27/05/2023

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 five OXE 200 engines, two double installations, and one single. We also operate 4 Yamahas, 3 Yanmars, and one Volvo.

Our OXE engines were delivered by Smart Marine AS, and imported by Link Norge AS. Due to a conflict between Link Norge and OXE Marine, Link Norge has lost the formal status as OXE dealer, but they have made a fair effort to support us anyway.

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 with 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. During winter, they have offered to overhaul the engines fully. 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 our problems 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. OXE has not been available when mechanics have tried to get advice, and the manuals do not have all the details needed to understand the engines fully. We are now waiting for a more detailed report about OXEs findings on the engines. The report was promised in August. By the end of October, it’s still not received.

Log of problems after June 2023
On the 6th. of August, we got a confirmation from OXE Marine that the Jack Plates have arrived and that they are looking for a time to do the installations. Both boats still have OXE engines that are partly or entirely out of service due to several issues. At the end of October, jack plates were still not installed.

The following log shows errors and problems from June 2023. The former problems and frequency of errors are similar.

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). This error was caused by a mal-installation by a technician who did not have the manuals and did not get a reply from OXE when calling for help.

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 a safe harbor. We did remote troubleshooting with a mechanic via video conference. (CRUSH)

07.09.2023 Mechanic able to get to where Crush was towed. The ignition switch/key was changed, and there was troubleshooting but no conclusion. The engine works randomly. It will be partly used with a following boat ready for towing. (CRUSH)

14.09.2023 The turbo manifold is broken and needs to be replaced. (CRUSH)

14.09.2023 Burnt, shortcutted cables with a small engine fire, and ignition keys are not working. (CRUSH)

14.09.2023 The motor tilt engine needs to be replaced due to corrosion. It runs randomly by itself, causing a severe risk to the crew on the boat, being crushed between the boat and the engines. (CRUSH)

20.09.2023 Broken parts eventually being identified and ordered for problems revealed on the 14th. of September, after waiting for a response from OXE since the 14th. (CRUSH)

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 got detailed information, 25 days after Crush went out of operation). Some parts arrived on the 28th. of October, while some are not available from OXE. We don’t have information about a specific delivery date, and Crush will remain out of operation. (CRUSH)

02.10.2023 We borrowed parts from an actor who did not use his OXE engine and made Crush run again, as we still don’t know when we’ll have new parts from OXE. (CRUSH)

03.10.2023 Engine coolant temperature too high. One of the hoses for coolant has broken. Need to be changed. (CRUSH)

09.10.2023 Parts ordered on the 20th. of September arrives. 20 days delivery time. Parts sent with DHL Express. (CRUSH)

10.10.2023 Brackets for the coolant tank have broken; Temporarily fixed with strips. New brackets were ordered from OXE. (CRUSH)

13.10.2023 Coolant leakages on both engines, need to be refilled daily while working. Leakage was eventually found. Clamps on hoses were damaged, caused by broken brackets. Temporarily fixed. (CRUSH)

18.10.2023 Newly installed rubber brackets on the coolant tank break again. We’re looking for what makes this happen and if the vibration on this engine is somewhat stronger than on the other engines. (See picture under) (CRUSH)

20.10.2023 Coolant water leakage. Broken hose, probably due to vibration. Hose replaced. (CRUSH)

21.10.2023 Intercooler displaced/loose. Broken brackets. Boat out of service. (CRUSH)

24.10.2023 Bolts on the central electronic brain are broken, and the unit hangs on the cables. (CRUSH)

26.10.2023 Engine not starting. Boat had to be left with the load on a small island, and the crew was rescued with another boat. The next day, we found a broken ground-cable to the generator. New cable had to be made. (CRUSH)

30.10.2023 The hardy-disc on the gearbox is completely splintered. No propulsion on the starboard engine. (CRUSH)

30.10.2023 Belt Box bracket/bolt broken and threads damaged. Needed new Helicoil threads. (CRUSH)

30.10.2023 Oil leakage in Upper Belt Box. (CRHUSH)

15.12.2023 We finally got the reports about OXE Marine’s work on our engines in July 2023. The reports mention issues we did not know about, like a bent propeller shaft, vibrations, and some other minor issues that OXE relates to mistakes made by technicians on former services. The reports claim that all problems are related to “poor maintenance” and user errors. They also claim that services have been overrun by 500 hours and that one of the engines has 1400 hours, while the display (that we documented at that time) had just above 800 hours. Half a year later, the display still doesn’t show 1400 hours. We have asked OXE about the reason for the big deviation in displayed engine hours, and what they claim to be the right number.

One of our engines has been stuck in customs on its transport to Sweden for service for a couple of months now, and no one, nor OXE Marine or the company that imported the engines, can find the documents we need to release the engine.

15.02.2024 – MAJOR UPDATE
There has been some back and forth over the last months, but finally, the three engines that were sent to Sweden have been through a thorough check by OXE Marine.

The conclusion is that 2 of the 3 engines are “damaged beyond repair”, meaning repair would cost more than a new engine, and it would not necessarily give us a good engine – the advice is to put them to rest. The two dead engines have just above 300 and 1000 engine hours.

Through reports and meetings, OXE Marine claims that the reason for the extensive damage on the engines is that they are mounted about 15 cm. too low, which makes sea water fill the engine room, or hit the flywheel and spread around, which leads to corrosion and other problems. They also claim that the too-low installation leads to higher water resistance, which creates an engine overload that makes the wear and tear worse than under normal conditions.

For us, this is a difficult situation. We’ve already paid twice the price for the engines, compared to even stronger Yamahas, we’ve taken extensive costs of trying to make them run, and we’ve lost even bigger amounts in lost income when the boats have been on land – and now we have to invest in new engines. Who will take the responsibility and cover the cost? Is it correct that we should cover this?

OXE Marine points, naturally, to the company that sold us the boats, but OXE Marine has also been involved in the process since the boats were new without identifying that the low installation was the problem until last summer.

There’s also a question of whether a low installation should cause this type of damage to the engines. We have operated Yamahas in similar conditions over twice the number of hours, without any technical issues, and not a single unexpected service. Even with the engines installed 15 cm. higher, water would splash over the hood from behind, for instance when we’re pushing against the rocks loading crew and trash, with the waves and the wind coming in from behind.

We are still hoping that OXE Marine will take responsibility and show that they are a serious company that appreciates that what we have been doing is product testing of their concept in a professional setting, giving them essential experience to improve their product.

Follow for updates!

Small rubber brackets holding the coolant tank break due to vibration. This is happening more often on one of our OXE-engines, so somehow this engine’s vibrations seem more substantial than the other.

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 insufficient insolation have had a shortcut.

Broken water hose.

Broken bracket/rubber damper.

Another broken water tube, probably due to high vibration.

The hardy disc broke. No propulsion. Boat had to go back to harbor for repair, luckily weather was good enough to drive slowly with one engine.

Boat name, engines and hoursStatusComment
CRUSH 2xOXE 200, 1000 hoursNOT OPERATINGStruggling to keep the boat running. New errors occur almost daily, mostly related to the cooling water or the electrical systems.
MISTER RAY 2xOXE 200, 250 hoursNOT OPERATINGEngines sent to OXE for proper overhaul.
SHELDON POLAR 1xOXE 200, 250 hours NOT OPERATINGThe engine is changed to a Yamaha to operate the boat. Parts from the uninstalled engine are used as spare parts for 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 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 workshops are 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 6,000 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 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 some significant advantages, and we hope 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,