Continuing from Virtual Tour – Part 2: Quality, Paint, and Quad Cam Production…we will follow the assembly of a Mercury Racing OptiMax 300XS outboard.
Consumer, government and race outboards, featuring Mercury’s low-emissions, direct fuel injected 2-stroke OptiMax powerheads, are assembled at Mercury Racing’s factory in Taycheedah, Wisconsin. Consumer models include the 3.0 Liter OptiMax 250 SportXS and the 3.2 Liter OptiMax 300XS outboards. Watch for a future post on the OptiMax JP, an outboard we build for the government.
The competition outboards produced in Mercury Racing’s factory include our 2.5 Liter OptiMax 200XS SST (Super Stock Tunnel) and 2.5 Liter OptiMax 200XS ROS (Race Offshore). However, Racing’s four strokes — the 60 EFI FormulaRace and the Verado 350 SCi — while designed and validated here, are built off-site at other Mercury facilities in order to share common (and expensive to replicate) production processes.
OptiMax powerheads are manufactured complete, to Racing’s specifications, at Mercury Marine’s headquarters campus — home to Mercury OptiMax outboard production in Fond du Lac, Wisconsin. Upon their arrival at Mercury Racing, a powerhead’s first stop is one of our 2-cycle dynamometers. Upon completing a power run, they move to Racing’s 2-cycle department. There, technicians inspect the cylinders, to ensure proper wear patterns, prior to final outboard assembly. Meanwhile, another technician is working his magic: handcrafting a gearcase that will efficiently transfer 300 h.p. to the water.
Mike Riedi is our outboard gearcase guru. He has over 30 years experience building all types of drives: from the VI Super Speed Master gearcase (first used in the 1970s by Team Mercury during the outboard factory wars) to the wide variety of gearcase styles offered on our current line of consumer and competition outboards. Mike also builds Sport Master gearcases featured on selected models of Bravo One XR sterndrives.
I’ve always marveled at what our engineers and technicians can do to improve a product that is damn good out of the box. This has been true from way back, when Racing took the first 2.0 liter V-6 Mercury Outboards to the races — a good two years prior to it being introduced as a 175 hp Black Max consumer engine.
Fast forward to today: emissions regulations and other mandates throw huge new challenges at outboards as we have known them. What at first seemed to be unobtainable, has yielded to another feat of engineering excellence: low emissions enabled by OpitMax direct injection. Racing again took a revolutionary outboard and enhanced it. Mercury outboards continue to capture checkered flags and delighting recreational consumers. They run lean, mean and clean — doing their part in preserving our environment for future generations.