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General Questions About Johnson Motor: Fast Strike


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#1 NCLifetimer

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Posted October 13 2011 - 04:00 PM

I'm planning on buying a bass boat this upcoming spring or fall. I like to research everything before i buy it, probably to an extreme extent compared to most people, thus me asking months before i plan to buy.

Alot of the boats I'm looking at (ill have about 6-8k) have either 150/175 johnson fast strike motors, about 50% or so actually. I know they are a 2 cycle carb outboard, that i should check the serial number(fichts aren't as good as the others i read?) but past that i don't know much about the outboard. How reliable are these motors? What kind of gas mileage(or gph) should i expect? Not at WOT, but at a 50-55mph cruising speed. Or should i stay away from them?

The availability of these motors, by my guess, either means they are great motors that were wildly successful or they are not so great motors that everyone is trying to get rid of?

Any advice on this outboard, or outboards in general regarding selection in my price range, is appreciated. The fiberglass 18-20' foot boats that are in my price range and that I would buy seem to be from the early to late 90's, which is fine as long as the outboard is quality.

Any other information on motors and what to look for, good and bad, is welcome. Im clueless on the quality of motors from the 90's, ie if some company is better then the other. I plan on checking all the regular stuff, compression, etc. I'm also going to try and work the deal so i can have a certified mechanic inspect before i buy.

Thanks for any help,

Chris

#2 MN Bassin' nOOb

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Posted October 13 2011 - 07:54 PM

I would REALLY appreciate any insight as well...I'm looking at a number of late 90's bass rigs (Javelin's, Skeeter's, etc.), and almost 50% have either the 97-99 Johnson Fichts (150-175hp). I believe the OMC motors were the Johnson Fichts before Bomb bought them out (and later only had Evinrude have the Ficht tag).

I've heard that those Johnson Fichts bankrupted OMC and put them out of business. I've read horrible things about those Johnsons, but some of the deals I'm looking at are so incredibly good (we're talking 98-99 Javelins w/175hp Johnsons Fichts for $5500), that I'm tempted to pull the trigger on them. I've driven a number of them, and they actually ride pretty well (no smoking, no hesitations, easy to start, etc.).

Any advice would really be appreciated.

#3 Way2slow

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Posted October 14 2011 - 06:02 AM

Your 60 degree V6's, (Fast Strike) (Eagle) motors are no better or no worse than any other. There is a number of them that cracks the block under the rectifier/regulator and lets water into #1 cylinder and you hear of some loseing compression because of the hear seal ring leaking but I don't know of any more of these causing problems than you hear of the mercs.

As for the ficht's, Johnson has never had a ficht motor, Johnson's were the carburated motors. I haven't kept up with them in recent years but they were talking about making their Four Strokes Johnson's and may be doing that. All DFI motors (ficht Ram, and e-tec) are all Evinrudes, however not all Evinrudes are DFI, they didn't start making the DFI's until the late 90's and did that under the Evinrude brand. The early V-4 ficht's were real problems, the 90 degree V-6's (200, 225 hp) are actually good motors but they have major problem that makes them not practical for the average boater. They don't like old gas, if they are stored for several months the old gas makes the injectors stick or slow down and when this happen, they lean the cylinder and melts the piston. In 2001 BRP changed injectors and starter calling them The RAM's and they were much more accecptable to old gas. They also make a number of computer upgrades that made the 2001 and newer much more reliable.

#4 Sfritr

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Posted October 14 2011 - 06:52 AM

Guys, I want to give credit where credit is due. Way2Slow is very similar to the old E.F.Hutton commercials. When he speaks everyone listens. This site is truly blessed by having someone with his knowledge posting for the rest of us to learn from

That being said, I have a 96 Johnson 150VRO. I have not had any issues other than replacing a powerpack twice. I bought mine used and am the third owner. I routinely service my motor and give it a tune up every year, change the lower unit oil at the end of every season, change out the impeller every other year and always use SeaFoam. I have had the motor for 6 years with no problems. Runs about 5500RPM at WOT and runs 63mph from my 96 stratos.

The downside to the motor: She LOVES gas!!! I routinely get around 3 mpg and that is pushing it.

Good luck with your purchase and post pics

Sorry Way2Slow for putting you on the spot ;)

#5 MN Bassin' nOOb

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Posted October 14 2011 - 08:03 AM

As for the ficht's, Johnson has never had a ficht motor, Johnson's were the carburated motors.

This seems to be a common misconception; but I drove one yesterday. '99 175hp Johnson Ficht. Here is a picture:

Posted Image

I don't know what degree it is, but it's a '99. I've read some bad things; literally blowing up, popping through the top of the motor, etc.

#6 GLADES

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Posted October 14 2011 - 08:06 AM

Way2slow knows what he is talking about. Listen to him.
Being a Merc guy, I can say that carbed Merc's are very reliable, but not good on gas. the 6 cylinder Mercs are a bit heavier in weight compared to the jonnyrudes.
The higher technology motors that get great mileage also have expensive computers and electronic parts. Sometimes simple is better when it comes to 10-20 year old motors. Just my .02
The only way to know if the motor on the boat in question is healthy is to spend some money prior to purchase to have it professionally checked out.
All older motors are a crap shoot.

#7 stratosjoe

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Posted October 14 2011 - 02:38 PM

Not sure what mine is other than 1993 150hp Johnson silver star series. But I have fished in 38 states including Mouth of the Kennebec river in Maine ( saltwater) aswell as for tarpon near Ft myers fl also salt water. I have went thru more tires and batteries that the 5th fleet and she still fires up and boogies all day but like wise 3 mpg is a stretch But as long as she purrs likwe she does Johnrude for me

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#8 Way2slow

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Posted October 14 2011 - 03:41 PM

Well, as the country boy say's "you done learned me sumpthen". I guess past experience isn't always the best teacher. After seeing the motor in the picture, I did a little homework and yes it does seem Johnson put their decals on a few of the fichts. I called a buddy that was an OMC factory training rep when they closed the doors and ask him why I never new this. He said there were so few of them, a lot of dealer didn't know they put the Johnson decals on some of the fichts (until bad showed up in their shop).

Let me also say, if it's a pre 2001 ficht, and espicially if it's a V-4 or the 60 degree V-6 (150, 175), it would probably be in your best interest to shy away from them. Run the other direction and don't look back if it's the early V-4's. Some worked very reliably, most didn't.

I have a 99, 225 ficht I've been running for seven years and luv the thing. It was on a very nice 99 Javelin Renegade 20DC I bought at auction for $5,000 (about a $15,000 boat at the time) because the motor had all the injectors out and in one of the storage lockers. The motor had a brand new Lightning gear case and new 26" raker prop on it. The SECM (computer) was blown, five of the six injector drivers were bad, it looked like someone trouble shooting it shorted the SECM housing to ground when it's suppose to be insulated from ground, so I sent it and all six injectors to DFI Technologies and had all the latest upgrades (about 49 of them at the time)installed in the computer and all six injectors cleaned and calibrated. Cost me $1,100 at the time (that was also wholesale price) but the motor has never missed a beat since. At mid range rpm's (45 - 55 mph) it seems to run forever on very little gas.

Don't think because they say it's had all the factory upgrades, it's good to go. The only factory upgrade was one the coast guard mandated to stop them from leaking fuel at the injectors and catching fire or actually exploding.

There have been no upgrade recalls that I know of to the computer by the manufactor. The only way you can get all the computer upgrades they have made over the years, and there have been a whole bunch of them, is to buy a new computer or send your's off and have it upgraded (about $1,000, if your lucky and do the removing and installing yourself). Either way, to get the latest, greatest and most reliable computer, it's going to be very expensive.

The biggest problem with the ficht's is not many mechanics know them and know how to fix them. The motors blows, they fix the motor, but don't have a clue as to why it blew and know how to fix what made it blow. Therefor, you pay bunches of money, just to have it blow again on you a few months later. That's why most people have sh**caned them and bought another motor.

#9 MN Bassin' nOOb

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Posted October 14 2011 - 03:58 PM

I called a buddy that was an OMC factory training rep when they closed the doors and ask him why I never new this. He said there were so few of them, a lot of dealer didn't know they put the Johnson decals on some of the fichts (until bad showed up in their shop).

Did he say anything about their reliability/problems? I'd be interested in an insider's feedback about those engines and what the real scoop is. That will probably sway me to either buy the boat I'm looking at or not that has the '99 Johnson 175hp Ficht.

#10 MN Bassin' nOOb

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Posted October 14 2011 - 04:03 PM

I've found the answer to the Ficht problem here; looks like it was VERY widespread. I guess it's probably a crapshoot when buying one of these things whether or not they received the proper attention in their early life:

Info about the Ficht motor

#11 NCLifetimer

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Posted October 15 2011 - 06:07 PM

Thanks all for the information, its very appreciated. Seems like the best way to ensure(or be as sure as possible) with an old motor is to test it and have it looked over professionally.

#12 Fishing Rhino

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Posted October 16 2011 - 12:39 AM

I'm not a motor guy, but, if you are entertaining the thought of doing some travelling with your boat, there are many places that do not allow any carburetored motors on some of their waters. California is one such state.

Even early fuel injected engines are banned. I believe the direct fuel injected two cycle engines are OK.

Be sure to include this in your deliberations.
Regards, Tom

#13 NCLifetimer

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Posted October 17 2011 - 08:09 AM

Thanks for the heads up. I knew california didn't, but im unaware of exactly which other states/lakes don't allow them. Is their a source that has information on which lakes are and aren't restricted?

#14 non-pro-archer

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Posted June 19 2013 - 08:13 PM

So an 88 150 fast strike is a good outboard then? I just don't want a ficht?



#15 slonezp

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Posted June 19 2013 - 08:22 PM

So an 88 150 fast strike is a good outboard then? I just don't want a ficht?

If it's a VRO and the VRO hasn't been bypassed, walk away. It's going to cost you some money


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