TO VRO or not to VRO

I recently bought a 1996 Johnson 60hp with newly installed VRO and my problem is should I remove the VRO and do a manual mix of oil or should I just go with the VRO, I do have the VRO tank and every thing to hook it up.


I finally had to remove my vro off my 1996 Johnson 130. I really didn’t want to do it, but the alarm started going off and it was a choice of cheaply taking the vro off the motor or getting an expensive replacement.

I was really concerned about mixing 50/1 oil in the gas, but I quickly got used to it. If it were me, I’d run the vro until it acts up, take it off and start mixing oil in the fuel.

“I am constantly amazed at the stupidity of the general public.”
~my dad

190cc Sea Pro w/130 Johnson
1- 17 year old
1 - 13 year old
1 - wife (The Warden)


Our mechanic recommended removing ours a few years ago, said he had seen too many failures that resulted in major engine repair. We had mixed oil for years, so it was no big deal for us to go back to pre-mixing.

the OMC VRO is prone to failure causing catastrophic engine failure
if it were mine (i had a 50 johnson that i removed it from) I would remove it and premix.
its a little more hassle, but you know you are getting oil when you get gas.
A dirty carb still causes an engine to blow, but its one less failure point.

Thanks to all.
I was leaning toward removing the VRO and mixing the oil myself because I currently have a 1992 Johnson on another boat that I mix the oil and gas on so thats no big deal.


Years ago I removed mine because the dang alarm kept going off. Remove it and you will never have to worry about it again. mixing the gas and oil is not hard to do and for me…well worth it.

I think any 2 stroke regardless of mfg. used in salt water over 10 yrs should be altered to use premix! I have a 84 Black Max 200 on my shrimp boat that still runs well! Wish I had an hour meter on it. I took off the oiler after 5 yrs, didnt trust it!

I asked this same question about a month ago and the response I got or thought I got was if you have a working sensor tach its OK to leave the VRO. I have “98” 115 evinrude, would I be safer to mix my oil in? Thanks

You can’t catch fish on a dry line

the sensor tach gives you an additional safety margin that you dont have without it.
but…you are always safer to mix your own
as long as someone deosnt forget to add oil.
especially if others use the boat

If the alarm goes off, is it too late and the motor already damaged,as I carry an xtra gallon of oil on board and with my fuel tank full at 32 gallons that is more than enough at 50:1,if I added it.

You can’t catch fish on a dry line

not usually
if the alarm goes off and you immediately back down to idle, the fuel oil mix that was already in the carb before the alarm sounded will provide lubrication

Interestingly, many motor rebuilders’ warranty only cover the rebuilt motor if the motor is run on pre-mix.

I still have it on 2 motors, but know I should get rid of it.

As Marsh-Picker said, if the alarm goes off - it may be too late. Often the “alarm” is the engine blowing up …

With pre-mix: If its running (and peeing) - its OK. What batter “alarm” than the positive reinforcement of hearing the engine running and knowing its getting oil?

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Not sure how the VRO systems changed over time… But… Back in the olden days (about 1990? maybe), we bought a new Johnson 40 with VRO. 'Worked great. Pre-VRO, we had two 6 gallon tanks. We’d just run the one until it ran out of fuel. Move the line to the second tank, pump the bulb, start, and go. With the new (at the time) VRO, we found out the hard way that when it ran out of fuel, it sucked oil into the carbs and cylinders. This fouled plugs and made getting the motor restarted an ordeal. At that point, we disonnected the VRO and mixed. Maybe that particular VRO setup was not right to start with. I don’t know.

I have no idea when this ‘flaw’ in the way the VRO stuff worked was improved. But, if there is any chance that you’re VRO might do this, I’d start mixing now.

Usually, you’re worried about the VRO running out of oil. We were more worried about it running out of gas until we removed it.

17’ Henry O Hornet
26’ Palmer Scott

So, I think I will start mixing. Is this a very complicated change over. I’m far from an outboard motor mechanic but can do some basic things and also are there books for outboards similar to the Chilton manuals for automobiles and if there is would this procedure be in there? Thanks for all the info.

You can’t catch fish on a dry line