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Author Topic:   New Products from Mercury Outboards
lhg posted 01-08-2001 09:49 PM ET (US)   Profile for lhg  
Mercury conducted their annual Dealer's Meeting Nov 29-Dec 1, and here is the jist of what they're working on. All this is from an article by Melanie Winters of "Soundings Trade Only" magazine. I thought it would be of interest to Whaler owners of all years.

Based on what they are saying below, I am speculating that the current Optimax DFI technology may soon be superceded by other newer products.

Evidently Mercury has just budgeted $120 million for R & D, some of which will be used to develop 2-stroke engines with catalytic converters. HP range not mentioned.

But more importantly they are saying that 4 strokes are going to be their main focus. George Buckley, Brunswick CEO, indicated that by 2004, 4 stoke engines will represent 70% of the outboard market. "Mercury is preparing to unveil a line of high horsepower 4 stroke outboards that Buckley predicts will knock your socks off" More details evidently at the Miami Boat show. Buckley goes on to say "I don't want to be too specific about sizes or or the unique features, but we think it's going to blow the doors off this industry. It's a full generation technological leap ahead of what the Japanese are doing." (I think he's referring to Yamaha's new 225HP 4 stroke - Honda is much further behind with their heavy auto conversion engines)

There is a picture of a new 250HP Mercury 4 stroke in the article. Winters goes on to say "The engine maker (Mercury) apparently has solved the size problem for large 4 strokes. The new engine promises to be comparable in size and weight to a 2 stroke Optimax of the same HP. The new 4 strokes under development have a better power to weight ratio than anything out there" Buckley says "It's not going to be just a new engine. It's got a new mid-section with an integrated jack plate and the ability to take a catalyst." (Is this thing going to cost a fortune or what?!)

This is interesting, and it's now generally recognized that an outboard not only needs power trim, but that running HEIGHT is also a significant performance/efficiency factor.
And like trim, this changes with boat speed and wave conditions.

It's also interesting to note that just 4 years ago, when Ficht, Optimax and HPDI DFI technology were all the rage, they thought big 4 strokes would not make sense. But new design technology has changed all of that.
I believe the days of any new 2 stroke could be limited, even the DFI's. Converters, or a new substitute, appear definitely in the works for all marine engines, including diesels. I think this is the only way they can meet clean air regulations of the future.

So one can also see what OMC is up against in their struggle to become viable once again.
They are going to need some deep pocket buyer to catch up to all of this.

But in spite of all of this, I still love my conventional 2-stroke Mercs. But they're only going to made for another 2 or 3 years from what I can tell.

whalernut posted 01-08-2001 11:05 PM ET (US)     Profile for whalernut  Send Email to whalernut     
Larry, great information. I watch alot of fishing shows on t.v. when I am not doing it myself. The one thing I have noticed is that alot of boats on the shows are useing 4-strokes and seem to be quiet, no smoke and have plenty of power and speed. Unless I get a steal on a newer 2-stroke, my goal will be towards a 4-stroke. Also, the idea of a cataletic converter is kinda weird. They get very hot and have extra weight. I can see the air regulations getting stricter, but it`s going to fast, they need to slow down the regs. a little. Can you believe Yamaha still makes pre-mix models to 90h.p. thats cool. That may be the one to buy from a dealers old stock for a great price in the years to come. I can get a I think 97`-98` 70h.p. Force outboard with the Mercury mid. and lower units. It`s just eighties technology under the hood. The price is $4000. It seems high, as I can get a 2000 70h.p. Johnson for $4800. I might work on them. What do you think of the Force with the Merc. components? Regards-Jack Graner.
Dick posted 01-09-2001 12:11 AM ET (US)     Profile for Dick  Send Email to Dick     
I started selling outboards in 1965 at Montgomery Wards (Sea King=West Bend=Chrysler=Force add Merc mid section=West Bend with better lower end).
Without the upper end technology the lower end doesn't amount to much.
I am running a Merc 50 4 stroke on my Montauk and am happy with the choice.
dgp posted 01-09-2001 09:31 AM ET (US)     Profile for dgp  Send Email to dgp     
Larry, if Mercury is claiming "full technological leap ahead of the Japanese" then they must be talking about a "camless engine". Electric solenoids control valve actuation which means infinite valve timing control. Ford's had a camless engine under development for a few years with 200HP/litre.
jimh posted 01-09-2001 11:14 PM ET (US)     Profile for jimh  Send Email to jimh     
When is the Miami boatshow? Maybe we should go!


lhg posted 01-09-2001 11:23 PM ET (US)     Profile for lhg    
Jim: It's Feb 15-20. They always plan it to coincide with President's Day weekend, to maximize attendence. This totally jambs up air reservations to South FL however. Timing could be good for you.
lhg posted 01-09-2001 11:45 PM ET (US)     Profile for lhg    
Don: Didn't even know such valve technology existed. The Mercury article made no mention of it, but maybe this is what's up their sleeve. Maybe they've even made a deal with Ford.

In the same issue, Buckley states something else that never occured to me: (especially in light of the OMC problems)

"If Mercury wasn't willing to risk innovation, the Japanese would now dominate this (the Outboard engine) industry. But today, they must take a back seat as they try to catch up"

They must have something special in the works for such a strong statement. Another scarry thought - with OMC temporarily out of production, the only American outboard engine currently being made is a Merc. All other brands are Japanese!

bigz posted 01-11-2001 03:24 PM ET (US)     Profile for bigz    
Yamaha and Ford and maybe an investment form Toyota will in the near future be producing outdrives under a new formed company is the latest press release this AM --- going after Mercruiser -- interesting developments -- wonder if the defunct OMC might play in to this picture some how --- Tom
jimh posted 01-12-2001 01:21 AM ET (US)     Profile for jimh  Send Email to jimh     
The cam-less engine sounds radical.

I'll have to see if anything like that is mentioned at the Auto Show this week in Detroit.

dgp posted 01-12-2001 06:50 AM ET (US)     Profile for dgp  Send Email to dgp     
Jim, Navistar's International Engine Division has a prototype diesel engine utilizing this cam-less design. Don

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