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Reliability of Mercury 2 cycle vs 4 cycle outboards.

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  • Reliability of Mercury 2 cycle vs 4 cycle outboards.

    Hello,I have a rather lucky dilemma I'm hoping someone on this forum can help me with. My wife and I are looking at buying a new boat, and have the option of switching from a 60 HP 4 cycle to a 90 HP 2 cycle motor (both Merc outboards) for an extra $200. My wife really wants the extra HP, and we don't mind the extra noise. I think we are fine with the extra fuel use as well. However, the part that I am not sure on is the difference in warranties and potential reliability/maintenance. According to the dealer the 2 cycle only has a 1 year warranty, but the 4 cycle has a 3 year warranty. This surprised me because I was of the impression 2 cycle motors were more durable. Can anyone here offer some suggestions on how to weigh this choice?


  • #2
    Re: Reliability of Mercury 2 cycle vs 4 cycle outboards.

    Welcome to iboats. I'll warn you about the main complaint about the 90 (I'm assuming it's an old style conventional 2-stroke). It idles Very rough. The warranty thing is mostly Marketing and they want to push the 4-strokes as much as possible. I'm not even sure if the 90 is still on the market. It may be a leftover 2005? I know of no major reliability issues for either motor as long as they're appropriately maintained. The 4-stroke may cost a bit more to maintain in the long run, but it's not a huge difference. If we're talking about the 90 OptiMax, the jury is still out. Too new to tell.
    Hey, Have you seen? They make Really Cool life preservers nowadays.
    So "Looking Dorky" is no longer an excuse for not wearing one.

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    • #3
      Re: Reliability of Mercury 2 cycle vs 4 cycle outboards.

      The 90 must be an Optimax. You should be aware that Powerboat Reports found the 90 Optimax to be extremely loud (more than your average 2-stroke). And this was with a decibel meter, not simply an opinion.

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      • #4
        Re: Reliability of Mercury 2 cycle vs 4 cycle outboards.

        [duplicate reply]

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        • #5
          Re: Reliability of Mercury 2 cycle vs 4 cycle outboards.

          As far as the true test of reliability... the 4-strokes have to age to 20-30 years old to see if they last as well. -W
          If you need to reach me - study my profile

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          • #6
            Re: Reliability of Mercury 2 cycle vs 4 cycle outboards.

            My wife really wants the extra HP
            Does your wife have a sister?!!
            The wetter, the better.

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            • #7
              Re: Reliability of Mercury 2 cycle vs 4 cycle outboards.

              swist...don't you mean the Opti is slightly louder than the same hp 4 stroke!!!

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              • #8
                Re: Reliability of Mercury 2 cycle vs 4 cycle outboards.

                Thanks for all of the replies! I don't think it is an optimax because on their web site for other boats they offer the Optimax as an option, and for this one they refer to it as "50 ELPTO TwoStroke". Also, I was thinking the Optimax would have been more money for this kind of HP upgrade. I didn't realize there were any reservations about the Optimax, and probably would have preferred it before reading this based on the marketing material (lower fuel consumption, etc). I'll check with the dealer to find out for sure. Assuming this is last year's model of 2 cycyle, how much of an issue is the rough idle? Does it cut out/stall, or does it just sound rough (like a car with a high performance cam)?

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                • #9
                  Re: Reliability of Mercury 2 cycle vs 4 cycle outboards.

                  Originally posted by studlymandingo:
                  My wife really wants the extra HP
                  Does your wife have a sister?!!
                  LOL No, sorry! This was the big surprise when we bought our first boat (115 HP 18 ft 1979 Ranger). She told me to get it for myself, but that she would go along to keep me company. After riding in the boat a few times she found she really loved cruising at top speed, and now she always notices the HP number on any boat we see.

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                  • #10
                    Re: Reliability of Mercury 2 cycle vs 4 cycle outboards.

                    yes TX it is not an optimax. It is a carbed 90. the elpto stands for electric start, power trim and tilt, and oil injection too. Being a new engine it will not (or should not for that matter) stall while idling. Its more of just a loud rough sounding idle, just like you said.
                    2005 Glastron SX 170
                    2005 150 Mercury XR6


                    1999 fisher V-1667 utility
                    1992 Mercury 40 classic (4cyl)

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                    • #11
                      Re: Reliability of Mercury 2 cycle vs 4 cycle outboards.

                      double post...sorry
                      2005 Glastron SX 170
                      2005 150 Mercury XR6


                      1999 fisher V-1667 utility
                      1992 Mercury 40 classic (4cyl)

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                      • #12
                        Re: Reliability of Mercury 2 cycle vs 4 cycle outboards.

                        I have this model motor (2003). I think all the idle complaints are over rated. My neighbour has a 115 yammie. It is smoother but once my motor is started and slightly warmed up, idle is pretty smooth. Anything above 1200rpm and there is no difference.I got the 90 over the merc 115 because I did not like the 2 + 2 and my WOT is 5000 to 5500 RPM whereas the 115 is 4500 to 5000 RPM. On my speedo, with a full tank and a 21" aluminum prop, I'll be doing about 54MPH (which I figure is off by about 10%) and turning 5600 RPM.Tx.

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                        • #13
                          Re: Reliability of Mercury 2 cycle vs 4 cycle outboards.

                          Originally posted by TxRedbeard: and now she always notices the HP number on any boat we see.
                          Heh.... she'd have fun with my outboard - no HP designation anywhere on it. -W
                          If you need to reach me - study my profile

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                          • #14
                            Re: Reliability of Mercury 2 cycle vs 4 cycle outboards.

                            I meant the Optimax is louder than other 90 hp 2-stroke engines, DFI or otherwise. But apparently the point is moot, this being a carbed engine. I too am surprised it was still being sold as late as 2005.

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                            • #15
                              Re: Reliability of Mercury 2 cycle vs 4 cycle outboards.

                              I lot of women who are tuned into those horsepower numbers really like big Johnsons...Sorry, couldn't resist!

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