DFI was EVERYWHERE at the St. Louis Boat Show|
I was shocked. Unlike last year, when there were only one or two of both Ficht and OptiMax, they were both all over the place this year. If the motor was of the HP in which Ficht or OptiMax was available, chances are it was one of them. I saw very few large motors that weren't DFI. Honda was a little more prominent than last year, with Yamaha not nearly as prevelent as I thought it would be. I was very fortunate in that I got to talk to a dealer who sold both Mercury and OMC motors. Of course I immediately inquired into his experience - without revealing my interest. He indicated that OptiMax ran slightly better than the Ficht motors. But the real thrill was hearing what we have heard from others - not one of his OptiMax motors has had a problem, while a number of the Ficht motors have. And he said everybody was installing the upgrade kits from OMC, although he downplayed the need. His customers haven't reported noticeably better performance. Finally, he confirmed that OMC tech crews are very busy at major fishing tournaments - repairing Ficht motors - while their Mercury counterparts are not. If the customer wasn't brand loyal, he recommends they buy OptiMax. Everybody was putting huge "4 stroke" stickers on those motors.
I got to see the Ficht PWC's, both Tigershark and Polaris, and boy are the dealers excited about them. They got to ride them at the dealers introduction, and said they run great, use half the fuel and a lot less oil, and they don't smoke. The Ficht injector has a strange looking "M" molded into it. Does anyone know what that might represent - possibly the mark of a subcontracted fabricator? Tigershark dealer told me EVERY 1999 Tigershark will have Ficht for 2000. Polaris dealer wasn't sure, but was confident Polaris would have a lot more Ficht boats in 2000. He was so excited about Ficht he yanked the motor out of the PWC and put it on a table for easy display! Bombardier dealer was clueless - didn't know what DFI was and had never heard of OE! Bombardier is really doing a lousy job - especially since they were the first to begin testing with DFI. I'm hoping I just ran into one really uninformed salesperson. One moron Yamaha dealer tried to tell me DFI was unnecessary and that all of the benefits touted for it were lies. I asked this idiot if he voted for Clinton and he said "yes". I'm not kidding. Yamaha had no 1200 "Ltd" PWC's at the show - this is the boat with the cat. I had hoped to see how they were keeping the cat cool and how many sensors they had monitoring the exhaust gas to prevent destroying the cat. If this boat is truly a 1999 model, they had better get in gear. I'm wondering if there is a problem delaying launch, although it could be a manufacturing problem and not an engineering problem.
Boating magazine March issue, p. 92, testing the Tigershark TS1100Li (Ficht) PWC. They gave it a very favorable review, and I will post excerpts tomorrow. OE is not mentioned despite a discussion of DFI. The article does discuss the difficulty in firing the Ficht injector at high rpms. The bombshell in the article is that Tigershark admits that the boat doesn't quite meet CARB2001 (EPA2006)! At least this particular Ficht motor isn't even "tier1" compliant! They imply it will be by the deadline, but this suggests to me they have no chance of meeting "tier2" in 2004 without a cat, and OCP can - a clear advantage.