: Mercury EFI vs. Optimax

06-25-2002, 07:36 AM
I am looking at new boats. I see that mercury makes an EFI model as well as an Optimax 150. What is the difference? (besides a couple thousand dollars)Does anyone have experience of one vs. the other.

06-25-2002, 09:34 AM
They are both fuel injected but the Optimax is a different type of fuel injection system that provides better economy. The Optimax is also able to be connected to the SmartCraft gauge system.

I was told that the EFI will perform slighly better then the Opti but the economy of the Opti is quite a bit better.

I went with the Opti and would do it again. Great economy, low smoke. Plus I really like the SmartCraft gauges.

06-25-2002, 09:58 AM
Just a side note, at wide open throttle they are almost identical in fuel consumption. I have an EFI. The Opti gets better fuel economy at lower rpms. However, I have two speeds WOT and STOP so it wasn't an issue for me (just kidding :-)).

Best Regards,


06-25-2002, 10:22 AM
Thats very interesting I had never heard that before.

How much of a difference is there at the speeds in between? Is it a large difference like 20% or is most of it just the Mercury Marketing engine trying to pull the wool over us customers? :)

Also, any comments on the performance between the 2?

Bad Finger
06-25-2002, 10:26 AM
Not to mention that the standard Carb'ed models are close to the EFI's at WOT.....

06-25-2002, 10:52 AM
I don't have the exact numbers. Bass & Walleye Boats magazine has done shootouts between engines and it's interesting that at WOT the fuel consumption data is virtually identical between the various 2006 (?) EPA compliant engines (Ficht, HPDI and Optimax) and EFI's. I believe that the Optimax engine (as well as the Ficht and maybe HPDI) does offer savings on oil consumption as compared to an EFI. People usually don't count oil into their fuel costs, but at $14.00 per gallon it can add up. Look up some back issues of B&W Boats and the numbers will be there. If you can't find any let me know and I'll go diggin' I know I have them somewhere :-).

Best Regards,


06-25-2002, 10:55 AM
The fuel savings with the Opti is significant - at least 20% and as much as 30% better. Also, if the EFI has better performance, I sure can't see it. In fact, I think the Opti has more punch and better throttle response than the EFI.

My 200 Opti sits in storage all winter and fires up with a single turn of the key and never misses a beat. And trolls down to 450 rpms and puts out much less smoke than an EFI. Get the Opti - I wouldn't want anything but a DFI on my boat.

Bad Finger
06-25-2002, 11:01 AM
FJH is correct. That article was as close as BWB has come to actually saying someting negative about and advertiser's product. All V-6 outboards suck gas at WOT!

Here is my question to the engineering world: If "High Pressure Direct Injection" was so great, (And they claim 40 % increase in fuel economy) way have the car makers not jumped on the bandwagon? I want 50 MPG out of my Chevy pickup!!

06-25-2002, 12:19 PM
But, at WOT they both suck gas at virtually the same rate. Personally, when I'm running, I'm usually running at WOT unless the waves limit me. In waves at less than WOT the direct inject engine would be more favorable. I troll with a 4-stroke kicker, I'd rather put the endless trolling hours on a $2500 engine rather than an $11,000+ engine. I went through this when I looked at engines and it's a major reason why I went with EFI over direct inject. Plus, I really want the engineers to work out the bugs as opposed to me spending $10,000+ to be a lab rat, for now I'm sticking with EFI. Also, the current big 4-stroke Honda and Yamaha suck gas at WOT. To my knowledge, at WOT they are no better than an EFI. Just my opinions based upon stuff I've read, not trying to stir the pot :-).

Best Regards,


06-25-2002, 12:41 PM
I would like to know the article so that I can back order it. Is that magazine (bass and walleye boats) helpful when choosing your rig? I have time to make a decision and would like to make a very, very informed one. I am way more interested in a motor that will always run, no issues, and put a little more gas in it.

06-25-2002, 01:09 PM
I'll take a look through my back issues and find the articles.

Yes and no, B & W Boats can be helpful in picking a boat, but they have a major bias towards people who advertise in their publication and they rarely say a negative word about an advertisers product. They usually "let the consumer decide..." a bunch of bunk in my opinion, but occasionally you can read between the lines. The tech tips can be very useful and for that aspect I keep my subscription alive. Also, keep in mind that the first part of their name is "Bass", thus there is a big bias towards bass boats and very high horsepower and speed. Persoannly I don't mind this, it's fun to read about a boat that can crack the 100 mph mark, then set down and catch a green carp :-).

Best Regards,


06-25-2002, 08:55 PM
Ok, I found some of the issues in question. January 2001 (volume 8, number 1, issue 46). This issue does an outboard shootout between the Yamaha VMax HPDI, Mercury Optimax and Evinrude Ficht RAM, all were 150hp. The wide open throttle MPG figures are as follows 3.7, 3.6 and 3.6 respectively. June 2001 (volume 8, number 6, issue 51). This issue discusses the Yamaha VMax 250, MPG at wide open throttle = 3.1. October 2001 (volume 8, number 8, issue 53). This issue reviews the Yamaha 225 4-Stroke and the Honda 225 4-Stroke. They scored 3.1 MPG and 2.7 MPG at WOT respectively. May 2002 (volume 9, number 5, issue 59). This issue pitts the Yamaha F200 (4-stroke) against the Yamaha 200 HPDI (2-stroke), mounted on identical boats (Skeeter ZX2200). The WOT MPG figures are 2.7 and 2.5 respectively. The current August 2002 pitts the Mercury Pro XB 250 (EFI) against the Yamaha VMax 250 (EFI). At WOT they delivered 2.9 and 2.7 MPG respectively. Most every issue seems to have an article with fuel consumption results for a different engine. Again, I readily admit that the "EPA green" engines have better MPG numbers in the mid range of RPM's, not staggeringly better, but better nonetheless. But for the basis of my argument I'm only looking at numbers where I seem to spend most of my time - wide open throttle. Hope this helps somewhat.

Best Regards,


06-25-2002, 09:16 PM
because the big money oil companys wont let that happen .

06-25-2002, 11:35 PM
Oh boy, here we go. Hate to go off on a tangent, but I'm curious how the "big oil companies" would stop them. What pressure can they exert?

06-26-2002, 04:16 AM
funding goverment officals goes a long way

06-26-2002, 05:59 AM
Okay, I am sure I will get beat up on this one but one of the main differences is that the Opti blows up the power head much more frequently. I am not going to get into a discussion on this but I have 4 fishing buddies, all with opti's that have blown them up at least once and one of them twice. These are not the 150's but bigger. I hope they have solved that problem but from what I have heard, still not sure about that.

Just make sure you check into this issue before purchase. The EFI is a very reliable motor and hopefully the new 2003 OPTI is as well.

06-26-2002, 11:30 AM
$14.00 /gallon? I'm assuming you mean regular two stroke oil. Best I've found for Opti oil is $40.00 for 2-1/2 gallons, and that's through a friend who works at a dealer. If you know where a guy can get it cheaper please tell. I love my Opti, but I'm like you, WOT or stop...lol. Not sure yet if the extra dollars spent is worth the little bit of oil or fuel saved. A couple grand buys a lot of gas and oil over the course of 3-4 years. I do like the hum of the Opti though. Pretty livable, and my last motor was a Big Honda 4 stroker.

06-26-2002, 01:58 PM
It's also because there are a lot more readers with bass boats. They do their market reasearch and then produce the mag. accordingly. You have to keep advertisers to run a mag. Consumer reports, when it comes to ratings of a mower, a car or truck can be way off. I've owned four used vehicles that were rated as average for ownership satisfaction as used vehicles. They were the most trouble free I've ever owned...less trouble than some highly rated (by them) new vehicles I've had. While advertising can make for a bias, at least they (b and w boats) let you make up your own mind. CR seems pretty scewed, and they don't have advertisers.

06-26-2002, 01:59 PM
Another item that may sway the EFI vs. Opti choice.

Sparkplugs, I have a 2000 150 Opti with 62 hours on it. It was running poorly and was in the shop for some paint work so I told them to fix the poor idling problem. Turned out to be plugs, the cost for just the plugs, no labor, was $117.

The dealer said I should exspect to be changing plugs every year. I'm not positive but I believe the EFI uses the regular plugs and not the super spendy ones.

Are others with Opti's changing plugs every year?

cant say
06-26-2002, 05:08 PM
About every 4 tourneys.

06-26-2002, 05:34 PM
What's the difference in spark plugs to make them so much more expensive? That's rediculous.

06-26-2002, 07:19 PM
This information is very interesting to me, and I really appreciate you sharing it with us, but maybe I am missing something here. The Mercury 200 efi and the 200 opti running at wot are basically burning the same amount of fuel? But in the mid ranges that is where the opti makes it up on fuel consumption? Now the opti is probably another $3,000 dollars, but under most situations when I run my big motor it is calm enough to go wot, what would justify spending the extra money on the opti besides the smart gauges? And maintenance on the efi sounds like it is alot cheaper. If I am wrong please let me know. Thank you.

06-27-2002, 05:24 AM
Don`t know the difference in sparkplugs, but I have a Merc 150 efi and replaced my spark plugs after 2 seasons. From the dealer they were $11.80 apiece. I bought them through sparkplugs.com and got them for $6.30 apiece. Love the motor. Runs great although it did blow after the 2nd tank. The dealer had me up and running in 10 days with a new powerhead. No problems since. Good luck with your purchase.

06-27-2002, 08:31 AM
Lane, you're correct. At wot they burn virtually the same amount of fuel. The mid range area is where the Opti gets better mileage. My boat is rated for a 175hp. When I was engine shopping Mercury was just getting ready to release the 175 Opti, but it was still several months away. My choice was to either go with a 150hp Opti or a 175hp EFI. When I looked at the cost differances, the mileage figures and also figured in the problems some of my buddies were having with their Opti's at the time I decided that the 175 EFI was a no-brainer. Plus, I really wanted to max out the hp on the boat. I think that the future of better wot gas mileage is close, but the claims that Mercury makes with the Optimax, numbers like 20% to 35% better gas mileage, have to be scrutinized by the buyer to see if they will actually realize much if any gain. Also the buyer must factor in the increased cost of the Opti to see how long it will take to offset the greater innitial cost of the engine through potential savings in fuel.

Best Regards,


06-28-2002, 07:35 AM
Why did your powerhead go on the efi?

06-28-2002, 09:44 AM
I buy it for 14.95 (Optigold)

06-28-2002, 10:09 AM

boat guy
06-30-2002, 09:04 AM
an EFI motor gives you turn key operation. that is really their only advantage. EFI does not improve fuel economy in outboard motors. the opti will burn 45% less fuel on as average day.

06-30-2002, 04:10 PM
Thordog, My motor blew because of a failed oil injector in the 4th cylinder. It caused the #4 cylinder to cook itself.

06-30-2002, 04:30 PM
the "car" manufactures tried the 2 stroke for vehicles back in 91 and met the 96 vehicle emissions standards....BUT, the gov. states you can NOT touch (must perform without re-placement etc) any emission equipment for 100,000 miles. the converter technology at that time could only get the converters to last 50,000 miles before they'd need replacement to still meet emission standards. (this is where some of your technology for high pressure fuel 2 strokes started) that was the major downfall for the lighter 2 strokes vs 4 strokes being in vehicles. the better "mileage" is mostly at idle,the rest at part throttle. at WOT there isn't much difference between efi/2/4/ stroke in fuel usage in comparable displacements. you still need 14:1 air/fuel ratio at part throttle and trying to make engines last at 13.7:1 at wot, the technology isn't there yet. so most run from 12.5:1 to 10.5:1 at WOT to keep the engine (valves/pistons etc)cool...short explaination.
hope that helps

06-30-2002, 08:25 PM
Has anyone ever considered the difference in emmisions from the EFI or Optimax?