Please note this thread has been inactive for 90 days. For the best results, please start a new thread.
Results 1 to 23 of 23
  1. #1
    Seaman
    Join Date
    Dec 2009
    Posts
    61

    Default johnson 88 special

    almost closed a deal on a boat that has a johnson 88 special- my concern is i have have 2 dealers tell me this motor isn't that reliable.. any truth to that? if so if/ when goes better to replace with something else or rebuild this one? the $10g price tag on a new outboard doesn't look that appealing to me

  2. #2
    Chief Petty Officer npd4432's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2006
    Location
    NEPA
    Posts
    468

    Default Re: johnson 88 special

    I would not be going to those dealers anymore. The 88spl is one of the most tried and true designs OMC made during its tenure. As with any used outboard, maintenence is the key, make all of the necessary checks of the motor before purchase and I am sure you will not be disapointed.
    2000 Four Winns Horizon 170
    1997 Sweetwater 180 Pontoon

  3. #3
    Seaman
    Join Date
    Dec 2009
    Posts
    61

    Default Re: johnson 88 special

    thats sorta was i was thinking, they told me was a cheap motor- reason why no longer produced and that never came with power trim/ tilt- had to be customer installed ... was having second thoughts about trading my 90 hp mariner outboard in on this boat.. comparing the 2 thought about equal power and the johnson at least looks lighter so decided to let the mariner go

  4. #4
    Supreme Mariner kenmyfam's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2006
    Location
    Belle River, Ontario.
    Posts
    14,254

    Default Re: johnson 88 special

    They are a great motor. Never had one personally but only hear good things about them.
    As with any used motor you should verify the condition of it before purchasing.
    Marada 2100 Executive Series, 5 Litre V8 with Mercruiser Alpha 1 outdrive. 2007 K-Z Spree 260 RBH, all = a whole lot of family fun !!!!

  5. #5
    Chief Petty Officer npd4432's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2006
    Location
    NEPA
    Posts
    468

    Default Re: johnson 88 special

    Yes, the Spl. line of motors produced by Evinrude and Johnson were "cheaper" versions of the regular line of motors, they always did not have power t&t or oil injection and some of the other "bells and whistles" of the other motors, but they were basically the same crossflow design from the mid 1970's.
    2000 Four Winns Horizon 170
    1997 Sweetwater 180 Pontoon

  6. #6
    Seaman
    Join Date
    Dec 2009
    Posts
    61

    Default Re: johnson 88 special

    has power trim/ tilt..hope has oil injection

  7. #7
    Petty Officer 1st Class
    Join Date
    Nov 2003
    Location
    Austin, TX
    Posts
    214

    Default Re: johnson 88 special

    Had a 1992 88spl on the back of a 17ft sea pro center console. One of the best motors I've ever dealt with. Only had to replace water pump and defectors under the heads, and thermostats. Never had to touch the carbs within 7 years of owning it. It started easy and never left us stranded, even when it was overheating. Ours had tilt/trim and no oil injection.

  8. #8
    Moderator JB's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2001
    Location
    The Hideout, Whitt, TX, USA
    Posts
    45,902

    Default Re: johnson 88 special

    The 88SPL was a 90 on which PT&T and oil injection were not standard equipment. It was every bit as reliable as the 90.

    That made the base price lower. You could order PT&T and oil injection but had to pay extra.

    My guess is that both dealers who lied to you had some ulterior motive, as salesmen often do.

  9. #9
    Honorary Moderator Emeritus tashasdaddy's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2005
    Location
    Jacksonville, Florida
    Posts
    51,017

    Default Re: johnson 88 special

    i have had several of these motors over the years. great powerplant, huge torque. they are Premix Fuel motors, you have to add oil to the fuel. they difference, is the did not have the bells and whistles. just the overheat alarm, the other were not needed, due to the premix fuel. in the later years they were available with trim and tilt. they are easy to work on.

    All of the SPL motors were basically designed to be commercial, work motors. then the recreational boater found them, when the unreliable VRO fuel pumps were introduced.

    i would not hesitate to buy another, that passes the prepurchase inspection.
    FLORIDA GATORS
    TEBOW Country



    Please, NO PM's (Private Messages) regarding boat/engine problems. they will not be answered.
    That is what these forums are for. Post your questions, in the appropriate Forum.

  10. #10
    Rear Admiral
    Join Date
    Jan 2002
    Posts
    4,681

    Default Re: johnson 88 special

    the SPL motors such as the 28, 48, 88, and 112 were not commercial motors (those were the "W" series) but these were the economy motors which had the same power as their twins in the similar sizes, but lacked the extras to keep the costs down. They even did not have zinc anodes on them.

    The 28 used the older style lower unit, unlike the thru-hull exhaust type used by the 20,25, and 30-35 engines.

    The 88 and 112 were the older 90 V4 crossflow blocks compared to the 90 and 115 60 looper design.

  11. #11
    Honorary Moderator Emeritus tashasdaddy's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2005
    Location
    Jacksonville, Florida
    Posts
    51,017

    Default Re: johnson 88 special

    now we have the complete story.
    FLORIDA GATORS
    TEBOW Country



    Please, NO PM's (Private Messages) regarding boat/engine problems. they will not be answered.
    That is what these forums are for. Post your questions, in the appropriate Forum.

  12. #12
    Seaman
    Join Date
    Dec 2009
    Posts
    61

    Default Re: johnson 88 special

    posted this same question on another site and am getting pretty well the same responses...even told a better motor than the mariner i am trading for it w/ the boat its on- sorta surprised at that! this one has the anodes but are shot.. even told has some potential for engine mods due to the similiarities with other v-4 johnsons...am sorta hoping has oil injection- when i go this week to finalize deal, i think first thing going to check out- not surprised that i sounds like the dealers i spoke to were honest with me- one was trying to sell me a new glastron with an evinude etec- said hull has lifetime warranty- went to another dealer and they told me glastron is in bankruptcy protection- if go bankrupt good luck getting hull defects covered! thanks for all the info, am learning alot lately

  13. #13
    Seaman Apprentice
    Join Date
    Mar 2006
    Location
    miami,fl
    Posts
    49

    Default Re: johnson 88 special

    I have owned an 88spl for twenty years in south Florida,running in nothing but saltwater and all I have done is change the water pump,lower unit oil,plugs and water diverters in one head.
    All it requires from me is a good flush after I come back to the dock,and regularly clean corroded terminals.My only regret is that I did not grease the bolt heads regularly. I can't imagine them unscrewing easily.

  14. #14
    Petty Officer 1st Class
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
    Posts
    391

    Default Re: johnson 88 special

    Just picked up a 96 88 special. Model number is j88tsledr
    Dont know if it runs yet. It will turn over. Should I clean carbs, change plugs, lower unit oil, impeller, ect, before trying to start for first time. I dont know when it was last run. I'll start with fresh gas for sure. Also, what mix should i use? Is 50-1 the way to go or is this motor better with a different mix. Oh yeah, what brand oil do you evinrude/johnson guys recommend.
    Thanks

  15. #15
    Supreme Mariner
    Join Date
    Sep 2003
    Location
    Cape Cod
    Posts
    12,536

    Default Re: johnson 88 special

    As with any motor that is new to you, it would be best to follow the following: http://forums.iboats.com/engine-frequently-asked-questions-faq/awakening-sleeping-outboard-boatbuoy-158086.html

  16. #16
    Seaman
    Join Date
    Dec 2009
    Posts
    61

    Default Re: johnson 88 special

    went to see it today- doesn't have oil injection...any recommendations for mix ratio/ oil?

  17. #17
    Honorary Moderator Emeritus tashasdaddy's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2005
    Location
    Jacksonville, Florida
    Posts
    51,017

    Default Re: johnson 88 special

    50:1 87 octane, TC-W3 outboard oil. does not matter what brand, synthetic will smoke less at idle.
    FLORIDA GATORS
    TEBOW Country



    Please, NO PM's (Private Messages) regarding boat/engine problems. they will not be answered.
    That is what these forums are for. Post your questions, in the appropriate Forum.

  18. #18
    Seaman
    Join Date
    Dec 2009
    Posts
    61

    Default Re: johnson 88 special

    anyone know what compression readings should get from a healthy 88? thanks

  19. #19
    Supreme Mariner kenmyfam's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2006
    Location
    Belle River, Ontario.
    Posts
    14,254

    Default Re: johnson 88 special

    Quote Originally Posted by 95glas View Post
    anyone know what compression readings should get from a healthy 88? thanks
    Compression testers vary in accuracy. Typically all cylinders within 10% of each other and above 100 psi. If in doubt try a different tester for comparison.
    This is a guideline only. Report back what you find.
    Marada 2100 Executive Series, 5 Litre V8 with Mercruiser Alpha 1 outdrive. 2007 K-Z Spree 260 RBH, all = a whole lot of family fun !!!!

  20. #20
    Petty Officer 1st Class
    Join Date
    Feb 2009
    Location
    Washington,MO
    Posts
    337

    Default Re: johnson 88 special

    I bought me an 88 spl last year and i love it.it is an 1987 still working out a few bugs in it that i'm finding along the way.i bought the motor from several states away off the internet knowing nothing about it,all in all i'm very pleased with it.
    I got it at a reasonable enough price,so i figured if i had to put a little money in it i would still come out ahead.so far my plan is working,lol

  21. #21
    Seaman
    Join Date
    Dec 2009
    Posts
    61

    Default Re: johnson 88 special

    finally got to use it- long story! ...but is a pita to start cold any recommendations? bought new spark plugs even though old ones still look new

  22. #22
    Supreme Mariner
    Join Date
    Sep 2003
    Location
    Cape Cod
    Posts
    12,536

    Default Re: johnson 88 special

    Three things are required to cold start:

    1. You must use the primer solenoid to enrich the fuel/air mix;

    2. You must have a warm-up lever to advance the timing, or have an override to enable you to move the throttle;

    3. You must have a powerful, fully charged battery to reach the required minimum 250 RPM.

    The 88 was made from 1987 through 1996 - which one is it?

  23. #23
    Seaman
    Join Date
    Dec 2009
    Posts
    61

    Default Re: johnson 88 special

    don't know the year.. seems to flood easy on cold start up

Similar Threads

  1. 96 johnson 48 special
    By 5string in forum Non-Repair Outboard Discussions
    Replies: 1
    Last Post: September 18th, 2009, 12:09 PM
  2. johnson 48 special
    By cinnabar in forum Johnson & Evinrude Outboards
    Replies: 8
    Last Post: June 23rd, 2005, 06:35 PM
  3. Any changes on Johnson 88 special
    By jrj101 in forum Non-Repair Outboard Discussions
    Replies: 4
    Last Post: August 10th, 2003, 03:57 AM
  4. Johnson 88 Special
    By neophyte in forum Johnson & Evinrude Outboards
    Replies: 4
    Last Post: January 31st, 2003, 08:15 AM
  5. johnson 88 special
    By msatcher in forum Johnson & Evinrude Outboards
    Replies: 1
    Last Post: May 17th, 2001, 07:25 PM
  1. iboats Forum Directory - Over 100,000 forum posts organized by topic