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  1. #1
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    Cold running an Optimax

    The first thing I want to talk about is cold water through a cold motor..
    1) A outboard motor does not warm up very fast if at all at an idle in cold water.
    2)Thermostats can only help it warm up so fast if you have 40 +/- deg. water running through your power head.
    So how do you run a Opti or other outboard under these conditions?
    1) Idle at least 3-4 minutes minimum.
    2) Take off easy.....Do NOT hammer down from an idle while still cold. Take it easy for a ways. Increase the RPM's gradual.
    3) Make sure your thermostats are working properly!
    * This one is very important ... (I had this happen to me) I was running a 2004 225 Opti in 40 deg. water, motor was running at 130 deg range it picked up a pebble and stuck it in a thermostat (held it open) I had Smart Craft gauges and always have it on eng. temp in cold weather/water..
    When the thermostat got stuck open it cooled the motor down to less than 80 degrees!...It would NOT go above 80 degrees even at WOT!
    So what's the problem??
    First you have a certain amount of clearance between the piston and cylinder wall.
    example... cyl bore on a 200/225 Opti is 3.6265 in. (std.) The piston has approx. dia. of 3.6210... So you have approx. .0055 piston to cylinder wall clearance...
    Now when a motor heats up it expands...So when it's up to normal operating temp. the piston and cylinder wall are both a larger diameter.
    When you run a cold motor hard or up to WOT real quick what happens is the piston gets hot much faster than a cylinder wall that has cold water against the outside of it....The hot piston expands but the cylinder wall hasn't yet....What happens from there is called a Cold Seize.. The expanded piston don't have the .0055 clearance needed and it will seize or stick to the cylinder wall. If it seizes/sticks running @ 5500 RPM + it just rips the wrist pin/connecting rod right out of the piston...The connecting rod will go out of control and end up out through the side of the block...At this point the power head is destroyed...This is one of biggest failure issue of a Optimax and one that can be avoided by just following the above info.by making sure it warms up and has time to warm up right ........Sherm

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  3. Member
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    #2

    Re: Cold running an Optimax (shermsmarine)

    Great post Sherm. This applies to all DFI engines with close tolerances.



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    #3

    Re: Cold running an Optimax (Won Hunglo)

    Great post!

    Now is there a way to install a temp gauge short of going with the expensive Smart Craft system? If not can you install the Smart Craft system on an existing motor. Also, what would that cost (approximately)?

    "...what do I know, I sell screws?"

  5. Banned
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    #4

    Re: Cold running an Optimax (shermsmarine)

    This sounds like good info for all 2 strokes, correct?

  6. Member Team BassWacker Steve M's Avatar
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    #5

    Re: Cold running an Optimax (MikeBTexas)

    I'm with Muskie can a temp gage be added . I have a 99 200 opti

  7. Member
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    #6

    Re: Cold running an Optimax (Bassman)

    That was a really interesting post.

    Thanks

    JT Bagwell
    Check me out on most social media and YouTube @BagwellFishing - It won't suck that bad if you do. :)

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    #7

    Re: Cold running an Optimax (Muskie Treats)

    Guy's if you have a '02 or newer motor that is Smart Craft ready I'd recommend installing a Smart Craft SC1000 system monitor.. It will give you an accurate eng. temp along with several other very useful/important features.(depending on application)
    There are 2 styles available..The original square faced unit that's $211.00 (MSRP) or a newer round faced version that's $237.80 (MSRP) The only other thing you need is the data cable and it's $75.65 (MSRP)
    The square monitor fits in a 2 1/8 " hole like trim or water psi gauge would while the round version requires a 3 3/8 " hole which is the same size as a standard tach or speedo...
    I personally would not be without the valuable info of what SmartCraft offers so I will even do this....
    Any of you that are registered BBC members and have SmartCraft compatible rigs and interested in upgrading your rigs to this I'll sell you a monitor (your choice) and data cable at a 15% discount off of the above prices and include shipping to your door...... Sherm

    UPDATE... This post is from back in '05 so prices are incorrect today...I do still give BBC member's 10% on all parts & accessories and still offer free freight......10/6/08

  9. Member
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    #8

    Re: Cold running an Optimax (shermsmarine)

    Sherm thanks for the great information. Just got off the phone with my service tech. I have the SC1000 with my Opti and I asked him why I don't have temp readout. Oops!! It should have been programed in when I bought my Ranger. They also didn't provide me with a manuel so I could program it myself. He has one on his desk with my name on it now. Again thanks for the great information.

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    #9

    Re: Cold running an Optimax (Hersh185)

    How do we know if our motor is Smart Craft ready? I've got an 04 soon to be 05.

    Does anyone know what size hole in-dash flashers use? My boat came with a Zercom that prompty broke after warrenty so I have that space available. Otherwise I don't know where I'd put it on a 04 Procraft 210SP. Any ideas?

    Also, my friend has a 99 with a recently replaced powerhead that would also like to upgrade as well. Any information about the compatibility of that motor?

    "...what do I know, I sell screws?"

  11. Moderator
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    #10

    Re: Cold running an Optimax (Muskie Treats)

    All Opti's & V6 EFI's '02 and newer are SmartCraft ready along w/ several 4 stroke EFI's....
    I think the flasher uses a 3 3/8" hole
    The ' 99 isn't unless they upgraded it with a completely dressed powerhead so it's newer than ' 02.........Sherm

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    #11

    Re: Cold running an Optimax (shermsmarine)

    Sherm,

    In your opinion, do you think there are more problems with DFI motors up north where the water is colder because of this issue?

    Thanks.
    Chris Anderson
    2014 Ranger Z119C 225 Pro XS

  13. Member
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    #12

    Re: Cold running an Optimax (ChrisR71)

    Sherm I have Smart Craft on my 01 225 I think that it monitors the temp on 1 head only,is there a way to change it to both heads. Matt



    Matt Gish
    Crossplains Kentucky

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    #13

    Re: Cold running an Optimax (shermsmarine)

    So if I order one can install this myself? How difficult is it for a DIY guy?

  15. Member
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    #14

    Re: Cold running an Optimax (shermsmarine)

    Great information, Sherm! Hope it saves future problems for our memebers. Is the new Opti 225 Pro XS compatible with the Smart Craft SC 1000?

  16. Member namgrunt's Avatar
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    #15

    Re: Cold running an Optimax (brenlen)

    Sherm, this is very good information, thanks.

    Now, a question for you.
    I just purchased a 1999 Champion, with a '99 150 Opti-Max on it.
    Is this motorcapable of using this system setup? and what is entailed to install this, if indeed it is capable of using the system?

    Thanks!!

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    #16

    Re: Cold running an Optimax (brenlen)

    All of the Mercury engines that are "SmartCraft Ready" should have a decal on the engine cowl that states: "SmartCraft Ready". Even the small EFI 4 strokes are "SmartCraft" ready. This means you have a variety of guage options from the small, simple system monitor to the larger (tv-like screen) system-view system.
    The guages are multi-function, but all provide pgtails out the back of the guage so you can add (or link) to additional guages if you want that 747 instrument panel look!!

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    #17

    Re: Cold running an Optimax (sosmerc)

    http://www.mercurymarine.com/united_states

    Click on SmartCraft on the left hand side and there are additional links to a chart that shows the various guage options and features available for particular engine models.

  19. Member namgrunt's Avatar
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    #18

    Re: Cold running an Optimax (sosmerc)

    Let's try this again, so pay attention............I was asking if the 99 opti max 150's were able to use one of the systems Sherm was talking about............got it??

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    #19

    Re: Cold running an Optimax (namgrunt)

    The 99's ARE NOT "Smartcraft Ready"...they are considered "Analog" motors...you have to have a "Digital" model in order to hook up to ANY of the SmartCraft guages.
    There are Analog to Digital Conversion Kits available, but they are for 2000 Optimax engines...not the 99's.
    Sounds like you are outa luck if you want to go SmartCraft!

  21. Member namgrunt's Avatar
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    #20

    Re: Cold running an Optimax (sosmerc)

    No, as the Champion has a 4 way type of monitor on the dash that acts like a monitor and informs you of trouble.
    I found this out today. But after the thread was posted.

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