Give the OptiMax Engine a Whirl

This past weekend I took my new OptiMax Engine out for a whirl on the lake. Breaking in a new outboard can be a pain, but after the initial process, the OptiMax handled like a dream. After two hours I was confident that I knew how to handle the new outboard.

I called up my wife and kids and told them to head on over to the lake. I gave them a spin on the new outboard, which they enjoyed very much. After we pulled the boat out of the water, I showed my kids where to put in the Mercury OptiMax oil, so if they want to take the boat out they’ll know how to perform proper maintenance.

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Connecting Old Gauges

As you probably inferred from my previous posts, I recently bought an OptiMax engine. Thus far I’m enjoying it immensely. Before I could fill the engine up with Mercury OptiMax oil and take the boat out for a spin, I had to go to my local Mercury Marine dealership.

Long time readers of this blog know that I like to do most of the maintenance my boat requires myself. In this instance, I wasn’t sure that I could handle connecting the older style gauges on my boat to the new engine. Not wanting to screw up my pricey investment, I had my go-to mechanic work it out for me. He got everything squared away and I was able to take the boat out this past weekend.

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Mixing Oils

One question I’m frequently asked is: Can I mix oils? I’m a bit of a purest. I try to refrain from mixing oils, but I know that others mix oil with reported success. In an effort to give you the best information, I took a look at what the experts at Mercury Marine have to say.

To my surprise, they wrote that Mercury OptiMax oil can be mixed with other premium oils (from Mercury, of course). They wrote that more the oils can be mixed together without a negative impact on the outboard. There you have it; the experts have spoken!

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Advantages of Mercury OptiMax Oil

What are some of the advantages of using Mercury OptiMax oil? The obvious answer is that the oil was specifically designed for use with the high performing OptiMax outboard engine. To expand on the response: the elite OptiMax outboard puts more strain on lubricants than the average oil can handle.

Typical two-stroke engine oils cannot cope with the hotter operating temperatures and reduced oiling rates of DI engines. Mercury OptiMax oil has additives that give extra protection. In other words, if you want your OptiMax engine to run efficiently, then you need to use Mercury OptiMax oil.

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Breaking in an OptiMax Outboard

Breaking in a new outboard engine can be a daunting task. You want to be sure that the task is completed correctly in order to ensure optimal performance and longevity of the outboard. Before you begin breaking in a new outboard engine, particularly an OptiMax outboard, be sure to read through the Operation, Maintenance & Warranty manual.

Generally, keeping the throttle wide-open or idling for any length of time is to be avoided during the first two hours of use. In older two-stroke models, the process of breaking in required extra oil, but the OptiMax engines use specific computer programming to increase the oil mixture during the breaking-in process. In order for the computing to work, you first need to be sure that you have the appropriate amount of Mercury OptiMax oil in place.

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Evinrude E-TEC Specs

I’m concluding Refresher Week by explaining the phenomenon that is the Evinrude E-TEC outboard boat motor. Simply put, the E-TEC is Evinrude’s answer to traditional four stroke motors. Four-stroke motors are touted for their easy start, minimum noise, and superior fuel economy in comparison to two-stroke engines.

The E-TEC rights all those wrongs by being a smooth-operating, quiet, gas conserving two-stroke motor. It’s so fuel efficient that it won the 2004 Clean Air Excellence Award from the EPA. I can personally vouch for the effectiveness of these engines and I recommend that you give one a try.

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Adjusting the Choke on a MerCruiser

To increase the gas entering your MerCruiser cylinders, you’ll need to adjust the engine’s choke. The choke enriches the air and gas mixture that enters the cylinders, thus making starting a MerCruiser engine an easier task. Of course, before you begin, you should check to make sure that your boat has plenty of gas and Evinrude 2 cycle oil XD100.

First, tilt the motor so the drive system is submerged and then open the tank vent. Shift into neutral and set the choke lever between full and half full. Place the throttle in the start position and rip the manual cord (or press the start button on an electric starter). Adjust the choke back into the off position as the engine warms.

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Benefits of Outboard Motor Mount

Today I’ll be writing about the many benefits of using an outboard motor mount. Though motor mounts are not necessary, I find that they provide several benefits in the areas of acceleration, handling, and onboard space. That’s perhaps why some boat companies are incorporating mounts into the hull design of outboard motor boats.

In terms of acceleration, a motor mount moves the motor and propeller away from the hull’s current, thus the propeller can move calm water, which in turn provides greater acceleration and fuel efficiency. An outboard motor mount moves back the boat’s center of gravity, which also provides for faster movement through the water. Finally, the mount frees up space in the hull that would ordinarily be infringed upon. When you’re done looking over bulk outboard motor oil, I highly suggest you pick up an outboard motor mount.

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Starting an Outboard Motor

Yesterday, as the kick off for Refresher Week, I wrote a brief post about storing bulk oil. Today I’m specifically posting for boating beginners by covering how to start an outboard motor. Now, if you seasoned boaters are laughing, keep in mind that learning how to master an outboard is no easy task. Here are some step by step directions:

Start by facing the motor and checking to see if the motor back is in the locked up position. If it is, proceed by opening the tank vent and then moving the gearshift lever to neutral. Next, set the choke between half and full, adjust the throttle to start, and prime the fuel system until it feels firm. Now, pull the starter chord (or press the starter button if you have an electric starter). Reduce the choke and throttle once the motor gets going.

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Refresher Week

This week I’ve dubbed “Refresher Week.” I’ll be answering a number of questions that are frequently posed to me by friends and boating enthusiasts alike. You might read a post and think, “Well, that’s a no brainer.” Please bear in mind that we were all beginners once.

Today’s topic is: How to store bulk motor oil. Personally, I always buy my oil in bulk because it’s a true costs saver. The first thing I do when I receive my shipment of bulk motor oil is to check the drum for any leaks or weaknesses. If I notice any dings, I have a reserve drum that I can transfer the contents of the damaged drum into. Next, I move the drum into a safe, dry area that will be well protected from the elements and from extreme temperatures which can affect the oil’s viscosity.

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Roche Harbor

For those of you who love boating and history, you’ll want to check out Roche Harbor. The highlight of the unincorporated community is the Hotel de Haro. The wrap around porches and meticulous gardens invite you to really soak in the impressive views.

Another unique detail of Roche Harbor is the sunset ritual of playing the U.S. and Canadian anthems. Though the island is part of the United States, it sits right on the border and has a history that is linked with the formerly British Canada. Personally, I think it’s an interesting salute to the island’s history. It’s one of the spectacles I look forward to when I break out my boat motor oil for a day at the harbor.

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Deer Harbor

Another region of the San Juan Islands I love to explore by boat is Deer Harbor. The harbor is part of an unincorporated community on Orcas Island. Like the other San Juan Island communities I’ve described, the area is a hotbed for kayaking, whale watching, and fishing. The area is also known for its plentiful Dungeness crab, rock crab, and shrimp.

My wife and I particularly like boating in Moran State Park. The views of Mount Constitution are just tremendous. I would highly recommend breaking out your best outboard motor oil and heading over to Deer Harbor for a weekend of waterfront fun.

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