Category Archives: Service

Vital Fluids

Dyno technician, Dave Dins, running a 1350 for DCB.
Dyno technician, Dave Dins, puts a 1350 through its paces.
OptiMax 300XS powerheads await their turn on the dyno.
OptiMax 300XS powerheads await their turn on the dyno.

We spend a lot of time validating our products. This is because we are responsible for entire propulsion systems – not just independent components. Everything (engines, transmissions, drives and propellers) must work together and be tolerant of each other. This includes oils and lubes. They are the system’s lifeblood.

We validate our engines using specific oil types and weights. Same goes for the drives and  lubes. Over the years, our two-stroke outboards have evolved from carbs to electronic fuel injection to OptiMax low-emissions direct fuel injected technology. Similarly, our higher horsepower sterndrives have evolved from traditional 2-valve, push rod engines to a quad cam, four valve engine of our own design. Oil and lube requirements have evolved along with the products. Read more

Share Share

Refreshed to the Core!

A 1100 dressed in optional Mercury Racing Blue Metallic goes for a run on the dynamometer.
Doug Peterson (front) and Mike Critchley work their magic refreshing quad cam, four valve 1100s and 1350s.

Our high performance QC4v (1100/1350) sterndrive engine packages have been a stellar success. Both models are game changers and have lived up to the promise: Faster. Stronger. Farther. Longer. But as stout and trouble free as they’ve been, even these Torque Monsters will need attention eventually.

Racing’s all-new Factory Fresh QC4v program features a complete engine inspection and refresh by the skilled craftsmen who built them originally. Unique to the QC4v refresh program is the option to purchase either a new long block assembly or a certified refreshed core long block. The long-block core exchange program reduces the amount of time an engine is in for service. Engines receive a complete dynamometer run prior to being sealed and released as Certified Factory Fresh. Refreshed QC4v engines enjoy a limited warranty on all refresh parts purchased by a customer – including the long block assembly.  The refresh warranty is the same as Mercury Racing’s one year Parts and Accessories Warranty. Factory Fresh QC4v warranties can be transferred to a new owner if the boat is sold.

Rejuvenated Spirit

Mike preps a 1350 long block for the Factory Fresh QC4v core exchange program.
The sea pump is rebuilt as part of the refresh process.

The refresh process begins with an inspection of the condition of the engine long-block. This  determines the core-exchange value. Once the core value is assessed, the rest of the engine is inspected to determine what is needed.  A refreshed long-block is a solid foundation from which our craftsmen work their magic. Every aspect of the upper engine – from fasteners to critical components (fuel, electrical systems and closed cooling systems) – are inspected and updated as needed. The refresh process includes rebuilding of the sea pump, replacing all belts, exhaust gaskets, seals, hoses, spark plugs, fuel filters, oil & oil filter, and other miscellaneous hardware.

Additional parts may be replaced due to corrosion or other factors. These may include exhaust manifolds and turbocharger assemblies.  If any of these conditions exist, the customer is informed and provided an estimate of related charges. Read more

Share Share

Ethanol and Older Outboards

Damage to a boat engine carburetor as a result of ethanol at 10% (E10). Photo courtesy BoatUS.

Mercury Racing has received numerous questions on ethanol fuel in older engines. Here is an article from BoatUS, written with input from Mercury engineers (republished with permission), that covers many of the ethanol issues:

A Shotgun Marriage? Ethanol and Old Outboard Boat Engines

ALEXANDRIA, Va., March 28, 2012 — Ever since E10 gasoline (gas containing 10% ethanol) became widely available several years ago, the nation’s largest recreational boat owners group, BoatUS, has received hundreds of calls and emails complaining about boat engine problems. The majority of complaints concern older outboard motors, those made before about 1990. BoatUS’ Seaworthy magazine asked Mercury Marine’s Ed Alyanak and Frank Kelley, who between them have over 60 years of experience, to find out what’s made these decades-old outboards more susceptible to ethanol’s well-known problems and what owners can do. Read more

Share Share

Hi-Performance Boat Operation – Part 2: Rigging Fit & Function

Spring is a great time for newbie and veteran performance boaters alike to get familiar with their craft. For starters, you should review your owners manuals — really, you should — and review the key components of your new boat.

The 300XS is very popular for singe and multiple engine applications.
The 300XS on this Hydrostream features a 20-inch mid section and Sport Master gearcase.

Performance boats vary widely in propulsion and size. Outboards come in 20, 25 and 30-inch drive shaft lengths to accommodate a variety of applications. Mercury (and other brand) outboards are fitted with a standard gearcase for most applications. Hulls that can take advantage of the high power-to-weight ratio of a 300XS may benefit from its wide range of gearcase options. Similarly, Mercury Racing offers a variety of sterndrives for differing power capacities and hull types.

Mercury Racing’s high styled Zero Effort Digital controls.

Mechanical control: High performance outboards are usually rigged with with dual steering cables, a shift cable, throttle cable and fuel line. With performance sterndrives, throttle and shift are accomplished with cables, but steering is hydraulic. These include 600 SCi  and 700 SCi Mercury Racing packages.

Digital control: On Digital Throttle & Shift compatible outboards, such as the 400R and sterndrives including the 520, 540, 565, 860, 11001350 and 1550 mechanical throttle and shift cables are gone — replaced with a single electronic cable. Steering is either electric (Verado) or hydraulic (MerCruiser). Read more

Share Share

Hi-Performance Boat Operation – Part 1: Introduction

A Nor-Tech catamaran boat powered by twin 850 SCi sterndrives. Photo credit. Florida Powerboat Club.
The boys from Sunsation enjoy their time on the water. Photo credit: Naplesimage.

With Spring in the air, the timing is right to review the basics of high performance boat operation to ensure you and your passengers have a safe and enjoyable Summer on the water. We include a Guide to Hi-Performance Boat Operation with every engine we ship. We encourage new and current owners to review the book and then get some in-boat driving lessons from your local high performance dealer. Those who do not have a qualified driving instructor in their area may want to consider Tres Martin’s Performance Boat School.

Our operation guide is packed with general performance boating information including a list of descriptive terms relating to propellers, hull types and overall boat performance.  Let’s first review the various performance boat hull configurations.

Read more

Share Share

Slowest 1200SCi Ever!

This was a tired P-1 race engine slated for scrap. Now it sets the mood!

Old Mercury Racing engines never die. They just get recycled. I was going through my photo archives and stumbled upon this special project from a few years ago.

A customer paid to have a cosmetic refresh, but no mechanical work!!??? An odd request, until I discovered why: The only fuel it would see from now on would be through a glass table top — and go down different tubes. I suspect we over engineered the product for this application.

Ours was not the first slow table, but likely the most involved. Here is a GT3 wheel in reception at Kelly-Moss Racing in Madison, WI.

The rest of this room is pretty amazing, too, but I don’t have permission to show it. (I might not be invited back. Then, how would I fuel my tubes?)

Vicki, your comment prompted me to add another photo. This is an adapter I designed to fit my ceiling fan with a WWII target drone UAV propeller. The beautiful wooden prop was made for Kiekhaefer Aeromarine Motors engines my dad sold to Uncle Sam during that Great War. I found several new ones, still in the original boxes, while cleaning out a storage room. This one now swings quietly over my couch — unlike its predecessors, which roared over gunners’ heads.

OK. Chuck sent an interesting photo from his dad’s office — a gimbal ring (wait for it…lamp!) Now, this is fun!

Chuck Miller sent in this creative application of a Bravo gimbal.
A target drone prop for my ceiling fan!
Share Share

“Step right up!”

A favorite of the Mercury Racing stable, our 525 EFI. Its stout components make it a tempting target for upgrades.

There are “tuners” out there that offer supercharger kits for Mercury Racing 525 EFI engines (and others). Some of these kits reportedly boost horsepower and torque as much as 50 percent. They reprogram our engine controller to override its logic and limits. Yes, there is more power to be had – for a time. We program our ECUs to keep engines within their physical limits and offer good power with reasonable reliability and durability.

Ah, the joy of performance on the water! This 525 Bravo One XR powered Nordic is a great running and reliable combination.

One tuner just offered a “price reduction.” Their claim is to make power upgrades more affordable. Beware of the sales pitch, “Step right up! It’s on sale!” Alarm bells should be ringing in your head when you hear those words. If you’re tempted by that offer (and your warranty has expired), please proceed with your eyes wide open because just the opposite is the likely result. Here’s why “affordable” may prove very expensive. Read more

Share Share

Education (and Tuition)

48 MTI and 1350s during testing.

Sometimes education comes unexpectedly. When special designs or capabilities come together in a unique new way, surprises can occur. This just happened: In preparation for the Miami International Boat Show, MTI was testing one of its 48 Race/Pleasure catamarans powered with Mercury Racing’s 1350s and M8 drives.

Dry sump. I’ve written before about the purpose of dry sumping – efficiency. Here we have a 48 MTI with two dry sump M8 sterndrives. Plus two dry sump, quad cam, four valve engines making 1350 hp each. Between engines and drives, dry sump transmissions. Big power; big expectations!

As people sometimes do, the owner tried propellers from another manufacturer. Whang! Blade gone. We warned that these engines produce big fat monster torque (BFMT); we learned this lesson the hard way, too; we designed a special prop series just to handle it. However, this was not the education – just its preamble.
Read more

Share Share

Refreshed & Rejuvenated

Is your propulsion system in good shape and ready for another season? Now is the time to check over your equipment. If your engines have reached a maximum of 150 hours, now is the time for a refresh to insure a hassle-free 2011 boating season.

We introduced the Factory Fresh engine refresh program in 2006 as a service for owners of our big block sterndrive engines (850 SCi, 1025 SCi, 1075 SCi and 1200 SCi). We’ve learned how our customers from around the world use the product, how various applications relate to engine wear and the affects maintenance (or lack of) has on engine life. More importantly, we have built valuable relationships with our consumers, OEM boat builders and dealers.

Read more

Share Share

T.E.A.M. Builders

Those of you that have read our posts on the new 1350 sterndrive engine have probably noticed Fred Kiekhaefer’s references to T.E.A.M., an acronym for Mercury Racing’s Total Engine Application Management program.

We introduced the  T.E.A.M. process in 2004 with the launch of our 1075 SCi sterndrive package. It requires training boat builder or dealership staff on the installation of new Mercury Racing propulsion. T.E.A.M. approves both components and processes for quality and compatibility with our propulsion systems. Read more

Share Share