Our friend Captain Bob Morrissey shares some lessons learned about his 2003 225HP Evinrude Ficht on a Grady White Seafarer
I bought this 2003 Evinrude FICHT 225HP on a 1988 Grady White Seafarer 228 in May of this year. It allegedly had only 49 hours on it and a box of old plugs found in the cabin showed that it had been serviced. 20Hrs was written on the box. Also a new set was there too! Hmmmm. We put 50 hours on it this past summer without making any repairs or modifications.
It cranked okay without much choking but the cranking got harder and harder to start the engine as the summer grew to a close. I had the mechanic at my marina replace the bilge pump which required the livewell removal and hanging upside down removing and reinstalling the bilge pump. Way too old for that stuff. They won’t work on an Evinrude, being Yamaha and Suzuki dealers only.
But one mechanic was curious enough to look at it closely and discovered that the engine moved considerably when he shook it. He then discovered two holes where the engine mounts to the trim and tilt bracket right under the head of the motor. Sure enough these 2 bolts were missing as even I could see that. But who looks at these bolt heads upon every use of the boat? Not I!
I ordered the 2 bolts thru my Evinrude mechanic and told him my friend and I might give it a shot to see if we could fix. No way Jose. I loaded it on a trailer and took it to my mechanic to let him worry about it. I think he had to remove the head to get to the mount (See picture of the sheared off bolts). He also had to remove the foot as the shift linkage SS rod was bent. Ended up having to replace it.
I am now thinking that the shift rod was the main thing holding the motor vertical. Sure there are 4 bolts lower down but enough torque could have sheared them off. I had even gone offshore on a couple of calm days and fortunately nothing happened to the engine, held on by a thread. I put 50 hours on the engine while it was in this precarious position, unknowingly. I was not aware of the condition at all. Totally in the dark was I. Probably bought it in this condition as it was not a cheap fix. The motor is repaired now and doesn’t go “clunk, clunk” when I put it into reverse now.
My mechanic also had difficulty starting the engine so he decided to pull the plugs. Turns out they were the culprit. The old plugs were properly marked by the first change mechanic so we assumed they were lined up properly. The motor starts and runs like a sewing machine now. The boat has a fuel consumption gauge added on. Fuel consumption dropped considerably. I am now using 6.75GPH while turning 3500 RPM and cruising at 25 MPH with the incoming tide. Don’t think that the four strokes can top that. Using 50:1 oil ratio but don’t have to change oil every 100 hours. That 2 stroke is much more powerful coming out of the hole than a four stroke. Bombardier bought OMC and had the funds to devote to R&D and solved the emissions problem. OMC went broke trying to solve it. Mercury, Yamaha, Suzuki all had other cash generators that helped them with cash to solve the problem of emissions but chose to go with the 4 stroke. Bombardier and Evinrude are marching on with the 2 stroke. I would rather have an eTech version Evinrude but as long as this motor performs as it is performing today, I will keep it. I can change plugs every 100 hours for 3 to 3.5 MPG None of them are Made in America anymore. By the way, the Grady White turned out to be a real “Barn Find” as those Seafarer 228 are hard to find. It is in excellent shape since this Evinrude was hung on it circa 2004 as it was not used very much. I even found a hard top from a Hurricane Irma destroyed boat, that I am fixing up to replace the Bimini. Got the side front and rear curtains too and in excellent shape.
Just wanted to share my story as it may help others. At least look at your mounting bolts occasionally! Tight Lines.
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