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  Mercury/Yamaha 4 stroke OB Joint Venture

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Author Topic:   Mercury/Yamaha 4 stroke OB Joint Venture
lhg posted 01-23-2001 08:36 PM ET (US)   Profile for lhg  
I'm hoping some of the Mercury or Yamaha engine fans can fill me (us) in on the details of what's going on here.

Specifically, I am wondering exactly what is Mercury's involvement in developing the needed 4 stroke small-mid range engine technology (other than the new announcement of taking the 200HP+ 4-stroke engine market by surprise). It is generally recognized that part of OMC's problems were lack of new 4 stroke technology to carry them forward, forcing them to buy from Suzuki. We know the Japanese are stong in 4 strokes, but is Mercury, on their own?

First of all, has Mercury COMPLETELY designed and manufactured any of the 4 strokes it sells, or are they all (or in part) from Yamaha? Or was the engineering design a true Joint Venture?

Here is what I know, or have heard, and maybe someone else can fill in the details. I am talking about the 2001 engines in 40-115HP range, those most used by many here for their Whalers.

At the 40-60HP level, I am under the impression that Mercury makes the short block
(block, crank & pistons) and Yamaha provides the heads and DOHC valve train. Then they each use their own mid and lower unit designs to produce their own distinctive outboard. Correct?

For the larger models, 75-115, I don't know who makes what as far as the powerhead goes!
But I do know the 75 Merc/80 Yamaha are basically the same engine, as are the 90 Merc/100 Yamaha. The Mercs weigh 30 lbs more than the Yamahas for some reason. The new EFI 115's of both sound like they're identical, but here the Merc is lighter by 30 lbs. I have heard that the ENTIRE engine of these series of outboards is made by Yamaha. Correct?

I have also heard that even though this new 4 stroke technology is the latest for outboards, by automotive standards, these are still air (but not water) polluters, like the pre-converter cars. Evidently catalytic converters are in the future of 4 stroke outboards and other Marine engines!

If anybody else knows what's going on with Merc's 4 stroke capabilities, post a message. Thanks.

dgp posted 01-30-2001 09:52 PM ET (US)     Profile for dgp  Send Email to dgp     
Larry, the scuttlebutt at the Tulsa boat show and the BW booth is that Mercury will be introducing a 115HP four stroke with direct fuel injection.
Since the OptiMax fuel system was designed by Orbital this must be the Orbital Combustion Process that they have used on 4 stroke engine powered demonstration vehicles for independent verification. Vehicle fuel ecomomy tests on these engines showed a 13% improvement over an identical multipoint port fuel injected vehicle.
Also it's rumored that all Mercury 2 stroke engines 90Hp or less will be built by Nissan.
I'll be at the Miami boat show so will get more details there. Don
Dick E posted 01-30-2001 10:19 PM ET (US)     Profile for Dick E  Send Email to Dick E     
Larry: On the 75 hp & 90 hp 4-strokes Yamaha makes the powerhead for both Yamaha amd Mercury; however the each use their own lower units.
Dick E
dgp posted 02-01-2001 12:36 PM ET (US)     Profile for dgp  Send Email to dgp     
According to Mercury Outboard Technical Service Dept. in Fond du Lac, the 40,50 & 60 HP four strokes are ALL Mercury, no Yamaha design or components. All of the other four strokes are the Mercury / Yamaha joint venture product. This includes the new 115 HP four stroke that is EFI port injected, not direct injected. Don
Mize Johnson posted 02-03-2001 11:01 PM ET (US)     Profile for Mize Johnson  Send Email to Mize Johnson     
I have had a 2000 Mercury 90 4-stroke (on a Montauk)for 10 months now and the powerhead looks the same as a Yamaha 80/100 powerhead. Quite a few of the parts have Yamaha numbers etc. on them also. From what I can see, the basic powerhead is definately Yamaha and with lower unit and a large portion of the rest built by Mercury(or possibly to Merc specs). There seems to be diffrent opinions as to who builds the carburators and possibly the alternator. Based on my experience so far, the overall quality has not been nearly as good as I would have expected if it was an all Yamaha unit. Despite all of the reports that it has the same powerhead as the Yamaha, the performance does not seem to be anywhere near as good as the test reports on the Yamaha 100 would lead me to expect (this provides some support to the people who say that Merc builds the carburators). Some of this may be due to Mercury quality problems or poor design on Mercury's part in using the Yamaha powerhead. If I had it to do over, I would just buy a Yamaha and be done with it. Bottom line, engines are complex enough that no matter who builds the different parts, the final manufacturer determines the quality and performance.
lhg posted 02-18-2001 07:29 PM ET (US)     Profile for lhg    
dgp: I see you're back from the Miami Show. What's new and coming soon in outboards?
Any new info on the Merc 250HP 4 stroke?

Incidentally, I hear Yamaha duped the Marine Editors last year when they gave the forthcoming 225 4-stroke the Innovation Award. The rules were that to qualify for this highly coveted award the engine had to be an AVAILABLE 2001 model. Their 2001 Catalog shows no such engine. Lot of people in the industry upset about this.

dgp posted 02-19-2001 01:50 PM ET (US)     Profile for dgp  Send Email to dgp     
Larry, to tell you the truth, I was so busy working I didn't have a whole lot of time to do and see everything I wanted at the show.
We had a demo boat at the Sealine Marina and a booth at the Convention Center in the Pavilion tent along with some booth duty with the MerCruiser guys. During my downtime I was being selfish and checked out the electronic offerings and a few brand X boats.
The Mercury outboard guys confirmed the 250 HP four stroke next year but none new of any new ground-breaking technology.
The boat brokers were complaining about the poor attendance compared to last year.
Clark Roberts posted 02-19-2001 06:22 PM ET (US)     Profile for Clark Roberts  Send Email to Clark Roberts     
Interesting to note the history of Mercs involvement with Yamaha outboards (from "The Legend of Mercury" by Jeffery L. Rodengen)! In the 60's demand for Mercury motors overseas was such that expansion was needed and an overseas manufacturer. A joint venture with Yamaha was entered into that ultimately led to Mariner outboards and this established Yamaha as a formidible compeditor! In 1972(a year that proved to be extraordinarily busy for Merc) , Brunswick bought a minority interest in Yamaha manufacturing. The plan was to develop another brand of outboard to cover more of the market. According to terms of the agreement, Mercury provided Yamaha with second-generation blueprints and taught the Japanese manufacturer how to build quality engines, including metallurgical technology.
Yamaha and Merc owned equal shares in a Yamaha subsidiary, Sanshin Kogyo Co. who manufactured the engines. Kogyo sold the engines to Yamaha who sold the motors to Mercury who sold them under the Mariner brand. The first Mariners were introduced in 1974 to the Australian market and in 1976 to the USA and Europe. etc,,,etc.. the US Federal Trade Commission ordered Mercury to sell its shares to Yamaha and this allowed Yamaha a foothold in the US market... etc... and so forth and so on... Interesting stuff... happy Whalin'.. Clark
Clark Roberts posted 03-11-2001 07:41 AM ET (US)     Profile for Clark Roberts  Send Email to Clark Roberts     
Just thought I'd bring this thread back up to add to the Merc/Yam discussion!
jimh posted 12-01-2004 09:01 PM ET (US)     Profile for jimh  Send Email to jimh     
[Closed thread to further posting.]

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