Our experiences with OXE

Based on our experiences after a test trip with a demo boat in 2020, we took the chance to order outboard diesel engines from OXE Marine for our new work boats in 2021. Until summer 2023 we have been operating g five OXE 200 engines, two double installations, and one single. We also operate 4 Yamahas, 3 Yanmars, and one Volvo.

Our expectations about the OXE Marine engines, based on their official marketing and information, were that they were suited for professional use, with longer service intervals, lower operating costs, and lower emissions than competing gasoline engines.

People who see us using OXE engines often contact us and have questions about our experiences. Instead of having to spend time answering this every time, we have created this blog post, where we share our most essential experiences, both technical- and customer service-related topics.

A part of the story is that the Norwegian dealer for OXE Marine ended up in a conflict with OXE, so we had to go directly to OXE Marine in Sweden to get support and service. Our first message to Oxe Marine management in Sweden was on the 27th of April 2022, where we described some of our challenges with the engines, partly related to the fact that we had no support from a certified Norwegian dealer.

This post will be continuously updated with news about the engines and our collaboration with OXE, starting from the 2nd of June 2023.

Status 2nd. of June 2023
We got a letter from OXE today saying that they want to send technicians to look at our engines to see if any of the issues we’ve had could be related to errors in the installation. They plan to install a Jack Plate mount that makes it possible to adjust the engine’s height, and during winter, they have offered to do a full overhaul of the engines. After that, they will decide whether to give us an extended warranty.

Status 15. of July 2023
OXE Marine has visited Norway, doing service on CRUSH and MISTER RAY, the boats with 2×200 engines. During the process, it became clear that some of the problems we’ve had are related to errors made by the workshops that have installed and maintained the engines for us, while some problems are not. The workshops have made shortcuts in engine maintenance due to lack of experience, training, and access to parts. We are now waiting for a more detailed report about OXEs findings.

Status on 6. of August 2023
We have confirmation from OXE Marine that the Jack Plates have arrived and that they are looking for a time to do the installations. Both boats that still have OXE engines are out of service due to several issues, also a mistake made by a local mechanic on one of the engines, mounting a belt box without filling it with oil.

The following log shows errors and problems from June 2023. The former problems and frequency of errors is simular.

06.06.2023: Broken belt on single installation (SHELDON POLAR)
10.06.2023: Engine coolant temperature too high, double installation (MISTER RAY)
10.06.2023: Intake manifold air pressure control error, double installation (MISTER RAY)
19.06.2023: Starter engine failure; not possible to start the engine (SHELDON POLAR)
26.06.2023 Leakage in cooling water system, double installation (CRUSH)
28.06.2023 Black smoke from turbo manifold, strange sounds, the engine does not rev (CRUSH)
29.06.2023 Air filter differential pressure voltage above normal or shorted to high (CRUSH)
30.06.2023 Intake manifold air pressure control error (CRUSH)
05.07.2023 Lower belt gear and ball bearings breakdown; both engines (CRUSH)
15.07.2023 Intake manifold air pressure is too high (CRUSH)
17.07.2023 Speed control error (MISTER RAY)
17.07.2023 No gearbox pressure (MISTER RAY)*
28.08.2023 Engines from Mister Ray sent to OXE for full maintenance job
03.09.2023 One engine stopped; the other went into safety mode and was towed to harbor (CRUSH)
07.09.2023 Mechanic able to get to where Crush was towed. The ignition switch/key was changed, troubleshooting but no conclusion. The engine works randomly. It will be partly used with a following boat for towing.
14.09.2023 Turbo manifold bracket broken, needs to be replaced.
14.09.2023 Burnt, shortcutted cables.
14.09.2023 The motor tilt engine needs to be replaced due to corrosion
20.09.2023 Parts eventually being identified and ordered for problems revealed on the 14th. of September, after waiting for response from OXE since the 14th.
25.09.2023 Parts ordered on the 20t. of September are registered for shipment with DHL Express, expected delivery 28th. of September. (14 days after problems were revealed and OXE getting detailed information, 25 days after Crush went out of operation.). Some parts arrived on the 28th. of October, while some are not available. We don’t have information about a specific delivery date, and Crush will remain out of operation.

* Local mechanic did a bad installation of belt box after being unable to reach OXE for information. This is a “user error”, and not a fault from OXE, but it also describes the challenge of finding mechanics with OXE competence and the vulnerability of producing problems without proper support from OXE.

Luckily the people along the coast is happy to help when we need a tow. It’s a situation we’ve had a few tens of times.
Luckily, the people along the coast are happy to help when we need a tow. It’s a situation we’ve had a few tens of times with the OXE-powered boats and, so far – never with the Yamaha-powered ones.

Burnt cables. We think the reason may be the strong engine vibrations and that rubbed cables with bad insolation have had a shortcut.

Boat name, engines and hoursStatusComment
CRUSH 2xOXE 200, 1000 hoursNOT OPERATINGBroken manifold bracket, burnt electric cables.
MISTER RAY 2xOXE 200, 250 hoursNOT OPERATINGEngines sent to OXE for proper overhaul.
SHELDON POLAR 1xOXE 200, 250 hours NOT OPERATINGEngine changed to a Yamaha to be able to operate the boat. Parts from the uninstalled engine used as spare parts to the other engines.

Read the rest of this post to learn more about our experiences with the OXE engines.

The video shows some of our Arronet workboats equipped with Yamaha engines. The OXE-equipped boats are identical to the Yamaha equipped, so our foundation for comparisons in consumption and costs should be relevant.

The image shows one of our twin installations with OXE 200 on a 35-foot Arronet a few weeks after receiving the boat.

Driving characteristics and comfort of use
The OXE engines are somewhat heavier than gasoline engines with equivalent power. This affects the balance of the boat and how heavy they are on the wheel. To compensate for this, we have installed power steering on our boats with dual OXE installations, and with that modification, they feel very smooth and easy to handle.

The engine and gear controls are electronic; when putting the lever forward or reverse, it takes some time before the propellers start turning. The delay is approximately 2 seconds. This is something you get used to in daily use, but it can be problematic when delicate maneuvering is required or in emergencies where you need a quick response.

In addition, the noise is the most significant difference compared to a gasoline engine. You should drive with ear protection on an OXE-powered boat without a noise-reduced cabin. This is irrelevant in our Arronet 35 workboats, as you can’t hear the engines inside anyway.

Purchase and installation cost
Our OXE 200 installations are more than twice as expensive as our equivalent but more powerful installations with Yamaha 300. In addition to the engines themselves, there are also other modifications and costs due to the engines being larger and heavier than gasoline engines with equivalent performance.

We have several 35-foot work boats, which either have 2x Yamaha 300 or 2x OXE 200, and our comparisons are based on our actual investment cost.

Consumption and cost of fuel
We experience you achieving approximately the same consumption (measured in liters per hour) as with more powerful gasoline engines. For example, we have an installation with 2x Yamaha 300, which at 75 liters/hour provides 10-20% more power/speed than an installation with 2x OXE 200 on an identical hull when the OXE engines are run at approximately 75 liters/hour, i.e. 80-90% of maximum rpm.

The Yamaha-powered boat gives up to 32 knots at 75 liter/hour, while the OXE-powered boat gives 27 knots at 75 liter/hour.

This means that fuel cost savings come exclusively through a lower price for diesel than gasoline if compared with an installation of gasoline engines with larger power reserves, which will be natural from the price, weight, and power curve.

PS: For the time being, we are operating the twin Yamaha 300 boat with propellers that give “only” 30 knots at 75 l/h, but a bit more acceleration power with heavy loads than the props that gave the highest speed at 75 l/h. The consumption tests were done with the boats together, on the same day, and under the same conditions.

Costs – periodic service
OXE has a service interval of 200 hours, while e.g. The Yamaha that we have on our similar boats has an interval of 100 hours. In return, the services at OXE are somewhat more expensive, both because there are no brand workshops that have experience and efficient procedures and because service kits with the necessary filters and other consumables cost quite a bit more than the equivalent for other manufacturers.

Getting the right oil, as specified by OXE, has sometimes been challenging, especially the oils for the gear and belt chambers. These are oils that we have to order and keep in stock ourselves to be able to perform periodic services when and where we are when we reach the service hours, as workshops almost never have them in stock.

All in all, the cost for periodic service, pr. hour will be about the same for the OXE as for the Yamaha, even though the intervals for the OXE are twice as long.

Avoiding work interruptions every 100 hours is an advantage with an indirect gain. However, the total time out of operation will often be more prolonged for OXE than other brands due to more work hours for the mechanics or waiting for parts and oil. We hope this will improve in the future, if OXE manages to build a network with certified dealers/workshops in Norway.

The table shows the cost of a regular service: (in EUROS – 1 NOK = 10E)

Boat / enginesCost (Euros)
100 hour service Arronet 35 w/2x Yamaha 3001 700
1000 hour service, Arronet 35 w/2x Yamaha 3003 000
200 hour service Arronet 35 w/2x OXE 2003 700
800 hour service, Arronet 35 w/2x OXE 2008 000

Since the OXE service interval is 200 hours and the Yamaha interval is only 100 hours, the service cost pr. hour is about the same. While there are workshops doing Yamaha service “everywhere”, sometimes we need to go longer distances to get service for the OXE engines.

On top of the “regular” services every 200 hours, OXE has other services at other intervals, like the 800-hour service, where the parts alone are about 2100 euros. When we add this, the cost is even higher.

Unexpected service and errors
While our Yamaha engines have collectively been running more than 5,000 hours without a single unplanned outage, the OXE engines have frequent failures.

Often the error messages on the OXE are not actual errors but sensor or software errors. Nevertheless, the engines will only run in safety mode, i.e., you cannot drive with normal power until a diagnosis has been made and the issue has been corrected. Although changing sensors can be a quick and straightforward operation, a diagnosis must first be made, and the appropriate sensor must be obtained.

There is also a function that limits the load on the other engine, in a twin installation, if one engine goes into safety mode, i.e. that in the event of a sensor error on one engine, in reality, we get a maximum speed of 5-6 knots on a vessel that should have a cruising speed of 27-30 knots.

We have had dozens of such sensor errors and inexplicable error messages. It has sometimes been possible to clear the error messages and get out of safety mode with software upgrades or minor engine modifications. Sometimes a complete system restart solves the issue.

Getting a correct diagnosis, i.e. finding out whether it is a sensor, or something else that is really wrong, often requires a lot of troubleshooting and the involvement of technicians from OXE, so this can take time. When you eventually find out what’s wrong, it can take up to several weeks to get parts, even if it’s just a sensor, i.e. you get long downtimes where the engine doesn’t run.

These images show corrosion problems on two of the engines. We have not been able to find anything wrong with zink anodes or the installation, and OXE has no explanation for this, nor have they provided a solution or fix to the problem.

Of major faults, which have occurred from 200-1000 hours of operation, we can mention:
2 pcs. broken turbo
2 pcs. broken water pumps
1 piece. cracked flywheel
1 piece. leakage in gearbox
1 piece. cracked diesel cooler
1 piece. cracked intercooler (heat exchanger)
1 piece. defective alternator
1 piece. defective control lever
1 piece. engine with heavy corrosion (see pictures)
1 piece. broken gear (after 300 hours)
1 malfunctioning ignition switch
1 malfunctioning fuel injection system (after 300 hours)
3 piece. broken belt (belt drive to propeller)
3 breakdowns of gear and ball bearings in lower belt assembly
Belt housing had to be replaced
Many broken hoses and wires (because they rub against each other in the engine)
Screws for engine covers fall out, so that the covers “fall off” or get water intrusion
Several brackets holding components in engine broken due to vibrations

These images show some of the error messages that have been appearing. Sometimes they describe a real problem; other times, they result from broken sensors or software errors. In most cases, they make the engines go into service mode with reduced power.

OXE Marine suggests these problems may have been caused by user errors or faulty installation. But why do these types of failures only occur on the OXE engines? We operate a total of 4 Yamahas, 3 Yanmars, and a Volvo. In addition, we have skippers with many years of experience and follow all service intervals and recommendations in the manuals for the engines. What should we expect from a modern high-tech engine for the professional market?

Based on the experience so far, we can make this setup to describe the total cost of ownership after 1000 hours: (in EUROS – NOK = 10E)

Boat/enginesEngine priceRegular servicesUnexpected costsCost/hour
Arronet 35 w/2x Yamaha 30060 00017 000077
Arronet 35 w/2x OXE 200120 00018 50027 000166

The “unexpected costs” is an average number, based on the total unexpected costs of all our OXE-engines, so 2/5 of the costs related to parts and service not covered by warranty and not regular service. The actual costs might be even higher, as we have ongoing service that is not included in the calculation.

So far, we have no reason to believe that OXE engines will have a longer lifetime than Yamaha or other gasoline engines. The calculation above is our experience after about 1000 hours, and the costs include some service and parts that were covered by the company that installed our engines, but were not covered by OXE Marine warranty.

The warranty procedures seem to be complex, and since all parts have to be prepaid, it’s a process that also includes accounting and international money transfers, currency issues, and so on. As an end-customer, getting warranty service from OXE seems almost impossible.

These images show hoses that are leaking after rubbing towards each other or other engine parts by the vibration of the engines. Leaking of cooling water hoses has caused saltwater to spread around inside the engine, and is probably one of the reasons for the regularly occurring sensor- and electronic faults.

Typically, our workboats have 500-800 hours operating hours pr. beach cleaning season, while the OXE installation with the most problems only has made about 300 hours after two full seasons. We might say it has been running only 25% of the time, being on land at service for 75% of the time.

For professional use, you are dependent on running engines, and downtime is a higher cost than the actual operating cost of the engines. Running out of engine power at sea can also be a significant safety risk.

Would we recommend OXE?
Based on our experience with the engines themselves, and OXE’s ability to support us when things don’t work, we might think twice before recommending OXE. If OXE manages to repair and/or modify our engines in a way that they work as expected – there are obviously some significant advantages, and our hope is that they will succeed.

It may be that the engines delivered today are improved compared to the ones we got in 2021, but it is good to be on the lookout and ask for both extended and specified guarantees and response time and ensure that you have a dealer who can take responsibility and deliver spare parts.

This is our challenge,