be sold with a definitive death date. I understand the logic of replacing cheaper than you can buy a new outboard but the time frame given seems so short to me. I get that if you run 100 hours a year you would get 9 years out of the powerhead. I guess when I think of a engine it should last thousands of hours.

    Any one have any experience with these motors want to weigh in. What was your life span? Is it still running. Any one ever rebuild?

    Thanks for the help.

  • #2
    I'm sure I'm going to get slammed for saying this but I passed up a opti 200 for a 350 inboard. All my buddies have the sportjet and they have all had their little issues with the sportjet 240 and 200. The 240 had to be rebuilt at 290 hours because it dropped a ring and again at 520 hours, I wasn't impressed with the vibrations and noise they had but boy can they scoot. They run shallow and they are light, but I didn't want to mess with oil and the wife didn't like the noise.

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    • #3
      These engines certainly have had their issues. I own one that is now at 150 Hrs and at the point in its life where one can expect, so I'm told, for the reed valves to be at the beginning stages of work hardening and beginning to start shedding tiny chips off the edges. These chips make their way through and into everywhere you don't want them. The fix is Boyesen Reeds (composite vs. stainless steel stock reeds), thereby eliminating just another way for the Opti to crap itself. All that said, I love how this motor runs, don't really care for its noise either but can improve a number of things there, fuel economy is good. Still love the rumble of an inboard V-8 though. Now, the last thought. Any of you outboard guys out there have any hard numbers on the life expectancy of say, a Johnson or Evinrude V-4? Lets be fair in that they are 2 Strokes as well so how long do they last really, no BS. You can hardly compare them with the life expectancy of a marine 4 stroke V-8. Oz

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      • #4
        The life expectancy of any motor depends on many variables, will a lite wieght 2 stroke last as long as a iron v8, no , but how the motor is run and maintained will greatly influence service life. The optimax motors are very sensitive to propper break in procedures, the first hour can make a big difference in life of the motor. Reeds can fail at 150 to 200 hrs if the motor is run hard, I have had good luck with aftermarket reeds but not the Boysens in sportjets. The compressors sometimes fail at 7 or 800 hrs if fun in dusty silty conditions. The 2011 optimax motors are more efficent and use less oil (3 star rated). The worst failures I have seen on sportjets have been piston siezures were the writpin pulls out of the piston and the rod windows the block, these failures are usually due to overheat, detonation or lean mixture. A new complete powerhead, ready to run is over 8,000 now. Boats are always a tradeoff if you want a lite boat with a pump and motor under 350 lbs then the sportjet is great. A 750 lb smallblock with a 150 lb jet will last longer but at a wieght penalty

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        • #5
          I did a ton of research and got the same answers as you did, After 700 hrs your on borrowed time. They are loud and you need to buy gas and 2 stroke oil (added cost). The sport jet inboards 200 is light weight but you do not get the benefits of a 4 stroke inboard like heat. They still take up the room inside the boat though. People who have them due to light weight are going to places with very little water.

          Think about where you plan on running, how much do you want to haul , etc.
          I got a ton more info from the LOWER 48 then in Alaska. OR dealers weres a ton of help for some reason.

          GOOD LUCK on what ever you decide.

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          • #6
            Thanks for the input and opinions. Have a good one.

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            • #7
              akgravelpumper,

              What reeds do you recommend and why?

              I have 300 hours on my 200 opti sj and have been doing some spring maintenance.
              I just checked Compression and found all is well, all 6 @ 124-127
              I would like to replace the reeds, but am on the fence as to what brand, any input helps.


              Thanks

              Jason

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              • #8
                I like the TDR reeds, they were recomended to me buy a merc race engine builder, they are made of a composite material similar to your average snowmobile reeds. I have had good luck with these reeds. Some like Boysens and the perform well but I have heard reports of shorter service life, the inner petals curl. there are some carbon fiber reeds on the market also but they cost more and have no advantage at sportjet rpms. any composite reed is better than the stainless ones if they fail. $150 to $200 is the avg. price for aftermarket reeds, merc reeds are sold as a reedcage assy, about $175 per reedcage.

                A question for those that say 700 hours and you are on borrowed time, does anyone have a mechanical explanation for this? Is it a merc installed doomsday timer? The reason I ask is the terminal failures I have seen are due to piston siezure, not parts wearing out, pistons sieze from overheat, detonation, carboned up rings or particle ingestion. clogged cooling systems, bad fuel, fragged reeds, and lack of maint can shorten the life of these motors, but many can and do live past 900 hrs. proper break in , good oil proper warmup good fuel and decarbonizing the motor on a regular basis (merc. quickclean every 3 or 4 tanks of fuel) will help extend the life of these motors.

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by akgravelpumper View Post
                  I like the TDR reeds, they were recomended to me buy a merc race engine builder, they are made of a composite material similar to your average snowmobile reeds. I have had good luck with these reeds. Some like Boysens and the perform well but I have heard reports of shorter service life, the inner petals curl. there are some carbon fiber reeds on the market also but they cost more and have no advantage at sportjet rpms. any composite reed is better than the stainless ones if they fail. $150 to $200 is the avg. price for aftermarket reeds, merc reeds are sold as a reedcage assy, about $175 per reedcage.

                  A question for those that say 700 hours and you are on borrowed time, does anyone have a mechanical explanation for this? Is it a merc installed doomsday timer? The reason I ask is the terminal failures I have seen are due to piston siezure, not parts wearing out, pistons sieze from overheat, detonation, carboned up rings or particle ingestion. clogged cooling systems, bad fuel, fragged reeds, and lack of maint can shorten the life of these motors, but many can and do live past 900 hrs. proper break in , good oil proper warmup good fuel and decarbonizing the motor on a regular basis (merc. quickclean every 3 or 4 tanks of fuel) will help extend the life of these motors.
                  Hope I dont sound foolish what is decarbonizing and how is it done where do you get the merc quickclean. Thanks Chris
                  Is it opening day of duck season yet
                  Member of Alaska Waterfowl Association

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                  • #10
                    Removing the carbon deposits from the combustion chamber and piston crown, if left to build to much it can cause performance issues from poor running, detonation and stuck rings. Quickclean can be found at any of your friendly merc dealers, other manufacturers have similar stuff, yamaha ring free, omc power tune ect. Run it every few tanks. If you have carbon build up sometimes a concentrated dose and an 8 hour soak is the ticket

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                    • #11
                      Been following this thread for the last week and I know its mostly concerning Sport Jets, but wouldnt the same issues/ concerns apply to the Optimax outboards? Just wondering........
                      "FREEDOM" Only those that are denied truly know what it means.

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                      • #12
                        Yes most of this is aplicable to all optimax motors. I do not think the outboards use the same rubber covered reed cage as the sportjet optis. The old 240 sportjet used composite reeds that seemed to last forever, the new optimax xs race motors use carbon fiber reeds from the factory

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                        • #13
                          So I had the same question as akgramps. So from what you're saying the optimax is really a 700-900 hour motor? I thought outboards were 1000s of hour motors....or is that just the 4 strokes? If so why?
                          sigpic

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                          • #14
                            I do not agree with the notion of the opti being a 7-900 hour motor, I believe they can last much longer than that with proper maint. Reeds seem to last longer on the outboards than jets, maybe vibration, harmonics ? maybe there is a reason they put ruber coated reed cages in the sportjet. The point of my earlier posts is aside frome a few easilly handled issues the optis are good motors, how they are run and maintained make a big difference in how long they last. Believe it or not there is a lot of equiptment in this state that does not always get the best maintainence, good oil, good fuel and a little love. You will always hear about the motors that fail with low hours especially on the www, you dont hear about the ones that keep runnuing. some of the boats they are installed in dont last 900 hours either but thats a different topic

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                            • #15
                              Thanks akgravelpumper

                              I have reeds on the way.

                              thanks again

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