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'98 Johnson Venom 200-Anybody?

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Looking to purchase a used boat soon.  Both the boats I am looking at ('98 Stratos 295 Pro-Elite & a '97 Hydra-Sports 205 Lightening) have '98 Johnson Venom 200's on them.  Any of you guys own a Venom or know of the engine as far as problems and/or reliability issues I should be concerned with? Thanx.

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98 and later are probably about the best OMC carburatered motors to have.  If it has had a new powerpack installed, that's even better.  They had their share of electronics problems but when BRP took over they redesigned them and made them much better.  

I would increase the main jet size in #2 carb one number to help cool #2 cylinder a little.  All the 3.0 OMC motors have a cooling problem the causes unbalanced cooling.  The port side of the motor runs hotter than the starboard side with #2 being the hottest.  The egt's for #2 are approx 50 degrees hotter than the rest.   This is why when you hear of one of the motors blowing, it's usually #2 that blew and it was because it lost the ring locator pins.   In 97 they made changes to the pistons that helped keep the pins from backing out.  

Don't let this scare you, all makes of outboards loose locator pins if run at WOT for long durations.  The earlier OMC's just lost more than their fair share.  This is no more of a problem with the 98 motor than any other brand and going up one jet size just add a little extra insurance.

In 99 they redesigned the VRO pump, changed it to a CRO and made it a lot more bullet proof.  

Personnaly, I would take that motor over any other 98 model motor on the market.  However, I also perfer the OMC/BRP's to any motor on the market.  It's very easy, in the right hands to make them almost bullet prof and still make incredible power without having to turn bunches of rpm.

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Yes, Bombardier Recreational Products.

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OMC went belly up late 2000 and it was early 2001 when BRP moved in but it was into the 2002 MY before they got the bulk of OMC's problems worked out of the Evinrude's. Other than the crappy electronics, the Johnson line didn't have the large number of problems the early rudes had. They took care of the bulk of the rude problems in 2001 and 2002 but the 2003 and newer were your best motors in them.

They used crappy casting methods to produce the 3.0 blocks.  They are so mismatched and have so much casting slag and glue lines, You can look at the ports on them and wonder how anything gets through them on most of the blocks.  I guess they figure if they used a 300 hp block to make 200 - 250hp motors they didn't need to worry about being pretty inside.  That's why I say in the right hands, the can be made to make some awsome power and still not have to turn big rpms like the Mercs to do it.  I have two hot rod motors I play with that one does 295 hp at 6,000 rpm and one is doing 312 hp at 6,200 -6,600 rpm, both are putting out over 290 lbs of torque at 4,500 rpm and will run for ever.   There is a cooling mod to balance the cooling that has to be done on them when making this kind of power though.

I guess that gives you about 10 times more info than you wanted.

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Aside from the bigger jet in the #2 carb, what else can be done to help these motors out? I’m looking into buying a 1998 Ranger R91 with a 200 Venom.

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Bigger jet in #2 carb is only a partial bandaid to help compensate for the bad water circulation these motors have.  I always do the cooling mod that Al Stoker helped develop to fix that problem, but the motor has to be torn down to do it.  Also, beware of most peoples cooling mod.  There are only a handful of people that know how to do it the right way.  Most that think they know because they've seen motors with the heads off but they, leave out a critical step that is actually the heart of the whole mod and unless you know about it, you would most likely never see it.  I know because Stoker told me how to do it, the right way.

 

OMC refused to do anything about it, even when Stoker advised them of the problem and the fix he came up with back in 1995, because it would require a lot of retooling.  It was not until they came out with the 3.3L block they incorporated the cooling mod into it. 

The exhaust gas temps (EGT's) on that whole bank are off, it's just #2 is the worst.  #2 runs about 50 degree F hotter than 1, 3 and 5, #4 runs about 30 degrees hotter and #6 runs about 20 degrees hotter.  Running the larger jet to make it a little rich help cool that cylinder.  If you try to put larger jets and 2 and 4, sometimes you will be too rich and cause #4 to start four stroking.

The problem this all causes is the pistons getting that much hotter causes the ring locater pins to loosen and back out.  Once they back out to the point they hang in the transfer port, it grenades the motor.

 

Now, when you ask what else you can do to the motor, are you talking about to get more performance or just to help keep it running longer? 

Most performance mods are done during a rebuild but the right person with a die grinder can easily make that 200 a 300. 

One thing you can do is look at the butterflies in the carbs.  If they have two screws holding them in, then you motor is truly a 200.  If they have three screws holding the butterflies, your 200 is actually a 225 with 200 decals.  OMC did that on a lot of the Venom 200's to make them sort of a 200HO, they just didn't say anything about.  The only difference between the 200 and the 225 powerhead is the carburetor's.  they used approx. a 1 3/8" venture on the true 200's and about 1 7/16" (actually 1.45") venture on the 225 and 250.  If I remember right, it was the J200ST motors that had the 225 carbs on them.

NOTE: I said the only difference is the carbs.  It's actually the carbs with the throttle bodies.  The carbs are nothing but the plastic body, the throttle bodies are the aluminum plate with the butterflies in them.  If you try swapping out carbs, make sure you always get the throttle bodies that go with them.  They made a design change around 1996 because the 92 to 95 carbs and intakes were near junk.  They look almost alike but function totally different. 

 

With the larger carbs, the only thing it takes to make the 200 a 225HO/250 is increasing the size of the exhaust port to the same at the 225HO/250.  All the extra money people paid to the 225HO/250 all they were paying for was a bigger exhaust port in the cylinder and a small relief port.

A set of 50cc offset chamber heads kick in another 25- 35 hp.  Blue printing it, they have extremely sloppy casting, is good for another 30 plus hp.  Mine were usually 325hp + when done at 6,300 rpm and made enough torque to launch a heavy bass boat like it had booster rockets on it.

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Just perchased a 95 blazer with the 200 venom. Motor runs great. No miss no sputter. Its just down on power. Hole shot is very slow to build rpm and it only get 4600 rpm max. Compression was checked by a certified machanic along with leak down check. Both in good shape. Ignition checks good. Any ideas other than what has been checked? Running a 24 pitch raker. Carbs also checked. 

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